A series of structural vulnerability analyses are conducted on a reinforced cold-formed steel (RCFS) shear wall system and a traditional cold-formed steel (CFS) shear wall system subjected to earthquake hazard based on forms in order to investigate their failure mechanisms. The RCFS shear wall adopts rigid beam-column joints and continuous concrete-filled CFS tube end studs rather than coupled-C section end studs that are used in traditional CFS shear walls, to achieve the rigid connections in both beam-column joints and column bases. The results show that: the RCFS and traditional CFS shear wall systems both exhibit the maximum vulnerability index associated with the failure mode in the first story. Therefore, the first story is likely to be a weakness of the CFS shear wall system. Once the wall is damaged, the traditional CFS shear wall system would collapse because the shear wall is the only lateral-resisting component. However, the collapse resistance of the RCFS shear wall system is effectively enhanced by the second defense, which is provided by a framework integrated by rigid beam-column joints and fixed column bases. The predicted collapse mode with maximum vulnerability index that was obtained by structural vulnerability analysis agrees well with the experimental result, and the structural vulnerability method is thereby verified to be reasonable to identify the weaknesses of framed structures and predict their collapse modes. Additionally, the quantitative vulnerability index indicates that the RCFS shear wall system exhibits better robustness compared to the traditional one. Furthermore, the “strong frame weak wallboard” and the “strong column weak beam” are proposed in this study as conceptional designations for the RCFS shear wall systems.
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