Behavior of laterally loaded structurally glazed systems
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Tall buildings clad with lustrous glass and other cladding panels have a tantalizing effect in the eyes of the beholder. Structural glazing is a novel method of bonding these panels to the structural framing system of the building. High strength silicone sealants initially introduced to the construction industry as joint sealants now provide the bond between the panels and aluminum mullions. This new system has gradually replaced the now obsolete mechanical framing systems that were prone to leakages and other problems. Moreover, the silicone sealants when used on all the four edges of the panel eliminate the need for metal strips on the outside surface of the building thus, enabling a smoother and architecturally sleek finish to the building. This investigation proposes to study the behavior of structurally glazed monolithic, insulating glass (IG) and granite panels when subjected to simulated lateral wind loads. Insulating glass units consist of two glass plates sealed along the edges enclosing an airspace. This sealed airspace prevents the transmission of heat and cold from the exterior to the interior of the building thus, saving energy costs incurred in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HV AC) systems. Lateral loads in the form of air pressure will be gradually applied on the specimens and deformation characteristics such as strains, lateral displacements and slopes will be measured as the specimen deforms with increasing air pressure. The results obtained will be compared with theoretical results from a model developed to analyze structurally glazed systems. This study is sponsored by the National Science Foundation while the specimens have been furnished by a conglomerate of industries. Dow Corning, Midland, Michigan supplied the sealants while the monolithic, insulating glass and granite panels were supplied by Viracon, Minnesota, Cardinal IG, Minnesota and Dakota Granite, South Dakota, respectively.