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CE 433, Spring 2013

Beam Design for Flexure

Continuous T-Beam Example


Text: Sections 4.1 4-8, 5.1 5.4, 9.3, 10.1 10.5


in 2011 Edition

Minimum thickness of slabs & beams unless deflections are

not supporting partitions damaged by deflections
Table 9.5(a)
supporting partitions damaged by deflections
Table A-9, text


Shear and Moment coefficients





Minimum reinforcement



Minimum tensile strain of reinforcement



Strength reduction factor


Reinforcement spacing limits for crack control (Smax)



Reinforcement spacing limits for T-beam flanges



Effective Flange Width



Reinforcement spacing limits (Smin) used for bmin




Approx. d = h 2.5 (for single layer of reinforcement)

Approx. d a/2 = 0.85 d at supports, = 0.9 d at midspan

Temperature & Shrinkage Reinforcement

Useful Tables and Figures:

Standard bar details (cut-off locations) for slabs & beams

Figure A-5, text

Design Procedure
Select the depth of the beam (h). Beam service-load deflections must be computed and
checked against allowable deflections specified in ACI Table 9.5(b) (pg 129) unless the
minimum thicknesses specified in ACI Table 9.5(a) (pg 127) are used. The beam depth
must also be sufficient to resist shear (covered later) and to provide sufficient flexural
strength ( Mn). Typically, a good first approximation to beam depth can be made based
on deflection (Table 9.5(a)), and then increased as necessary to provide sufficient flexural
strength at the section with the largest factored moment (Mu)usually the exterior face of
the first interior support.

Beam Design for Flexure

Continuous T-Beam Example

CE 433, Spring 2013



Determine beam-stem width (bw). Try for a depth to width ratio between 1.5 to 2.0. Since
moment capacity is affected more by beam depth than by beam width, designers typically
try to minimize the beam-stem width to reduce self-weight. Increasing bw slightly can
sometimes reduce the number of reinforcement layers, which increases beam efficiency (d
is increased). If the structures owner wishes to minimize story height, the engineer can
specify wide beams (depth to width ratio down to 1.0).


Calculate the moments due to factored load (Mu) at each design section. Reduce the live
load according to the tributary area of the span using the equation below. For flexure at
interior supports, the tributary area of both spans adjacent to the support can be used.
Check that the ACI Moment Coefficients can be used (ACI 8.3.3) and use the coefficients
to calculate Mu at each of the design sections.
Lreduc _ factor 0.25
2 AT
Do not reduce live loads > 100 psf


Calculate the effective flange width (bf) at sections with positive moment. The
compressive stresses in the flange are not uniformly distributed due to shear lag. For
design, stresses are assumed to be uniformly distributed over an effective width (beff), as
specified in ACI 8.10.2.
The compressive stress in the flange decreases toward the flange ends (see figure below).
For design, the total compressive force in the flange is assumed to be distributed uniformly
over a flange width called the "effective" flange width, beff.

beam spacing

beam spacing

Total Compressive Force = C

Isometric view

Top view
Actual Compressive Stress Distribution

effective flange width = beff

effective flange width = beff

Total Compressive Force = C

Isometric view
Equivalent Compressive Stress Distribution

Top view

Beam Design for Flexure

Continuous T-Beam Example

CE 433, Spring 2013



Design the flexural reinforcement at each section (at supports and midspan). The flexural
reinforcement must a) supply sufficient flexural strength ( Mn) to resist the factored
moment (Mu), b) provide for a ductile failure, and c) distribute the reinforcement to
prevent excessive cracking. At each section, the following steps are followed.


Flexural Strength ( Mn > Mu)

Select As to that Mn > Mu. As described in the Slab Design handout, this is essentially a
trial-and-error process. And as for slab design, we will learn how to calculate an estimate
of the minimum required As, and to construct a list of rebar sizes and number sorted in
order of increasing As.
In positive moment sections, the designer must check that the reinforcing steel can fit
within the web. Minimum clear distance between bars is specified in ACI 7.6.1 and 7.6.2
(pg 92).
min. rbend= 2stirrup



2 stirrup

max(1, bar)

Stirrup only

Stirrup with rebar

Provide Ductile Failure. As for slab design, sufficient reinforcement must be provided to
avoid a sudden failure when the section cracks (As must be >= As_min). Also, specifying too
much reinforcement prevents flexure cracks from opening under overloads which prevents
large deformations that can be observed and that allow for moment redistribution
(described on pages 473-474 of the text).
4.2.1. Under-reinforced. The minimum area of reinforcement for beams is specified in ACI
Section 10.5.1, which can be expressed as:

As , min max[

3 f c'

, 200 ] bwd

4.2.2. Over-reinforced. ACI specifies in Section 10.3.5 that the strain in the extreme layer
of reinforcement (t) must not be less than 0.004. Also, the strength reduction factor ()
decreases from its maximum value of 0.90 when t is < 0.005, decreasing the moment
capacity (Mn) and therefore the efficiency of the beam.

Distribute reinforcement. Concrete will crack under service loads and due to shrinkage and
thermal contraction. The engineers job is to provide sufficient reinforcement to prevent

CE 433, Spring 2013

Beam Design for Flexure

Continuous T-Beam Example


the cracks from opening appreciably. The section above describes the procedure for
specifying a sufficient quantity of reinforcement; this section describes the procedure for
sufficiently distributing the reinforcement. Two ACI sections apply, one for limiting the
spacing between tensile reinforcement in the beam stem (positive moment section), and
one for limiting the spacing between tensile reinforcement in the flange (negative moment
4.3.1 Max. spacing in beam stem. The maximum rebar spacing (s) specified in ACI
Section 10.6.4 is inversely proportional to service load stresses (fs) and concrete cover (cc).

max s min[15

2.5 cc , 12

where fs can be taken as 2/3 fy and cc is the least distance from the surface of the
reinforcement to the tension face. If there is only one bar in the layer, then s is the width of
the tension face.
4.3.2 Max. spacing in T-beam flange in tension. At supports, the T-beam flange is in
tension and ACI limits the width over which the tension reinforcement can be placed to one
tenth the clear span (ln / 10). This is to prevent tension cracking in the slab near the web. If
ln / 10 is appreciably less than the flange width, then other reinforcement should be
provided in the flange outside the ln / 10 region. The temperature and shrinkage
reinforcement for the slab will normally serve this function.

Design the shear reinforcement. Design of shear reinforcement (typically stirrups) will be
explained later in the semester.


Check the development lengths and design bar cutoffs. Development length will be
discussed later in the semester. For now, the recommended cut-off lengths in text Figure
A-5 will be used.


Check if need web side-face reinforcement. ACI 10.6.7 specifies that if the overall depth
of a member (h) exceeds 3 feet, longitudinal skin reinforcement must be provided.