Experimental investigation of the in-plane cyclic behaviour of calcium silicate brick masonry walls

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The material and structural performance of calcium silicate (CS) brick masonry has received relatively little attention in the past, although this material is often used for the construction of low-rise buildings in Central and Northern Europe. Upon the occurrence of induced seismicity in the north of the Netherlands, an extensive testing programme has been conducted since 2014 at Delft University of Technology. The paper presents the outcomes of eight quasi-static cyclic tests performed within this program on CS brick masonry walls under vertical and lateral in-plane loads. Different dimensions, boundary conditions and applied pre-compression loads were considered. Overall, the tests allowed to characterise the in-plane behaviour of CS brick masonry walls. The results confirmed the influence of the shear ratio (i.e. the ratio between the effective height and the length of the wall) on the wall response in terms of prevailing failure mode, initial stiffness, force and deformation capacity, energy dissipation. Besides, the experimental outcomes stressed the difficulty in estimating the effective stiffness and near collapse drift capacity. Additionally, an empirical equation is proposed to predict the peak lateral force. The equation, calibrated against the tests presented in this paper, was validated against an extended dataset of tests performed on CS masonry walls. The equation, which does not need any input of material parameters and is applicable irrespectively of the expected failure mode, can be used to estimate the force capacity of CS masonry walls when no or limited data on the material properties are available.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3963-3994
Number of pages32
JournalBulletin of Earthquake Engineering
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Calcium silicate (CS) bricks
  • Displacement and force capacity
  • Hysteretic behaviour
  • In-plane response
  • Quasi-static cyclic tests
  • Unreinforced masonry (URM)


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