1) PhD student, University of Genoa, DICCA,

2) Assistant Professor, University of Genoa, DICCA,

3) Full Professor, University of Genoa, DICCA,

4) Assistant Professor, Polytechnic of Milan, ABC,


In this paper, a set of experimental and numerical tests on the seismic behaviour of vaulted masonry structures is presented. The tests were designed in order to investigate the damage pattern of vaults under Indirect Seismic Actions (ISA) that means those produced by the displacements of the vertical structures on which the vault is supported and that are strictly dependent on boundary conditions and internal constraints. The main issues that this study want to investigate are: a) the determination of the ultimate displacement capacity corresponding to vault collapse; b) the evaluation of three dimensional damage mechanism; c) the evaluation of the reliability of a specific FE numerical code to predict the actual behaviour. In particular, the tests are carried out in static conditions on a 1:5 scale model of a cross vault, made by 3D printed plastic blocks. The ISA are simulated by applying differential support displacements. Experimental results are compared with numerical ones by performing incremental static analysis by means of a FE numerical code, based on a discretization of the structure by rigid infinitely resistant parallelepiped elements and non-linear interfaces.


Keywords: Vaults, Experimental tests, Seismic response