The experimental investigation of the failure of load-bearing masonry walls supported by a deflecting structure


The paper presents selected results of tests of full-scale masonry walls linearly supported on a deflecting beam. The walls with thin bed joints and unfilled head joints were 4.55 m long and 2.45 m high, and were made of group 1 calcium silicate masonry units. The tests included walls with and without openings.

The tests were carried out in a specially designated and constructed test stand, which allowed simultaneous vertical load on the upper edge of the wall and vertical deflection of the beam supporting this wall. During the test, measurements of mutual displacements of six points on the wall surface were carried out. On both faces of masonry specimens, the changes of the length of the measuring bases connecting these six points were recorded.

Walls without openings were detached from the central part of the supporting beam at a deflection not exceeding 2 mm. Walls with one door opening also cracked at an early stage of tests. In this case, a detachment from the supporting beam and cracking at the ends of the lintel occurred because of the rotation of the pillars connected by the lintel above the opening. In walls with two door openings, first cracks were formed at the ends of lintels due to the rotation of pillars with a small deflection of the supporting beam, less than 3 mm. Whereas, in walls with door and window openings, first cracks occurred under the window and at the end of the lintel in the outer pillar of the wall.


AAC blocks masonry; floors deflexions; damages of masonry walls; transversal deformations of masonry

Drobiec Ł., Kubica J., „Zapobieganie zarysowaniom ścian murowanych opartych na stropach żelbetowych”, Materiały Budowlane, no. 4, 2006.

Nowicki M., „Zapobieganie uszkodzeniom murowanych ścian wypełniających spowodowanych uginaniem się żelbetowych stropów w budynkach mieszkalnych”, Inżynier budownictwa, accessed on: 04.02.2014.

Szulc J., „Ugięcia czynne stropów żelbetowych a uszkodzenia eleemntów opartych na stropach żelbetowych”, Materiały Budowlane, no. 4, 2013.

PN-EN 1992-1-1 Eurocode 2: Design of concrete structures - Part 1-1: General rules and rules for buildings.

PN-EN 15037-1 Precast Concrete Products - Beam-and-Block Floor Systems Part 1: Beams.

ISO 4356 Bases for the design of structures. Deformations of buildings at the serviceability limit states.

ACI 318-02 Building code requirements for structural concrete.

DIN 1045-1 Concrete, reinforced and prestressed concrete structures. Part 1: Design and construction.

Piekarczyk A., Jasiński R., “Distorsions and the way of damaging masonry walls supported on deflected structural elements”, in 16th International Brick and Block Masonry Conference – Trends, Innovations and Challenges. Taylor & Francis Group, London 2016, pp. 1659-1666.

Piekarczyk A., “Cracking and Failure Mechanism of Masonry Walls Loaded Vertically and Supported by Deflecting Structural Member”, in 3rd World Multidisciplinary Civil Engineering – Architecture – Urban Planning Symposium, WMCAUS 2018, 18-22 June. Prague, Czech Republic. IOP Conference Series: Science and Engineering, vol. 471, 2019.

Piekarczyk A., “Reinforced and Unreinforced AAC Masonry Walls Supported on Deflecting Structure”, in 6th International Conference on Autoclaved Aerated Concrete, September 4-6, 2018, University Potsdam. Ce/papers Ernst & Sohn, A Wiley Brand, vol. 2, 2018, pp. 377-387.

Meyerhof G., “Some recent foundation research and its application to design”, The Structural Engineer, vol. 32, no. 4, 1953, pp. 55-93.

Polshin D. E., Tokar R. A., “Maximum allowable non-uniform settlement of structure”, in Proceedings of Fourth International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering. Butterworths Scientific Publications, London, vol. 1, 1957, pp. 402-405.

Rosenhaupt S., “Experimental Study on Masonry Walls on Beams”, Journal of the Structural Division, (June 1962), pp. 137-166.

Pfeffermann O., “Deformations admissible dans le batiment”, CSTC Revue, 1981, Nlt 131, Bruxelles, p. 29.

Wenzong X., Qinglin W., “A study of the behavior of the supporting beams on walls”, in Third International Symposium on Wall Structures CIB. Warsaw, vol. 1, 1984, pp. 309-315.

Holanda G., Ramalho M., Corrêa M., “Experimental and numerical analysis of masonry load-bearing walls subjected do differential settlements”, in Proceedings of the 9th North American Masonry Conference. Clemenson, USA, 2003, p. 134-145.

Holanda G., Ramalho M., Corrêa M., “Experimental and numerical analysis of masonry walls with openings subjected do differential foundation settlements”, in Proceedings of the 10th North American Masonry Conference. St. Louis, USA, 2007, pp. 26-27.

Henry A. W., Structural Brickwork. The MacMillan Press LTD, London, 1981.

Capozucca R., “An approximate method for analysis of stress distribution in masonry walls”, Masonry International, vol. 1, 1984, pp. 22-26.

Henry A. W., Sinha B. P., Davies S. R., Design of Masonry Structures. E & FN Spon, London, 1988.

Valsangkar A. J., Dawe J. L., Seah C. K., “An Evaluation on Masonry Walls-foundation Interaction Using Finite Element Method”, in Proceedings of the British Masonry Society, Proceedings of the Third International Masonry Conference, no. 6, (March 1994), pp. 144-146.

Loots J. J., van Zijl G. Pa. G., “Experimental verification of settlement induced damage to masonry walls”, in Proceedings of 13th International Brick and Block Masonry Conference. Amsterdam, 2004.

Martens D. R. W., Vermeltfoort A. T., “The Effect of the Position of Supports on the Behavior of Composite Masonry Walls”, in Proceedings of 15th International Brick and Block Masonry Conference. Florianopolis, Brasil, 2012.

Moraes R. S., Serafim J. A., Parsekian G. A., “Macro modelling of the arch effect: A parametric study”, in Proceedings of 15th International Brick and Block Masonry Conference. Florianopolis, Brasil, 2012.

Vermeltfoort A. T., “Practical Aspects of Testing Composite Action in Masonry Walls”, in Proceedings of 15th International Brick and Block Masonry Conference. Florianopolis, Brasil, 2012.

PN-EN 1996-1-1 Eurocode 6: Design of masonry structures - Part 1-1: General rules for reinforced and unreinforced masonry structures

PN-EN 772-1 Methods of tests for masonry units. Part 1: Determination of compressive strength.

PN-EN 998-2 Specification for mortar for masonry Part 2: Masonry mortar.

Published : 2020-09-30

Piekarczyk, A. (2020) “The experimental investigation of the failure of load-bearing masonry walls supported by a deflecting structure”, Budownictwo i Architektura, 19(3), pp. 123-134. doi: 10.35784/bud-arch.2142.

Adam Piekarczyk
Department of Building Structures; Faculty of Civil Engineering; Silesian University of Technology;  Poland

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Budownictwo i Architektura supports the open science program. The journal enables Open Access to their publications. Everyone can view, download and forward articles, provided that the terms of the license are respected.

Publishing of articles is possible after submitting a signed statement on the transfer of a license to the Journal.