Mechanical modelling of the axial behaviour of traditional masonry wall metal tie connections in cavity walls

Onur Arslan, Francesco Messali, Eleni Smyrou, Ihsan Engin Bal, Jan Rots

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The seismic assessment of unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings with cavity walls is a relevant issue in many countries, such as in Central and Northern Europe, Australia, New Zealand, China and several other countries. A cavity wall consists of two separate parallel masonry walls (called leaves) connected by metal ties: an inner loadbearing wall and an outer veneer having mostly aesthetic and insulating functions. Cavity walls are particularly vulnerable structural elements. If the two leaves of the cavity wall are not properly connected, their out-of-plane strength may be significantly smaller than that of an equivalent solid wall with the same thickness.

The research presented in this paper focuses on a mechanical model developed to predict the failure mode and the strength capacity of metal tie connections in masonry cavity walls. The model considers six possible failures, namely tie failure, cone break-out failure, pull-out failure, buckling failure, piercing failure and punching failure. Tie failure is a predictable quantity when the possible failure modes can be captured. The mechanical model for the ties has been validated against the outcomes of an experimental campaign conducted earlier by the authors. The mechanical model is able to capture the mean peak force and the failure mode obtained from the tests. The mechanical model can be easily adopted by practising engineers who aim to model the wall ties accurately in order to assess the strength and behaviour of the structures against earthquakes. Furthermore, the proposed mechanical model is used to extrapolate the experimental results to untested configurations, by performing parametric analyses on key parameters including a higher strength mortar of the calcium silicate brick masonry, a different cavity depth, a different tie embedment depth, and solid versus perforated clay bricks.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalConstruction and Building Materials
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2021


  • ongewapend metselwerk
  • bestaande bakstenen metselwerkconstructies
  • spouwmuren
  • spouwanker
  • mechanische modellen
  • parametrische analyse


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