Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering

, Volume 17, Issue 7, pp 3959–3993 | Cite as

Experimental assessment of the out-of-plane strength of URM infill walls with different slenderness and boundary conditions

  • Mariano Di DomenicoEmail author
  • Paolo Ricci
  • Gerardo M. Verderame
Original Research


In this study, the results of experimental tests performed on unreinforced masonry infill walls are presented. The out-of-plane response of infills different for the thickness and for the boundary conditions but equal for the construction procedure and the materials used is investigated. Infills with two different height-to-thickness slenderness ratios are tested. In addition, three different boundary conditions at edges are considered. The experimental results are used to assess, for different values of the slenderness ratio, the effectiveness of the out-of-plane strength formulations for unreinforced masonry enclosures in which the mono-directional or bi-directional arching mechanism can occur. A discussion on the different post-peak response of specimens with different boundary condition (brittle, for vertical spanning infills, non-brittle for infills mortared along three or four edges to the confining elements) is also presented. In the case of one-way arching, literature and code models underestimate the out-of-plane strength of thinner specimens and overestimate it for thicker specimens. In the case of two-way arching, all the existing strength formulations are significantly conservative and potentially adequate for a code-based safety check of unreinforced masonry infill walls under out-of-plane seismic demand.


URM infill wall Out-of-plane Strength Experimental Boundary condition Arching action 

List of symbols


Out-of-plane displacement at masonry crushing


Out-of-plane displacement of the central point of the specimen


Young modulus


Out-of-plane strength


Out-of-plane force


Strength of bricks in compression


Strength of concrete in compression


Strength of mortar in compression


Strength of masonry in compression


Strength of steel bars at yielding


Shear modulus of masonry


Height of the infill wall


Maximum moment per unit length (McDowell et al. 1956)


Resistance degradation factor due to the in-plane damage (Angel et al. 1994)


Resistance reduction factor due to the deformation of structural elements (Angel et al. 1994)


Thickness of the infill wall


Width of the infill wall


Displacement at the maximum arching thrust formation (McDowell et al. 1956)


Out-of-plane displacement


Horizontal factor for frame deformability (Dawe and Seah 1989)


Vertical factor for frame deformability (Dawe and Seah 1989)


Limit strain (McDowell et al. 1956)


Masonry crushing strain


Slenderness factor (Angel et al. 1994)



Reinforced concrete frame beam


Reinforced concrete frame columns


In the horizontal direction




In the vertical direction



METROPOLIS (Integrated and sustainable methodologies and technologies for the adaptation and safety of urban systems - PON Ricerca e Competitività 2007–2013). Italian Department of Civil Protection ReLUIS-DPC 2014–2018 Linea Cemento Armato – Work Package 6 (Grant No. E56D16000670005).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Structures for Engineering and ArchitectureUniversity of Naples Federico IINaplesItaly

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