Transverse strength of brick masonry walls is usually not directly recognized by most building codes. Indirectly, the transverse or flexural resistance of masonry walls is controlled by the height-to-thickness limitations imposed by nearly all codes. However, allowable extreme fiber stresses that would permit rational analysis is indeed lacking. The American Standard Building Code Requirements for Masonry make no provision for tension in masonry; however, through rules such as wall thickness-height ratios and lateral support requirements, ample lateral resistance is indirectly obtained. The Uniform Building Code is the only major code in this country that recognizes an allowable tensile stress in masonry subject to flexural loads. Therefore, the interest in the following series of tests was occasioned by the meager code basis on which to rationally design unreinforced masonry to meet lateral force requirements.
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