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ACI STRUCTURAL JOURNAL

TECHNICAL PAPER

Title no. 101-S16

Investigation of Minimum Longitudinal Reinforcement


Requirements for Concrete Columns Using Present-Day
Construction Materials
by Paul H. Ziehl, Jeffrey E. Cloyd, and Michael E. Kreger
A research project was conducted to assess the feasibility of reducing
the current ACI Building Code and AASHTO Bridge Specification
requirements for minimum longitudinal reinforcing steel in columns.
The current code requirement is based primarily on research
conducted in the 1920s and 1930s on concrete with a compressive
strength generally less than 34.5 MPa (5000 psi).
The investigation was conducted to determine the effects of
present-day construction materials on minimum reinforcement
requirements. A research program was carried out that included:
1) fabrication and long-term loading and monitoring of 24, 8-in.
diameter by 4-ft long reinforced concrete column specimens; 2)
fabrication of reduced-humidity enclosures for storage of all
specimens throughout the test program; and 3) long-term monitoring
of 14 unloaded companion specimens. Test variables included concrete
strength and reinforcement ratio. All loaded specimens were
subjected to a nominal compressive force of 0.40f c /Ag. The
long-term response of concentrically loaded and unloaded
specimens is presented in this paper, and measured responses
are compared with predicted long-term responses based on
recommendations from ACI Committee 209.
Keywords: column; creep; high-performance concrete; high-strength
concrete; reinforced concrete; reinforcement; shrinkage

INTRODUCTION
Significant investigations of the long-term behavior of
various longitudinal reinforcing steel ratios in concrete
columns were conducted in the 1920s and 1930s. One of the
earliest investigations was conducted by Davis and Davis in
1931.1 The investigation included eight reduced-scale
specimens. Four were unloaded control specimens to separate
the effects of shrinkage from those of creep. A change in
steel stress of 209 MPa (30,300 psi) due to instantaneous
load, creep, and shrinkage was found. This study references
a field study by MacMillan 2 that was conducted on the
University of Minnesota campus.
A significant investigation was carried out in tandem at the
University of Illinois and Lehigh University. At the University
of Illinois, Richart and Staehle3,4 tested 108 reinforced concrete
columns. Sixty were loaded and 48 were unloaded control
specimens. Forty-five unreinforced columns were also
included in the study. Specimens were stored in a laboratory
environment or a 100% relative humidity environment for a
period of 60 weeks. Variables investigated were reinforcement
ratio (1.5, 4.0, and 6.0%), concrete strengths of 13.8, 24.1,
and 34.5 MPa (2000, 3500, and 5000 psi), steel yield stresses
of 271 and 368 MPa (39,300 to 53,400 psi) and applied load.
Load was generally applied in accordance with the ACI
Code or the New York City Building Code. At Lehigh
University, Slater and Lyse5 and Lyse and Kreidler6 tested a
total of 108 columns of similar dimensions, material properties,
ACI Structural Journal/March-April 2004

and loading conditions to those tested at the University of


Illinois. For columns loaded in accordance with the ACI
Code, after 52 weeks the largest stress in the longitudinal
reinforcement of columns tested at Illinois was 184 MPa
(26,700 psi) and at Lehigh was 255 MPa (37,000 psi). These
stresses were inferred from strains measured in dry-stored
specimens with 1.5% longitudinal reinforcement.
To investigate the maximum load that a reinforced concrete
column could sustain indefinitely, Lyse7 subjected column
specimens to sustained loads ranging from 70 to 100% of
nominal capacity. Some specimens exhibited strains as high as
ten times the steel yield strain without failing. Stability of
the column specimens was noted as a problem.
As an outcome of these investigations, a minimum longitudinal reinforcement ratio of 0.5% was recommended by
Richart, Bertin, and Lyse8 for tied columns and 1.0% was
recommended for spirally reinforced columns. It was noted that,
in extreme cases, steel stresses had reached 207 to 276 MPa
(30,000 to 40,000 psi) after 5 months of applied loading. Little
reason was given for the different recommendations for spirally
reinforced and tied columns. Logeman et al.9 pointed out the
lack of support for this difference and called for further testing
on the effects of bending. In 1933, Richart10 responded with
the argument that the spiral did not contribute significantly
until very large deformations had occurred.
RESEARCH SIGNIFICANCE
Since the 1930s, a minimum 1% longitudinal reinforcement
ratio (based on gross-section column area) has been required
in reinforced concrete columns and piers. This minimum
quantity of reinforcement was intended to prevent passive
yielding of longitudinal reinforcement that can occur when
load is transferred gradually from concrete to steel as concrete
deforms (creeps) under sustained axial load.
The 1% minimum reinforcement ratio was based primarily
on tests conducted during the 1920s and 1930s1-10 using low- to
medium-strength materials; nominal concrete compressive
strengths ranged from 13.8 to 34.5 MPa (2000 to 5000 psi)
and steel yield strengths ranged from 269 to 372 MPa (39 to
54 ksi). The 1% limit was first published as part of a committee
document produced by the American Concrete InstituteAmerican Society of Civil Engineers (ACI-ASCE) Joint
ACI Structural Journal, V. 101, No. 2, March-April 2004.
MS No. 02-308 received August 14, 2002, and reviewed under Institute publication
policies. Copyright 2004, 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 JanuaryFebruary 2005 ACI Structural Journal if the discussion is received by September 1, 2004.

165

ACI member Paul H. Ziehl is an assistant professor of structural engineering in the


Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Tulane University, New
Orleans, La. He received his MS and PhD from the University of Texas at Austin, Tex.
He is a member of ACI Committees 335, Composite and Hybrid Structures; 437,
Strength Evaluation of Existing Concrete Structures; and 440, Fiber Reinforced
Polymer Reinforcement. His research interests include prestressed concrete, nondestructive
evaluation, and strengthening and design with fiber-reinforced polymers.
Jeffrey E. Cloyd is Structural Department Manager of ATS Consulting Engineers &
Inspectors, Austin, Tex. He received his BS and MS from the University of Texas at Austin.
Michael E. Kreger, FACI, is the Dewitt C. Greer Centennial Professor at The University
of Texas at Austin. He received his BS, MS, and PhD from the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign. He is a member of ACI Committees 215, Fatigue of Concrete;
318-H, Seismic Provisions; 374, Performance-Based Seismic Design of Concrete
Buildings for Wind Loads; and Joint ACI-ASCE Committees 352, Joints and Connections
in Monolithic Concrete Structures, and 441, Reinforced Concrete Columns.

Committee 105 in 19338 and was adopted in the Building


Code published by ACI in 1935.11
Today, structural concrete compressive strengths below
27.6 MPa (4000 psi) are uncommon and can easily range up to
and beyond 68.9 MPa (10,000 psi). In addition, todays common
reinforcing steel has a nominal yield strength of 414 MPa
(60 ksi). As a result, it is possible that code limits for minimum
column longitudinal reinforcement that resulted from tests
conducted more than 60 years ago are no longer valid for
columns constructed with modern construction materials.
Because a substantial percentage of all bridge piers and
some building columns require less than the minimum 1%
longitudinal reinforcement to satisfy strength demands, the
use of current minimum reinforcement requirements may result
in nearly twice as much longitudinal reinforcement as may
be needed to withstand the effects of creep. A reduction of
minimum column longitudinal reinforcement requirements
would result in economic savings in the form of reduced
material and related transportation costs, savings in labor
costs resulting from placing fewer longitudinal bars, and the
added benefit of reduced congestion in piers and columns.

Fig. 1Elevation showing reinforcing steel and Demec points.


166

OBJECTIVES AND SCOPE


An experimental program was conducted to determine
the feasibility of reducing current ACI Code 12 and
AASHTO Bridge Specification 13 requirements for the
minimum longitudinal reinforcement ratio in columns.
To that end, long-term creep tests were carried out in a
reduced-humidity environment to maximize effects of
creep and shrinkage. Both concentrically and eccentrically
loaded concrete columns were investigated. Only the
concentrically loaded specimens are discussed in this paper.
Nominal concrete strengths of 27.6 and 55.2 MPa (4000 and
8000 psi) at 28 days were investigated. Twenty-four 200 mmdiameter by 1220 mm-long (8 in.-diameter by 4 ft-long)
columns were reinforced with longitudinal reinforcement ratios
of 0.36, 0.54 and 0.72%. Loads were applied using a hydraulic
ram and were maintained with steel coil springs. Fourteen
unloaded companion specimens were fabricated and stored in
reduced-humidity enclosures with the loaded specimens to
determine the effects of shrinkage. Specimens were maintained
for up to 17 months and experimental results were compared
with long-term predictions using the model recommended by
ACI Committee 209R-92.14 Additional information can be
found in References 15 to 17.
TEST SETUP AND PROCEDURE
Test specimens
A total of 38 concrete columns were fabricated in Ferguson
Structural Engineering Laboratory on the J. J. Pickle Research
Campus at the University of Texas at Austin. Twenty-four
were maintained under nearly constant axial load. Four of
these 24 specimens were loaded with an eccentricity of 10%
of the column diameter. The remaining 14 were unloaded
control specimens. All column specimens were nominally
200 mm in diameter by 1220 mm (8 in. in diameter by 4 ft)
in length. All columns, with the exception of four of the unloaded
control specimens, were spirally reinforced.
Variables investigated were concrete strength and percentage
of longitudinal reinforcement. Nominal concrete strengths of
27.6 and 55.2 MPa (4000 and 8000 psi) were investigated.
Actual concrete strength was determined from compressive
testing of 150 mm-diameter by 300 mm-long (6 in. diameter by
12 in. long) cylinders. Compressive strengths for 100 mmdiameter by 200 mm-long (4 in. diameter by 8 in. long)
cylinders were also recorded. Compressive strengths were
determined at 14, 28, and 56 days. The modulus of the concrete
was also determined at 14, 28, and 56 days.
Number 2 deformed bars (nominal diameter of 6.4 mm
[0.25 in.]) were used for longitudinal reinforcement. Either
zero, four, six, or eight longitudinal bars were used in each
specimen. This resulted in reinforcement ratios of 0, 0.36,
0.54, and 0.72%. Yield strength of the longitudinal reinforcement was determined from four tensile coupon tests. The average
yield stress was 467 MPa (67,800 psi). The average ultimate
stress was 510 MPa (74,000 psi).
Number 9 gage (3.8 mm [0.15 in.] diameter) annealed wire
was used as spiral reinforcement. The spirals were formed on
a mandrel to provide a pitch of 51 mm (2 in.) in the central
portion of the column specimens. The pitch was reduced to
13 mm (0.50 in.) over a 150 mm (6.0 in.) length at each end
of the specimens. An elevation of the steel reinforcement
layout is shown in Fig. 1. Cross sections illustrating the
steel layout for the different reinforcement ratios are
shown in Fig. 2.
ACI Structural Journal/March-April 2004

The nomenclature used to describe each specimen includes a


single letter related to loading type, a digit to indicate the
nominal compressive strength of the concrete (in ksi), a threedigit number to represent the percentage of longitudinal
reinforcement, and a single digit to indicate the number of the
specimen. For example, the specimen name C8-0.36-1
represents a concentrically loaded specimen (the other option is
U for unloaded) with a nominal concrete strength of 55.2 MPa
(8000 psi) (4 is used for f c of 27.6 MPa [4000 psi]), a reinforcement ratio of 0.36% (other reinforcement ratios were 0.00,
0.00NS [no spiral], 0.54, and 0.72%), and the first specimen with
these properties. Nominal concrete strengths, load type,
longitudinal reinforcement ratio, and number of each
combination investigated are listed in Table 1.

minimum temperature and humidity readings for each concrete


cast are shown in Fig. 3 to 6.
Testing procedure
All concentrically loaded specimens were subjected to axial
load of 0.40f c Ag based on nominal concrete strength and
column cross-sectional area. The resulting applied loads
were 362 kN (81.3 kips) for the 27.6 MPa (4000 psi) specimens,
and 723 kN (162.5 kips) for the 55.2 MPa (8000 psi) specimens.
Steel test frames were designed and fabricated for the
purposes of applying and maintaining load on the test
specimens. A pin-and-roller assembly was used at the ends of

Environmental conditions
Two reduced-humidity enclosures were built for storage of
all column specimens. The approximate size of the enclosures
was 6.1 x 6.1 x 3.7 m high (20 x 20 x 12 ft high). The enclosures
were framed using wood studs and were covered with a single
ply of clear vapor barrier stapled to the studs. The enclosures
were free-standing inside a light-gage metal-framed building. A
dehumidifier was operated constantly in each enclosure. During
periods of cold weather, small space heaters were placed inside
the enclosures to prevent freezing temperatures. An attempt was
made to keep temperatures above 10 C (50 F) at all times to
avoid large temperature fluctuations. Temperature and humidity
readings were recorded continuously with an electronic
data recorder. The maximum and minimum values were read
each day during the first 28 days after casting and generally at
no greater than 6-day intervals thereafter. Column specimens
were cast in four different groups. The maximum and
Table 1Number of test specimens
8 longitu- 6 longitu- 4 longitudi- 0 longituDesign concrete
dinal bars dinal bars nal bars dinal bars
strength, MPa
(ratio =
(ratio =
(ratio =
(ratio =
(psi)
Load type 0.72%)
0.54%)
0.36%)
0.00%)
55.2 (8000)

Concentric

55.2 (8000)

None

27.6 (4000)

Concentric

27.6 (4000)

None

Fig. 2Cross sections showing location of longitudinal


reinforcement and Demec points.
ACI Structural Journal/March-April 2004

Fig. 3Temperature and humidity history for specimens in


Group 1.

Fig. 4Temperature and humidity history for specimens in


Group 2.
167

the column specimens for Groups 1 and 2. Due to difficulties


encountered during setup and loading of the column specimens
in the first two groups, neoprene bearing pads were used in place
of the pin-and-roller assembly for column specimens in
Groups 3 and 4. Triple coil steel springs were used for
maintaining load over time. A schematic of a test frame is
shown in Fig. 7. Load was initially applied to the specimens
using a 1340 kN (300 kip) capacity hydraulic ram. Load was
locked in place by hand-tightening coarse-threaded nuts beneath

Fig. 5Temperature and humidity history for specimens in


Group 3.

Fig. 6Temperature and humidity history for specimens in


Group 4.
168

the steel supporting plate. Pressure in the ram was monitored


with a dial gage. A small additional load was initially applied to
account for anticipated losses associated with seating of the nuts
on the coarse-threaded bars. Change in load with time was monitored using a small metal scale mounted on each of the steel test
frames. When relaxation of 1.2 mm (0.047 in.) (approximately
equal to a 3% reduction in load) was indicated the initial
load was re-established with the hydraulic ram. This reloading
procedure was carried out between 30 and 60 days after
loading for all specimens.
All specimens were loaded between 14 and 28 days after
casting. Loading of all specimens at a specific age was not
possible due to difficulties encountered with the loading
apparatus and personnel limitations. The specimen name,
load type, actual concrete strength at 28 days, longitudinal
reinforcement ratio, spiral reinforcement ratio, applied load,
and group number are shown for each specimen in Table 2
for 55.2 MPa (8000 psi) specimens, and Table 3 for 27.6 MPa
(4000 psi) specimens.
Determination of strain
Each of the loaded concrete columns was instrumented
with four lines of mechanical strain gage targets (Demec points).
The points on each line were separated by 400 mm (15.75 in.).
The Demec points were aligned along the longitudinal axis of
each column, and were oriented at 20 degrees from a selected
diameter of each column specimen. An elevation of the
reinforcing steel and Demec point locations is shown in Fig. 1.
Cross sections showing the reinforcing steel and Demec
point locations are shown in Fig. 2. The Demec points were 1 in.long metal expansion anchors. The heads of the anchors were
drilled with a small bit to accommodate the attachment
points of the mechanical strain (Demec) gage. Holes to
accommodate the expansion anchors were drilled in the
concrete columns from 7 to 10 days after casting. The expansion anchors were then set in place with a two-part epoxy.
Initial readings were taken approximately 3 days after the anchors were set. Measurements were taken every other day
for the first 6 weeks after casting and approximately once
a week thereafter.
Electrical resistance strain gages were applied to the
longitudinal reinforcement, and a specially designed strain
gage device containing an electrical resistance strain gage

Fig. 7Schematic side and front view of creep test setup.


ACI Structural Journal/March-April 2004

was cast at the center of each column specimen. The electrical


resistance strain gages proved to be unreliable over time;
therefore, data from the gages are not presented.
PRESENTATION OF EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS
The measured strain response, plotted versus time, for all
concentrically loaded column specimens is presented in Fig. 8 to
11. Predicted time-dependent column response, which will
be described later, is also plotted in Fig. 8 to 11.
Because temperature changes resulted in measurable
strains in the specimens, strain data for all column specimens
have been adjusted to account for this effect. A coefficient of
thermal expansion of 11.6 microstrain per degree Celsius
(6.5 microstrain per degree Fahrenheit) was used for the
temperature adjustment calculations. The largest temperature
differential for the 500-day period considered was 21.7 C
(39 F). This would result in a temperature-induced strain of
252 microstrain if adjustments were not made to the measured
data. Because of their flexibility, no significant change in
force resulted due to temperature variations in the coil
springs used to maintain load on the column specimens. A
baseline temperature for Demec readings was established on
the day the Demec gages were set in the specimens. Temperature readings were recorded each time the mechanical
strain-measuring device was subsequently read, and adjustments for temperature were made relative to the baseline
temperature. Temperature readings used for the adjustment
calculations were ambient as opposed to internal readings in
the concrete specimens.
Measured strain response versus time for the 14 unloaded
specimens included in the study is plotted in Fig. 12 to
15. The response of these specimens reflects not only the
general accumulation of shrinkage deformations with time
but may also include deformations associated with large
fluctuations in temperature. Erratic behavior is evident in
many of the plots related to the unloaded specimens. This may
be due in part to difficulties with reading the mechanical
strain measuring device at lower levels of strain coupled
with temperature effects. While the measured responses
have been adjusted to account for temperature variations,
the adjustment has been made for ambient temperature as

opposed to temperature of the concrete column specimen.


Therefore, the adjustment method may contribute to the
erratic behavior over the short term that is noticeable in the
plots. Another contributing factor may be the manner in which
the data were averaged. For the unloaded specimens, the measured strain was averaged over only two locations as opposed to
four locations for the concentrically loaded specimens. Predicted time-dependent column response, which will be described
later, is also plotted in Fig. 12 to 15.
Specimens constructed with concrete having a nominal
compressive strength of 55.2 MPa (8000 psi) (Groups 1 and

Fig. 8Measured strains and ACI 209R-92 predicted


strains, Group 1 (55.2 MPa).

Fig. 9Measured strains and ACI 209R-92 predicted


strains, Group 2 (55.2 MPa).

Table 2Specimen details and loading history, 55.2 MPa (8000 psi) specimens
Design strength
at 28 days,
Actual strength at
Longitudinal
Spiral
MPa (psi)
28 days, MPa (psi) reinforcement ratio, % reinforcement ratio, %

Column load,
kN (kips)

Age at
Group
loading, days number

Specimen name

Load type

C8-0.00-1

Concentric

55.2 (8000)

47.7 (6920)

0.00

0.27

722.8 (162.5)

21

C8-0.36-1

Concentric

55.2 (8000)

63.3 (9180)

0.36

0.27

722.8 (162.5)

20

C8-0.36-2

Concentric

55.2 (8000)

63.3 (9180)

0.36

0.27

722.8 (162.5)

17

C8-0.36-3

Concentric

55.2 (8000)

47.7 (6920)

0.36

0.27

722.8 (162.5)

22

C8-0.54-1

Concentric

55.2 (8000)

63.3 (9180)

0.54

0.27

722.8 (162.5)

19

C8-0.54-2

Concentric

55.2 (8000)

63.3 (9180)

0.54

0.27

722.8 (162.5)

19

C8-0.54-3

Concentric

55.2 (8000)

47.7 (6920)

0.54

0.27

722.8 (162.5)

22

C8-0.72-1

Concentric

55.2 (8000)

63.3 (9180)

0.72

0.27

722.8 (162.5)

19

C8-0.72-2

Concentric

55.2 (8000)

63.3 (9180)

0.72

0.27

722.8 (162.5)

19

C8-0.72-3

Concentric

55.2 (8000)

47.7 (6920)

0.72

0.27

722.8 (162.5)

20

U8-0.00NS-1

Unloaded

55.2 (8000)

63.3 (9180)

0.00

0.00

U8-0.00NS-2

Unloaded

55.2 (8000)

47.7 (6920)

0.00

0.00

U8-0.00-1

Unloaded

55.2 (8000)

63.3 (9180)

0.00

0.27

U8-0.00-2

Unloaded

55.2 (8000)

47.7 (6920)

0.00

0.27

U8-0.36-1

Unloaded

55.2 (8000)

63.3 (9180)

0.36

0.27

U8-0.54-1

Unloaded

55.2 (8000)

63.3 (9180)

0.54

0.27

U8-0.72-1

Unloaded

55.2 (8000)

63.3 (9180)

0.72

0.27

ACI Structural Journal/March-April 2004

169

2 presented in Fig. 8 and 9) generally exhibited time-dependent


deformations that were largest for specimens with the smallest
longitudinal reinforcement ratio. This same trend was apparent
for most specimens constructed with concrete having a nominal
compressive strength of 27.6 MPa (4000 psi). The largest timedependent axial deformations measured for Groups 3 and 4,
however, were associated with specimens that had the highest longitudinal reinforcement ratio (0.72%).

Fig. 10Measured strains and ACI 209R-92 predicted


strains, Group 3 (27.6 MPa).

Fig. 11Measured strains and ACI 209R-92 predicted


strains, Group 4 (27.6 MPa).

All of the 55.2 MPa (8000 psi) specimens experienced


time-dependent compressive strains that exceeded the nominal
yield strain for Grade 60 reinforcement (0.00207). Three of
ten column specimens constructed with concrete having a
nominal compressive strength of 27.6 MPa (4000 psi) experienced maximum time-dependent compressive strains that
were approximately equal to the nominal yield strain for
Grade 60 steel. Extrapolating beyond the point in time
when data ceased to be collected, it appears that most of
the remaining specimens would have experienced axial
strains exceeding the nominal yield strain of the reinforcement if
the long-term loading and monitoring of specimens had been
allowed to continue for an additional year. The recorded
strains at the end of the testing program are listed in Table 4
and 5 for the 55.2 and 27.6 MPa (8000 and 4000 psi) column
specimens, respectively.
Figure 8 to 11 indicate that the higher strength 55.2 MPa
(8000 psi) concrete specimens experienced larger axial
strains when first loaded. This was not surprising because
applied load was a function of the nominal concrete strength,
and the modulus of elasticity of concrete does not increase
proportionately with increases in concrete strength. In addition,
the time-dependent increases in axial strain and maximum
strains measured at the end of the testing program were
significantly larger for the higher-strength column specimens.
Time-dependent deformations were approximately 20% larger
for the higher-strength specimens.
Assuming compatibility of deformations for the concrete
and longitudinal reinforcement, the mechanically measured
axial strain data indicate that none of the reinforcement ratios
investigated in the study were sufficient to prevent passive
yielding of the longitudinal reinforcement for the concrete
strengths and axial load levels studied. The reader should keep in
mind, however, that a very liberal estimate of sustained servicelevel axial load, 0.4fc Ag, was applied to the test specimens.
Smaller, long-term deformations would be expected for a lower
sustained axial load. It may be possible to safely use less
longitudinal reinforcement in columns where lower sustained
loads with a low probability of exceedence (for example, bridge
structures) are expected.

Table 3Specimen details and loading history, 27.6 MPa (4000 psi) specimens
Longitudinal
Design strength at 28 Actual strength at reinforcement
days, MPa (psi) 28 days, MPa (psi)
ratio, %

Specimen
name

Load type

C4-0.00-1

Concentric

27.6 (4000)

30.8 (4460)

C4-0.36-1

Concentric

27.6 (4000)

37.2 (5390)

C4-0.36-2

Concentric

27.6 (4000)

C4-0.36-3

Concentric

C4-0.54-1

Spiral reinforcement ratio, %

Column load,
kN (kips)

Age at
loading, days

Group
number

0.00

0.27

361.6 (81.3)

16

0.36

0.27

361.6 (81.3)

23

37.2 (5390)

0.36

0.27

361.6 (81.3)

22

27.6 (4000)

30.8 (4460)

0.36

0.27

361.6 (81.3)

15

Concentric

27.6 (4000)

37.2 (5390)

0.54

0.27

361.6 (81.3)

25

C4-0.54-2

Concentric

27.6 (4000)

37.2 (5390)

0.54

0.27

361.6 (81.3)

24

C4-0.54-3

Concentric

27.6 (4000)

30.8 (4460)

0.54

0.27

361.6 (81.3)

15

C4-0.72-1

Concentric

27.6 (4000)

37.2 (5390)

0.72

0.27

361.6 (81.3)

23

C4-0.72-2

Concentric

27.6 (4000)

37.2 (5390)

0.72

0.27

361.6 (81.3)

21

C4-0.72-3

Concentric

27.6 (4000)

30.8 (4460)

0.72

0.27

361.6 (81.3)

15

U4-0.00NS-1

Unloaded

27.6 (4000)

37.2 (5390)

0.00

0.00

U4-0.00NS-2

Unloaded

27.6 (4000)

30.8 (4460)

0.00

0.00

U4-0.00-1

Unloaded

27.6 (4000)

37.2 (5390)

0.00

0.27

U4-0.00-2

Unloaded

27.6 (4000)

30.8 (4460)

0.00

0.27

U4-0.36-1

Unloaded

27.6 (4000)

37.2 (5390)

0.36

0.27

U4-0.54-1

Unloaded

27.6 (4000)

37.2 (5390)

0.54

0.27

U4-0.72-1

Unloaded

27.6 (4000)

37.2 (5390)

0.72

0.27

170

ACI Structural Journal/March-April 2004

COMPARISON OF EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS


WITH ACI 209R-92
Summary of ACI 209R-92 procedure
ACI 209R-92 presents equations for predicting creep, shrinkage, and temperature effects that are applicable to both moist and
steam-cured concrete. All equations presented in ACI 209R-92
refer to behavior of plain concrete. The recommended creep and
shrinkage equations for standard conditions are as follows:
The basic equation for the prediction of creep is
0.60

t
v t = ------------------v u
( 10 + t )

(1)

where vt = creep coefficient for time after loading; t = time


after loading, in days; and v u = ultimate (with time) creep
coefficient (normal range = 1.30 to 4.15).
The basic equation for the prediction of shrinkage is
t
( sh ) t = ------------------ ( sh ) u
( 35 + t )

(2)

where (sh)t = shrinkage after 7 days; t = time after the end of


initial moist curing; and (sh)u = ultimate (with time)
shrinkage strain (normal range = 415 to 1070 microstrain).
For shrinkage considered for other than 7 days, the difference
in Eq. (2) is determined for any period starting after that
time. For example, the shrinkage strain between 28 days and
1 year is equal to the 7-day to 1-year shrinkage minus the
7- to 28-day shrinkage.
Standard conditions in the ACI 209R-92 report are defined
as a loading age of 7 days, an initial moist curing period of
7 days, ambient relative humidity of 40%, average thickness
of member of 152 mm (6 in.) or volume-to-surface area ratio
of 38 mm (1.5 in.) and an ambient temperature of 21 C (70 F).
Correction factors are also given for concrete composition.
For slump of less than 130 mm (5.0 in.), fine aggregate percent
between 40 and 60%, cement content of 279 to 445 kg/m3
(470 to 750 lb/yd 3), and air content of less than 8%, the
correction factors are approximately equal to 1.0. The values of
vu and (sh)u must be modified by correction factors for
conditions that are other than standard. The average values
suggested by ACI 209R-92 for vu and (sh)u are:
vu = 2.35c, and (sh)u = 780sh 106.
In these relationships, c and sh represent the product of
the applicable correction factors for nonstandard conditions.
The correction factors calculated for each specimen in the study
are listed in Table 6 and 7.

Fig. 12Measured strains and ACI 209R-92 predicted


strains, unloaded specimens, Group 1 (55.2 MPa).
ACI Structural Journal/March-April 2004

Computation of predicted response


The equations for prediction of creep and shrinkage behavior
were applied to the specimens, and predicted results are plotted
with the experimental results. Results are shown for each of the
four groups of specimens because environmental conditions and
concrete composition varied significantly from group to group.
The predicted initial strains due to axial load were computed
using the transformed section. The 28-day concrete modulus
was obtained from compressive strength data for the average of
three 152 x 305 mm (6 x 12 in.) cylinders. The value used for the
28-day concrete modulus was 57,000 f c (units in psi), and the
modulus used for the reinforcing steel was 200 MPa
(29,000 ksi). The initial strain calculation based on the
transformed section was as follows
P
initial = ---------------------------------------------------------------[ A g ( 1 g ) + g A g ] E ci

(3)

The effective modulus was used in conjunction with the


transformed section to predict the strains due to creep and load.

Fig. 13Measured strains and ACI 209R-92 predicted


strains, unloaded specimens, Group 2 (55.2 MPa)
Table 4Axial strain at conclusion of experimental
program for 55.2 MPa (8000 psi) specimens

Specimen
name

Days after
Average
Longitudi- loading at microstrain at
nal rein- conclusion of conclusion of Groupforcement experimental experimental numLoad type ratio, %
program
program
ber

C8-0.00-1

Concentric

0.00

392

2734

C8-0.36-1

Concentric

0.36

491

2615

C8-0.36-2

Concentric

0.36

494

2432

C8-0.36-3

Concentric

0.36

392

2729

C8-0.54-1

Concentric

0.54

492

2184

C8-0.54-2

Concentric

0.54

492

2264

C8-0.54-3

Concentric

0.54

392

2368

C8-0.72-1

Concentric

0.72

492

2226

C8-0.72-2

Concentric

0.72

493

2346

C8-0.72-3

Concentric

0.72

393

2540

U8-0.00NS-1

Unloaded

0.00

358

U8-0.00NS-2

Unloaded

0.00

210

U8-0.00-1

Unloaded

0.00

308

U8-0.00-2

Unloaded

0.00

224

U8-0.36-1

Unloaded

0.36

330

U8-0.54-1

Unloaded

0.54

408

U8-0.72-1

Unloaded

0.72

310

171

Using this approach, the effective concrete modulus was simply


substituted for the initial concrete modulus when computing
strains. The calculation for the effective modulus was as follows
E ci
E eff. = ----------------( 1 + vt )

(4)

where Eeff. = effective modulus of concrete at time considered


after loading; Eci = modulus of concrete at time of loading
(taken as 28-day concrete modulus); vt = creep coefficient at
time t; and t = time after load (in days).
Therefore
P
initial + ( creep ) t = -----------------------------------------------------------------------[ A g ( 1 g ) + A g g n eff. ] E eff.

(5)

where (creep)t = strain in reinforced specimen due to creep


at time considered after loading; and neff. = modular ratio at
time considered after loading (Es /Eeff.).
Shrinkage strains were obtained by applying the resisting
force in the longitudinal steel to the transformed area of the
concrete column specimen. The resisting force in the steel as
the concrete attempts to shrink was computed as
P resisting = ( sh ) t E s A g g

(6)

where Presisting = resisting force developed in longitudinal


reinforcing steel due to shrinkage of the concrete.
Applying this resisting force to the transformed column
section results in the following equation for strain due to shrinkage

( sh )t E s A g g

- (7)
( shrinkage )t = ( sh )t ------------------------------------------------------------------------[
A
(
1

)
+
A

E
g
g g eff.
eff.
g
Total strain is obtained by summing the initial, creep, and
shrinkage strains.

( total ) t = [ initial + ( creep ) t ] + ( shrinkage ) t

(8)

These equations were used to predict strain histories for


the specimens by varying time after loading and calculating total
strain at that time. Predicted responses for the concentrically
loaded 55.2 MPa (8000 psi) specimens are presented with
measured strain data in Fig. 8 and 9. Similar results for
the concentrically loaded 27.6 MPa (4000 psi) specimens
are shown in Fig. 10 and 11. Curves plotted with dashed
lines represent the responses predicted using ACI 209R-92
considering the measured conditions.
Predicted responses based on the ACI 209R-92 recommendations and measured conditions for the unloaded 55.2
and 27.6 MPa (8000 and 4000 psi) specimens are presented
with measured strain data in Fig. 12 to 15. Predicted responses
are represented using dashed curves. The anchors for the Demec
points were drilled into the hardened concrete and, as a result,
mechanical strain measurements, were generally not measured
until 7 to 14 days after casting. The specimens were kept in the
forms and covered with plastic sheeting for the first 5 days and
therefore shrinkage was not severe during this time period.
Electrical gages were monitored from the first day. The gages
measured strains no greater than 120 microstrain during the
first 7 to 14 days.
Comparison of predicted and experimental results
Predicted and experimental results for the 55.2 MPa
(8000 psi) concentrically loaded specimens in Group 1 appear to
correspond reasonably well. The best agreement is for the
most heavily reinforced specimens. Predicted response of
Table 5Axial strain at conclusion of experimental
program for 27.6 MPa (4000 psi) specimens

Fig. 14Measured strains and ACI 209R-92 predicted


strains, unloaded specimens, Group 3 (27.6 MPa).

Specimen
name

Days after
Average
Longitudi- loading at microstrain at
nal rein- conclusion of conclusion of Group
forcement experimental experimental numLoad type ratio, %
program
program
ber

C4-0.00-1

Concentric

0.00

397

1972

C4-0.36-1

Concentric

0.36

462

1936

C4-0.36-2

Concentric

0.36

463

2021

C4-0.36-3

Concentric

0.36

398

1932

C4-0.54-1

Concentric

0.54

461

1775

C4-0.54-2

Concentric

0.54

461

1742

C4-0.54-3

Concentric

0.54

398

1838

C4-0.72-1

Concentric

0.72

462

1725

C4-0.72-2

Concentric

0.72

464

2055

C4-0.72-3

Concentric

0.72

398

2128

U4-0.00NS-1 Unloaded

0.00

466

U4-0.00NS-2 Unloaded
U4-0.00-1

Fig. 15Measured strains and ACI 209R-92 predicted


strains, unloaded specimens, Group 4 (27.6 MPa).
172

Unloaded

0.00

245

0.00

556

U4-0.00-2

Unloaded

0.00

337

U4-0.36-1

Unloaded

0.36

416

U4-0.54-1

Unloaded

0.54

360

U4-0.72-1

Unloaded

0.72

444

ACI Structural Journal/March-April 2004

strains, was likely related to the higher initial average


temperature of 32 C (90 F) experienced by the test specimens
during the first 100 days of loading compared to the average
temperature of 24 C (75 F) for the entire testing program
that was used to predict the axial strains.
Results for the unloaded 55.2 and 27.6 MPa (8000 and
4000 psi) specimens in all groups (Groups 1 to 4) are underpredicted when compared to measured values. This trend is most
pronounced in Groups 2 and 4. A significant change in measured
response is noticeable in the results for both groups beginning at
approximately 50 days after casting. Explanations for the erratic
behavior noticed in these plots have been described previously.

specimens with the least longitudinal reinforcement tends to


provide a lower-bound estimate of the measured data.
Similar comparisons between predicted and measured responses
exist for Group 2, although measured responses for some
specimens are perceptibly greater than predicted responses
during the early days of loading. This appears to be due to the
specimens in Group 2 being stored in an environment with
relatively high temperature during the first 2 months of loading.
Only a single average temperature was used in the ACI 209R
procedure. The average temperature during the first 2 months
of loading was 33 C (91 F). A single average temperature of
24 C (75 F) computed for the duration of loading was used
in the ACI 209R procedure.
Measured strains in the Group 3 specimens tend to be
significantly higher than predicted strains, by as much as
25%. Measured and predicted strains for specimens in
Group 4 exhibit fairly good agreement at later dates. Similar
to the response of the Group 2 specimens, the measured
responses for two of the specimens (C4-0.54-3 and C4-0.72-3)
are greater than predicted responses during approximately
the first 2 months of loading. The early, rapid development
of axial deformations, relative to the predicted axial

CONCLUSIONS
Although creep and shrinkage of the specimens had not
ceased when data collection was discontinued at the end of the
funded study, the rate of creep and shrinkage had dropped to a
sufficiently low level to provide confidence in the conclusions
drawn from the recorded data. Several conclusions can be made
from both the experimental and analytical results:
1. All concentrically loaded column specimens constructed
with concrete having a nominal compressive strength of

Table 6Summary of ACI 209R-92 correction factors and ultimate coefficients for 55.2 MPa
(8000 psi) specimens
C8-00

C8-0.36

C8-0.54

Unloaded
specimens

C8-0.72

21

20

17

22

19

19

22

19

19

20

Creep, la

0.87

0.88

0.90

0.87

0.88

0.88

0.87

0.88

0.88

0.88

Shrinkage, cp

1.05

1.05

1.05

1.05

1.05

1.05

1.05

1.05

1.05

1.05

1.05

1.05

Loading age, days


Initial cure, days
Humidity, %

Group 1 Group 2

38

37

37

38

37

37

38

37

37

38

37

38

Creep,

Shrinkage,

203 (8)

203 (8)

203 (8)

203 (8)

203 (8)

203 (8)

203 (8)

203 (8)

203 (8)

203 (8)

203 (8)

203 (8)

Creep, h

0.96

0.96

0.96

0.96

0.96

0.96

0.96

0.96

0.96

0.96

0.96

0.96

Shrinkage, h

0.93

0.93

0.93

0.93

0.93

0.93

0.93

0.93

0.93

0.93

0.93

0.93

50.8 (2)

50.8 (2)

50.8 (2)

50.8 (2)

50.8 (2)

50.8 (2)

50.8 (2)

50.8 (2)

50.8 (2)

50.8 (2)

50.8 (2)

50.8 (2)

Average thickness, mm (in.)

Volume-surface ratio,
mm (in.)
Temperature, C (F)

23.9 (75) 24.4 (76) 24.4 (76) 23.9 (75) 24.4 (76) 24.4 (76) 23.9 (75) 24.4 (76) 24.4 (76) 23.9 (75) 24.4 (76) 23.9 (75)
Creep

Slump, mm (in.)

1.08

1.12

1.12

1.08

1.12

1.12

1.08

1.12

1.12

1.08

165 (6.5) 191 (7.5) 191 (7.5) 165 (6.5) 191 (7.5) 191 (7.5) 165 (6.5) 191 (7.5) 191 (7.5) 165 (6.5) 191 (7.5) 165 (6.5)
Creep, s

1.26

1.32

1.32

1.26

1.32

1.32

1.26

1.32

1.32

1.26

1.32

1.26

Shrinkage, s

1.16

1.20

1.20

1.16

1.20

1.20

1.16

1.20

1.20

1.16

1.20

1.16

34

34

34

34

34

34

34

34

34

34

34

34

Creep,

0.96

0.96

0.96

0.96

0.96

0.96

0.96

0.96

0.96

0.96

0.96

0.96

Shrinkage,

0.78

0.78

0.78

0.78

0.78

0.78

0.78

0.78

0.78

0.78

0.78

0.78

Fine aggregate, %

Cement content,
kg/m 3 (lb/yd3)
Shrinkage, c

415 (700) 415 (700) 415 (700) 415 (700) 415 (700) 415 (700) 415 (700) 415 (700) 415 (700) 415 (700) 415 (700) 415 (700)
1.18

1.18

1.18

1.18

1.18

1.18

1.18

1.18

1.18

1.18

1.18

1.18

Product of creep factors

1.08

1.20

1.22

1.08

1.20

1.20

1.08

1.20

1.20

1.09

Product of shrinkage factors

1.03

1.06

1.06

1.03

1.06

1.06

1.03

1.06

1.06

1.03

1.06

1.03

Ultimate creep coefficient, vu

2.55

2.81

2.87

2.53

2.83

2.83

2.53

2.83

2.83

2.56

Ultimate shrinkage, (sh)u

801

829

829

801

829

829

801

829

829

801

829

801

Air content, %
Shrinkage,

ACI Structural Journal/March-April 2004

173

Table 7Summary of ACI 209-92 correction factors and ultimate coefficients for 27.6 MPa
(4000 psi) specimens
C4-0.00
Loading age, days
Creep, la
Initial cure, days
Shrinkage, cp
Humidity, %
Creep,
Shrinkage,
Average thickness, mm (in.)
Creep, h
Shrinkage, h

C4-0.36

C4-0.54

Unloaded
specimens

C4-0.72

16

23

22

15

25

24

15

23

21

15

Group 3 Group 4

0.90

0.86

0.87

0.91

0.86

0.86

0.91

0.86

0.87

0.91

1.05

1.05

1.05

1.05

1.05

1.05

1.05

1.05

1.05

1.05

1.05

1.05

37

39

39

37

39

39

37

39

39

37

39

37

203 (8)

203 (8)

203 (8)

203 (8)

203 (8)

203 (8)

203 (8)

203 (8)

203 (8)

203 (8)

203 (8)

203 (8)

0.96

0.96

0.96

0.96

0.96

0.96

0.96

0.96

0.96

0.96

0.96

0.96

0.93

0.93

0.93

0.93

0.93

0.93

0.93

0.93

0.93

0.93

0.93

0.93

Volume-surface ratio, mm (in.)

50.8 (2)

50.8 (2)

50.8 (2)

50.8 (2)

50.8 (2)

50.8 (2)

50.8 (2)

50.8 (2)

50.8 (2)

50.8 (2)

50.8 (2)

50.8 (2)

Temperature, C (F)

25.0 (77) 24.4 (76) 24.4 (76) 25.0 (77) 24.4 (76) 24.4 (76) 25.0 (77) 24.4 (76) 24.4 (76) 25.0 (77) 24.4 (76) 25.0 (77)
Creep

Slump, mm (in.)

1.15

1.13

1.13

1.15

1.13

1.13

1.15

1.13

1.13

1.15

165 (6.5) 152 (6.0) 152 (6.0) 165 (6.5) 152 (6.0) 152 (6.0) 165 (6.5) 152 (6.0) 152 (6.0) 165 (6.5) 152 (6.0) 165 (6.5)
Creep, s

1.26

1.22

1.22

1.26

1.22

1.22

1.26

1.22

1.22

1.26

1.22

1.26

Shrinkage, s

1.16

1.14

1.14

1.16

1.14

1.14

1.16

1.14

1.14

1.16

1.14

1.16

56

56

56

56

56

56

56

56

56

56

56

56

Creep,

1.01

1.01

1.01

1.01

1.01

1.01

1.01

1.01

1.01

1.01

1.01

1.01

Shrinkage,

1.01

1.01

1.01

1.01

1.01

1.01

1.01

1.01

1.01

1.01

1.01

1.01

Fine aggregate, %

Cement content, kg/m (lb/yd ) 297 (500) 297 (500) 297 (500) 297 (500) 297 (500) 297 (500) 297 (500) 297 (500) 297 (500) 297 (500) 297 (500) 297 (500)
Shrinkage, c
Air content, %
Shrinkage,

1.06

1.06

1.06

1.06

1.06

1.06

1.06

1.06

1.06

1.06

1.06

1.06
0

Product of creep factors

1.26

1.16

1.16

1.27

1.15

1.15

1.27

1.16

1.17

1.27

Product of shrinkage factors

1.20

1.18

1.18

1.20

1.18

1.18

1.20

1.18

1.18

1.20

1.18

1.20

Ultimate creep coefficient, vu

2.96

2.72

2.73

2.98

2.69

2.71

2.98

2.72

2.75

2.98

Ultimate shrinkage, (sh)u

936

920

920

936

920

920

936

920

920

936

920

936

55.2 MPa (8000 psi) and reinforcement ratios ranging from 0 to


0.72% experienced time-dependent axial strains that exceeded
0.00207 in less than 400 days of loading. This level of axial
deformation was the amount required to produce passive
yielding of Grade 60 longitudinal reinforcement;
2. Three of the concentrically loaded column specimens
constructed with concrete having a nominal compressive
strength of 27.6 MPa (4000 psi) and reinforcement ratios ranging
from 0 to 0.72% experienced time-dependent axial strains that
approached or exceeded 0.00207 in nearly 500 days of loading.
Most of the remaining 27.6 MPa (4000 psi) specimens
developed strains that approached this value and likely
would have exceeded this value if loading and monitoring of
specimens had continued for an additional year;
3. Because passive yielding, based on the nominal yield
strength of the longitudinal reinforcement, occurred in all highstrength specimens, and would likely have occurred in most of
the other specimens had loading continued for another year,
reduction of the current ACI Code requirement for minimum
longitudinal reinforcement is not justified by this study;
4. The use of high-strength concrete did not reduce longterm axial deformations, but rather resulted in increase of
approximately 20%. Because applied load was a function
of the concrete strength, and because modulus does not
174

increase linearly with concrete strength, the initial elastic


deformation and associated creep deformations were larger for
the high-strength concrete columns;
5. Long-term deformations in column specimens were
exacerbated by reduced humidity, high temperatures over
extended periods, and a very liberal estimate of sustained
column axial load (0.4f c Ag); and
6. Strain response predictions made using the ACI 209R-92
recommendations agreed reasonably well with measured data,
but tended to underestimate long-term strains for some
specimens. This was especially true for some specimens when
high average temperatures were experienced early during
the period of sustained loading.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors wish to thank the Texas Department of Transportation for financial
support of the research program. Technical assistance provided by Richard
Furlong of the University of Texas at Austin, and David MacDonold and Dean Van
Landuyt of the Texas Department of Transportation is gratefully acknowledged.

NOTATION
Ag
As
Eci

= gross cross-sectional area of concrete column


= total area of longitudinal reinforcing steel
= modulus of concrete at time of loading (taken as 28-day
concrete modulus)

ACI Structural Journal/March-April 2004

Eeff.
Es
f c
n
neff.
P
t
t

=
=
=
=
=
=
=
=

=
vt
(creep)t =
initial
g

=
=

effective modulus of concrete at time after loading considered


modulus of steel reinforcement
concrete compressive strength at 28 days
modular ratio (Es / Eci)
modular ratio at time after loading considered (Es / Eeff.)
applied axial load
time after load (in days) for prediction of creep
time after end of initial moist cure (in days) for prediction of
shrinkage
creep coefficient at time t
strain in reinforced specimen due to creep at time after loading
considered
initial strain in reinforced concrete specimen due to applied load
As /Ag

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175