From the others, we obtained cylindrical samples that were used to determine uniaxial compression strength, uniaxial tensile strength and density (it turns out to be 2618 kg/m3).

As well as these partially destructive tests, sclero-metric, direct and indirect ultrasonic tests were carried out (non-destructive tests).

The extensive experimental campaign aims to obtain a statistical characterization of mechanical parameters and, possibly, to identify local defects in the steps.

Considering the age of the structure and the material, which the stairs are made up of (not commonly used in modern constructions), this kind of analysis was considered essential to preserve these attractive buildings in their original form and, at the same time, to ensure a suitable safety level.

4.1 Test set-up and data processing

For the sake of brevity, in the following, only the tests that were used to define numerical analysis parameters are reported. Setup, data processing and results of these tests are described.

4.1.1 Compression tests

The cylindrical samples were subjected to compression test to identify the uniaxial strength. The failure point is the loss of proportionality between the constant load increment and the deformation.

In Table 2, uniaxial compression strength, diameter and length for each sample are reported.

4.1.2 Indirect tensile tests ("Brazilian" tests)

In order to estimate the ultimate tensile strength, the so-called "Brazilian tests" were performed, according to UNI EN 12390-6/2000. These tests are based on the fact that a cylinder subjected to a line load on two opposite diameters will break due to the orthogonal tensile strength (Fig. 8).

Figure 8. Test setup according to UNI EN 12390-6/2000.
Table 3. Results of indirect tensile tests.


Diameter (cm)

Length (cm)

fc (MPa)

Slab 1/1A

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