Vasilis Sarhosis1, and José V. Lemos2
1)  Assistant Professor
School of Engineering, Newcastle University, NE1 3AB, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
2)  Principal Researcher
National Laboratory of Civil Engineering, Avenida do Brasil, 101, Lisbon, Portugal

Keywords: masonry, discrete element method, compressive strength, brittle material.

Abstract. This paper presents a new detailed micro-modelling approach based on the discrete element method for the analysis of the compressive strength of masonry prisms. According to the method, masonry is represented as an assemblage of Voronoi (in 2D) blocks bonded through zero thickness interface elements. In order to evaluate the ability of the proposed numerical approach for simulating brittle fracture, a series of compressive strength tests is performed and results are compared against those obtained from experimental results found in the literature. The significant advantage of the approach is its ability to model cracking as a real discontinuity between particles of brick and mortar. Also, reliable prediction of small scale experimental tests can reduce the need of costly and timely experimental testing and avoid the reliance on conservative empirical formulas.