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Composites: Part B 33 (2002) 493504

Development length of FRP straight rebars

E. Cosenza, G. Manfredi, R. Realfonzo*
Department of Structural Analysis and Design, University of Naples Federico II, Via Claudio 21, 80125 Naples, Italy
Received 25 June 2001; revised 8 July 2002; accepted 13 July 2002

In recent years, some attempts have been performed to extend general design rules reported in the codes for steel reinforced concrete to
Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) materials; this is the case of relationships adopted in the evaluation of the development length clearly
derived by extension of the formulations used for steel rebars. However, such relationships seem to be inappropriate for FRP reinforcing bars:
in fact, experimental test results have shown that bond behaviour of FRP bars is different from that observed in case of deformed steel ones.
As a consequence, a new procedure for the evaluation of development length based on an analytical approach is needed in order to directly
account for the actual bond-slip constitutive law as obtained by experimental tests on different types of FRP reinforcing bars.
An analytical solution of the problem of a FRP rebar embedded in a concrete block and pulled-out by means of a tensile force applied on
the free end is presented herein. Such solution leads to an exact evaluation of the development length when splitting failure is prevented.
Finally, based on the analytical approach, a limit state design procedure is suggested to evaluate the development length. q 2002 Elsevier
Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: FRP reinforcing bar

1. Introduction
From design point of view, the study of concrete
structures reinforced using FRP reinforcing bars has been
initially developed by extending the wide body of
information gathered in a century of use of steel reinforced
concrete. Studies have been often carried out by comparing
performances obtained by using steel or FRP reinforcing
bars; moreover, the manufacturing technologies have been
oriented to fabricate composite bars which are similar, in
shape and dimensions, to those made of deformed steel.
One of the critical aspects of structural behaviour is the
development of an adequate bond behaviour; a number of
tests have been performed by several authors on FRP
reinforcing bars in order to study their bond performance
and to compare such bond properties with those evidenced
by deformed steel bars. On this topic, three state-of-art
reports have been recently published by Cosenza et al. [8],
Tepfers [21] and fib Task Group 5.2 [12].
From the experimental results, it was concluded that
bond between FRP reinforcement and concrete is controlled
by several factors such as the mechanical and geometrical
* Corresponding author. Tel.: 39-81-7683485; fax: 39-81-7683406.
E-mail address: (R. Realfonzo).

properties of bars and the compressive strength of concrete.

In particular, the interaction phenomena are governed by
shear strength and deformability of ribs, which are
remarkably lower than those of steel bars; this leads to
increased slips between rebars and concrete and different
failure mechanisms [13,15,16]. Mechanical properties of
resin, which the matrix is made of, have a remarkable
influence on the interaction behaviour since they strongly
affect strength and deformability of ribs and indentations
located on the outer surface.
Therefore, by comparing FRP and steel rebars, it has been
noted that the differences in bond behaviour are due to some
properties of FRP reinforcing bars; this underlines the
inadequacy of extending the design rules for steel reinforced
concrete to FRP reinforcing bars. Therefore, a critical review
of the design methodology is needed in order to introduce this
new type of bars as reinforcement for concrete structures.
Despite the above remarks, some attempts have been
performed in order to extend to such new materials, with
some minor modifications, the general design rules reported
in the codes traditionally used for steel reinforced concrete;
this is the case of the relationships adopted in the evaluation
of the embedment length clearly derived by extension of the
formulation used for steel bars [3,14].

1359-8368/02/$ - see front matter q 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
PII: S 1 3 5 9 - 8 3 6 8 ( 0 2 ) 0 0 0 5 1 - 3


E. Cosenza et al. / Composites: Part B 33 (2002) 493504

f ck
f c0

transverse section area of the bar

bar perimeter
bar diameter
elastic modulus of the FRP rebar
elastic modulus of steel rebars
characteristic compressive strength of concrete
design bond strength
compressive concrete strength
compressive concrete strength
design tensile strength of the FRP rebar
tensile stress of the FRP rebar
tensile concrete strength
tensile strength of the bar
yielding strength of steel rebar in tension
development length

This paper analyses the problem of evaluating the

development length of deformed FRP reinforcing bars and
presents a new approach based on an analytical formulation.
Such a procedure is based on the analytical study of the
problem of a rebar embedded in a concrete block and
pulled-out by means of a tensile force applied at one end. In
order to integrate the differential equation that governs such
problem, the definition of a suitable bond-slip constitutive
relationship is needed.
Recently, Pecce et al. [18] proposed a numerical procedure
for evaluating the constitutive bond-slip relationship. Based
on the experimental bond test results, such procedure is able
to identify values of the parameters which define the
modified version [8] of the Eligehausen, Popov and Bertero
relationship [10]. In this way, a suitable constitutive t s law
was proposed in the case of a recently introduced GFRP
reinforcing bars (C-Bare by Marshall Inc.); however, the
above-mentioned numerical procedure could allow to derive
a constitutive relationship for any type of bars.
The presented analytical approach has been developed by
considering the Eligehausen et al., modified law as bondslip (t s ) relationship; a numerical example is carried out
in case of C-Bare using the constitutive t s law suggested
by Pecce et al. [18].
Finally, based on the analytical approach, a design
procedure is proposed to evaluate the development length.
The method, which represents a first proposal, takes into
account the actual bond-slip constitutive laws of the different
FRP rebars and introduces some different safety factors.

2. Evaluation of the basic development length

Under the assumption of constant distribution of bond
stresses t, the problem of a diameter f reinforcing bar

basic development length

slip at peak bond strength
allowable crack width
parameters of the Eligehausen et al., modified
bond-slip law (Eqs. (16) and (17))
tensile strain
safety factor that affects the elastic modulus
global safety factor
material safety factor
tensile stress
tensile strength of the FRP bar
characteristic value of tensile strength of the
FRP rebar
characteristic yielding strength of steel rebars
bond stress
maximum bond strength



embedded in a concrete block for a length Ld and subjected

to a tensile force T is governed by the following equilibrium
T Ld ptf

If Ab is the rebar area and ff the tensile stress, the tensile

force T can be written as:
T Ab ff

From Eqs. (1) and (2), it follows:


Ab ff

or, alternatively:


For deformed steel bars, it has been found that bond strength
tm is a linear function of the square root of the compressive
concrete strength f 0c [10]:
tm k f 0c
where k is a constant.
Therefore, from Eqs. (3) and (5):

Ab ff
pkf f 0c

and setting K pkf; it follows:


Ab ff
K f 0c

Eq. (7) represents the well known basic development

length, generally indicated with Ldb; K depends on the
relationship between the bond strength and the compressive
concrete strength and on the bar diameter.
In case of #3 to #11 deformed steel reinforcing bars, the

E. Cosenza et al. / Composites: Part B 33 (2002) 493504

ACI 318-89 [1] assumed a value of K equal to 25 thus

leading to the following expression of Ldb:
Ab fyf
Ldb 0:04 p0

where fyf and f 0c are the yielding strength of steel bars and
compressive concrete strength, respectively (psi), and Ab, is
the rebar area (in.2).
According to ACI 318-89, the development length Ld is
provided by:
fi Ldb
where fi indicates the product of some modification
factors that take into account the influence on bond of some
key parameters (i.e. cover, spacing, transverse reinforcement).
Some modifications of Eq. (8) have been subsequently
reported by ACI 318-95 [2].
In order to extend Eq. (7) to FRP reinforcing bars, several
investigators have attempted to evaluate experimentally
values of K for different types of FRP bars [5,9,11,19].
Furthermore, based on experimental results, in case of
FRP reinforcing bars, some authors proposed simplified
expressions of Ldb; these expressions, clearly design
oriented, are not suitable for all types of FRP reinforcing
bars, because they are practically appropriate only for the
selected bars. An example is given by [6,7]:
Ld 20f


Recently, formulations for evaluating the basic development length have been proposed in new codes for design
of concrete structures reinforced with FRP bars. This is
the case of the Japan Society of Civil Engineers (JSCE)
Design Code [14] and of the ACI Committee 440 Guide
In the case of JSCE code, Ldb is clearly derived from
Eq. (4):
Ldb a1




reinforcing bars since they have been derived by adopting

a linear relationship between bond strength and the square
root of the compressive concrete strength f 0c : Several
investigators have shown that such a relationship does not
hold true for FRP reinforcing bars [6,13,15,16].
Therefore, the development of a new procedure to
evaluate the development length of FRP bars, based on an
analytical approach, is needed. It should take into account
the actual bond-slip constitutive law, as obtained by
experimental tests.

3. The problem of the rebar pull-out

The problem of a rebar embedded in a concrete block and
pulled-out by means of an applied tensile force is analysed
in the following.
A closed form solution is obtained by adopting linear
elastic constitutive laws for the materials and the Eligehausen et al., modified relationship [8,18] as bond-slip
constitutive law. Such an analytical solution allows to
obtain slip, normal stress and bond stress distributions along
the rebar (i.e. at a generic abscissa x ). Furthermore, such a
solution leads to an exact evaluation of the development
The studied case is schematically shown in Fig. 1, where
the origin of the x-axis is in the free end of the bar.
The differential equation that governs the bond problem
[20] is obtained by considering:
the equilibrium of rebar:

ds pft dx

s E1 E


where Ldb is in mm, ffu (ultimate design strength of FRP

reinforcing bars) in MPa and f is in mm.
In the ACI guide, two modification factors greater than 1
are considered in order to prevent splitting of concrete and
to evaluate the development length of top bars.
The above relationships seem to be unsuitable for FRP


a linear elastic behaviour for the rebar that, if the

contribution of concrete in tension is neglected, is given


where fd is the design tensile strength, fb0d, the design bond

strength and a1 is a coefficient less than 1.
The Japanese code states that the basic development
length shall not be taken less than 20 times the bar diameter.
The ACI Committee 440, for failure controlled by
pullout, proposes (in SI units):




where E and f are the elastic modulus and the diameter

of the rebar, respectively.
From Eqs. (13) and (14), the following differential
equation is obtained:
d2 s
tx 0


The Eligehausen et al. modified model [8,18]shown in

Fig. 2is considered herein. Such a constitutive law is
given by:
(A) for s , sm ; an ascending branch which is formally
coincident with the first branch of the Eligehausen, Popov


E. Cosenza et al. / Composites: Part B 33 (2002) 493504

tm, the maximum bond strength, sm, the slip at peak bond
strength and su is the ultimate slip.
By using such a law when integrating Eq. (15), two cases,
A (s # sm) and B (s . sm) have to be separately considered.
3.1. Case A (s # sm)
Considering Eq. (16), it is possible to rewrite Eq. (15) as:

4t m a
s 0


By integrating Eq. (18) with the following boundary

s0 0;
10 0
dx x0
i.e. considering a perfect anchorage of the bar, the following
solution is obtained:
2tm 1 2 a2
Efsam 1 a
that provides the trend of the slip s along the bar.
Trends of the bond stress t and of the tensile stress s
are derived by considering Eqs. (13) and (14), respectively:


(B) for sm , s , su a softening branch given by:

ts tm 1 p 2 p

sx E



Using the above-presented relationships, two characteristic

limit values can be derived from Eqs. (19) and (20):

Fig. 1. The studied cases.

and Bertero law [10]:

ts tm

pf ds
4 dx

the limit tensile stress in the bar s1;

the limit development length lm.


where a is a coefficient which describes the ascending

branch, p, a coefficient which defines the softening branch,

The first value represents the stress in the bar

corresponding to a slip equal to sm:
8E tm sm
s1 ssm
f 1a
The value lm represents an upper bound of the development
length related to the ascending branch of the bond-slip law,
i.e. the development length that corresponds to a stress
applied to the rebar equal to s1. In fact, setting s sm in Eq.
(19), the corresponding value of x represents lm:
Ef sm 1 a
2 tm 1 2 a2
Furthermore, considering Eqs. (21) and (22), lm can be also
written as:

Fig. 2. Eligehausen et al., modified t s law.

s1 f 1 a
4t m 1 2 a


where l0m is the development length evaluated for s s1

and t constant tm.

E. Cosenza et al. / Composites: Part B 33 (2002) 493504

A reduction of the rebar elastic modulus E results in

an increment of slips s (Eq. (19)) and in a reduction of
the embedment length (Eq. (22)). Eq. (23) confirms that
lm is greater than l0m, since (1 a )/(1 2 a ) is greater
than 1.
Eqs. (19), (20) and (22) lead to the following useful

where ps

where ps
ps 2 1

where pt
ps 2 2
Eqs. (24) (26) provide simple expressions of s, s and t as a
function of x=lm : In particular, it can be noticed that:
for a 0, the slip s is a quadratic function of the abscissa
x, while the normal stress s is linear and the bond stress t
assumes the constant value tm;
for a 1/3, sx is cubic, s(x) is parabolic and t(x) is
For s , s1, the development length l can be evaluated
from Eq. (25) by setting x l; then, the following
expression of l is obtained:
l lm
For 0 , s # s1, Eq. (27) provides values of the length l less
than the value lm derived from Eq. (23).
According to Eq. (23), another expression of l can be
easily derived from Eq. (27):
l l0 1
l 0 l 0 s

4t m


is the development length evaluated in case of t

constant tm.
It has to be underlined that Eq. (29) can be obtained from
Eq. (28) by setting a 0, i.e. by assuming a rigid-plastic
bond-slip constitutive law.
Finally, from Eq. (28), it can be seen that the value of the
development length l is greater than l0.
3.2. Case B (s . sm)
Considering Eq. (17), the differential Eq. (18) becomes:

slm sm ;






the function sx is obtained:

1 p 2 cosvx 2 lm 

sinvx 2 lm 



s s
2p 1 a

lm 1 a 1 2 a
E f sm
Finally, by substituting Eq. (31) into Eq. (17), the
distribution law of bond stresses along the bar is given by:
sinvx 2 lm 
cosvx 2 lm  2
while, remembering Eq. (14), sx is provided by:
sinvx 2 lm 
cosvx 2 lm 


It is possible to demonstrate by Eq. (30) that the

development length l can be obtained by:
1 2 a2
A t2
l lm 1
2p1 a
fs2 =
2 arcsin 1 2
8EAtmax ;


where lm is given by Eq. (22) or Eq. (23), while:

t s
t s
t s
At 2 m m
Atmax m m m m
Eq. (34) provides the development length for values of
s $ s1; obviously, for s s1 (i.e. s sm ) Eq. (34)
provides l lm :
Neglecting the frictional contribution to the bond
mechanism (Fig. 2), a theoretical limit threshold of tensile
stress s2 can be evaluated. It is easy to demonstrate that such
threshold, which corresponds to a maximum value of slip (at
the loaded end) equal to the ultimate one s0, can be obtained
by the following expression:
s2 ss0
f tmax

41 ptm



and integrating Eq. (30) with the following boundary

It can be noticed that such a relation is very similar to that

obtained for the threshold s1 (Eq. (21)).
This means that in the previously stated hypotheses, a


E. Cosenza et al. / Composites: Part B 33 (2002) 493504

value lu of the development length can be evaluated from

Eq. (34) that corresponds to s s2; however, by increasing
such value of length, it is not possible to transfer a normal
stress greater than s2. Obviously, this is true in the adopted
hypothesis of neglecting the frictional contribution.
Therefore, it has to be pointed out that the evaluation of
the development length requires a complete characterisation
of the bond-slip constitutive law and an estimate of the
elastic modulus of the bar. In particular, from Eqs. (22), (27)
and (34), it can be verified that the development length
decreases if: the elastic modulus E of the bar decreases; the
rigidity of the bond-slip law increases (i.e. minor values of a
and sm); the bond strength tm increases; the slope of the
softening branch of the bond-slip law decreases (i.e. minor
values of p ).

for fc , 30 MPa, pull-out failure was due to the breaking

of the surrounding concrete, while the rebar was
for fc . 55 60 MPa, failure was due to damage
concentrated on the ribs of the FRP reinforcing bar,
whereas damage of the surrounding concrete was
for 30 , fc , 55 MPa damage both of the outer surface
of the reinforcing bar and within the concrete was
The possibility that the interaction phenomena could be
dependent on mechanical properties of the ribs results in a
substantial difference compared to the case of bond of steel
reinforcement, where the weak element is always concrete.
Observing values shown in Table 1, the following bondslip relationship is suggested:

4. Analytical vs. experimental results

(a) for s # 0.25 mm:
The assessment of the t s law by means of experimental
tests is not straightforward; generally, pull-out or beam tests
are performed to evaluate such a constitutive law and
tests are carried out on specimens characterized by short
embedment lengths (about five times the bar diameter or
less). Furthermore, values of t are generally obtained by
assuming a constant distribution of bond stresses in
the embedded portion while slips are measured at the free
In the case of FRP reinforcing bars, values of slips
measured at the two ends are very different and the
hypothesis of a constant bond stress distribution appears
to be inadequate. In order to overcome this problem, some
authors reduced the length of the embedded portion to very
short values (2 3 times the bar diameter) [15,22]; however,
it has to be observed that in this way the influence of local
irregularities can be magnified and, consequently, test
results may have a large scatter.
For this reason, in a recent paper, Pecce et al. [18]
proposed an identification procedure aimed to estimate,
by experimental bond test results, values of parameters
defining the Eligehausen et al., modified constitutive
law. By using such a procedure, the authors calculated
the mean values and the coefficient of variation (c.o.v.)
of the above parameters for a #4 GFRP C-Bare; such
values are shown in Table 1 (the c.o.v. are in
It has to be underlined that test results assumed as
reference in Ref. [18] come from beam tests with a large
concrete cover, i.e. they are representative of cases where
the splitting collapse is prevented. Furthermore, such tests
were conducted on specimens having a compressive
concrete strength fc ranging between 39 and 52 MPa; in
this case the variation of concrete strength should not
largely influence the bond strength.
This last observation is confirmed by pull-out tests results
on C-Bare obtained by Karlsson [15]:

tb s 20:5s1=4


(b) for s . 0.25 mm:

tb s 16:5 2 7:4s


where s is in mm and t is in MPa.

As above-mentioned, values of parameters shown in Eqs.
(36) and (37) were identified for a #4 GFRP C-Bare from
bond tests without splitting failure. Anyway, an appropriate
set of coefficients can be also obtained in case of splitting
failure by applying the identification procedure proposed by
Pecce et al. [18] to bond tests characterised by this kind of
failure; the same can be said in the case of change of the
rebar type.
Therefore, the design procedure shown in the following,
based on the Eligehausen et al., bond-slip law, can be seen
as a general method.
However, from a design point of view, specific design
rules should be proposed in order to avoid splitting failure.
Furthermore, a mean value of the elastic modulus E equal
to about 42,000 MPa and an average value of tensile
strength of 600 MPa were found by performing tensile tests
on #4 (bar diameter f equal to 12.7 mm) C-Bare [18].
It is worth noting that the value declared by Marshall
modulus E is equal to the obtained one, while the declared
tensile strength sud 770 MPa is greater than the obtained
For the identified values, a threshold s1 equal to about
Table 1
Mean values and c.o.v. of the bond parameters
sm (mm)

tm (Mpa)

0.253 (0.136)

14.65 (0.083)

0.245 (0.465)

0.128 (0.449)

E. Cosenza et al. / Composites: Part B 33 (2002) 493504


Fig. 3. Analytical vs. experimental results.

280 MPa has been evaluated from Eq. (21) and a

corresponding development length lm equal to about
100 mm has been calculated from Eq. (23).
The stress s vs. the dimensionless development length
L/f curve has been obtained by adopting values of Table 1
and the above-mentioned elastic modulus. Such a curve,
shown in Fig. 3, has been derived by computing
the development length for each value of the normal stress,
using Eq. (28) if s # s1, and Eq. (34) if s . s1 (closed
form solutions). In Fig. 3, results of bond tests performed by
Karlsson [15], Benmokrane and Masmoudi [4] and Pecce
et al [18] are also shown.
Karlsson carried out an experimental program on #4 and
#5 C-Barse by adopting three values of the embedment
length (3f, 5f and 7f ): a pull-out failure was observed in
all the cases.
The same failure was observed by Benmokrane and
Masmoudi testing #5 C-Barse with an embedment length
equal to five times the bar diameter.
Pecce et al. performed beam tests on #4 C-Barse with
embedment length ranging from 5 to 30 times the bar
diameter: both pull-out and tensile failure were observed
depending on the embedment length value.
Fig. 3 shows a good agreement between the
experimental results and the analytical law; however,
results from Karlsson tests are underestimated by the
numerical curve, probably due to the well known
Achillides effect [12]. In fact, Karlsson tests give a
higher bond strength because of an end anchor contribution
due to the protruding free bar end pulled into the bond
However, the analytical curve is conservative in
comparison with the actual behaviour; in fact, for a
given development length L, the evaluated corresponding
s s(L )is less than the experimental value.
Immediately before the pull-out failure occurs, i.e. when
the rebar starts to slip at the free end, the normal stress s
can yet increase because the integral of bond stresses t

along the rebar can increase too. This effect is strictly

dependent on the bond-slip constitutive law.
Because of the hypothesis of a slip equal to zero at the
free end, the above-presented analytical formulation does
not allow to evaluate the maximum stress s in pull-out
conditions; in order to calculate such stress, for a given
embedment length, a numerical integration of Eq. (15) is
needed. Fig. 3 also depicts the stress s vs. L/f curve
obtained by means of the numerical integration; this
curve shows a better agreement to the experimental results
and confirms the more conservative trend provided by the
close form solution (i.e. when slip is equal to zero at the free
end). Finally, examining Fig. 3, it can be observed that, in
some cases, results from Pecce et al. show a bar tensile
failure with values of the normal stress less than 600 MPa:
this was probably due to the unavoidable coupling between
tension and bending of the rebar in case of beam tests.
In Fig. 4, trends of normal stresses, bond stresses and
slips are reported in case of a #4 GFRP C-Bare in tension
embedded in a concrete block for a length equal to 200 mm.
Such trends have been obtained by using Eqs. (24) (26) in
the embedded portion where s is less than the threshold
s1, and by Eqs. (31) (33) where s is greater than the
threshold s1.
Two levels of normal stresses are considered (610 and
280 MPa); they are respectively associated to a development length of 200 and 100 mm. Because both cases are
characterised by s $ s1, the above-mentioned value of l has
been evaluated from Eq. (34). The origin of the axes is
placed in the point where:
s 0;
and it can be observed that for x equal to lm:

s s1 280 MPa;
s sm 0:25 mm

t tm 14:6 MPa;


E. Cosenza et al. / Composites: Part B 33 (2002) 493504

Fig. 4. Trends of normal stress, bond stress and slip along a GFRP C-Bare.

5. Basic development length

Previously, two cases have been studied; they differ for
what follows:
Case As # s1; s # sm ; l # lm . l0m
Case Bs $ s1; s $ sm ; l $ lm

The first circumstance (Case A), i.e. s # s1, involves

only the ascending branch of the t s law; for s $ s1 (Case
B), instead, the softening branch of the constitutive law
has to be considered. Otherwise, the bound s1 for s limits
the possibility to anchor the rebar.
However, the softening branch of the bond-slip curve

E. Cosenza et al. / Composites: Part B 33 (2002) 493504

seems to be rather unstable and characterised by large c.o.v.

of parameter p [18], which such branch is dependent on ; for
this reason, only the Case A will be examined in the design
procedure presented in the following.
Furthermore, it has to be noticed that since the softening
branch surely provides a further contribute in the anchorage
of the rebar, in case of rebars characterized by different
softening behaviour, such design procedure provides
different safety levels.
Neglecting the contribution of the softening branch, the
above-mentioned value s1 can be seen as an upper threshold
for the normal stress s; in particular, s1 represents a limit
beyond which-even though it is possible to anchor the rebarit is necessary to rely on the descending branch of the bondslip law.
Therefore, it is possible to define a limit condition given
by the following expression:
8E tm sm
s # s1
f 1a
8 E t m sm
1 a s2 f


and the computation of the development length can be

performed by using Eq. (27).
If Eq. (27) is used, a preliminary definition of the t slip
constitutive relationship is needed; this law will depend on
the type of rebar (i.e. on the type of fibres and matrix and on
the shape of outer surface and possible treatments), on the
concrete compressive strength and on some other parameters (i.e. temperature, etc.) [8]. Furthermore, the
definition of the elastic modulus E is also necessary.
The above-mentioned design procedure is briefly
reported in the following.
Assigned the characteristic value of the ultimate strength
of the rebar suk, the design value sd has to be determined by
considering a material safety factor gm:




This value sd must be compared to the threshold s1; if the

design value sd is greater than s1, a new design value of the
normal stress should be used in the calculation:

sd s1


According to Eq. (27), the basic development length will be

evaluated by:
Ldb lm d
According to the ACI Guide [3], two modification factors
should be considered: gt, bar location modification factor,
and gc, concrete cover modification factor.


Therefore, remembering Eq. (23), Eq. (42) becomes:

Ldb gt gc lm d
fs1 1 a sd 12a=1a
gt gc
4tm 1 2 a s1
A further safety factor gg has to be applied as a global
coefficient to obtain the development length value; such a
global coefficient accounts for all uncertainties arising in
the evaluation of the embedment length (in particular for the
uncertainty regarding the bond-slip law). Therefore, the
final value of the basic development length can be obtained
Ld gg Ldb


Obviously, this approach can also cause large variations in

safety for different FRP rebars.
It is well-known that in case of FRP reinforced concrete
structures, checks at the serviceability limit state may
become the main design criteria. In particular checks of the
member deflections, of the amplitude of cracks width and of
stress intensity must be performed; results from checks at
serviceability may indirectly lead to a further reduction of
the design stress level (sd).
As an example, assumingas first approximationthat
slip s is equal to the amplitude of crack w, a maximum value
of slip slim can be fixed based on the allowable crack width
wlim, i.e. the width compatible with aesthetic and psychological problems [14]. Then, a limit for normal stresses slim
can be evaluated as a function of slim by using the following
s s
8E tm s1
8E tm w1

fsm 1 a
fsm 1 a
A value of slim can be also obtained considering a threshold
for s at the serviceability state level: for example, an
allowable stress limit slim 0.25ffu could be suggested in
case of glass FRP (GFRP) bars.
This value of slim can indirectly provide also a limit to
avoid a creep failure of the FRP reinforcing bar; it is worth
to notice that, in order to avoid failure due to creep rupture
of FRP, in the ACI Committee 440 code a stress limit equal
to 0.20ffu under all sustained loads (i.e. dead load plus the
sustained portion of the live loads) has been assumed in the
case of GFPR reinforcing bars [3].
In order to verify that serviceability checks are satisfied,
the ratio sd/slim has to be rather low; in particular, such ratio
must be less than the ratio of the design load at the ultimate
state level to the design load at the serviceability level
(about 1.50). Conversely, if sd/slim is greater than the above
ratio, the design will be conditioned by the checks at
serviceability and the stress level under ultimate load
conditions will be less than the design value sd.


E. Cosenza et al. / Composites: Part B 33 (2002) 493504

5.1. Evaluation of the design tensile strength sd

In defining the tensile strength of FRP reinforcing
bars some different conversion factors should be used in
order to:
transform the strength measured during experimental
tests to that of FRP reinforcement in the structure;
take into account the decrease of the strength due to long
time load;
consider the deterioration of strength due to concrete
All the factors should be less than 1 and depend on the
FRP rebar type. For what concerns the conversion factor, for
in situ strength a value ranging from 0.8 and 0.95 can be
In the code proposed by ACI 440 [3], the design ultimate
tensile strength is given by:
ffu CE ffup


where CE is the environmental reduction factor that

depends on the type of fibre and on the exposure condition,
while ffup is the ultimate tensile strength of the FRP bar, as
reported by the manufacturer, defined as the mean strength
of a sample of test specimens minus three times the
standard deviation. For GFRP reinforcing bars, CE is equal
to 0.7 or 0.8 in case of exterior or interior exposure,
The material safety factor gm should reflect the actual
variability of properties of the reinforcement and the
calculation model for the resistance; moreover, compared
to steel reinforcement, the more severe consequences due to
the elastic-brittle behaviour of FRP reinforcing bars have to
be considered in defining gm.
In case of continuous fibre reinforcing materials (CFRP),
Okamura et al. [17] suggested to divide the characteristic
strength by a value of gm ranging from 1.0 to 1.3 since the
following factors have to be considered: damage to CFRP
occurring in the construction and transportation phases;
differences in material properties between the experimental
specimens and the structure; temperature and environmental
condition, etc.
In the recent code proposed by JSCE [14], the following
values of gm are reported:

gm equal to 1.15 in the case of CFRP with carbon or

aramid fibres;
gm equal to 1.30 in the case of CFRP with glass fibres.
5.2. Evaluation of the elastic modulus E
The s 1 curves obtained by tensile tests in case of FRP
reinforcing bars are not perfectly linear elastic. Therefore,
some uncertainties exist in evaluating the elastic modulus
that characterised the linear elastic design s 1 diagram.

Depending on the state level in the JSCE Recommendation [14], two different proposals for the elastic modulus
are reported, thus obtaining two tensile force strain
design curve (see Figs. 3.4.1 and 3.4.2 in the JSCE
As underlined above, from Eq. (27), it can be noticed that
when the elastic modulus increases, the development length
increases. Therefore, in the evaluation of the development
length, a safety factor gE less than 1 should be used in order
to increase the value of E obtained from the experimental
test results:
Ed E=gE


Such an effect could be directly considered by assuming the

global coefficient gg (Eq. (44)).
5.3. Multiplication factors (gt and gc)
According to the ACI Guide [3] a bar location
modification factor (gt) equal to 1.3 should be considered
when evaluating the basic development length of top FRP
A concrete cover modification factor (gc) of 1.5 should
be used when the concrete cover or the reinforcement
spacing is equal to the bar diameter (f ); for concrete cover
larger than 2f, a factor gc equal to 1 should be applied;
finally, gc is provided by a linear interpolation of the two
previous values in the case of concrete cover ranging
between f and 2f.
5.4. A numerical example
The procedure presented in the previous section is applied
below to a #4 GFRP C-Bare, having an elastic modulus
equal to 42,000 MPa. A value of gE equal to 1 will be adopted
in the following.
In this case, values of tm, sm and a which characterised
the ascending branch of the bond-slip constitutive law are
those reported in Table 1 and the threshold stress s1
obtained by Eq. (21)results equal to 280 MPa.
According to the JSCE Recommendation, a value of gm
equal to 1.30 is considered; then assuming as characteristic
strength a value of s equal to 600 MPa the following design
strength is obtained: sd 600/1.3 < 430 MPa.
The application of the above described procedure for a #4
GFRP C-Bare, leads to verify that:
(a) the design value of normal stresses is greater than s1;
therefore, s1 is adopted as new design value (reduced

sd s1 280 MPa
(b) in the case of reinforcement located in the bottom of
the concrete element (gt 1) and for concrete cover
larger than 2f (gc 1), the development length Ldb

E. Cosenza et al. / Composites: Part B 33 (2002) 493504

evaluated for s sd s1 by Eq. (43) is equal to:

fs 1 a
Ldb gt gc lm d
4t m 1 2 a

12:7 280 1 0:245

100 mm
4 14:65 1 2 0:245

i.e. about eight times the bar diameter;

(c) assuming a global coefficient gg equal to 2.5, the
following development length is obtained (Eq. (44)):
Ld gg Ldb 2:5 8f 20f
The proposed procedure points out that the use in practice of
such a deformed GFRP reinforcing bars appears to be quite
limited by their bond behaviour; in fact, it is necessary to
reduce the design stresses to the value s1 in order to anchor
these bars in the concrete matrix.
However, in order to check the allowable stress limit at
the serviceability state limit, assuming as slim the value
0.25ffu it can be obtained:

slim 0:25 600 150 MPa


sd =slim 280=150 < 1:87

Therefore, as expected, check at the serviceability limit state
may become a dominant design criteria and a stress level
less than sd will be reached at the ultimate load conditions;
however, in order to be conservative, a development length
corresponding to sd should be evaluated.

6. Concluding remarks
The problem of the evaluation of the development
length in case of FRP reinforcing bars has been studied.
Despite of an extensive state-of-the-art research, which
extended the code design formulas for steel reinforced
concrete structures, a new design procedure has been
proposed based on the analytical formulation.
It is considered that, since these bars are made of new
materials, the design procedure has to be derived in a
rational manner, i.e. neglecting approximate approaches
or formulations derived from classical theories (used for
steel reinforced concrete structures) and accounting for
the actual bond-slip constitutive laws.
Therefore, a suitable assessment of the actual bond
behaviour is a main step of the proposed procedure. The
constitutive bond-slip relationship has to be identified for the
considered FRP rebar from experimental tests. The highest
bond strength will be obtained for specimens characterised
by a well-confined situation, while tests on elements in a not
so well confined situation will allow the evaluation of the
influence of the splitting on bond resistance.


The application of the proposed procedure is very easy

and the presented numerical example allows to draw the
following conclusions:
1. the use in practice of GFRP C-Barse seems to be limited
by their bond behaviour since, neglecting the softening
branch of the bond-slip law, it is needed to reduce the
value of design stresses in order to anchor these bars in
the concrete matrix;
2. the value of the design strength can be increased if the
unsafe softening branch is considered; in this case, an
adequate value of the basic development length must be
evaluated according to the analytical formulation (Case
3. a value of the global safety coefficient has to be
established in order to evaluate the development
Furthermore, it has been observed that checks at the
serviceability state level may become dominant design
criteria thus leading to a reduction of the stress intensity
at the ultimate load conditions in comparison to the
design value. Therefore, the calculated development
length results in a conservative value and, actually, the
aforementioned limitations, due to the bond behaviour of
GFRP reinforcing bars, do not influence its evaluation.

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