Isfeld, Andrea1; Rizaee, Samira2; Hagel, Mark3; Kaheh, Pedram4 and Shrive, Nigel5

1 Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Civil Engineering, Schulich School of Engineering, 2500 University Drive NW, AB, Canada, Canada, acisfeld@ucalgary.ca
2 Research Assistant, Department of Civil Engineering, Schulich School of Engineering, 2500 University Drive NW, AB, Canada, srizaee@ucalgary.ca
3 Executive Director, Alberta Masonry Council, P.O.Box 44023, RPO Garside, Edmonton, AB, Canada, markhagel@albertamasonrycouncil.ca
4 PhD. Candidate, Department of Civil Engineering, Schulich School of Engineering, 2500 University Drive NW, AB, Canada, pkaheh@ucalgary.ca
5 Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Schulich School of Engineering, 2500 University Drive NW, AB,Canada, ngshrive@ucalgary.ca

ABSTRACT
The specified concrete block masonry prism strengths for concrete blocks prisms in Table 4 of the CSA-S304-2014 have been shown to be conservative when compared with the blocks available in Alberta. The conservative values in this table, commonly used by designers as an alternative to testing, are becoming obstacles for concrete masonry construction in Alberta. A study was conducted on hollow and fully grouted three course high concrete block prisms constructed using concrete blocks with nominal strengths of 10, 15, 20, and 30 MPa, Type S mortar and coarse grout. Concrete masonry units were tested in compression and their specified strengths determined following the requirements of CSA-S304-2014. Linear relationships were drawn between the actual compressive strength of concrete blocks and the prisms to provide alternative values for the nominal strengths. The laboratory results were also compared to the results of finite element models created in Abaqus for 2, 3, 4 and 5-course prisms. The Abaqus models used the detailed micro-modelling approach and applied a displacement to a steel plate contacting the top of each prism. The results indicate the reduction factors required by the CSA-S304-2014 account sufficiently for the non-homogenous nature of masonry and geometric effects, suggesting 2-course prism testing could be used as the standard test for strength as is required in ASTM C1314.

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