Experimental and Numerical Studies of Masonry Wall Panels and Timber Frames of Low-rise Structures under Seismic Loadings in Indonesia

  • Gede Susila

Student thesis: Phd


Indonesia is a developing country that suffers from earthquakes and windstorms and where at least 60% of houses are non-engineered structures, built by unskilled workers using masonry and timber. The non-engineered housing units developed in urban region are also vulnerable to seismic hazard due to the use of low quality of material and constructions method. Those structures are not resistant to extreme lateral loads or ground movement and their failure during an earthquake or storm can lead to significant loss of life.This thesis is concerned with the structural performance of Indonesian low-rise buildings made of masonry and timber under lateral seismic load. The research presented includes a survey of forms of building structure and experimental, analytical and numerical work to predict the behaviour of masonry wall and traditional timber frame buildings. Experimental testing of both masonry and timber have been carried out in Indonesia to establish the quality of materials and to provide material properties for numerical simulations. The experimental study found that the strength of Indonesia-Bali clay brick masonry are below the minimum standard required for masonry structures built in seismic regions, being at least 50% lower than the requirement specified in British Standard and Eurocode-6 (BS EN 1996-1-1:2005). In contrast, Indonesian timber materials meet the strength classes specified in British Standard/Eurocode- 5 (BS EN 338:2009) in the range of strength grade D35-40 and C35).Structural tests under monotonic and cyclic loading have been conducted on building components in Indonesia, to determine the load-displacement capacity of local hand-made masonry wall panels and timber frames in order to: (1) evaluate the performance of masonry and timber frame structure, (2) investigate the dynamic behaviour of both structures, (3) observe the effect of in-plane stiffness and ductility level, and (4) examine the anchoring joint at the base of timber frame that resists the overturning moment. From these tests, the structural ductility was found to be less than two which is below the requirement of the relevant guidelines from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, USA (FEMA-306). It was also observed that the lateral stiffness of masonry wall is much higher than the equivalent timber frame of the same height and length. The experimental value of stiffness of the masonry wall panel was found to be one-twelfth of the recommended values given in FEMA-356 and the Canadian Building code. The masonry wall provides relatively low displacement compared to the large displacement of the timber frame at the full capacity level of lateral load, with structural framing members of the latter remaining intact. The weak point of the timber frame is the mechanical joint and the capacity of slip joint governs the lateral load capacity of the whole frame.Detailed numerical models of the experimental specimens were setup in Abaqus using three-dimensional solid elements. Cohesive elements were used to simulate the mortar behaviour, exhibiting cracking and the associated physical separation of the elements. Appropriate contact definitions were used where relevant, especially for the timber frame joints. A range of available material plasticity models were reviewed: Drucker-Prager, Crystalline Plasticity, and Cohesive Damage model. It was found that the combination of Crystalline Plasticity model for the brick unit and timber, and the Cohesive Damage model for the mortar is capable of simulating the experimental load-displacement behaviour fairly accurately. The validated numerical models have been used to (1) predict the lateral load capacity, (2) determine the cracking load and patterns, (3) carry out a detailed parametric study by changing the geometric and material properties different to the experimental specimens. The numerical models were used to assess different strengthening measures such as using bamboo as reinforcement in the masonry
Date of Award31 Dec 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorParthasarathi Mandal (Supervisor) & Thomas Swailes (Supervisor)


  • Structural Integrity (stiffness, strength, ductility), non-engineered structure: masonry and timber, dynamic response of structure, modification factor (R), ductility factor (q), base isolation system, monotonic and cyclic loading, monotonic and cyclic loading, Abaqus, UMAT-subroutine plasticity, XFEM, Crystal Plasticity, Drucker-Prager, Cohesive element damage model, fragility study: drift-base, pushover and time-history analysis, Tohoku 2011 earthquake, Sumatra 2004 earthquake, El-Centro earthquake, guideline for masonry and timber, PGA (0.1g, 0.25g, 1.0g)

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