J Wang and C Melbourne
School of Computing, Science and Engineering, University of Salford

The research involves an experimental study into the 3?dimensional behaviour of skewed masonry arch barrels under static patch loading and attempts to model the 3?dimensional nature of skewed arches using the finite element method.
Each of the experiments comprised the testing of two ring arch barrels constructed using Class ‘A’ engineering bricks and weak mortar (1:2:9 lime mortar). A skew angle of 45 degree was adopted with a square span between the interfaces of the supports of 3 metres. The square span to rise ratio was 4. The ribs were approximately 670mm wide.
From experimental studies two different types of failure mechanisms were observed: one arch failed by the formation of five fracture lines each following the bed joints and dividing the arch barrel into four blocks; the other arch, however, failed by four fracture lines dividing the arch barrel into three blocks with additional sliding occurring at the interface between the arch barrel and the abutment remote from the applied load.
A 3-dimensional FE model was developed for the simulation of the tested skew arches. The results of the FE analyses were compared with the data obtained from the corresponding tests. Parametric studies were carried out to investigate the influences of the parameters required by the finite element model.