Dissertations and theses : Doctoral thesis
Engineering, computing & technology : Civil engineering
Chewe Ngapeya, Gelen Gael mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Science, Technology and Communication (FSTC) > Engineering Research Unit >]
University of Luxembourg, ​​Luxembourg
Docteur de l'Université du Luxembourg
Waldmann, Danièle mailto
Scholzen, Frank mailto
Zilian, Andreas mailto
Khelil, Abdelouahab mailto
Mohri, Foudil mailto
[en] Dry stacked masonry ; Load-bearing capacity ; Actual contact area ; Bed-joint imperfections ; Mitigation strategy ; Finite element modelling
[en] Mortar bonded masonry is one of the oldest construction technics traditionally used around the world. However, dry-stacked masonry (DSM) is a competitive system that confers significant assets to masonry in the sense that, concisely, it saves construction time, requires less skill labourers and ease the construction as well as the de-construction. Despite all this major benefits, the current use of DSM is hindered by the geometric imperfections of the block units and the lack of adapted design codes. Indeed, the block geometric imperfections, i.e. the bed-joint roughness and the height difference, cause a significant uneven load-distribution in DSM, which generally leads to a premature cracking and a drop of the wall compressive strength. On the other hand, the lack of adapted design codes entail significant safety hazards in the construction of such masonry walls. In view of the foregoing, through systematic numerical, experimental and analytical investigations, the present thesis aims to analyse the impacts of the block bed-joint imperfections on the mechanical response of DSM axially loaded. Furthermore, the current thesis aims to develop a strategy to overcome the block geometric imperfections and alleviate its impacts on the load-bearing capacity of DSM. Finally, the present thesis intends to develop a design model for predicting the load-bearing capacity of DSM, while taking into account the effects of the block geometric imperfections for a safe design.
First of all, at the beginning of the research project, a new dry-stacked masonry block is designed and labelled ‘M-Block’. The impact of the bed-joint roughness and the block height variation on the stress distribution in a DSM is analysed through numerical modelling. It is shown that the block height difference yields five potential load cases that block units may suffer upon the axial compression of a DSM wall. Accordingly, it is also shown that a nominal DSM wall can exhibit different load percolation paths and different damages. Further, a strategy is presented to overcome the bed-joint imperfections, increase the actual contact area in the bed-joints and ultimately improve the load-bearing capacity of DSM, by adding a material layer (the ‘contact layer’) on the raw DSMb. The capacity of the contact layer to increase the actual contact and level the stress distribution was first investigated through numerical models then evidenced through experimental tests on masonry triplets. The contact layer was also investigated for improving the load-bearing capacity of dry-stacked masonry, with satisfactory results obtained on wallets tested in the lab.
As the finite element modelling is cumbersome and the experimental investigations onerous and laborious, an analytical model has then been developed for predicting the load-bearing capacity of DSM. A statistical modelling has been developed for determining a factor δh, which stands for the reduction of the nominal section of a DSM generated by the block height variation. Experimental tests were also performed on masonry triplets for measuring the ultimate actual contact in the bed-joints and defining a factor δr, which stands for the reduction of the nominal contact area generated by the block bed-joint roughness. The two defined parameters were then exploited to establish the design model that takes into account the block imperfections in the prediction of the load-bearing capacity of DSM. The design model was shown quite well capable of predicting the load-bearing capacity of DSM with a mean accuracy of 93% - 106% and a standard deviation of 12% - 10%.
Researchers ; Professionals ; Students ; General public

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