The Open Construction & Building Technology Journal

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Seismic Damage Propagation Prediction in Ancient Masonry Structures: an Application in the Non-Linear Range Via Numerical Models

The Open Construction and Building Technology Journal, 2011, 5: 71-79

P. Pineda, M. D. Robador, M. A. Gil-Marti

Department of Continuum Mechanics and Structural Analysis, School of Architecture, University of Seville, Spain.

Electronic publication date 7/10/2011
[DOI: 10.2174/1874836801105010071]


Preservation of the architectural heritage placed in seismically active regions is a crucial issue. A contribution to dynamic characterization and seismic assessment of medieval masonry structures is provided in a representative single case study, the Archez tower, located in the active seismic area of Malaga, Spain. This study follows a multidisciplinary approach, in order to identify architectural, historical and structural features. The tower exhibits high vulnerability under seismic action, mainly due to its slenderness, low shear strength, low ductility and its possible lack of effective connections among structural elements. To assess its safety, transient and incremental static analyses are performed, aimed at predicting the seismic demand as well as obtaining the expected plastic mechanisms, the distribution of damage and the performance of the building under future earthquakes. A number of three-dimensional linear and non-linear finite element models with different levels of complexity and simplifications are developed, using 3-D solid elements, 3-D beams and macro-elements. All the models assume that the masonry structure is homogeneous, and the material non-linear behaviour -including crushing and cracking- is simulated by means of different constitutive models. Comparison among the different models is discussed, in particular as predicted local and global collapse mechanisms is concerned, to evaluate the suitability, accuracy and limitations of each analysis.

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