Masonry is one of the oldest methods of construction, but has lost nothing of its attractiveness and use in modern times. The behavior of this heterogeneous and anisotropic material is determined by the interaction of stone (brick, quarry stone, natural stone, etc.) and joints (open, mortar, glued, etc.). The behavior and performance of masonry structures under load is characterized by complex deformation and failure mechanisms involving different forms of stone and joint failure and interactions.
Modern numerical simulations can provide reliable assessments of the performance as well as potential failure processes (i.e., collapse) of masonry structures. Due to the nature of these structures—with the possibility of discrete dislocations and rotations—the discrete element method (DEM) is well suited for modeling them. The software UDEC and 3DEC developed by Itasca offer unique simulation possibilities for historical buildings (bridges, churches, medieval buildings, walls, etc.), as well as for modern masonry structures. Due to the explicit method of calculation, dynamic events (e.g., earthquake vibrations, or shocks) can be well captured. Successful consulting projects and R&D projects have been carried out for both historic buildings and modern construction.