Monte-Carlo laboratory testing of unreinforced masonry veneer wall system under out-of-plane loading

Imrose B. Muhit, Mark J. Masia, Mark G. Stewart

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2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents the results of a probabilistic experimental study into the behaviour of full-scale unreinforced masonry (URM) veneer walls with flexible backup subjected to out-of-plane loading. The actual safety and reliability of the contemporary Australian URM structures are unknown due to the absence of information regarding the probabilistic behaviour of the whole veneer wall system and material characterisation of the wall constituent materials. The study focused on masonry typologies representative of modern URM buildings in the Australian context. In this study, 18 full-scale URM veneer wall systems with theoretically identical geometries and properties were tested under inward and outward out-of-plane loading. For each loading type, one specimen was tested under semi-cyclic loading to check whether the monotonic loading can capture the overall behaviour of the cyclic response. For each mortar batch mixed, bond wrench testing was conducted at the same age as the test for the associated wall constructed using that mix. Batch to batch variabilities were statistically analysed, and probability distributions for flexural tensile strength were established. Lognormal distributions with aggregated means of 0.40 MPa and 0.42 MPa for inward and outward loading, respectively, were estimated for flexural tensile strengths. After the wall tests, all timber studs used to build the veneer walls were tested to evaluate the probabilistic characterisation of timber stiffness. This probabilistic information is essential for a stochastic finite element analysis (FEA) to conduct the reliability analysis. From the wall tests, veneer wall system behaviour was observed and measured until the collapse or 20% post-peak drop of the peak load. Outward loaded specimens exhibited higher variabilities for masonry cracking and system peak load compared to inward loading due to variabilities from materials, testing arrangements and failure mechanism. The true coefficient of variations of system peak loads were calculated as 0.10 and 0.19 for inward and outward loadings, respectively, considering the effect of testing variability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number126334
Number of pages22
JournalConstruction and Building Materials
Early online date11 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to acknowledge the financial support of the Australian Research Council under Discovery Project DP180102334. The assistance of the laboratory technical staff of the University of Newcastle in specimen construction, instrumentation and testing is gratefully acknowledged. Brick donation by Think Brick Australia and wall tie donation by Abey Australia is also acknowledged.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd


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