Flexural and Torsional Response of RC U-shaped Walls: UCLouvain 2022 Blind Prediction Competition


The "UCLouvain 2022 Blind Prediction Competition; Flexural and Torsional Response of RC U-shaped Walls" is now completed.  See the " UCLouvain 2023 Blind Prediction Competition: Shake-table Response of 40-ton RC U-shaped Wall" site.

Invitation and Overview

The Civil and Environmental Engineering (GCE) group in the Institute of Mechanics, Materials, and Civil Engineering (iMMC) at UCLouvain invites you to participate in the prediction of the response of two reinforced concrete (RC) walls subjected to cyclic flexural and torsional actions up to failure. The units will be tested between May and June 2022 in the Mechanical Testing, Structures, and Civil Engineering Laboratory (LEMSC).

This competition is designed to cater to a wide range of participants, from those with limited available time that wish to use simplified models, to those willing to employ more refined simulation tools. To this end, participants are allowed to predict the response of one or both units, and to submit just a compulsory set of basic data or, optionally, a full set of information including more refined data.  

Participants can consist of individuals or teams. Three categories are considered: practicing engineers, researchers, and students (up to and including doctoral level). An incentive in the form of a monetary reward of 1’300 Euro will be attributed to the winning participants without distinction of category. An additional 500 Euro will be attributed to the best student participants.  

The deadline for the submission of the blind predictions is Friday August 19, 2022 at 11:59 PM (CEST). A summary of the test results and of the anonymised blind predictions will be presented during a session at the 3ECEES conference in early September 2022. An online live video session towards the end of September 2022, open to everyone, will release the results of the competition to the participants and announce the winners. This information will also be posted to the present website. Some of the winners will be invited to briefly present their modelling approach during the live session.

Continue reading for some general information, and refer to the side menu for complete instructions on how to participate. Keep an eye on the updates that will be posted regularly in the “News & Updates” section on the website.

Finally, please share this invitation with your colleagues and encourage them to participate. We are looking forward to receiving your predictions!

Submission of Predictions

To submit one or several predictions, the available response form must be completed and uploaded. The prediction submission sheet was designed to minimise the expected time required to participate. Two types of information sets can be provided by the participants. The first type is compulsory basic information (e.g., peak strength, drift capacity, mode of failure, etc.), whereas the second type is optional information including quantities that may require more computation time and effort (e.g., residual displacements, energy dissipation, plastic hinge length, etc.).

All simulation approaches are allowed, including hand calculations from methods defined in building codes, guidelines, published research, as well as numerical modelling.

Motivation and Objective

U-shaped RC walls are the most popular geometry among the possible shapes of core walls forming the backbone of millions of buildings internationally. They are well suited to accommodate elevator shafts or staircases and represent the structural lateral-load bracing system, namely against wind and seismic loads. RC core walls are unavoidably subjected to a torsional deformation component (i.e., twisting) during the seismic response of the building. The additional stresses induced in the wall from warping could result in a premature failure when combined with the stresses already generated from the flexural response of the structure.

The aims of the UCLouvain 2022 blind prediction competition include assessing the state of practice in evaluating RC walls subjected to flexure and torsion, to observe the range of approaches that engineers use, and to analyse the results that these approaches provide. This prediction competition will gain insight into the methods for assessing the behaviour, strength, deformation and rotation capacity of RC U-shaped walls. One third wall, subjected simultaneously to flexure and torsion, will also be tested (it is not included in this competition).

It is hoped that the results of this contest will promote good seismic design practices for RC walls, in particular including torsional actions within design and assessment. The experimental tests and the predictions can help improving the assessment of RC wall buildings and provide directions for future building code revisions. More broadly, this competition contributes to promote a more robust building stock and helps to strengthen community resilience internationally.

Organisation and Acknowledgements

The UCLouvain 2022 blind prediction organisers are Dr. Ryan Hoult and Prof. João Pacheco de Almeida. However, these complex experimental tests would not happen without the collaboration of many motivated collaborators. First and foremost, the unwavering support in all fronts of the LEMSC, headed by Prof. Catherine Doneux, is very gratefully acknowledged. The organizers also want to express their gratitude to all of the laboratory’s resourceful, specialized, and tireless staff members, including in particular (alphabetical order): Alex Bertholet, Antoine Bietlot, Christophe Bayart, and Pierre Mertens. Our appreciation also goes to the iMMC at large, and more specifically to Sophie Labrique for all the help with the communication and the website, as well as Nathalie Sergoigne and Viviane Delmarcelle for the administrative matters. The financial support of Prof. Pierre Latteur for several instrumentation has been providential. The tests also count with the invaluable help of several students, including: Sacha Awad, Karen Campana, Pierre Gervaise, and Louise Doye. Finally, the organizers would like to thank the team behind the 2021 PEER column blind prediction contest, from which aspects of the organization were borrowed for the present competition.

The U-team

The U-team : Catherine Doneux, Christophe Bayard, Frédéric Gorski, Karen Campana, Antoine Bietlot, Joao Almeida, Sacha Awad , Pierre Mertens de Wilmars, Alex Bertholet, Ryan Hoult


Flexural and Torsional Response of RC U-shaped Walls