As hangs the flexible line: Equilibrium of Masonry Arches

Block P., DeJong M. and Ochsendorf J.
The Nexus Network Journal

In 1675, English scientist Robert Hooke discovered “the true… …manner of arches for building,” which he summarized with a single phrase: “As hangs the flexible line, so but inverted will stand the rigid arch.” In the centuries that followed, Hooke's simple idea has been used to understand and design numerous important works. Recent research at MIT on the interactive analysis of structural forces provides new graphical tools for the understanding of arch behavior, which are useful for relating the forces and geometry of masonry structures. The key mathematical principle is the use of graphical analysis to determine possible equilibrium states.


    author  = "Block, P. and DeJong, M. and Ochsendorf, J.",
    title   = "As hangs the flexible line: Equilibrium of Masonry Arches",
    journal = "The Nexus Network Journal",
    year    = "2006",
    volume  = "8",
    number  = "2",
    pages   = "9-19",
    month   = "October",
    doi     = "",
    note    = "",

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