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    A semi-random field finite element method to predict the maximum eccentric compressive load for masonry prisms
    An accurate prediction of the compressive strength of masonry is essential both for the analysis of existing structures and the construction of new masonry buildings. Since experimental material testing of individual masonry components (e.g., masonry unit and mortar joints) often produces highly variable results, this paper presents a numerical modelling based approach to address the associated uncertainty for the prediction of the maximum compressive load of masonry prisms. The method considers a numerical model to be semi-random for a masonry prism by adopting a Latin Hypercube simulation method used in conjunction with a parametric finite element model of the individual masonry prism. The proposed method is applied to two types of masonry prisms (hollow blocks and solid clay bricks), for which experimental testing was conducted as part of the 9th International Masonry Conference held at Guimarães in July 2014. A Class A prediction (presented before the tests were conducted) was generated for the two masonry prisms according to the proposed methodology, and the results were compared to the final experimental testing results. The root mean square deviation of the method for prediction of eccentric compressive strength of both types of prisms differed by only 2.2 KN, thereby demonstrating the potential for this probabilistic approach.
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