Torsional shear strength of unreinforced brick masonry bed joints

S. Sharma, F. Graziotti*, G. Magenes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


An experimental programme was conducted on six different batches of unreinforced masonry (URM) considering different unit-mortar combinations to study their behaviour under torsional shear. Experiments performed included a specific characterisation test to measure the torsional shear strength of URM bed joints. Dilatancy measurements during both direct and torsional shear testing of masonry were recorded. Refined finite element modelling was then performed to evaluate whether parameters evaluated from standardised direct shear tests on masonry triplets can be used to estimate the torsional shear strength of URM bed joints. A possible mechanism by which dilatancy can increase the torsional shear resistance of bed joints without affecting the external level of applied normal force is also presented. Based on both experimental and numerical findings, a rational mechanics based formula to evaluate the torsional shear strength of URM bed joints is proposed and validated. This formula represents an improvement on currently used empirical formulation correlating the torsional shear strength of a URM bed joint to their flexural tensile strength.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122053
Number of pages22
JournalConstruction and Building Materials
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Detailed micro-modelling
  • Dilatancy
  • Mechanical characterisation test
  • Torsional shear strength
  • Unreinforced masonry


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