Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, USA

Provisions in the 2005 MSJC Building Code Requirements for Masonry Structures establish maximum reinforcement limits for use in masonry structures. These limits on tensile reinforcement are based on material strain capacities and are intended to provide varying levels of ductile response in accordance with the type of shear wall being used. The 2005 MSJC also permits the use of confined boundary elements to be incorporated into the shear walls to provide the needed level of ductility. The goal of the present research is to investigate the effectiveness of three different confinement techniques for improving the ductility of masonry shear walls. Tests were performed on masonry specimens incorporating steel confinement plates placed in the mortar joints, seismic reinforcement combs placed in the mortar joints, or polymer fibres mixed into the grout. Test results showed that all three confinement techniques resulted in improved ductility. However, the improvements in ductility were modest, and alternative confinement techniques should be evaluated for use in boundary elements in masonry.