SERA TA Project # 07

Title of Project:
Seismic Response of Masonry Cross Vaults: Shaking table tests and numerical validations
Hosting Research Infrastructure:

No. of Users:

Team Leader:
University of Genoa
Chiara Calderini

University of Genoa
Sergio Lagomarsino
Michela Rossi
Chiara Ferrero

University of Minho
Paulo B. Lourenço
Nuno Mendes

University of Cambridge
Matthew DeJong
Eftychia Dichorou

Paolo Casadei
Paolo Girardello

Summary of Project:
Masonry vaults play a much relevant role in the seismic response of heritage masonry buildings, ranging from housing to the greatest cathedrals. Acting as both a ceiling and a structural horizontal diaphragm with significant mass, their mechanical behaviour affects the overall seismic response of buildings, in terms of strength, stiffness, and ductility. Moreover, local damage and collapse of vaults may produce significant losses in terms of cultural assets and casualties. In spite of the importance of this topic, the evaluation of the complex three-dimensional behaviour of vaults is still an important challenge for researchers. The main objectives of the present research project are:
1)    to better understand the seismic behaviour of masonry cross vaults by means of shaking table tests on both full-scale and small-scale models;
2)    to assess the capability of different modelling/analysis approaches to predict the seismic response of these masonry structures.

In particular, three sets of shaking table tests are planned:
a.    Tests on a 1:1 scale model of a brick unreinforced masonry cross vault:  to investigate the behaviour of brick masonry cross vaults under different seismic inputs, in terms of damage, displacement capacity and peak acceleration.
b.    Tests on a 1:1 scale model of a brick reinforced masonry cross vault: to evaluate the effectiveness of reinforcing techniques to repair the vaults tested in a).
c.    Test on a 1:5 scale cross vault made of 3D-printed blocks assembled with dry joints: to validate the efficacy of static tests on scale mock-ups, performed in earlier studies, to describe the seismic dynamic response of masonry vaults.

In addition to the experimental tests, numerical simulations will be performed to assess the efficacy of different modelling strategies and analysis techniques. The final aims are to improve the safety assessment procedures proposed for historic masonry buildings in Eurocode 8.3 and to provide better seismic assessment techniques and strengthening measures.