Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil Engineering

Committee Member

Dr. Sez Atamturktur, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Brandon Ross

Committee Member

Dr. John Sanders

Committee Member

Dr. Qiushi Chen


This dissertation aims at describing and examining the compressive and out-of-plane behavior and failure patterns of mortarless masonry prisms and walls through experimental tests and numerical models. In addition, the thermal performance of various masonry units is investigated through detailed thermo-fluid dynamic models to contribute to the masonry construction knowledge base. Studies on the behavior of masonry systems are fundamental to understanding their structural and thermal performance. One of the variations of this type of construction is dry-stack masonry, i.e., units laid without mortar between the joints. Despite reducing the time and cost of construction, mortarless construction has not gained widespread acceptance as a viable alternative to mortared masonry because the mechanical behavior of the mortarless system is not yet fully understood. To address this knowledge gap, this research developed numerical models to compare their response under compressive and out-of-plane loads with experimental tests. The validated structural numerical models of mortarless masonry prisms and reinforced mortarless walls are then used to predict and thoroughly examine the effects of design parameters. The mortarless prisms in these models included variations in the surface roughness between the units. These models revealed that both the stress distribution and failure pattern depended on the unit strength, the condition of the surface in contact between the units, and the grout strength for grouted prisms. The mortarless walls studied here included grout and steel reinforcement within the cells. In these walls, the load-carrying capacity, the displacement ductility, and the failure patterns were examined based on variations in the unit and grout compressive strength, yield strength, and reinforcement and grouting ratios. The thermal response of masonry units also merits further study to better understand the behavior of standard units as well as thermally efficient unit configurations. In this research, validated numerical models were used to evaluate the heat flow path, the distribution of temperatures, and the air velocities within the units. The results revealed the importance of including the three heat transfer mechanisms and the air flow within the cells of masonry units to better approximate the experimental thermal performance.



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