Survey and dynamic behaviour of the Our Lady of Conception Church, Portugal


Mendes, N.; Lourenço, Paulo B.; Besca, Marianna; Trufelli, Elisabetta; Ramos, Luís F.

Masonry; Church; Survey; Dynamic tests; Numerical analysis

The Our Lady of Conception church is located in village of Monforte (Portugal) and is not in use nowadays. The church presents structural damage and, consequently, a study was carried out. The study involved the survey of the damage, dynamic identification tests under ambient vibration and the numerical analysis.The church is constituted by the central nave, the chancel, the sacristy and the corridor to access the pulpit. The masonry walls present different thickness, namely 0.65 m in the chancel, 0.70 m in the sacristy, 0.92 in the central nave and 0.65 m in the corridor. The masonry walls present 8 buttresses with different dimensions. The total longitudinal and transversal dimensions of the church are equal to 21.10 m and 14.26 m, respectively.The survey of the damage showed that, in general, the masonry walls are in good conditions, with exception of the transversal walls of the nave, which present severe cracks. The arches of the vault presents also severe cracks along the central nave. As consequence, the infiltrations have increased the degradation of the vault and paintings. Furthermore, the foundations present settlements in the Southwest direction.The dynamic identification test were carried out under the action of ambient excitation of the wind and using 12 piezoelectric accelerometers of high sensitivity. The dynamic identification tests allowed to estimate the dynamic properties of the church, namely frequencies, mode shapes and damping ratios.A FEM numerical model was prepared and calibrated, based on the first four experimental modes estimated in the dynamic identification tests. The average error between the experimental and numerical frequencies of the first four modes is equal to 5%.After calibration of the numerical model, pushover analyses with a load pattern proportional to the mass, in the transversal and longitudinal direction of the church, were performed. The results of the analysis numerical allow to conclude that the most vulnerable direction of the church is in the transversal one and the maximum load factor is equal to 0.35.