Dipartimento di Costruzione dell ‘Architettura 1st is tu to Universitario di Architettura di Venezia


This paper aims at defining the tools necessary to interpret and quantify the mechanical behaviour of masonry domes.
The analysis is based on geometrical parameters only, while constitutive laws are not take into account. A no-tension assumption is made. Accordingly, membrane theory does not hold true and the dome splits into slices so that it behaves like a set of arches with variable section, i.e., a thrusting behaviour is considered for the dome.
The collapse mechanisms are analysed by limit analysis in relation to the load (self-weight, lantern, buttress) and shell geometry. This approach introduces an analytical method to predict the collapse and the associated horizontal limit thrust at the springing.
Mathematically, the problem is solved by static equilibrium for spherical and ogival domes with or without lanterns. Thence the results are compared to emphasize the different behaviour of structures with different geometry and load conditions.