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Effect of Steel Pins on Interface Shear Behavior of Segmental Concrete Units

Effect of Steel Pins on Interface Shear Behavior of Segmental Concrete Units

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Published by: Zahid Rahman on Oct 11, 2011
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Effect of Steel Pins on Interface Shear Behavior of Segmental ConcreteUnits
Md. Zahidul Islam Bhuiyan
Postgraduate studentDepartment of Civil Engineering, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, MalaysiaEmail: mdzibhuiyan@gmail.com 
Faisal Hj Ali
Professor Department of Civil Engineering, National Defense University of Malaysia, 57000 Kuala Lumpur, MalaysiaEmail: fahali@gmail.com 
Firas A. Salman
Senior lecturer Department of Civil Engineering, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, MalaysiaEmail: firasalman@hotmail.com 
This study mainly focuses on shear strength behavior of newly and locally produced modular block unitswith and without steel shear pins. A series of direct shear tests was executed to find out the effectiveness of steel  shear pins under different normal loading conditions. Test results were outlined in the form of shear force-displacement relationship to compare the influence of shear pins on shear strength behavior. Test results revealed that the presence rigid shear pins reduce the shear strength capacity than a purely frictional condition.
 Key words:
interface shear, rigid pin, segmental block, shear strength, shear connector 
Geosynthetic reinforced segmental retaining walls (GR-SRWs) consisting of polymeric reinforcements and precastmodular block units have achieved popularity worldwide in thelast three decades because of their many fold advantages. Theyare frequently used in many geotechnical applications. InMalaysia, the use of dry-stacked column of segmental units as afacing column in retaining wall constructions has beenextensively practicing for last decades (Lee, 2000).Today, facing stability is an important issue in the currentdesign guidelines (NCMA, 1997; Elias et al., 2001) and itmainly depends on interface shear and connection failures. Pastresearch works (Soong & Koerner, 1997; Bathurst & Simac,1993; Buttry et al., 1993) reported that facing instability basically occurs due to poor connection strength and inadequateconnection systems.To develop interlocking mechanism between successivevertical courses of units, two different types of shear connections are mainly used in retaining wall constructions.One is built-in mechanical interlock in the form of concreteshear keys or leading/trailing lips and another one is themechanical connector consisting of pins, clips, or wedges.Mechanical connectors are mainly used to help out unitalignment and control the wall facing batter. Bathurst andSimac (1997) reported that shear connectors (mechanical) or shear keys provide additional interface shear capacity of segmental concrete units.As a shear connector, steel pins (rigid) were used in thisresearch to investigate its effect upon interface shear behavior of infilled units. To evaluate interface shear behaviors or  performance parameters, a series of full scale laboratory testswas conducted with and without steel pins (NCMA SRWU-2,1997; ASTM D 6916-03). Shear force-shear displacementgraphs were drawn to compare performance of the infilledconcrete units with and without shear pins. Shear capacityenvelope graphs were also plotted by using Morh-Coulombfailure criteria under peak and service state criteria.
Corresponding Author: Md. Zahidul Islam BhuiyanEmail: mdzibhuiyan@gmail.com
2. MATERIALS2.1 Segmental Concrete Unit
In this investigation “I” blocks
were used as segmental
concrete units. “I” blocks are machined mold wet cast concrete
units (G 30), which have one center web and the tail/rear flangeis extended beyond the web (Fig. 1). The rear flange is taperedthat allows the blocks to form curve walls. The maximum
tapered angle of the “I” block 
11.3 deg. “I” blocks are double
open-ended units and make an equivalent hole in conjunctionwith two units, and the equivalent dimensions are around 450mm in length, 280 mm in width and 300 mm in height. Theinfill weight is approximately 93 to 94 kg with the aggregate of  bulk density of 1527 kg/m
.The physical and mechanical properties of the used block are outlined in Table 1.
Figure 1: Schematic of used “I” block 
.Table 1: Physical and mechanical properties of segmentalconcrete units.Property ValueDimensions (WxHxL)
in mm 370x300x500Weight (kg) 41-42Oven dry density (kg/m
) 2166Water absorption capacity% 7.1kg/m
155Moisture content (%) 3.7 Net compressive strength (MPa) 8.0* W = Width (Toe to heel), H= Height, L= Length (Parallel tothe wall face)
2.2 Granular Infill
The hollow cores between the blocks were infilled with100% crushed limestone aggregate and lightly compacted. Themaximum and nominal maximum sizes of the aggregate were25 and 19 mm, respectively. The particle size distribution of thegranular infill meets the lower limit of the NCMA (1997)gradation requirements. The physical properties of infill aregiven in Table 2.
2.3 Steel Bar
Galvanized mild steel round bars were used in the study asmechanical connectors that are generally known as shear connectors. According to the hole dimensions of the segmentalconcrete units, 12 mm dia bars were selected, and the bars werecut into 125 mm in length. The physical and mechanical properties of the used round steel bars are illustrated in Table 3.Table 2: Physical properties of granular infill.Table 3: Physical and mechanical properties of steel bar (Courtesy of AMSteel Mills Sdn Bhd, Malaysia).Property ValueYield strength (MPa) 347Modulus of elasticity (MPa) 210000Rolling mass (Kg/m) 0.859Cross section area (mm
) 113.10
A specially designed and modified large-scale apparatusoriginally reported by Bathurst and Simac (1993) was used to
carry out the performance tests of the “I” blocks. A photograph
of the modified test apparatus is shown in Fig. 2. It is seen thatthe apparatus was mainly consisting of loading frame, hydraulicactuators, and a fabricated electric hydraulic pump. The verticalactuator was mounted with the loading frame with rollers toallow block movement during the shear test, but in ASTM D6916-06c test protocol the vertical actuator was kept fixing. Thevertical and horizontal actuators were capable of applyingaround 45 tons of surcharge load and 130 tons of push/pull outforce respectively and simultaneously. The electric hydraulic pump was connected to the actuators with pressure hoses, andthe pump was capable of delivering flow rate 3 cc per minute.A geosynthetic loading clamp was set with horizontal actuator to apply the tensile load as well as shear load.Property ValueBulk density (kg/m) 1527Specific gravity 2.63Void content (%) 42Coefficient of gradation, C
1.15Fineness Modulus (FM) 7.16
Two (2) pressure transducers of 0 to 3,625 psi capacity weremounted over each hydraulic actuator of 150 mm stroke, andthe actuators were calibrated by using load cell against the pressure transducers. Two (2) flow regulators (Atos QV06160)were attached with the pump to control the rate of displacementof horizontal (shear) and vertical actuators.The shear displacements were measured using of two 50mm linear variable displacement transducers (LVDTs) with anaccuracy of 0.001mm. Pressure transducers and LVDTs readingwere continuously measured and recorded during the test by adata logger. The data were recorded at every 10 second interval.
3.2 Interface Shear Tests
Two layers of modular block units were used for interface
shear test. The bottom layer/course consisting of two (2) “I”
 blocks was installed and braced laterally at the front of loading
frame. A single “I” block was placed centrally over the running
 joint formed by the two underlying units to simulate thestaggered construction procedure used in the field. Two layersof segmental units were connected with shear pins and setback was kept as zero. The hollow sections between the blocks werefilled with 19 mm crushed stone aggregate and lightlycompacted using a steel rod.
To hold the infilled aggregate of top block, two (2) steel plates were used (Fig. 3).Surcharge/normal load was imposed only over the top block through stiff rubber mat and simulated an equivalentheight of stacked blocks. The shear load was applied against thetop block and immediately above the shear interface tominimize the moment loading at a constant rate of 1 mm/min of the horizontal actuator (ASTM D 6916-03). A steel plate withstiff rubber mat was used with geosynthetic loading clamp toconcentrate the shearing load only over the centrally installedtop block. A horizontal seating load was applied to the top block to ensure close fitting of the shear pins and after that theload and displacement devices were set to zero. The imposedseating load was 10% of maximum shear strength.Mohr-Coulomb failure criteria were used to find outinterface shear capacity at ultimate and service state strengthcriteria.
= Interface shear capacity (kN)
= Normal load (kN)
= angle of friction (deg.)
interceptionFigure 2: Photograph of test apparatus.Figure 3: Photograph of interface shear test arrangement.
A series of interface shear tests was performed under arange of normal forces. Shear force - displacement graphs were plotted to evaluate the effects of rigid shear pins on the interfacefrictional behavior of the tested blocks. Shear capacityenvelopes were also drawn to compare the ultimate and service
state shear strength of “I” blocks.
 Figs. 4(a) and 4(b) compare the magnitude and distributionof shear force with displacement of infilled concrete units. Fig.4(a) shows the gradually increment of shear force without any pick points that results from the absence of steel pins at joints.In this case, shear force reaches the steady state condition(around 10 kN) after a significant amount of shear displacement. On the other hand, a sudden pick shear force can be seen in Fig. 4(b) prior to serviceability displacement limitand blocks fail quickly at joints (Fig. 6).
Horizontalactuator Verticalactuator Electric pumpPressure transducer 

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