Structural Analysis of the Church of the Poblet Monastery
Tutor / director / evaluatorPelà, Luca
Document typeMaster thesis
Rights accessOpen Access
Built in the 12th c., the Royal Monastery of Santa Maria de Poblet is one of the largest and most complete Cistercian abbey’s and among the biggest monasteries in Spain. Located in the municipality of Vimbodí i Poblet in Catalonia,the monastery of Santa Maria of Poblet has served during the cross of the centuries as a military complex, royal palace, residence and pantheon except from its main function as monastery. It is upon notable that many alterations and disasters have affected and left their signs on the structure. The present work is concentrated on the structural analysis of the church of the Poblet Monastery. At its current state the church presents damage affecting mostly the main and lateral naves, including cracking in the vaults and deformation of structural elements such as the piers. At the first part of this dissertation a historical research on the different construction stages of the church and the monastic complex is presented. A description of the damage of the church, reported with in-situ inspection, is following. For the investigation of the structural integrity of the church and the causes of the damage, a 3D finite element model of the deformed geometry of the 5th bay of the church was designed. A tensioncompression damage model considering smeared crack approach has been used for the representation of the non-linear material characteristics. The FE model was analysed under dead load including different assumptions concerning the structural role of its consisting parts (i.e type of infill in the lateral vaults) and variable possible scenarios that could alternate its equilibrium (i.e differential settlements) causing the observed damage. Moreover, a correlation between the graphic statics solution provided by the limit analysis and the finite element solution is discussed.The seismic performance of the structure is evaluated with a nonlinear static analysis. The purpose of this analysis is the identification of possible damage produced by a past earthquake event. Finally, the significance of the material properties is stressed out with a sensitivity analysis for both the cases of the action of the self-weight and the lateral seismic load. The dissertation ends with a conclusion over the present state of the structure, the possible sources of damage obtained from the performed analyses and proposals regarding future studies on the church.