Was Heyman right? Analysis of the sensitivity of masonry vaults to small modifications of their boundary conditions

Short description: 

Heyman's classic theory for masonry structures is based on Limit State Analysis (LSA), and not on determining "the" state of the analysed vault. Heyman often emphasized in his publications that in case of masonry structures (i.e. structures that consist of separate discrete solid bodies) a small modification in the boundary conditions lead to large deviations in the solution, and the concept of "the" state of a masonry structure is not reasonable to use for statics calculations. However, his statement has not been supported with clear evidences yet.

The task is to check this hypothesis with the help of discrete element simulations for different vaults.

The task is mostly suggested to MSc students who have successfully completed or just attend the course "Discrete Element Method".

Suggested reading: Heyman, J. (1966): The Stone Skeleton. Int. J. Solids and Structures, Vol. 2, pp. 249-279

Suggested level: 
MSc level