Experimental and Numerical approach for strengthening masonry arches: The RAM – Reinforced Arch Method

L Jurina, E O Radaelli (Politecnico di Milano)

The present paper describes an innovative technique, called “RAM – Reinforced Arch Method”, for the consolidation of masonry arches, through the placement of posttensioned steel cables, either at the extrados of the arch or at the intrados.

Macro-models and micro-models have been produced and tested, comparing numerical and experimental results. Large scale experimental tests on masonry arches were conducted to measure the improvement obtained with the adoption of RAM Method.

The first experimental campaign was conducted in 1996, on twelve brick masonry arch specimens. Several consolidation methods were recreated, with the aim of comparing the behavior of non-reinforced arches with reinforced ones. 

In the years 2008-2009 a second experimental campaign was conducted applying vertical loads in different positions of 120 cm span wooden RAM reinforced arches. Six different shapes were investigated up to collapse, for a total amount of 414 arch specimens. A third experimental campaign was conducted in 2011, testing 117 arches, in order to evaluate the effect of the RAM Method in case of horizontal loads, simulating seismic loads. Furthermore, the paper contains numerical results recently obtained on a pavilion vault and
an elliptical dome by means of numerical Finite Element models.

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