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Engineering Structures 24 (2002) 10571069 www.elsevier.


Modelling of historical masonry structures: comparison of different approaches through a case study
A. Giordano, E. Mele , A. De Luca
Structural Analysis and Design Department (DAPS), University of Naples Federico II, P.le Tecchio 80, 80125 Naples, Italy Received 23 July 2001; received in revised form 28 January 2002; accepted 28 January 2002

Abstract In this paper, the applicability of different numerical techniques for the analysis of masonry structures is investigated, comparing the computed results with the experimental test data obtained on a full-scale masonry specimen. Three approaches are taken into account. Namely, the standard FEM modelling strategy, based on the concepts of homogenizated material and smeared cracking constitutive law, is used in the version implemented in the commercial code ABAQUS by HKS. The programme Visual CASTEM 2000 is used for the application of the nite element method with discontinuous elements, which are intended to simulate the presence of vertical and horizontal mortar joints. Finally, the UDEC software by the ITASCA Group is adopted for the Discrete Element modelling. An overview of such numerical methods, as well as a brief description of their specic theoretical aspects, is provided in order to allow easy comparison. Besides, ready-to-use input parameter values, which are usually hard to decide, are suggested, basing both on extensive sensitivity analyses and experimental validation. Such values have proven to give reasonable results in the modelling of masonry structure under monotonously increasing loads, and for this reason can have practical usefulness. 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction The recent earthquakes that occurred in Italy have enlightened the vulnerability of masonry structures and the need to reliably assess their seismic capacity, determining an increasing interest towards research subjects aimed at the study of the mechanical behaviour of masonry constructions. The numerical modelling of masonry structures through the FEM is a very computationally demanding task because of two different aspects: on the one hand the typological characteristics of masonry buildings do not allow us to refer to simplied static schemes, on the other hand the mechanical properties of the material lead to a widely non-linear behaviour whose prediction can be very tricky. Besides the incomplete characterization of the material, due to the lack of reliable experimental

data, renders uncertain the calibration of numerical models. Masonry structures are made of blocks connected by mortar joints. Due to this intrinsic geometrical complexity, which is obviously reected in the computational effort needed, it is necessary to assume a properly homogenisated material and perform the analyses through the nite element method (FEM), when the global behaviour of an entire structure is investigated. On the contrary, when a single structural element is being studied, the actual distribution of blocks and joints can be accounted for. In this case, two approaches appear to be most effective: the nite element method with discontinuous elements (FEMDE) and the discrete element method (DEM). In this paper these three methods are briey illustrated, showing the results of comparative analyses performed on a full-scale specimen, representing a sub-assemblage of an actual historical building.

Corresponding author. Tel.: +39-81-7682448; fax: +39-815934792. E-mail addresses: (A. Giordano); elenmele@ (E. Mele); (A. De Luca).

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A. Giordano et al. / Engineering Structures 24 (2002) 10571069

2. The different modelling approaches for masonry 2.1. Modelling with FEM The presence of vertical and horizontal mortar joints causes the masonry to be anisotropic. Basically, two different approaches have been adopted to model such anisotropy: the micromodel, or two-material approach, and the macromodel, or equivalent-material approach. In the two-material model, the discretization follows the actual geometry of both the blocks and mortar joints, adopting different constitutive models for the two components. Particular attention must be paid in the modelling of joints, since the sliding at joint level often starts up the crack propagation. Although this approach may appear very straightforward, its major disadvantage comes from the extremely large number of elements to be generated as the structure increases in size and complexity. This renders unlikely the use of micromodels for the global analysis of entire buildings, also considering the fact that the actual distribution of blocks and joints might be impossible to detect unless invasive investigations are performed. The macromodel assumes that the masonry structure is a homogeneous continuum to be discretized with a nite element mesh which does not copy the wall organism, but obeys the methods own criteria. The single element will thus have a constitutive model which must be capable of reproducing an average behaviour. This assumption bypasses the physical characteristics of the problem. Nevertheless the equivalent material models have proven to be able to grasp certain aspects of the global behaviour without the number of parameters and the computing effort needed in the micromodel [14]. 2.2. Modelling with interface elements: the FEMDE In this approach, the blocks are modelled using conventional continuum elements, linear or non-linear, while mortar joints are simulated by interface elements, the joint elements, made up of two rows of superimposed nodes (Fig. 1), with friction constitutive low.

The introduction of the joint is easy to implement in a software programme, since the nodal unknowns are the same for continuum and joint elements, though for the latter the stress tensor must be expressed in terms of nodal displacements instead of deformation components. Two major concerns balance the apparent simplicity of this approach [1]: Block mesh and joint mesh must be connected together, so that they have to be compatible, which is possible only if interface joints are identically located. This compatibility is very difcult to ensure when complex block arrangements are to be handled, like in 3D structures. The joint element is intrinsically able to model the contact only in the small displacement eld. When large motion are to be dealt, is not possible to provide easy remeshing in order to update existing contacts and/or to create new ones. 2.3. Modelling with DEM The above-mentioned limitations are overcome by the DEM. In this approach, the structure is considered as an assembly of distinct blocks, rigid or deformable, interacting through unilateral elasto-plastic contact elements which follow a Coulomb slip criterion for simulating contact forces. The method is based on a formulation in large displacement (for the joints) and small deformations (for the blocks), and can correctly simulate collapse mechanisms due to sliding, rotations and impact. The contacts are not xed, like in the FEMDE, so that during the analyses blocks can loose existing contacts and make new ones. Once every single block has been modelled both geometrically and mechanically, and the volume and surface forces are known, the time history of the blocks displacements is determined by explicitly solving the differential equations of motion. The main advantage of this approach is the possibility of following the displacements and determining the collapse mechanism of structures made up of virtually any number of blocks [2,3]. On the contrary it must be considered that

Fig. 1.

Degeneration of continuum element into joint element.

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the nite elements used for the internal mesh of the blocks, when deformable, show poor performance, so the method is not accurate for the study of stress states within the blocks. For this purpose, other models are more suitable.

3.1. Modelling with ABAQUS 3.1.1. The smeared cracking assumption The computational mechanics of brittle structures used to be approached in two different ways: the discrete and the smeared crack models. In the former, cracking is accounted for by modifying the geometry while keeping the interior of the body linear elastic, the latter keeps the geometry xed and introduces the cracking process entirely via constitutive law. The smeared approach is preferred over the discrete one, since in large-scale structures it is quite impossible to track each individual crack. As a matter of fact, in the smeared crack approach, the crack enters in the constitutive calculations by the way it affects the stress and material stiffness at every integration point. Originally, it was assumed that after exceeding the tensile strength, a complete loss of coherence occurred in the direction of the major principal stress. This xed crack model has been updated in order to take into account relevant phenomena such as tension softening and stiffening, degradation of shear capacity [5]. Further developments have then allowed the formation of cracks in other directions or the change of direction for the principle crack, generating the xed multicrack models and the rotating crack models [5]. Damage and plasticity-based models (with both isotropic and kinematic hardening) have also been introduced. For all these models, softening branches in compression as well as in tension can be provided [10]. It is well known that such features cause loss of ellipticity of the boundary-value problem, rst order discontinuity in the displacement eld (localization) and strong mesh dependency of the nite element solution. Two different kinds of mesh dependency can be outlined [14]: Mesh organization dependency: localization mechanisms may be captured or spuriously triggered by the topology of the elements;

3. The Sao Vicente de Fora model Unfortunately, the experimental data on the behaviour of masonry structures, is very limited, making difcult the calibration and validation of numerical models. In particular, full-scale complex structures are very rarely tested, due to the difculties in correctly building a masonry specimen different from a simple assembly of walls, and the unavailability of suitable testing facilities. In this regard, valuable information has been provided by some tests, conducted at the ELSA laboratory of the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, on a full-scale model of part of the cloisters facade of the Sao Vicente de Fora monastery in Lisbon (Fig. 2). Details of the experimental ndings are presented in Ref. [15]. The tested model features three stone block columns, two complete arches and two half arches, as shown in Fig. 2 [15]. The upper part of the model, made of masonry, is held by post tensioning bars. Vertical loads are applied onto pillars and panels to simulate the missing upper oors. Vertical actuators enforce a shear-like deformation by constraining the displacements at the top of the two external pillars. The horizontal loads are equally distributed among the three pillars by a specically designed loading frame. Pseudo-dynamic and cyclic quasi-static tests were performed. In this paper, those experimental data are used as a benchmark for validating the numerical results obtained through the above-mentioned modelling approaches, using the input parameter values previously calibrated for each method.

Fig. 2. The test model.


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Mesh size dependency: the solution strongly depends on the size of the elements when localization occurs. Mesh size dependency can be prevented by relating the parameters of the constitutive model to the size of each element through a material characteristic, such as the fracture energy, to be kept constant [4]. On the other hand, mesh size dependency cannot be avoided using the above-mentioned fracture energy trick. Various regularization techniques have been developed [4], all of them incorporating a physical length in the constitutive model. 3.1.2. The ABAQUS concrete model The ABAQUS concrete model is a xed multi-crack model based on a simple yield surface with isotropic hardening and associated ow when the state of stress is predominantly compressive, and uses damaged elasticity to account for the cracking, the occurrence of which being dened by a so-called crack detection surface. This failure surface is assumed to be a simple Coulomb line written in terms of the rst and second stress invariant Neglecting the reduction of stiffness caused by inelastic straining, which is very important for masonry, the model is not capable of predicting cyclic response; besides the use of associated ow usually leads to overprediction of volume strain [9]. In spite of these limitations, in the authors opinion, the concrete model has proven to be able to reasonably predict the masonry behaviour in monotonic loading, as long as proper material denition is provided. The concrete model basically requires the stressstrain curve in compression to be dened in tabular form as a function of plastic strain, the shape of the failure surface via the FAILURE RATIOS option and the post-cracking tensile behaviour dened by the TENSION STIFFENING option. This last feature actually makes no sense for masonry, but a small amount of tensile resistance should be anyway provided to avoid numerical instability problems. 3.1.3. Sensitivity of the ABAQUS concrete model to parameters values change In order to correctly calibrate the model parameters, a curve-tting procedure has been adopted using the results of various experimental tests [6,7] performed at the ISMES Laboratory, in Bergamo (Italy), on tuff masonry panels. This procedure may appear trivial, but in fact it is the only possibility when specic experiments, which are certainly needed to gain accuracy in the description of post failure behaviour, cannot be performed. The above-mentioned tests were carried out on tuff walls made up of blocks coming from the demolition of ancient Neapolitan buildings. With the test setup shown in Fig. 3, the panels have been subjected to various load-

Fig. 3.

Experimental setup for the compression tests (from: [7]).

ing histories, both monotonic and cyclic, aimed at determining the elastic moduli and the ultimate strength. These data have been used in the nite element model to dene the material parameters as far as the se curve is concerned. The panels have been modelled as shown in Fig. 4, using the S8R thick shell element, increasing the number of integration points through the thickness of the element from the default value of ve up to ten. The upper and lower parts of the model, which simulate the concrete beams used in the test to distribute the loads, have also been modelled with the concrete material, using the default values. Mesh wise, various sizes and congurations have been tested, in order to account for any possible mesh sensitivity effect. Extensive sensitivity analyses have been devoted to the determination of the best set of failure ratio values that will allow the matching between experimental and numerical data. The model, as applied to masonry with very low resistance, appears to be extremely sensitive to

Fig. 4.

Finite element model.

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even slight variations. As far as the tension stiffening option is concerned, though it might seem nonsense for masonry, very little tensile strength has been maintained for computational stability sake. Besides, it is believed that a tension stiffening effect can possibly model, in a coarse way, the friction phenomena subsequent to the loss of coherence that are usually noted in the experimental behaviour. The modied Riks algorithm has also been used in order to push the analysis toward the descending branch, without having to prescribe displacement histories. Additional sensitivity analyses have been required to correctly tune the arc length procedure. Fig. 5 shows the comparison between the experimental results on one specimen and the numerical simulation, both for vertical and horizontal top displacement. As expected for this very simple structure, the results show almost perfect agreement for the longitudinal displacement and very good agreement for the horizontal one. Once calibrated the model parameters on the described compression tests, the numerical simulation of shear tests performed on similar tuff masonry walls has been approached. In every analysis, the simulated results show a quasilinear initial behaviour and, generally, the inability to follow the experimental envelope path as the horizontal displacement increases beyond the failure. In the authors opinion this may be connected with the fact that, once the shear resistance has been reached, the experimental behaviour shows severe cracking with large apertures. This actual geometry change, which occurs in the specimen, cannot be easily reproduced by a smeared cracking model. Moreover, the response is signicantly affected by the set of parameters chosen for the Riks algorithm, so that several attempts have been made in order to smooth the simulated curve. Nevertheless, the initial branch is correctly reproduced and the collapse load can be predicted with reasonable approximation (Fig. 6).

Fig. 6. Comparison between experimental and numerical curves (shear test).

3.1.4. Simulation of the Sao Vicente de Fora test results The simulation of the experimental tests on the Sao Vicente de Fora model has been approached with the ABAQUS concrete model. Given the features of that model, only the quasi-static test was simulated, obtaining a push over curve to be compared with the monotonic experimental envelope. No attempt was made to predict the cyclic behaviour. The nite element model is shown in Fig. 7. It reproduces the experimental specimen in details. The material properties for both the masonry inlls and the block pillars and arches, as well as the dimensions and block arrangement, were based on the data provided in Refs. [11,15]. As far as the concrete model specic options are concerned, namely the FAILURE RATIOS and the TENSION STIFFENING options, the set of values determined in the previous phase of calibration has been used. It must be noticed that, although the materials show different strength with respect to those on which the model has been calibrated, the parameters are assumed to be valid also in this case, since the

Fig. 5.

Comparison between experimental and numerical curves (compression test).


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Fig. 7. ABAQUS nite element model.

Fig. 8. Comparison between experimental and numerical curves (ABAQUS).

response is predominantly governed by the brittle behaviour, and thus by the shape of the crack detection surface rather than the strength values themselves. The selected values are reported in Table 1. The boundary conditions that have been provided try to simulate the test setup as well as possible. The base nodes are pinned and the nodes at top of the two external pillars have been constrained to have equal vertical displacements. As far as loading is concerned, vertical dead loads of 400 kN per pillar/panel module were applied to the top steel plates, distributed in a 4/1 ratio. The horizontal load has then been applied in the standard Riks analysis. Fig. 8 shows the simulated forcedisplacement curve along with the experimental monotonic envelope. The numerical model reproduces quite well the shape of the experimental curve in the initial ascending branch. This proves that the suggested values for the input parameter allow the model to correctly simulate the behaviour of the tested masonry specimen. Two main features can be outlined. First, the ultimate load is slightly overestimated. This can be connected with the modelling of the masonry inll. As a matter of fact, the inlls and the arches are made of different materials with basically different stiffness. In the experimental tests, this causes some slight sliding at the interface, which has not been allowed in the nite element model. The use of gap elements might have improved the model at some additional computational cost, though
Table 1 Parameter values for the ABAQUS model Stones Weight per unit volume (kg/m3) Youngs modulus (Gpa) Poissons ratio Compression strength (MPa) Tensile strength (MPa) Failure ratios

some problems in studying the interaction between the two deformable bodies and in choosing the appropriate parameters could have come out. Secondly, in this case study, the simulated curve appears to be more stable with respect to the ones obtained for the wall, so that no specic tuning of the Riks parameters has been required. This may depend either on the more complex scheme which allows redistribution of stresses after failure, or, most probably, on the fact that the experiments were not pushed to collapse, so that cracking is limited. 3.2. Modelling with Visual CASTEM 2000 3.2.1. The joint model in CASTEM 2000 When one dimension of a body is very large with respect to the others often the continuum elements are replaced by structural elements (beam, plate or shell). Also, when one dimension of one of the constituents of a heterogeneous structure is very small compared with the others, it is possible to replace the continuum elements by interface or joint elements (Fig. 1). This situation clearly occurs in the modelling of thin mortar layers located between the blocks or between blocks and masonry. CASTEM features isoparametric joint elements, following the proposal of Beer [1]. For 2D applications, four-node (J012) or six-node (JOI3) elements are avail-

Inll panels 2500 6.5 0.2 7 0.7 1.12, 0.08, 1.33, 0.28

2500 65 0.2 30 3 1.16, 0.1, 1.33, 0.28

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Fig. 9.

Relevant quantities at the Gauss integration point for joint elements.

able. These elements use the same type of nodal quantities as the continuum element and therefore they can be easily combined. However, while for continuum elements the relevant quantities at the Gauss integration points are the components of the local stress tensor, the relevant quantities for the joint element are the component of the local stress vector at the interface. Therefore, a constitutive law for the shear component S and the normal component N of this vector shall be provided. Those components depend on the opening d and the sliding component g of the displacement jump across the joint (see Fig. 9). Two constitutive laws of this kind are implemented in the CASTEM 2000. The rst model implemented is a simple elasto-plastic Coulomb friction law with small dilatancy and no cohesion. In this model the joints are intended to behave elastically within the domain dened by the criterion |S| (Nt N)tanj (Fig. 10), where Nt is the maximum normal stress in tension and f is the friction angle. A non-associated plastic ow rule, governed by the dilatancy angle m shown in gure, is used when the local stress vector lies on the boundary of the domain. Besides, special treatment is provided to prevent from uncertainty of the plastic ow direction at the domain vertex [14]. Therefore, the model requires ve constants to be provided: kn: compression elastic modulus; ks: shear elastic modulus; Nt: maximum normal stress in tension; f: friction angle; m: dilatancy angle.

The identication of those parameters may be possibly performed through simple experimental tests on mortar specimens with joint thickness: a monotonic uniaxial tension test normal to the joint and a monotonic shear test. Although this identication leads to results that do not depend on the analysis assumption (the stress and strain eld are assumed to be homogeneous within the joint), it must be noticed that the actual response of a continuous mortar joint will differ under any other load case. A second constitutive model for the joints available in CASTEM [13] also features the elastic domain as in the previous ( S (Nt0 N)tanj0 but both the maximum normal stress and the friction angle are allowed to vary with plastic strain. For the pure tension failure, when the stress vector lies on the domain vertex, a dilatant plastic ow rule with kinematic softening is assumed: the maximum normal force decreases from the initial value Nt0 towards zero, while the friction angle is kept constant. In order to account for the unilateral behaviour in tension, a secant modulus for the normal force is assumed in the N 0 zone. In shear failure, i.e. when the stress vector lies on the boundary of the elastic domain, a dilatancy-independent softenting plastic ow rule is adopted. In this case the friction angle can decrease from the reference value f0 down to a residual value, depending on whether the cohesion is constant. In this model the coupling between the shear and tension behaviors is accomplished only through the cohesion. Namely, the shear response depends on the tension while the converse is not true. Although this kind of coupling is weaker than in the

Fig. 10.

Dilatant joint model.


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previous model, this specication renders the numerical implementation particularly simple, since there is no need of internal iteration. The model requires the following parameters: kn: compression elastic modulus; ks: shear elastic modulus; N(d): monotonic tension curve; S(g): monotonic shear curve obtained for Nr; Nr: reference compression stress. It is worth noting that this model allows a simpler and more precise identication than the dilatant model, although the failure in pure compression is still not taken into account.
Fig. 12. CASTEM 2000 nite element mesh with interface elements.

3.2.2. Mesh compatibility One most important issue in the use of the joint element is the mesh generation [12]. Since the blocks and the joints meshes are to be connected together, they have to be compatible. This feature is accomplished only if nodes at the interface are identically placed (Fig. 1). Generating compatible meshes may be a difcult task for complex black arrangements or for 3D cases. To perform this pre-processor task, a fully automatic generation procedure has been implemented in CASTEM by Pegon [12]. The algorithm is able to mesh the blocks in a way the contact faces are topologically identical. This allows a straightforward generation of the joints among the blocks. 3.2.3. Simulation of the Sao Vicente de Fora test results The nite element model used to simulate the tests (Fig. 12) has been generated by Pegon at the JRC and reproduces in detail the test setup shown in Fig. 11. The

blocks have been meshed with isoparametric triangular 2D elements and assumed to be isotropic linear elastic. This assumption has been made due to the high strength of the blocks with respect to the mortar joints, which renders unlikely the occurrence of failure as a consequence of block crushing. On the contrary, joint failure by the openingclosing mechanism or by sliding at the interface can be very easily triggered by lateral loading. Anyway, the integrity of the blocks has been veried a posteriori by checking the position of the stress tensor with respect to a simple MohrCoulomb failure criterion. The joints, instead, have been modelled with the previously mentioned joint nite element, in this case governed by the dilatant constitutive model (the rst model has been described in Section 3.2.1). Details of the values adopted for the model parameters as well as for the loads are presented in Ref. [15] and are reported in Table 2, along with the contact properties, which are assumed to follow an elasto-plastic low with

Fig. 11.

The Sao Vicente de Fora test model.

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Table 2 Parameter values for the CASTEM model Stones Weight per unit volume (kg/m3) Youngs modulus (Gpa) Poissons ratio kn: normal stiffness (Gpa) ks: shear stiffness (Gpa) Nt: tensile strength f: friction angle m: dilatancy angle 2500 65 0.2 115 47.9 0 30 5 Inll panels 2500 6.5 0.2

a Coulomb slip criterion with no cohesion nor tensile strength. The displaced nite element mesh is shown in Fig. 13, clearly evidencing the concentration of deformation in the joints and the failure pattern. The gure also shows the reaction force vectors across the joints for the prescribed lateral load condition. In Fig. 14 the push over curve is presented. Under the constitutive hypotheses adopted, the simulated response seems to be in quite good agreement with the experimental monotonic envel-

ope, conrming that the behaviour of the whole structure should be mainly inuenced by the non-linearity concentrated at the joints. Not surprisingly, anyway, the simulated curve is somewhat stiffer than the experimental one. This feature might be possibly connected with very simple modelling of the stone blocks and the masonry inlls, meshed with poor-performing triangular elements, in which no non-linearity is allowed. 3.3. Modelling with the UDEC The UDEC (Universal Distinct Element Code) computer code is a software program written by Cundall to implement his DEM [2,3]. At the early stage of development the code was originally intended to cope with twodimensional problems. It is also available its threedimensional extension named 3DEC [2,3]. 3.3.1. The distinct element method The method is a numerical technique for the simulation of the mechanical behaviour of structures composed of particles or blocks and it is suitable for problems in which a substantial part of the deformation occurs at joints or contact points. As already mentioned in previous paragraphs, the method treats the structure as made of blocks interacting with one another through contacts. This assumption removes a priori the two main difculties that are intrinsically connected with FEMs, i.e. the generation of compatible meshes among blocks and joints and the inability to provide remeshing methodology to update the size of contacts or make new ones when large relative motions are encountered. Different types of contacts can be handled, depending on the initial geometry and on the displacement history during the analysis. Typically, the general types of contacts are [2,3]: face-to-face (FF); edge-to-face (EF); vertex-to-face (VF); edge-to-edge (EE); vertex-to-edge (VE); vertex-to-vertex (VV).

Fig. 13.

CASTEM 2000 displaced mesh.

Fig. 14. Comparison between experimental and numerical curves (CASTEM 2000).


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Fig. 15. Different types of contacts.

dynamic relaxation. This technique (Fig. 17) of solving the differential equations of motion uses high viscous damping to achieve convergence to static solution or steady failure mechanism. The main advantages of this numerical technique, which has been introduced to model arrangements of loose blocks where no stiffness matrix can be assembled, are: general and robust: non-linear materials and large displacements (changes in system connectivity); low storage; simple to code; same algorithm for statics and dynamics; suitable for parallel processing. On the other hand the dynamic relaxation is only conditionally stable so that the time step must be small, typically less than 1/100 of the fundamental period. For this reason solution run-times depend on the systems properties (via time step) [8]. 3.3.2. Simulation of the Sao Vicente de Fora test results The discrete element model of the tested structure is shown in Fig. 18. The blocks are deformable and internally meshed with constant strain linear elastic triangles (Fig. 19). It is well known that such elements show poor performances in terms of stress distribution accuracy, but in this case they can be condently used since the deformation is thought to be concentrated at joint level. This assumption is somehow conrmed by the experimental results. Block arrangements and material properties are based on the description of the model indicated by Vaz [16]. For the elastic blocks the same properties as in the CASTEM modelling are used (see Table 2) The contacts are assumed to follow an elasto-plastic law with a Coulomb slip criterion with neither cohesion nor tensile strength. The values adopted for the model parameters are reported in Table 3.

Fig. 16. Joint elements vs. point contacts.

All of them can be represented by sets of point contacts of two elementary types: VF and EE (Fig. 15). The contact forces are thought to follow a classical MohrCoulomb criterion, so that the following parameters must be assigned: kn: normal stiffness; ks: shear stiffness; Nt: tensile strength; f: friction angle; m: dilatancy angle; c: cohesion. In comparison with the joint models (Fig. 16), the point contacts show some intrinsic advantages. First of all, large displacement can be handled in a very straightforward manner. Secondly, there are no problems in generating the meshes in deformable blocks. Besides, since any kind of contact is obviously treated with the same logic, the transition among different contacts during the analysis is easily managed. On the other hand, this approach requires more contact points for smooth joint stresses. The model uses explicit solution algorithms, namely dynamic and quasi static analyses are performed through

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Fig. 17.

Dynamic relaxation. Table 3 Parameter values for the UDEC model kn: normal stiffness (Gpa) ks: shear stiffness (Gpa) Nt: tensile strength f: friction angle m: dilatancy angle c: cohesion 115 46 0 35 0 0

Fig. 18. UDEC discrete element model.

module were applied to the top boundary, distributed in a 4/1 ratio. The desired displacement history has then been prescribed at the top of each pillar. Fig. 20 shows the comparison between the simulated and experimental results. Note that the analysis has been stopped to a target displacement of 35 mm. Actually the displacements have no practical limit, given the features of the method, which can follow the blocks their motion even when there is no connection among them. The DE model reproduces quite well the general trend of the experimental envelope, even though the maximum load is slightly overestimated. This may be connected with the

Fig. 19.

UDEC internal nite element mesh.

The boundary conditions imposed by the DEM model try to simulate the test setup as closely as possible. For this sake, the base has been xed, while the boundary at top of the two external pillars have been constrained to have equal vertical displacements. As far as loading is concerned, vertical dead loads of 400 kN per pillar/panel

Fig. 20. Comparison between experimental and numerical curves (UDEC).


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simple modelling of the masonry inlls by linear elastic blocks.

4. Concluding remarks The comparison among the results obtained through the different numerical models and the experimental curve is shown in Fig. 21. In spite of the specic limitations of each model, all three methods are able, to some extent, to correctly grasp the global behaviour of the tested specimens, thus proving that they can be effectively used in the study of masonry structural elements. As a matter of fact, the actual ultimate strength in monotonic loading can be predicted with good approximation performing non-linear push-over analysis. This good agreement with the experimental results seems to be encouraging. For the ABAQUS model, nevertheless, major concern derives from the inability to predict cyclic behaviour, so that further investigations are certainly needed, possibly involving the development of a fully masonry-oriented constitutive model. As far as the joint model implemented in the CASTEM 2000 is regarded, as previously pointed out, the main difculty is connected with the necessity of providing an easy methodology to remesh contacts when large displacement are to be allowed. The limits of these models are easily overcome by the DEM that features straightforward handling of compatible meshes and large displacement. Its main drawback, however, is at the moment the unavailability of sophisticated constitutive models for the internal elements when deformable blocks are taken into account. It must be said that both for the FEMDE and DEM the actual distribution of brick/blocks and mortar joints is needed, which in most practical cases is certainly not easy to detect, since the masonry structural elements are usually covered by nishing materials such as plasterings that may have artistic relevance. This limitation does not affect the smeared cracking approach, for which

most difculties arise from the uncertainty in choosing the appropriate values for the input parameters. In this regard, ready-to-use parameter values are provided and may turn out to be useful in practical applications. Quite obviously, the results presented in this paper may be broadened by analysing different types of masonry structures, historical or modern, though the lack of experimental data on real-scale structures renders the validation of numerical results difcult. Acknowledgements This research has been nancially supported by CNR Progetto Finalizzato Beni Culturali grant No. 98.3212.PF54 and by MURST PRIN 97. The authors would like to thank Dr Pierre Pegon (ELSA-JRC) for ` providing the initial CASTEM model and Dr Jose Vieira de Lemos (LNEC) for the discrete element model. References
[1] Beer G. An isoparametric joint/interface element for nite element analysis. Int J Numer Methods Eng 1985;21:585600. [2] Cundall PA. Formulation of a three-dimensional distinct element model. Part I: a scheme to detect and represent contacts in a system composed of many polyedral blocks. Int J Rock Mech 1988;25:10716. [3] Cundall PA. A computer model for simulating progressive large scale movements in blocky rock systems. In: Proceedings of the Symposium of the International Society of Rock Mechanics, vol. 1, paper II-8, Nancy (France), 1989. [4] De Borst R, Sluys LG, Mulhaus HB, Pamin J. Fundamental issues in nite element analyses of localization of deformation. Eng Comput 1993;10:99121. [5] De Borst R, Feenstra PH., Pamin J, Sluys LG. Some current issues in computational mechanics of concrete structures. In: Mang NB. Bicanic N, de Borst R, editors. Computational Modelling of Concrete Structures, vol. 1. Swansea (UK): Pinerdge Press; 1994, pp. 283302. [6] Faella G, Manfredi G, Realfonzo R. Experimental evaluation of mechanical properties of old tuff masonry subjected to axial loading. In: Proceedings of the Ninth International Brick/Block Masonry Conference, Berlin (Germany). October 1316. Bonn (Germany); DGfM; 1991, pp. 1729. [7] Faella G, Manfredi G, Realfonzo R. Cyclic behaviour of tuff masonry walls under horizontal loadings. In: Proceedings of the Sixth Canadian Masonry Symposium, Saskatoon, (Saskatchewan, Canada), June 1517, 1992, University of Saskatchewan Printing Services; 1992, p. 31728. [8] Hart RD, Cundall PA, Lemos JV. Formulation of a three dimensional distinct element model part II: mechanical calculations. Int J Rock Mech 1988;25:11725. [9] Hibbit D, Karlson B, Sorensen P. ABAQUS theory manual; 1997. [10] Lot HR, Shing PB. An appraisal of smeared crack models for masonry shear wall analysis. Comput Struct 1991;41(3):41325. [11] Pegon P, Pinto AV. Seismic study of monumental structures structural analysis, modelling and denition of experimental model. Rep. EUR 16387, EN. JRC, ISPRA, Italy; 1996. [12] Pegon P. Automatic generation of blocks connected with joints in CASTEM 2000. ELSA special publication no. I.99.101, ISPRA, Italy; 1999.

Fig. 21. Experimental vs. numerical curves (ABAQUS, CASTEM 2000, UDEC).

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