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Reinforcing bar specifications

Update on ASTM requirements


he widespread acceptance and use of voluntary the cost of the contested material.

T consensus standards in the American construc-

tion industry is an enviable accomplishment.
Voluntary standardization is an effective means
of reducing the cost of construction. Without widely ac-
cepted standardized requirements, confusion is created
Howe ve r, to maximize the benefits of standardization,
it is essential that up-to-date materials standards be ref-
erenced in the contract documents. Current standards
assure that the latest technology is being incorporated
into a project and the availability of materials is more
in the specifying, ordering, production, testing, delivery certain. The person preparing the project specifications
and use of materials. The resulting unnecessary mis- should know what the current standards are and be
understandings and disputes cause job delays which knowledgeable about their provisions.
may increase the cost of construction even more than The purpose of this brief article is to provide up-to-


Specification number Available grades Meets exceptions
and Bar (minimum yield, ksi)* in ACI 318-77, Mark for
type of steel sizes 40 50 60 AASHTO and type
Federal specifications of steel
A615-81 #3-#5 Yes, if S1 specified S
Billet Steel No, if S1 not specified N
#6 Yes S or N
#3-#5 Yes, if S1 specified S
No, if S1 not specified N
#6 Yes S or N
#7-#11 & #14, #18 Yes, if S1 specified S
No, if S1 not specified N
A616-79 #3-#11 No
Rail Steel #3-#11 No
A617-79 #3-#5 No A
Axle Steel #6-#11 Yes A
#3-#5 No A
#6 Yes A
#7-#11 No A
A706-80 #3-#11 & #14, #18 Yes** W
Low-Alloy Steel

* Grades 40 and 50 do not have grade marks required. All Grade 60 Bars must have either grade mark line or number 60 rolled into bar surface.
** There are no exceptions to A706 per se. The bend test requirements in A706 are even more restrictive than the ACI exceptions. A706 also contains a supple-
mentary requirement which applies only when specified by the purchaser. The supplement permits turned-down tension test specimens for bar sizes #14
and #18. Thus, the provisions in the body of A706, which require tension tests on full-size bars, meet ACI 318-77 requirements.
date information on the specifications for reinforcing Since most reinforced concrete construction in the
bars which are published by the American Society for United States is covered by the ACI Building Co d e, 1
Testing and Materials (ASTM). AASHTO Specifications,2 or specifications issued by
Federal agencies such as the Corps of Engineers, it is es-
Current editions of specifications sential that specifiers be reminded of the special provi-
The current editions of the basic ASTM specifications sions (exceptions to ASTM basic standards) for reinforc-
for reinforcing bars are: ing bars, contained in these design codes and
specifications. These special provisions involve more re-
A615-81 Standard Specifications for Deformed and strictive requirements for bend tests and tensile tests.
Plain Billet-Steel Bars for Concrete Rein- A615-81 contains a set of Supplementary Require-
forcement ments (S1) which apply only when specified by the pur-
chaser. S1 prescribes tighter bend tests (smaller pin di-
A616-79 Standard Specification for Rail-Steel De- ameters) for #3, #4 and #5 bars in Grade 40; for #3, #5 and
formed and Plain Bars for Concrete Rein- #7 through #11 bars in Grade 60; and bend tests for #14
forcement and #18 bars in Grade 60. The supplement also requires
tension tests on full-size bars for #11, #14, and #18 bars
A617-79 Standard Specification for Axle-Steel De-
in Grade 60. These more restrictive provisions for bend
formed and Plain Bars for Concrete Rein-
tests and tension tests satisfy the exceptions in the ACI
Building Code, AASHTO and Federal specifications. If a
A706-80 Standard Specification for Low-Alloy Steel project in which A615 rebars are to be used must con-
Deformed Bars for Concrete Re i n f o rc e- form to the ACI Code or these specifications, the speci-
ment fier should state that reinforcing bars shall conform to
The last two digits indicate year of adoption of each A615-81 including Supplementary Requirement S1.
standard. The accompanying table shows the specified Since the 1978 edition, A615 has required that rein-
bar sizes, grades (minimum yield strengths) and mark- forcing bars furnished to the supplementary require-
ing requirements, and the drawing illustrates the mark- ments be identified by the symbol S instead of the tradi-
ing requirements. tional N (see drawing). Use of the S-marking can cause
confusion, misunderstandings and project delays if its
Billet steelA615 significance is not understood.
Grade 60 reinforcing bars conforming to A615 are the The Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute has adopted
most widely used type and grade of reinforcing steel. A the following recommendation for dissemination to pro-
major revision in the 1981 edition of the A615 standard is ducers, fabricators and users of reinforcing bars: To
the deletion of Grade 40 bar sizes #7 through #11. The avoid confusion among purchasers, CRSI strongly rec-
standard now covers Grade 40 bars only in sizes #3 ommends that all producers of reinforcing bars for use
through #6. under ACI Building Code, AASHTO, and Federal specifi-

Reinforcing bar identification marks required by ASTM specifications; symbols for the infrequently used rail and axle steel
are not shown. Bar identification marks may also be oriented to read when bar is in horizontal position. Note that Grade 60
may be indicated either by the number 60 or by a single continuous line. Grades 40 and 50 are not required to show grade
designation. Illustration courtesy Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute.
cation re q u i re m e n t s, and which meet ASTM A615-81 Epoxy-coated reinforcing bars
and Supplement S1, identify these bars by the mark S as As reported in CONCRETE CONSTRUCTION,3 epoxy-
soon as possible. coated rebars are considered by many engineers to be
one of the most effective and practical corrosion-protec-
Rail and axle steelA616 and A617 tion systems from the standpoint of cost. Epoxy-coated
Re-rolled rail and axle steel bars are available in some bars were first used in bridge decks as early as 1973 in
local areas of the United States. Rail steel bars (A616-79) Pennsylvania. Since then end uses of coated bars have
in Grades 50 or 60 are generally used only where code re- continually expanded. More states and gove rn m e n t
quirements for bend testing are not applicable. The axle agencies are specifying coated bars in bridge decks and
steel specification A617-79 for Grades 40 and 60 is in other transportation structures. Coated bars are now
presently being revised to meet all special code require- being used in parking garages, marine structures, water
ments. and wastewater treatment plants and other hyd ra u l i c
Low-alloy steelA706 The lack of a voluntary consensus standard has
The A706 specification is a relatively new ASTM stan- caused some problems in the furnishing of epoxy-coat-
dard. First issued in 1974, the specification resulted from ed bars, but in July 1981, ASTM issued a new specifica-
users demand for weldability and for more bendability tion for epoxy-coated reinforcing bars. It is designated
and controlled ductility in reinforcing bars for high-lev- A775-81. To minimize confusion, the Concrete Reinforc-
el seismic-resistant design. ing Steel Institute recommends that when coated bars
Note in the table that the A706 specification covers are specified for a project, the bars should be required
Grade 60 only. The standard does not actually use the to conform to A775.
term grade; it simply states bars are of a single mini-
mum yield strength level; namely 60,000 psi. The cur- Editors Note:
rent standard is being revised to include the word grade. A second specification for epoxy-coated reinforcing bars
To achieve greater bendability and ductility, the A706 has been developed and approved in ASTM Committee D-4
specification contains more restrictive requirements for on Highway and Paving Materials. At press time, this D-
specification had not yet been promulgated by ASTM. If the
bend tests and tensile properties. second specification is also promulgated, there may be a ju-
Weldability of steel established by its chemical analy- risdictional question between Committees A-1 on Steel and
sis limits the applicable welding procedures and sets D-4 on Highway and Paving Materials. It is obvious that the
preheat requirements. The mill test report (available up- Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute recommends ASTM
on request) for standard A615 billet bars is incomplete Specification A775-81 for epoxy-coated reinforcing bars.
for determining welding requirements under the St ru c-
tural Welding CodeReinforcing Steel (AWS D1.4-79). References
Special complete analyses may be secured, usually at an 1. Building Code Requirements for Reinforced Concrete
extra cost. Without such analyses, welding performed in (ACI 318-77), American Concrete Institute, Detroit, 1977.
accordance with AWS D1.4-794 would require preheat- 2. Standard Specifications for Highway Bridges, 12th Edi-
ing all bars to be welded to 500 degrees F and the use of tion, 1977 (including Annual Supplements 1978-81), Ameri-
low hydrogen electrodes. The standard bar specifica- can Association of State Highway and Transportation Offi-
tions A615, A616 and A617 state that weldability of the cials, Washington, D.C.
steel is not part of this specification. A706 reinforcing
3. Fusion-Bonded Epoxy-Coated Rebars, Concrete Con-
bars, on the other hand, are intended for welding, and struction, August 1980, pages 587-591.
control of chemical composition is provided by restric-
tions on individual chemical elements and by a limit on 4. ASTM standards cited throughout the text are available
carbon equivalent based upon the AWS formula for car- from American Society for Testing and Materials, 1916 Race
Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103.
bon equivalent.
The Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute recommends
that before specifying A706 reinforcement, local avail- PUBLICATION#C810819
ability should be investigated. Copyright 1981, The Aberdeen Group
All rights reserved