A new paper in the Journal of Engineering Mechanics, “Scaling Laws for Rigid-Body Response of Masonry Structures under Blast Loads” investigates the response and strength of masonry structures subjected to blast loading. Particular interest is paid to stone and brick structures of ancient and classical monuments that are subject to accidental or deliberate blasts (for example the Monumental Arch of Palmyra in 2015, the blast in Beirut on August 4, 2020).

At present, understanding of the dynamic response of ancient and classical monuments to explosions is extremely limited, due to their irregular geometry and mechanical properties. Full-scale testing has been done, but reduced-scale testing is significantly more cost-effective, and presents fewer hazards and risks to personnel. In this paper, researchers Filippo Masi, Ph.D.; Ioannis Stefanou; and Victor Maffi-Berthier sought to develop a new set of scaling laws for masonry structures subjected to explosions.

In this first step toward the design of reduced-scale experiments of masonry structures, learn about the similarity laws the authors derived for the rigid-body motion of monolithic and blocky masonry structures. The abstract below provides an overview, then read the full paper in the ASCE Library: https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)EM.1943-7889.0001986.


The response of masonry structures to explosions cannot be exclusively investigated relying only on numerical and analytical tools. Experimental tests are of paramount importance for improving current understanding and validating existing models. However, experiments involving blast scenarios are, at present, partial and limited in number compared to tests under different dynamic conditions, such as earthquakes. The reason for lies in the fact that full-scale blast experiments present many difficulties, mainly due to the nature of loading action. In contrast, experiments on a reduced scale offer greater flexibility. Nevertheless, appropriate scaling laws for the response of masonry structures under blast excitations are needed before such tests are performed. We propose here new scaling laws for the dynamic, rigid-body response, and structural failure modes (e.g., overturning) of masonry structures under blast loads. This work grows out of previous studies, where closed-form solutions for the rocking response of slender blocks due to explosions were derived and validated against numerical and experimental tests. The proposed scaling laws are validated here with detailed numerical simulations accounting for combined rocking, uplifting, and sliding mechanisms of monolithic structures. Then the application to blocky masonry structures is studied. Multidrum stone columns are considered as examples for the application of scaling laws. In particular, we show that, despite the presence of complex behaviors, such as wobbling and impacts, similarity is assured.

Read the full paper in the ASCE Library: https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)EM.1943-7889.0001986.