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Araujo, Loriggio, and Camara

SHEAR DESIGN OF HOLLOW CORE SLABS


Carlos M. Araujo, Msc, PPGEC, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil
Daniel D. Loriggio, Dr, Dept. Civil Eng., Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil
Jose Camara, Dr, Dept. Engineering and Architecture, Instituto Superior Tcnico, Portugal

ABSTACT
The current design methods for the hollow core shear resistance are derived
from experimental results and elastic theories that are not consistent with the
behavior in the ultimate limit state.
In this paper, an analytical methodology adopted from the modified
compression field theory (MCFT) and safety concepts from Eurocode 2 is
properly presented and evaluated with experimental data available in the
literature, proved to be accurate and simple enough for use in the design.
Comparisons with the codes CSA A23.3 and Eurocode 2 are also presented.
For the validity of the process presented, the support region specific
characteristics of this type of slab, as the anchorage of prestressing strands,
prestressing dispersion and short support lengths, are discussed with nonlinear
numerical models considering the bond between the strand and concrete.

Keywords: Prestressed concrete, Hollow Cores, Shear design.

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INTRODUCTION
The development of building techniques of hollow core slabs allowed its wide use in different
types of structure, although some characteristics of prefabricated elements still cause
uncertainties in the scientific community. The shear strength and failure mechanisms in the
region of support are some of the issues raised including the large proportion of voids in cross
sections without shear reinforcement, the lengths of support usually small, the anchorage of
strands and the dispersion of prestressing force.
The traditional shear strength models are based on elastic theories and empirical results, with
methods costly and not always accurate enough. Accordingly, the application of this
procedure in the design of hollow cores slabs is not appropriate.
In this paper, an accurate and simple enough methodology for use in design, based on
modified compression field theory MCFT [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] and safety concepts from Eurocode 2,
is properly presented and verified with experimental and numerical results.

SHEAR FAILURE MECHANISMS


The possible shear failure mechanisms conceptually accepted in hollow cores slabs are shear
tension failure, flexural shear, and anchorage failure of strands. The first mechanism is the
most common in this type of slab, which in a non-fissured region arises a diagonal crack that
propagates toward the support and the compression area, causing a brittle rupture (Fig. 1). In
flexural shear failure, the crack is initiated by a vertical bending crack that develops in a
diagonal crack.

Fig. 1. Shear tension failure [6]


The last mechanism, according with first ideas of JANNEY [7], occurs when bending cracks
happens within the transmission length and a variation of the strand stress could cause the
anchorage failure of strands. This situation is not common in hollow core slabs, where the
prestressing have a good performance in the cracking control. This statement is valid, subject
to compliance with the limits of initial prestressing stress to control the tensile force of
bursting, splitting and spalling.

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FINITE ELEMENTS MODELS
The numerical models presented in this paper were generated with the non-linear finite
element program ATENA V4 [9]. The hollow core slabs, using equivalent cross sections
(Fig. 3) were modeled with plane quadrilateral isoparametric elements. The constitutive
model adopted for the concrete was SBETA [9] with the fictitious crack model based on the
exponential crack-opening law and fracture energy. The prestressing strands were modeled
with one-dimensional geometry and bond between strand and concrete through bond-slip
relationship shown in Fig. 3 [10]. The Tab. 1 shows the parameters for the definition of this
relationship for concrete with f ck < 60 and 'good' quality of the bond.
In this section are presented three hollow core slabs subjected to shear and bending
moments. The experimental tests have been performed by VTT Building and Transport [11].
The main data are shown in Tab. 2 and load scheme in Fig. 10 (scheme 1).
Symmetry

Fig. 2. Exemple of equivalent cross section


b
2

4
s

Fig. 3. Bond law by BIGAJ [10]


Table 1
s
b

0.8 f cu

Point 1
0.000

Point 2
0.030

Point 3
0.047

Point 4
0.480

0.500

2.000

0.700

0.000

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Table 2
Characteristic cylinder strength of concrete
Thickness
Cross sectional area
Moment of inertia
Centroid
Minimum web width
Top strands
Bottom strands
Top strands prestressing area
Bottom strands prestressing area
Top strands prestressing stress
Bottom strands prestressing stress
Distance between top strands and the extrados
Distance between bottom strands and the intrados
Specific fracture energy
Span of the slab
Width of support plates

Unit
(MPa)
(mm)
(105 mm2)
(108 mm4)
(mm)
(mm)
(-)
(-)
(mm2)
(mm2)
(MPa)
(MPa)
(mm)
(mm)
(10-5 MN/m)
(mm)
(mm)

VTT33.200
47.5
200
1.19
6.03
103
238
7 12.5
651
1100
40
9.56
4958
40

VTT109.265
51.8
265
1.72
15.0
137
242
10 12.5
930
1000
39
9.44
4957
40

VTT148.320
43.5
320
2.03
25.9
164
263
2 9.3
11 12.5
104
1023
900
1000
49
51
8.40
5945
40

All models showed good agreement with the values measured in the laboratory, as shown in
Tab. 3, and qualitatively, obtained similar results, from which can be drawn some important
conclusions: under the load applied, the prestressing tension had a little variation between the
release of the prestressing and the ultimate load, as well as the bond slips and bond stress; in
the sections close to the application of the loads, the plane section hypothesis is acceptable.
This analysis reaffirms the shear failure mechanisms mentioned in the previous item.
Table 3
Slab
33.200
109.265
148.320

Tests
Fcr: kN Ffail: kN
81
108
178
223
238

Numerical model
Fcr: kN Fm: kN
96
112
188
214
233

Fum/Ffail
1,04
1,06
0,98

Fig. 4 shows the bond slip, bond stress and prestressing stress along the slab for the release of
the prestressing and ultimate load to the slab VTT 109.265, where also shows the values
calculated with the recommendations from Eurocode 2 [12]. The shear failure mechanism in
all examples was shear tension failure, clearly shown in Fig. 5 for the slab VTT 109.265. The
anchorage failure of strands was discarded, for the reason that inside the transmission length
did not show bending cracks and there were compression stress in the bottom side (Fig. 6).
The Fig. 7 brings the longitudinal deformations along the slab to the stages of prestressing
release and ultimate load.

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(a)

(b)

(c)

Fig. 4. Numerical results of VTT 148.320 (a) Bond slips (b) Bond stress (c) Stress in strands

Fig. 5. Crack patterns of VTT 148.320

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(a)

(b)

(c)
Fig. 6. Principal stress (a) maximum (b) minimum (c) tensors

(a)

(b)

Fig. 7. Numerical results of VTT 148.320


Longitudinal strain (a) on release (b) on ultimate load

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PROPOSED METHODOLOGY
The methodology presented in this paper is based on the modified compression field theory
MCFT [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], also base of the CSA A23.3 code [13], and the safety concepts from
Eurocode 2 [12].
BASE OF SHEAR RESISTENCE MECANISMS MODEL
The bases of the model, to the case of members without transversal reinforcement and strands
with line geometry, can be seen in Fig. 8 [1]. The free body diagram of this figure cuts the
longitudinal reinforcement, the flexural compression region and follows the angle of the
shear crack diagonal. In this case, the shear is assumed to be carried by aggregate interlock
stress (ci) and shear stress in the flexural compression region. With the equilibrium can be
noted that the horizontal component of shear stresses on diagonal crack causes an increase in
tension in the longitudinal reinforcement, representing one of the causes of shear-moment
interaction. The bending moment is carried by forces Fc and Fs. The dowel action of
longitudinal reinforcement is ignored and the aggregate interlock resistance is estimated at
only in one depth.

Fig. 8. Free diagram of basic shear resisting mechanism [1]

SHEAR DESIGN MODEL


For elements without shear reinforcement, as discussed in the previous section, the shear will
be resisted only by aggregate interlock component. Therefore, the shear resistance in the
proposed methodology is taken as:
VRd =

bw d v f ctm

(1)

In Eq 1, the term f ck in the original equation of MCFT [4] was replaced by 2 f ctm and
likewise should not be taken greater than 8 MPa. According to the requirements of Eurocode
2:

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2

f ctm = 0,30 f ck 3 C C50/60

f ctm = 2, 2 ln 1 + cm C > C50/60


10

(2)

The coefficient models the strain effect, the first term of Eq. 3, and the size effect, the
second term of the same equation. The strain effect is considered by controlling the
longitudinal strain at mid-depth of the member, x, which can be taken as a good
approximation equal to half the longitudinal reinforcement deformation, whereas the concrete
deformation in compression is small compared to steel deformation [4].

0, 40
1300

(1 + 1500 x ) (1000 + s xe )

(3)

Figure 9 shows the deformation of the longitudinal reinforcement due to bending moment
and shear. When cot is taken equal to 2, as suggested by the Canadian code [1], x
deformation can be calculated by Eq. 4. In the methodology presented in this paper for
hollow core slabs, the term (Ec bw d v ) 2 should be added the reinforcement stiffnesses in the
denominator when the design bending moment is greater than the cracking moment, as a
conservative simplify. The term f p0 ( x ) is calculated assuming a linear variation in the
transmission lengths, whereby in the Eurocode 2. According as [4], the shear depth dv and is
taken as 0.9d.

x =

M d d v + Vd Aps f p 0 ( x )

(4)

2 E p Aps

Fig. 9. Longitudinal strain due to bending moment and shear [3]


The size effect term is shown in Eq. 5, and crack spacing sx can be taken as the distance
between layers of longitudinal reinforcing bars or equal dv, for member with longitudinal
reinforcement only on the flexural tension side. The maximum coarse aggregate size ag

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should be taken as zero for high-strength concrete (fck > 70 MPa) or lightweight concrete,
according as [4].

s xe =
where

35s x
0,85s x
15 + a g

(5)

s x d v = 0.9 d

The section which should be checked depends on the type of loading and should be where
the width of the critical shear crack can be satisfactorily represented by the
strain, according Muttoni;Ruiz [14]. In the methodology presented here, was found
appropriate to consider a section distant dv/2 from the application point
of concentrated loads and a section distant dv from the support in the case of uniformly
distributed load.

COMPARISONS WITH EXPERIMENTAL DATA AND CODES


With the methodology presented in this paper comparisons were made with an experimental
database, meeting in Bertagnoli; Mancini [15], where it was presented a multi-criteria design
process in the company of the Eurocode 2 recommendations. The experimental campaigns
have been performed by VTT Building and Transport (Finland), TNO (Netherlands), TUDelft (Netherlands), Universit dellAquila (Italy), Istituto di Ricerche e Collaudi M.Masini
(Italy).
The 129 hollow core slabs from database were analyzed using the methodology of this paper
and the results presented in Tab. 4 divided into five criteria: laboratory, thickness, load
scheme, type of holes and, cylinder compressive strength of concrete. The same table shows
the relationship between ultimate theoretical load and ultimate experimental load, where the
theoretical load obtained using the mean values and using the design values of the material
properties. For all slabs was taken prestressing losses of 5%. The Tab. 5 shows the results of
specific tests adopted in the numerical analyzes, compared with the CSA and the proposed
methodology.
Figs. 11 and 12 show graphically relationship between ultimate theoretical load and ultimate
experimental load. In the last figure can be seen that any tests has value greater than one.
With the same input data, Bertagnoli; Mancini [15] obtained a mean value of 0.89 with a
coefficient of variation 25% using the mean values and mean value of 0.58 with a coefficient
of variation 22% using the design values.

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Loading schemes
P/2

L/7.2

P/2

P/2

L/7.2

P/2
L/7.2

L/7.2

L
P/2

P/2

L/8

P/2

L/4

P/2
L/4

L/8

2
L
P/2
a

P/2

P/2

300

P/2
300

3
L
P
a

4
L
P/2

P/2
300

5
L
P
a

6
L

CS

Fig. 10. Loading schemes [15]

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Table 4
No.

Total

46
39
16
14
14
13
45
35
24
12
19
1
10
66
25
8
39
90
39
75
15
129

Total

129

Performed
by

Thickness
range
(mm)

Load
scheme
(Fig. 10)
Type of
holes

f ck (MPa)

VTT
TNO
TU-D
USA
MANSINI
155-200
240-260
300-320
360-400
420-500
1
2
3
4
5
6
circular
irregular
fck 60
60 < fck 90
90 < fck 120

CSA
Proposed methodology
Mean
Coefficient
Mean
Coefficient
value
of variation (%)
value
of variation (%)
using the mean values of the material properties
0,84
17,6
0,94
15,9
0,85
18,4
0,98
17,1
0,81
16,0
0,89
13,4
0,68
22,5
0,77
21,1
0,94
17,9
1,00
17,9
0,86
27,9
0,92
28,2
0,80
17,6
0,90
17,0
0,88
18,3
1,00
15,6
0,81
18,0
0,92
16,7
0,90
19,6
0,93
16,4
0,90
19,6
1,02
15,0
1,03
0,0
1,16
0,0
0,81
8,5
0,89
8,3
0,81
20,0
0,92
18,9
0,78
14,5
0,85
12,3
0,96
20,4
1,05
21,7
0,83
23,0
0,95
21,5
0,83
17,9
0,93
16,8
0,84
24,8
0,94
23,4
0,84
16,1
0,93
15,3
0,80
19,2
0,92
18,0
0,83
19,0
0,93
18,0
using the design values of the material properties
0,60
22,1
0,64
19,0

Table 5
Slab
33.200
109.265
148.320

Tests
Fcr: kN
81
223

Ffail: kN
108
178
238

CSA
x (%o)
-0,031
-0,077
-0,088

Fum/Ffail
1,05
0,97
0,83

Proposed
methodology
x (%o)
Fum/Ffail
-0,014
1,09
-0,064
1,00
-0,060
0,90

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Numerical model
Fcr: kN
96
214

x (%o)
-0,085
-0,083
-0,091

Fum/Ffail
1,04
1,06
0,98

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(a)

(b)

Fig. 11. Relationship between ultimate theoretical load and


ultimate experimental load, where the theoretical load
was obtained using the mean values material properties.

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(a)

(b)

Fig. 12. Relationship between ultimate theoretical load and


ultimate experimental load, where the theoretical load
was obtained using the design values of the material properties.

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USUAL CASES IN DESIGN
In the usual cases of hollow core slabs are used with uniformly distributed loads and with
high values for the ratio L/h between design span and the floor thickness (Fig. 14), where the
stresses verifications in the serviceability limit states are usually the critical cases. Due to the
cross sections characteristics of this type of slab, the behavior in the ultimate limit state
differs from the elements with solid cross section, in that the limits imposed by the shear and
bending moment are closer to the hollow cores.
This behavior can be better understood with the aid of curves of maximum load that each
section allows until to reach the ultimate limit state due to bending moment or due to
shear. Fig. 15 shows these curves for three different cross sections and various ratios L/h. The
cross sections used are the same of the examples presented in the numerical analysis of this
paper. Continuous lines in the charts represent the maximum load in each section limited by
the shear and the dotted line, the maximum load limited by the bending moment. The results
presented are shown for half the structure, taking advantage of its symmetry.
q
x

Fig. 13. Axis and load scheme

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(a)

(b)

(c)

Fig. 14. Maximum uniformly distributed load due to shear


(continuous line) and due to bending moment (dotted line)
(a) VTT 33.200 (b) VTT 109.265 (c) VTT 148.320

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CONCLUSIONS
The shear failures of hollow core slabs, it always been sudden and brittle, are difficult to be
characterized and measured in conventional laboratory tests. Therefore, the main models
verification applied to these slabs does not match with nonlinear mechanisms present in the
behavior under shear. However, such behavior can be adequately explained with theory for
the shear strength of reinforced concrete presented in Collins et al. [4]. Using this theory,
numerical modeling nonlinear, experimental results and the safety concepts from Eurocode 2
[12], in this paper was possible to propose a methodology for shear verification of hollow
core slabs, bringing as main advantages: it is based on a general theory of shear, applied to
elements of reinforced and prestressed concrete; compared to experimental results and codes,
gives very good results; it has use simple and appropriate to the design; easy to understand.
The nonlinear analyses presented in this paper represent well the behavior of hollow core
slabs. In these analyses, stress variations in the prestressing steel, between the stages of
release and ultimate limit state, are very small and the stresses close to support on the bottom
side of the slab usually are compression. This indicates that an anchorage failure of strands
could not occur and that the stress concentration in the web produces a tension shear failure.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The authors wish to express their sincere thanks to Coordenao de Aperfeioamento de
Pessoal de Nvel Superior (CAPES) for scholarship granted to the first author of this paper.

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