Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 581–606 | Cite as

Experimental and numerical studies on scaled-down dry-joint retaining walls: Pseudo-static approach to quantify the resistance of a dry-joint brick retaining wall

  • Nathanaël SavalleEmail author
  • Éric Vincens
  • Stéphane Hans
S.I. : 10th IMC conference


A pseudo-static study on dry-joint brick retaining walls has been carried out as part of a preliminary work aiming at designing actual dry stone retaining walls located in seismic areas. First, scaled-down dry-joint brick retaining walls have been tilted towards failure and the influence of the wall geometry has been analysed. Then, numerical simulations have been performed using the Distinct Element Method to complement the observations made in the experimental tests. From both approaches, we found that the more slender the wall is, the less resistant to a pseudo-static action it results. Using the numerical model, it has also been found that the assemblage plays a significant role in the stability of dry-joint structures, with a particular emphasis on the critical role played by the headers. Moreover, the simulations brought to light complex features when failure is triggered in large walls.


DEM Earthquake engineering Dry stone retaining walls Bricks Masonry 



The authors want to thank the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research for their financial support through the PhD scholarship that allowed this work to be carried out. The authors want also to acknowledge the support of the technical team of the ENTPE, and particularly Stéphane Cointet and Joachim Blanc-Gonnet. Finally, the authors acknowledge Fabian Dedecker, from ITASCA consulting group for giving precious advices for the development of the numerical model in UDEC code.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LyonEcully CedexFrance
  2. 2.University of Lyon, École Nationale, Travaux Publics de l’État (ENTPE)Vaulx-En-VelinFrance

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