AbstractThe architectural beauty of curved structures is recognized worldwide. Owing to their balanced form, vaults, domes, and arches were largely adopted over the last centuries. Currently, the erection of new curved masonry structures is dramatically reduced. However, strengthening existing arches is often required to prevent their collapse under static or seismic force. Present limitations regarding such constructions include the antiquated and expensive erection technique employed for curved members. Moreover, the assembly of provisional supporting structures (scaffolding) is generally time- and cost-consuming. Accordingly, the following research provides an innovative construction method that focuses on overcoming the drawbacks of the scaffolding-based approach. A fast lift-up technique was developed to reduce the time and costs of traditional construction techniques. Specifically, the required number of blocks that constitute the arch in this study was aligned side by side on the floor and then connected using a bonded strip of composite material (i.e., FRP—fiber-reinforced polymer). The middle block was then lifted. Thus, each corresponding block could be rotated around the contact point with the adjacent block. When all blocks left the floor, an arch shape was achieved. To validate the proposed method in terms of mechanical performance, an experiment was conducted, as reported herein. A traditional masonry arch built using scaffolding was tested for comparison, and two types of reinforced arches were tested until failure. The first was traditionally built and then reinforced, whereas the second was built using the proposed innovative technique. The specimens were instrumented and tested under a centered or eccentric vertical point load. In all cases, the composite application prevented failure of the hinged joints, as is typical of unreinforced arches, resulting in significantly increased loadbearing capacity, which registered scatters of |11|% and |28|% for the centered and eccentric loads, respectively, when comparing the traditional reinforced arch with the innovative solution.

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