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EXPERIMENTAL STUDY OF BEHAVIOR OF REINFORCED

CONCRETE SLABS UNDER IMPACT LOADING


Dr. Adnan F. Ali
Professor
Univ. of Baghdad/ Eng. College/Civil Eng. Dept.

Dr.Ali G. Abbas AL-Khafaji


Lecturer
Univ. of Kerbala/ Eng. College/Civil Eng. Dept.
Email: ali_altohmazy44@yahoo.com
Mobile:07813611077

ABSTRACT :
An experimental program to study the behavior of reinforced concrete slabs under impact
loading was carried out through this work . Experimental work included testing of fifteen two-way
reinforced concrete slabs , three of which were tested under central concentrated static loads while
the others were tested under impact loading by means of a falling mass at the center of the slab .A
steel ball of (90mm) diameter and (3 kg) weight was used as a falling mass for all the impact tests.
The main test variables in this study were: dimensions of the slabs , reinforcement ratio,
height of fall of the striking object and support conditions of the slab. The maximum transient and
residual central deflections were measured in each impact test using linear variable differential
transformer ( LVDT ). It was found that the central deflections are proportional to the height of fall
of the striker at low heights ( less than 600 mm) for all tested slabs under impact loads. These
deflections were found to be much larger with a slight increase in height of fall of the striker
( almost a double value of deflections was noticed at an increase in fall of less than 25 % beyond
600 mm height of fall ). Also ,it was found that , with the repetition of strikes and as the falling
height of the striking object increases , cracks at the bottom faces of all slabs starts prior to those at
the top face . However , cracks do not propagate longitudinally or widen with the increase of
heights of falls but rather scabbing of the concrete starts to form with large pieces of concrete
scabbs out at larger drop height .

:
.
( static loads )
( impact loads )
. ( 3 ) ( 90 ) .
:
.
.( LVDT )
. ( 600 )
)
. ( 600 % 25
.
. ( scabbing )
Keywords: impact testing , drop-weight , reinforced concrete , slabs

: INTRODUCTION
Impact loading is recognized as the load resulting from collision between two bodies during a
very small interval of time . The impact load applied to a structure depends on the striker velocity,
the structure and the striker masses, the resulting deformations and the material properties of both
bodies.
Some common examples of impact loading in the field of civil engineering are :vehicle
collision with a structure , impact accidents during construction process, ships collision with
1

offshore structures or gravity platforms , blows on concrete piles during driving , rocks falling on
roof of protection shelters, aircraft collision with structure , etc. [1].
The experimental investigations on reinforced concrete slabs under impact loads are of
fundamental importance because the impact load effect on these structures are complex and precise
theoretical solutions are rarely available .
In this study , impact tests were used to obtain precise results on the structural behavior of
concrete slabs under impact loads.

EXPERIMENTAL WORK :
Test Specimens :
Test specimens were divided into three groups according to the specimen dimensions .
Slabs of group 1 have dimensions of ( 1000 x 600 x 50 mm ) , group 2 dimensions are ( 1000 x
1000 x 50 mm ) while group 3 are of ( 1000 x 1400 x 50 mm ). These dimensions were selected
such that construction of slabs to be easy and their weights to be reasonable for lifting and testing .
Each group consisted of five specimens , one specimen was tested under static load while the
others were subjected to impact loading by means of a falling mass at the center of the slab . The
main test variables in the present study were : dimensions of the slab , reinforcement ratio of the
slabs , height of fall of the striking object , support conditions of the slab.
Details of the test specimens including test type are shown in Table 1.
Table 1: Details of test specimens
Group
No.

Slab
Dimensions

Reinf.
Slab No.

Type of Test

SS11

Static

SD12

Dynamic

(mm)

1000x600x50

1000x1000x50

1000x1400x50

1.18

Simply Supp.

0.59

Dynamic

Simply Supp.

1.18

D14

Dynamic

Clamped

1.18

D15

Dynamic

Simply Supp.

1.77

Static

Simply Supp.

1.18

D22

Dynamic

Simply Supp.

0.59

D23

Dynamic

Simply Supp.

1.18

D24

Dynamic

Clamped

1.18

D25

Dynamic

Simply Supp.

1.77

S31
3

Simply Supp.

Ratio %

D13

S21
2

Support
Condition

Static

Simply Supp.

1.18

D32

Dynamic

Simply Supp.

0.59

D33

Dynamic

Simply Supp.

1.18

D34

Dynamic

Clamped

1.18

D35

Dynamic

Simply Supp.

1.77

Steel Reinforcement :
The concrete slabs specimens were reinforced with ( 5 mm) and ( 8 mm ) reinforcing bars
as main reinforcement. Three samples for each bar size were tested for evaluation of reinforcing
yield stress and ductility. Test results for the used reinforcement bars are shown in Table 2.
Three different steel ratios ( ) were considered in the tested slabs. These ratios and the
corresponding bar size and spacing between bars are shown in Table 3. For each specimen , the
reinforcing steel ratio was taken to be identical in both directions of the slab . Details are given in
Fig.1.
Table 2 :Test results for the used reinforcement bars*

Weight

As

fy

fu

Elongation

equivalent

(kg/m)

(mm2)

(MPa)

(MPa)

(%)

4.984

0.153166

19.511

650

744

7.771

0.37233

47.43

543

670

10

(mm)

*Steel reinforcement were tested at the structural laboratory in Baghdad University.


Table 3 :Steel reinforcement details of the tested slabs

Steel ratio

Bar dia.

(mm)

Spacing between

(%)
0.59

bars for slab (mm )


100

1.18

120

1.77

80

Concrete :
Concrete was designed to give at ( 28 ) days a compressive strength of (25 MPa ) of
cylinder .A mix design was made according to the ACI committee 211.1.91 Manual [2]. Some trial
mixtures were carried out to get the required concrete strength . After that , the mix proportion by
weight was achieved and used in this work . The mix proportion for ( 1 m3 ) of concrete are given in
Table 4.
Table 4 : Mix proportions for ( 1 m3 ) of concrete
Water/Cement
Ratio

Cement

Sand

Gravel

Water

(kg/m3)

(kg/m3)

(kg/m3)

(kg/m3)

0.5

380

565

1130

190

Mixing , Casting and Curing :


All batches were mixed in a concrete mixer of (0.1 m 3) capacity .The inside surface of the
mixer was moistened prior to use. The steel moulds were cleaned and oiled lightly before placing
reinforcement. Steel reinforcement were placed in the mould and supported , as shown in Fig. 2.
After mixing , concrete was poured into the moulds in two layers, each layer was compacted by
hand using a steel rod. When a good compaction was attained , the surface of the specimen was
leveled by steel trowel. After casting , specimens were left for 24 hours in the laboratory covered by
polythene sheet, later , the moulds were removed carefully then, the specimens were marked and
soaked in water for 28 days in the laboratory .
All specimens were painted white before testing so that cracks would be easily noticed .In
order to determine the compressive strength of the specimens , three ( 150 x 300 mm ) concrete
cylinders were taken from each batch according to the procedure of section
C39/C39M-05 of
the ASTM (2006 ) [3]. The compressive strength at (28) days age of the tested cylinders are shown
in Table 5 .
Batch
No.

Average
compressive
strength
Table 5: Compressive
strength
of the tested
cylinders
(
for
three
cylinders
) MPa
Slab Symbol
at age of 28 days

Density
( kN/m3)

S11 , S21

23.2

23.71

S31

25.6

24.04

D12 , D22

24

23.88

D32

24.8

24.17

D13 , D23

26

24.26

D33

26.4

24.64

D14 , D24

25.6

24.17

D34

22.4

23.59

D15 , D25

24.8

23.95

10

D35

26.4

24.80

Impact Test Rig :


The test rig was specially designed and constructed so that it could be used for the dropweight impact tests for different dimensions of slabs and different impact forces implemented in the
study .
The test rig consists mainly of two parts as described hereafter ( see Fig. 3 ):1- Main supporting frame .
2- Vertical guide for the falling mass ( steel ball ).
The main supporting frame is a three dimensional structure consists mainly of steel members
which are hollow square section ( 50 x 50 x 3 mm), jointed up together so as to provide a horizontal
platform to provide both simple support or clamped support to the slab specimens. The platform is
adjustable in spans in both directions by means of perforation of sides of the steel hollow box
sections which fit other holes of cleat angles which are welded to the members in the other direction
.
Supporting columns are ( 16 ) steel members of hollow square sections (50 x 50 x 3 mm) .
These columns are , in turn , supported by means of four steel members of the same type braced
together in both directions to avoid skewing which might cause eccentric loading or reactions .

The vertical guide is also composed of two parts, a perforated hollow tube member of
( 100 mm ) diameter. This tube is placed vertically to provide means of guidance on the top surface
of the tested specimens. The vertical tube is supported and kept in position by means of a three
dimensional frame of (2500 mm) height and ( 1060 mm) width . All members are steel hollow
square sections of ( 38 mm ) size.
The striking object used is a ( 90 mm ) diameter steel ball of ( 3 kg ) mass with adjustable
height ranging from ( 200 mm ) to ( 2000 mm ) . The steel ball is allowed to fall freely , thus ,
striking the top surface of the tested specimens at any desired position.

EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE :
Static Test Procedure :
One specimen in each group was tested under static loading .The static tests have been
carried out using a compressive testing machine (at the structural laboratory in Kufa University), as
shown in Fig. 4. Some changes have been made to the testing machine so that it could be used for
static tests for different dimensions of slabs, such as using a steel supporting frame, as shown in
Fig. 5.
After the specimen is fixed into position , a concentrated load was applied at the center of
the specimen . The load was increased gradually at increments of ( 2 kN ) until failure . At each load
increment, the central deflection was measured using a dial gauge fixed on a special holder beneath
the specimen.
The failure mode and crack patterns were noticed and recorded .

Impact Test Procedure :


A repeated impact drop-weight test with an increasing drop-height was adopted as a
dynamic test procedure implemented in the present work . The falling mass (steel ball ) is ( 3 kg ) in
weight and of ( 90 mm ) diameter for all impact tests.
Four Specimens in each group were tested under Impact loading . The impact test conditions
for each specimen were given in Table 1 . After specimen had been fixed into position , as shown in
Fig. 6 , the steel ball was lifted by hand to the specific height and then released (freely) to fall at the
center of the tested slab .The ball was then raised up after impact , lifting and releasing the steel ball
was then repeated for larger heights until the reinforced concrete slab starts to crack and then the
cracks become wide enough to be visible .For each impact test , the maximum transient and residual
central deflections were measured using linear variable differential transformer ( LVDT ) and crack
patterns were noticed. The (LVDT) was calibrated prior to use it in the impact tests. Two LVDTs
were fixed on a magnetic holder beneath the center and quarter points of the tested slab .

EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS :
Static Results :
A brief description of the load deflection and cracking history of each tested slab is shown
in Table 6.

Table 6 : Static results of the tested slabs

Slab Symbol

Slab Dimensions

Reinf.

( mm )

Ratio
%

First
Cracking
Load
(kN)

Ultimate
Load
( kN )

( mm )

First
Cracking
Load /
Ultimate
load ( %)

Max.
Central
Defl.

S11

1000 x 600 x 50

1.18

12

58

18.54

20.69

S21

1000 x 1000 x 50

1.18

48

28.82

16.67

S31

1000 x 1400 x 50

1.18

42

31.78

14.29

The load-deflection curves for the three tested slabs under static loads are shown in Fig. 7.
These curves for the tested slabs can demonstrate a certain tendency in which : at early stages of
loading ; slabs behave elastically with no visible cracks which explains the behavior of slab before
the first cracking load . At further stage, slabs tend to shift from elastic behavior and become rather
to posses a nonlinear behavior with visible minor tension cracks beyond which ( at the third stage )
yielding occurs and the slabs behave plastically.
Test results demonstrated that the ultimate load becomes smaller as the slab dimensions
increase , meanwhile , the central deflection of the slabs increase as the slab dimensions increase as
shown in Fig. 7.The crack patterns at the bottom face of each tested slab are shown in Fig. 8 .

Impact Results :
Several selected slabs were dynamically tested under repeated impact with increasing the fall
height of the striking object .
A steel ball of ( 90 mm ) diameter and (3 kg) weight was used as a falling load as planned
for the impact tests .
In each impact test, the maximum transient and residual deflections at the center and quarter
points of the slabs were recorded using two ( LVDT ) and digital video camera, as shown in Fig. 9.
The impact test results and some crack patterns for the tested slabs are given in Figs.(10 to
24).A complete examination of the test results which are given in the mentioned graphs reveals the
following notes :
1. As a common fact , the central and quarter point deflections of each tested slabs tend
to become larger as the falling height of the striker increases . The note is that , the
deflections are directly proportional to the falling height at relatively low ranges of
falls ( 600 800 mm ) , as the height of fall becomes larger , the rate of increase of
deflections increases more significantly ( at an exponential relation with the height of
fall ). Such a tendency might be related to the nonlinear behavior of the concrete
specimens which occurs due to both sub yielding of reinforcing steel , tension
cracking , crushing , and scabbing of concrete .
6

2. The second note is that the proportional limit ( the height of fall beyond which the
fall-deflection curve becomes nonlinear ) seems to be slightly affected by changing (
increasing ) the slab dimensions . As an example , up to height of fall of (800 mm ) ,
the fall-deflection curve is linear in case of a slab of ( 1000 x 600 x 50 mm )
dimensions while the fall is only ( 700 mm ) for the case of a slab of ( 1000 x 1400 x
50 mm ) dimensions .
This means that crushing and scabbing are rather affected by slab thickness rather
than slab dimensions which at the same time have the major role in the nonlinear
behavior of the tested specimens .
3. The proportional limit ( magnitude of height of fall beyond which nonlinearity is
encountered ) is not affected greatly by increasing the reinforcement ratio at the
tension zone . This means that concrete crushing and scabbing dominate the causes of
nonlinear behavior of slabs under impact loading .
4. However , the central deflections of the tested slabs at failure stage of impact were
proved to be smaller at higher percentages of the tensile reinforcing steel ratios for
given dimensions of a slab and meanwhile , the central deflection of the slab at
failure stage of impact becomes larger as the slab dimensions are increased .
5. Finally , it was found that , with the repetition of strikes and as the falling height of
the striking object increases , cracks at the bottom faces of all slabs starts prior to
those at the top face . These cracks tend to have random shapes and directions
irrespective of dimensions of slabs . However , cracks do not propagate
longitudinally or widen with the increase of heights of falls but rather scabbing of the
concrete starts to form with large pieces of concrete scabbs out at larger drop height .
Such a behavior is related to the tendency of axial wave which travels across the
thickness of the slab and reflects at the free end ( in fact the lower surface is
considered as a free end ) thus, developing tensile stresses which are doubled in
magnitude after reflection .
At the same time , the top face of the slabs acts as a fixed end with respect to the
wave reflecting at this face just beneath the place of the falling mass which is kept
stationary at the top face of concrete . Such an action results in double compressive
stresses which in turn causes spalling of concrete at the top face of the slab .

CONCLUSIONS :
Based on the experimental results obtained in the present study , several conclusions may be
drawn and can summarized as follows :
1. The ultimate load of the tested slabs under concentrated static loads decreased with in a
range of (17.2 27.5 % ) as the span of the slab increases by ( 60 125 % ) , meanwhile ,
the first crack load of the slabs decreases by ( 33 50 %) as the span of the plate increases
by ( 60 125 % ) . Also, the actual central deflections of the tested slabs were found to be
larger in magnitudes by ( 55 71.4 % ) as the span of the slab increases by ( 60 125 % )
.
2. The central deflections of the tested slabs under impact loads as obtained experimentally ,
tend to become larger as the falling height of the striker increases . Those deflections are
directly proportional to the falling height at relatively low ranges of falls ( 600 800 mm ) ,
as the height of fall becomes larger , the rate of increase of deflections increases more
significantly (at an exponential relation with the height of fall ).
3. The central deflections of the tested slabs under impact, as obtained experimentally were
found to become smaller as the tensile reinforcing steel ratio increases , but the rate of the
decrease in the dynamic deflection is small for high steel reinforcement ratio ( 1.77 % ) ,
7

meanwhile , the actual central deflection of the slabs becomes larger by ( 20 45 % ) as the
span of the slab increases by ( 60 125 % ) .
4. The dynamic deflections of slabs with simply supported condition is larger than those
deflections for slabs with clamped supports by a range of ( 45-70 % ) for the tested
specimens.
5. Crack patterns at the bottom surface of the tested slabs under impact loads were found to be
of a similar distribution in all slabs which have the same dimensions in spite of the
difference in steel reinforcement ratio.
6. Scabbing of the concrete starts to form with large pieces of concrete scabbs out at larger
drop height .
REFERENCES:
1. Murtiadi, S. , Behavior of High-Strength Concrete Plates under Impact Loading, M.Sc.
Thesis, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science , Memorial University of Newfoundland,
March 1999.
2. ACI Committee 211.1-91Standard Practice for Selecting Proportions for Normal, Heavyweight,
and Mass Concrete ,ACI Manual of Concrete Practice , 1997.
3. ASTM Designation C39/C39M-05 Standard Test Method for Compressive Strength of
Cylindrical Concrete Specimens , American Society for Testing and Material , West
Conshohocken , Pennsylvania , 2006 , pp.2089-2094.
4. Al-Khafaji , A.G. , Behavior of Reinforced Concrete Slabs under Impact, Ph. D. Thesis, Dept.
of Civil Eng., College of Eng., University of Baghdad, 2009.
5. Hughes, G. , and Beeby , A.W. , Investigation of the Effect of Impact Loading on Concrete
Beams, Journal of the Structural Engineer , Vol.60 B , No.3, September 1982.
6. May, I.M. , Chen, Y. , Owen, D.R.J , Feng, Y.T. , and Thiele, P.J., Reinforced Concrete
Beams under Drop-Weight Impact Loads, Journal of Computers and Concrete , Vol.3 ,No.2,
2006, pp.1-12 .

Cracks at corners of top face


Spalling at center of top face

60
1800

( a ) Top face 12 70200100080000

1400
1300
1200
1100
1000
900
800
700
600
500

8 @ 120 mm

Spalling at center of top face

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11 02 00 00 1 3 0 0
1 2 10 200 0
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S l a b D 2 2 ( = 0 . 5 9 % )
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Load ( kN )

1800

Scabbing at center of bottom Scabbing


face
at center of bottom face

400
300

Fig.13:
Effect
dynamic
Mi3d 0au xaheight
. C e n t r aa l l Dof
15
20
2 5 R e sof
Dl eeDffleeeimpact
ni o (n m( mmon
MBottom
a l x C. eC ne3tnr5(c)
t r aface
fcl et ico tS31
m) )
( b)
( bC (b)
)
Bottom
face
Slab
Slab
S21
e n t r a l D e f lFig.21:
e Fig.17:
c deflection
t i o n ( Effect
m Effect
m ) (b)
for
different
steel
reinforcement
ratios
of
height
of
impact
on
of
dynamic
(a) ofofheight
Clamped
supported
Fig.16:
Effect
height
ofimpact
impact
on
dynamic
1050
mm
Fig.20
: Effect
impact
on
dynamic
15
Fig.19:
: Effect
Effect
ofof
height
ofheight
height
of
impact
ofimpact
impact
onondeflection
residual
on
dynamic
8
Fig.10:
Effect
of
height
of
impact
on dynamic
deflection Fig.
Fig.12:
Effect
of
height
ofof
on
residual
Fig
2
:
Arrangement
of
steel
reinforcement
bars
Fig.22:
Effect
of
height
of
impact
on
dynamic
for
different
dimensions
slabs
(clamped
supp.)
for
slab
of
dimensions
(1000

1000

50
mm
)
Fig.
24
:
Crack
patterns
and
local
failure
mode
of
slab
(D14)
under
impact
loading
deflection
for
different
conditions
for
slab
of
Fig.14
Fig.18:
:
Effect
Effect
of
of
height
height
of
of
impact
impact
on
on
residual
dynamic
Fig.11:
Effect
of
height
of
impact
on
dynamic
Fig.23:
Crack
patterns
and
local
failure
mode
of
slab
(D13)
under
impact
loading
deflection
for
different
steel
reinforcement
ratios
deflection
for
different
dimensions
of
slabs
with
dynamic
deflection
deflection
for
different
for
different
dimensions
steel
reinforcement
of
slabs
with
dynamic
for4:
different
steel
reinforcement
Fig.
Load
=test
deflection
curveswith
for
different
dimensions
of
slabs
Fig.
Compressive
machine
Fig.
5: The height
static
test
deflection
for: deflection
different
dimensions
of7:
slabs
Fig.1
Typical
steel
reinforcement
oftesting
a.reinforcement
specimen
steel
reinforcement
ratio
(=
deflection
dynamic
deflection
for(1000
different
for
support
different
conditions
steel
for

600
600
50
mm;
with
1.18
%
;clamped
supported
;of
falling
=
2arrangement
m
dimensions
(1000
1400
50
mm
) m) %
in
thedimensions
mould
before
casting.
(1000

50
mm;

=
1.18
%
;
simply
supported;
falling
height
==
1.8
Fig.3
:
Impact
test
rig
steel
reinforcement
ratio
(
=
1.18
%
)
ratios
steel
for
slab
reinforcement
ratio
(1000
(
0.59
)1.18
1000
.) ) .50 mm )
Fig.8
Fig.6
:
Crack
:
Impact
patterns
test
arrangement
of
static
test
of
slabs
(
S11,S21
and
S31)
for
slab
of
dimensions
(1000

1400

50
mm
)
Fig.
9
:
Impact
test
measurement
for
different
steel
reinforcement
ratios
(

)
for
slab
of
ratios
for
slab
of
dimensions
(1000

600

50
mm
)
steel reinforcement
ratio
(
=
1.77
%
)
.
deflection
slab
ratiosoffordimensions
slab of dimensions
(1000 1000
(1000
50
1400
mm ) 50 mm ).
0 .0

R e s i d u a l(C ae n)t rTop


a l D e face
fe c tio n ( m m )
M (a)
a S11
x . CSimply
e n t r a l D e fsupported
le c tio n ( m m )
Slab