Ductile cladding connections take advantage of the cladding-structure interaction during an earthquake to dissipate energy. An experimental test program studied the behavior of the different components of a connection system. Analytical models of the connection were incorporated into a 2D model of a six story building with cladding. Time histories of the energy demand and supply to the building, both with and without cladding, trace the response of the structure to earthquake excitations. Results show that properly designed energy dissipative connector elements can be responsible for the total hysteretic energy dissipated in the structural system. A design criterion for the connection that is formulated in terms of energy provides the optimal balance of stiffness and strength to be added to the structure by the dissipators. It results in maximum energy dissipation in the connectors, no plastification in the structural members, and reduced structural response. This approach could be applicable to both new and retrofitted buildings.

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