(1) MSc Student, School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, The University of Manchester Manchester, M13 9PL, United Kingdom,
(2) Senior Lecturer, School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, The University of Manchester, Manchester, M13 9PL, United Kingdom,

In traditional masonry structures, walls are the primary loadbearing elements. While masonry’s considerable compressive strength allows vertical loads to be carried with relative ease, horizontal loads present a greater challenge. Both in-plane and out-plane horizontal loads can generate tensile stresses within masonry walls. In a typical building structure, horizontal loading is most  predominantly derived from wind. However, other environmental effects such as flooding and seismic actions may also contribute. Increased storm frequencies and intensities associated with climate change may mean that many existing masonry structures require strengthening to cope with enhanced environmental loads. To date, many researchers have focussed on the use of fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) composites as a means of strengthening existing masonry walls. Numerous experimental results show that this method is effective in enhancing the performance of masonry walls. However, such composites are often expensive and difficult to obtain in many parts of the world. Similarly, fabrication and decommissioning of FRP has associated environmental issues. This paper focusses on the use of plant-derived natural fibres in the form of fabric sheets applied to the surface of the masonry wall as a means of strengthening. Using finite element analysis, two common types of natural fibre will be explored and their effectiveness in enhancing the in-plane horizontal load capacity will be compared to FRP reinforcement.

KEYWORDS: finite element model, masonry wall, natural fibre, strengthening, textiles.