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13 Chapter 12 Hillerborgs strip method for ULS design of slabs

12.1 Introduction
The chapter starts with the justification for using plastic design methods for slabs: slabs have a large capacity for plastic moment redistribution. The chapter then focuses on the strip method (HILLERBORG) which is presented as an interesting tool for slab design in ULS. The chapter is limited to the ULS problem of bending; shear and punching shear as well as SLS are considered in other chapters.

12.1.1 Behaviour of slabs up to failure: large plastic deformation capacity is observed The linear elastic analysis of a structure is important in the context of SLS and for the understanding of the behaviour of the structure under imposed (service) loads. Reinforced concrete slabs are structures which show large plastic deformation capability when they are loaded up to failure; slab behaviour is characterized by the following phases (see figure 12.1.1-1): the elastic phase: which corresponds to the behaviour of elastic, homogeneous, continuous and isotropic material; the cracking phase: cracks appear in the tensile region; they lead to the progressive reduction of the inertial moment of the cross-sections. A first redistribution of bending moments is observed: the moments in the uncracked sections increase faster (than in the elastic phase) with the same increase of loads. As long as the reinforcement deforms elastically, crack opening remains limited; the phase of plastic deformation of steel: in the sections where steel starts to yield, deformations continue to increase while the bending moment remains constant; this is the second (and important) redistribution of moments. The plastic deformation appears along lines which correspond to the big cracks in the tensile region. These lines are considered as plastic hinges (which thus still transfer the yield moment). The pattern formed by these so-called yield lines (NL: vloeilijnen; FR: lignes de rupture) depends on the shape of the slab, the edge conditions, the distribution of the reinforcement and the load pattern; the failure: an instable state of equilibrium is reached when the progressive formation of yield lines ends up into a mechanism. It is observed that the deformations in the slab are concentrated along the yield lines: the straight parts of the slab, which are delimitated by the yield lines, rotate around the supported edges and the yield lines. This process leads to the crushing of the compressed concrete along the yield lines: the yield lines become visible on the compression side of the slab.

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load rupture plastic deformation of steel

cracking
service

elastic behaviour deflection

Figure 12.1.1-1 Schematic representation of the load-deformation diagram of a reinforced concrete slab

Figure 12.1.1-2 shows in a schematic way the process of the formation of a yield line pattern. Figure 12.1.1-3 shows a real yield line pattern observed during the loading of a rectangular simply supported slab by a concentrated load in the middle; the yield lines are identified where large crack openings are observed as well as the concentration of the plastic deformation of the steel reinforcement. The ability to form a yield line pattern before failure leads to the conclusion that slabs have a large capacity for moment redistribution. Plastic methods are thus suited for slab analysis and design.

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Figure 12.1.1-2 Schematic representation of the formation of a yield line pattern

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Figure 12.1.1-3 Example of a real yield line pattern

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12.1.2 The plastic moment along the yield line and ductility conditions 12.1.2.1 The plastic moment mp

The ultimate moment capacity of a cross-section in reinforced concrete is indicated by the symbol mult; mult corresponds to failure. The plastic moment mp is the moment which is reached when the plastic deformation of the steel reinforcement starts. On the condition that: - the cross-section is under-reinforced, and that - the ultimate resistance is determined by the yielding of the steel, one finds the following design value for the plastic moment per unit length of the yield line mpd (see figure 12.1.2-1):

m pd = As . f yd .z

(12.1.2-1)

where z is the lever arm between the resultant compression force Nc and the resultant tensile force Ns.

b=1

c
x

fcd Nc

s s
fyd

s
Ns

As = .d.1

Figure 12.1.2-1 Rectangular section with unit width, singly reinforced, loaded in simple bending It is shown in chapter 4 that ULS analysis often leads to the adoption of the simplifying assumption: z 0,9.d; consequently, the plastic moment may be calculated by means of the following expression:

m pd = As . f yd .0,9.d

(12.1.2-2)

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12.1.2.2

Ductility conditions to be fulfulled for use of plastic methods

Equation (12.1.2-1) could give rise to the idea that mp may be increased by increasing the area of reinforcement As. It has already been discussed in chapter 10 (plastic methods for beam analysis) that sections have to be under-reinforced if plastic methods are considered for use. As a reminder, the reinforcement ratio has to be limited between an upper and lower limit value: has to be large enough in order to avoid brittle rupture when concrete in tension cracks; has to be small enough in order to assure plastic rotation capacity; failure by concrete crushing may only appear after plastic deformation of the steel. For rectangular sections in reinforced concrete, one may use the practical limit values for the reinforcement ratio formulated by FAVRE (1989):

0,15% 1,5%
EN 1992-1-1:2004; 5.6 adds to that the following: the required ductility may be deemed to be satisfied without explicit verification if all the following conditions are fulfilled: - the area of tensile reinforcement is limited such that at any section: xu/d 0,25 for concrete strength classes C50/60 ; xu/d 0,15 for concrete strength classes C55/67 ; - the reinforcing steel is either class B or C.

Note: The value xu/d = 0,25 corresponds to the limit between the domains 1b and 2a (see chapter 4): full exploitation of the concrete strength (ultimate strain in compression is reached: 0,35 %) and full exploitation of the steel strength (ultimate strain in tensile steel is reached: 1 %).

12.1.3 Plastic methods for slab analysis

The basic principles of plastic methods for structural analysis are introduced in chapter 10, in the context of beam and frame analysis. Two families of plastic methods are identified: - the lower bound methods, also called static methods; - the upper bound methods, also called kinematic methods. These methods are also applicable for slabs (which is in fact much more justified than for beam analysis): the static method starts from the choice of a statically acceptable moment distribution and leads to a lower bound value of the real failure load. This leads to a conservative (safe) solution because the slab is designed as if it were less resistant than it is in reality. The static method is well known for slab analysis thanks to the practical formulation presented by HILLERBORG in 1956, called the strip method.

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the kinematic method starts from the choice of a kinematically acceptable mechanism for which energy balance calculations (energy input from the loads = energy absorption by the plastic hinges) lead to an upper bound value of the real failure load. This is in principle an unsafe approach and conclusions have to be well interpreted in practice. A well known kinematic method is the yield line method which was developed by JOHANSEN in the years 1950.

12.2 Static methods for slab analysis: general introduction


12.2.1 General principle of the static method

According to the lower bound theorem, a structure with sufficient ductility resists in a safe way to the applied loads, on the condition that a distribution of internal moments can be identified which satisfies to the equilibrium conditions and for which mp is not exceeded anywhere (reminder; see chapter 10). The determination of the exact failure load needs the identification of the kinematically acceptable mechanism which corresponds to the moment distribution. In principle, many moment distributions can be found which satisfy the two conditions (equilibrium and mp); it may thus be necessary (for complex boundary conditions and slab shapes) to use numerical tools for support of the iteration process in order to find THE distribution that corresponds to THE mechanism. Anyway, one can always start the plastic analysis with a plausible choice of elastic bending moment distribution, knowing that this will lead to an under-estimation of the real failure load; one thus thinks that the slab is weaker than it really is.

12.2.2 An extreme example to illustrate the principle of the static method

The principle of the static method is now illustrated by means of an example. Figure 12.2.2-1 shows a square slab in reinforced concrete; the slab is: - simply supported along all four edges; - loaded by a uniformly distributed load q = 12 kN/m2; - reinforced in two directions by means of an orthogonal reinforcement mesh. With an equally large moment resistance capacity in both directions, such that no plastic hinges appear, the moment distribution is the one obtained by linear elastic analysis. A finite element calculation leads to a sagging moment in the span equal to 18,4 kNm/m in both directions; if the moment resistance capacity of the slab were larger than 18,4 kNm/m in both directions, the slab would not show any yielding for the imposed load. It is now assumed that the slab is reinforced only in one direction, for example in the xdirection. The bending moment for a beam (with unit width) in the x-direction, loaded by 12 kNm/m, equals 54 kNm. By putting a series of beams in the x-direction, one next to the other, each beam with a bearing capacity of 54 kNm, one obtains a safe structure to transfer the imposed load, even without having reinforcement in the y-direction. The

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slab could thus be designed on the basis of a moment distribution which is typical for beam structures; by doing this, one forces the slab to act as a series of beams. Off course, a slab is a structural member which generally transfers the load in two directions; the slab has thus to transform itself into a series of beams, which is accompanied by severe cracking in the direction parallel to the reinforcement until the load is fully transferred by the beams. If one is willing to reinforce the slab as if it were a series of beams, he has to be sure that enough ductility is present in order to permit the transition form slab to beam system (ductility is needed to allow the formation of the necessary hinges). This discussion also shows that a bad choice of load transfer system leads to problems with SLS requirements: unacceptable cracks are developed associated with the transfer from one bearing system to another (an imposed one). It is generally accepted that when the chosen moment distribution is close to the linear elastic distribution, the slab has sufficient ductility to be designed by the static method; moreover, this is practically a condition sine qua non to satisfy to the SLS requirements.

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Figuur 12.2.2-1 Extreme example of application of the static method to a simply supported rectangular slab, loaded by a uniformly distributed load; (a) plan; (b) result of the linear elastic analysis; (c) distribution of the bending moments for a beam like structure

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12.3 Static methods for slab analysis: the strip method


12.3.1 Background of the method

Before introducing the specific assumptions and characteristics of the strip method, it is necessary to remind some results from the elastic analysis of beams and slabs. Figure 12.3.1-1 expresses the equilibrium of an elementary part of the beam or slab. Equilibrium of a beam-element The vertical translation equilibrium is assured by the shear forces at the ends: figure 12.3.1-1 (a).
q.dx + V + dV q= dx dV .dx V = 0 dx

(12.3.1-1)

The moment equilibrium considers all the moments at the ends of the considered element: see figure 12.3.1-1 (b). Moments and shear forces are represented positively with respect to right hand system of axis (x, y, z) in accordance with the sign convention in theory of elasticity. The moment equilibrium around G leads to:

M M

dM dx dx dQ dx .dx + Q. + Q. + .dx. = 0 dx 2 2 dx 2

After elimination of the higher order terms:

Q=

dM dx

(12.3.1-2)

Introduction of expression (12.3.1-2) into expression (12.3.1-1) leads to the equilibrium equation for beams:

d 2M = q dx 2

(12.3.1-3)

Equilibrium of a slab-element The vertical translation equilibrium is now assured by the shear loads at the four edges (shear forces per unit length!): see figure 12.3.1-1 (c)

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q.dx.dy + vx .dy + or

v vx .dx.dy vx .dy + v y .dx + y .dy.dx v y .dx = 0 x y

vx v y q = x + y

(12.3.1-4)

The moment equilibrium concerns all moments generated at the four edges of the slab-element: figure 12.3.1-1 (d). The difference with the beam is that torsional moments mxy are introduced, next to the bending moments mx and my; the torsional moments are related to the 2-dimensional character of the slab. The moment equilibrium around the x-axis leads to:
m y mxy v y dy dy m y + y .dy .dx m y .dx + mxy + x .dx .dy mxy .dy v y .dx. 2 v y + y .dy .dx. 2 = 0

After elimination of the higher order terms:


vy = m y y + mxy x

(12.3.1-5)

In an analogous way, the moment equilibrium around the y-axis leads to: vx = mx m yx + x y (12.3.1-6)

Introduction of expressions (12.3.1-5) and (l2.3.1-6) in (12.3.1-4) leads to the equilibrium equation of slabs:
2 2 m yx 2 mx m y + +2 = q x 2 y 2 xy

(12.3.1-7)

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Figure 12.3.1-1 Auxiliary figure for the elaboration of the equilibrium equations for beams and slabs; (a) and (c) shear forces; (b) and (d) moments

12.3.2 Principle aspects of the strip method

The equilibrium equation (12.3.1-7) is the starting point for the introduction of the strip method. HILLERBORG assumes that torsional resistance may be neglected; expression (12.3.1-7) is transformed into:
2 2 mx m y + = q x 2 y 2

(12.3.2-1)

Neglecting the torsional resistance inevitably leads to the under-estimation of the global bearing capacity of the slab. The practical consequence of this assumption is that the calculation of the slab is transformed into a simple calculation of beams; indeed, according to expression (12.3.2-1) the load q is transferred to the edges by means of bending moments mx and my, thus by means of beams or strips in the x- and y-direction. The remaining question however is: with what distribution ratio? HILLERBORG accepts a second important principle in order to solve this problem: the load is transferred to the closest supporting edge by a bending mechanism in the plane perpendicular to the supporting edge.

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For a slab with edges parallel to the x- and y-direction, HILLERBORG proposes that a part .q of the load q is transferred in the x-direction (by bending), and that the part (1).q is transferred into the y-direction (also by bending); consequently: 2 mx = .q x 2 2my y 2 where = = (1 ).q (12.3.2-2)

(12.3.2-3)

the distribution ratio coefficient for the load applied in every point of the slab; 0 1 and may in principle change from one location in the slab to another. For practical reasons (economic aspect and simplicity of reinforcement meshes) the coefficient is taken constant in regions of the slab, most of the time with = 0, 1/2 or 1 (see examples further in this chapter).

The expression (12.3.2-2) and (12.3.2-3) are identical to the equilibrium equation (12.3.1-3) for beams.

12.3.3 A basic example of the application of the strip method

Figure 12.3.3-1(a) represents a rectangular slab, simply supported along all four edges, loaded by a uniformly distributed load q. In accordance with the basic assumptions in the method of HILLERBORG, the slab may be subdivided into several regions in function of the preferential direction of load transfer: see figure 12.3.3-1(b). The load q applied in zone 1 and 2, is transferred in the y-direction to the nearest support which are parallel to the x-direction; the value of in (12.3.2-2) is equal to 0 in zone 1 and 2. The load q applied in zone 3, is transferred in the x-direction to the nearest support which is parallel to the y-direction; the value of in (12.3.2-2) is equal to 1. The next step in the method is illustrated in figure 12.3.3-1(c): the analysis of the slab is transformed into the analysis of beam elements with particular loading dispositions. It may be observed that the selection of the direction of load transfer is highly related to the identification of the so called tributary areas in the slab. A tributary area is related to a supporting edge: it determines for what slab surface the load is transferred to that supporting edge. As the edges are simply supported in the example, the separation lines between the tributary areas correspond to the bisector lines of the rectangular corners between the adjacent edges.

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Beam 1

Beam 2

Beam 3

Figure 12.3.3-1 Basic example of the application of the strip method: (a) rectangular simply supported slab; (b) identification of the directions of load transfer for the different regions in the slab; (c) analysis of the strips

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Figure 12.3.3-1(c) shows that a continuous evolution of bending moments has to be considered for the strips 2 and 3; indeed, the distances b and c vary continuously from one strip to another. This would lead to a continuous varying area of reinforcement in the slab, which is not practical. In complete accordance with the principle of the static method, one may choose to work with a slightly adapted load transfer model, in view of the simplification of the practical arrangement of reinforcement in the slab. An alternative load transfer model is shown in figure 12.3.3-2. More simple models are shown in figures 12.3.3-3 and 12.3.3-4, in which a bi-directional solution is adopted for the corners; the value of in expression (12.3.2-2) is equal to in the corner regions. This load transfer model leads to the analysis of only four strips with unit width; it is observed that the strips are loaded in the corner zones with the load q/2. The result of the strip analysis (beam analysis) is a set of four maximum sagging moments, which are kept constant in the regions of the slab which are related to the strips considered (see figure 12.3.3-5): (m yf )11 , (m yf ) 22 , (m yf ) 33 and (m yf ) 44 (notation span moments with f < field) These span moments then allow to determine the reinforcement areas to be arranged in the different zones of the slab.

Figure 12.3.3-2 Strip method; first alternative load transfer model: one looks for a rational subdivision of the slab in zones or regions with practical dimensions (where the reinforcement meshes will be put later on)

Figuur 12.3.3-3

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Strip method; second alternative load transfer model: two-directional load transfer is considered in the corners of the slab

Figuur 12.3.3-4 Strip method; further exploitation of the second alternative load transfer model; 4 types of strips are calculated; this leads to 4 maximum span moments (notation f < field), 2 in the x-direction and 2 in the y-direction
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Figure 12.3.3-5 Strip method; the resulting distribution of the design bending moments

Note: The strip method does not consider the large torsional moments that are anyway present in the corners of a simply supported slab (see chapter 11). It may be necessary to add reinforcement in the corners in order to avoid unacceptable cracking.

12.3.4 Application of the strip method in particular cases

Preliminary note: up to now in these course notes, attention has been paid to rather simple slabs with rectangular shape, with simple edge conditions and loaded by a uniformly distributed load. The strip method offers an interesting approach to tackle also slabs with: irregular shapes, such as L-shaped slabs, slabs with openings, etc, variabel support conditions, concentrated loads. It should again be stressed that this approach: only supports the design calculation at ULS; delivers a lower bound solution (conservative approach!); leads to a solution which should be further completed in order to take account of effects which are not covered by the strip method, such as torsional moments and accidental (parasitic) fixing moments.

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12.3.4.1

Rectangular slabs with fixed edges

Fixed edges attract much more load than simply supported edges. The tributary areas may be determined by means of the simple 60-30 and 45-45 model: see figure 12.3.4-1.

Figuur 12.3.4-1 Study of the transfer of the uniformly distributed load on the slab towards the nearest edges (= subdivision of the slab into tributary areas): fixed edges attract more load than simply supported edges; the tributary areas may be determined by means of the simple 60-30 and 45-45 model 12.3.4.2 Rectangular slabs with one free (unsupported) edge

As one edge is free (unsupported), the strips that are perpendicular to that edge (and which have to transfer load!) have no support at the free edge. This may be solved by adding an internal supporting strip along the free edge. The design procedure is then completely similar as for a slab with four supported edges: figure 12.4.4-2 shows that the 60-30 and 45-45 model is used for the study of the load transfer, also at the free edge, because this one is now replaced by a supporting strip. The supporting strip is first considered with unit width. The load applied to it, is composed of: - the support reaction forces of the strips perpendicular to the free edge and which are supported by the supporting strip along this free edge; - eventual applied loads which have to be transferred to the real supports by the supporting strip itself; this is the case in figure 12.3.4-2(a) where the slab has a short free edge.

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A more appropriate width of the supporting strip may be determined in order to reduce the bending moments in the supporting strip. It is recommended anyway to foresee a concentration of reinforcement in the supporting strip.

45 45

60 30 45

45

60 30

60 30 (b) 45

45

(a)

Figure 12.3.4-2 Strip method applied to a uniformly loaded slab with 1 free edge; study of the load transfer = subdivision of the slab into tributary areas; (a) short free edge; (b) long free edge 12.3.4.3 Rectangular slabs with two adjacent free (unsupported) edges

(1) All other edges are simply supported Slabs with two free edges are characterized by complex static behaviour, especially when the other edges are simply supported: figure 12.3.4-3. As the strips which are parallel to the edges, do not have supports at both ends, the major part of the load is transferred by torsional moments. One may argue that this type of structure (which appears sometimes in small balconies) is not really a safe way of design. HILLERBORG (1996) presents a solution based on the introduction of an internal supporting strip between A and C (see figure 12.3.4-3). He also presents an alternative (expensive) solution with orthogonal reinforcement parallel to the edges. This case is not further worked out in the present course notes.

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Figure 12.3.4-3 Rectangular slab with two adjacent free edges and two adjacent simply supported edges

(2) One fixed edge If a support is fixed, a strip at right angles to the support can act as a cantilever, carrying load by means of pure bending moments: see figure 12.3.4-4.

Figure 12.3.4-4 Uniformly loaded rectangular slab with 2 adjacent free edges and 1 fixed edges; strip method: strips act as cantilever beams carrying load by means of bending moments In principle, if the load is carried by cantilever action, there is only top reinforcement needed in the slab. This is unacceptable as this may result in wide bottom cracks (SLS requirements are not fulfilled). A simple way of taking care of this problem is to assume that a part of the load is carried without cantilever action but as if the slab were simply supported. The amount of load carried in this way is chosen to ensure that a suitable minimum amount of bottom reinforcement is provided, in order to limit crack openings and to take care of the torsional moments in the SLS. For a slab with regular dimensions, one could start with a choice of 20 % of the total load; this corresponds to the subdivision in tributary areas as is shown in figure 12.3.4-5. The strips in the x-direction are supported to the right by a supporting strip which acts itself as cantilever beam.

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Figuur 12.3.4-5 Uniformly loaded rectangular slab with 2 adjacent free edges and 1 fixed edges; strip method: subdivision in tributary areas load transfer by means of strips in two directions 12.3.4.4 Concentrated loads on a slab with four supported edges

A concentrated load has a too high value per unit area to be taken directly by a one-way strip or by two crossing one-way strips, without giving rise to too excessively high local moments; it may be a point load, a line load or a high load on a limited area. Concentrated loads have to be considered in combination with the distributed load (selfweight and service loads). It is generally accepted that a separate calculation of the slab for the concentrated load is only needed when its intensity is larger than 25% of all the other loads. The general way of taking care of a concentrated load is by distributing it over a suitable width by means of specially designed distribution reinforcement. (1) Solution 1: load transfer in 1 direction Figure 12.3.4-6 presents the load transfer of a concentrated load to the nearest supports by only 1 strip. This is a simple and economical way of working, but the solution might give problems with respect to the SLS requirements.

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Figure 12.3.4-6 Strip method: transfer of a concentrated load to the supports by means of 1 strip; the load is distributed over a suitable width by means of specially designed distribution reinforcement

The width a1 of the strip in the y-direction is taken sufficiently large in order to reduce the bending moment in the strip. In order to be sure that the whole width cooperates effectively, distribution reinforcement is necessary in the x-direction, over a limited distance b1 in the y-direction but large enough to limit the moment in the distribution band. The static analysis of the distribution band (which is illustrated in figure 12.3.4-7), leads to the maximum total moment in the distribution band: m= F a1 F .a1 . = 2 4 8 (12.3.4-1)

This moment has to be distributed over the width b1; this leads to the bending moment per unit length in the distribution band, equal to: m= F .a1 1 . 8 b1 (12.3.4-2)

The dimensions a1 and b1 are chosen taking into account that reinforcement areas have to be limited in order to assure sufficient ductility.

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Figure 12.3.4-7 Auxiliary figure for the static analysis of the distribution band that has to distribute the concentrated load over an effective width a1

(2) Solution 2: load transfer in two directions It may be necessary (in view of the SLS requirements) to transfer the concentrated load by means of two strips. The procedure comprises the following steps: the determination of the distribution ratio between the two parts of the load that are transferred in the two directions (see chapter 11; method of equal deflections); the design of the two orthogonal strips such as in the preceding paragraph. 12.3.4.5 Concentrated loads on a slab with a free edge

(1) Concentrated load is close to the free edge The principle is: a concentrated load near a free edge should be transferred by means of a supporting strip along the free edge: see figure 12.3.4-8. The width of the band is chosen in order to reduce the moments and thus the reinforcement area.

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Figure 12.3.4-8 A concentrated load close to a free edge is transferred by means of a supporting strip along the free edge The application of the concentrated load very closely to the edge, results in a hogging moment and thus the necessity to arrange top reinforcement at right angles to the edge: see figure 12.3.4-9. This distribution reinforcement is in essence necessary to distribute the load over the supporting strip and to assure the cooperating effective width of the band; to limit crack width at the upper side of the slab. In order to limit crack widths at the top side, HILLERBORG (1996) proposes to adopt a band width equal to minimum 1/10 to 1/5 of the length of the free edge. The hogging moment which has to resist by the distribution reinforcement, can be determined from figure 12.3.4-9, and is equal to:
m = F .b2

(12.3.4-3)

width b1 of the support band

Figure 12.3.4-9

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Auxiliary figure for the static analysis of the distribution reinforcement in the supporting strip which has to transfer a concentrated load close to the free edge (2) Concentrated load at a large distance from the free edge Figure 12.3.4-10 shows that the transfer of the concentrated load needs a supporting strip along the free edge.
Support band Support band

Figure 12.3.4-10 Transfer of a concentrated load in 1 direction (a) or in 2 directions (b) 12.3.4.6 Slab with an opening

The important question is how much the static behaviour of the slab is influenced by the presence of the opening; determining factors are the shape of the opening, its size and its position. Where the static behaviour of the slab is only slightly changed by the opening, the design may be based on the analysis of the slab without an opening. The reinforcement which would be cut by the opening must be arranged along its edges and properly anchored. It is generally accepted that this approximate approach may be used if the opening can be inscribed in a square with side equal to 0,2 times the smallest span of the slab; see figure 12.3.4-11. Yet, HILLERBORG (1996) notes that one has to be careful with this simplification in case of plate regions with large torsional moments and free edges.

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Figure 12.3.4-11 Slab with less important opening; analysis is performed such as for slab without opening

Figure 12.3.4-12 represents a slab with a large opening. The following points may be highlighted: a possible solution of load transfer in proposed in the figure. The tributary areas are indicated; it may be observed that the dimensions of the tributary areas have been adjusted in order to reduce the number of strips to be considered later on; the proposed solution is based on the use of supporting strips along the edges of the opening. One may choose between two possibilities: a supporting strip may be supported at the edges of the slab; this is the case of supporting strips 1-1 and 2-2 in figure 12.3.4-12, or a supporting strip may be supported at the crossings with the supporting strips that are perpendicular to the first ones; this is the case for the supporting strips AB and CD which are supported by the supporting strips 33 and 4-4 in figure 12.3.4-12. The last solution seems to be the most logical one for the slab in figure 12.3.4-12.

Figure 12.3.4-12 Slab with large opening ABCD; a possible solution for load transfer is proposed, on the basis of supporting strips along the edges of the opening

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The analysis then continues with the determination of the bending moments in the supporting strips, for which unit width is chosen. In practice, the width of the supporting strips is chosen in such a way that the moments in the supporting strip are distributed away from the edge of the opening; the width may be chosen up to 1/3 of the distance towards the nearest parallel edge of the slab. Figure 12.3.4-13 represents a slab with fixed edges. When openings are present, the load transfer may also take place by means of cantilever beams; this way of working allows avoiding supporting strips along the opening. Another consequence is that, in principle, reinforcement is needed on the upper side; this is the case for the upper part of the slab in figure 12.3.4-13(b), where sagging moment reinforcement is not necessary in the x-direction; it is observed that such sagging reinforcement is present in the slab without opening! (see figure 12.3.4-13(a)). It is also observed that sagging reinforcement in the x-direction is necessary in the lower part of figure 12.3.4-13(b), where the supporting strip supports the reaction forces of the strips in the y-direction. Figures 12.3.4-13(b) and (c) represent two alternative models for load transfer. Finally, the Annex A12.3.4 shows the results of a finite element calculation (linear elastic) of a slab with an opening. The necessity of the supporting strips around the opening is clearly shown; moreover, the figures also give a good indication of the dimensions and position of the supporting strips.

Figure 12.3.4-13 Slab with fixed edge: (a) force transfer in the slab without opening; (b) and (c) alternative solutions for the load transfer in the slab with an opening; there is only one supporting strip!

12.3.5 Case study

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Annex A12.3.5 presents a case study where the strip method is applied to an L-shaped slab with variable edge conditions.

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