Technical Report

In addition to the original technical papers traditionally published, after peer review, in Masonry International, members are reminded the Society welcomes contributions covering articles, news items, and case studies concerning masonry and technical issues in member countries, for publication. 

The second such report relates to design of complex shapes, submitted by Poul Christiansen from Denmark.

Design of walls of complex cross section shapes


Consulting Civil engineer,, 8340 Malling, Denmark


In this paper a method for calculating the load capacity for complex shapes is introduced. Complex shapes include every type of cross-sections that is not rectangular (Figure 1).

In the literature there are some methods for finding the load capacity for vertically loaded complex shapes in masonry. They are, however, very sophisticated and require a high degree of numerical calculation, and for some cross-sections the use of Finite Element Methods is necessary to find the correct load capacity. Not a practical approach for busy consulting engineers.

The difficulties in designing complex shapes have contributed to the current building tradition for masonry comprising straight facades and 90 degree angles in almost all masonry construction.  Only with veneer walls on steel or concrete bases, can non-traditional constructions be seen.

In this paper an easy and pragmatic approach for calculating complex structures is introduced using the method of equivalent thickness.

KEYWORDS: complex shapes, statistical analysis, equivalent thickness.