Equilibrium analysis of complex masonry vaults

This research applies Thrust Network Analysis, a three-dimensional computational method for obtaining lower-bound solutions of masonry vaults with complex geometries.

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The method extends thrust-line analysis to three-dimensional problems by finding equilibrium force networks within the vault's geometry, representing possible paths of the compression forces. Through case studies, this research demonstrates the potential of the method as a powerful tool for understanding, visualizing and exploring the equilibrium of compression-only structures. This method also has the potential to suggest three-dimensional collapse mechanisms. Its results compare to those obtained with Discrete Element Modeling (DEM) and structural 3D-printed scale models.


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.
Block P. and Lachauer L.Three-dimensional Funicular Analysis of Masonry Vaults,Mechanics Research Communications,56: 53-60,2014.
Block P. and Lachauer L.Three-dimensional Equilibrium Analysis of Gothic Masonry Vaults,International Journal of Architectural Heritage,8(3): 312--335,2014.
Block P. and Lachauer L.Three-dimensional Equilibrium Analysis of Gothic Masonry Vaults,Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Structural Analysis of Historical Constructions,Wroclaw, Poland,2012 (10).


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