Extensive damage was experienced by wood-frame buildings during the Loma Prieta earthquake. A significant contributory factor was the collapse of cripple walls. This prompted the examination of the behavior of a group of full-scale retrofitted cripple walls subjected to in-plane cyclic loads. The results of investigating seven cripple walls, each 2 ft (0.61 m) high and 16 ft (5 m) long, are presented. Two are control panels, without retrofits. Two are strengthened with 1 by 6 inch (25.4 by 153 mm) braces. Two are retrofitted with 0.5 inch (12.7 mm) plywood and one with a steel strap tie. Stiffness, strength, and damping characteristics are summarized, together with cost aspects. It is shown that relatively cheap and straightforward modifications can substantially eliminate the vulnerability of many existing cripple walls to earthquake shaking.

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