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Title no.

ACI Structural Journal, V. 109, No. 6, November-December 2012.
MS No. S-2011-017.R1 received February 16, 2011, and reviewed under Institute
publication policies. Copyright 2012, American Concrete Institute. All rights
reserved, including the making of copies unless permission is obtained from the
copyright proprietors. Pertinent discussion including authors closure, if any, will be
published in the September-October 2013 ACI Structural Journal if the discussion is
received by May 1, 2013.
ACI Structural Journal/November-December 2012 867
Defection Control of Concrete Slabs Longitudinally
Reinforced with ASTM A1035/A1035M-07 Steel
by Admasu S. Desalegne and Adam S. Lubell
The ACI 318-08 design code for reinforced concrete construction
provides both an implicit check of slab defection control based on
minimum member thickness and a direct computation method for
defection. Similar provisions are given in the ACI ITG-6 design
guide (ACI ITG-6R-10) for members reinforced with high-perfor-
mance ASTM A1035/A1035M-07 steel. This paper reports an
analytical study that compared the maximum span-depth ratios
from the implicit defection provisions with corresponding ratios
determined from direct defection calculations. Emphasis was
placed on defection control at the serviceability limit state (SLS)
for one-way slabs longitudinally reinforced with ASTM A1035/
A1035M-07 steel where the nominal steel stress at the ultimate
limit state (ULS) ranged from 60 to 120 ksi (414 to 828 MPa). The
results indicate that the maximum span-depth ratio should decrease
as the span length increases, as the design load increases, as the
concrete strength decreases, or as the maximum permissible defec-
tion decreases. The maximum span-depth ratio can be increased
as the longitudinal reinforcement ratio is increased beyond that
required to satisfy the fexural demand. These relationships with
the maximum span-depth ratio were all nonlinear in nature and
were of similar shape for all nominal reinforcement stress magni-
tudes considered. Furthermore, these relationships were similar
when ULS fexural design was completed using either the simplifed
or general fexural design models provided in the ACI ITG-6R-10
guidelines. The study recommends that direct defection calcula-
tions should be used for the design of all slabs and proposes graph-
ical design aids for use in initial thickness selection.
Keywords: cracking; defection; high-performance reinforcement; one-way
slabs; reinforced concrete; stiffness.
Reinforced concrete fexural members must have accept-
able defections at the serviceability limit state (SLS) while
providing adequate strength at the ultimate limit state (ULS).
The maximum SLS deformations of structural members,
including the effects of incremental defection from
sustained loads, should be appropriate for their intended use
and minimize signifcant damage to nonstructural elements.
The longitudinal tensile reinforcement ratio r for a one-way
spanning slab is usually based on the fexural strength require-
ments at ULS. Use of higher- or lower-strength reinforce-
ment will change the required r and, hence, the reinforce-
ment stresses and corresponding member curvatures at the
SLS condition. Thus, it is generally believed that minimum
slab thickness must change as a function of the nominal
reinforcement design stress f
to maintain adequate defec-
tion control. The reinforcement stress at SLS is commonly
approximated as 0.67f
for traditional steel reinforcement
grades (refer to ACI 318-08, Section 10.6.4).
However, the
ratio between the stress at SLS and f
used for ULS design of
ASTM A1035/A1035M-07
steel can differ from the 0.67f

approximation, especially if the ULS design considers the
nonlinear region of the ASTM A1035/A1035M-07 steel
stress-strain response.
Defections of reinforced concrete members depend on
many factors, including the degree of cracking, the time-
dependent characteristics of the concrete, the mechanical
properties of the reinforcement, and the support and loading
ACI 318-08
provides two methods to satisfy
defection control requirements for reinforced concrete
members. The ACI ITG-6 design guide (ITG-6R-10),
provides modifcations to ACI 318-08 provisions for use
with ASTM A1035/A1035M-07 Grade 100 (690 MPa)
steel, adopts the same two-approach method of defection
control. In the frst approach, an implicit evaluation of
member defection is used, whereby a member with suff-
ciently large overall depth h is deemed to comply (DTC)
with the defection requirements. As given in ACI 318-08,
Table 9.5(a) (reproduced herein as Table 1), the minimum
member thickness h for span L is based on member type
(for example, slab or beam) and support configuration
(for example, simple-span or continuous). Footnote b)
of Table 1 gives an adjustment coeffcient to increase h as
the reinforcement yield strength f
increases above 60 ksi
(414 MPa). In the second approach, the member defection
is directly calculated using an effective moment of inertia
to account for the variation in stiffness along the member
length due to cracking. The calculated defections are
then compared to established defection limits. Due to the
simplicity of the DTC approach for defection control, this
method is usually preferred over direct defection calcula-
tions for member size selection in design practice. Thus, it is
important that the DTC approach yields members that also
satisfy the defection control criterion under the direct calcu-
lation method while still promoting structural economy.
Several previous studies have proposed different maximum
L/h relationships for defection control to replace those in
Table 1. Grossman
used computer simulations to develop
a simple expression for the minimum thickness of one-way
members based on the maximum permitted defection, the
longitudinal reinforcement ratio, and the loading. Gardner
and Zhang
used a layered, nonlinear fnite element model
and approximated the required increase in the maximum
L/h ratio as inversely proportional to the cube root of the
service moment-to-ultimate moment ratio M
. They
also identifed that the limiting L/h ratio increases as the
concrete strength f
increases and as the fexural tension
868 ACI Structural Journal/November-December 2012
ACI member Admasu S. Desalegne is a PhD Student in structural engineering at
the University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada. He received his BSc and MSc in
structural engineering from Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. His
research interests include analysis and design of concrete structures reinforced with
high-performance materials.
ACI member Adam S. Lubell is an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at the
University of Alberta. He received his PhD from the University of Toronto, Toronto,
ON, Canada. He is past Secretary of ACI Task Group ITG-6, High Strength Steel
Reinforcement, and is a member of ACI Committee 440, Fiber-Reinforced Polymer
Reinforcement; 544, Fiber-Reinforced Concrete; and Joint ACI-ASCE Committee 445,
Shear and Torsion. His research interests include the design and rehabilitation of
reinforced and prestressed concrete structures and the development of structural
detailing guidelines to allow the use of high-performance materials.
or compression reinforcement ratios (r and r) increase.
Scanlon and Choi
showed that the minimum slab thickness
can be reduced as L decreases and as the live load decreases.
compared maximum L/h relationships from the
literature and from several codes of practice and recom-
mended maximum L/h ratios that decrease as r decreases, as
decreases, and as the ratio of maximum sustained moment
to ultimate moment capacity increases. Choi et al.
used a
Monte Carlo simulation to calibrate a proposed simpli-
fed expression for maximum L/h. Among the parameters
included were span length, load intensity, support condi-
tions, concrete strength, and steel strength.
Tang and Lubell
used a holistic approach to consider
member thickness and the corresponding reinforcement,
which would simultaneously satisfy the fexure, shear, and
defection requirements of one-way spanning members,
and which could form the basis of graphical design aids for
selecting member thickness. The maximum L/h ratios from
these plots were then compared with the corresponding L/h
ratios derived from the implicit defection control provisions
(that is, the DTC approach from Table 1). The study used
requirements from CSA A23.3-04,
which are similar to
those in ACI 318-08. The results showed that the maximum
L/h ratios should decrease as the span length L increases,
as the design load w increases, or as the cracking moment
decreases. The study also demonstrated that the ULS
design strength of longitudinal reinforcement f
did not have
a signifcant effect on the minimum h required to satisfy the
defection criterion in contrast to the assumed relationship
from Footnote b) of Table 1. Bischoff and Scanlon
developed simple expressions for the maximum L/h ratio for
one-way slabs and beams that had a similar shape to those
from Tang and Lubell
by considering the parameters of
reinforcement ratio, cracking moment, specifed defection
limits, compressive strength of concrete, and yield strength
of steel. The use of these expressions to check for adequate
defection control, however, requires prior knowledge of r,
which is typically unknown until the member thickness h
is selected. Thus, the Bischoff and Scanlon
cannot be easily used for optimized member size selection.
Furthermore, the structure of the relationships prevents their
consistent use when the ULS design considers the nonlinear
stress-strain response of high-performance reinforcement,
such as ASTM A1035/A1035M-07 steel.
The study by Tang and Lubell
used a linear elastic-
perfectly plastic stress-strain model for the steel reinforce-
ment and only considered steel design strengths f
up to 80 ksi
(552 MPa). This paper forms an extension to the Tang and
approach by specifcally considering one-way
concrete slabs longitudinally reinforced with ASTM A1035/
A1035M-07 Grade 100 (690 MPa) steel. Higher nominal
design strengths f
of up to 120 ksi (828 MPa) were used
in the analytical calculations, including consideration
of the nonlinear stress-strain response of ASTM A1035/
A1035M-07 steel in some cases.
One-way slabs reinforced with high-strength steel typi-
cally have low longitudinal reinforcement ratios; however,
there has not been previous work to systematically establish
whether the maximum L/h ratios specifed by the DTC defec-
tion control method of ACI 318-08 are also appropriate for
lightly reinforced members with higher-strength reinforce-
ment. In the case of slabs reinforced with ASTM A1035/
A1035M-07 steel, it is also important to evaluate whether
these DTC provisions can be applied to members where the
fexural design uses the nonlinear portion of the steel stress-
strain response. A comparison was completed between
maximum L/h values determined from a holistic design
approach considering fexure, shear, and direct defection
calculations with L/h ratios derived from the DTC provi-
sions. The aim was to establish an appropriate method for
selection of minimum member thickness with due regard for
infuences that arise both from the overall member confgu-
ration and from the different ULS analysis techniques given
in ACI ITG-6R-10.
ASTM A1035/A1035M-07 steel has a different metal-
lurgy and microstructure than conventional reinforcing steel
commonly used in most new construction.
These changes
result in ASTM A1035/A1035M-07 steel with an effec-
tive yield strength signifcantly higher than conventional
ASTM A615/A615M-06
(60 or 75 ksi [414 or 518 MPa])
or ASTM A706/A706M-08
(60 ksi [414 MPa]) reinforcing
steel while also being less susceptible to corrosion.
account for the mechanical properties of ASTM A1035/
A1035M-07 Grade 100 (690 MPa) steel, ACI Innovation
Table 1Minimum thickness of non-prestressed beams or one-way slabs unless defections are
calculated (adapted from ACI 318-08, Table 9.5(a)
Minimum thickness h
Simply supported One end continuous Both ends continuous Cantilever
Member Members not supporting or attached to partitions or other construction likely to be damaged by large defections
Solid one-way slabs L/20 L/24 L/28 L/10
Beams or ribbed one-way slabs L/16 L/18.5 L/21 L/8
Notes: Values given shall be used directly for members with normalweight concrete and Grade 60 (414 MPa) reinforcement. For other conditions, values shall be modifed as follows:
a) For lightweight concrete having equilibrium density w
in the range of 90 to 115 lb/ft
(1440 to 1840 kg/m
), values shall be multiplied by (1.65 0.005w
) but not less than 1.09.
b) For f
other than 60 ksi (414 MPa), values shall be multiplied by (0.4 + f
ACI Structural Journal/November-December 2012 869
Task Group 6
developed representative analytical stress-
strain curves that are suitable for use in design and were
adopted in this study
29, 000 0.0024
170 for 0.0024 0.02 (ksi)
150 0.02 0.06
s s
s s

= <


200, 000 0.0024
1170 for 0.0024 0.02 (MPa)
1040 0.02 0.06
s s
s s

= <


This analytical study evaluated the defection control of
one-way simply supported slabs longitudinally reinforced
with ASTM A1035/A1035M-07 steel in building-type struc-
tures. All slabs studied were subjected to uniformly distrib-
uted foor loading. Loading consisted of the member self-
weight w
, superimposed dead loads w
to account for
mechanical systems and architectural fnishes, and typical
live loads w
defned in ASCE/SEI 7-05
for different
building occupancy conditions. Load and resistance factors
from ACI 318-08, with specifed modifcations from
ACI ITG-6R-10, were used. While all reinforcing steel consid-
ered was ASTM A1035/A1035M-07 Grade 100 (690 MPa),
designs corresponding to different nominal steel stress
values f
of 60, 100, and 120 ksi (414, 690, and 828 MPa)
at the ULS condition were developed, consistent with the
ACI ITG-6R-10 provisions. This allowed the nonlinear
stress-strain response of the steel at ULS to be directly eval-
uated for its corresponding infuence on defection control
at the SLS. The range of parameters and member confgura-
tions studied are provided in Table 2.
Overview of typical design sequence
Slabs must be designed to have adequate strength in
fexure and shear at the ULS condition. The defections of
these members must also be controlled to within accept-
able limits for their intended use at SLS. The typical design
sequence used in practice to achieve these objectives is given
by the fowchart in Fig. 1 and briefy described. Unique
design aspects within each step, as they pertain to differ-
ences between ACI ITG-6R-10 and ACI 318-08 provisions
to account for the use of ASTM A1035/A1035M-07 steel,
are provided in the following sections.
Initially, a member thickness h must be selected that is
expected to satisfy the ULS and SLS design criteria (Step 1).
Due to its simplicity, the initial selection of h is typically
made using the DTC defection control provisions (that is,
Table 1) with the modifcation specifed in the table foot-
note for f
60 ksi (414 MPa). However, if h is directly
determined in later steps from the governing case of explicit
defection calculations or strength requirements, this modi-
fcation is not directly applicable. Next, for the member size
selected, the longitudinal reinforcement quantity A
is deter-
mined to satisfy the fexural strength requirement at ULS
(Step 2). The shear capacity of the slab is evaluated at ULS
and compared against the loading demand (Step 3). If the
member satisfes the requirements of the DTC defection
control method, including adjustment for f
, no further check
of defection is required (Step 4a). Alternatively, direct
Table 2Design parameters considered
Parameter U.S. customary units Metric units
Concrete strength f
5 and 10 ksi 34.5 and 69 MPa
Nominal steel design
strength f
60 to 120 ksi 414 to 828 MPa
Live load intensity w
50 and 100 lb/ft
2.4 and 4.8 kPa
Superimposed dead load
intensity w
20 lb/ft
1 kPa
Span length L 10 to 32 ft 3 to 10 m
Slab thickness h 3 to 22 in. 75 to 550 mm
Fig. 1Design procedure for optimized slab thickness
according to defection control.
870 ACI Structural Journal/November-December 2012
defection calculations at SLS are completed and compared
against the appropriate limits (Step 4b). The defection of a
member satisfying Step 4a could also be evaluated at Step 4b
so as to allow optimization of h. To satisfy the strength or
defection criteria at Steps 2, 3, or 4, the slab thickness h
at Step 1 can be adjusted. To emphasize the relationships
between the various design parameters, this study reports
results for optimized values of h that just satisfy the most
stringent criterion from Steps 2, 3, or 4b, whereas industry
practice will use practical incremental thicknesses for slabs.
Flexural design of slabs with ASTM A1035/
A1035M-07 steel
As noted previously, the stress-strain relationship for
ASTM A1035/A1035M-07 steel given by Eq. (1) does not
include a distinct yield point or yield plateau. Flexural design
of members longitudinally reinforced with ASTM A1035/
A1035M-07 steel must account for the curvilinear stress-
strain response. ACI ITG-6R-10 permits the use of two
different fexural analysis models that are based on different
assumptions for the reinforcement stress-strain response and
corresponding moment-curvature response of the concrete
section. Both fexural analysis models are used in this study
to highlight their respective infuences on the maximum L/h
ratios that provide adequate defection control.
In the frst fexural model, herein termed the Mast model,
simplifed elastic-plastic representation for the stress-strain
response of ASTM A1035/A1035M-07 steel is used with
an effective yield stress of f
= 100 ksi (690 MPa). Flexural
capacity at ULS is calculated with the ACI 318-08 rectan-
gular stress block provisions and with an assumed concrete
strain at the extreme compression fber of e
= 0.003.
The ACI ITG-6R-10 partial safety factor for fexure f
according to this approach, is given by 0.65 (f
= 0.45
+ 50e
) 0.9, where e
is the reinforcement strain at ULS.
Owing to its simplicity in the required calculations, the Mast
is expected to be the more widely used fexural
design approach in industry practice. This study used the
Mast model
to consider members with nominal steel design
strength values f
of 60 and 100 ksi (414 and 690 MPa).
In the second fexural model provided in ACI ITG-6R-10,
herein termed the Appendix B model, the full nonlinear
stress-strain relationship for ASTM A1035/A1035M-07 steel
according to Eq. (1) is used. The concrete strain at the
extreme compression fber is taken as e
= 0.003 at ULS
and the fexural response of the section can be solved using
a strain compatibility approach based on engineering beam
theory. Due to the nonlinear stress-strain relationship for the
reinforcement, an iterative calculation approach is typically
required. A provision of adequate fexural capacity can be
easily checked when the reinforcement quantity is known.
For the selection of an optimized quantity of reinforce-
ment for a given fexural demand M
, it is typically easiest
to establish a target maximum nominal stress level f
the reinforcement. ACI ITG-6R-10 gives a partial safety
factor for fexure f
for members designed according to the
Appendix B approach from 0.65 (f
= 0.23 + 100e
0.9. This study used the Appendix B model to consider slabs
with f
values of 100 and 120 ksi (690 and 828 MPa).
To compare these two fexural design approaches,
Fig. 2 plots the relationship between the nominal moment M

and curvature F for the 12 x 12 in. (305 x 305 mm) cross
section defned in the fgure. Note that the full M
-F response
in Fig. 2 was prepared using a variable e
and will
have minor variance from M
-F values calculated with
constant e
at ULS for the two fexural models described
previously. The Mast and Appendix B models both
predict a similar M
-F response prior to cracking and for
values of M
up to approximately 40 kip-ft/ft (178 kN-m/
m). This point corresponds to the proportional limit of
ASTM A1035/A1035M-07 steel from Eq. (1). Beyond this
point, the Mast model
gives a slightly stiffer response due
to the use of an effective f
larger than the proportional limit
stress; however, the maximum calculated fexural capacity
quickly plateaus. The Appendix B model gives increasing
fexural capacity at a decreasing rate as the curvature F (that
is, slab defection) increases. Points have been marked on the
plot to correspond to nominal reinforcement stress magni-
tudes f
of 60, 100, and 120 ksi (414, 690, and 828 MPa).
It is important to note that for each of these conditions, the
corresponding point representing the SLS condition will have
steel stresses below the proportional limit when typical load
and resistance factors are applied. Thus, for the case shown,
it is possible to consider the SLS design requirements based
on the elastic methods used for traditional reinforcing steels
that exhibit well-defned yield plateaus.
Structural slabs designed according to ACI 318-08 must have
a minimum quantity of longitudinal reinforcement in the span
direction that satisfes the shrinkage and temperature reinforce-
ment provisions of Section 7.12.2. ACI ITG-6R-10 requires
a designer to follow these provisions and notes that for
ASTM A1035/A1035M-07 Grade 100 (690 MPa) steel, the
corresponding minimum gross reinforcement ratio is 0.14%.
This requirement is easily satisfed for thin slabs with reason-
able bar spacing, as the maximum spacing is limited to the
smaller of 18 in. (457 mm) or 5h. According to ACI ITG-6R-
10, Section 4.9.4, to provide crack control at a reasonable bar
spacing for members with increased cover, it is necessary to
limit the steel stress at the service load to less than 67 ksi
(460 MPa). Section 4.2 of ACI ITG-6R-10 also suggests
limiting the maximum strain in the reinforcement at ULS to
0.015 (that is, 144 ksi [994 MPa]) to avoid excessive cracking
of members.
Fig. 2Moment-curvature relationship for fexurally
cracked slab with ASTM A1035/A1035M-07 steel.
ACI Structural Journal/November-December 2012 871
Shear design of slabs with ASTM A1035/
A1035M-07 steel
The shear capacity of reinforced concrete slabs that do not
contain stirrups are infuenced by many design parameters,
including the concrete strength f
, the effective depth d,
and the longitudinal reinforcement confguration.
that these same parameters will also infuence the fexural
design and the overall member defection. With regard to
the use of ASTM A1035/A1035M-07 steel as the longitu-
dinal reinforcement in slabs, the higher nominal strength
compared to traditional Grade 60 (414 MPa) reinforcing
steel allows slabs with a lower reinforcement ratio r and
higher steel stress f
to still satisfy fexural strength require-
ments. These slabs, however, will exhibit larger diagonal
crack widths at the ULS condition, which will impact the
shear strength.
With additional modifcations to account for the possible
nonlinear stress-strain response of ASTM A1035/A1035M-07
steel at ULS, Desalegne and Lubell
showed that the shear
model proposed by Hoult et al.
can be used to predict the
shear capacity of slabs reinforced with this steel. The Hoult et
model enhances the modifed compression feld theory
based CSA A23.3-04
shear model to better account for the
infuence on one-way shear capacity from large longitudinal
reinforcement strains, with the shear capacity at the critical
section given as
0.3 616.6
39.37 0.5 (1000 0.15)
n c w v
ze x
V f b d
_ _


+ + + , ,

f b d
x ze
c w v

+ +



0 3
0 5 1000 0 15
0 7
. ( . )


where parameter e
represents the effective axial strain at
midheight and is derived from the reinforcement stress at the
critical section
; the shear depth d
is taken as 0.9d; and the
effective crack spacing parameter s
can be taken as 0.9d for
the concrete with 3/4 in. (19 mm) aggregate assumed in this
study. While a simplifed version of this shear capacity method
that is compatible with the simplifed Mast fexural model
assumptions is included in the ACI ITG-6R-10 guide,
general version (that is, Eq. (2)) is used in this study due to
the use of the Appendix B flexural method in some cases.
ACI ITG-6R-10 adopts the same partial safety factor for shear
= 0.75, as given in ACI 318-08.
ACI 318-08 DTC with defection limits
Table 9.5(a) in ACI 318-08 (Table 1 in this paper)
provides minimum thickness values for members that
are DTC with defection requirements for members not
supporting or attached to partitions or other construction
likely to be damaged by large defections. By this defection
control specifcation, members sized using this technique
would be expected to limit the total incremental long-term
defection after installation of nonstructural items to D

Values for minimum thickness h are provided
as functions of the span length L, based on the member
type and the support condition. For members conforming to
Table 1 and the defection limit specifcation noted previ-
ously, the fexural stiffness does not need to be directly
determined because ACI 318-08 and ACI ITG-6R-10 do
not require direct checks of the predicted defection for
these members. In the case of lightly reinforced members,
however, ACI ITG-6R-10 recommends making direct
defection calculations.
Direct defection calculations for slabs
Deformations of slender, one-way spanning reinforced
concrete slabs without shear reinforcement are assumed to
be consistent with the well-known hypothesis that plane
sections before bending remain plane after bending. The
defection is determined by considering the corresponding
curvatures along the member length. Thus, the instantaneous
defection of a member subjected to uniform transverse
loading can be computed with the well-known relationship
c e


where D
is the instantaneous defection; w is the uniform
transverse loading considered; L is the span length; E
is the
secant modulus of elasticity of concrete taken as 57,000f

psi (4735f
MPa); I
is the effective moment of inertia of
the transformed cross section; and K is a coeffcient based
on the boundary conditions (1.0 for simple span; 0.416 for
fxed-pin; 0.2 for fxed-fxed). Time-dependent infuences
on defection must also be considered. According to the
ACI 318-08 provisions, the incremental long-term defection
resulting from creep and shrinkage of fexural members
can be determined by multiplying the immediate defection
caused by the sustained load by the factor l
1 50

where r is the compression reinforcement ratio taken at
midspan for simple and continuous spans, and at the support
location for cantilevers; x is the time-dependent factor for the
sustained loads taken equal to 1.0, 1.2, 1.4, and 2.0 for loads
sustained for 3, 6, 12, or more than 60 months, respectively.
ACI 318-08 defection provisions limit the imme-
diate defection D
from live loads to D
= L/180 or
L/360 for roofs or foors, respectively, when not supporting
or attached to nonstructural items likely to be damaged by
large deflections. Defection limits of D
= L/240 and
L/480 are used for the portion of defection that occurs after
attachment of nonstructural elements (sum of the incremental
long-term defection due to all sustained loads D
and the
immediate defection D
due to any additional transient live
load) if they are not likely, or are likely, to be damaged by
large defections, respectively. According to Gardner,
is general agreement that this total long-term defection after
installation of nonstructural items (that is, D
) is typically
the more critical case compared to the immediate transient
live load defection limit D
. While both criteria were
checked in this study, the D
criterion was confrmed
to be the D
governing case for all maximum L/h ratios
presented in this study.
872 ACI Structural Journal/November-December 2012
Calculating fexural stiffness
As part of the defection calculation for Eq. (3), an evalua-
tion of an appropriate moment of inertia for the cross section
is required to address the variable cracked nature along the
member length. Bischoff
developed a formulation for
effective moment of inertia I
that gives estimates of member
defection that are in better agreement with test results than
those using the I
formulation in ACI 318-08 developed by
The Bischoff
model given by Eq. (5) was
adopted by ACI ITG-6R-10 and was used in this study
1 1
e g
cr cr
g a

where M
is the maximum characteristic moment under the
load being considered, taken herein as the maximum service
moment (full dead load + full live load) as a simplifed tech-
nique to consider infuences from early-age loading during
; M
is the cracking moment; I
is the moment
of inertia of the gross section about the centroidal axis,
neglecting the reinforcement; and I
is the cracked moment
of inertia of a singly reinforced section, given by
3 2
( ) ( )
cr w s
I b kd n A d kd = + (6)
where the modular ratio n = E
; b
is the member width; d
is the effective depth of the reinforcement from the compres-
sion face;

2 ( ) k n n n = r+ r - r ;
and A
is the area of fexural tension reinforcement, with the
reinforcement ratio evaluated as r = (A
According to ACI 318-08, the cracking moment for
normalweight concrete, M
, is related to the modulus of
rupture f
= 7.5f
psi (0.623f
MPa) and the gross section
properties through the expression
cr r g
f I

= (7)
where g
is a coeffcient adopted in this study to account
for a reduced cracking moment due to restrained shrinkage
and is taken as 0.67, as per the recommendation of Bischoff
and Scanlon.
For the DTC defection control technique (Table 1), the
corresponding L/h ratios are constant for each member type
and support condition. Only the infuence of reinforce-
ment yield strength f
is given additional consideration
through Footnote b) of Table 1. However, the ULS design
methods for fexure and shear (Steps 2 and 3 in Fig. 1) and
for detailed defection computations at SLS (Step 4b in
Fig. 1) will be infuenced by various parameters that are
applicable to each particular design case. In general, these
can be classifed as: 1) parameters infuencing the service
moment magnitude and its fraction relative to the ulti-
mate moment; and 2) parameters infuencing the propor-
tion of the member that will be cracked in fexure. For this
study using ASTM A1035/A1035M-07 steel reinforce-
ment, the nominal design strength f
and corresponding
fexural design method represents a third classifcation. A
systematic evaluation of the infuence on defection from
the main parameters in these three primary classifcations
was completed. The limiting L/h ratios were developed for
each case by considering the total defection D as the incre-
mental defection D
from 28 days (assumed time of appli-
cation of sustained live load and superimposed dead load)
until 60 months (that is, x = 2) combined with the immediate
defection D
of the transient live load fraction. The limiting
L/h ratios represent the case where D = D
A sustained live
load fraction of g
= 70% was used for all analysis reported
in this study, but the infuence of this parameter was found
to be relatively minor within the typical range of 40 to 70%
applicable for many structures.
Factors affecting SLS and ULS moments
The defection of a one-way slab is a function of the magni-
tude of the cracking moment M
, the service moment M
, and
the corresponding ultimate moment M
, as shown in Eq. (3)
and (5). The moments M
and M
are related to the span
length L, the support confguration, and the applied loading
w. Because M
is used for determining the amount of longi-
tudinal reinforcement, a higher M
will result in an increased
r for a constant slab thickness h, which thereby increases
. If the slab thickness is allowed to adjust, however, the
ratio of dead load to live load will change. Because both
ACI 318-08 and ASCE/SEI 7-05 use basic load factors of
1.2 and 1.6 applied to dead load and live load, respectively,
the ratio M
will change as h changes. In addition, as the
superimposed dead load w
for items such as architectural
fnishes increases as a fraction of the total load, the M

ratio will also change. In both cases, this change in ratio will
affect I
and, hence, the defections at SLS.
The relationship between the maximum L/h ratio and
member span L according to the direct defection calcula-
tion method was determined for different live load inten-
sities w
and concrete strengths using the f
values and
corresponding fexural design methods identifed previously
(refer to Fig. 3 and 4). Figure 5 illustrates the variation in
maximum L/h as the superimposed dead load w
for a slab with a span of L = 20 ft (6.1 m). Superimposed
dead load w
refers to dead load other than the self-weight
of the member. It is observed that the maximum L/h ratio
for adequate defection control will decrease as L increases
for all values of f
. Furthermore, the maximum L/h ratio
decreases as the applied live load w
increases or as w

increases, while the other parameters are kept constant. By
comparing Fig. 3 and 4, it is also observed that increasing
the concrete strength f
increases the maximum allowable
L/h ratio for given values of w
and f
. It is observed that
defection control of lightly loaded slabs is more sensitive to
the span length and the superimposed dead load because the
slopes of the maximum L/h-to-L and L/h-to-w
ships decrease as the live load intensity increases. For the
cases considered, thinner slabs can be used for shorter spans
or for lighter loading conditions than the corresponding
minimum thickness determined from the DTC defection
provisions of ACI 318-08.
ACI Structural Journal/November-December 2012 873
Fig. 3Infuence of span length on maximum span-depth ratio for normal-strength concrete. (Note: 1 ksi =
6.89 MPa; 1 lb/ft
= 0.048 kPa.)
Fig. 4Infuence of span length on maximum span-depth ratio for high-strength concrete. (Note: 1 ksi =
6.89 MPa; 1 lb/ft
= 0.048 kPa.)
Factors affecting degree of concrete cracking
According to Eq. (7), the cracking moment M
is directly
related to the modulus of rupture f
and, hence, f
. Thus,
as the concrete strength increases, M
will also increase,
thereby increasing I
(refer to Eq. (5) and (7)) and allowing
thinner sections for a given span length L. This is observed
by comparing Fig. 3(a) and 4(a) or Fig. 3(b) and 4(b). The
relationship between f
and maximum L/h can be observed
from Fig. 6 for typical residential foor loading and a span
of L = 20 ft (6.1 m). It is observed that slabs satisfying the
DTC approach will typically also satisfy the defection
requirements from direct defection calculations for prac-
tical concrete strengths when designed using higher-strength
steel. However, for L = 20 ft (6.1 m) slabs designed using
Grade 60 (414 MPa) steel and concrete strengths lower than
approximately 5 ksi (35 MPa), the DTC approach underesti-
mates the required member thickness in comparison to direct
defection calculations.
Providing excess reinforcement
It is common practice that the A
provided in a slab exceeds
that required by the ULS criteria due to practical consider-
ations, including the use of convenient bar spacing. Further-
more, criterion for minimum longitudinal reinforcement
quantities may exceed that required by the fexural demands.
From Eq. (6), it is observed that the provided A
will impact
the cracked moment of inertia I
and the corresponding
defection. Figure 7 depicts the relationship between the
874 ACI Structural Journal/November-December 2012
maximum L/h ratio and the area of steel provided normalized
by the area of steel required for the fexural demand (A
As A
increases beyond the fexural capacity requirement
, the maximum L/h ratio increases almost linearly for
the case of L = 20 ft (6.1 m) and w
= 50 lb/ft
(2.4 kPa).
Similar relationships occur if w
is increased, except that, as
expected, the maximum L/h ratio is lower for higher values
of w
. In general, providing excess longitudinal reinforce-
ment within practical limits will increase the member stiff-
ness and decrease the SLS defection of one-way slabs,
allowing a minor reduction in the required thickness h.
Infuence of defection limit
Figure 8 shows the variation of the maximum L/h ratio
for different limits of maximum midspan defection D
a span of L = 20 ft (6.1 m). To facilitate comparisons to
typical design code defection requirements, the common
limits of L/240, L/360, and L/480 are also indicated.
The fgure shows that the maximum L/h ratio increases
as the permitted D
increases. The maximum L/h values
diverge for different values of f
at large values of D
resulting in the need for thicker slabs for higher f
(that is,
Grade 100 and 120 [690 and 828 MPa] steel). However,
for the typical design code limits of D
smaller than
L/240, the difference in required h for all f
values consid-
ered was small. It is also noted from Fig. 8 that slabs with
Grade 60 (414 MPa) steel sized according to the DTC
method may not satisfy common defection control require-
ments compared to those sized using direct defection calcu-
lations, especially for the case of higher live load intensi-
ties. According to Ramsay et al.,
deflection predictions
can have an error of 20% for common ratios of M
If a target maximum deflection 20 or 30% smaller than
a typical design code limit was desired to accommodate
this error range, Fig. 8 suggests that the required change
in the maximum L/h ratio for a slab would be minimal in
comparison to the discrepancy between DTC and direct
deflection calculations.
Infuence from fexural design method
As discussed previously, two fexural analysis models
from ACI ITG-6R-10 were used in this study: the Mast
method and the Appendix B method. Due to the different
reinforcement stress-strain models in these methods, the
required r to satisfy the ULS fexural strength requirements
can differ for the same member geometry and applied load.
Changes in r will have corresponding impacts on the defec-
tion calculations and could alter the maximum L/h ratios for
adequate defection control.
As observed in Fig. 3 through 8, the shapes of the respec-
tive L/h curves are nearly the same, regardless of the f
or fexural design method. Some divergence among the
Fig. 5Infuence of superimposed dead load intensity on
maximum span-depth ratio. (Note: 1 ksi = 6.89 MPa; 1 lb/ft

= 0.048 kPa.)
Fig. 6Infuence of concrete strength on maximum span-
depth ratio. (Note: 1 ksi = 6.89 MPa; 1 lb/ft
= 0.048 kPa.)
Fig. 7Infuence of providing excess reinforcement
compared to ULS requirement on maximum span-depth
ratio. (Note: 1 ksi = 6.89 MPa; 1 lb/ft
= 0.048 kPa.)
ACI Structural Journal/November-December 2012 875
curves within each plot occurs when other design parameters
are varied, but in general, the choices of f
resulted in offsets
to the curves with higher f
values, resulting in smaller L/h
limits for a given member confguration. Furthermore, the
L/h limits for higher f
(100 and 120 ksi [690 and 828 MPa])
had negligible sensitivity to the fexural design method, as
the reinforcement confguration was typically controlled by
minimum reinforcement requirements for the cases studied.
This demonstrates that member design at ULS using the
nonlinear response of the ASTM A1035/A1035M-07 steel
should not have defection control provisions that result in a
disproportionate impact on the maximum permitted L/h ratio.
A case study was used to further examine the infuence
of the selected fexural design method on the holistic design
of slabs with minimum thickness h. An L/240 incremental
defection limit was used and both direct defection calcula-
tions and the DTC approach were considered. Results are
presented for a typical residential-type foor with a live load
of w
= 50 lb/ft
(2.4 kPa) and superimposed dead load
= 20 lb/ft
(1.0 kPa), but similar trends in the results
are found for other loading cases, such as offce occupancy
loads, where the live load intensity is larger. Slab widths
were taken as 39.4 in. (1.0 m) and the ASTM A1035/
A1035M-07 longitudinal reinforcement quantities corre-
sponded to A
and 2A
. The Mast fexural method was
used for f
= 100 ksi (690 MPa), and the Appendix B method
was used for f
= 120 and 144 ksi (828 and 994 MPa). As
shown in Table 3, the same minimum h results, regard-
Fig. 8Infuence of permissible defection limit on maximum span-depth ratio. (Note: 1 ksi = 6.89 MPa;
1 lb/ft
= 0.048 kPa.)
Table 3Design example data and results summary
Flexural design method
Direct defection calculations DTC
Mast Appendix B Appendix B Mast
, ksi (MPa) 100 (690) 120 (828)
144 (994)

100 (690)
= 5 ksi (35 MPa)
L = 20 ft (6 m)
= A
h, in. (mm) 12.3 (313) 12.3 (313) 12.3 (313) 16.5 (420)
, kip-ft (kN-m) 56 (76) 67 (91) 79 (108) 77 (105)
, in.
) 0.68 (438) 0.68 (438) 0.68 (438) 0.91 (588)
Dh, % 0 0 34
, % 20 42 38
, % 0 0 34
= 5 ksi (35 MPa)
L = 20 ft (6 m)
= 2A
h, in. (mm) 11.3 (286) 11.3 (286) 11.3 (286) 16.5 (420)
, kip-ft (kN-m) 90 (123) 108 (147) 128 (174) 140 (190)
, in.
) 1.24 (802) 1.24 (802) 1.24 (802) 1.82 (1176)
Dh, % 0 0 47
, % 20 41 54
, % 0 0 47
Yield stress assumed as 0.2% offset value.

Yield stress assumed corresponding to strain of 0.015.

876 ACI Structural Journal/November-December 2012
less of the fexural design method when direct defection
calculations are considered. In contrast, the DTC approach
to defection control with f
= 100 ksi (690 MPa) requires
slabs 34 and 47% greater in thickness for the two A

conditions studied. The total reinforcement quantities
for the slabs designed using the Appendix B approach are
lower, but similar fexural capacities at the ULS condition
are achieved compared to the DTC-designed slabs. It should
be noted that the thinner slabs resulting from the use of the
Appendix B method can be essential in structures that are
headroom-constrained. Furthermore, the larger self-weight
of thicker slabs from the use of the DTC approach can result
in signifcant increases in the overall structural cost due to
the corresponding infuences on the design of members in
the gravity- and seismic-force-resisting systems. Hence,
the application of the Appendix B fexural method in combi-
nation with direct defection calculations can be advanta-
geous over the more common use of simplifed fexural
methods and the DTC approach to defection control.
As discussed previously, the DTC defection provisions in
ACI 318-08 require the use of a minimum thickness h for
different member types, static confguration, and reinforce-
ment yield strength. On the other hand, the parametric studies
presented in this study based on direct defection calcula-
tions have shown that the maximum L/h ratio to achieve
satisfactory defection control is sensitive to span length,
loading, concrete strength, and the longitudinal reinforce-
ment ratio. To compare these approaches, the relationships
for the maximum L/h ratio derived from the DTC provi-
sions for different f
values are provided in Fig. 3 through
8. The DTC defection provisions result in smaller estimates
of the maximum permissible L/h ratio for practical ranges
of the design parameters considered compared to L/h ratios
obtained from the direct defection calculation method. The
difference in results is especially pronounced for the cases
of slabs with small spans, small live load intensities, and/
or those that are designed with higher values of f
. On the
other hand, the maximum L/h ratio from direct defection
calculations is typically smaller than the DTC estimate for
smaller f
values combined with longer span lengths (refer
to Fig. 3 and 4) and/or smaller concrete strength (refer to
Fig. 3, 4, and 6).
Another important observation from this study is that
the use of ASTM A1035/A1035M-07 steel with a nominal
design strength of f
= 120 ksi (828 MPa) in place of the
common Grade 60 (414 MPa) bars can result in uneco-
nomical estimates of the minimum h by the DTC method
compared with direct defection calculations. For example,
in the case of a one-way slab with f
= 10 ksi (69 MPa)
and typical residential loading (Fig. 4(a)), the required h
to satisfy defection requirements should be increased
by 38% according to the DTC method as f
from 60 to 120 ksi (414 to 828 MPa). The direct defection
calculations indicate that an increase in h of only 11% is
required. Similar results are observed for different loading
conditions and concrete strength.
From Fig. 3 to 8, it can be observed that the discrepancy
between the L/h ratios from the DTC and direct defection
approaches varied as common design parameters changed.
This was especially pronounced as the f
value changed.
This suggests that the DTC approach will not provide a
consistent level of reliability for defection control of slabs
varying by common design parameters and thus should not
be used for detailed design.
It is recommended that the direct defection calculation
technique be used to confrm adequate defection control
of all slabs, rather than the DTC relationships given in
Table 1. This recommendation applies regardless of the
reinforcement strength. To facilitate rapid initial selection
of a member thickness that is expected to satisfy the defec-
tion criteria and ULS requirements, graphical design aids
similar to Fig. 3 can be prepared by following the procedures
described in Fig. 1. Each design aid should directly include
the main target design parameters of live load intensity, span
length, concrete strength, and nominal design strength for the
reinforcement. Similar design charts can also be produced
for the other common support conditions given in Table 1.
This analytical study used a holistic approach for ULS
and SLS design to identify the infuence of common design
parameters on the defection response of one-way slabs
reinforced with ASTM A1035/A1035M-07 steel. Based on
the results, the following conclusions can be drawn:
1. The maximum L/h ratio for lightly reinforced slabs was
demonstrated to be sensitive to the span length, the applied
loading, and the concrete strength. Failure to account for all
of these infuences in ACI 318-08 DTC defection control
provisions gives results that are in poor agreement with the
maximum L/h ratios determined from ACI 318-08 direct
defection calculations.
2. For slabs reinforced with ASTM A1035/A1035M-07
steel, the ACI 318-08 DTC defection provisions adopted by
ACI ITG-6R-10 can result in excessively thick slabs compared
to direct defection calculations for the practical ranges of the
different design parameters considered. On the other hand,
excessively fexible slabs can result for slabs reinforced with
lower-strength steel by using the DTC approach.
3. The use of the Appendix B method for fexural design
of slabs reinforced with ASTM A1035/A1035M-07 steel
can be advantageous compared to the simplifed fexural
method (that is, the Mast model) because a higher nominal
moment resistance is considered, whereas the same L/h and
reinforcement ratios will be required to satisfy the defection
control provisions.
The authors gratefully acknowledge funding for this ongoing research
program provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research
Council of Canada.
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