Limit Analysis of Vaulted Structures Strengthened by an Innovative Technology in Applying CFRP

Significance Statement

The degree to which masonry vaults are susceptible to seismic hazard is quite high as demonstrated by the collapse of many masonry churches in the recent past. This can be attributed to the fact that the masonry vaults lack sufficient capacity to redistribute the seismic load between the masonry piers of the building. As a result, the preservation of historic vaults has devolved to the application of advanced materials and new technologies on the ancient structures. As anticipated, the assessment of their effects has assumed key relevance. Presently, from an analytical viewpoint, plastic analysis techniques are now popularly used to determine the ultimate load-carrying capacities of masonry arch as opposed to convectional retrofitting techniques such as external reinforcement with steel plates, surface concrete coating and welded mesh, which have proven to be impractical, time consuming and add a considerable mass to the masonry structure. This paper aspires to improve on a novel technology of retrofitting of masonry vaults by means of wrapping carbon fiber reinforced polymers around a high resistance mortar core cast and molded in situ.

Laura Anania and Giuseppe D’Agata from the Department of Civil Engineering and Architecture at University of Catania in Italy investigated the limit analysis of vaulted masonry structures strengthened using new technique applying carbon fiber reinforced polymers. The two researchers aimed at discussing the efficiency of analytical models validated by means of empirical investigations carried out on masonry arches reinforced with the innovative technology based on the use of carbon fiber reinforced polymer strips, with a special configuration called the ‘‘Ω-wrap”. Their research work is now published in the journal, Construction and Building Materials.

At first, several assumptions were postulated in order to legitimize the proposed limit analysis formulation. Secondly, the team set up a scaled model of the barrel vault which was retrofitted with Ω-wrap reinforcement. The researchers then derived the ultimate strength using the theoretical prediction from the undertaken experiments. They then developed the novel incremental step-by-step lower bound limit analysis approach while taking into consideration the shear failure mechanism at each mortar joint.  Eventually, shear strength was assessed by the Mohr-Coulomb friction law for the mortar joint and by other nonlinear Italian Code relations for carbon fiber reinforced polymers Ω -Wrap reinforcement.

The authors of this paper observed that the proposed formulations results were in excellent agreement with the available original tentative data, derived from tests carried out by the authors on calcareous voussoirs masonry barrel vaults, exclusively in terms of pick load and final collapse mechanism reached at the first cycle of loading. More so, they observed that the limit load and mechanism provided by each intermediate step of this heuristic procedure seem to capture the evolution of the damage in the structure, reinterpreted in terms of sequence of different limit kinematic mechanisms.

As illustrated, an approximate technique for approaching the lower bound limit analysis of masonry arch reinforced by carbon fiber reinforced polymers has been developed. Anania and D’Agata have highlighted that the proposed formulations are in good agreement with the available original experimental data derived from tests established by the same researchers. Moreover, the proposed analytical procedure has been seen to be able to highlight all the capabilities of the new strengthening technique. Lastly, the described configuration has an added advantage in that it allows the resulting carbon fiber reinforced polymer reinforced ribbed vault to assume the necessary strength, membranal and flexural rigidity, so as to ensure the aforementioned seismic action redistribution capability and to avoid local collapse of the vault.

Limit Analysis of Vaulted Structures Strengthened by an Innovative Technology in Applying CFRP. Advances in Engineering

Limit Analysis of Vaulted Structures Strengthened by an Innovative Technology in Applying CFRP. Advances in Engineering

About the author

 Laura Anania

 University Education:
2004 Master degree Disaster Manager, University of Catania, Modica City- Italy
2003 Postdoctoral applied to Structural Engineering, the use of innovative materials for the structural retrofitting, University of Catania, Italy
1999 Ph.D. applied to Structural Engineering: design and test on a new hysteretical devices for the seismic retrofit of the structures, , University of Catania, Italy
1993 5 years graduated, Civil Engineering minor structural engineering, University of Catania, Italy

Professional Experience:
2012-2015: Assistant Professor SSD ICAR/09 University of Catania, Italy
2010-2012: Contract researcher on concrete themes University of Catania, Italy
2006-2010 Professor of Bridge constructions, Graduated course, University of Catania, Italy,
2004-2006 Professor of Prefabricated and steel structures, Graduated course, University of Catania, Italy,
2003-2004 Professor of Didactical Laboratory of Constructions Technique, Sissis School, University of Catania, Italy,
1999-2001 Professor of Technique of Constructions, University of Catania, Italy,
1999-2001 Professor of Description and measurement of both physical and mechanical properties of material, Sissis School, University of Catania, Italy,
1994-present Assistant professor of Bridge Construction, University of Catania, Italy
1994 Researcher student in Civil Engineering Laboratory, University of Wales Galles

Professional Engineer:
Italy, (Albo Ingegneri Messina), 1994, No. 1723
Italy, (Albo Ingegneri Catania), 2002, No. 4207

Dr. Anania is interested in innovative construction materials, their structural performance, and field application. In the past 15 years, she has obtained experience in earthquake engineering, including modern performance-based approaches; structural design, materials, and construction; experimental simulation of structures; computational structural analysis and dynamics; structural high-performance materials; reliability and risk engineering. Since 1992, she spent a lot of time at laboratory of tests on materials and structures at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, where she was co-author of some original testing equipments useful not only for the teaching activity but also for the research. Some particular experimental investigations (i.e. on prototype, on models and great structures) are published in many testing reports as well as in scientific manuscripts. She has always maintained a balance between academic and practical experience and she is author of more than 50 scientific papers. She has great ability in the use of many commercial software.

Public and Professional Service (last 10 years):
Structural designer and supervisor in the seismic retrofit of a Syracuse City Council building Inventor of a patented hysteretical device for the seismic retrofitting both of the bridge and buildings. Inventor of a patented device useful for the stresses measurement inside the masonry structure. Co-designer of many destructive and non-destructive tests on the concrete, steel, prestressed concrete, masonry structures. Consultan for Syracuse City Council (Italy) for the stability of masonry structure of the Ortigia’s bridge.
Consultant of many Sicilian Lawcourts (Italy) since 1993 till today, for which more than 200 tasks regarding to the structural matters has been developed Consultant for Monforte City Council (Italy) for the seismic retrofitting of the elementary school in masonry structure Consultan for San Pietro Clarenza City Council (Italy) for the seismic retrofitting based on the use of innovative material (CFRP) of the centro per anziani. Consultant to Agip Petrols, Raffineria of Milazzo Italy, to perform and analyze ambient vibration tests of steel-frame buildings


Laura Anania, Giuseppe D’Agata. Limit analysis of vaulted structures strengthened by an innovative technology in applying CFRP. Construction and Building Materials volume 145 (2017) page 336–346


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