The use of deformation capacity limits is becoming increasingly common in seismic design and assessment of reinforced concrete (RC) walls. Deformation capacity limits for RC walls in existing design and assessment documents are reviewed using a comprehensive database. It is found that the existing models are inconsistent and do not account for variation in deformation capacity with changes in the ratio of neutral axis depth to wall length (c/Lw) and ratio of transverse reinforcement spacing to longitudinal bar diameter (s/db) at the wall end region. A new mechanics-based model considering strain limits on the concrete and reinforcement is recommended. Concrete compressive strain limits for different levels of wall end region detailing are selected based on curvature ductilities for the walls in the database. Reinforcement tensile strain is limited based on a model for bar buckling. The proposed model, which accounts for c/Lw and s/db, is shown to have less dispersion and more accuracy than existing models when compared against experimental data and provides consistency between assessment and design provisions.

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