Limit state analysis of masonry domes

Irving J. Oppenheim, David J. Gunaratnam, Robert H. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Renaissance ogival domes of unreinforced stone masonry can be analyzed as structures of rigid material with no tensile strength. Solutions can be obtained for the static equilibrium of the structure; the results represent an extension or variant to membrane shell theory. A limiting shell thickness is found at which a kinematic collapse mechanism develops. The limit state analysis also identifies the role of hoop stress in permitting the construction of such a shell without centering. The analysis has its counterpart in a study published in 1742, that being the first modern structural analysis. The analysis procedure shows the clear relation between geometry (shell shape) and internal forces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)868-882
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Structural Engineering (United States)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Limit state analysis of masonry domes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this