The Narthex of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is about six meters wide and as long as the facade of the Church, approximately 24 m. It is covered by five cross vaults and internally divided by three walls perpendicular to the façade. The vaults have been since many years in a dangerous state of degradation and the façade wall appears to be strongly rotated outwards, with a maximum horizontal displacement at the top of about 40 cm. The central cross vault in particular is heavily damaged. There have been numerous attempts over time to identify the causes of such a damage, but none of them has given until now a satisfying answer. Some restorations now in progress are giving significant contributions to a more precise insight into the construction features of the cross vaults and their effects on the walls, by means of archival sources, in-situ inspections of the subsoil and detailed laser scanner surveys of the whole Narthex. All such data allow to advance some hypotheses about the possible causes of the damage occurred. This paper aims at providing a finite element validation of such hypotheses by means of advanced non-linear simulations capable of reproducing the damage evolution up to the current configuration. Both pushover and non-linear dynamic simulations with damaging materials are performed. The results of the analyses fit well with the actual deformed configuration and prove that the numerical simulations carried out can be considered as a useful tool to validate the assumptions made and to have, at the same time, a quantitative insight into the strengthening to be done during the rehabilitation process.

Structural damage of the Nativity Church Narthex: full 3D FE approach

ALESSANDRI, Claudio;
2015

Abstract

The Narthex of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is about six meters wide and as long as the facade of the Church, approximately 24 m. It is covered by five cross vaults and internally divided by three walls perpendicular to the façade. The vaults have been since many years in a dangerous state of degradation and the façade wall appears to be strongly rotated outwards, with a maximum horizontal displacement at the top of about 40 cm. The central cross vault in particular is heavily damaged. There have been numerous attempts over time to identify the causes of such a damage, but none of them has given until now a satisfying answer. Some restorations now in progress are giving significant contributions to a more precise insight into the construction features of the cross vaults and their effects on the walls, by means of archival sources, in-situ inspections of the subsoil and detailed laser scanner surveys of the whole Narthex. All such data allow to advance some hypotheses about the possible causes of the damage occurred. This paper aims at providing a finite element validation of such hypotheses by means of advanced non-linear simulations capable of reproducing the damage evolution up to the current configuration. Both pushover and non-linear dynamic simulations with damaging materials are performed. The results of the analyses fit well with the actual deformed configuration and prove that the numerical simulations carried out can be considered as a useful tool to validate the assumptions made and to have, at the same time, a quantitative insight into the strengthening to be done during the rehabilitation process.
2015
978-88-97752-55-4
masonry church, case study, non-linear static and dynamic simulations
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/2336261
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