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8th ASCE Specialty Conference on Probabilistic Mechanics and Structural Reliability PMC2000-094

RELIABILITY OF REINFORCED CONCRETE BEAM SECTION


AS AFFECTED BY THEIR REINFORCEMENT RATIO

A.M. Arafah
King Saud University, P.O. Box 800, Riyadh 11421, Saudi Arabia
amarafah@ksu.edu.sa

Abstract

This paper presents a reliability-based analysis for reinforced concrete beam sections at their flexural limit
states. The flexural strength of the beam sections is mathematically modeled employing representative
constitutive laws for concrete and reinforcement. Monte-Carlo technique is employed to simulate the
behavior of the beam sections at their flexural limit states. Results of the reliability based analysis are
presented in terms of the reliability index at various levels of reinforcement. At reinforcement of 0.4 of the
maximum permissible reinforcement ratio, the reliability index is about 4.0. This value drops to about 2.5
when the maximum permissible reinforcement is used. These results indicate that reliability of beam
section is highly sensitive to variation in the compression and tension reinforcements even when the design
safety factors are kept constant.

Background

In the studies conducted by Nowak (1979) and Arafah (1986), the statistical
characteristics of the beam strength were determined assuming ductile failure of the beam
section. This is true when the reinforcement is below 40 percent of the balanced ratio b
as defined by the ACI 318 (1995) When the reinforcement ratio /b is higher than 0.4,
the statistical characteristics of the section flexural strength, i.e., the mean-to nominal
ratio, R, the strength coefficient of variation, VR, and the type of distribution function
are highly affected by the reinforcement ratio.

At high /b, the probability of brittle failure, Pr(BF), of the section at its flexural limit
state is high, which adversely affects its strength statistics. As the ratio /b increases
Pr(BF) increases even when these ratios are within the ACI 318 (1995) maximum
acceptable limit. The high Pr(BF) associated with the high reinforcement ratios reduces
the mean of the strength, increases its coefficient of variation and consequently reduces
the section reliability.

Scope and Objectives

This paper presents a reliability-based sensitivity analysis of flexural strength of


reinforced concrete rectangular beam sections at their limit state. The main objective is to
investigate the sensitivity of the tension and compression reinforcements in a reinforced
concrete beam section on its reliability in terms of the reliability index . Monte Carlo
technique is employed for generating the random parameters and simulating the behavior
of the reinforced concrete sections at their limit states at various levels of the tension and
compression reinforcement ratios.

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Structural Reliability

Structural reliability is usually measured by the reliability index , which is defined as,

= 1 ( Pf ) (1)

where 1 is the inverse of standard normal distribution function and Pf is the probability
of failure. The First Order Second Moment, FOSM, reliability index is expressed as
follows,

R Q
= (2)
R2 + Q2

in which R and Q are the mean values of the resistance and load variables and
R and Q are the corresponding standard deviations. In this paper, reliability analysis
of beam sections at the limit state includes the following steps:

1. define the limit state function as follows, g = R Q where R is the flexural capacity
of the beam section, and Q is the sum of load effects at the section,

2. estimate the statistical characteristics of the load effects,

3. estimate the statistical characteristics of the flexural strength, and

4. compute the FOSM reliability index, , from Eq. 2.

Detailed description of the last two steps are presented in the following sections.

Statistical Characteristics of Flexural Strength

Estimation of the statistical characteristics of the beam flexural strength is an essential


step toward reliability analysis. This step can be achieved through several steps
explained next.

1. Select an appropriate constitutive laws for concrete and reinforcement. In this study,
the nonlinear model suggested by Hognestad, et al. (1955) is employed. The
descending part is presented by a straight line as shown in Fig. 1. The stress-strain
curve for reinforcement can be defined by three stages: (a) the linear stage with well
defined modulus of elasticity up to the yielding stress, (b) the yielding stage where
the strain increases with constant stress, and (c) the stage of strain hardening which
ends with the fracture of the reinforcement as shown in Fig. 1.

2. Define all possible flexural modes of failure of the beam sections. Beam sections at
their flexural limit state may fail in one of two main modes depending on the section

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tension reinforcement ratio. The first mode of failure is the ductile failure in which
the tensile strain in the reinforcement exceeds its yielding strain as the concrete
compression strain reaches its ultimate strain, cu. The second type of section failure is
the brittle mode of failure in which the tensile strain of the reinforcement is less than
the yield strain as the compressive strain in concrete reaches the ultimate strain.

3. Prepare an appropriate algorithm for performing the sectional analysis, defining the
mode of flexural failure, and computing the flexural strength. Strength evaluation of a
beam section can be achieved by several steps. The first step is to determine the
depth of the neutral axis at the limit state, xu, from the section equilibrium. The
second step is to compute the strain in the tension reinforcement, s, from strain
compatibility assuming perfect bond between concrete and reinforcement. The type
of failure can be identified depending on s. If s < y, the failure mode is brittle
otherwise it is ductile mode of failure. The flexural strength of beam section can be
determined by computing the moment of the tension and compression forces about
any point in the section as shown in Fig. 2.

4 . Estimate the statistical characteristics of the concrete compressive strength, the


reinforcement yield strength, and the sectional dimensions. Before starting the
sensitivity analysis, it is necessary to identify the practical ranges of the statistics of
the compressive strength of normal weight concrete depending on its nominal value
and the level of quality control during the concrete production, casting and curing and
those for the reinforcement yield strength depending on its method of production.

5. Prepare an appropriate algorithm to determine the basic statistics of flexural strength


of the beam sections and their distribution function. In this study, the range of c is
taken between 0.8 and 1.2 whereas the range of Vc is between 20 and 40%. The range
of s is taken between 1.0 and 1.4 whereas Vs is taken between 4 and 12% (Arafah,
1997). The coefficient of variation of the depth of tension reinforcement, d, and
compression reinforcement, d, are taken as 2 and 20 percent, respectively (Arafah et
al., 1991).

6 . Select an appropriate simulation technique for random generation of the basic


strength parameters and perform the simulation process. Monte-Carlo technique is
employed in this study. The flexural strength results obtained from the simulation
process are plotted on the normal probability papers, NPP, and the R and VR are
computed. Results are listed in Table 1.

Reliability-Based Analysis

Reliability-based analysis is performed for beam section with different reinforcement


ratios and based on the results obtained from Table 1. The FOSM reliability index is
determined as follows,

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Tc Stress Stress
Esh
fc fy
z

co cu Strain y sh Strain

(a) Concrete (b) Steel

Figure 1. Constitutive Models of Concrete and Steel

cu
Cs

N.A. As xu Cc

Tc
d
As
Ts
s

Beam Cross Section Strain Diagram Stress Diagram

Figure 2. Strain and Stress Diagrams of the Beam Cross Section

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R Rn Q Qn
= (3)
( R Rn VR ) 2 + ( Q Qn VQ ) 2

where Rn and Qn are the nominal values of strength and load effect respectively. The
ratio of the nominal strength to nominal load effect is kept constant in the reliability
analysis, i.e., Rn/Qn = 1.5. The load effect Q and VQ are assumed to be 0.8 and 0.2
respectively. Reliability index is determined for various values of tension reinforcement.
Results are listed in Table 1 and are plotted in Fig. 3. Results indicate that section
reliability is highly sensitive to the compression and tension reinforcements even with
constant safety factor. For singly reinforced sections, dropped from 5.08 to 2.68 by
increasing /b from 0.3 to 0.75. The compression reinforcement improves the section
reliability especially when /b > 0.5. At /b = 0.75, increased from 2.68 to 3.65 by
increasing ' from 0.0 to 10 percent of b .

Conclusions and Recommendations

Results indicate that reliability of reinforced concrete beam section is highly sensitive to
variation in the compression and tension reinforcements even when the design safety
factors are kept constant. High reliability levels are observed for low tension
reinforcement ratios. At reinforcement of 0.4 of the maximum permissible reinforcement
ratio, the reliability index is about 4.0. This value drops to about 2.5 when the maximum
permissible reinforcement is used. The compression reinforcement increases the section
ductility and reliability. Compression reinforcement is highly recommended in beam
sections.

References

Nowak, A. S. (1979), Effect of Human Errors on Structural Safety, Journal of the American Concrete
Institute, September, 959-972.
Arafah, A. M. (1986), Integration of Human Errors in Structural reliability models, Ph.D. Thesis,
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michgan.
ACI Committee 318 (1995), Building Code Requirements for Reinforced Concrete and Commentary,
ACI 318M-95, American Concrete Institute, Farmington Hill, USA.
Hognestad, E., Hanson, N. W., and McHenry, D. (1955), Concrete Stress Distribution in Ultimate
Strength Design, ACI Journal, Proceedings 52(4), 455-479.
Arafah, A. (1997), Statistics for Concrete and Steel Quality in Saudi Arabia, Magazine of Concrete
Research, 49(180), London, UK, 185-194.
Arafah, A., Al-Zaid, R., Al-Haddad, M., AL-Tayeb, A., Al-Sulimani, G., and Wafa, F. (1991),
Development of a Solid Foundation for a National Reinforced Concrete Design Building Code, Final
Report, KACST project No. AT-9-34, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

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/b R VR
0.30 1.23 0.070 5.08
Case 1
0.40 1.18 0.078 4.59

'/b = 0.00 0.50 1.12 0.093 3.94


0.60 1.07 0.108 3.41
0.75 0.98 0.131 2.68
0.30 1.25 0.068 5.25
Case 2
0.40 1.21 0.073 4.89

'/b = 0.05 0.50 1.16 0.087 4.27


0.60 1.09 0.096 3.73
0.75 1.04 0.114 3.18
0.30 1.28 0.067 5.46
Case 3
0.40 1.24 0.070 5.14
'/b = 0.10 0.50 1.22 0.090 4.49
0.60 1.17 0.105 3.91
0.75 1.08 0.100 3.60

Table 1. Results of the Reliability-Based Sensitivity Analysis


Rn/Qn= 1.5, Q= 0.8, and VQ = 0.2

6.0
5.5
Case 1
5.0
Case 2
4.5 Case 3
4.0
3.5
3.0
2.5
2.0
0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8
Ratio of Reinforcement to its Balanced Value

Figure 3. Sensitivity of Reliability Index to the Tension and Compression Reinforcements

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