Spatial variability and sensitivity analysis on the compressive strength of hollow concrete block masonry wallettes

Fei Zhu, Qiang Zhou, Fenglai Wang, Xu Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


This probabilistic study investigates the effect of material uncertainties on the numerical analysis of masonry wallette axial compressive strength. Detailed micro-modeling techniques are adopted to model hollow concrete block masonry by separately describing the specific equations for material constituents (blocks and mortar) and block-mortar interfaces. A Latin hypercube sampling technique is used to generate random input variables from the empirical distribution functions of the material parameters. A quasi-static nonlinear analysis is then carried out using a Monte Carlo simulation to evaluate the effect of the spatial variability of material parameters on the compressive behavior of masonry wallettes. The results show that ignoring the spatial variability of material properties may cause a model to overestimate the probability of compression failure. Additionally, the independent and cooperative effects of the material parameters on masonry compressive strength are investigated using first order, second order, and total sensitivity indices. The numerical results indicate that block tensile strength influences masonry compressive strength the most. Several parameters for masonry compressive strength are also ranked in order of importance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-138
Number of pages10
JournalConstruction and Building Materials
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Global sensitivity analysis
  • Hollow concrete block
  • Material uncertainties
  • Probabilistic analysis
  • Sobol’ method
  • Spatial variability

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