The broad topic of the present work is Statics and Kinematics of masonry structures, made of monolithic blocks, modelled a la Heyman, that is rigid bodies loaded by external forces, submitted to unilateral constraints, and undergoing small displacements, under the simplifying assumption that sliding on rough interfaces is prevented. Specifically, in this work, we study the effect, in terms of internal forces, of specified loads, by using given settlements/eigenstrains to trigger special regimes of the internal forces. Although our scope here is the analysis of masonry structures composed by monolithic pieces, and whose blocks are not likely to break at their inside, the method we propose can also be applied to generic masonry structures, such as those made of bricks or small stones. Heyman’s assumptions translate, for unilateral continua, into a normality assumption which allows to employ the two theorems of Limit Analysis. These continuous structures may actually fracture everywhere at their inside, forming rigid blocks in relative displacement among each other. Such piecewise rigid-body displacements in masonry are physiological, and rather than the result of over-loading, are most likely the direct product of small changes of the displacement type boundary conditions. However, when in a part of the structure a specific piecewise rigid-body displacement nucleates, that part of the structure exhibits a one degree of freedom mechanism, and becomes statically determined. Therefore, the internal forces can be computed, despite the original uncracked structure being abundantly overdetermined, and then admitting infinite many statically admissible stress regimes. With these assumptions, in the present paper we study the equilibrium and the effect of settlements in a masonry structure made of monolithic blocks. In particular, the triple helical stair of the convent of San Domingos de Bonaval, located in the Bonaval district of Santiago de Compostela, is considered as case study.
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