1) Assistant Professor, Polytechnic Institute of Tomar, Engineering Department,

2) Associate Professor, Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto, Department of Civil Engineering,

3) Full Professor, University of Aveiro, Department of Civil Engineering,


This paper reports on the results of laboratory testing performed to characterize the deformability and strength parameters of the materials used in stone masonry arch bridges (masonry and infill), in order to be used later in structural analysis using micro-modelling strategies based on the finite element method. The study comprehended four road bridges: three old ones, the Lagoncinha, St. Lázaro and D. Zameiro bridges and a recently constructed bridge in Vila Fria, Portugal. The experimental characterization of the bridge materials (stone, mortar and infill) has been based in laboratory testing on representative samples extracted from the bridges. The interfaces between the constituent materials have also been characterized by performing shear and compression tests on samples representing the masonry interfaces (mortared and dry stone-to-stone joints), as well as the interfaces between the masonry structure of the bridge and the infill material at the backfill (stone-to-infill joints). Subsequently, these results have been used in numerical analyses of the structural behaviour of the bridges.


Keywords: Material testing, stone arch bridges, shear joint tests, cyclic compression joint tests, edometric tests, triaxial tests