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Experimental techniques for the study of historical masonry structures

Keywords: masonry, consolidation, monuments, seismic vulnerability
Fig. 1. Diagnosis on Ghirlandina tower, Modena, UNESCO site: sonic results and velocity classes (Colla).
Fig. 2. Evaluation of homogeneity of masonry by thermography and wireless monitoring (Colla).
Fig. 3. Shear test on masonry triplet. Precompression apparatus (Gentilini).

The research focuses on the development of testing and consolidation techniques that combine the conservation of monuments with the seismic protection of users.

The activity includes:

  • development of experimental techniques for non-destructive characterization of masonry walls. In particular, advanced diagnostic and monitoring techniques are implemented and used in laboratory and on-site, to allow the non-destructive evaluation of the quality, homogeneity, degradation and health state of structural elements in masonry, wood and concrete buildings. The development of new procedures for data acquisition, postprocessing of the data and data fusion is pursued in order to maximize the potential of these techniques;
  • analysis of seismic vulnerability of buildings and masonry bridges. In this context, a simplified methodology for the assessment of the vulnerability of existing RC structures and masonry has been developed;
  • definition of consolidation techniques. Various solutions to repair masonry structures are studied. In particular, composite materials with metal or carbon fibers, in a cementbased or epoxy matrix are studied. Several applications to real cases have been carried out. The results of the analyses were included in the guidelines document developed by CNR for the repair of composite materials CD 200/2004;
  • assessment of the structural damage induced by salts in masonry. The shear behaviour of artificially damaged masonry specimens is investigated by means of an ad hoc experimental test. As well known, the shear behaviour of masonry buildings plays a crucial role for structures located in areas prone to seismic hazard.

Main publications

Carloni C. and Focacci F. (2016). FRP-Masonry Interfacial Debonding: An Energy Balance Approach to Determine the Influence of the Mortar Joints. European Journal of Mechanics A/Solids, 55, 122–133.

Pelà L., Benedetti A., Roca P. (2016) Mechanical characterization of historical masonry by core drilling and testing of cylindrical samples, International Journal of Architectural Heritage, 10, 360-374.

Baraccani S., Silvestri S., Gasparini G., Palermo M., Trombetti T., Silvestri E., Lancellotta R., Capra A. (2016) A structural analysis of the Modena Cathedral, Journal of Architectural Heritage, 10, 235-253.

Marastoni D., Pelà L., Benedetti A., Roca P. (2016) Combining Brazilian tests on masonry cores and double punch tests for the mechanical characterization of historical mortars, Construction and Building Materials, 112, 112-127.

Bitelli G., Colla C., Gabrielli E., Girardi F., Ubertini F. (2015) Salt effects in plastered and unplastered outdoors brick masonry: quantitative laser monitoring of surface decay evolution, Journal of Architectural Heritage, 9, 581-593.

A. Di Tommaso, C. Gentilini, G. Castellazzi, Editors. Mechanics of Masonry Structures Strengthened with Composite Materials. (2015) Trans Tech Publications Ltd, Switzerland, Volume 624 of Key Engineering Materials. ISSN print 1013- 9826.

Franzoni E., Gentilini C., Graziani G., Bandini S. (2015) Compressive behavior of brick masonry triplets in wet and dry conditions, Construction and Building Materials, 82, 45-52.

Mazzotti C., Ferracuti B., Bellini A. (2015) Experimental bond tests on masonry panels strengthened by FRP, Composites Part B: Engineering, 80, 223-237.

Galli E., Savoia M., Colla C., Ferretti D. (2015) Mechanical and mineralogical characterization of mortar in masonry buildings damaged by the 20- 29th May earthquake in Emilia, Key Engineering Materials 624, Chapter 3: Materials, 379-386.

Franzoni E., Gentilini C., Graziani G., Bandini S. (2014) Towards the assessment of the shear behaviour of masonry in on-site conditions: A study on dry and salt/water conditioned brick masonry triplets, Construction and Building Materials, 65, 405-416.

Sassoni E., Mazzotti C. (2013) The use of small diameter cores for assessing the compressive strength of clay brick masonries, Journal of Cultural Heritage, 14S, 95-101.

Sandrolini F., Franzoni E., Sassoni E., Diotallevi P.P. (2011) The contribution of urban-scale environmental monitoring to materials diagnostics: a study on the Cathedral of Modena (Italy), Journal of Cultural Heritage, 12, 441 - 450.

Landi L., Diotallevi P.P., Gabellieri R. (2010) Out-of-plane dynamic behaviour of unreinforced masonry walls in buildings with flexible diaphragms, 14th European Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Ohrid, Republic of Macedonia.

Research projects

SHAPE - Predicting Strength Changes In Bridges From Frequency Data Safety, Hazard, And Poly- Harmonic Evaluation.

INFRAVATION 2014 - ERA-NET Plus for road infrastructure innovation SMooHS – Smart Monitoring of Historical Structures, FP7-2008, Collaborative EU project. Project Ref.: 212939.

3ENCULT – Efficient Energy for EU Cultural Heritage, FP7-2010, Collaborative EU project. Project Ref.: 260162.