Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering

The influence of spandrel wall on masonry arch bridges

At a glance

Principal investigator:  Andrew Heath
Co-investigators: Pete Walker
Researcher: Junzhe Wang
Industry partner: Network Rail
Dates: 2010-2013


The main purpose of the project is to (a) improve knowledge of the underlying mechanism(s) that can lead to the failure of such walls, and (b) develop a method identifying the precursors to such failures.

The proposed research will investigate behaviour of spandrel walls to masonry arch railway bridges.

Work will include:

  1. Complete a literature review of (a) the failure of spandrel walls and masonry arch bridges, (b) full-scale tests undertaken on such structures, and (c) methods used to analyse the behaviour of such structures.
  2. Analyse the results of monitoring in-service spandrel walls on the rail network.
  3. Develop (a) a model of the behaviour of spandrel walls under loading, and (b) a method for identifying the precursors to the collapse of such walls.
  4. Develop a system for risk ranking spandrel walls; such a system shall be based on simple physical parameters - such as the geometry of the arch, and the ratio of the live and dead loads.