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Discrete element modelling of multi-ring brickwork masonry arches

Lookup NU author(s): Nicko Kassotakis, Dr Vasilis SarhosisORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of a conference proceedings (inc. abstract) that has been published in its final definitive form by Canada Masonry Design Centre, 2017.

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A significant portion of the UK’s bridge stock is represented by multi-ring brickwork masonry arches. Most of these bridges are well over 100 years old and are supporting traffic loads many times above those originally envisaged. Different materials and methods of construction used in these bridges will influence their strength and stiffness. There is an increasing demand for a better understanding of the life expectancy of such bridges in order to inform repair, maintenance and strengthening strategies. This paper presents the first development of a three dimensional computational model, based on the Discrete Element Method (DEM), which was used to investigate the load carrying capacity and failure mechanism of multi-ring masonry arch bridges. Each brick of the arch was represented as a distinct block jointed by zero thickness interfaces. In this way, complete block separation and large movements of the masonry blocks are allowed. First the suitability of DEM to accurately predict the load carrying capacity and failure mode is investigated by comparing the numerical results against those obtained from experimental studies. Then, a parametric analysis carried out to understand the influence of the: a) number of rings; b) arch span; and c) rise to span ratio on the load carrying capacity and failure mode of multi-ring arches. From the results analysis, it was found that DEM is a capable approach to simulate the mechanical behaviour of multi-ring arches. From the parametric study, it was found that all arches failed by the formation of a four-hinge mechanism. Also, as the number of arch rings’ increases, the load carrying capacity of the arches increases proportionally.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kassotakis N, Sarhosis V, Forgács T, Bagi K

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 13th Canadian Masonry Symposium

Year of Conference: 2017

Online publication date: 07/06/2017

Acceptance date: 04/01/2016

Date deposited: 04/04/2017

ISSN: 9780973720976

Publisher: Canada Masonry Design Centre


Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9780973720952