Masonry wall collapse mechanism in earthquakes

Study level


Vacation research experience scheme

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Hossein Derakhshan
Research Fellow (DECRA)
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


It is known that masonry walls have a very limited cracking strength but they have significant post-cracking stability. These walls usually crack in the event of a significant earthquake but will have some level of stable rocking response. If that capacity is also exceeded, they will collapse as happened in recent 2010-2011 New Zealand earthquakes.

This project has been defined to use an existing commercial rocking analysis software (Working Model) to define collapse mechanisms in two-storey or higher masonry buildings.

Research activities

  • A brief literature review on the use of Working model to analyze rocking response of blocks
  • A brief literature review on rocking response of masonry walls and affecting parameters
  • Learning to work with Working Model through published tutorials
  • Analysis of systems representing two-storey masonry walls through a parametric study framework
  • Further interpretation of the analysis results


  • Defined masonry wall collapse mechanisms and affecting factors

Skills and experience

Students with structural engineering background are encouraged to apply



Contact the supervisor for more information.