Accurate and Efficient 2D Modelling of Historical Masonry Buildings Subjected to Settlements in Comparison to 3D Approaches

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Abstract

This paper presents an improved 2D modelling strategy which aims to represent the behavior of historical unreinforced masonry buildings on shallow foundations subjected to ground settlements. The application is presented with reference to a two-storey building, typical of the Dutch built heritage. The novelty comprises the inclusion of the effect of the lateral house-to-house separation walls of such old buildings. Additionally, the masonry strip foundation is modelled and supported by a boundary interface representing the interaction between the soil and the foundation. Two realistic hogging and sagging settlement configurations are applied to the model and their intensity is characterized using the angular distortion of the settlement shape. The response in terms of damage and deformations of the proposed modelling strategy is compared with the ones of five selected approaches based on the state of the art. For all the selected models, the damage severity is quantified objectively by means of a scalar parameter, which is computed considering the cracks’ number, length, and width.

The results of the proposed 2D model agree in terms of displacements, crack patterns and damage with the 3D models. On the contrary, the façade models that do not include the effect of the lateral walls do not exhibit the same cracking and damage, resulting in lower damage and deformations for the same applied angular distortion. Accordingly, the proposed modelling strategy requires less modelling complexity and the analyses are 9 to 28 times faster to run with respect to the 3D models. The efficient and accurate model allows performing a wide number of analyses to easily investigate the role of the various building’s features.