In-plane lateral cyclic behaviour of lime-mortar and clay-brick masonry walls in dry and wet conditions

A. Y. Elghazouli, D. V. Bompa, S. A. Mourad, A. Elyamani

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents an experimental investigation into the structural and material response of ambient-dry and wet clay-brick/lime-mortar masonry elements. In addition to cyclic tests on four large-scale masonry walls subjected to lateral in-plane displacement and co-existing compressive gravity load, the study also includes complementary tests on square masonry panels under diagonal compression and cylindrical masonry cores in compression. After describing the specimen details, wetting method and testing arrangements, the main results and observations are provided and discussed. The results obtained from full-field digital image correlation measurements enable a detailed assessment of the material shear-compression strength envelope, and permit a direct comparison with the strength characteristics of structural walls. The full load-deformation behaviour of the large-scale walls is also evaluated, including their ductility and failure modes, and compared with the predictions of available assessment models. It is shown that moisture has a notable effect on the main material properties, including the shear and compression strengths, brick–mortar interaction parameters, and the elastic and shear moduli. The extent of the moisture effects is a function of the governing behaviour and material characteristics as well as the interaction between shear and precompression stresses, and can lead to a loss of more than a third of the stiffness and strength. For the large scale wall specimens subjected to lateral loading and co-existing compression, the wet-to-dry reduction was found to be up to 20% and 11% in terms of stiffness and lateral strength, respectively, whilst the ductility ratio diminished by up to 12%. Overall, provided that the key moisture-dependent material properties are appropriately evaluated, it is shown that analytical assessment methods can be reliably adapted for predicting the response, in terms of the lateral stiffness, strength and overall load-deformation, for both dry and wet masonry walls.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5525-5563
Number of pages39
JournalBulletin of Earthquake Engineering
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Clay brick
  • Cyclic loading
  • Diagonal cracking
  • Lateral deformation
  • Lime mortar
  • Masonry walls
  • Wet conditions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geophysics


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