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Compressive strength and elasticity of pure lime mortar masonry


The procedure and findings of an experimental campaign for the mechanical characterization of brick masonry with lime mortar joints are presented. The campaign includes the determination of the properties of the constituent materials and of the resulting masonry composite. The masonry consisted of masonry stack bond prisms made of solid clay bricks and two types of pure lime/sand mortars, material combinations which correspond to the vast majority of historical and existing masonry structures. The paper includes a discussion on the ratio between the elastic modulus and the compressive strength of the masonry constituents and the comparison of these ratios with the ones suggested in design codes. The implications of this comparison are discussed in the context of interventions on historical masonry structures using modern and traditional materials.

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E u :

Young’s modulus of units

E m :

Young’s modulus of mortar

E c :

Young’s modulus of masonry

f cu :

Uniaxial compressive strength of units

f cm :

Uniaxial compressive strength of mortar

f c,exp :

Experimentally derived compressive strength of masonry

f flex,u :

Flexural strength of units

f tu :

Tensile strength of units

f flex,m :

Flexural strength of mortar

ν u :

Poisson’s ratio of units

h u :

Height of units

l u :

Length of units

t u :

Width of units

h m :

Thickness of mortar bed joint


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The present study has been supported by funding procured through the SUBTIS project (Study of the Sensitivity of Urban Buildings to Tunneling Induced Settlements, BIA2009-13233) funded by Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia and the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund).

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Correspondence to Anastasios Drougkas.

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Drougkas, A., Roca, P. & Molins, C. Compressive strength and elasticity of pure lime mortar masonry. Mater Struct 49, 983–999 (2016).

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  • Lime mortar
  • Brick masonry
  • Compressive strength
  • Young’s modulus
  • Experimental data