J. Antuña1, A. Aznar1, J.I. Hernando1, F. Magdalena2

1ETSAM. Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (SPAIN)
2ETSEM. Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (SPAIN)
The use of models is a didactic tool widely used in structural teaching. In the Department of the Building Structures and Physics (DEFE) of the School of Architecture (ETSAM) of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) they have been widely used in the last 40 years. In this same line of work, the experience presented here is focused on the study of displacements that is needed for an arch to collapse.

The work of the students begins with the manufacturing of arches formed by vousoirs. They use these specimens to experimentally test them, generating different displacements of arches supports and recorded the movements of the vousoirs using high-speed videos. In this way it is possible to discover the configuration prior to the collapse and, above all, the settlements and displacement necessary of the springs of the arches to occur.

The arches are made with pieces of wood or plaster, so that the same arch can be reused as often as necessary. The students perform the tests and moving the supports in several directions allowing us to define the set of possible movements for one of the supports. The tests are repeated for different types of arches with different number of vousoirs and different slenderness. In this way, the collapse process can be understood for different configurations.

Also, students work with a tool developed by authors of this work that consist in a series of macros written in Octave that predict the collapse configuration. This way students use both analytical and experimental tools in order to study and learn about the physical phenomenon.