This section is from the book "Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry, And Building", by James C. et al. Also available from Amazon: Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry And Building.
Vertical walls which are not intended to carry any weight, are sometimes made of reinforced concrete. They are then called curtain walls, and are designed merely to fill in the panels between the posts and girders which form the skeleton frame of the building. When these walls are interior walls, there is no definite stress which can be assigned to them, except by making assumptions that may be more or less unwarranted. When such walls are used for exterior walls of buildings, they must be designed to withstand wind pressure. This wind. pressure will usually be exerted as a pressure from the outside tending to force the wall inward; but if the wind is in the contrary direction, it may cause a lower atmospheric pressure on the outside, while the higher pressure of the air within the building will tend to force the wall outward. It is improbable, however, that such a pressure would ever be as great as that tending to force the wall inward. Such walls may be designed as slabs carrying a uniformly distributed load, and supported on all four sides. If the panels are approximately square, they should have bars in both . directions, and should be designed by the same method as "slabs reinforced in both directions," as has previously been explained. If the vertical posts are much closer together than the height of the floor, as sometimes occurs, the principal reinforcing bars should be horizontal, and the walls should be designed as slabs having a span equal to the distance between the posts. Some small bars spaced about 2 feet apart should be placed vertically to prevent shrinkage. The pressure of the wind corresponding to the loading of the slab, is usually considered to be 30 pounds per square foot, although the actual wind pressure will very largely depend on local conditions, such as the protection which the building receives from surrounding buildings. A pressure of thirty pounds per square foot is usually sufficient; and a slab designed on this basis will usually be so thin, perhaps only 4 inches, that it is not desirable to make it any thinner. Since designing such walls is such an obvious application of the equations and problems already solved in detail, no numerical illustration will here be given.