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The 3-Dimensional Behaviour of Masonry Arches with Point Supports to the Intrados


C Melbourne and J Wang

School of Computing, Science and Engineering, University of Salford


In the United Kingdom many existing masonry arch bridges have been subject to alteration and extension in order to continue to contribute to the transportation network. One type of alteration is the introduction of full-height longitudinal brickwork diaphragm walls under the arch barrel. These are confined to side spans under which a clear span is not required. At present there is no guidance to the assessing engineer as to how the arch barrel is to be idealised for analysis.


The principal aim of this research programme was to determine the effect that diaphragm supports have on the load carrying capacity of single span brickwork arches and make recommendations regarding the assessment method for this type of structure. At the same time the research will provide robust experimental data which can be used to validate FE models.


The paper will present the results from two laboratory tests on multi-ring brickwork square span arches. One arch comprised “strong” brickwork (24.5N/mm2) whilst the other was constructed using “weak brickwork” (9.1N/mm2). Each arch was tested with two different support conditions in the elastic range. The first with the arch supported only at its springings; the second with the addition of point supports to replicate longitudinal diaphragms. Both arches were loaded to failure with intrados supports. Three-dimensional FE macro-model is used to simulate the tests. The significance of the diaphragm supports on the 3-dimensional behaviour of the arch barrels is discussed and general conclusions and recommendations are presented.

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International Masonry Society 2015 Student Award Winners

The second International Masonry Society Student Awards have been made.There were two categories, one for undergraduates and one for postgraduate students.
Following the recommendations of the judging panel, awards have been made in each category.
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In the Postgraduate category, two awards were also made, both being Highly Commended as follows:

  • Dr Shahriar Agaajani from the University of Luxembourg, for his paper 'Numerical Analysis for the determination of Stress Percolation in Dry-Stacked Wall Systems', nominated by his supervisor, Professor Daniele Waldmann, in the Facutly of Sciences, Technology and Communication.

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Each student will received Ł150 prize, a certificate and free Society membership for a year.

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2016 entry forms will shortly be sent out, or can be obtained through the Secretary, email:

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