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Revisiting the Effect of Axial Force Ratio on the Seismic

Behaviour of RC Building Columns

Terry Y. P. Yuen, Asst.-Prof., Dr, Department of Civil Engineering, Bursa Orhangazi Üniversitesi, Yıldırım, Turkey
J. S. Kuang, Prof., Dr, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology,
Hong Kong. Contact:
DOI: 10.2749/101686617X14676303589273

Abstract force ratio (AFR). Nevertheless, not

all design codes implement the same
Protection of structural columns against severe damage is of most importance provision, for instance, New Zealand13
in the seismic design of RC structures. The seismic performance of reinforced and the American Concrete Institute
concrete (RC) columns can be improved by concrete confinement in the plastic (ACI)14 codes do not explicitly pre-
hinge regions, where the required quantity of confining reinforcement is influ- scribe any limits for AFR. It should be
enced by the axial force ratio (AFR). Nevertheless, different design standards noted that the two latter codes do
have different treatments on the AFR effect in the ductility design of RC col- provide equations for evaluating the
umns. In this regard, this paper presents a scientific revisit, which is conjugated ultimate axial capacity of columns tak-
with a statistical analysis of 474 sets of experimental data, on the effect of ing into account the contribution of
AFR. It is found that the displacement and hysteretic dissipation capacities of both concrete and longitudinal rein-
the flexure-critical RC columns can be significantly reduced by increasing AFR, forcement, but it will result in a range
although the lateral strength shows a reversed trend. On the other hand, the of AFR that is generally less restrictive
displacement ductility of short columns is apparently not influenced by AFR, than the EC8 requirements.
yet the hysteretic dissipation capacity deteriorates under high AFR. The analyt-
In this regard, this paper revisits the
ical results also suggest that different AFR limits should be used for the design scientific background of the AFR
of slender and short columns due to different failure mechanisms. The pre- effects and attempts to establish its
sented work sheds light on the considerations of the AFR effect and setting a relationships with the drift capacity
suitable limit for controlling the seismic performance of RC columns. and strength of RC columns. The
Keywords: axial force ratio; reinforced concrete columns; design codes; ductil- AFR effects are studied with well-
ity; statistical analysis. established theoretical and empirical
models in conjunction with a compre-
hensive statistical analysis using
474 sets of experimental data of RC
Introduction hoops or ties in the critical or potential
columns. How the ductility detailing
plastic hinge regions, where spread
Catastrophic collapse of building of columns is related to AFR in sev-
yielding of reinforcement bars is likely
structures is always accompanied by eral prevailing design standards is also
to occur. The amount of confining
failure of structural columns. Among reviewed and compared together with
reinforcement required for achieving
typical column failure mechanisms, the results of the statistical analysis.
specific ductility level is strongly
axial and shear failures are the most The work presented in this paper
dependent on the imposed axial com-
sheds light on the use and determina-
critical in leading to structural pression. High axial compression can
tion of a suitable limit of AFR for
instability.1–5 Protecting columns from lead to premature concrete crushing,
achieving target performances of RC
losing the load-carrying capacity is low-cycle fatigue and reinforcement
columns during earthquakes.
thus of most importance in the capac- buckling under cyclic loading, and
ity design of structures to withstand hence reduction in the ductility capac-
seismic effects.6 To this end, special ity. Therefore, the confinement detail- Axial Compression Effects on
design and reinforcement detailing are ing requirement for RC columns is Drift Capacity and Strength
needed for reinforced concrete (RC) often set to be more stringent at higher
columns to avert severe strength and axial compression level in order to In modern seismic design approach,
stiffness degradation during earth- compensate for the reduced ductility potential plastic hinges or inelastic
quakes. Out of many ductile detailing capacity. regions in RC columns are confined
methods, concrete confinement in crit- by closely spaced hoop reinforcement
Eurocode 8 (Ref. [7]) stipulates the for two main purposes: (a) to increase
ical regions and axial compression lim- limits for normalised axial force—a
its are the most effective means for the ductility of the RC columns by
ratio of nominal axial stress to con- exerting lateral confining pressure
RC columns to attain the required crete compressive strength of the onto the concrete core regions; and
ductility.4 Confining reinforcement is section i.e. N=fc0 Ag —in the design of (b) to restraint buckling of longitudi-
provided through transverse closed
RC columns and walls based on the nal reinforcing bars. Brittle and non-
experimental work in Ref. [8] in spite ductile RC columns always contribute
Peer-reviewed by international ex- of the scattered results.9 Other modern to the seismic vulnerability of the
perts and accepted for publication
by SEI Editorial Board seismic design codes, e.g. Turkish structure. The most direct method to
Earthquake Code,10 Chinese Seismic improve the seismic performance of
Paper received: November 23, 2015 Code11 and Hong Kong RC Code,12 RC columns is by confining the con-
Paper accepted: July 18, 2016 also stipulate upper limits on axial crete with steel hoops to achieve

88 Scientific Paper Structural Engineering International Nr. 1/2017

higher rotational ductility in the plas- where s is the spacing of the hoops; bo  
0:132Es dl εcu ζεy
tic hinges.4,15,16 However, as discussed and ho are the width and depth of the μΔ = 1 + − ð9Þ
ζαL c hc
above, axial compression can deprive confined core (to the centreline of the
columns of the ductility provided by hoops); bi is the distance between con- where Es is the elastic modulus of steel
the confining reinforcement. In this secutive bars laterally engaged by and αL = Ls/hc is the column aspect
section, numerical studies using hoops or cross-ties; Do is the diameter ratio. Once the depth of the natural
widely adopted analytical or empirical of confined core (to the centreline of axis c is determined for the ultimate
models are performed to obtain the the hoops). The concrete strain εcc at fcc stress state prescribed by Eqs. (1) to
relationships between the AFR and and the crushing strain εcu are taken as: (4), the ultimate displacement and
column behaviour. Comparisons ductility capacity can be immediately
εcc = εc1 ½1 + 5ðfcc =fc − 1Þ ð4Þ
between the actual test and predicted calculated from Eqs. (8) and (9).
results will be presented in the latter εcu = 0:004 + 1:4ωv εsm fc =fcc ð5Þ The above analytical formulation is
section, which will reveal the perfor- valid generally for flexure-critical col-
mance and possible limitations of respectively, where εcl is the strain at umns with aspect ratios greater than
these models. This brings up the need the peak stress of unconfined concrete,
3, below which shear deformation
for an AFR limit for routine engineer- ωv is mechanical confining reinforce-
would have significant influence on
ing design of columns, when more rig- ment ratio and εsm is rupture strain of
the behaviour of columns. For shear-
orous analysis is unavailable or not steel reinforcement. On the other
critical columns, the ultimate drift can
performed. hand, an apparent and instant effect
be estimated by an empirical equation
with higher axial compression reduces
The effect of AFR can be illustrated proposed by Ref. [19]:
the curvature ductility of the walls.4
by plotting the deformation and shear The curvature ductility can be evalu- Δu 1 v 1 P 3 1
capacity against AFR for the columns. ated as below:18 = 4ρs − pffiffiffiffi − + ≥
The stress–strain envelope curve of Ls 40 fc 40 Ag fc 100 100
εcu hc
concrete assumes the classic Mander μϕ = ð6Þ ð10Þ
model15 as: ζεy c
where ρs is shear reinforcement ratio,
σc rη where ζ is a shape factor, which takes
= ð1Þ v is nominal shear stress, P is axial
fcc r −1 + η r a value of 2.1 for rectangular sections
and 2.25 for circular sections, and hc is force and Ag is the gross cross-sec-
tional area. The above equation
where σ c is the compressive stress cor- the column depth. Equation (6) shows
that the curvature ductility is inversely explicitly includes the effect of AFR
responding to the normalised com-
proportional to the depth of natural by the third term in the middle
pressive strain η = εc/εcc and r = Eci/
axis c. By the equilibrium of the exter- expression. According to Eq. (10),
(Eci − fcc/εcc). The peak confined com-
nal and internal sectional forces, it even though axial compression can be
pressive strength fcc, the strain εcc at
can be readily shown that the depth beneficial to the shear transfer across
the peak stress of confined concrete
of natural axis c is a monotonic the cracked concrete sections, lower
and the ultimate crushing strain εcu in
increasing function of axial compres- ultimate drifts of shear-critical col-
the core regions are calculated by the
sion. Therefore, the curvature ductil- umns result in higher AFR as of
following equations:7,17
ity and the displacement ductility flexure-critical columns.
  decrease with increase of axial com-
aρs fyt 0:86 The nominal shear capacity vu of
fcc = fc ð1 + K Þ, K ≈ 3:7 ð2Þ pression. The plastic hinge length Lp
short columns can be evaluated by
fc for columns is calculated as follows:18
    truss and arch mechanisms, such as
where fc is the compressive strength fc the AIJ shear strength model:20
of unconfined concrete; ρs is the trans- Lp = min 0:2 −1 , 0:08 Ls
fy qffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi 
verse reinforcement ratio; fyt is the νu = jt ρs fyt ⁢cot⁡ϕc =hc + ðαs Þ2 + 1 −αs
yield strength of the transverse + 0:022fy dl ≥ 0:044fy dl ð7Þ
reinforcement; a is the confinement × ð1− βÞκ fc =2 ð11Þ
where Ls is the length from the critical
effectiveness factor:
section to the point of contra-flexure,
   ! fy is the yield strength (in MPa) of the where jt is the distance between the
s s X b2 top and bottom longitudinal bars, fyt is
a = 1− 1− 1− i longitudinal reinforcement and dl is
2bo 2ho n
6bo ho the longitudinal bar size. Shorter plas- the yield strength of the transverse
tic hinge lengths result in lower dis- reinforcement, ϕc is the angle of the
ðfor rectangular cross −sectionsÞ placement capacity and thus the lower compressive strut and β is calcu-
ð3aÞ bound in the Eq. (7) can be conserva- lated by:
tively assumed, i.e. Lp = 0.044fydl.  
  1 + cot2 ϕc ρs fyh
s 2 Using this lower bound value of plas- β= ð12Þ
a = 1− tic hinge length and Eq. (6), the ulti- κ fc
mate drift Δu/Ls and displacement
ðfor circular cross − sectionsÞ ð3bÞ ductility μΔ = Δu/Δy of flexure-critical Here κ is the effectiveness factor for
RC columns can be calculated as: the compressive strength of concrete
    struts, which is a function of plastic
s Δu εcu ξεy
a = 1− ðcircular cross ≥ ζεy αL =3 + 0:044fy dl − hinge rotation RP as follows:
2Do Ls c hc
−sections with spiral hoopsÞ ð3cÞ ð8Þ κ = 1:0 − 15Rp κ 0 ≥ 0:25κ0 ð13Þ

Structural Engineering International Nr. 1/2017 Scientific Paper 89

where κ 0 = 0.7 − fc/200. The first term Ultimate Drift Capacity vs. AFR drop in ultimate drift becomes more
in Eq. (11) is the truss action compris- gradual as a result of the change of
To illustrate the effects of AFR
ing tension members of transverse rein- behaviour from tension failure to
depicted by Eqs. (8) and (10), the ulti-
forcement, and compression members compression failure. On the other
mate drifts of flexure- and shear-critical hand, the model in Ref. [19] depicts a
of secondary concrete struts. The sec-
RC columns of aspect ratios αL respec- less rapid drop in ultimate drifts of
ond term is contributed by the arch
action of an inclined primary compres- tively equal to 4 and 2 are plotted shear columns until a constant level is
sion strut running across the whole against AFR for different amounts of reached in high AFR. It will be
member from the loading point to the confining reinforcement as shown in demonstrated later that the drift
support. Despite the clear physical Fig. 1. The two columns have the same capacity vs. AFR relationships
implications, the AIJ shear strength cross-section dimensions of obtained above are generally consist-
model does not explicitly account for 500 × 500 mm. The longitudinal rein- ent with the actual behaviour.
the axial force effect. The axial force forcing ratio ρL is 2%, and the ratio of
effect can be demonstrated by the the yield strength of reinforcement to
Lateral Strength vs. AFR
shear strength model given in Ref. [21]: the concrete compressive strength fy/fc
is 16.7. The relationships of the lateral
" pffiffiffiffisffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi #
0:4 fc P strength and AFR for flexural and
νu = k ρs fyt + pffiffiffiffi ð14Þ It is clearly shown that effectiveness shear columns are depicted by the
αL 0:5 fc Ag of confinement to enhance the dis- plots of normalised shear strength
placement capacity is reduced by against AFR as shown in Fig. 2. The
where the value of the factor k is a increasing the AFR, revealing the lateral strength of flexural columns is
function of displacement ductility as need of AFR limits to control the duc- calculated by moment-curvature anal-
follows: tility of RC columns. Furthermore, ysis using the stress–strain relation-
8 the ultimate drifts of flexural columns, ships prescribed by Eqs. (1)–(4). For
< 1:0 μΔ < 2 failing in tension failure, decrease rap- shear columns, the normalized shear
k = -0:075μΔ + 1:15 2 ≤ μΔ < 6 ð15Þ idly over the low AFR region. Sub-
: strength is directly calculated by Eqs.
0:7 μΔ ≥ 6 jecting to higher AFR, the rate of (11) and (14). As shown in Fig. 2a,

(a) 12 (b) 6
!v = 0.00 !v = 0.00
L = 4 L = 2
Ultimate displacement ratio u/H (%)

Ultimate displacement ratio u/H (%)

10 !v = 0.05 5 !v = 0.05
500 mm 500 mm
fy /fc = 16.7 fy /fc = 16.7
!v = 0.10 !v = 0.10
L = 2% L = 2%
8 !v = 0.15 4 !v = 0.15
500 mm
!v = 0.20 500 mm
!v = 0.20

6 3

4 2

2 1

0 0
20 40 60 80 100 20 40 60 80 100
Axial compression ratio (%) Axial compression ratio (%)

F ig . 1: Effect of AFR on displacement capacity of RC columns: (a) flexure-critical columns; (b) shear-critical columns

(a) 0.6 (b) 1.6

!v = 0.00 L = 2
Normalised lateral strength Pu/(fc0.5 Ag)
Normalised lateral strength Pu/(fc0.5 Ag)

L = 4 1.4
0.5 !v = 0.05 fy /fc = 16.7 500 mm
500 mm
fy /fc = 16.7
!v = 0.10 1.2 L = 2%
L = 2% )
!v = 0.15 Sezen
0.4 500 mm 0.20 ( 0.20 (AIJ)
500 mm !v = 0.20 1.0
0.15 (S 0.15 (AIJ)
0.3 0.8 n)
0.10 ( 0.10 (AIJ)
0.6 )
0.2 0.05 ( 0.05 (AIJ)
e n )
0.4 0.00 (Sez
0.00 (AIJ)

0 0
20 40 60 80 100 0 20 40 60 80 100
Axial compression ratio (%) Axial compression ratio (%)

F ig . 2: Effect of AFR on lateral strength of RC columns: (a) flexure-critical columns; (b) shear-critical columns

90 Scientific Paper Structural Engineering International Nr. 1/2017

the lateral strength–AFR relationship of the concrete cover at relatively low relationships. To this regard, compre-
of flexural columns shows the typical displacement and subsequently hensive statistical analysis of the
behaviour of M–N interaction beha- increase the risk of buckling of the AFR effect is performed using availa-
viour. In low AFR region, where col- exposed longitudinal bars;22 (2) the ble experimental data presented in
umns fail by tension failure, the P-Δ effect exacerbated by compres- the Structural Performance Data-
moment capacity and the lateral sion can cause the phenomenon of base25 and some latest test results in
strength are enhanced by the increase “crawling” in the hysteretic behaviour Refs. [26–33].
of axial force. However, after the and abrupt drop in strength;4 (3) high
balanced-failure point, compression The gathered load–displacement data
stress level increases the risk of low
failure under compression dictates the are then analysed and, from the data,
cycle fatigue of the columns under
the yield displacement, ultimate dis-
column behaviour and further increase cyclic loading;23 and (4) axial com-
of AFR causes reduction in the lateral placement ratio (UDR) and displace-
pression can enhance-via acrh action -
strength. With higher amount of trans- ment ductility are evaluated following
the shear capacity of columns, in par-
verse confining reinforcement pro- the definitions from Ref. [34]. It
ticular with low aspect ratios.24
vided, higher AFR is needed to cause should be noted that over 85% of col-
the balanced failure, implicating that Development of a concise analytical umn tests (49% spiral and 51% rec-
the better confined columns fail in the relationship to describe the complete tangular) were conducted under AFR
ductile tension mode over a wider effect of AFR and its interaction below 0.4, whereas less than 7% of
range of AFR. In the case of shear-crit- with other variables is virtually impos- columns (24% spiral and 76% rectan-
ical columns, as shown in Fig. 2b, the sible. Therefore, the quantification gular) were tested above AFR of 0.5
shear strength is directly proportional of the axial compression and the con- and only nine tests have the AFR
to the amount of transverse reinforce- finement detailing effect on RC col- above 0.6. The obtained empirical
ment provided as predicted by shear umns’ seismic performance has been relationships presented in this
models in both in AIJ [20] and relying on empirical or semi-empirical section can be used in prediction for
Ref. [21].
Rectangular Col. (a!vL/3 < 0.05)
Nevertheless, the two models predict Rectangular Col. (0.05 ž a!vL/3 < 0.15)
different behaviours of shear strength (a) Rectangular Col. (a!vL/3 Ó 0.15)
vs. AFR. Provided with a specific 12 Circular Col. (a!vL/3 < 0.05)

amount of transverse reinforcement, Circular Col. (0.05 ž a!vL/3 < 0.15)

Ultimate displacement ratio (u/Ls) (%)

Circular Col. (a!vL/3 Ó 0.15)

the AIJ model predicts an almost con- 10
y = –0.0793*x0.7561 + 3.66: mean-fit for a!vL/3 < 0.05
stant value of shear strength over the
y = –0.3368*x0.5561 + 5.83: mean-fit for 0.05 ž a!vL/3 < 0.15
full range of AFR. The reduction of y = –0.3737*x0.6197 + 7.86: mean-fit for a!vL/3 < 0.15
the plastic hinge rotation due to
increasing AFR is conducive to the
shear transfer by arch mechanism, 6
resulting in a very slight increase of
shear strength in the low AFR region. 4
On the contrary, AFR has greater
influence on the shear strength pre-
dicted by the model in Ref. [21], 2
which can be seen later that is a more
realistic representation of experimen- 0
tal results. Nevertheless, the AIJ 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80
model generally gives a conservative Axial force ratio N/(f´cAg)) (%)
estimation of the shear strength,
except for heavily reinforced columns (b) 12
Rectangular Col. (!v < 0.05)
subject to low AFR. Rectangular Col. (0.05 ž !v < 0.10)
Rectangular Col. (!v Ó 0.10)
Ultimate displacement ratio (u/Ls) (%)

10 Circular Col. (!v < 0.05)

Circular Col. (0.05 ž !v < 0.10)
Statistical Analysis of AFR Circular Col. (!v Ó 0.10)
Effect 8 y = –0.1202*x0.6512 + 2.69: mean-fit for !v < 0.05
y = –0.1505*x0.6862 + 4.08: mean-fit for 0.05 ž !v < 0.10
Based on the results of some well- y = –0.2003*x0.7062 + 5.60: mean-fit for !v < 0.10
known analytical models, the last
section has provided a general picture
on how the behaviours of flexural and 4
shear columns are affected by AFR.
However, the influence of AFR on 2
the actual behaviour of RC columns is
more complicated than the analytical
results presented earlier. In addition 0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80
to reducing the curvature ductility, Axial force ratio N/(f´cAg)) (%)
other effects of axial compression are
summarised as follows: (1) high axial Fi g. 3: Relation between AFR and ultimate displacement ratio: (a) flexure-critical
compression can lead to early spalling columns; (b) shear-critical columns

Structural Engineering International Nr. 1/2017 Scientific Paper 91

the seismic behaviour of columns sub- The relationships between displace- Grouping of columns by the parame-
ject to different levels of AFR. For ment ductility and ultimate displace- ter defined in Eq. (16) is to isolate the
instance, in the displacement-based ment against AFR are plotted AFR effect on the displacement capa-
design, the UDR vs. AFR relationship respectively in Figs. 3a and 4a for cities of flexural columns from other
can be used to check whether the flexure-critical RC columns with dif- effects of effective concrete confine-
required target inter-storey drift can ferent levels of confinement aωV and ment and aspect ratio. It can be seen
be confidently met by the ultimate dis- aspect ratios αL, which is charac- in Figs. 3a and 4a that the columns,
placement of the columns. terised by the following parameters: which are of same level, show similar
trends with respect to AFR.
Ultimate Displacement and Flexure critical columns
8 Resembling to the previous analytical
Displacement Ductility < aωv αL =3 < 0:05 ðLevel 1Þ results, there is a trend of declining
Displacement ductility and capacity of 0:05 ≤ aωV αL =3 < 0:15 ðLevel 2Þ displacement ductility and ultimate
RC columns are particularly important aωv αL =3 > 0:15 ðLevel 3Þ drift with increasing AFR. It can be
in determining the seismic perfor- ð17aÞ seen that below a relatively low level
mances and whether they can survive of AFR (≤20%), considerable RC col-
devastating earthquakes. It is generally Shear critical columns umns can achieve moderate to high
recognised that shear action dominates 8 ductility (μΔ > 4) even with low con-
over flexural action for short or captive < ωv < 0:05 ðLevel 1Þ
finement and aspect ratio (aωvαL/
columns and they behave differently 0:05 ≤ ωV < 0:10 ðLevel 2Þ
: 3 < 0.05). The effect of confinement
from flexure-critical columns. Hence, it ωv > 0:10 ðLevel 3Þ on improving the structural perfor-
is plausible to further disaggregate the ð17bÞ mances is clearly demonstrated again
test data into two collective sets of
short (shear-critical) columns and non-
Rectangular Col. (a!vL/3 < 0.05)
short (flexure-critical) columns respec-
Rectangular Col. (0.05 ž a!vL/3 < 0.05)
tively. Yet, there is still no consensus Rectangular Col. (a!vL/3 Ó 0.15)
on the definition of short columns up to Circular Col. (a!vL/3 < 0.05)
now, since there is no clear dividing (a) 14 Circular Col. (0.05 ž a!vL/3 < 0.15)
boundary to differentiate shear-critical Circular Col. (a!vL/3 Ó 0.15)
columns from flexure-critical columns.
Displacement ductility (u/y)

12 y = –0.0148*x1.088 + 4.76: mean-fit for a!vL/3 < 0.05

The shear span to depth ratio (Ls/hc, y = –0.1156*x0.715 + 6.71: mean-fit for 0.05 ž a!vL/3 < 0.15
y = –0.1042*x0.810 + 8.23: mean-fit for a!vL/3 < 0.15
where Ls = M/V) provides a reasona- 10
ble ground for the classification of
shear and flexure-critical columns. 8
Generally, columns with high shear
span to depth ratio (Ls/hc > 3) fail in 6
flexural mode, while the failure of col-
umns with low shear span to depth 4
ratio (Ls/hc ≤ 3) can be dictated by
shear or flexure-shear coupling effect.
Nevertheless, the shear span to depth
ratio alone is not enough to distinguish 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80
shear-critical columns. It was shown35 Axial force ratio N/(f´cAg)) (%)
that axial force and longitudinal and
transverse reinforcement ratios are also Rectangular Col. (!v < 0.05)
important in judging whether a squat Rectangular Col. (0.05 ž !v < 0.10)
column would fail in shear or flexural Rectangular Col. (!v Ó 0.10)

mode. In this study, the shear-critical (b) 12 Circular Col. (!v < 0.05)
Circular Col. (0.05 ž !v < 0.10)
and flexure-critical columns are 11
Circular Col. (!v Ó 0.10)
grouped according to the criteria pro- 10
Displacement ductility (u/y)

y = –0.00097*x1.114 + 4.06: mean-fit for !v < 0.05

posed by Ref. [35] as follows: 9 y = –0.00351*x1.051 + 5.57: mean-fit for 0.05 ž !v < 0.10
y = –0.00181*x1.405 + 6.71: mean-fit for !v Ó 0.15
Flexure critical columns 8
8 7
> Ls =h > 3
2 ≤ Ls =h ≤ 3 and N < N1 or N > N2 6
: ωl h 5
Ls =h < 2 and <1
ωs 2Ls 4
ð16aÞ 3
Shear critical columns
8 1
< 2 ≤ Ls =h ≤ 3 and N1 < N < N2 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80
ωl h Axial force ratio N/(f´cAg)) (%)
: Ls =h < 2 and >1
ωs 2Ls
F i g. 4 : Relation between AFR and displacement ductility: (a) flexure-critical columns;
ð16bÞ (b) shear-critical columns

92 Scientific Paper Structural Engineering International Nr. 1/2017

in the two figures, where the ductility Figure 5 shows a comparison between Lateral Strength and Hysteretic
and in particular the ultimate dis- the experimental data and the calcu- Dissipation
placement can increase significantly lated values from Eqs. (8) and (10)
Relationships between the shear
with higher confinement. But at for flexure-criterial columns and
strength normalized with respect to
higher AFR (>30%), the columns can shear-criterial columns respectively.
hardly maintain the same level of duc- As seen in Fig. 5a, there is a devia- fc0:5 Ag and AFR are plotted in Fig. 6.
tility as in under low AFR, and large tion between the theoretical values It can be noted that the lateral
amount of confinement is needed in for the ultimate rift of flexural col- strength of the columns increase with
order to achieve moderate to high umns, obtained from moment- lower aspect ratios, which is opposite
ductility and ultimate displacement. curvature analysis, and the experi- to the trend in the displacement
Above the AFR (>45%), the ultimate mental results. Such deviation could capacity and aspect ratio relation-
displacement (UDR) of most of the be caused by many factors, for ships. The parameter used to group
RC columns cannot be higher than instance, flexural-shear interaction, the flexure-critical columns as defined
2% with respect to their clear height. bond-slip and buckling of compres- in Eq. (16a) is modified as follows:
sion bars. For shear columns (Fig. 5b),
The ultimate displacement–AFR and Flexure critical columns
the values calculated from the model
displacement ductility–AFR relations
in Ref. [19] show less deviation from 8
for the shear-critical columns are < 3aωv =αL < 0:05 ðLevel 1Þ
the experimental results, and in most 0:05 ≤ 3aωV =αL < 0:15 ðLevel 2Þ
shown in Figs. 3b and 4b respectively.
cases it can give conservative estima- :
Similar to the analytical results pre- 3aωv =αL > 0:15 ðLevel 3Þ
tions of the drift capacity of the
sented before, there is a similar trend ð18Þ
for non-short columns that the ulti-
mate drift and displacement ductility
are diminishing with increasing AFR, (a) 14 Rectangular Col. (a!vL/3 < 0.05)
regardless of the amount of confine- Rectangular Col. (0.05 ž a!vL/3 < 0.15)
ment reinforcement being provided. Rectangular Col. (a!vL/3 Ó 0.15)
Measured ultimate displacement ratio

Nevertheless, the ultimate drift of 12 Circular Col. (a!vL/3 < 0.05)

Circular Col. (0.05 ž a!vL/3 < 0.15)
short columns is less influenced by
10 Circular Col. (a!vL/3 Ó 0.15)
AFR and shows a more graduate
y = 0.8836x: mean-fit
decline with increasing AFR.
The model in Ref. [19] sets a lower
bound for the ultimate displacement
ratio of shear columns to be 1%, but
it can be seen from Fig. 3b that some
columns have values as low as 0.71%. 4
It is therefore suggested that the
lower bound for ultimate displace- 2
ment ratio of shear columns should be
set at 0.7%. Furthermore, given the 0
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14
dispersed results as shown in Fig. 4b,
Calculated ultimate displacement ratio
it is not quite possible to establish a
clear relationship between the dis- Rectangular Col. (a!vL/3 < 0.05)
placement ductility and AFR. It Rectangular Col. (0.05 ž a!vL/3 < 0.15)
shows that the yield drift of shear col- Rectangular Col. (a!vL/3 Ó 0.15)
umns is also significantly dependent 8 Circular Col. (a!vL/3 < 0.05)
on the axial force, which is contrary to Circular Col. (0.05 ž a!vL/3 < 0.15)
flexural columns that their yield cur- 6 Circular Col. (a!vL/3 Ó 0.15)
Measured ultimate displacement ratio

vature is mainly dependent on the y = 1.037x: mean-fit

yield strain of the longitudinal rein- 5

forcement as in Eq. (8). As discussed
before, the axial compression has both 5
adverse and beneficial effects on the
shear-critical RC members. The bene-
fits of axial compression become pre- 3
dominant for RC members with very
low aspect ratios. It was shown that 2
for very short RC walls with aspect
ratio less than 1.5, the trend for the 1
ultimate displacement–AFR relation-
ship is even completely reversed, due 0
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
to the fact that the shear transfer by
Calculated ultimate displacement ratio
arch action and sliding resistance of
cracks in the shear-critical RC mem- Fi g. 5: Comparison of calculated ultimate displacement ratio with experimental results
bers can be enhanced by axial (a) Eq. (7) for flexure-critical columns; (b) Ref. [19] model for shear-critical columns
compression.36 (dotted lines represent the bounds of 90% confidence interval)

Structural Engineering International Nr. 1/2017 Scientific Paper 93

The same grouping criteria defined in displacement capacity and hysteretic strength of heavily reinforced columns.
Eq. (16a) are used for shear-critical dissipation, as shown later. Furthermore, less deviation is found
columns. Although the analytical in the Ref. [21] model as compared
Similarly, the numerical values of the
behaviour for flexural columns (Fig. 2a) experimentally measured shear
with the AIJ model.
cannot be clearly observed in the sta- strength are compared with the calcu- Besides the displacement parameters,
tistical results as shown in Fig. 6a, the lated values based on moment- hysteretic dissipation capacity is also
predicted normalised shear strength is curvature analysis for flexural columns, an important or even more suitable
restricted to the experimental results. and the AIJ and Ref. [21] models for parameter to evaluate the expected
Higher AFRs lead to higher ultimate shear columns. The comparisons are seismic performances of RC columns,
lateral strength and this trend is partic- shown in Fig. 7. As shown in Fig. 7a, a since it characterises the low-cycle
ularly noticeable for the short columns very accurate estimation of the lateral fatigue or cyclic strength and stiffness
Fig. 6b. This behaviour follows the strength of flexural columns can be degradation effect. As seen in Fig. 8,
model given in Ref. [21] (Fig. 2b) obtained by simple moment curvature similar to the case of displacement,
rather than the AIJ model. Neverthe- analysis. For the shear columns, as the axial compression tends to deprive
less, such increase in lateral strength shown in Fig. 7b and c, both AIJ and the capacity of hysteretic dissipation
generally cannot compensate for the Ref. [21] models can give good estima- that can be achieved by the columns,
aforementioned adverse effect of the tions for lightly reinforced columns even though the lateral strength is
axial compression including lower but tend to underestimate the shear increased. As shown in Fig. 8a, in
order to attain high hysteretic dissipa-
tion at high level of AFR, large quan-
Rectangular Col. (a!v/(3L) < 0.05)
tity of confinement reinforcement and
Rectangular Col. (0.05 ž a!v/(3L) < 0.15)
high aspect ratio (aωv/3 > 0.15) is
Rectangular Col. (a!v/(3L) < 0.15)
Circular Col. (a!v/(3L) < 0.05)
needed. Furthermore, despite greater
Circular Col. (0.05 ž a!v /(3L) < 0.15) lateral strength, total hysteretic dissi-
1.2 Circular Col. (a!v /(3L) < 0.15) pation generated by short-columns is
y = 0.00842*x0.7435 + 0.125: mean-fit for a!v/(3L) < 0.05 considerably less than the flexure-
Normalised lateral strength (Vu/fc0.5Ag)

y = 0.00836*x0.6879 + 0.245: mean-fit for 0.05 ž a!v/(3L) < 0.15 critical columns under the same level
1 y = 0.04013*×0.4318 + 0.351: mean-fit for a!v/(3L) < 0.15 of AFR as seen in Fig. 8b. In other
words, shear-critical columns are
0.8 prone to low-cycle fatigue leading to
rapid drop in strength and stiffness
0.6 under seismic shaking. Therefore, a
limit on AFR is needed to legitimate
ductility design of RC columns,
although the AFR tends to enhance
the lateral strength and in some situa-
tions may be even beneficial to the dis-
placement capacity of short columns.
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80
Axial force ratio N/(f´cAg)) (%) Effect of AFR in Code-Based
Rectangular Col. (!v < 0.05)
Rectangular Col. (0.05 ž !v < 0.10)
It is well demonstrated that the axial
Rectangular Col. (!v Ó 0.10)
Circular Col. (!v < 0.05)
compression has significant influence
Circular Col. (0.05 ž !v < 0.10) on the behaviour of the RC columns.
(b) In view of this, many modern RC
1.2 Circular Col. (!v Ó 0.10)
y = 0.00309*x1.0391 + 0.3046: mean-fit for !v < 0.05 design codes prescribe provisions for
Normalised lateral strength (Vu/fc0.5Ag)

y = 0.00285*x0.9653 + 0.4311: mean-fit for 0.05 ž !v < 0.10 confinement detailing in relation with
1 y = 0.00571*x0.8645 + 0.5591: mean-fit for !v Ó 0.10 AFR, and some codes even stipulate
upper limits of the AFR. Although
0.8 the physical implication and motiva-
tion behind these provisions are the
0.6 same, some differences in the detailed
requirements exist among various
design codes.
AFR Limits
The stipulated limits on the AFRs in
various design codes are evaluated
0 closely with the statistical analysis, in
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80
Axial force ratio N/(f´cAg)) (%) relation to the ultimate displacement
ratio and AFR. For a standardised
F ig . 6: Relation between AFR and lateral strength: (a) flexure-critical columns; (b) shear- comparison purpose, the AFRs
critical columns defined by different design codes are

94 Scientific Paper Structural Engineering International Nr. 1/2017

(a) Rectangular Col. (a!v/(L/3) < 0.05)
satisfied if the maximum inter-storey
1 drifts do not exceed 2% of storey
Rectangular Col. (0.05 ž a!v/(L/3) < 0.15)
Measured normalised lateral strength

0.9 Rectangular Col. (a!v/(L/3) Ó 0.15) height under the assumptions that the
Circular Col. (a!v/(L/3) < 0.05) reduction factor ν = 0.5 and the non-
Circular Col. (0.05 ž a!v/(L/3) < 0.15) structural elements do not interfere
0.7 Circular Col. (a!v/(L/3) Ó 0.15)
with the structural responses. In other
y = 1.0547x: mean-fit
0.6 words, the ultimate displacements of
structural columns should be greater
than 2% of its shear span Ls, consider-
0.4 ing the double curvature configuration
0.3 of the laterally drifted columns. As seen
in Fig. 9a, EC8 provisions on AFR lim-
its can guarantee that the ultimate dis-
0.1 placement ratios of both flexure- and
0 shear-critical columns would not be
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1 lower than 2%, provided that column
Calculated normalised lateral strength hinges are properly detailed.
(b) The TEC 2007 and GB codes also
1.4 give reasonable limits on AFR. How-
Rectangular Col. (a!vL/3 < 0.05)
Rectangular Col. (0.05 ž a!vL/3 < 0.15) ever, the New Zealand and ACI code
Measured normalised lateral strength

1.2 Rectangular Col. (a!vL/3 Ó 0.15) requirements result in a large range of

Circular Col. (a!vL/3 < 0.05) the axial force limits dependent on
1.0 Circular Col. (0.05 ž a!vL/3 < 0.15)
the longitudinal reinforcing ratio, and
Circular Col. (a!vL/3 Ó 0.15)
are much less stringent in comparison
0.8 y = 0.8786x: mean-fit
with the EC8, TEC 2007 and GB
codes. In cases of heavily reinforced
RC columns (ρl ~ 4%), there is no
experimental data to support any pre-
dicted column behaviour. The Hong
Kong code’s limit on AFR, though
not explicitly stipulated, is also a little
far from a reasonable limit, where
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 only limited experimental data are
Calculated normalised lateral strength available in this high ACR region.

Rectangular Col. (a!vL/3 < 0.05)

As shown in Fig. 9b, due to the brittle
1.4 Rectangular Col. (0.05 ž a!vL/3 < 0.15) nature of the shear-critical columns,
Rectangular Col. (a!vL/3 Ó 0.15) the ultimate displacement ratios are
Measured normalised lateral strength

1.2 Circular Col. (a!vL/3 < 0.05) much lower in comparison with the
Circular Col. (0.05 ž a!vL/3 < 0.15) flexure-critical columns. The EC8
Circular Col. (a!vL/3 Ó 0.15)
1.0 requirements can barely ensure that
y = 0.6380x: mean-fit
the 2% target ultimate displacement
0.8 can be satisfied. Generally, force-
based design or elastic design is
0.6 recommended by most of the seismic
design codes for shear-critical col-
0.4 umns. Nevertheless, if the shear-
critical columns are to be designed for
0.2 allowance of plastic deformation,
more restrictive limit on the AFR in
0 addition to sufficient amount of con-
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4
Calculated normalised lateral strength fining reinforcement have to be
employed. As observed from Fig. 9b,
Fi g. 7: Comparison of calculated normalised shear strength with experimental results AFR < 30% can be a suitable limit
(a) based on moment–curvature analysis for flexural columns; (b) AIJ model for short for this purpose.
columns; (c) Ref. [21] model for short columns (dotted lines represent the bounds of
90% confidence interval)
Extent of Critical Regions
first re-normalised with respect to the critical columns are plotted together The foremost problem in ductile
specified or characteristic cylindrical with the AFR limits of different codes detailing for RC columns is the loca-
compressive strength of concrete fc0 . in Fig. 9a and b respectively. tion and the extension of the potential
The re-normalised limits are pre- plastic hinge regions, where confining
sented in Table 1. The ultimate dis- EC8 specifies the damage limitation reinforcement is to be provided.
placement ratio vs. AFR relationship requirement in the design of building Table 2 presents the code-stipulated
for flexure-critical columns and shear- structures, which is deemed to be extent of critical regions or potential

Structural Engineering International Nr. 1/2017 Scientific Paper 95

Normalised hysteretic dissipation Ed /(Vyy)

Rectangular Col. (a!vL/3 < 0.05)
Rectangular Col. (0.05 ≤ a!vL/3 < 0.15)
Rectangular Col. (a!vL/3 ≥ 0.15)
150 Circular Col. (a!vL/3 < 0.05)
Circular Col. (0.05 ≤ a!vL/3 < 0.15)
Circular Col. (a!vL/3 ≥ 0.15)
y = –0.3831*x0.957 + 50.58: mean-fit for a!vL/3 < 0.05
y = –0.2788*x1.169 + 78.27: mean-fit for 0.05 ≤ a!vL/3 < 0.15
y = –0.1545*x1.394 + 121.6: mean-fit for a!vL/3 ≥ 0.15

0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80
Axial force ratio N/(f´cAg) (%)

Normalised hysteretic dissipation Ed /(Vyy)

Rectangular Col. (!v < 0.05)
Rectangular Col. (0.05 ≤ !v < 0.10)
150 Rectangular Col. (!v ≥ 0.10)
Circular Col. (!v < 0.05)
Circular Col. (0.05 ≤ !v < 0.10)
100 Circular Col. (!v ≥ 0.10)
y = –0.2318*x0.9243 + 23.82: mean-fit for !v < 0.05
y = –0.2752*x0.8784 + 31.47: mean-fit for 0.05 ≤ !v < 0.10
50 y = –0.2521*x0.8235 + 45.75: mean-fit for !v ≥ 0.10

0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80
Axial force ratio N/(f´c Ag) (%)

F ig . 8: Relation between AFR and hysteretic dissipation: (a) flexure-critical columns; (b) shear-critical columns

plastic hinges in the RC columns. The recent studies37–39 indicated that the 
ð1:3 − ρt mÞ Ag fc0 No*
extent of critical regions required by plastic hinge length tends to increase ρv = max − 0:0084
2:4 Ac fyt fc0 Ag
New Zealand is the most stringent with axial force level, yet it was also
among the codes considered in this observed that the plastic hinge length 
Ast fy 1
study. If the column is subjected to tends to stabilise and become insensi- or ðcircularÞ ð19aÞ
110d00 fyt db
axial compression above 0:5ϕ fc0 Ag , tive to the axial force level, when the
the required confining length by displacement ductility μd of the col- 
New Zealand is as high as three times umns exceeds 4.39 Therefore, most of Ash ð1:3 −ρt mÞ Ag fc0 No*
= max
the column depth. Similarly, the Hong the commonly adopted empirical for- sh h00 3:3 Ac fyt ϕ fc0 Ag
Kong code requirements also intro- mulas for plastic hinge length are X !
duce the axial force effect but the independent of axial load level.4 It is Ab fy 1
further noted that, within the typical −0:006 or ðrectangularÞ
maximum extent is relaxed to two 96fyt h00 db
times the column depth. For other allowable axial load limit, the plastic
design codes, the maximum critical hinge length would typically not ð19bÞ
region extent stipulated by EC8 is not exceed the column height hc,max.37
The first terms in the two parenthe-
more than 1.5 times, and is just equal
sises in Eqs. (19a) and (19b) specify
to the column depth in TEC 2007, Confinement Reinforcement
the reinforcement requirement for
ACI and GB.
Confining reinforcement in forms of confinement of the concrete core, and
The extent of critical regions pre- hoops, ties or spirals is to be provided are a function of AFR and longitudi-
scribed by the EC8, TEC 2007, ACI in the plastic hinge regions for con- nal reinforcement ratio. As discussed
and GB provisions does not rely on crete confinement and buckling before, concrete subjected to higher
the induced axial force level in con- restraint of longitudinal reinforcement axial compression requires greater
trast with the New Zealand and Hong therein. In NZS 3101: 2006-A2, the amount of lateral confining reinforce-
Kong codes. There is still controversy required quantify of hoop or tie rein- ment. On the other hand, laterally
over whether the plastic hinge length forcement in the ductile potential restrained longitudinal reinforcement
in RC columns is influenced by or plastic hinge regions (6.0 > μϕ > 3.0) can provide additional confining
sensitive to the axial force level. Some is as follows: action to the encompassed concrete,

96 Scientific Paper Structural Engineering International Nr. 1/2017

EC8 ACI 318-14 GB50011-2010 NZ 3101:2006 2007 HK*
Po **
Definition of NED, EC Pu N C, C Nd⁢max N
fcd Ag fc Ag Nn, max ** fck Ag fcu Ag
axial force ratio
8 8
Upper limit(s) < 0:55 ðDCHÞ 0:80ϕ ðTiesÞ >
> 0:65 ðGrade IÞ 0.7ϕ 0.5 0.6
0:65 ðDCMÞ 0:85ϕ ðSpiralsÞ 0:75 ðGrade IIÞ
− ðDCLÞ >
> 0:85 ðGrade IIIÞ
0:90 ðGrade IVÞ
Dependent on × ○ × ○ × ×
Re-normalised NED, EC Pu N C, C No* Nd max N
fc’ Ag fc’ Ag fc’ Ag fc’ Ag fc’ Ag fc’ Ac
ratios limit with
respect to fc’
8 8
Re-normalised < 0:37 ðDCHÞ 0:80ϕ½ð0:85 + mÞρL + 0:85 ðTiesÞ > 0:37 ðGrade IÞ 0.7ϕ[(α1 + m)ρL 0.5 0.75
*** >
limit(s) with 0:43 ðDCMÞ 0:85ϕ½ð0:85 + mÞρL + 0:85 ðSpiralsÞ 0:42 ðGrade IIÞ + α1]***
respect to fc’ − ðDCLÞ >
> 0:48 ðGrade IIIÞ
0:51 ðGrade IVÞ
*Assumed limit not explicitly stipulated by HKCocrete2013.
**Po = (0.85fc0 (Ag − Ast) + fy Ast and Nn, max = (α1 fc0 (Ag − Ast) + fy Ast are the nominal axial strength of columns prescribed by ACI 318–14 and NZ
3101:2006 respectively.
***Limits in ACI and NZ are dependent on the values of strength reduction factor ϕ, longitudinal reinforcement ratio ρL, and steel yield strength to
concrete compressive strength ratio m = fy /fc0 . If the typical values of 0.85 and 14 are assumed for α1 and m respectively, the limits range from 0.51 to
0.86 corresponding to the allowable range of longitudinal reinforcement ratio (0.8–4%) with ϕ = 0.85 for NZ, and 0.52–0.91 (ties) and 0.60–1.04 (spir-
als) corresponding to the allowable range of longitudinal reinforcement ratio (1–6%) with ϕ = 0.65 (ties) or 0.75 (spirals) for ACI.52.

Table 1: Comparison of code provisions on axial force ratios for RC columns

thus reducing the required amount of    0 reinforcement required by different

Ag f
confining reinforcement. ρs ≥ max 0:45 −1 c , 0:12fc0 =fyt , codes is illustrated by two examples:
Ac fyt
 (1) a circular column of 500 mm
Confining refinement is required by
Pu diameter transversely reinforced by
EC8 for all critical regions for DCH 0:35kf kn ðcircularÞ ð21aÞ a single hoop; (2) a rectangular col-
and critical regions at column bases fyt Ac
umn of 500 × 500 mm transversely
for DCM, and the required volumetric    0 reinforced by a compound hoop set
ratio of confining hoops is calculated Ash Ag f
≥ max 0:3 −1 c , 0:09fc0 =fyt , consisting of a single rectangular
by Eq. (20). It can be seen that the sbc Ac fyt
hoop and two tie bars in each
quantity of hoop reinforcement  orthogonal direction. The results are
required by EC8, is designed for con- Pu
0:2kf kn ðrectangularÞ ð21bÞ plotted in Fig. 10. The EC8 requires
crete confinement only and it only fyt Ac
the greatest quantity of confining
takes account of axial compression
reinforcement above AFR > 20%.
effect and hoop types without consid-
Since the limits of AFR stipulated
erations of bar diameters and other where the value of the factor kf and
in the New Zealand and ACI codes
geometry parameters. kn are concrete strength factor and
are higher than those stipulated in
confinement effectiveness factor
NED, EC bc the EC 8, much heavier confining
αωwd ≥ 30μϕ εsy, d −0:0035 respectively. The last terms in the
fcd Ag bo reinforcement may be needed for
above equations need to be consid-
circular columns at high axial com-
ð20Þ ered only when Pu > 0:3fc0 Ag . The
pression to fulfil the New Zealand
equations provided by TEC 2007 to
and ACI requirements. The GB and
The quantity of the hoop reinforce- calculate the amount of confinement
New Zealand codes required similar
ment in the critical regions required reinforcement are similar to ACI as
quantity of confining reinforcement
above, except that the last terms are
by the ACI code is given by but the GB required quantity
omitted and the coefficient for the
Eqs. (21a) and (21b) for circular and becomes lesser than the
second term in Eq. (21) is taken as
rectangular column sections respec- New Zealand code for the rectangu-
0.075 instead of 0.09. Furthermore, in
tively. The confinement detailing rules lar column. On the other hand, the
TEC 2007, only two-thirds of the
including the extent of confined Hong Kong and TEC 2007 code
transverse reinforcement calculated
regions and the required confining requirements are not influenced by
by the ordinary equations is required,
hoop quantity specified in the ACI the level of axial compression and
if AFR is less than 0.20.
code neither rely on axial compres- thus the required quantities of con-
sion induced nor the ductility The relationship between AFR and fining reinforcement remain
demands on the columns. the quantity of confining constant.

Structural Engineering International Nr. 1/2017 Scientific Paper 97

(a) y = –0.0793*x0.7561 + 3.66: mean-fit for a!vL/3 < 0.05 Conclusions
y= –0.3368*x0.5561 + 5.83: mean-fit for 0.05 ≤ a!vL/3 < 0.15
Structural columns, as a primary and
y = –0.3737*x0.6197 + 7.86: mean-fit for a!vL/3 ≥ 0.15
critical supporting member, should be
TEC HK properly designed and detailed such
12 that sufficient structural ductility can
Ultimate displacement ratio (u/Ls) (%)

be attained to prevent catastrophic
10 collapse of the whole building struc-
NZ ture. The ductility and energy dissipa-
ACI tion capacity of RC columns can be
Experimental data enhanced by confining the core con-
not available crete in the plastic hinge regions with
hoop reinforcement, of which required
quantity is greatly influenced by the
4 level of axial force. Many modern seis-
mic design codes also stipulate upper
2 limits on AFR. Nevertheless, consid-
erable dissimilarities are found in dif-
0 ferent design codes in the treatments
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 of AFR effects for the design of RC
Axial force ratio N/(f´cAg) (%) columns. In view of this issue, the sci-
y= –0.1202*x0.6512 + 2.69: mean-fit for !v < 0.05 entific background of confinement
y = –0.1505*x0.6862 + 4.08: mean-fit for 0.05 ≤ !v < 0.10
detailing for concrete structures is first
revisited and a comprehensive statisti-
y = –0.2003*x0.7062 + 5.60: mean-fit for !v ≥ 0.10
cal analysis is conducted.
12 EC8 The statistical analysis reveals that the
ductility, ultimate displacement and
Ultimate displacement ratio (u/Ls) (%)

hysteretic dissipation of the flexure-
critical RC columns under cyclic load-
ing can be significantly reduced by
8 increasing the AFR, although the lat-
Experimental data
not available eral strength vs. AFR relationship
6 shows a reverse trend. EC8 sets rea-
sonable limits to the AFR for RC col-
4 umns designed to different ductility
classes, yet different limits should be
2 used for slender and short columns as
they are controlled by completely dif-
ferent failure mechanisms. It is also
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 found that AFR is not much influen-
Axial force ratio N/(f´cAg) (%) tial to the displacement ductility of
short columns but reduce the ultimate
F ig . 9: Comparison of code specified AFR limits with experimental data: (a) ultimate drift ratio and hysteretic dissipation
displacement ratio of flexure-critical columns vs. AFR; (b) ultimate displacement ratio of capacity of short columns.
shear-critical columns vs. AFR

Code Extents of Critical Regions ly Axial Force Effect

EC8 < maxð1:5hc, max , 600 mm, 1=5lc Þ ðDCHÞ ×
maxðhc, max , 450 mm, 1=5lc Þ ðDCMÞ
hc, max ðDCLÞ
ACI318-14 max(hc,max, 1/6lo, 457 mm (18 inch)) ×
GB50011-2010 < maxðhc, max , 500 mm, 1=6lc Þ ðall columns endsÞ ×
1=3lo ðcolumns bases in the first storeyÞ
500 ðabove and below rigid ground surfacesÞ
8  * 
NZ 3101:2006 < maxðhc , h0:8M Þ  No ≤ 0:25ϕ fc’ Ag  ○
maxð2:0hc , h0:7M Þ  0:25ϕ fc Ag < No ≤ 0:5ϕ fc’ Ag 
’ *
maxð3:0hc , h0:6M Þ 0:5ϕ fc’ Ag < No* ≤ 0:7ϕ Nn, max
TEC 2007 max(hc,max, 1/6lo, 500 mm) ×
HK < maxðhc,max , h0:85M , 1=6lc Þ  0 < N= Ag fcu ≤ 0:1  ○
maxð1:5hc, max, h0:75M , 1=6lc Þ 0:1 < N=Ag fcu  ≤ 0:3
maxð2:0hc, max, h0:65M , 1=6lc Þ 0:3 < N= Ag fcu ≤ 0:6

Table 2: Comparisons of codes provisions on extents of critical regions in RC columns

98 Scientific Paper Structural Engineering International Nr. 1/2017

(a) 0.5 (b) 0.5
Mechanical volumetric ratio v fy/f'c
500 mm

Mechanical reinforcement ratio

0.4 0.4

500 mm NZ (L = 0.8%) 500 mm

fyAtx/(fc's h")
0.3 ACI
0.3 NZ (L = 0.8%)
NZ (L = 4%) EC8 (DCH)
GB (grade I) NZ (L = 4%)
GB (grade III & IV)
0.2 0.2

GB (grade I)
TEC 2007
GB (grade III & IV)
0.1 0.1
TEC 2007

0 0
0 20 40 60 80 100 0 20 40 60 80 100
Axial force ratio N/(f'cAg) (%) Axial force ratio N/(f'cAg) (%)

Fi g. 10: Code-stipulated confining reinforcement at various levels of AFR: (a) circular column; (b) rectangular column (assume
fy/fc0 = 10)

Acknowledgements of the 11th World Conference on Earthquake [22] Kappos A, & Penelis GG. Earthquake
Engineering, Acapulco, 1996. Resistant Concrete Structures CRC Press: Boca
The supports of the Hong Kong Research Raton, 1996.
[10] Turkish Earthquake Code. Specification
Grand Council (HK-RGC) under grant num- for Buildings to be Built in Earthquake Regions. [23] Borg RC, Rossetto T, Varum H. Low cycle
ber 614011 and the Scientific and Technologi- Ministry of Public Works and Settlement, Gov- fatigue tests of reinforced concrete columns and
cal Research Council of Turkey (TÜBITAK) ernment of the Republic of Turkey, 2007. joints, built with ribbed reinforcement and plain
under project number 214M236 are gratefully stirrups. Proceedings of the 15th World Confer-
[11] Ministry of Construction of the People’s
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Republic of China. GB 50011–2010: Code for
Seismic Design of Buildings. China Architec- gal, 2012.
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ous shear and axial failures of reinforced con-
The Design of Concrete Structures Incorporating [26] Ahn J-M, & Shin S-W. An evaluation of
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