Assessment of the dynamic response of unreinforced masonry structures using a macroelement modeling approach

César Chácara, Francesco Cannizzaro, Bartolomeo Pantò, Ivo Caliò, Paulo B. Lourenço

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


The seismic performance of unreinforced masonry structures is strongly associated with the interaction between in-plane and out-of-plane mechanisms. The seismic response of these structures has been thoroughly investigated by means of experimental testing, analytical procedures, and computational approaches. Within the framework of the numerical simulations, models based on the finite element method provide a good prediction of the seismic performance of unreinforced masonry structures. However, they usually require a high computational cost and advanced user expertise to define appropriate mechanical properties and to interpret the numerical results. Because of these limitations, simplified models for practical applications have been developed during the last decades. Despite this, a great number of these models focus mostly on the evaluation of the in-plane response, assuming box (or integral) behavior of the structure. In this paper, a simplified macroelement modeling approach is used to simulate the seismic response of 2 masonry prototypes taking into consideration the combined in-plane and out-of-plane action. The numerical investigations were performed in the static and dynamic fields by using pushover analyses and nonlinear dynamic analyses respectively. The latter is a novel implementation of a model previously developed for static analysis. The results obtained from this study are in good agreement with those provided by a detailed nonlinear continuum FE approach, demonstrating the applicability of this macroelement model with a significant reduction of the computational cost.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2426-2446
Number of pages21
JournalEarthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics
Issue number12
StatePublished - 10 Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • dynamic nonlinear analysis
  • finite element model
  • in-plane mechanisms
  • out-of-plane mechanisms
  • static nonlinear analysis


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