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CHAPTER -7

FINITE ELEMENT MODELING OF SLABS

7.1 INTRODUCTION
Finite Element model was developed for all the experimentally tested square
slabs that had either square or circular opening at various position and subjected to
either uniformly distributed or central concentrated load. The mid node deflections
obtained through FE simulation was compared to that of the corresponding
experimental deflection values. The commercial available FE package, ANSYS was
used for this numerical study.
7.2 Element selection
A suitable Finite Element and mesh style was identified by comparing the
deflection values of FE model constructed by different possible elements with the
closed form solution given by Timoshenko. The study was done with the following
element types and mesh styles.
1. Solid 45 hexagonal mesh
2. Solid 45 tetrahedron mesh
3. Concrete 65 with hexagonal mesh
4. Concrete 65 with tetrahedron mesh
5. Shell 63 with hexagonal mesh
6. Shell 63 with tetrahedron mesh
All specimens have a size of 1000 x 1000 x 30mm (thickness). Young’s modulus
and the poison ratio of concrete were taken as 20,000 N/ mm 2 and 0.18
respectively. The uniformly distributed load applied for all the models was
0.05N/sq.mm. Deflection produced by these FE models, at two points, viz., at x =
500; y = 500 and at x = 250; y = 500 were compared with the closed form
solution. The comparison was tabulated in the Table 7.1 and 7.2. Though concrete
65 element was found suitable, the disadvantage lies in modeling with tetrahedron
mesh which is required in modeling circular opening. The tetrahedron meshing is
not recommended one for modeling with the concrete 65 element. Table 7.1 and
7.2 shows the larger disparity in the deflections between tetrahedron and
hexahedron mesh for concrete 65 element.

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7.3 Element property
The FE model was developed with shell 63 and beam 44 element. The properties of
the element are explained here.
7.3.1 Shell 63
SHELL63 has both bending and membrane capabilities. Both in-plane and
normal loads are permitted. The element has six degrees of freedom at each node:
translations in the nodal x, y, and z directions and rotations about the nodal x, y, and
z-axes. The element is defined by four nodes, four thicknesses, and the orthotropic
material properties.
7.3.2 Beam 44
BEAM44 is a uniaxial element with tension, compression, torsion, and
bending capabilities. The element has six degrees of freedom at each node:
translations in the nodal x, y, and z directions and rotations about the nodal x, y, and
z-axes. This element allows a different unsymmetrical geometry at each end and
permits the end nodes to be offset from the centroidal axis of the beam
7.4 Convergence study
A convergence study was carried on the reference slab (USR1) without steel
reinforcements to determine an appropriate mesh density. The convergence of results
is obtained when an adequate number of elements are used in a model. This is
practically achieved when an increase in the mesh has negligible effect on the results.
The plain concrete slabs, with the material properties of young’s modulus of 20,000
N/ mm2 and poison ratio of 0.18, were modeled with an increasing number of
elements 100, 196, 912, 400, 676, 1200, 900, 1296, and 1600. The element aspect
ratio was maintained as one. The central deflection for all the slabs was obtained for
the same applied load of 0.05N/mm2. It was found that the minimum number of
elements required for an appropriate model should be 900. The convergence study is
shown in the Fig. 7.1. Meshes were refined around the opening.
7.5 Modeling of slabs
FE was carried out for the experimentally tested square slabs that had either
square or circular opening at various positions, viz., at centre, corner, at middle and
tangential to an edge, along line of symmetry and along a diagonal line subjected to
either uniformly distributed or central concentrated load. The uniformly distributed
load was applied as area load and the concentrated load was applied over a small area
which is equal in amount that of the experimentally applied. Therefore a total number

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of 46 models including models for solids slabs were carried out and the central
deflections in the pre-cracking stage were compared. Some of the modeled are shown
in the Figs. 7.2 to 7.8. .
7.6 FE Analysis
The central deflections obtained by FE models were closer to that of
experimental deflections at the initial stage. It was observed that the central
deflections were increased when the size of the opening got increased in all the cases.
However, the increment was very less over the size of the opening compared to that of
the experimental deflections. For solid slabs, the FE deflection and the experimental
deflections were close to each other in the case of both uniformly distributed and
concentrated load. The central deflections of FE results for smaller and larger size of
the opening with that of the corresponding experimental deflections in the pre-
cracking stage were plotted and are shown in the Figs. 7.9 to 7.20.
7.7 Conclusion
Based on the FE model the conclusion arrived at are;
1. The model is precise with Shell 63 and hexahedron mesh. The deflection obtained
by this model gives closer results with the Timoshenko equation than any other
elements and mesh style.
2. Beam 44 element with the option of defining C.G point enabled fixing the cover to
reinforcement, or otherwise, the work will be voluminous.
3. Deflections obtained by FE models were compared with the observed experimental
values only in the pre-cracking stage and found to be closer with the experimental
values for solid slabs. But for slabs that are present with opening, the variation was
higher. This is due the fact that numerical model has more stiffer than the RC slabs
when put into real practice.

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