Advances in Thrust Network Analysis: Constrained equilibrium assessment of masonry vaulted structures

Maia Avelino R., Van Mele T. and Block P.
Collection of papers - Edoardo Benvenuto Prize
Fondazione Franzoni ETS

In this overview paper, the formulation of Thrust Network Analysis (TNA) is revisited with a focus on its application to the assessment of vaulted masonry structures. TNA offers a fast and flexible methodology to compute lower-bound, admissible equilibrium solutions for a given masonry envelope. The internal forces are discretised in a network with compressive-only axial forces along the edges and external loads and supports assigned to the vertices. When only gravitational loading is considered, the method can be approached using graphic statics offering an intuitive and interactive workflow. A numerical and more robust formulation is presented, which allows for framing TNA in optimisation processes necessary to its application in a masonry assessment context. In this numerical formulation, the projection of the thrust network is kept fixed in plan, which brings an additional control for the designer to highlight, and follow, major geometrical features of the masonry structure to assess, such as creases, cracks or point loads. New developments of the method are presented focusing on a flexible optimisation framework allowing for multiple objective functions. These objectives focus on providing a consistent measure of the level of stability in the masonry structures and on investigating its cracking pattern through coupling TNA with an energy-based criterion. The presented contribution illustrates the recent advances through several examples showing its wide applicability for lower-bound equilibrium analysis. Finally, the present state-of-the-art of TNA allows it to be used as a practical assessment tool benefiting researchers and practising engineers in the field of structural preservation.


    author    = "Maia Avelino, R. and Van Mele, T. and Block, P. ",
    title     = "Advances in Thrust Network Analysis: Constrained equilibrium assessment of masonry vaulted structures",
    booktitle = "Collection of papers - Edoardo Benvenuto Prize",
    publisher = "Fondazione Franzoni ETS",
    year      = "2022",
    editor    = "C. Paolocci, D. Aita, G. Benvenuto, M. Corradi and O. Pedemonte",
    chapter   = "0"
    pages     = "",
    address   = "",
    month     = "",
    doi       = "",
    note      = "to be published",

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