Kassotakis, Nicko1; Sarhosis, Vasilis2; Forgács, Tamás3 and Bagi, Katalin4

1 PhD student, School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, n.kassotakis2@newcastle.ac.uk
2 Assistant Professor, School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, vasilis.sarhosis@newcastle.ac.uk
3 PhD student, Department of Structural Mechanics, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary, tamasforgacs@hotmail.com 4 Professor, Department of Structural Mechanics, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary, kbagi@mail.bme.hu

ABSTRACT
A significant portion of the UK’s bridge stock is represented by multi-ring brickwork masonry arches. Most of these bridges are well over 100 years old and are supporting traffic loads many
times above those originally envisaged. Different materials and methods of construction used in these bridges will influence their strength and stiffness. There is an increasing demand for a better understanding of the life expectancy of such bridges in order to inform repair, maintenance and strengthening strategies. This paper presents the first development of a three dimensional
computational model, based on the Discrete Element Method (DEM), which was used to investigate the load carrying capacity and failure mechanism of multi-ring masonry arch bridges.
Each brick of the arch was represented as a distinct block jointed by zero thickness interfaces. In this way, complete block separation and large movements of the masonry blocks are allowed. First
the suitability of DEM to accurately predict the load carrying capacity and failure mode is investigated by comparing the numerical results against those obtained from experimental studies. Then, a parametric analysis carried out to understand the influence of the: a) number of rings; b) arch span; and c) rise to span ratio on the load carrying capacity and failure mode of multi-ring
arches. From the results analysis, it was found that DEM is a capable approach to simulate the mechanical behaviour of multi-ring arches. From the parametric study, it was found that all arches failed by the formation of a four-hinge mechanism. Also, as the number of arch rings’ increases, the load carrying capacity of the arches increases proportionally.

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