Shear modulus and stiffness of brickwork masonry: An experimental perspective

  • Bosiljkov, Vlatko Z. (Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute (ZAG), Section for Earthquake Engineering) ;
  • Totoev, Yuri Z. (Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, University Drive) ;
  • Nichols, John M. (Department of Construction Science, College of Architecture, Texas A&M University)
  • Received : 2003.05.26
  • Accepted : 2005.02.15
  • Published : 2005.05.10


Masonry is a composite non-homogeneous structural material, whose mechanical properties depend on the properties of and the interaction between the composite components - brick and mortar, their volume ratio, the properties of their bond, and any cracking in the masonry. The mechanical properties of masonry depend on the orientation of the bed joints and the stress state of the joints, and so the values of the shear modulus, as well as the stiffness of masonry structural elements can depend on various factors. An extensive testing programme in several countries addresses the problem of measurement of the stiffness properties of masonry. These testing programs have provided sufficient data to permit a review of the influence of different testing techniques (mono and bi-axial tests), the variations caused by distinct loading conditions (monotonic and cyclic), the impact of the mortar type, as well as influence of the reinforcement. This review considers the impact of the measurement devices used for determining the shear modulus and stiffness of walls on the results. The results clearly indicate a need to re-assess the values stated in almost all national codes for the shear modulus of the masonry, especially for masonry made with lime mortar, where strong anisotropic behaviour is in the stiffness properties.



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