The principle of sustainability in the built environment has become much more significant in the past decade, resulting in a push to develop building systems that are more energy efficient, durable, and use fewer natural resources. For residential and light commercial buildings, insulated concrete forms (ICF) have enjoyed increasing popularity for their ability to meet these new demands. ICFs are a stay-in-place concrete formwork system for building structural walls that are also highly insulated, among other benefits.
Screen-grid ICFs (SGICF) are a small subset of ICFs that tend to use less concrete than standard ICFs and are sometimes made of recycled materials. These traits make SGICFs attractive, but there is a lack of understanding of their structural characteristics due to their irregular internal concrete structure. Because of this, structures using SGICFs are limited to heights no higher than two stories. Further study should show whether SGICFs structures can safely built to greater heights.
This investigation studied two types of SGICFs at a component level in order to gain understanding of their lateral force and drift ratio capacities under cyclic loading. Several variables, including steel reinforcement details, the type of concrete, and the presence of the forms, were altered to measure their impact on the performance of the systems. Test results suggested that the ICF formwork increased lateral strength by up to 100% and lateral deformation capacity by up 60% when compared to identical specimens tested with the formwork removed. Results also showed that confinement of the cement, either by mesh hoops, spiral wire, or fiber-reinforced concrete improved the drift ratio at failure up to 500% when compared to specimens with no confinement material.
Computer models were created to gauge their ability to replicate the behavior of the experimental test results. The models typically overestimated the lateral load resistance of the samples by 50%-100%, and even more in some cases, depending on the reinforcement. The models were not reliable in determining the drift ratio at which the sample was considered to have failed. In some cases the model failed at 50% lower lateral deformations than the test specimen, while in others the model did not fail at all.
Future studies should explore refinements of the models to increase their accuracy and usefulness, as well as accounting for the contributions do to the form material. Future studies should also include using spiral wires, mesh hoops, or fiber reinforced concrete in full-scale walls to verify their efficacy in improving overall wall performance.