Finite elements in the analysis of masonry structures

M. Simunic Bursic (University of Zagreb, Faculty of Architecture, Zagreb, Croatia) Z. Zagar (University of Zagreb, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Zagreb, Croatia)

In order to create virtual models of masonry structures closer to their real behavior, we used standard professional program for structural analysis (COSMOS/M2), but added specific conditions to simulate specific laws of masonry mechanics. These laws differ from those of modern structures. Being constructed of small elements (bricks, stone blocks), masonry has very low tensile strength – particularly in mortar joints. Therefore, tensile stresses cause cracking, and deactivate parts of structure. We simulated this behavior by using different finite element types for different materials. To simulate the lack of tensile strength in mortar joints of masonry structures, we used GAP finite elements not resistant to tension. In our preliminary 2D analysis, we used PLATE2D elements for modeling bricks or stone blocks, and GAP and TRUSS2D elements for modeling mortar joints. Such “virtual construction” can give us an insight into the method of building of ancient master-builders

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