Three-dimensional Funicular Analysis of Masonry Vaults

Block P. and Lachauer L.
Mechanics Research Communications
doi: 10.1016/j.mechrescom.2013.11.010

This paper introduces a new computational equilibrium analysis method for unreinforced masonry vaults, which extends Thrust Network Analysis using structural matrix analysis and efficient optimization strategies. By identifying independent states of equilibrium of funicular networks with any topology and fixed plan geometry, a robust and efficient solving algorithm is presented that allows practical limit analysis of (historic) masonry vaults with complex geometry under parallel loading conditions by fitting a provided geometrical target, e.g. the vault's mid surface. The presented framework can be seen as a strong foundation for practical equilibrium analysis of vaulted masonry.


    author  = "Block, P. and Lachauer, L.",
    title   = "Three-dimensional Funicular Analysis of Masonry Vaults",
    journal = "Mechanics Research Communications",
    year    = "2014",
    volume  = "56",
    number  = "",
    pages   = "53-60",
    month   = "",
    doi     = "10.1016/j.mechrescom.2013.11.010",
    note    = "",

Related publications

Block P. and Lachauer L.Closest-Fit, Compression-Only Solutions for Free Form Shells,Proceedings of the IABSE-IASS Symposium 2011,London, UK,2011 (September).
Block P. and Lachauer L.Three-dimensional Equilibrium Analysis of Gothic Masonry Vaults,International Journal of Architectural Heritage,8(3): 312--335,2014.
Van Mele T. and Block P.Algebraic Graph Statics,Computer-Aided Design,53: 104-116,2014.
Van Mele T., Panozzo D., Sorkine-Hornung O. and Block P.Best-fit Thrust Network Analysis - Rationalization of freeform meshes,Shell Structures for Architecture: Form Finding and Optimization,Adriaenssens, S., Block, P., Veenendaal, D. and Williams, C. (editors),Routledge,London,2014.


ETH Zurich
Institute of Technology in Architecture
Block Research Group
Stefano-Franscini-Platz 1, HIB E 45
8093 Zurich, Switzerland

+41 44 633 38 35  phone
+41 44 633 10 53  fax

Copyright © 2009-2024 Block Research Group, ETH Zurich, Switzerland.