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Structures Congress 2014 ASCE 2014 1563

EXPANSION OF PCA RECTANGULAR CONCRETE TANK PLATE TABLES


Morris, Jordan MSCE, PE, SE1; Hahn, Alan MSCE, PE, SE1, Almanzar, Leonel PhD, PE1
1
CDM Smith, 4835 East Cactus Road, Suite 360, Phoenix, AZ 85254. PH (602)281-7924, email:
morrisjl@cdmsmith.com; hahna@cdmsmith.com; almanzarli@cdmsmith.com
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ABSTRACT

Engineers designing conventional rectangular reinforced concrete Liquid Containing Structures


(LCS) often rely on the Portland Cement Associations (PCA) publication, Rectangular
Concrete Tanks, to analyze two-way panels. Several scenarios are not included in the
publication that would benefit designers. This article expands on the scenarios presented in
PCAs publication. In lieu of printed tables, an excel database application has been developed to
publish desired tables. Designers often encounter partially filled panels, where contained fluid is
below the propped support. In addition, designers may want to check shear at a critical section
following ACI 350-06 Code Requirements for Environmental Engineering Concrete
Structures. The out-of-plane forces and displacements have been determined using finite
element software, and converted to non-dimensional coefficients in an Excel database. The
coefficient tables are automatically generated in a similar format as the PCA publication. These
tables are very useful for designers because LCS walls response can be obtained without finite
element analysis. Discussion of the formulation is presented, including relevant finite element
model information. Also, an example is presented using the tables in accordance with ACI 350-
06.

INTRODUCTION

This article expands the rectangular plate analysis tables for reinforced concrete Liquid
Containing Structures (LCS) published by the Portland Cement Association in Rectangular
Concrete Tanks. The results are presented in the form of an Excel database that presents
specific cases in a tabular format similar to the PCA publication. The expanded results cover
triangular and rectangular partial height loading. In addition, tables for deflection and shear
mapping of the complete panel geometry are included. All developed tables are consistent with
the PCA publications five boundary conditions, coefficients, and equations.

The different analysis scenarios have been developed by manipulating geometry, loading, and
boundary conditions of the wall. The geometry parameter is based on the length to height ratio
(b/a) of the plate, the loading conditions are out of plane pressures varying in height and shape
(rectangular and triangular), and the boundary conditions simulate different idealized support
restrictions around the plate that are commonly encountered. Figure 1 shows the typical input
parameter required, including the different boundary conditions table.

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Results are presented in terms of coefficients as shown in PCA table format. Out of plane
bending moment, shear, and displacements can be computed using the same equations included
in the PCA publication. Coefficient tables are automatically generated based on user input for
any of the conditions including those already presented in the PCA publication.
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Boundary Conditions
# Base Top Side
1 Hinged Hinged Fixed
2 Hinged Free Fixed
3 Fixed Free Fixed
4 Fixed Hinged Fixed
5 Hinged Hinged Hinged
Figure 1: Input Parameters

FINITE ELEMENT MODELING

The wall analysis has been developed using finite element models to simulate the plate theory
behavior of the system. Two finite element software packages, STAAD.Pro V8i (STAAD) by
Bentley System and SAP 2000 V15 by Computer and Structures (SAP), were evaluated to ensure
consistency with the results presented in the PCA publication. Each software analysis theory, as
well as out of plane bending moment, shear and deflection results were compared and evaluated
to determine adequacy and applicability to obtain the level of accuracy required for the two-way
plate tables.

SAP finite element models were compared using thick and thin-plate formulations. Thin plate
formulation only accounts for pure bending deformation; while the thick plate theory also
includes transverse shear deformation. The plate finite elements used by STAAD are based on
hybrid element formulation where thin plate theory is extended to account for shear deformation
through the thickness of the plate. During the course of the model reviews, it was found that all
three different finite element models resulted in similar outputs to the original published values

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for cases where all the supports were either fixed or free. However, when considering cases with
either all pinned supports, or a combination of pinned and fixed supports, it was found that the
STAAD models and SAP thick plate models did not provide results that aligned with the original
published results contained with the PCA tables. Specifically, these types of finite element
models resulted in non-zero bending moments occurring within the plate at points of pinned
supports. The revised fifth edition of the PCA tables were also developed using a previous
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version of SAP with thin plates. Therefore, the thin plate SAP models were chosen to develop
the coefficient tables herein presented.

Developing these tables produces an extensive amount of data and it was necessary to provide a
high level of data management. There were several approaches that were employed to make sure
that the correct data was collected and published. First, an organized naming convention was
adopted. There were 1,000 scenarios and a total of 396,000 data points; each scenario included
six result types with 66 data points for each result type. Each scenario was given a load name as
a function of boundary condition, b/a ratio, load type, and load height ratio (x/a). Then for each
permutation deflections, Sx (shear), Sy (shear), Mx(bending), My (bending),
Mxy(bending/torsion) were collected and organized into tables. Figure 2 shows the scenario
matrix break down.

Inputs Outputs
Boundary Load Height Result
Conditions Load Type Panel Ratio (x/a) Type
1 Triangular 0.5 1 d Panel Coeff.
2 Rectangular 0.75 0.9 Sx
3 1 0.8 Sy
4 1.25 0.7 Mx
5 1.5 0.6 My
1.75 0.5 Mxy
2 0.4
2.5 0.3
3 0.2
4 0.1

Scenarios= 5 * 2 * 10 * 10 = 1,000
Data Points= 1,000 * 6 * 66 = 396,000

Figure 2: Scenario Matrix

The shaded region in Figure 2 identifies the parameters introduced to create the additional
scenarios in the revised fifth edition of the PCA publication.

A Visual Basic for Application (VBA) macro was developed in Excel to minimize as much
human error as possible during the analysis model development and analysis. The macro
executes functions through SAP 2000 by using an Open Application Programming Interface
(OAPI). The macro created, built, ran, analyzed, and exported the models and data from the
finite element analysis software. The exported data was managed and organized into usable
results within Excel.

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3x3 Plates
Figure 3 presents an example of the finite element
model used to obtain the required data for the
development of the expanded PCA tables. The
finite element mesh was kept in a 1:1 ratio, not
greater than the plate thickness. Several geometry
parameters, as well as support and load conditions
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were used to develop a sensitivity analysis in the


model, maintaining constant thickness and material
for the plates.

SENSITIVITY ANALYSIS

During the sensitivity analysis evaluation, the Figure 3: Example Finite Element Model
results obtained from the models were isolated (Case 1, b/a=1.0)
using graphs to determine any possible correlations to specific parameters that may simplify the
response using tables or equations. The number of scenarios runs clearly indicated that graphical
methods alone would not provide a simplified presentation of the results. Figure 4 shows the My
coefficient correlation along the panel width for different load height ratios (x/a). This sensitivity
graph example represents a panel ratio (b/a) of 1.0, boundary condition No.3, rectangular load,
and bending moments at the mid-height of wall. Figure 5 shows the Sy coefficient correlation
along the panel height for different load height ratios (x/a). This sensitivity graph example
represents a panel ratio (b/a) of 2.0, boundary condition No.4, rectangular load, and shear at 0.4
ratio of wall width. Figure 6 shows a plot example of the deflection coefficients for different load
height ratios (x/a). This sensitivity graph example represents a panel width for a panel ratio (b/a)
of 1.5, boundary condition No.3, rectangular load, and deflection evaluation at mid-height of the
wall. From the sensitivity analysis graphs, a common distribution between load height was
evaluated; however to get to this distribution, numerous variables were already in place. In an
attempt to publish the correlation found, as many equations were developed as there are
tabularized coefficients.

Another major challenge with the graphical approach was the correlation at boundary conditions
and inflection points. At the boundary conditions the rate of change between the variables
becomes sporadic due to the change in stiffness. As the load and panel ratio changed, the
location of inflection points changed as well, making it difficult to provide a consistent
correlation. Therefore a well-defined correlation of the results for these coefficients and
locations, which could be manipulated through equations, was not determined.

A table of new coefficients to provide the results for lower load heights was also evaluated.
These new coefficients, based on a ratio of the full height to the lower height response, would be
multiplied by the original coefficients from PCA tables in order to obtain the desired results. For
the ratio approach to work, a horizontal straight line should be expected in Figure 7. While at the
center of the panel this seems to be a feasible approach, it is not adequate at the inflection point
and boundary conditions.

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Last, an approach to correlate deflections using the Kirchhoff thin plate theory constitutive
relationship to produce bending and shear force was investigated. For this approach, it requires
not only deflection perpendicular to the wall, but also the publication of rotations and deflections
of the plates (X,Y,Z) at each physical coordinate. There are a total of six coefficients for one
point; therefore an extreme amount of data is produced. Then, the user must look up and solve
the generated data using approximate differential constitutive equations. In addition, just like the
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first approach, there was a clear trend at the presented wall location but sporadic behavior at the
boundaries.

Figure 4: Sensitivity Example 1 Figure 5: Sensitivity Example 2

Figure 6: Sensitivity Example 3 Figure 7: Sensitivity Example 4

RESULTS PRESENTATION

From the sensitivity evaluation, a unique correlation of results was not found that would allow
the results to be presented in trending equations that capture the obtained behavior across
different response parameters. Therefore, the results have been presented by using a user-friendly
mechanism able to sort and display the analysis response of any specific problem. The data has
been manipulated through an Excel database to automatically generate the tables. Since the

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amount of data generated was extensive printed tables could not be included in this article, or be
practical in any future publication. As a result, an Excel application that is easier to use for
designers has been provided. The database management routine in Excel includes a specific data
input clearly identified as shown in the application example, Figure 10. Then the output tables
are automatically generated, as shown in Figure 11, based on the specific input data. In addition,
the Excel application uses linear interpolation of the b/a ratio and the x/a ratio, as shown in
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Figure 8, to determine values between the b/a and x/a ratios.

f (b/a,x/a) = b/aupper b/alower

x/aupper x/alower x/aupper x/alower Min Max


Linear Interpolation b/a= 0.5 4.0
b/aupper, x/a b/alower, x/a x/a= 0.1 1.0
Linear Interpolation
b/a, x/a

Figure 8: Ratio Interpolation

APPLICATION EXAMPLE

The following example describes how to use the coefficient table results to analyze a liquid
containing structure wall. Relevant explanation of results and specific references to the ACI 350-
06: Code Requirements for Environmental Engineering Concrete Structures are also included.
Figure 9 includes the plan and section of the tank where the wall being analyzed is shown,
including structural dimensions and expected water height.

As noted in the Figure 9, the tank is covered with an 8 reinforced concrete slab. The top
boundary condition is assumed to be pinned and all other boundaries have been assumed to be
fixed. Therefore, the system is classified as a propped wall, which corresponds to Boundary
Condition No.4.

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Figure 9: Wall Panel Example

The first step is to input the wall geometry into the input portion of the Excel spreadsheet. As
shown in the Figure 9, the wall is 20-0 long and 10-0 high, which translates into a b/a ratio of
2.0. In order to maintain 2-0 of freeboard, the maximum operating height of the water is set to
8-0; an x/a ratio of 0.8. See Figure 10 for the input portion of the application.

Inputs
Boundary Condition No.= 4 Boundary Conditions
Panel Width, b = 28 ft # Base Top Side
Panel Height, a= 15 ft Ratio b/a= 1.86667 1 Hinged Hinged Fixed
2 Hinged Free Fixed
Load Type= Triangular 3 Fixed Free Fixed
Height of Load,x= 13 ft x/a 0.86667 4 Fixed Hinged Fixed
5 Hinged Hinged Hinged

Figure 10: Data Input

After the inputs are entered into the application, the shear, deflection and bending moment
coefficient tables are automatically updated. It should be noted while inputting the design
conditions, that if the height of the load x is greater than the panel height a, an error is
returned and no coefficients are available. Figure 11 shows the resulting coefficient tables for
bending moments, shear force and panel deflection output by the application for the example
herein presented.

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Coefficient Results
0.1b 0.2b 0.3b 0.4b 0.1b 0.2b 0.3b 0.4b
CMx END 0.5b CMy END 0.5b
0.9b 0.8b 0.7b 0.6b 0.9b 0.8b 0.7b 0.6b
TOP 0 0 0 0 0 0 TOP 0 0 0 0 0 0
0.9a -2 0 2 4 5 5 0.9a -8 -2 1 2 2 3
0.8a -3 1 4 8 10 10 0.8a -15 -3 3 4 5 5
0.7a -4 1 7 12 14 15 0.7a -22 -4 4 6 7 7
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0.6a -5 2 10 15 18 19 0.6a -27 -4 5 8 8 8


0.5a -6 3 11 17 20 21 0.5a -30 -3 6 8 8 8
0.4a -6 4 11 16 18 19 0.4a -30 -2 6 8 8 7
0.3a -5 3 9 11 12 12 0.3a -25 -1 5 6 5 5
0.2a -3 1 2 1 0 0 0.2a -17 0 2 2 2 1
0.1a -1 -4 -11 -17 -21 -22 0.1a -6 -1 -2 -3 -4 -4
BOT. 0 -16 -35 -46 -51 -53 BOT. 0 -3 -7 -9 -10 -11
0.1b 0.2b 0.3b 0.4b 0.1b 0.2b 0.3b 0.4b
CMxy END 0.5b Cd END 0.5b
0.9b 0.8b 0.7b 0.6b 0.9b 0.8b 0.7b 0.6b
TOP 0 7 7 5 2 0 TOP 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
0.9a 0 6 7 5 2 0 0.9a 0.0 0.1 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.5
0.8a 0 6 6 4 2 0 0.8a 0.0 0.2 0.5 0.8 0.9 1.0
0.7a 0 4 4 2 1 0 0.7a 0.0 0.3 0.7 1.0 1.3 1.3
0.6a 0 2 2 1 0 0 0.6a 0.0 0.3 0.8 1.2 1.5 1.5
0.5a 0 0 1 1 1 0 0.5a 0.0 0.3 0.9 1.3 1.5 1.6
0.4a 0 3 4 3 1 0 0.4a 0.0 0.3 0.8 1.2 1.4 1.4
0.3a 0 6 6 4 2 0 0.3a 0.0 0.3 0.6 0.9 1.0 1.1
0.2a 0 7 6 4 2 0 0.2a 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.6
0.1a 1 6 4 3 1 0 0.1a 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.2
BOT. 0 1 0 0 0 0 BOT. 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
0.1b 0.2b 0.3b 0.4b 0.1b 0.2b 0.3b 0.4b
CSx END 0.5b CSy END 0.5b
0.9b 0.8b 0.7b 0.6b 0.9b 0.8b 0.7b 0.6b
TOP 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 TOP -0.04 -0.01 0.02 0.04 0.05 0.06
0.9a -0.04 -0.03 -0.01 -0.01 0.00 0.00 0.9a -0.04 0.00 0.03 0.04 0.05 0.06
0.8a -0.08 -0.05 -0.03 -0.01 0.00 0.00 0.8a -0.04 0.00 0.03 0.05 0.05 0.06
0.7a -0.13 -0.08 -0.04 -0.01 0.00 0.00 0.7a -0.03 0.01 0.03 0.04 0.05 0.05
0.6a -0.18 -0.09 -0.04 -0.02 0.00 0.00 0.6a -0.02 0.01 0.02 0.03 0.03 0.03
0.5a -0.21 -0.10 -0.04 -0.01 0.00 0.00 0.5a 0.00 0.01 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00
0.4a -0.22 -0.10 -0.03 -0.01 0.00 0.00 0.4a 0.02 0.01 -0.02 -0.03 -0.05 -0.05
0.3a -0.21 -0.08 -0.02 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.3a 0.04 -0.01 -0.05 -0.09 -0.10 -0.11
0.2a -0.15 -0.04 0.00 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.2a 0.06 -0.03 -0.11 -0.15 -0.18 -0.18
0.1a -0.05 0.01 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.00 0.1a 0.05 -0.09 -0.19 -0.25 -0.27 -0.27
BOT. 0.01 0.07 0.05 0.03 0.01 0.00 BOT. 0.01 -0.15 -0.28 -0.33 -0.35 -0.35

Figure 11: Coefficient Results

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After the coefficients are determined for the specific design case, Equations 1, 2 and 3 are used
to determine the design shear force, bending moments and deflections at specific design
locations. Design locations often include the edges of the tank wall and at the center of the wall.
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Where,

Cs, Cm, & Cd = Shear, Moment and Deflection Coefficients

q = magnitude of a rectangular load or the highest magnitude of a triangular load in pounds per
square foot (psf)

a = height of the wall in feet (ft)

E = modulus of elasticity of concrete in psi (psi)

t = thickness of concrete in inches (in)

m = poisons ratio of concrete

Designers should first check the shear capacity of the wall to ensure that the thickness of the
concrete section is adequate. Shear force should be checked along the edges where the shear
loads are the highest at the critical section. The critical section shall be determined in
accordance with ACI 350 11.1.3. If the loading and geometry of the panel meet the
requirements of 11.1.3 (a), (b), & (c) then the critical section can be taken at a distance d
from the support. For the design example presented here, the shear is the highest at the midpoint
along the base of the wall, and near the midpoint on the side of wall.

After checking the adequacy of the wall thickness, reinforcement should be designed using the
bending moments as determined from the coefficients; Mx for the horizontal reinforcement
requirements and My for the vertical. It is important to note that bending requirements may vary
significantly from the center of the wall to the edges. For a more economical design,
reinforcement may be varied by providing typical reinforcing sufficient to address positive
bending moments in the field of the wall and providing additional reinforcing at corners and the
base of the wall to address negative bending moments..

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When designing water containing structures per ACI 350, the design bending moments and
excess shear resisted by reinforcing must be increased by the environmental durability factor (Sd)
per the code ( 9.2.6). Unlike previous versions of ACI 350, this factor is no longer equal to 1.3
and is instead based on reinforcing size and spacing as well as the type of loading. For the 15
wall in the example, reinforced with #6 bars spaced at 12 designed for water load only, Sd is
equal to 1.93.
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Depending on the type of load applied to the wall, the horizontal and vertical reinforcement
design may vary in each face of the wall. Several loading scenarios may be required to be
analyzed to properly design the reinforcement, including, but not limited to, hydrostatic loading
without exterior backfill, exterior backfill when the tank is empty, uplift from groundwater when
the tank is empty, soil seismic load when the tank is empty, and dynamic fluid loading combined
with hydrostatic force resisted by exterior backfill.

VERIFICATION

To verify the excel application a SAP model was developed to determine the percent error in the
PCA coefficient approach. The example problem above was used. The results of the example
problem vs SAP comparison are shown in Table 1. The percentage error is at maximum 1.31%.
This is an excitable percent error and the PCA approach is acceptable for determining result for
the expanded load scenarios.

Table 1
Location Coordinates PCA SAP % ERROR
Base Moment, k-ft 0.5b, BOT 9.62 9.63 0.10%
Vertical Moment k-ft, (4.5ft Projection) 0.5b, 0.3a 2.28 2.26 0.88%
Horizontal Moment, k-ft 0.5b,0.5a 1.51 1.53 1.31%
Corner Moment, k-ft END, 0.5a 5.51 5.54 0.54%
Shear @ "Use d=9 inches", k 0.5b, 0.05a 3.81 3.82 0.26%
Deflection @, in 0.5b, 0.5a 0.0173 0.0174 0.57%

SUMMARY

The expansion of the PCA tables is a useful to approximately obtain the structural response of
tanks under different load conditions. The designer has an available simplified tool to generate
wall response coefficient tables without developing a finite element model analysis. This tool
provides an expanded database that allows designers to perform more load scenarios analysis and
obtain a wider range of response locations in the wall. Moreover, users are also able to perform a
shear evaluation at critical section location, a better evaluation of tank freeboard conditions, and
partially buried tank analyses.

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REFERENCES

American Concrete Institue. (2006). Code Requirements for Environmental Engineering


Concrete Structures and Commentary, ACI 350-06. Farmington Hills, MI.

Munshi, J. A. (1998). Rectangular Concrete Tanks 5th Edition. Portland Cement Association.
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SAP 2000 V15. (2011). Computers and Structure Inc.

STAAD Pro. (2007). Research Engineers. Bentley.

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