IES VisualAnalysis

ACI Concrete Beam Design
Project Description:
This example will use the continuous beam shown below to illustrate the process of designing a concrete beam.

Version Note: This tutorial may have been created using a prior version of VisualAnalysis. Minor changes to the software may have occurred including new features and graphics updates. The appearance of dialog boxes and the Project Manager may be altered slightly. Consult available Web training Videos ( or the User’s Guide ( if steps do not appear correct.

Building the Model
Create the model with a continuous beam consisting of two 25’ long, 12” wide by 18” deep concrete (f’c = 5 ksi) members. Select the member, and on the Modify Tab under the Shape heading, select “Standard Parametric” from the drop down menu next to the Source heading. Use the ellipsis button [...] to bring up the Parametric Shape Dialog. Next, create a pin at the left most support (in a 3D Space Frame model you must also restrain the rotation about the xaxis), and restrain displacement of the other two nodes in the y & z-directions. If you need help creating the model please consult the VisualAnalysis User’s Guide (Help | Contents).

Modeling Discussion:
Should the beams be designed as one combined member or two separate members? The answer to this question lies in the way the design module is set up. From the diagram below, we see the typical steel layout (see the VisualAnalysis User’s Guide

VisualAnalysis Tutorial: ACI Concrete Beam Design 1


consider our model with the first span split into two members (see diagram below). Diagram Displaying Model with First Span Combined Loading Create the following service load cases: Dead Loads: 2 kips/ft on both spans (include self weight) Live Load: 3 kips/ft on both spans Next. It is quite evident that this detailing is laid out for negative moments at the ends and positive moment in the middle. the design module would not accurately call out adequate reinforcement for the moment pattern. Diagram Displaying Model with First Span Split For analysis purposes we could analyze the beam as two members. the right end of the first member and left end of the second member will have positive moments and we will not be consistent with the steel detailing pattern. These moments will correspond correctly to our detailing. but for design purposes we need to “combine” members M1 and M2 of the model above using the Model | Combine Member Elements command. Had we modeled the two 25’ long beams as a combined member. VisualAnalysis Tutorial: ACI Concrete Beam Design 2 11/22/10 . For the alternative. select ASCE7-10 LRFD from the Load Case Manager to include these load combinations in the analysis. If we leave the members as two separate members. Information on applying loads and selecting factored combinations is available in the VisualAnalysis User’s Guide (Help | Contents).IES VisualAnalysis (Help | Contents) for more information about the steel layout).

Try a 12”x18”. Beam Options: The basic material properties for the beam are controlled using these parameters. The beam will be designed as a rectangular section. See the VisualAnalysis User’s Guide for more information on this option and when you might want to use it. Set both cover values to 1. then a 14”x22”…). With this in mind. Also make sure the Reinforcing Steel Fy values are both set to 60. Leave the High Seismic Risk option unchecked. This allows the software to calculate capacity corresponding to the moment/shear demand at the appropriate locations.5 in. and the Min/Max Depth to 18”/36” respectively. VisualAnalysis Tutorial: ACI Concrete Beam Design 3 11/22/10 . specify the Column Width at Start and Column Width at End both as 12”. The design parameters are controlled completely through the Project Manager. Make sure F’c is set to 5000 psi (you must change this setting while in the Model View). Select the member in the design view and click on the Modify tab of the Project Manager to begin editing the design parameters.000 psi. we will assume that 12” columns frame in at both the start and end of the beam. Width and Depth can be constrained under the Design heading. For this example. Set the Min/Max Width to 12”/24”.IES VisualAnalysis Design Group Parameters Now. then a 12”x20”. These settings let the design software know that you want it to work through cross sections two inches at a time (i. For the purposes of this example. then a 14”x20”. VisualAnalysis automatically creates design groups for you. leave these general parameters unchanged. switch to Design View. then 14”x18”.e. Design Parameters: The “Beam” parameters are next in the Modify tab. Set both the width and depth increment to 2 in. Concrete Parameters: The “Concrete Beam” parameters are the first parameters available for editing in the Project Manager.

select the Design View tab. Leave the “# vertical legs” set to 2. a unity value of “2” is reported. Now. the design process cannot take place until the model has been analyzed. it may be of use to allow the design software to select a section that will meet strength requirements rather than using a trial and error iterative process.] next to Design election in the Modify Tab).. We will revisit this issues and how to modify rebar patterns in the next section. A unity value will be reported based on the reinforcement area that satisfies code requirements. Designing the Member Once the analysis is complete. Select the 20”Wx26”H for this example. The report will give you information as to why the member does not pass. Here you can make a selection if one of these meets your requirements. Analyzing the Structure When you are designing members. Right Click on the member and select “Report Selected Members”. Set the bar size to #4 to indicate we want to use #4 stirrups. This will pop up the Concrete Beam Design Selection dialog. If the section we initially chose was larger.. VisualAnalysis Tutorial: ACI Concrete Beam Design 4 11/22/10 . This option would require the stirrups to be spaced symmetrically about the beam centerline. the software may have been able find a reinforcement pattern to work. VisualAnalysis will attempt to find a reinforcement pattern and the given cross section dimensions. For this example let’s use First Order Analysis Results (Modify Tab of the Project Manager while in the Model View screen). In this case. and the area of steel required will not meet ACI requirements (maximum reinforcement ratio’s etc). Choose Design | Design Selected Group (or select the ellipsis button [. but may not consist of rebar sizes you prefer to use. Analyze using the Analyze | Analyze Now menu item. Leave the Symmetrical Spacing option unchecked as well. the member section is too small. Design checks are performed using the specified member size.IES VisualAnalysis Stirrup Parameters: The next set of parameters is the Stirrups Parameters. Here.

click on the ellipses button […] next to the “Adjust Rebar” item on the Modify Tab. If you would like to adjust the reinforcement sizes used in the design. but less conservative the member is. and when it finishes re-analyzing go back to a Design View and review the unity check.IES VisualAnalysis Synchronizing Design Change After accepting the design. The closer the unity value is to one the more efficient. verify the Rebar Status in the lower right corner of the dialog. To synchronize the design changes. select “Yes”. the unity value that appears in the design view should have a ~ in front of it indicating that it is a preliminary value based on the analysis results with the original 12”x18” member in place. and select “Ok”. To get the updated (actual) unity value you must synchronize the design changes. select Design | Synchronize Design Changes. indicating that it is a final unity value. VisualAnalysis Tutorial: ACI Concrete Beam Design 5 11/22/10 . you will be prompted to re-analyze. Next. If the unity value is greater than one. Once the rebar is modified to your preference. the member has failed and you need to iterate the design process. Your unity check may or may not be affected (in this case strong shear is controlling). It should no longer have the ~ in front of it.

double-click on the member in the Design View (this is the same as right click and “Report Selected Member” that we previously did). Consult the User’s Guide for more information on the Find Tool. VisualAnalysis Tutorial: ACI Concrete Beam Design 6 11/22/10 . You can also right click and “Report Check Summary” which may be preferred for larger models with many members. The Report Wizard can also be used to customize reporting for Design Checks. Another useful tool in larger models is the Find Tool (F7).IES VisualAnalysis Reporting Design Checks To create a design report listing the checks performed. This allows you to see unity checks without switching to a report view.

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