WIT Press

On The Analysis Of Catalan Thin Vaults


Free (open access)

Paper DOI






Page Range

453 - 464




1,649 kb


S. Benfratello, L. Palizzolo, F. Giambanco & M. D’Avenia


This paper is concerned with the identification, modelling and analysis of thin layered vaults, typical in the Catalan constructions of the XIX century. These special structures, also known as bòvedas tabicadas, are characterized by very low thickness with respect to the medium surface dimensions and by the presence of different superimposed layers of bricks tied with mortar, are studied in order to individuate a coherent mechanical model for describing the material behaviour, to recognize the structural response utilizing as comparison adequate experimental results, and to extend the obtained results for the analysis of new vaults or for the restoration design of existing vaults. Firstly, the constitutive material is studied by effecting a compression and bending test on samples taken from a real structure. The characterization is made by considering alternatively the material as homogeneous or stratified. Once the constitutive behaviour of the materials and of the structural elements has been experimentally characterized, a semi inverse method for the identification of the optimum mechanical parameters of an equivalent homogeneous ideal material and of a stratified one, is adopted on the grounds of finite element analysis, reproducing the executed experimental tests. The comparison between the results obtained experimentally and the ones based on numerical tests allows us to make evaluations on the mechanical characteristics of the identified materials and proves that the stratified model better describes the behaviour of the real material. Further experimental tests have been made on a real vault and the related numerical analysis has developed making reference to the two material mechanical models. The obtained results are encouraging in the utilization of the stratified model. Keywords: thin vaults, material mechanical modelling, experimental and numerical analysis, restoration design.


thin vaults, material mechanical modelling, experimental and numerical analysis, restoration design