Special minisymposium - MuRiCo7-MS01

Advanced computational models of Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP) materials applied to masonry structures.

Elisa Bertolesi (Brunel University London, UK)
Mizi Fan (Brunel University London, UK)
Gabriele Milani (Politecnico di Milano, Italy)
Ernesto Grande (Guglielmo Marconi University, Italy)
Bahman Ghiassi (University of Nottingham, UK)
Antonio Maria D'Altri (University of Bologna, Italy)
Stefano de Miranda (University of Bologna, Italy)

Fiber Reinforced Polymers have been extensively used for years as a strengthening solution of brittle substrates. Their versatility is confirmed by their extensive use coupled with various construction materials (i.e. metallic, concrete, and masonry structures). Despite their spreading in various civil engineering-related disciplines, the scientific debate is still open on important aspects, such as the lack of consensus which exists among different international guidelines on the parametric dependence between support properties and final FRP bond quality. Focusing on FRP-to-masonry strengthening solutions, the support heterogeneity and variability, deeply impact the adhesion quality which, turns out to affect the final performance of the strengthening intervention. This aspect, as well as many others, has not been sufficiently addressed by the current guidelines and therefore the adoption of FRP materials in practice is still strongly linked to empirical observations. The mini-symposium aims to bring together international experts in this field and create a communication channel between academic and commercial organizations, sharing new developments and promoting the exchange of ideas. Potential topics of interest include but are not limited to: Advanced finite element modeling of FRP applied to masonry supports, Fracture mechanics of FRP composites subject to deboning failures, Experimental and numerical studies of FRP reinforced structures at the local and global scales, Analytical or semi-analytical approaches and finally New perspectives for the design of FRP strengthening solutions. 

Special minisymposium - MuRiCo7-MS02

Mechanical behavior of masonry elements strengthened by inorganic matrix composites 


Francesca Ferretti (University of Bologna, Italy)
Claudio Mazzotti  (University of Bologna, Italy)
Gian Piero Lignola (Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II)

The use of Fiber Reinforced Cementitious Matrix (FRCM) or Steel Reinforced Grouts (SRG) for the structural strengthening of existing masonry constructions has become widespread in recent years, especially in seismic prone countries. Significant research has been devoted to the mechanical characterization of these composite materials, given the great variety in terms of fiber and mortar matrix typologies. Moreover, experimental campaigns have been conducted with the aim of studying the mechanical behavior of full-scale strengthened masonry elements and of evaluating the efficiency of the strengthening systems in improving their capacity. The experimental evidence, often supported by numerical analyses, provided the basis for the definition of design criteria and formulations, recently included in Standards and Guidelines.

The mini-symposium aims at sharing knowledge and experience among researchers about, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • strengthening interventions for the improvement of the in-plane and out-of-plane behavior of masonry structural elements;
  • experimental procedures for the mechanical characterization of composite systems;
  • experimental campaigns on full-scale masonry elements strengthened by inorganic matrix composites;
  • numerical simulations in support of experimental tests;
  • analytical formulations and design criteria.

Special minisymposium - MuRiCo7-MS03

Composites materials for Cultural Heritage: principles and practices of restoration


Eva Coisson (University of Parma, Italy)
Lia Ferrari 
(University of Parma, Italy)
Paolo Faccio (IUAV, Italy)
Maria Rosa Valluzzi (University of Padua, Italy)

Cultural Heritage always requires a careful approach for its restoration, also from a structural point of view. Indeed, strengthening historical structures implies a reflection about both technical and cultural issues involved in the conservation process. This attitude also concerns composite materials, whose application in the field of architectural restoration has rapidly increased, supplying structural restorers with an effective additional tool, both for first aid and long-term strengthening interventions on ancient buildings. But the starting point of any intervention on historic structures should always be the recognition of the structural resources of the building and the identification of its possible vulnerabilities, rather than the choice of a specific technology. Undeniably, new technologies and materials are constantly improving their performances and increasing the opportunities for effective interventions, but a scientific debate about the artistic, historical, and, more generally, cultural implications of choosing such reinforcement techniques is fundamental for the aware and critic application to cultural heritage, also considering and analyzing the effectiveness of the applications observed in the last decades.

The mini-symposium intends therefore to discuss principles and practices of strengthening cultural heritage with composites materials. To this aim, scholars, researchers, and stakeholders are invited to sharing their knowledge and experience, reflecting on a possible suitable approach that, starting from the comprehension of the building behavior, inspects the possible technological solutions and aims at finding the best equilibrium among the operative and theoretical issues for the specific case.

Special minisymposium - MuRiCo7-MS04

Seismic assessment and retrofitting of masonry structures with composite materials

Clementi Francesco (Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy,
Lenci Stefano (Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy,
Mendes Nuno (Universidade do Minho, Guimaraes, Portugal,
Oliveira Daniel V. (Universidade do Minho, Guimaraes, Portugal,

Existing masonry structures represent one of the most important seismic safety concerns worldwide. Such structures are prone to significant structural and non-structural damage, which may lead to collapses when subjected to medium-to-strong ground shaking. This have resulted in numerous fatalities and significant economic losses over the years, promoting the development of seismic assessment and retrofit procedures.

Recent lessons learned regarding reconstruction/retrofitting processes pointed out the need for brand new, practical, and cost-effective seismic strengthening solutions. Over the past three decades, several techniques emerged, and the rehabilitation of existing structures has been increasingly involving the use of innovative materials and techniques such as Fiber-Reinforced Polymers (FRP) and Fiber Reinforced Cementitious Matrix (FRCM), also known as Textile Reinforced Matrix (TRM). In the latter, the epoxy resin is replaced by inorganic material (cementitious or lime-based mortar) for binding the fibers to the substrate, providing optimal compatibility when applied to masonry structures.

Accordingly, this mini-symposium is focused on experimental evaluation and numerical analysis of the effects of those strengthening methods on masonry buildings. The topics are extended to the evaluation of the global mechanical behavior of masonry structures (plain or strengthened), the analysis of local mechanisms influenced (or not) by the bond behavior, the adoption of adequate analytical and/or numerical models for the simulation of the composite material behavior on global numerical models with both continuous and discontinuous approaches.

In this context, the mini-symposium intends to attract scholars, researchers, and stakeholders dealing with seismic repair and retrofit of masonry structures with composite materials.

Special minisymposium - MuRiCo7-MS05

Natural Fibres Composites for Structural Strengthening of Constructions


Lluis Gil Espert (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya BarcelonaTech UPC, Spain)
Ernest Bernat (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya BarcelonaTech UPC, Spain)
Nicholas Fantuzzi (University of Bologna, Italy)
Luisa Molari (University of Bologna, Italy)
Vincent Placet (University Bourgogne Franche-Comté, France)

Natural fibres have been used in the construction industry from the very beginning. Materials like steel and concrete played a dominant role in the construction industry. Due to sustainable commitments, it is mandatory to recover these materials to fulfil the environmental requirements of novel strengthening solutions based on composite materials and to foster the ecological transition towards a green circular economy.

The main aim of this mini-symposium is to discuss the newest developments on composites that include natural fibres and are oriented to strengthen construction structures.

We aim to promote an intense debate about the most controversial issues on the matter like durability, real sustainability of these composites, performance as strengthening systems, range of applicability, etc.

The scope of this mini-symposium includes but is not limited to:

  • FRP, FRCM or TRM strengthening materials based on natural fibres: mechanical response, interaction with masonry or concrete substrate, durability, creep, fatigue, etc.

  • Calculation tools (analytical, numerical) to model sustainable composites and their applications.

  • Previous treatment of the natural fibres to be used in composite systems for strengthening structures.

  • Analysis of the orientation of the future codes and standards in reference to the use of natural fibres in strengthening composites.

  • Case studies of the application of sustainable composites for structural strengthening

Special minisymposium - MuRiCo7-MS06

Special minisymposium - MuRiCo7-MS06

Advances in the Study of Durability of Fiber Reinforced Materials and Systems for Structural Strengthening


Maria Antonietta Aiello (University of Salento, Italy)
Catherine Papanicolaou (University of Patras, Greece)
Francesco Micelli (University of Salento, Italy)
Stefano De Santis (University of RomaTre, Italy)
Annalisa Franco (Italian National Research Council, CNR, Italy)
Luciano Ombres (University of Calabria, Italy)
Giovanni Castellazzi (University of Bologna, Italy)

In the last decade, a significant amount of research work has been produced in the field of structural strengthening with a new generation of fiber-reinforced materials, typically known as FRCM (Fabric-Reinforced Cementitious Matrix Systems), or TRM (Textile reinforced Mortars), realized by fiber meshes embedded in a cement-or-lime based mortar. Referring to masonry strengthening a hybrid system has also been proposed and used in the forms of Composite Reinforced Mortar (CRM); this consists of a cementitious/lime matrix in which an FRP rigid grid is immersed. Most of the information available at the moment on these new materials and strengthening systems/techniques are pertinent to their short-term behavior; thus, it appears necessary to assess their long-term structural efficiency under various environmental exposure conditions and combinations thereof.
This mini-symposium will provide a unique opportunity for end-users, contractors, consultants, engineers firms, manufacturers, and researchers to exchange up-to-date knowledge on the durability of fiber-reinforced materials and systems used for structural strengthening, focusing on constituent materials, standalone inorganic composites, and composite/substrate interface. The session will welcome innovative original papers and presentations by Public Authorities, Universities, Research Centres, Companies, and Free-lance Consultants involved in the field.


  • State of the Art and gap analysis
  • Experimental studies on materials, systems, interfaces, strengthened structures
  • Prediction of long-term durability and modeling for materials and strengthened structures
  • Durability test methods
  • Design approaches for durable FRP/FRCM/CRM strengthened structures
  • Case studies and durability data
  • Structural monitoring of durability performance in field applications

Special minisymposium - MuRico7-MS07

Vibration-Based Assessment, SHM, and NDT of Masonry Structures


Michele Betti (Università degli Studi di Firenze, Firenze, Italy)
Francesco Clementi (Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy)
Carmelo Gentile (Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy)
Filippo Ubertini (Università degli Studi di Perugia, Perugia, Italy)

Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) and Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) are strategic procedures for the non-invasive assessment of the health state of Existing Masonry Structures (EMSs) and Infrastructures (EMIs). These structures, being designed without contemporary criteria, when subjected to medium-to-strong exceptional load conditions can exhibit significant structural and non-structural damage, and even collapse.

In this context, the mini-symposium would focus the attention on all the opportunities of SHM and NDT in a hazardous environment to also define adequate remedial measures. The mini-symposium is intended to attract scholars, researchers, and stakeholders dealing with monitoring techniques, computational methods for damage identification, open research issues, and case studies.

Topics to be covered, but not limited to, are: vibration-based post-earthquake and seismic assessment; vibration-based tuning of FE model; multi-disciplinary strategies of preventive conservation and SHM (involving vibration testing and/or continuous monitoring); design, implementation, and management of dynamic monitoring systems; effects of environmental and operational variability on modal parameters; vibration-based SHM strategies under changing environment and/or operational conditions.

Special minisymposium - MuRico7-MS08

Open issues on the stress transfer process at the reinforcement-masonry interface

Christian Carloni (Case Western Reserve University, USA)
Pierluigi Colombi (Politecnico di Milano, Italy)
Tommaso D'Antino (Politecnico di Milano, Italy)
Francesco Focacci (University eCampus, Italy)

When fiber-reinforced composite materials are used as internal or externally bonded reinforcement of existing or new masonry structures, the bond mechanism represents a key aspect to assure the effectiveness of the system. The bond mechanism describes the stress-transfer between the composite and the substrate and allows for understanding the behavior of the structural element, which in turn makes the formulation of reliable design models possible.

This Mini-Symposium is focused on the study of the bond mechanism of organic- and inorganic-matrix composites applied to masonry structures. Experimental, analytical, and numerical contributions aimed at increasing the body of knowledge on the stress-transfer mechanism (between the fibers and the matrix and the matrix and the substrate) and its modeling for various composite materials are within the scope of the Mini-Symposium.

Composite materials that are of particular interest in this Mini-Symposium are fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP), fiber-reinforced cementitious matrix (FRCM), textile-reinforced mortar (TRM), and steel-reinforced grout (SRG) composites.