TThe supports of out-of-plane loaded unreinforced masonry walls in buildings are subjected to a motion that is filtered and amplified by the building structure and, in some cases, can be significantly different from the ground motion. Moreover, because these walls span one or several storeys, their top and bottom supports are subjected to motions that differ in phase and amplitude. In state-of-the-art assessment procedures for the out-of-plane stability of masonry walls any effect of a relative support motion is neglected. The objective of this paper is to study the effect of the relative support motion on the response of out-of-plane loaded vertically-spanning unreinforced masonry walls. The acceleration capacity of the walls is investigated by means of a discrete element model representative of different wall configurations. A set of ground motions covering a wide range of peak ground acceleration and peak ground displacement is used as input to the simulations. The relative motion between the wall supports is included in the model in a systematic way: firstly, through a motion that is non-synchronous but of equal amplitude; secondly, through a motion that is synchronous but of different amplitude. The effect of the relative support motion is studied on different wall configurations where the elastic modulus of masonry, the wall height-to-thickness ratio, the wall effective thickness and the overburden at the top wall are varied. The study shows that, because of the relative support motion, the acceleration capacity of the walls can drop by 20% and, in the cases where the overburden is high, by more than 50%.
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