Joint layout design: Finding the strongest connections within segmental masonry arched forms

Elham Mousavian, Claudia Casapulla*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Segmental arched forms composed of discrete units are among the most common construction systems, ranging from historic masonry vaults to contemporary precast concrete shells. Simple fabrication, transport, and assembly have particularly made these structural systems convenient choices to construct infrastructures such as bridges in challenging environmental conditions. The most important drawback of segmental vaults is basically the poor mechanical behaviour at the joints connecting their constituent segments. The influence of the joint shape and location on structural performances has been widely explored in the literature, including studies on different stereotomy, bond patterns, and interlocking joint shapes. To date, however, a few methods have been developed to design optimal joint layouts, but they are limited to extremely limited geometric parameters and material properties. To remedy this, this paper presents a novel method to design the strongest joint layout in 2D arched structures while allowing joints to take on a range of diverse shapes. To do so, a masonry arched form is represented as a layout of potential joints, and the optimization problems developed based on the two plastic methods of classic limit analysis and discontinuity layout optimization find the joint layout that corresponds to the maximum load-bearing capacity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • discontinuity layout optimization
  • joint layout optimization
  • limit analysis
  • segmentation of masonry vaults


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