An experimental evaluation of prediction models for the mechanical behavior of unreinforced, lime-mortar masonry under compression

Adrian Costigan, Sara Pavia, Oliver Kinnane

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    This paper contributes to the understanding of lime-mortar masonry strength and deformation (which determine durability and allowable stresses/stiffness in design codes) by measuring the mechanical properties of brick bound with lime and lime-cement mortars. Based on the regression analysis of experimental results, models to estimate lime-mortar masonry compressive strength are proposed (less accurate for hydrated lime (CL90s) masonry due to the disparity between mortar and brick strengths). Also, three relationships between masonry elastic modulus and its compressive strength are proposed for cement-lime; hydraulic lime (NHL3.5 and 5); and hydrated/feebly hydraulic lime masonries respectively.

    Disagreement between the experimental results and former mathematical prediction models (proposed primarily for cement masonry) is caused by a lack of provision for the significant deformation of lime masonry and the relative changes in strength and stiffness between mortar and brick over time (at 6 months and 1 year, the NHL 3.5 and 5 mortars are often stronger than the brick). Eurocode 6 provided the best predictions for the compressive strength of lime and cement-lime masonry based on the strength of their components. All models vastly overestimated the strength of CL90s masonry at 28 days however, Eurocode 6 became an accurate predictor after 6 months, when the mortar had acquired most of its final strength and stiffness.

    The experimental results agreed with former stress-strain curves. It was evidenced that mortar strongly impacts masonry deformation, and that the masonry stress/strain relationship becomes increasingly non-linear as mortar strength lowers. It was also noted that, the influence of masonry stiffness on its compressive strength becomes smaller as the mortar hydraulicity increases.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)283-294
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Building Engineering
    Early online date09 Oct 2015
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


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