Luca Pelà

Luca Pelà
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya | UPC · Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

PhD, MEng(Hons), BEng(Hons)

About

114
Publications
94,909
Reads
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2,659
Citations
Citations since 2016
70 Research Items
2257 Citations
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Introduction
Associate Professor at UPC-BarcelonaTech, Ph.D. in Structural Analysis (2009) and Civil Engineer (2005). My scientific research focuses on numerical models for the nonlinear FE analysis of masonry structures (macro, micro and multi-scale), structural behaviour of historical churches and cathedrals, seismic risk assessment and resilience of urban areas, experimental characterisation of masonry by laboratory and in-situ NDT/MDT techniques, structural health monitoring, strengthening with TRM-SRG
Additional affiliations
October 2011 - November 2015
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
January 2010 - October 2011
University of Bologna
Position
  • PostDoc Position
January 2006 - March 2009
Università degli Studi di Ferrara
Position
  • PhD
Education
September 2002 - March 2005
Università degli Studi di Ferrara
Field of study
  • Civil Engineering
September 1999 - October 2002
Università degli Studi di Ferrara
Field of study
  • Civil Engineering

Publications

Publications (114)
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents a management tool for the large-scale assessment and mitigation of the seismic risk of urban systems. The research introduces a new perspective for a scientifically tackled holistic approach. The proposed methodology considers multiple objectives, from the identification of the most vulnerable buildings whose collapse may hinder...
Article
Full-text available
The importance of crack propagation in the structural behaviour of concrete and masonry structures has led to the development of a wide range of finite element methods for crack simulation. A common standpoint in many of them is the use of tracking algorithms , which identify and designate the location of cracks within the analysed structure. In th...
Article
Full-text available
The accuracy of the Equivalent Frame Method (EFM) in modelling the seismic non-linear behaviour of unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings is investigated for regular walls (i.e. walls with regular openings' distribution) with different pier-to-spandrel geometrical relations. The developed EFM is composed of pier and spandrel elements with spread plas...
Article
Full-text available
The assessment of historical structures requires appropriate knowledge of the behaviour of the investigated materials. Concerning masonry, its mechanical characterisation is a challenging task, since its composite nature requires the careful evaluation of the behaviour of its material components. In particular, the experimental assessment of the st...
Article
Full-text available
In-plane cyclic loading of masonry walls induces a complex failure pattern composed of multiple diagonal shear cracks, as well as flexural cracks. The realistic modelling of such induced localized cracking necessitates the use of costly direct numerical simulations with detailed information on both the properties and geometry of masonry components....
Article
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Widely used simplified analytical methods for estimating the tensile force in tie-rods are clearly not applicable when they contain significant discontinuities or irregularities. A common example for which this fact becomes relevant in practice is the use of connectors to unify historical ties consisting of several segments. To address this challen...
Article
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Masonry is a composite material often modeled as an equivalent homogenous material. However, the complexity of its micro-structure leads to complex mechanical responses, which are almost impossible to capture accurately with homogenous constitutive models. Micro-modeling can be used in these scenarios, allowing for the explicit modeling of microstr...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper presents an experimental study focused on the mechanical performance of retrofitted brick masonry walls under in-plane cyclic shear test. The specimens were tested in two configurations: unreinforced and retrofitted with Basalt Textile Reinforced Mortar (BTRM). The experimental programme aimed to study the suitability and efficiency of t...
Article
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The type of floor system has a decisive role in the seismic performance of unreinforced masonry buildings. The in-plane stiffness of the floors has to be adequately represented in the numerical modelling of existing buildings, as it can influence their seismic capacity. This paper investigates the seismic behaviour of one-way arch floor systems com...
Article
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A study is presented on the use of a non-standard 40 × 40 × 40 mm 3 specimen for the experimental measurement of the compressive strength of solid fired clay bricks extracted from existing masonry buildings. The viability of such specimen has been assessed by comparison with experimental results obtained with the standard 100 × 100 × 40 mm 3 specim...
Article
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Existing heritage buildings are often composed of diverse materials and structural typologies, representing a challenge for structural analysis tasks. This work investigates the combined use of simple Lumped Plasticity Models (LPM) and macro-mechanical Finite Element (FE) approaches to evaluate the seismic response of structures composed of timber...
Article
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Recent research on the mechanical characterisation of Steel Reinforced Grout (SRG) has highlighted its excellent performance as strengthening solutions for masonry structures. Using SRG with limited fabric density ensures a good textile-matrix interlocking, preventing at the same time the failure due to slippage or debonding from the substrate. Thi...
Article
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This article compares the results obtained from the analyses of seven two-story masonry walls with an asymmetric arrangement of the openings. The walls are modelled with finite elements detailed micromodels and equivalent frame models. The equivalent frame model reliability is evaluated by comparing the results obtained with the two modelling strat...
Article
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Compressive tests on clay tiles used in historical masonry timbrel vaults are hindered by the relatively small thickness of the specimens, resulting in buckling or confinement problems depending on the loading direction. This paper presents an experimental campaign and a numerical validation of a novel testing setup for estimating the compressive s...
Article
Full-text available
This paper reports an experimental programme on masonry walls composed of handmade solid clay brick and hydraulic lime mortar. Reversed cyclic shear compression tests were carried out on the walls in three different configurations: unreinforced, repaired and retrofitted, and just retrofitted. Damaged walls were repaired and retrofitted with Basalt...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
European historical city centers are particularly prone to natural disasters. This is due to the fragility of structures that often times do not comply with seismic codes; the high constructions’ density that causes induced damage; and the historical relevance of buildings that makes difficult the enacting of mitigation strategies. In Italy, major...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Existing heritage buildings are often composed of diverse structural typologies, representing a challenge for structural analysis. This work investigates the use of nonlinear static analysis to assess the seismic behaviour of hybrid timber-masonry buildings. The proposed methodology includes the use of Lumped Plasticity Models (LPM) and Macro-Mecha...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
As one of the main historical construction materials, masonry is abundant among the architectural heritage of earthquake-prone areas of the Mediterranean countries. Earthquake mitigation approaches are now focusing on strengthening solutions based on compatible and environmentally friendly repair materials. These solutions should efficiently improv...
Article
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This paper presents a procedure for the extension of the Vulnerability Index Method (VIM) to the seismic assessment of hybrid timber–masonry buildings. The research is based on the execution of a detailed numerical study of this peculiar structural typology to identify the classes and calibrate the scores assigned to influential vulnerability param...
Article
Full-text available
The prediction of the structural capacity of masonry buildings against lateral loads requires an accurate characterization of the masonry strength and general response under shear stresses. The experimental determination of shear strength parameters typically relies on shear tests on wallettes, or on standard triplets. Aiming to avoid the behaviour...
Article
Full-text available
The masonry tensile strength and shear modulus play a key role in the definition of the shear capacity of masonry structures. These properties are often determined experimentally by means of the diagonal compression test on square walls, which is regulated by the ASTM E519 standard. In spite of its wide use, the interpretation of the test is still...
Article
Full-text available
Experts responsible for the safety evaluation of unique masonry heritage structures usually need to weigh information from various diagnosis activities before deciding the best course of action for preservation. Typical sources of valuable information are historical and in situ surveys and inspections, minor and non-destructive testing, structural...
Conference Paper
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This paper presents an experimental campaign carried out in an historical industrial building of Barcelona from the 19 th century, considering in-situ and laboratory minor destructive testing (MDT) techniques. The results obtained showed a good relationship between the in-situ MDT techniques and the tests carried out in the laboratory. The experime...
Article
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In this paper, the reconstruction process of a town affected by the 2012 Northern Italy Earthquake is analysed using information published on the town journal. Relevant aspects are highlighted, and the housing recovery is compared with that of a nearby city. Then, a what-if scenario is considered, by proposing a set of seismic mitigation strategies...
Conference Paper
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This paper focuses on the application of composite materials to improve the in-plane shear strength of existing brick masonry walls. The experimental program involved the construction of walls composed of handmade solid clay brick and hydraulic lime mortar joints, a recurrent typology for historical buildings in the Mediterranean countries. The wal...
Article
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Different brick masonry typologies have been and are still widely used in construction worldwide. Despite being a fundamental deformation property, experimentally determining the static elastic modulus in compression for brick masonry constituents remains a challenging task. Static modulus estimates usually show much larger dispersion than those in...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents the systematic use of numerical analysis as a tool for addressing some of the most common challenges encountered in the structural analysis of complex historical masonry structures, i.e. the description of the effects of history-related phenomena and the uncertainty of material properties. The numerical strategy is based on the...
Article
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Masonry heritage structures are often affected by slow irreversible deterioration mechanisms that can jeopardise structural stability in the foreseeable future. Static structural health monitoring (SHM), aimed at the continuous measurement of key slow‐varying parameters, has the potential to identify such mechanisms at a very early stage. This can...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Static structural health monitoring (SHM), aimed at the continuous measurement of slow-varying parameters over a long period, has been proved to be a powerful tool to support the diagnosis of masonry heritage structures. In such applications, the initial interpretation task involves the identification of evolutionary conditions from recorded data....
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents an experimental study of the structural behaviour of masonry walls retrofitted with Textile Reinforced Mortar (TRM) to improve their in-plane shear strength and deformation capacity. The experimental programme consists in diagonal compression testing of ten specimens of clay brick and lime mortar masonry retrofitted with three d...
Article
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This paper presents an experimental programme aimed at investigating the use of limestone filler additions to modify the mechanical properties of commercial premixed hydraulic lime based mortars. The influence of adding recycled limestone filler was evaluated from the mechanical point of view, i.e. by comparing the experimental compressive and flex...
Article
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This paper proposes the use of multiple nonlinear static analyses for the seismic assessment of irregular masonry buildings without box behavior. The methodology consists in executing a series of sequential pushover analyses on the spatial model of the building by rotating the horizontal loading direction from 0° to 360°. The so-called multi direct...
Article
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This research presents an experimental and numerical study focusing on the compression test of cylindrical samples core drilled from existing masonry walls. This method is suitable for the minor destructive assessment of the mechanical properties of historical masonry, like that composed of aerial lime mortar joints and solid clay bricks. This part...
Article
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This paper presents the results of an experimental programme about the evaluation of the size effect on the compressive behaviour of cylindrical samples of existing masonry. The study focuses on the in-situ coring and experimental testing of core specimens with 150 mm and 90 mm diameter. The 150 mm cylinder, recurrent in minor destructive evaluatio...
Article
Full-text available
This work presents a probabilistic method to assess the seismic vulnerability of historical masonry structures, such as churches or cathedrals, including uncertainty analysis of the material parameters. The proposed approach considers the pushover analysis using the finite element method for the structural evaluation of the seismic behaviour of mas...
Article
Full-text available
When subjected to dynamic loading, materials can exhibit a mechanical behaviour quite different from its static counterpart. The evaluation of dynamic properties is thus very useful in the assessment of existing masonry structures. This paper presents results of an experimental campaign to determine both the dynamic Young's modulus and the shear mo...
Article
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This research presents an experimental programme on the mechanical characterization of masonry under monotonic and cyclic uniaxial compression. Two different types of standard specimens, running bond walls and stack bond prisms, were built using handmade clay bricks and hydraulic lime mortar. The experimental results are compared and discussed in t...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Existing heritage structures are frequently composed of diverse masonry typologies, corresponding either to various structural members (e.g. arches, walls, piers) or to additions constructed in different eras. The identification of the material properties of the different masonry typologies is usually demanding due to the high cost of the necessary...
Conference Paper
The mechanical characterization of masonry is of paramount importance for the structural assessment of historical constructions against both vertical and horizontal actions. In particular, the compressive strength of masonry is normally regarded as a critical parameter for structural analysis. However, an accurate determination of the mechanical pr...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Macro-models are a common choice for the numerical analysis of large-scale masonry structures. Despite their efficiency in terms of pre-processing and computational cost, these strategies often result in a poor representation of cracking, not properly localized and biased by the finite element mesh orientation. This work presents a remedy to the pr...
Article
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Building survey is an essential data-collection procedure to feed large-scale seismic vulnerability assessment. The available strategies usually consider survey forms to gather information about the urban buildings. The application of the available survey forms poses important challenges for the case of the heterogeneous urban centers including dif...
Article
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A novel damage mechanics-based continuous micro-model for the analysis of masonry-walls is presented and compared with other two well-known discrete micro-models. The discrete micro-models discretize masonry micro-structure with nonlinear interfaces for mortar-joints, and continuum elements for units. The proposed continuous micro-model discretizes...
Article
Full-text available
Finite element macro-modelling approaches are widely used for the analysis of large-scale masonry structures. Despite their efficiency, they still face two important challenges: the realistic representation of damage and a reasonable independency of the numerical results to the used discretization. In this work, the classical smeared crack approach...
Article
Full-text available
The Equivalent-Frame Method (EFM), a simplified procedure for structural modelling of masonry constructions, is having a great success for the good balance that it allows between the accuracy of the geometrical description and the simplicity of the mechanical calibration. Despite the widespread use of EFM in scientific and professional field, some...