1) Assistant Professor, INESC Coimbra & Polytechnic Institute of Viseu,

2) Master in Construction and Rehabilitation Engineering,


A numerical analysis of masonry arch bridge performed using a Discrete Element Method (DEM) with plane rigid elements is presented. The main objective is to compare the estimation value of the load capacity of the bridge through two distinct mesh generations. One is obtained automatically reading the span and the rise of the arch, whereas the other approach reads each stone of the arch through a topographical survey. For these two mesh generations concerning two 2D models were considered. The first one is constituted by the isolated arch with vertical actions simulating the fill. The second one considers the arch with a spandrel wall. The estimation of the 3D value of the load capacity results from the combination of both solutions. The material properties adopted in the analysis are those found in the specialized Study Case bibliography. Finally, the advantages of using each mesh generation are presented.


Keywords: Discrete element method, Mesh generation, Masonry arch bridges