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cracking in reinforced concrete analysis

- Hook's Law
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- ELLISON

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are formed in the principal stress direction and are not allowed to change di-

rection with the change in state. This practice leads to crack directions incon-

sistent with the limit state. There is experimental evidence that the crack di-

rections may change in the course of loading. A simple model of forming cracks

in reinforced concrete is proposed. It is assumed that the cracks are formed in

the direction of the major principal tensile strain and that the direction can

change with the change in strains. The proposed model leads to crack direc-

tions which are consistent with the limit state. A numerical algorithm, based

on the proposed model, which is suitable for step-by-step finite element anal-

ysis is also presented. The algorithm is applied to limited available experiments.

INTRODUCTION

and their orientations play an important role. In most m e t h o d s of anal-

ysis (1), a crack is formed w h e n the major principal stress in the concrete

exceeds the tensile strength assumed for the concrete. The crack direc-

tion is taken to be perpendicular to the direction of the major principal

stress. Consider, for example, the orthogonally reinforced plane stress

element s h o w n in Fig. 1. Before cracks are formed, only a small part of

the direct forces are resisted by the reinforcement. Let us denote the

remaining direct forces, resisted b y concrete, as Ncx a n d Ny . The angle

0, that a normal to i m p e n d i n g crack direction makes with the x-axis, is

given by

2IV

tan 2 9 = * (1)

Nx - Ncy

In conventional analysis techniques, once a crack forms, it is a s s u m e d

that the direction 6 remains constant t h r o u g h o u t subsequent analysis.

(In some cases, a crack m a y close, a n d a n e w or secondary crack m a y

be formed, but with restrictions relative to the inital crack direction.) In

the limit state, on the other h a n d , the crack direction is governed b y

equilibrium conditions a n d is given by (2,3,6,8)

tan 0 = — -. = „ ^ (2)

Nty N* - N y

in which N* and N* represent reinforcement capacities in x a n d indi-

rections, respectively. It can be easily seen that Eqs. 1 and 2, in general,

would not give the same crack direction. The conventional m e t h o d ,

'Prof, of Civ. Engrg., North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, N.C. 27695-7908.

2

Research Assh, Dept. of Civ. Engrg., North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh,

N.C. 27695-7908.

Note.—Discussion open until January I, 1985. To extend the closing date one

month, a written request must be filed with the ASCE Manager of Technical and

Professional Publications. The manuscript for this paper was submitted for re-

view and possible publication on June 3, 1983. This paper is part of the Journal

of Structural Engineering, Vol. 110, No. 8, August, 1984. ©ASCE, ISSN 0733-

9445/84/0008-1735/$01.00. Paper No. 19064.

1735

Ny

11

Nxy

Nxy

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N» •N,

Nxy

Nxy

Nv

that for the general limit state.

It can be hypothesized that Eq. 1 represents the initial crack direction

and that Eq. 2 represents the "controlling" crack direction at the limit

state. There is experimental evidence that in situations where Eqs. 1 and

2 do not yield the same direction, as the loading is increased new cracks

are formed and the initially formed cracks become less prominent; see,

for example, experiments by Peter (11) and by Vecchio and Collins (12).

In reporting their test results, Vecchio and Collins (12) introduced the

concept of average crack direction. At any loading step, one can define

the average crack direction to be parallel to the direction of maximum

concrete stiffness, which was found to be approximately perpendicular

to the principal strain direction. This "average" crack direction is the

"controlling" crack direction referred to previously, and for brevity will

be called merely the crack direction in the subsequent review.

The experiments reported in Refs. 4, 9 and 10, all started with or-

thogonally precracked specimens. Upon application of shear, or shear

and direct stress, all the specimens developed prominent inclined cracks,

essentially closing the preexisting orthogonal cracks. A similar obser-

vation is made in Ref. 12 for one specimen which was orthogonally pre-

cracked. These observations give further credence to the hypothesis that

the crack directions can change.

In the present paper, an algorithm is presented which allows for pos-

sible changes in crack direction. The numerical results obtained by using

the proposed algorithm are compared with some theoretical results and

the limited available experimental results.

ASSUMPTIONS FOR PROPOSED MODEL

1736

1. Reinforcing bars are spaced sufficiently close to each other so that

their effect can be approximated by uniformly distributing the reinforce-

ment area. The distributed reinforcement has stiffness along the direc-

tion of the reinforcement. Dowel action and flexural stiffness of the bars

are neglected.

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3. The crack direction is perpendicular to the direction of the major

principal strain at any stage of loading.

These are the same assumptions implicitly made in the limit analysis

in Ref. 6. Assumptions 1 and 2 are quite common. Assumption 3 is not

so common and needs further review. This assumption was also made

by Duchon (5), and it is in agreement with the experimental observa-

tions of Vecchio and Collins (12).

Assumption 3 implies that as the principal strain direction changes—

so does the crack direction. The principal strain direction has zero shear

strain, so the shear stresses parallel to the crack are taken to be zero. It

may appear that there is an inconsistency between the two statements

made earlier. If the shear stress parallel to the crack is zero, how would

then the crack direction ever change—or new cracks form? This can be

explained as follows in terms of the physical process. Initially, a crack

is formed in the principal stress direction. This leads to a change in the

stiffness, and consequently to unbalanced stresses. At this stage, there

may be unbalanced shear stress applied parallel to the crack. The prin-

cipal stress direction in concrete is then no longer perpendicular to the

crack direction. If the principal tensile stress in concrete exceeds its ten-

sile capacity, either immediately or after more load is applied, a new

crack would be formed. It is assumed that the original crack is "closed."

This process would continue until the principal tensile stress in concrete

is no longer in excess of its tensile capacity, and the equilibrium is es-

tablished. If we also assume that the tensile capacity of the concrete be-

comes zero after the first crack has been formed, then in the equilibrium

state, both the shear strain and the shear stress parallel to the stabilized

crack would be zero, as envisaged in the original assumption. Same type

of action takes place as more loading is applied. If the application of

further loading is accompanied with change in stiffness properties of the

concrete and the reinforcement due to material nonlinearities, the un-

balanced shear stress would lead to change in the crack direction again.

The assumption 3, therefore, is an idealization of the actual behavior.

Whereas, in the actual behavior the new crack would be formed at dis-

crete intervals of the loading and the old crack would not be completely

closed, the assumption leads to a continuous change, which should closely

approximate the actual discrete change. Philosophically, the implied as-

sumption of the closing of the previous crack can be justified on the

basis of the concept of the "average" crack direction reviewed earlier.

There are two other justifications. One, as shown later, there is experi-

mental evidence (8,11) that the limit state defined by Eq. 2 is reasonable;

and the proposed model is able to achieve it, which the conventional

models would not. Second, it is a simple model and does not need def-

inition of new material parameters. A more sophisticated model would

1737

surely introduce innumerable uncertainties and is not likely to produce

any more reliable results.

The proposed model does not have "memory" and is independent of

the loading history. Rather, it would give a unique state of strain and

the crack direction for any instantaneous state of applied stresses, at

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least on the elemental level. In the global sense, the sequence of loading

may affect the local behavior, because the applied elemental stresses,

themselves are functions of the global stiffnesses, and therefore, of their

variations through any loading sequence. The lack of dependence on the

loading path is an approximation. In most cases, this approximation is

not likely to be critical. This, however, remains to be verified.

THEORETICAL DEVELOPMENT

in Fig. 1. As the load (N x / N y ,Njj,) is increased, the element undergoes

four states: (1) Concrete is uncracked and the reinforcement is elastic;

(2) concrete is cracked and the reinforcement in both the directions is

still elastic, ix and ey < e„, where e.x and ey are strains in x and y di-

rections, respectively, and e0 is the yield strain of reinforcement; (3) re-

inforcement in one direction yields, and in the other one remains elastic,

ex > e„, ey < £(,, or ex < e 0 , €y & e„; and (4) reinforcement in both

directions yield, tx and ey > e 0 . State 1 can be dealt with in the standard

manner. State 4 is the limit state and is already studied in Ref. 2. We

shall focus primarily on states 2 and 3 here.

Not as a limitation of the proposed model, rather to study some sim-

ple problems, we are making a few more assumptions here. The con-

crete is taken to be linear elastic. The tension stiffening effect is ne-

glected. The tension stiffening is likely to affect the behavior in the early

stages of the cracks when the stresses in reinforcement are small, and

less so near the ultimate when the reinforcement stresses are near or at

yield.

equations, the forces in the reinforcement are given by

K = Nx + N^ tan 6 (3a)

N y = N y + N„j cot 6 (3b)

The uniaxial force in concrete parallel to the crack direction is given by

N

(4)

sin 6 cos 8

The corresponding strains are

m (5a)

1738

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pxy

i^fSh

(5b)

AyE$

(5c)

hEc '

in which e* and ey are defined as before, «i and e2 are the major and

minor principal strains, respectively, Ax and Ay are the area of reinforce-

ment in x and y directions per unit length of the respective sections, h

is the thickness of concrete, Es and Ec are the elastic modules for steel

and concrete, respectively. We also make use of the following strain

relationships:

€i + e2 = 6 I + ey and ex = t1 cos 2 9 + e2 sin2 (6)

Eqs. 3-6 yield the following equation:

p y (l + npx) tan 4 9 + nxpy tan 3 9 - nypx tan 9 - p x (l + «p y ) = 0 (7)

in which nx = NJNxy) ny = Ny/N^; n = modular ratio = EJEC; px =

Ax/h; and py = 'Ay/h.

Although, we have derived Eq. 7 independently, a similar equation

was reported earlier in Ref. 10. Eq. 7 gives the value of 9 which deter-

mines the crack direction. Once the value of 9 is known, all the other

variables can be readily determined using Eqs. 3-6. It is noted that when

Nx, Ny and N^ are increasing proportionately, and state 2 is main-

tained, the value of 9 does not change.

as it results in the same behavior.

The equilibrium condition given by Eqs. 3 and 4, are still valid; as are

1739

Eqs. 5b and 5c. Eq. 5a, however, is no longer valid. It is replaced by

Nsx = N$ = Axf0 (8)

in which f0 = the yield stress of steel.

Eqs. 3a and 8 give

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Axf0-Nx

tan 6 = - ^ (9)

N

Once the value of 0 is known, other variables can be calculated as

before.

NUMERICAL ALGORITHM

the proposed behavior of the cracks in reinforced concrete plane stress

problems. However, it is not directly applicable to a general numerical

method such as the finite element method. An iterative algorithm suit-

able for numerical application is, therefore, developed here.

When the concrete is in a cracked state, the force-strain relationship

can be written as

{N} = [DM (10)

r

in which {N} = [NtNyN^fie} = [€lEy7,]

"rtp* + sin 6 sin 2 6 cos 2 6

4

- s i n 3 6 cos 9"

and [D] = hEc np y + cos 4 0 -sin 8 cos 3 0 (11)

_ symmetric sin 2 0 cos 2 0

The expressions npx and npy are appropriately modified if the steel has

yielded. The direction 0 is given by

7jy

tan 20 = (12)

tiating Eq. 10.

From Eq. 12

cos2 20

A0 = [tan 20 - tan 20 - 1]A{e} (14)

A{N} = [D + ]A{e} (15)

+

in which [D ] = [D] + [G] (16)

in which [G] represents the effects of possible change in the crack di-

rection and is given by

1740

sin2 26 -sin 2 26 -sin 28 cos 2 8 - ,

Nc 2

[G sin 28 sin 26 cos 28 (17)

2 V(e x - <= )2 + 7

2

symmetric cos2 2 6

Eq. 15 forms the basis of the step-by-step iterative solution algorithm.

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A { e } = [ D + ]" 1 A{N}

2. Calculate the n e w strain vector.

{«} = {^previous + A{e}

4. Modify the [D] a n d [D + ] matrices.

5. Calculate the force vector corresponding to the current value of [D]

and {e} using Eq. 10.

{N'} = [D]{6}

6. Calculate the residual force vector

A{N} = { N } - { N ' }

If A{N} is sufficiently small, convergence has been achieved. Otherwise,

go back to step 1.

7. If the convergence has been achieved, apply the next step of A{N}

and go to step 1.

{N} = {N} previous + A{N}

chio and Collins (12). It is however, more suitable for the finite element

type application and was developed independently before the publica-

Reinforcement

Percentage K/f.h N'Jf.h 9°

N'Jf.h

Case P* Py x 100 x 100 x 100 Elastic State 2 Limit ei/e 0

(1) (2) , 0) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10)

1 1.077 2.232 0.500 0.500 1.000 44.45 39.48 30.0 4.69

2 1.500 1.500 0.500 0.500 1.000 45.0 45.0 45.0 2.20

3 2.232 1.077 0.500 0.500 1.000 45.55 50.52 60.0 4.69

4 4.232 0.768 0.500 0.500 1.000 46.46 57.27 75.0 20.50

5 0.980 1.487 0.700 0.200 0.600 34.58 37.67 25.0 6.32

6 1.203 0.915 0.700 0.200 0.600 34.97 43.25 40.0 2.59

7 1.557 0.620 0.700 0.200 0.600 35.43 48.60 55.0 3.30

8 2.348 0.418 0.700 0.200 0.600 36.30 54.99 70.0 9.96

Note: Modular ratio, n - 10.0. The term f0h is used to nondimensionalize the

applied forces. /„ is the yield stress of reinforcing steel and h is the thickness of

the element. Similarly, e„, the yield strain of steel is used to nondimensionalize

the strains.

1741

tion of Ref. 12. To test the aforementioned algorithm, many sets of limit

values of forces, {N1} = (N^NyN'^y and the corresponding reinforce-

ment capacities N* = Axf0 and N* = Ayf0 were taken. Eight such cases

are summarized in Table 1. The forces were applied proportionately. {N}

- p{N1}, in which p varies from zero to unity. The cracking strength of

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concrete was taken to be zero. For each set, theoretical solutions were

obtained using Eqs. 3-9, and numerical solutions were obtained using

the aforementioned algorithm for several values of p. For illustration, p-

6i variations obtained by the two solutions are shown in Fig. 3. In each

case, the theoretical and the numerical solutions are identical. This proves

that the numerical algorithm achieves the same solution iteratively, as

that achieved by the theoretical solutions.

In Table 1, the value of 0 for the elastic state is the one most conven-

tional analysis methods would consider in defining the crack direction.

In the present solution, because the cracking strength of concrete is ne-

glected, the crack direction stabilizes to that for state 2, immediately after

the loading is started. The straight line portion in the p-ex diagrams in

Fig. 3, thus represents state 2. As mentioned earlier, the crack direction

does not change as long as state 2 is maintained. The curved portion of

the p-6i curve represents state 3, which is marked by yielding of the

reinforcement in one of the directions. Within this state the crack direc-

tion continues to change until the reinforcement in the other direction

also yields—which is the beginning of the limit state, state 4. The p-ei

curve in Fig. 3 is terminated at this point. For the cases when 6limit =

1742

45°, state 3 would be absent because reinforcement in both the directions

yield simultaneously; e.g., case 2 in the present illustration.

EXPERIMENTAL VERIFICATION

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The specimens were reinforced orthogonally, but the bars were, in gen-

eral, inclined to the rectangular sides of the specimens by an angle a

which varied as a = 0°, 10°, 20°, 30° and 40°. If N is the uniaxial force

per unit length of the edge it is applied to, the inplane forces with re-

spect to the reinforcement axes can be written as

Nx = N cos2 ix, Ny = N sin 2 a, N ^ = N sin a cos a (18)

In the limit, Eqs. 2 and 18 yield:

N? - N cos2 a N sin a cos a

tan 0 = =— — (19)

N sin a cos a N* - N sin a

Eq. 19 gives the limiting value of N and 0 as (8)

N*N*

N= — (201

2 2 y

and N*

tansin

8 =a—-+ N*

tancos

a a (21)'

N*

The reinforcement in seven of the specimens was isotropic, N* =

N* . For those cases Eq. 21 gives 6 = a, which places the crack direction

normal to the applied force, thus also normal to the principal stress di-

rection. In Peter's experiments the actual crack directions were indeed,

approximately, normal to the applied forces. Nielsen (8) also compared

the predicted capacities with the experimentally obtained values. The

ratios of the two sets of values varied from 0.98-1.04.

Peter's test series included two orthotropically reinforced specimens

with N*/N* = 5 and 2, respectively. In the second specimen the rupture

took place in the concrete close to steel plates near the boundary, there-

fore, we must disregard that test. For the first specimen, Eq. 21 gives,

tan 8 = 5 tan a or 8 = 61.2°. Fig. 4 shows the test specimen. The dark

prevailing crack is indeed inclined at approximately 61° to the reinforce-

ment direction, thus providing a verification of Eq. 2. We recall that Eq.

1 would predict a crack direction normal to the applied principal stresses,

a direction quite different from that finally achieved. At the same time,

there are cracks in the background of Fig. 4, which are more nearly nor-

mal to the applied principal stress—these being the initial cracks, which

were subsequently "overtaken." Nielsen (8) was again able to achieve

close correspondence between the calculated and the experimental val-

ues of N.

Vecchio and Collins's Tests (12).—Vecchio and Collins tested 30 rein-

forced concrete specimens, a majority of them subjected to pure plane

stress shear, 4 were subjected to shear and equal biaxial compression,

one was subjected to shear and equal biaxial tension, and two were sub-

1743

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uniaxial compression only, obviously do not have any application to the

present study. All others have their principal stress directions at 9 = 45°

with respect to the reinforcement axes. Therefore, to test the validity of

Eq. 2, we should only consider those specimens which are orthotropi-

cally reinforced, N* ^ N*, which brings down the number of specimens

of interest to 11.

The limit state as defined by Eq. 2 is based on the premise that the

failure takes place by yielding of reinforcement in the two orthogonal

directions. The failure due to concrete compression can take place, but

is avoided in structural design. The thrust of the present study was,

therefore, on those cases where compression failure does not play a role.

It can be shown that the compressive stress in concrete is equal to

[(N* - Nx) + (N* - Ny)]/h, where various symbols have same defini-

tions as before. Thus, as the reinforcement capacity increases so does

the compressive stress in concrete, which would at some point lead to

a compression failure. It was found that out of the 29 specimens, all but

6 were overreinforced in the sense that they led to some kind of

compression or concrete failure. Unfortunately, among the 11 speci-

mens, orthotropically reinforced, only one failed by yielding of rein-

forcements in both the directions. This leaves only one of the specimens

tested by Vecchio and Collins suitable for application to our model. The

specimen is designated PV11. The details of experiment are given in Ref.

12.

In order to apply our algorithm to the test, we replaced the linear

elastic behavior of the concrete by the nonlinear compressive stress-strain

curve given by Vecchio and Collins. We still neglected the tension-stiff-

ening effect. Because Nc is now a function of both €1 and e 2 , the re-

1744

Vecchio and Collin's Experiment,

north and south face measurements

a.

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FIG. 5.—Comparison of Proposed Model and Vecchio and Collin's (12) Test Spec-

imen PV11

of the shear stress strain curve obtained numerically with the experi-

mental points. After the concrete cracks and before steel yields, the nu-

merical values of strains are relatively high, a fact which is attributed to

the lack of tension-stiffening in the numerical model. Obviously, if this

part of curve is important in the analysis, one should include the ten-

sion-stiffening effect.

As predicted by Eq. 2, the numerical algorithm gave the ultimate shear

stress equal to 3.6 MPa as compared to the experimental value of 3.56

MPa. The numerical value of 6 is 49.50° and the test gave 6 = 50.3°. Note,

Eq. 1 will give 6 = 45°, and will lead to failure due to the yielding of

reinforcement in one direction only at 3.08 MPa. Thus, at the ultimate,

the present algorithm yields results which are very close to the experi-

mental values.

The other 10 specimens having orthotropic reinforcement underwent

concrete failure, therefore, as pointed out earlier—are not considered

here. Nevertheless, all these specimens do crack initially at 45° as pre-

dicted by Eq. 1, and exhibit the phenomenon of crack direction change,

even though Eq. 2 is not applicable to them because the capacities N*

and N* ate not fully developed.

CONCLUSIONS

has been presented. It is assumed that the cracks are formed in the di-

rection of the major principal tensile strain and the direction can change

with the change in strains. It leads to crack directions which are con-

sistent with the limit state. That the cracks would change directions is

evident by the available experimental results.

A numerical algorithm suitable for step-by-step finite element analysis

has been developed. It is shown that the numerical algorithm gives re-

1745

suits identical to the theoretical results, t h u s validating the algorithm.

The algorithm is also applied to limited available experiments.

The proposed crack model a n d the numerical algorithm have been

successfully incorporated by the writers in a finite element program. The

early comparisons of the finite element analysis results with structural

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ACKNOWLEDGMENT

ect at the NCSU on Design of Reinforcement in Concrete Shells u n d e r

the NSF Grant N o . DAR-8018554. Suggestions of Dr. W. C. Schnobrich

of the University of Illinois are gratefully acknowledged.

APPENDIX.—REFERENCES

Concrete Structures," Report, 1982.

2. Baumann, T., "Zur Frage der Netzbewehrung von Flachentragwerken," Der

Bauingenieur, Vol. 47, No. 10, 1972, pp. 367-377.

3. Brondum-Nielsen, T., "Optimum Design of Reinforced Concrete Shells and

Slabs," Report No. R44, Structural Research Laboratory, University of Den-

mark, Copenhagen, Denmark, 1974.

4. Conley, C. H., White, R. N., and Gergely, P., "Strength and Stiffness of

Reinforced Concrete Panels Subjected to Membrane Shear, Two Way and

Four-Way Reinforcing," Cornell University; Prepared for U.S. Nuclear Reg-

ulatory Commission, NUREG/CR-2049, Apr., 1981.

5. Duchon, N. B., "Analysis of Reinforced Concrete Membrane Subjected to

Tension and Shear," American Concrete Institute Journal, Sept., 1972, pp. 578-

583.

6. Gupta, Ajaya K., "Membrane Reinforcement in Shells," Journal of the Struc-

tural Division, ASCE, Vol. 107, No. ST1, Proc. Paper 15957, Jan., 1981, pp.

41-56.

7. Gupta, Ajaya K., and Habibollah, Akbar, "Reinforced Concrete Shells—

Analysis vs. Design," Proceedings, Engineering Mechanics Division Specialty

Conference, ASCE, Purdue University, May, 1983, pp. 702-705.

8. Nielsen, M. P., "On the Strength of Reinforced Concrete Discs," ACTA Po-

lytechnica Scandinavica, Civil Engineering and Building Construction Series,

No. 70, Copenhagen, Denmark, 1971.

9. Oesterle, R. G., and Russell, H. G., "Shear Transfer in Large Scale Rein-

forced Concrete Containment Elements," Report No. 1, Portland Cement As-

sociation, Prepared for U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, NUREG/CR-

1374, Apr., 1980.

10. Perdikaris, P. C , White, R. N., and Gergely, P., "Strength and Stiffness of

Tensioned Reinforced Concrete Panels Subjected to Membrane Shear, Two-

Way Reinforcing," Cornell University; Prepared for U.S. Nuclear Regulatory

Commission, NUREG/CR-1602, July, 1980.

11. Peter, J., "Zur Bewehrung von Scheiben und Schalen fur Hauptspannungen

Schiefwinklig zur Bewehrungsrichtung," Dr. Ing.—Dissertation, T. H. Stutt-

gart, 1964.

12. Vecchio, F., and Collins, M. P., "The Response of Reinforced Concrete to

Inplane Shear and Normal Stresses," ISBNO-7727-7029-8, Publication No. 82-

03, University of Toronto, Mar., 1982.

1746

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