Review of strength models for masonry spandrels
Many older unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings feature timber floors and solid brick masonry. Simple equivalent frame models can help predicting the expected failure mechanism and estimating the strength of a URM wall. When modelling a URM wall with an equivalent frame model rather than, for example, a more detailed simplified micro-model, the strengths of the piers and spandrels need to be estimated from mechanical or empirical models. Such models are readily available for URM piers, which have been tested in many different configurations. On the contrary, only few models for spandrel strength have been developed. This paper reviews these models, discusses their merits, faults and compares the predicted strength values to the results of recent experimental tests on masonry spandrels. Based on this assessment, the paper outlines recommendations for a new set of strength equations for masonry spandrels.