Conventional masonry structures are generally constructed by laying blocks on beds of mortar, a somewhat labour intensive process. In 1998, a company known as Smart Masonry Pty Ltd introduced a new type of masonry block into the Australian market. “Smart Masonry” is a dry stacked system, that is, walls are constructed without mortar. The absence of mortar facilitates a more rapid, straightforward form of construction.
This innovative masonry system has many distinctive features that are quite different to conventional masonry. One example of this is the use of small tapered plastic wedges (tile wedges), which are inserted between the joints of stacked blocks, to assist in constructing a dry stacked vertical wall. This paper explores how the uniqueness of this dry stacked system affects its capacity when subjected to axial loading by considering practical and theoretical investigations, i.e. Finite Element Analysis. In particular, five investigations are considered. These were:
1. Identify if Smart Masonry can be considered using the Australian Masonry Code.
2. Determine if the presence of tile wedges affects the capacity of the system.
3. Identify the effects of compactive effort on the compressive strength of the system.
4. Identify the short term Modulus of Elasticity of the block, grout and grouted pier.
5. Investigate the effect of curing conditions on grout strength.
In order to complete these investigations concentric compression tests were performed on 80 grouted prisms, 10 ungrouted prisms, and 40 individual masonry blocks until failure and Young’s modulus data was also obtained.
Overall the investigation revealed that the Masonry Code is a conservative estimate of the strength of Smart Masonry in compression. Consequently, based on this research, a new formula is proposed for the design of Smart Masonry in compression. It was also found that the presence of tile wedges does not reduce the strength of the Smart Masonry system. In fact in some circumstances tile wedges can improve the system’s strength. Finally, there is a significant reduction in compressive capacity if no compaction is adopted in the field