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Strength Design
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Reinforced Concrete Design
Jack C. McCormac and James K. Nelson, Design of Reinforced Concrete 7th Edition, John
Wiley & Sons Inc. 2006
Arthur H. Nilson, David Darwin and Charles W. Dolan, Design of Concrete Structures,
Fourteenth Edition in SI units, Mc Graw Hill, 2010
Leonard Spiegel and George F. Limbrunner, Reinforced Concrete Design 4th Edition,
Prentice Hall
Association of Structural Engineers of the Philippines Inc. (ASEP), National
Structural Code of the Philippines, 6th Edition, 2010

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Reinforced Concrete Design



Compressive Strength

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The compressive strength of concrete

( f ' c ) is determined by testing

to failure 28 day old 6-inches by 12-inches concrete cylinders at a

specified rate of loading. For 28 day period the cylinders are usually
kept under water or in a room with constant temperature and 100%
Although concretes are available with 28-day ultimate
strengths from 2500 psi (17.50 MPa) up to as high as 10,000 to 20,000 psi (70
to 140 MPa), most of the concretes used fall into the 3000 to 7000 psi (21
to 49 MPa) range.

Figure 1.1 Typical Concrete stress-strain curve, with short-term loading.

The stress-strain curves of Fig. 1.1 represent the results obtained from
compression tests of sets of 28-day-old standard cylinders of varying
Careful study of these curves will bring out several
significant points:
a) The curves are roughly straight while the load is increased from
zero to about one-third to one-half the concretes ultimate
b) Of particular importance is the fact that regardless of strengths,
all concretes reach their ultimate strengths at strain of about
c) Concrete does not have definite yield strength; rather, the curves
run smoothly on to the point of rupture at strain of from 0.003 to

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0.004. It will be assumed for the purpose of future calculations in

this text that concrete fails at 0.003. The reader should not that this
value, which is conservative for normal-strength concretes, may not be
conservative for higher-strength concretes in the 8000-psi and above range.
d) Many tests have clearly shown that stress-strain curves of
concrete cylinders are almost identical to those for the
compression sides of beam.
e) It should be further noticed that the weaker grades of concrete
are less brittle than the stronger ones.
Static Modulus of Elasticity (NSCP 6th ed., page 4-39)
Concrete has no clear-cut modulus of elasticity. It value varies with
different concrete strengths, concrete age, type of loading, and the
characteristics and proportions of the cement and aggregates.
Ec =wc ( 0.043 ) f ' c

f 'c

= varying from 1500 to 2500 kg /m

= Compressive strength of concrete in

Should normal crushed stone

approximately 2320 kg/m3 be used







Ec =4700 f ' c
Concrete with strength above 6000 psi (42 MPa) are referred to as high
strength concretes. Tests have indicated that the usual ACI equations
when applied to high strength concretes result in value that
are too large. Based on studies at Cornell University, the expression to
f 'c
follow has been recommended for normal-weight concretes with
values greater than 42 MPa and up to 84 MPa and for light weight
f 'c
concretes with
greater than 42 MPa and up to 63 MPa.
Ec =[ 3.32 f ' c +6895 ]


( )

Tensile Strength

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The tensile strength of concrete varies from about 8 to 15% of its

compressive strength. A major reason for this small strength is the fact that
concrete is filled with fine cracks.
The tensile strength of concrete doesnt vary in direct proportion to the
f 'c
square root of
. This strength is quite difficult to measure with
direct axial tension loads because problems in gripping test specimens
so as to avoid stress concentrations and because of difficulties aligning
the loads. As a result of these problems, two rather indirect tests have
been developed to measure concretes tensile strength. These are the
modulus of rupture and the split-cylinder tests.
The tensile strength of concrete is flexure is quite important when
considering beam cracks and deflections. For these considerations the
tensile strength obtained with the modulus of rupture test have long
been used. The modulus of rupture is usually measured by loading a
6-in x 6-in x 30-in plain rectangular beam with simple supports placed
24 in. on center) to failure with equal concentrated loads at its onethird points as per ASTM C496-96.
f r=modulus of rupture=

MC 6 M
= 2

The stress determined in this manner is not very accurate because in

using the flexure formula we are assuming the concrete is perfectly
elastic, with stresses varying in direct proportion to distance from the
neutral axis. These assumptions are not very good.
Based on hundreds of tests, the Code provides a modulus of rupture
f 'c
equal to 0.7 f 'c where
is in MPa.
The tensile strength of concrete may also be measured with the splitcylinder test.

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Figure 1.2 Split-cylinder test

The cylinder will split in half from end to end when its tensile strength
is reached. The tensile strength at which splitting occurs is referred to
as the split-cylinder strength and can be calculated with the following
f r=
In which

is the maximum compressive force,

is the diameter of the cylinder.

obtained are not very accurate.

Table 1.1

is the length,

The tensile strengths

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Reinforced Concrete Design

Figure 1.3 Identification marks for ASTM Standard bars.