Validation of the Discrete Element Method for the Limit Stability Analysis of Masonry Arches

Haris Alexakis, Nicos Makris

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter revisits the limit equilibrium analysis of masonry arches when subjected to gravity and lateral loads. Firstly, the major contributions during the last three centuries either with geometric or energy formulations are discussed, and subsequently, the performance of the Distinct Element Method (DEM) is examined against rigorous solutions. Analytical solutions with the use of energy methods are presented for the assessment of the stability of masonry arches with circular or elliptical shapes under various load conditions, including gravity, lateral inertial loading or earth pressures. The DEM is implemented in all loading cases and reproduces the analytical results with remarkable accuracy. The DEM is used either for a direct correlation with the classic limit analysis that assumes that the joints of the masonry blocks do not transmit tension, masonry blocks are rigid and incompressible and do not slide at the joints, or by permitting sliding with the adoption of Coulomb sliding failure between the joints.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComputational Modeling of Masonry Structures Using the Discrete Element Method
EditorsVasilis Sarhosis, Katalin Bagi, José V. Lemos, Gabriele Milani
PublisherIGI Global
ISBN (Electronic)9781522502326
ISBN (Print)9781522502319
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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