Large inelastic tensile strains and wide horizontal cracks primarily caused by in-plane loading, may lead to local out-of-plane deformations of the end regions of reinforced concrete (RC) walls within a buckled zone that comprises the plastic hinge length. Critical parameters that influence the onset of this failure mode have been studied through past experimental tests on RC prisms subjected to axial loading, which simulates the response of end regions of RC walls under in-plane demands. Missing from those studies is the effect of bidirectional loading protocols and the effect of the longitudinal reinforcement ratio on the hysteretic response. Therefore, 12 RC prisms with 3 longitudinal steel ratios representative of prototype boundary elements of typical special RC walls and piers walls were tested. The experimental results showed that the longitudinal steel content and the in-plane loading demands mainly govern the onset of out-of-plane buckling instability of planar RC walls.

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