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Reinforcing bar specifications

Update on ASTM requirements


he widespread acceptance and use of voluntary consensus standards in the American construction industry is an enviable accomplishment. Voluntary standardization is an effective means of reducing the cost of construction. Without widely accepted standardized requirements, confusion is created in the specifying, ordering, production, testing, delivery and use of materials. The resulting unnecessary misunderstandings and disputes cause job delays which may increase the cost of construction even more than

the cost of the contested material. Howe ve r, to maximize the benefits of standardization, it is essential that up-to-date materials standards be referenced in the contract documents. Current standards assure that the latest technology is being incorporated into a project and the availability of materials is more certain. The person preparing the project specifications should know what the current standards are and be knowledgeable about their provisions. The purpose of this brief article is to provide up-to-


Specification number and type of steel A615-81 Billet Steel Bar sizes #3-#5 #6 #3-#5 #6 #7-#11 & #14, #18 A616-79 Rail Steel A617-79 Axle Steel #3-#11 #3-#11 #3-#5 #6-#11 #3-#5 #6 #7-#11 A706-80 Low-Alloy Steel #3-#11 & #14, #18 Available grades (minimum yield, ksi)* 40 50 60 Meets exceptions in ACI 318-77, AASHTO and Federal specifications Yes, if S1 specified No, if S1 not specified Yes Yes, if S1 specified No, if S1 not specified Yes Yes, if S1 specified No, if S1 not specified No No No Yes No Yes No Yes** Mark for type of steel S N S or N S N S or N S N


* Grades 40 and 50 do not have grade marks required. All Grade 60 Bars must have either grade mark line or number 60 rolled into bar surface. ** There are no exceptions to A706 per se. The bend test requirements in A706 are even more restrictive than the ACI exceptions. A706 also contains a supplementary requirement which applies only when specified by the purchaser. The supplement permits turned-down tension test specimens for bar sizes #14 and #18. Thus, the provisions in the body of A706, which require tension tests on full-size bars, meet ACI 318-77 requirements.

date information on the specifications for reinforcing bars which are published by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).

Current editions of specifications

The current editions of the basic ASTM specifications for reinforcing bars are: A615-81 Standard Specifications for Deformed and Plain Billet-Steel Bars for Concrete Reinforcement A616-79 Standard Specification for Rail-Steel Deformed and Plain Bars for Concrete Reinforcement A617-79 Standard Specification for Axle-Steel Deformed and Plain Bars for Concrete Reinforcement A706-80 Standard Specification for Low-Alloy Steel Deformed Bars for Concrete Re i n f o rc ement The last two digits indicate year of adoption of each standard. The accompanying table shows the specified bar sizes, grades (minimum yield strengths) and marking requirements, and the drawing illustrates the marking requirements.

Billet steelA615
Grade 60 reinforcing bars conforming to A615 are the most widely used type and grade of reinforcing steel. A major revision in the 1981 edition of the A615 standard is the deletion of Grade 40 bar sizes #7 through #11. The standard now covers Grade 40 bars only in sizes #3 through #6.

Since most reinforced concrete construction in the United States is covered by the ACI Building Co d e, 1 AASHTO Specifications,2 or specifications issued by Federal agencies such as the Corps of Engineers, it is essential that specifiers be reminded of the special provisions (exceptions to ASTM basic standards) for reinforcing bars, contained in these design codes and specifications. These special provisions involve more restrictive requirements for bend tests and tensile tests. A615-81 contains a set of Supplementary Requirements (S1) which apply only when specified by the purchaser. S1 prescribes tighter bend tests (smaller pin diameters) for #3, #4 and #5 bars in Grade 40; for #3, #5 and #7 through #11 bars in Grade 60; and bend tests for #14 and #18 bars in Grade 60. The supplement also requires tension tests on full-size bars for #11, #14, and #18 bars in Grade 60. These more restrictive provisions for bend tests and tension tests satisfy the exceptions in the ACI Building Code, AASHTO and Federal specifications. If a project in which A615 rebars are to be used must conform to the ACI Code or these specifications, the specifier should state that reinforcing bars shall conform to A615-81 including Supplementary Requirement S1. Since the 1978 edition, A615 has required that reinforcing bars furnished to the supplementary requirements be identified by the symbol S instead of the traditional N (see drawing). Use of the S-marking can cause confusion, misunderstandings and project delays if its significance is not understood. The Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute has adopted the following recommendation for dissemination to producers, fabricators and users of reinforcing bars: To avoid confusion among purchasers, CRSI strongly recommends that all producers of reinforcing bars for use under ACI Building Code, AASHTO, and Federal specifi-

Reinforcing bar identification marks required by ASTM specifications; symbols for the infrequently used rail and axle steel are not shown. Bar identification marks may also be oriented to read when bar is in horizontal position. Note that Grade 60 may be indicated either by the number 60 or by a single continuous line. Grades 40 and 50 are not required to show grade designation. Illustration courtesy Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute.

cation re q u i re m e n t s, and which meet ASTM A615-81 and Supplement S1, identify these bars by the mark S as soon as possible.

Epoxy-coated reinforcing bars

As reported in CONCRETE CONSTRUCTION,3 epoxycoated rebars are considered by many engineers to be one of the most effective and practical corrosion-protection systems from the standpoint of cost. Epoxy-coated bars were first used in bridge decks as early as 1973 in Pennsylvania. Since then end uses of coated bars have continually expanded. More states and gove rn m e n t agencies are specifying coated bars in bridge decks and in other transportation structures. Coated bars are now being used in parking garages, marine structures, water and wastewater treatment plants and other hyd ra u l i c structures. The lack of a voluntary consensus standard has caused some problems in the furnishing of epoxy-coated bars, but in July 1981, ASTM issued a new specification for epoxy-coated reinforcing bars. It is designated A775-81. To minimize confusion, the Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute recommends that when coated bars are specified for a project, the bars should be required to conform to A775.
Editors Note: A second specification for epoxy-coated reinforcing bars has been developed and approved in ASTM Committee D-4 on Highway and Paving Materials. At press time, this Dspecification had not yet been promulgated by ASTM. If the second specification is also promulgated, there may be a jurisdictional question between Committees A-1 on Steel and D-4 on Highway and Paving Materials. It is obvious that the Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute recommends ASTM Specification A775-81 for epoxy-coated reinforcing bars. References 1. Building Code Requirements for Reinforced Concrete (ACI 318-77), American Concrete Institute, Detroit, 1977. 2. Standard Specifications for Highway Bridges, 12th Edition, 1977 (including Annual Supplements 1978-81), American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, Washington, D.C. 3. Fusion-Bonded Epoxy-Coated Rebars, Concrete Construction, August 1980, pages 587-591. 4. ASTM standards cited throughout the text are available from American Society for Testing and Materials, 1916 Race Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103.

Rail and axle steelA616 and A617

Re-rolled rail and axle steel bars are available in some local areas of the United States. Rail steel bars (A616-79) in Grades 50 or 60 are generally used only where code requirements for bend testing are not applicable. The axle steel specification A617-79 for Grades 40 and 60 is presently being revised to meet all special code requirements.

Low-alloy steelA706
The A706 specification is a relatively new ASTM standard. First issued in 1974, the specification resulted from users demand for weldability and for more bendability and controlled ductility in reinforcing bars for high-level seismic-resistant design. Note in the table that the A706 specification covers Grade 60 only. The standard does not actually use the term grade; it simply states bars are of a single minimum yield strength level; namely 60,000 psi. The current standard is being revised to include the word grade. To achieve greater bendability and ductility, the A706 specification contains more restrictive requirements for bend tests and tensile properties. Weldability of steel established by its chemical analysis limits the applicable welding procedures and sets preheat requirements. The mill test report (available upon request) for standard A615 billet bars is incomplete for determining welding requirements under the St ru ctural Welding CodeReinforcing Steel (AWS D1.4-79). Special complete analyses may be secured, usually at an extra cost. Without such analyses, welding performed in accordance with AWS D1.4-794 would require preheating all bars to be welded to 500 degrees F and the use of low hydrogen electrodes. The standard bar specifications A615, A616 and A617 state that weldability of the steel is not part of this specification. A706 reinforcing bars, on the other hand, are intended for welding, and control of chemical composition is provided by restrictions on individual chemical elements and by a limit on carbon equivalent based upon the AWS formula for carbon equivalent. The Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute recommends that before specifying A706 reinforcement, local availability should be investigated.

Copyright 1981, The Aberdeen Group All rights reserved