Discrete element analysis of the minimum thickness of oval masonry domes

József Simon, Katalin Bagi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)


This study focuses on domes the ground plan of which, instead of the more common circular shape, is an oval, and aims at finding the minimally necessary uniform wall thickness for domes of different geometries loaded by their selfweight. The discrete element code 3DEC was applied because of its capability of simulating the collapse mechanisms of masonry structures. Results on the minimal wall thickness, corresponding masonry volume and failure mechanisms for different dome geometries are presented. Three ranges of the friction coefficient were found. For very low frictional resistance collapse happens with pure frictional sliding, for any arbitrarily large wall thickness. In the range of relatively high (i.e., realistic) friction coefficients the structure collapses without any sliding if the wall is not sufficiently thick, and in the observed range of the friction coefficient the necessary wall thickness is nearly insensitive to its value (collapse initiates with hinging cracks only). Between the two domains an intermediate behavior was found: combined cracking and sliding collapse modes occur for insufficient wall thickness, and the minimal thickness strongly depends on the friction coefficient. The critical and transitional friction coefficients separating the failure modes were determined for different eccentricities of the groundplan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-475
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Architectural Heritage
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • 3DEC
  • Brick
  • Distinct element
  • Stone
  • Structural stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Conservation
  • Architecture
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts

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