You are on page 1of 2


Disc. 106-S45/From the July-August 2009 ACI Structural Journal, p. 476

Effective Stiffness of Reinforced Concrete Columns. Paper by Kenneth J. Elwood and Marc O. Eberhard Discussion by Robert E. Englekirk
ACI member, Englekirk Partners Inc.,Los Angeles, CA.

My comments are as follows: 1. Regarding the authors’ statement, “The assumed stiffness of a column dominates the results of linear and nonlinear analyses of buildings and bridges subjected to ground motions,” columns in frame braced buildings are very stiff and do not dominate displacement response. Clear spans are on the order of 9 ft (2.8 m) and the frame column on the order of 3 ft (0.92 m) square (please refer to Eq. 3.2.2a of Englekirk [2003]). 2. The authors’ design relationship (Eq. (18)) is 0.45 + 2.5 P ⁄ A g f c ′ EI eff calc - ≤ 1.0 and ≥ 0.2 ------------------- = ------------------------------------------EI g d b  D  1 + 110 ---- -- D  a  where, assuming usual conditions, db = 1.375 in. (34.925 mm); D = 36 in. (914.4 mm); a = 54 in. (1370 mm); and 1.375  36 1 + 110  ------------ ----- ≅ 3.8  36   54 Whereas the numerator is, for P/Agfc′ = 0.2 and 0.4 corresponds to 0.95 and 1.45, respectively. The objective ratio becomes EI eff ---------- ≅ 0.25 and 0.38 EI g 3. What is the load P? Factored? 4. Are the authors proposing a change in effective stiffness at every level? 5. The authors’ equation is not consistent with the experimental work done at USC on 20 x 20 in. (79 x 79 mm) columns. Consider Fig. 11, taken from Englekirk (2003). This figure describes the behavior of a column tested at USC (Fig. 12). A more detailed explanation is contained in Xiao and Yun (1998). The calculated displacement associated with P = 135 kips and an effective moment of 0.7Ig is 0.5%, and this matches the test results. Equation (18) of the discussed paper proposes an effective moment of inertia of 0.4Ig. The discusser finds it hard to accept conclusions drawn from experiments that he has not studied carefully, especially when the variance is so large. REFERENCES
Englekirk, R.E., 2003, Seismic Design of Reinforced and Precast Concrete Buildings, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Xiao, Y., and Yun, H. W., 1998, “Full Scale Experimental Studies on High-Strength Concrete Columns” Report No. USC SERP 98/05, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, July.

Fig. 11

Fig. 12 AUTHORS’ CLOSURE The authors thank the discusser for his comments and questions. As indicated in the following response, some of the comments raise important points that deserve further study. 1. Although the language of the sentence in question may perhaps be too strong (“strongly influences” may be preferred over “dominates”), it is clear that the selected column stiffness can significantly influence the design forces and displacement demands, particularly when one considers the wide variation in recommendations for column stiffness. The paper provides an equation with a better ACI Structural Journal/May-June 2010


47EIg. beam stiffness and slab contribution are also important in the determination of design forces and displacement demands. although db /D could be simply approximated as 1/18 for building columns as recommended in the paper. It should be noted. but these are not the subject of the paper. Despite the noted difficulty of judging the efficacy of an equation based on the results of a single test. In the case of ASCE/SEI 41. however. allowing for a better prediction of the distribution of forces and drift demands from structural analysis. the unfactored gravity load is used to determine the stiffness of elements.46EIg. 2.. pp. H.” ACI Structural Journal. 2. Y. 99. REFERENCES Xiao. 2002.. 5. The authors have not provided a specific recommendation for the axial load to be used for design. The equation provides an estimate of the effective stiffness for individual columns based on axial load ratio and aspect ratio.81%) at first yield of the reinforcement (Table 2 of Xiao and Yun [2002]). the authors used the axial load applied to the laboratory test specimens.representation of the measured stiffness of reinforced concrete columns. The authors agree with the implementation of the proposed equation for the example column. W. it may be appropriate to change the stiffness for each level. If the suggested bar diameter to column depth ratio of 1/18 is used (convenient in this case due to the two different bar sizes used in the column section). 3. The secant stiffness to this point of first yield results in an effective stiffness of 0.Apr. in part. “Experimental Studies on Full-Scale HighStrength Concrete Columns. depend on the philosophy of a design code and must be made by code committees if this equation is recommended for design applications. 199-207. 4. Because the axial load ratio will typically decrease as you move up a building. The authors thank the discusser for this example that illustrates the challenge of developing a general design equation that exactly matches the results from any single test. In contrast. the proposed equation estimates the effective stiffness as 0. the authors note that Xiao and Yun (2002) provide a summary of the observed performance of this column specimen. For the authors’ assessment of the proposed equation. No. The authors assume that the unfactored gravity load would also be used if the proposed equation is used for a seismic rehabilitation project following ASCE/SEI 41. and Yun. Such decisions. that it was considered beyond the scope of the paper to assess the influence of such stiffness changes on the predicted building performance. V. The authors encourage future research investigating the influence of different stiffness assumptions on the predicted building performance. this is a very close match with the measured stiffness. Taking a closer look at the example column specimen introduced by the discusser. Of course. Mar. the authors have developed an equation that provides a good estimate of the stiffness for over 300 columns with varying parameters critical to the stiffness of concrete columns. including the lateral force (732 kN [164 kip]) and drift (0. ACI Structural Journal/May-June 2010 373 .