Modeling masonry historic buildings by multi-body dynamics

Dina D'Ayala, Ya Nan Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (SciVal)


Robust analytical models accounting for the dynamic behavior of historic masonry buildings have to date received limited attention. Dynamic testing using shaking table are constrained by cost and results depend highly on the specific characteristic of the masonry. Based on results by several authors obtained both experimentally by static overturning tests and analytically by use of the discrete element approach, the aim of the work presented is to gain better insight into the behavior of masonry historic structures subjected to seismic action by using multi rigid body dynamics. A large number of tests were conducted on a shaking-table on 1/10-scale 3 dimensional dry masonry specimens. Prototypes of same plan area and different height and mass were considered. Sinusoidal waves varying in frequencies based on both constant amplitudes and constant accelerations were used as input. The models are relatively simple, made of a number of blocks sufficient to ensure that the fundamental interaction among parts of masonry walls connected in three dimensions to form buildings is accurately replicated. Results are presented in terms of relative displacement, frequency and energy content of the motion. Global results in terms of deformed shape and crack pattern of the walls are also discussed. An analytical approach to represent the various phenomena observed is proposed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-512
Number of pages30
JournalInternational Journal of Architectural Heritage
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • shaking table test
  • historic masonry
  • multi rigid body dynamics


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