Strengthening with advanced composites 

Seismic retrofitting with Textile Reinforced Mortars




Masonry walls are particularly vulnerable against out-of-plane seismic actions. Steel tie-bars can prevent their overturning, but collapse may take place also by bending, leaf separation or disaggregation. Textile Reinforced Mortar (TRM) composites, recently developed and made available in the marked, can be integrated with traditional techniques in compliance with the preservation criteria required for applications to historic structures, and improve their seismic capacity.

A shake table test was carried out on two full-scale wall specimens, one made of two leaves of rubble stones and one of regular tuff blocks. The walls were tested unreinforced, then repaired and strengthened with TRMs, and tested again. A bidirectional basalt mesh was applied over the entire surface of the stone wall, while a unidirectional textile of ultra high tensile strength steel was used on the tuff wall. Both textiles were installed with a lime based mortar.

The walls were provided with a reinforced brickwork top beam, whose horizontal displacement was constrained to avoid overturning and induce out-of-plane vertical bending under seismic base motion. Five natural accelerograms, recorded during recent strong earthquakes, were applied in both horizontal and vertical direction with increasing scale factor up to collapse. The specimens were monitored with accelerometers and with a high-resolution 3D motion capture system, which measured the spatial displacements of several spherical wireless markers and perform advanced dynamic characterization analyses.

The tests provided information on the influence of TRM compoistes in terms of acceleration and displacement capacity, failure modes, damage development and dynamic properties.

This study is carried out within a Research Project funded by the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs “Composites with inorganic matrix for sustainable strengthening of architectural heritage”. Web page of the Project.


Key publications on this topic

  • De Santis S, De Canio G, de Felice G, Fantauzzi D, Focaccetti E, Roselli I. Seismic out-of-plane vertical bending behaviour of masonry walls reinforced with textile reinforced mortars. Proc. Int. Conf. IMC 2018, 10th International Masonry Conference. Milan, Italy, 9-11 July 2018. ISSN: 2523‐532X.


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Photo & Video Gallery


Shake Table Test on the Unreinforced Stone Wall – Test #20/20

  • Seismic input: L’Aquila Earthquake, 06/04/2009
  • Record Station: L’Aquila (AQV)
  • Scale factor: 0.75
  • Horizontal PGA: 0.525g


Shake Table Test on the Unreinforced Tuff Wall – Test #31/31

  • Seismic input: L’Aquila Earthquake, 06/04/2009
  • Record Station: L’Aquila (AQV)
  • Scale factor: 1.25
  • Horizontal PGA: 0.863g


Shake Table Test on the Stone Wall Retrofitted with Basalt TRM – Test #28/28

  • Seismic input: Amatrice Earthquake, 24/08/2016
  • Record Station: Amatrice (AMT)
  • Scale factor: 1.75
  • Horizontal PGA: 0.665g


Shake Table Test on the Tuff Wall Retrofitted with SRG – Test #38/41

  • Seismic input: Umbria-Marche Earthquake, 26/09/1997
  • Record Station: Nocera Umbra (NCR)
  • Scale factor: 2.25
  • Horizontal PGA: 1.784g