In this paper the system formed by a pointed arch and the piers bearing the arch subject to its own weight is studied. The mechanical behavior of the arch-piers system is examined via Durand-Claye’s method, in order to follow the evolution of the stability area and to determine the collapse modes of the system. The same problem can be approached from a different point of view by using the nonlinear elastic model, taking into account the deformability of the system. The arch-piers system is studied for different arch’s shapes and thicknesses; the influence of the friction coefficient on the arch’s collapse is analyzed as well. Furthermore, the maximum height of the piers is determined. As it was expected, pointed and circular arches show very different behaviors in terms of collapse modes. The results here obtained are compared with those given by Michon in 1857.
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