Distinct Element Method Applied on Old Masonry Structures7
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Distinct Element Method Applied on Old Masonry Structures7
Distinct Element Method Applied on Old Masonry Structures

Author: Marwan Al-Heib | Size: 1.5 MB | Format: PDF | Quality: Unspecified | Publisher: Ineris – Ecole des Mines de Nancy, Parc de Saurupt France | pages: 27

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Masonry structures have specific aspects and different numerical approaches are available
for studying their behavior. The analysis of masonry constructions is a complex task
(Lourenco, 2002), especially under special loads and when the soil-structure interaction
becomes essential for studying the real behavior. Usually, salient aspects are:
Difficult and expensive characterization of the mechanical properties of the materials
Large variability of mechanical properties, due to workmanship and use of natural
Significant changes in the core and constitution of structural elements, associated with
long construction periods;
Unknown construction sequence;
Unknown existing damage in the structure.
In addition, under the different loading conditions, many experimental studies have shown
that joints or interfaces are the weakest zones of masonry structures. Figure 1 shows some
masonry failure modes, according to Sutcliffe et al., 2001.
Several methods and computational tools are available (Massart et al, 2005) for the
assessment of the mechanical behavior of old constructions. The empirical approaches and
the Eurocode (6) recommendations are generally satisfactory for engineers. The methods
resort to different theories or approaches, resulting in: different levels of complexity (from
simple graphical methods and hand calculations to complex mathematical formulations and
large systems of non-linear equations), different availability for the practitioner (from
readily available in any consulting engineer office to scarcely available in a few researchoriented
institutions and large consulting offices), different time requirements (from a few
seconds of computer time to a few days of processing) and, of course, different costs. Three
approaches (Figure 2) are generally employed by engineers and researchers to model the
masonry element: equivalent medium, discontinuous medium using continuous numerical
approach (finite element and boundary element methods) and discontinuous medium using
distinct element approach (distinct element method). The distinct element code will be
employed herein to model masonry structures.

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