Department of Architecture Building and Planning, Eindhoven University of Technology

For aesthetic and economic reasons, steel lintels are frequently used to span openings in brick masonry facades. When L-shaped sections are used, the load bearing capacity is relatively small due to torsion, web crippling and other second order effects. Which method of estimating the load bearing capacity should be used is often debated because the behaviour is not clear. Therefore, experiments on L?shaped lintels (2 and 3mm plate thickness) were performed to get an insight into this behaviour and to evaluate the effects of the stiffness of wall ties and the contact between lintel flange and masonry.
Tests showed that in the first load phase the L-section rotates and the vertical flange moves towards the masonry. In the second phase, this flange buckles in the opposite direction. When movement joints near the lintel end are used, the confining effect of the masonry is minimal and the shear load bearing capacity is reduced due to deformation of the protruding lintel end. It is suggested that findings of the project are a basis for subsequent research.