Challenges posed by computational modelling and nonlinear analysis of complex historical masonry structures
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Document typeConference report
PublisherCentro Internacional de Métodos Numéricos en Ingeniería (CIMNE)
Rights accessRestricted access - publisher's policy
This study analyses some of the most common challenges encountered in numerical modelling and nonlinear analysis of complex historical masonry structures of the built cultural heritage. The research highlights the need for preliminary activities, including historical investigation, inspection, and structural health monitoring, to support the advanced computations by means of essential empirical data for model calibration and validation. This multidisciplinary scientific approach allows drawing optimum conclusions from the structural analysis, in order to plan future studies or interventions respectful of the heritage value of the historical building. The study presents a numerical model, specifically developed for complex historical masonry constructions, able to describe the time-dependent strain accumulation in the material due to long-term exposure to constant stress, as well as the damaging behaviour under different stress states. The resulting coupled viscoelasticity and tension-compression continuum damage model is characterised by several advantages, especially in terms of simplicity and computational efficiency. The strain driven format, the reduced number of internal variables and input parameters make the model suitable for the numerical analysis of large historical structures, such as churches or cathedrals. The proposed constitutive model is combined with a crack-tracking technique to represent tensile crack localization, allowing a more realistic description of damage phenomena and mesh-objective results. In this work, the numerical model is applied to the study of two important monuments in Spain, i.e. Mallorca Cathedral and the church of the Poblet Monastery (UNESCO World Heritage Site). The structural analysis of the first case study allows understanding the reasons of its current deformed condition, i.e. critical construction process, strain accumulation given by long-term creep phenomena, and nonlinear geometric effects. The structural analysis of the second case study allows the structural diagnosis of the existing deformation and cracking patterns, given by architectural alterations experienced by the monument in the past, insufficient buttressing of the naves, and effects of past earthquakes. In both studies, the results of the advanced numerical results, fully supported and validated by the empirical evidence from experimental activities, motivate the development of future studies based on continuous structural health monitoring, now under consideration.
CitationPelà, L.; Saloustros, S.; Roca, P. Challenges posed by computational modelling and nonlinear analysis of complex historical masonry structures. A: International Conference on Recent Advances in Nonlinear Models-design, Resilience and Rehabilitation of Structures. "3rd International Conference on Recent Advances in Nonlinear Design, Resilience and Rehabilitation of Structures: Coimbra, 16-18 October 2019: proceedings". Barcelona: Centro Internacional de Métodos Numéricos en Ingeniería (CIMNE), 2019, p. 1-10.
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