A combination of terrestrial laser-scanning point clouds and the thrust network analysis approach for structural modelling of masonry vaults

Maria Grazia D'Urso, Valerio Manzari, Barbara Marana


Terrestrial laser-scanning (TLS) is well suited to surveying the geometry of monumental complexes, often realised with highly irregular materials and forms. This paper addresses various issues related to the acquisition of point clouds via TLS and their elaboration aimed at developing structural models of masonry vaults. This structural system, which exists in numerous artifacts and historical buildings, has the advantages of good static and functional behaviour, reduced weight, good requisites of insulation, and aesthetic quality. Specifically, using TLS, we create a geometric model of the ancient masonry church, S. Maria della Libera, in Aquino, largely characterised by naves featuring cross vaults and previously used as a case study in the paper entitled ‘Terrestrial laser-scanning point-clouds for modeling masonry vaults’, presented at the 2019 IMEKO TC-4 International Conference on Metrology for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage. The results of the TLS survey are used as input for a structural analysis based on the thrust network analysis. This recent methodology is used for modelling masonry vaults as a discrete network of forces in equilibrium with gravitational loads. It is demonstrated that the proposed approach is both effective and robust in terms of assessing not only the safety conditions of existing masonry vaults, the actual geometry of which significantly influences the safety level, but also to design new ones.

Full Text:


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21014/acta_imeko.v10i1.1013