Reinforced concrete (RC) frames with masonry infill walls are prevalent in high-seismicity areas worldwide and have experienced significant damage in earthquakes. This paper proposes a finite element–enhanced strut model to simulate the in-plane seismic response of masonry-infilled RC frames through time-history analysis. The strut backbone defining the behavior of the wall is developed from the response extracted from the finite element (FE) model(s) for the infill and frame configuration of interest. These struts are combined with models capturing flexural and shear failures of beam-columns to simulate building response. The strut model takes advantage of the accuracy of the FE modeling results, yet is computationally efficient for use in nonlinear dynamic analysis. The robustness of the proposed strut model is examined through comparison with experimental results for frames with different failure modes. This modeling approach is used in the companion paper to simulate the collapse response of 1920s-era California frames.

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