Great part of the existing buildings in seismic areas and in particular in developing countries is represented by masonry buildings, diffused also in the major part of historical centres in Europe. Damages due to seismic events have evidenced the large demand of rehabilitation together with suitable assessment methods for these structures. When out of plane mechanism can be avoided, the contribution of in-plane shear resistance of the masonry walls is a key aspect to consider in the vulnerability analysis of the whole structure. Based on this last consideration, this paper presents an approach to the analysis of in-plane behaviour of masonry walls, involving a minimum energy strategy. The results of the numerical analyses presented are compared with those obtained by laboratory tests on brick masonry panels.
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