Shear wall

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In structural engineering, a shear wall is a wall composed of braced panels (also known as shear panels) to counter the effects of lateral loads acting on a structure. Wind and earthquake loads are the most common loads braced wall lines are designed to counteract. Under several building codes, including the International Building Code (where it is called a braced wall line) and Uniform Building Code, all exterior wall lines in wood or steel frame construction must be braced. Depending on the size of the building some interior walls must be braced as well.

A common method of constructing a braced wall line in wood frames is to create braced panels in the wall line using structural plywood sheathing with specific nailing at the edges and supporting framing of the panel. A more traditional method is to use let-in diagonal bracing throughout the wall line, but this method isn't viable for buildings with many openings for doors, windows, etc.

Such walls can be either "load bearing" or "non-load bearing". Shear walls are a type of structural system that provides lateral resistance to a building or structure. They resist "in-plane" loads that are applied along its height. The applied load is generally transferred to the wall by a diaphragm or Collector or drag member. They are built in wood, concrete, CMU (masonry) or steel.

See also: hold down

Shear wall

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