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International RILEM Conference on Material Science MATSCI, Aachen 2010 Vol.

II, HetMat 125


MODELLING OF MASONRY UNDER HORIZONTAL LOADS
U. Schmidt, Materialprfungs- und Versuchsanstalt Neuwied GmbH, Germany
W. Brameshuber, Institute of Building Material Research (ibac), RWTH Aachen University, Germany
ABSTRACT: To characterise the flexural load bearing behaviour of masonry, a numerical
model was developed and calibrated on wall tests. Extensive parameter studies were
performed varying the previously determined material laws of the masonry units and the
geometric properties (overlap, masonry thickness). On the basis of the numerical results, a
calculation equation could be derived. The failure mechanisms could be comprehended by
means of the stress distributions in the wall section.
1 INTRODUCTION
Masonry is a heterogeneous building material consisting of masonry units which are laid in a
bond into masonry mortar. The vertical head joints can be mortared as well as unmortared.
The masonry units as such at least on the macro-level can consist of homogeneous
materials (e. g. autoclaved aerated concrete) or heterogeneous materials (e. g. hollow clay
units).
Besides the compressive and shear strength, one of the essential mechanical properties of
masonry is the flexural tensile strength. It is decisive at the design of building elements which
are loaded horizontally out-of plane, e. g. by wind or by earth pressure. At the flexural tensile
strength, it can be differentiated between a load parallel as well as perpendicular to the bed
joints. In both load cases, a unit and/or a joint failure can occur, see Figure 1.1.

Fig. 1.1. Bending load perpendicular (left) and parallel (right) to the bed joints.
In this context, the flexural tensile strength is, besides the properties of the single components
and the bond behaviour, decisively influenced by the interior geometry, i. e. the
measurements of the masonry units, the overlap as well as the execution of the head joints. It
was the aim of extensive investigations at the Institute of Building Materials Research (ibac)
of RWTH Aachen University to analyse the stress states in masonry and to characterise the
load bearing behaviour of masonry under bending load depending on the decisive material
laws of the single components unit and mortar as well as on the geometric boundary
conditions. For this purpose, extensive experimental and numerical investigations were
performed on the single components masonry unit and bond joint. In this paper, the results of
the numerical parameter studies are illustrated in which the influences of the masonry unit
dimensions and arrangement, mainly the width of the masonry unit (=masonry thickness) and
the overlap, of different masonry unit materials under a bending load parallel to the bed joints
unit failure
joint failure
126 SCHMIDT, BRAMESHUBER: Modelling of MAsonry under horizontal loads
were investigated in case of unit failure. In doing so, the masonry units were considered to be
homogeneous with isotropic properties (ideal solid units) and the bed joints were simulated as
linear-elastic in the parameter studies. Thus in this considered simplified case, the
inhomogeneity of the masonry develops because of the unmortared head joints at a variation
of the overlap. For the calibration of the model the Combined Cracking-Shearing-Crushing
Model was chosen for the interface elements.
In Chapter 2, at first the material laws which were applied within the numerical simulation
and their determination were illustrated. To quantify the influence of the thickness (width of
the masonry unit) of the homogeneous masonry unit materials on the flexural tensile strength
as compared to inhomogeneous masonry, numerical simulation calculations were conducted
on beams with different geometries. In Chapter 3, the numerical model to calculate the load
bearing behaviour of masonry walls, its calibration on wall tests and the results of the
numerical parameter study are described.
2 INVESTIGATIONS ON MASONRY UNIT MATERIAL
2.1 Material laws under tensile load and their determination
The flexural tensile strength parallel to the bed joints is significantly determined by the
material law of the masonry units under tensile load in case of unit failure. This can be
characterised by a complete stress-strain curve or, after exceeding the tensile strength, by a
stress-crack opening curve. On two different unit kinds of each of the four significant
masonry unit types i. e. of each type 2 different calcium silicate units, 2 clay units, 2
autoclaved aerated concrete units, 2 lightweight aggregate concrete units the complete
material laws under tensile load were determined. In this context of macroscopically
homogeneous masonry units (solid units), the investigations were performed on the pure
masonry unit material, i. e. without considering any possible perforation patterns and grip
holes. To determine the modulus of elasticity and the tensile strength, tensile tests were
conducted on cylinders which were drilled out of masonry units in the direction of the unit
length. To characterise the post-failure behaviour under tensile load, deformation-controlled
three-point bending tests on notched prisms extracted in the direction of the unit length were
performed.
The bending tests were simulated applying the method of the finite elements. In doing so, the
flexural tensile prisms were discretised with two-dimensional continuum elements with 8
nodes and square displacement approach as well as linear elastic material law. Thus, tensile
failure is only possible in the interface elements which connect both prism halves above the
notch and in the middle of the prism, respectively. The interface elements were assigned a
multi-linear stress-crack opening diagram (SRD). Varying the SRD in the numerical
simulation, the load-deflection curves were adapted to the results of the experimental
investigations in a best possible way, cf. [Han06], and thus the material laws were determined
inversely. Figure 2.1 displays the determined material laws for the different unit types.
International RILEM Conference on Material Science MATSCI, Aachen 2010 Vol. II, HetMat 127
0.0
0.5
1.0
1.5
2.0
2.5
3.0
3.5
4.0
4.5
0.00 0.01 0.02 0.03 0.04 0.05
KSd
KSe

Z
in N/mm
w in mm
w
1
E = 9150 N/mm, w
1
= 18.4 m
E = 12050 N/mm, w
1
= 8.3 m

0.0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.00 0.01 0.02 0.03 0.04 0.05
PPb
PPc

Z
in N/mm
w in mm
E = 1800 N/mm, w
1
= 12.1 m
E = 1000 N/mm, w
1
= 13.1 m

0.0
0.5
1.0
1.5
2.0
2.5
0.00 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20
Lba
LBd

Z
in N/mm
w in mm
E = 13300 N/mm, w
1
= 103.7 m
E = 3000 N/mm, w
1
= 23.9 m

0.0
1.0
2.0
3.0
4.0
5.0
6.0
7.0
8.0
9.0
10.0
0.00 0.01 0.02 0.03 0.04 0.05
VMzb
VMzc

Z
in N/mm
w in mm
E = 16000 N/mm, w
1
= 7.0 m
E = 16500 N/mm, w
1
= 11.0 m

Fig. 2.1. Material laws of the masonry unit materials
Calcium Silicate Units (KSd and KSe)
Autoclaved Aerated Concrete Units (PPb and PPc)
Lightweight Concrete Units (LBa and LBd)
Clay Units (VMzb and VMzc).
2.2 Investigations on the influence of the thickness
Applying the determined material laws, three-point bending tests on unnotched test specimens
were numerically simulated to determine the influence of the specimen height at the same
specimen slenderness (here h / l =5) on the flexural tensile strength. The specimen height was
varied between the theoretic values 0.4 mm and 10 m. Figure 2.2 shows the ratio depending
on the specimen height for the different material laws (building practice area =shaded).
1.0
1.5
2.0
2.5
3.0
0.1 1 10 100 1000 10000
KSd
KSe
PPb
PPc
LBa
LBd
VMzb
VMzc
f
fl
/ f
t
h in mm

Fig. 2.2. Ratio flexural tensile strength / tensile strength depending on the specimen height.
128 SCHMIDT, BRAMESHUBER: Modelling of MAsonry under horizontal loads
Investigations in [Pla95], see also [Baz98], showed that the flexural tensile strength is
significantly influenced by the initial slope of the stress-crack opening curve (see Figure 2.1)
so that only 2 parameters are decisive: the tensile strength and the crack opening w
l

(intersection of the initial tangent with the x-axis).
The reason is that, when the maximum load is reached, the softening in the entire cross-
section is still characterised by the first section of the SRD. The further evaluation of the own
test results showed that the influence of the thickness can also be characterised with the
following approach of [Pla95] published in [Baz98]
f
fl
f
t
=1.039+
1.854+99 h l
1
( )
1+2.44 h l
1
( ) ( )
1+87 h l
1
( ) ( )
(2.1)
with f
fl
flexural tensile strength [N/mm]
f
t
tensile strength [N/mm]
h test specimen height
l
1
= (E w
1
) / (2 f
t
)
w
1
see Figure 2
E modulus of elasticity
even for the investigated, strongly different material laws of the various masonry unit
materials when the constants are slightly changed (see Figure 2.3).
1.0
1.5
2.0
2.5
3.0
0.001 0.01 0.1 1 10 100 1000
KSd
KSe
PPb
PPc
LBa
LBd
VMzb
VMzc
cal mod
f
fl
/ f
t
h / w
1

Fig. 2.3. Ratio flexural tensile strength / tensile strength depending on the related test specimen
height comparison numeric results with approach according to Eq. (2.1).
For the practice relevant area, the numerical simulation results could be verified with tests,
see [Sch10] and [Sch]. Besides the numerical investigations on the thickness influence, this
confirms the correct determination of the material laws by the numerical simulation of the
notched flexural tensile tests.
International RILEM Conference on Material Science MATSCI, Aachen 2010 Vol. II, HetMat 129
3 INVESTIGATIONS ON MASONRY WALLS
3.1 Numerical model and calibration
The experimental investigations on masonry conducted at ibac were generally made on wall
specimens which were 1 m high and about 2.5 m long, see among others [Sch03], [Sch08a],
[Sch08b] and [Sch]. Based on this, the model for the numerical investigations was developed.
In this process, the system could be limited to half the wall height for reasons of symmetry.
The numerical simulation of the flexural tensile tests on masonry walls was performed with
the Finite Element Programme DIANA 9. In the model of the walls, the unit elements as well
as the bed and head joints were modelled. Since the node lines along the head joints could not
be interrupted, vertical pseudo joints occurred inevitably in the unit element. On the
symmetry plane, all nodes perpendicular to the symmetry plane were fixed. Figure 3.1
exemplarily shows a discretised wall model with a half-unit overlap.
head joint
bed joint
support
load introduction
axis of symmetry
unit
pseudo joint
(=unit material)

Fig. 3.1. Discretised wall model.
The masonry units were discretised with three-dimensional continuum elements with 20
nodes and three translational degrees of freedom. The masonry mortar as well as the interface
between masonry unit and masonry mortar were modelled with interface elements in a
smeared way. The element has 16 nodes with three translational degrees of freedom, each.
The bending load was applied by defining the displacement in both load introduction strips at
the back of the wall (z=0).
For the calibration of the model for the interface elements of the head and bed joints, the
Combined Cracking-Shearing-Crushing Model was chosen. The pseudo unit joints behaved in
a linear-elastic way with stiffnesses which would correspond to those of the unit material. To
characterise the tensile fracture behaviour of the unit elements, the Total Strain Crack Model
with smeared crack formation was applied. For the parameter studies (Ch. 3.2) of the unit
failure the bed joints also were simulated linear elastic.
At first, the numerical simulations were conducted for the experimentally investigated
masonry walls made of calcium silicate units and autoclaved aerated concrete units. Here, the
unit and joint elements were assigned the respective material laws determined in the small-
size specimen tests without any further modification.
130 SCHMIDT, BRAMESHUBER: Modelling of MAsonry under horizontal loads
For this purpose, the multi-linear SRD was converted into stress-strain curves applying a
crack bandwidth. As crack bandwidth, the distance of the Gauss point in the direction of the
longitudinal flexural tensile stresses parallel to the bed joints was applied. In the calculations
locally different widths of the crack growth areas occurred so that deviations from the
assumption could be inevitably observed (exceeding of the strength in several Gauss points),
with this approach, however, very good correlations between the simulation and test results
could be obtained for the different material combinations. Figure 3.2 illustrates the
comparison of the load-deflection curves which were calculationally and experimentally
determined on autoclaved aerated concrete masonry for different overlaps l
0
.
0
2
4
6
8
10
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0
F in kN
f in mm
l
0
=300mm/fi
l
0
=50mm/fi
l
0
=300mm/uf
l
0
=100mm/uf
l
0
=50mm/uf
PPc/TLM
0
2
4
6
8
10
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0
f in mm
F in kN
l
0
=300mm/fi
l
0
=50mm/fi
l
0
=300mm/uf
l
0
=100mm/uf
l
0
=50mm/uf
PPc/TLM

Fig. 3.2. Experimentally and calculationally determined load-deflection curves of autoclaved
aerated concrete masonry (PPc) with thin layer mortar (TLM) in a four-pint bending test
fi filled head joint, uf unfilled head joint.
Also the deformation measurements in the unit and joint area showed very good correlations,
see [Sch08a] so that it can be assumed that the flexural tensile strength of masonry can be
correctly calculated with the developed model. Moreover, this also applied for the case of
bond failure.
3.2 Parameter studies on the case of unit failure
Subsequent to the calibration of the wall model, extensive parameter studies varying the
material laws and bond joints as well as the interior masonry geometry mainly the unit
height and width, overlap and execution of the head joints were performed. In this paper,
the case of unit failure at unmortared head joints is exclusively treated. The influence of the
masonry materials as well as of the unit geometry and the overlap on the flexural bending
strength of the masonry was investigated. Table 3.1 gives an survey of the conducted
calculations. The ratio masonry flexural tensile strength / masonry unit tensile strength is
given as calculation result. Figure 3.3 exemplarily shows the influence of the overlap and the
masonry thickness on the flexural tensile strength for KSe (h =250 mm).
International RILEM Conference on Material Science MATSCI, Aachen 2010 Vol. II, HetMat 131
70
115
175
240
365
0.20
0.40
0.75
1.00
0.00
0.05
0.10
0.15
0.20
0.25
0.30
0.35
0.40
0.45
0.50
d in mm
l
0
/ h
f
fl,ma
/ f
t,u

Fig. 3.3. Ratio masonry flexural strength / unit tensile strength depending on the ratio overlap /
unit height an masonry thickness Calcium Silicate Units (KSe).
At the evaluations, furthermore the stress distributions in the masonry were analysed. Figure
3.4 exemplarily shows the tensile stresses over the unit height nearby the surface of the
masonry units which lies above or below the open head joints of the neighbouring unit layers
at first crack formation and under maximum load at different overlaps.
0
50
100
150
200
250
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
l /h = 0.2
l /h = 0.4
l /h = 0.75
l /h = 1.0
unit height in mm

Z
/ f
t
d = 175 mm
KSe
0
0
0
0

0
50
100
150
200
250
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
unit height in mm

Z
/ f
t

Fig. 3.4. Stress distribution (ratio tensile stress / tensile strength) in the unit
for first crack (left) and maximum load (right).
The following results can be derived at this stage:
The masonry flexural tensile strength significantly decreases even at unit failure because
of the stress concentration with decreasing overlap.
The flexural tensile strength decreases with increasing unit width (masonry thickness).
This can also be discerned at unit types which feature no considerable thickness effect
(see Chapter 2) in the practice-relevant area.
The ratio of masonry to unit flexural tensile strength tends to decrease with increasing
brittleness of the material. Deviating from the investigations on the unit material (see
Chapter 2) for the maximum load, however, not only the strength and the initial slope of
the SRD are decisive but also their gradient.
At the same geometry, the unit dimensions are of inferior importance for the flexural
tensile strength of masonry.
Figure 3.5 illustrates the values of the table - the ratio of the masonry flexural tensile strength
to the unit tensile strength depending on overlap and width of the masonry unit.
132 SCHMIDT, BRAMESHUBER: Modelling of MAsonry under horizontal loads
0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5
f
fl,mw
/ f
t,u
l
0
/h
70 mm
365 mm
KSe
240 mm
10 mm
40 mm
115 mm
175 mm

0

0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5
f
fl,mw
/ f
t,u
l
0
/h
70 mm
115 mm
365 mm
PPc

0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
1.2
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5
f
fl,mw
/ f
t,u
l
0
/h
70 mm
115 mm
365 mm
LBa

0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5
f
fl,mw
/ f
t,u
l
0
/h
70 mm
365 mm
VMzb

Fig. 3.5. Ratio masonry flexural strength / unit tensile strength depending on the ratio overlap /
unit height for different masonry thicknesses.
The following equation could be determined by regression calculation
( )
( )

2 303 . 0 314 . 0 4885 . 4 8 . 3485


0114 . 0
45 . 2
0
165 . 1
165 . 1
45 . 2
0
, ,
x
h l
d
d
h l
f f
d
u t ma fl

+
+
+
=

(3.1)
with f
fl,ma
masonry flexural tensile strength [N/mm]
f
t,u
unit tensile strength [N/mm]
h unit height
l
0
overlap
d masonry thickness
x material correction factor to comprehend the gradient of the softening
curve
=1.0 (KSe)
=0.97 (PPc)
=2.35 (LBa)
=0.72 (VMzb)
International RILEM Conference on Material Science MATSCI, Aachen 2010 Vol. II, HetMat 133
With this equation, all calculation results are characterised correctly and also plausible curve
shapes are obtained for limit values (l
0
0, d 0 ). Presently, this equation is being verified
within the framework of [Sch] and therefore, for the time being, represents an intermediate
result. Comparative investigations for different kinds of mortar stiffness and bond strength did
not show an significant influence on the masonry flexural strength in case of unit failure. In
contrast an significant influence on the stress distribution and masonry strength in case of
joint failure could be pointed out for different mortar types.
Table 3.1. Results of the numerical parameter study
Ratio masonry flexural tensile strength / masonry unit tensile strength ffl,ma / ft,u
depending on the unit type, unit dimensions and overlap related to the unit height
ft,u masonry unit tensile strength
unit height hu, unit length lu, unit width and masonry thickness d, respectively
masonry unit flexural tensile strength ffl,u (depending on d, see Chapter 2).
f
fl,ma
/ f
t,u

f
t,u
h
u
l
u
d f
fl,u

l
0
/h Unit
N/mm mm N/mm 0.2 0.4 0.75 1.0
115 4.36 0.47 0.462
125 250
365 4.27
-
0.234
-
0.347
250 115 4.36 - -
70 4.46 0.251 0.434 0.472 0.486
115 4.36 - 0.367 - 0.431
175 0.156 0.306 0.362 0.379
240 - 0.266 - 0.345
250
500
365
4.27
0.122 0.228 0.290 0.308
115 4.36 0.241 0.328
500
365 4.27 0.129 0.217
-
115 4.36 0.388
KSe 4.0
500
1000
365 4.27
-
0.284
70 0.51 0.237 0.415 0.468 0.484
115 0.49 - 0.351 0.425
PPc 0.45 250 500
365 0.48 0.114 0.210
-
0.298
70 3.23 0.595 1.012 1.047
115 2.96 - 0.917 0.989 LBa 1.97 250 500
365 2.46 0.312 0.591
-
0.797
70 10.2 0.172 0.348
VMzb 9.5 250 500
365 10.1 0.082
-
0.229

134 SCHMIDT, BRAMESHUBER: Modelling of MAsonry under horizontal loads
SUMMARY AND OUTLOOK
To characterise the flexural load bearing behaviour of masonry, a numerical model was
developed and calibrated on wall tests. Extensive parameter studies varying the previously
determined material laws of the masonry units and the geometric properties (overlap, masonry
thickness) were performed. On the basis of the numerical results, a calculation equation could
be derived. The failure mechanisms can be comprehended by means of the stress distributions
in the wall section. The present paper is restricted to the failure case of unit failure at a load
parallel to the bed joints. In further investigations, the non-linear bond behaviour in head and
bed joints has already been taken into account, see [Sch10] and [Sch].
ACKKNOWLEDGEMENT
The authors wish to thank the Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) (German Research
Foundation) for their support of the research projects on which the presented works and
results are based.
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Publishers, Freiburg, Germany, S. 95-110.
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th
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th
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