Recently, one of the domes situated in Tortosa’s Cathedral enclosure (Spain) suddenly broke. Cracks were formed quickly, forcing to shore up the structure and subsequently to repair and reinforce it. In this paper we present the limit analysis by FEM of the masonry dome which cracked because of an asymmetric charge. It’s an oval plant dome, built with manual brick and gypsum mortar, and a shell reinforced by eight ceramic thicker ribs. Non-uniform tensional distribution takes place across the masonry curved elements, depending on the geometry and its disposition.
Starting from the dome geometry before breaking, we have calibrated a 3D model considering the predictable joints formation which would have led the collapse of the dome – and which appeared before the restoration intervention. It’s difficult to fix one single reason to explain the dome break, but by means of the FEM 3D model developed the collapse joints formation will be explained by the asymmetric charge distribution.
Costa-Jover, A.; Lluis i Ginovart, J; Fortuny-Anguera, G.; de Solà Morales-Serra, P.; 2012, Limit analysis of masonry dome collapse mechanisms by means of finite elements. Structural analysis of historical constructions (SAHC) 2012. 8th international conference on structural analysis of historical constructions. Octubre 15-17 Wroclaw, Polonia. Pages 465-472. ISBN: 978-83-7125-216-7. ISSN: 0860-2395.