Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - SCU Access Only


Santa Clara University


Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Mark Aschheim

Second Advisor

Tonya Nilsson


This project focused on the design, construction, and testing of a 4' long wall and an 11' long wall with openings for establishing an approach to seismic design and detailing of straw bale walls used as infill in post-and-beam construction. The team's goal was to validate straw bale as an effective and beneficial building material because of its structural, material, environmental, and economical attributes. The 4' long wall was tested for its general behavior under reversed cyclic lateral loading while the 11' long wall with openings was tested to study the behavior in the panels adjacent to each opening. Design criteria were based on previous straw bale wall testing at the University of Illinois, as well as suggestions provided by industry professionals and the FEMA P695 peer review group. To complete the construction and testing of these full-scale walls, additional designs of test fixtures and lifting riggers were necessary, so they became part of the project scope as well. The text fixtures were designed to keep the wall firmly anchored to the test room floor and central horizontal I-beam during testing, and the riggers were designed to lift the walls upright after the walls fell over during the initial attempt to transport the specimens into the heavy structures lab. The CUREE Caltech displacement history was applied using the Santa Clara University 3DOF Structural Test Frame to perform the seismic testing of the full-scale walls.

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