In recent decades, many strengthening interventions on masonry elements were performed by using fiber reinforced polymers (FRPs). These advanced materials proved to be effective to increase the load-carrying capacity of masonry elements and to improve their structural behavior, avoiding the most critical failure modes. Despite the advantages of this technique compared to more traditional methods, FRP systems have disadvantages related to their low resistance to high temperatures, impossibility of application on wet surfaces, low permeability, and poor compatibility with masonry supports. Therefore, composite materials made of a fiber textile embedded in an inorganic matrix were recently proposed as alternatives to FRPs for strengthening historic masonry constructions. These composite materials are easier to install, have higher resistance to high temperatures, and permit higher vapor permeability than FRPs. The inorganic matrix is frequently a cement-based mortar, and the composite materials made of a fiber textile embedded in a cement-based mortar are usually identified as FRCM (fabric reinforced cementitious matrix) composites. More recently, the use of natural lime mortar as an inorganic matrix has been proposed as an alternative to cement-based mortars when historic compatibility with the substrate is strictly required, as in case of restoration of historic buildings. In this paper, the effectiveness of a fabric made of basalt fibers embedded in lime mortar matrix (Basalt-FRLM) for the strengthening of masonry arches is investigated. An experimental investigation was performed on 1:2 scaled brick masonry arches strengthened at the extrados with a layer of Basalt-FRLM and tested under vertical load. The results obtained are compared with previous results obtained by the authors by testing masonry arches strengthened at their extrados with FRCM and FRP composites. This investigation highlights the effectiveness of Basalt-FRLM in increasing load-currying and the displacement capacities of masonry arches. The Basalt-FRLM-strengthened arch exhibited higher displacement capacity when compared to arches strengthened with polymeric and cementitious matrix composites.
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