Mechanics of masonry

Transmission photoelasticity on scale models is shown to disclose the stress distribution within dry masonry walls. This distribution is found to be complicated by unilateral joints between elements, where ‘randomness constrained within a geometrical scheme’ of contact points occurs, so that stress percolation results highly localized, evidencing ‘unloading islands’ in a ‘stress stream’.

Experimental results are explained both proposing a micromechanical model (based on a form of random cascade transmission of forces between bricks, which includes random coalescence additionally to random branching) and applying a phenomenological description (based on the extreme orthotropy of the equivalent homogeneous material).

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