Degree Name

Master of Engineering (Hons.)


Department of Civil and Mining Engineering


Strength and serviceability assessment of masonry arch bridges currently in service is of immense importance as part of the infrastructural renewal programme in Australia. There are 123 brick masonry arch bridges scattered throughout the state of NSW alone. Most of these were constructed early in this century and are nearing their design lives. Over recent years some of these bridges have deteriorated seriously mainly in the form of progressive cracking. Propagation of cracks is a slow process and has to be arrested. This would save the cost of total reconstruction which is prohibitively expensive. The most onerous task of the engineer is the bridge assessment. Arch design is not very well documented as the failure of brick masonry is complicated. The designer of a new arch does not have specific recommendations for arch analysis. It is attempted in this thesis to provide some insight into the cracking and failure behaviour of masonry arch bridges.