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Combined Torsion and Bending in Reinforced

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Simplified Method for Combined Stress-Res....

Article in Aci Structural Journal · July 2007


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Khaldoun Rahal
Kuwait University


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Title no. 104-S38

Combined Torsion and Bending in Reinforced and

Prestressed Concrete Beams Using Simplified Method
for Combined Stress-Resultants
by Khaldoun N. Rahal

This paper presents a simplified model for the design and analysis
of reinforced and partially- and fully-prestressed concrete beams
subjected to combined torsional and bending moments. This model
is an extension of the existing simplified method for combined
stress-resultants (SMCS) model. The interaction between torsion
and flexure is achieved by superposing the steel required for the
two moments. The observed ultimate loads of 111 beams are
compared with the calculations of the proposed model and very
good agreement is obtained. This includes comparing interaction
diagrams and the effects of concrete strength, stirrups spacing, and
T-beam flange width on the ultimate capacity. The calculations by
the ACI code equations are also evaluated and shown to give
satisfactory and, in some cases, overly conservative, results. The
simplicity of the proposed model is illustrated using a design and
an analysis example.

Keywords: beams; bending; prestressed concrete; reinforced concrete;

shear; stress; torsion.
Fig. 1—Reinforced concrete membrane element subjected to
in-plane shearing stresses.
Many structural elements such as spandrel beams, eccen-
trically loaded bridge girders, and beams curved in plan are feature is not available in many other simple noniterative
subjected to the effects of combined actions. Torsional and methods for calculation of the torsional strength.1,13
flexural moments (T and M, respectively) can be dominant in
the design of such members. Only longitudinal steel is required RESEARCH SIGNIFICANCE
to resist the flexural moment, whereas both transverse and There is a lack of a simple model for the analysis and
longitudinal steel are required to resist the torsional moment. design of membrane elements and beam elements subjected
Designing for the flexural moment is simple, and the to various combinations of stress resultants. This paper
flexure theory based on the assumption that plane sections extends the application of the SMCS model to the case of
remain plane has been used with satisfactory results. The beams subjected to combined bending and torsion. This
treatment of pure torsion and torsion combined with other model is applicable to members with adequate amounts of
stress resultants in design codes,1,2 however, is not unified. longitudinal and transverse reinforcement.
The literature reports advanced models for combined
torsion.3-7 These models, however, require the use of SMCS FOR PURE SHEAR
computers and are not readily suitable for implementation in IN MEMBRANE ELEMENTS
design codes. There is a lack of a simple model for the design This section gives a summary of the basic SMCS model.
and analysis of sections subjected to various combinations of More details can be found elsewhere.9
the six possible stress resultants on a beam cross section.
Figure 1 shows a reinforced concrete membrane element
The simplified method for combined stress-resultants adequately reinforced in the x and y directions and subjected
(SMCS) is a simplification of the results by the modified to in-plane shearing stresses. The mechanical reinforcement
compression field theory (MCFT).8 The SMCS model was ratios in the x and y directions ωx and ωy are defined as
originally developed for the case of thin reinforced concrete
membrane elements subjected to in-plane shearing stresses,9
and was found to give very good results. Its application was ρ x f yx
ω x = ----------
- (1)
extended to apply to membrane elements subjected to in- f c′
plane shearing and normal stresses,10 to reinforced concrete
beams subjected to pure torsion11 and to combined shear,
bending moment, and axial loads.12 The main features of this ACI Structural Journal, V. 104, No. 4, July-August 2007.
MS No. S-2006-029.R1 received September 4, 2006, and reviewed under Institute
model are its simplicity and generality, where it was applied publication policies. Copyright © 2007, American Concrete Institute. All rights reserved,
to both membrane elements and beam members under including the making of copies unless permission is obtained from the copyright
proprietors. Pertinent discussion including author’s closure, if any, will be published in the
various loadings without loss of its simplicity. The generality May-June 2008 ACI Structural Journal if the discussion is received by January 1, 2008.

402 ACI Structural Journal/July-August 2007

ACI member Khaldoun N. Rahal is a Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering
at Kuwait University, Kuwait City, Kuwait. He is a member of Joint ACI-ASCE Committee
445, Shear and Torsion. He is Past President of the ACI Kuwait Chapter.

Fig. 3—Shear strength curves for reinforced membrane


balanced curves, one corresponding to levels of ωx beyond

Fig. 2—Relationship between normalized shear strength v/fc′ which x reinforcement does not yield, and the other corre-
and mechanical reinforcement ratios. sponding to levels of ωy beyond which y reinforcement does
not yield. Due to symmetry, ωx and ωy can be interchanged.
ρ y f yy The two balanced curves split the graph into four regions
ω y = ----------
- (2)
fc ′ corresponding to four modes of failures of the membranes.
The first region is where both x and y reinforcement yield
before concrete crushing (Mode 1: fully under-reinforced
The ultimate strength of this element depends mainly on
section), the second region is where only x reinforcement
the amount and strength of reinforcement in the x and y
yields before concrete crushing (Mode 2: partially under-
directions and on the concrete strength. The equations of the
reinforced section), the third region is where only the y
MCFT8 were used to calculate the ultimate strength and the
reinforcement yields before concrete crushing (Mode 3:
corresponding strains of the elements for various cases.
partially under-reinforced section), and the fourth region is
Figure 2 shows the increase in the normalized shear strength
where concrete crushing takes place before any yielding in
v/fc′ as the reinforcement level ωy in the y direction is
the reinforcement (Mode 4: fully over-reinforced section).
increased while maintaining ωx constant. For example, a
Hence, Fig. 3 gives not only the maximum shear stress but
20 MPa (2900 psi) concrete panel reinforced with ρx fyx = ρy fyy
also the mode of failure at ultimate conditions.
= 2 MPa (290 psi) is analyzed, and the ultimate strength is
found to be 2 MPa (290 psi) with both x and y reinforcement Part of the behavior summarized in Fig. 2 and 3 can be
yielding before concrete crushing. These results correspond explained by studying the equations that govern the equilibrium
to ωx = ωy = 0.1 and v/fc′ = 0.1, and plot as Point A in Fig. 2. of the membrane element shown in Fig. 1
Analyzing a similar panel but with ρy fyy = 10 MPa (1450 psi)
results in an ultimate shear strength of 3.36 MPa (487 psi), σx = f2cos2θ + f1sin2θ + ρx fsx (3)
with only the x reinforcement yielding before concrete
crushing. These results correspond to ωx = 0.1, ωy = 0.4 and
σy = f2sin2θ + f1cos2θ + ρy fsy (4)
v/fc′ = 0.168, and plot as Point B in Fig. 2.
Repeating the analysis for various amounts ωy results in
the lower curve in Fig. 2. Nearly the same curve can be v = (–f2 + f1)sinθcosθ (5)
obtained if the analysis was based on ωx = 0.1 obtained by
setting fc′ = 35 MPa (5080 psi) and ρx fyx = 3.5 MPa (508 psi). In under-reinforced elements, both x and y reinforcement
Increasing ρx fyx to 4.0 MPa (580 psi) to give ωx = 0.2 and yield (fsx = fyx and fsy = fyy), and the ability of the diagonal
repeating the analyses at various values of ωy results in the cracks to transmit the tensile stresses drops to zero (f1 = 0).
upper curve in Fig. 2. For reinforcement levels below those For pure shear, the normal stresses σx and σy are equal to
corresponding to points marked C and D, the y reinforcement zero, and Eq. (3) to (5) can be rearranged to give the ultimate
yields before crushing of the concrete, and the element is shear stress of under-reinforced elements and the corre-
under-reinforced. For larger reinforcement ratios, the sponding angle θ as follows
concrete crushes before yielding of the y reinforcement
(partially or fully over-reinforced element) and the relative
increase in strength is significantly lower. ν= ρ x f yxρy f yy; or v ⁄ f c ′ = ωx ωy (6)
The analysis was repeated for various values of ωx and ωy
and the results are plotted in Fig. 3. Reinforcement levels ρ y f yy ωy
corresponding to those marked C and D in Fig. 2 are joined θ = -------------- = ------ (7)
together to form a balanced curve. Figure 3 shows two ρ x f yx ωx

ACI Structural Journal/July-August 2007 403

walls and if the reinforcement indexes (Eq. (1) and (2)) are
related to the actual longitudinal and transverse reinforcement
in the section.
Based on the results of a simplified model,13 the thickness
of the wall and the area and perimeter enclosed by the shear
flow path can be taken as

t d = 0.5 -----c (11)

A0 = 0.8Ac (12)
Fig. 4—Hollow tube model for torsional strength.
p0 = 0.9pc (13)
Equation (6) is plotted in Fig. 2, and is shown to match with
the results of the MCFT up to Points C and D (that is, for For normal-strength concrete where the concrete strength is
Mode 1, fully under-reinforced elements). It shows that for below 50 MPa (7250 psi), the stress-strain relationship in
these elements, the shear strength comes solely from the compression can be represented by a parabola. If the peak
steel contribution. For partially or fully over-reinforced compressive strain equal to (1.5 × the strain at peak stress),
elements, there is a significant concrete contribution, which the relationship between a0 and td can be taken as
is implicitly included in the total shear strength v.
It is noted that Eq. (6) is similar to the plastic solution for a0 = 0.833td (14)
fully under-reinforced membranes presented by Braestrup.14
However, SMCS and the theory of plasticity are different in Substituting Eq. (10), (11), (12), and (14) into Eq. (9) gives
three of the four regions in Fig. 3, and in the boundaries the following equation for the nominal torsional moment T
between these regions. A detailed comparison between the
results of the plastic theory and the SMCS for membrane 2
elements subjected to in-plane shear stresses is given in Ac
Reference 9 (closure to discussion). T = 0.67 -------
-v (15)
Equal reinforcement in the x and y directions leads to the
following simplifications of Eq. (6)
Equation (15) provides the relationship between the
torsional capacity of the cross section and the shear stress
v = ρx fyx = ρy fyy (8a)
capacity of the thin membrane walls.
The transverse steel ratio (taken as the y direction steel for
v a vertical wall) is calculated as
----- = ω x = ω y (8b)
f c′
SMCS FOR TORSION ρ y = -------t- (16)
sa 0
The equations of the SMCS for torsion are based on the
hollow tube analogy, where the cross section subjected to a
torque T is modeled as a hollow tube with constant thickness The total symmetrical longitudinal steel provides reinforcement
td (refer to Fig. 4). The torque causes a field of shearing for a series of membrane elements of length p0 and thickness
stresses (nonuniform over td) that circulate around in the a0. Hence, the longitudinal steel ratio is calculated as follows
walls of the tube. Similar to the use of the equivalent
compressive stress block in the theory of flexure, an equivalent AL
field of constant principal compressive stresses and shear ρx = ----------
- (17)
p0 a0
flow q can be assumed over a thickness a0 of the tube. The
basic relationship between T and q is given by
Combining Eq. (1), (2), (11), (13), (14), (16), and (17) and
T = 2qA0 (9) accounting for the prestressed reinforcement in the element
gives the following equations for the reinforcement indexes
in the walls
where A0 is the area enclosed by the shear flow path shown
in Fig. 4. The shear flow is related to the shear stress v and
the equivalent thickness of the wall as follows A L f yL + A ps f py
ω L = -------------------------------------
- (18)
0.375A c f c′
q = a0v (10)
A t f yt p c
The walls of the twisted beam (Fig. 4) are assumed to be thin ω t = --------------------------
- (19)
membrane elements similar to those shown in Fig. 1. Their 0.42sA c f c′
ultimate shear strength can hence be obtained from Fig. 3.
Consequently, the SMCS model can be applied to the case of Equations (18) and (19) apply to sections symmetrically
torsion if the torque is related to the shear strength v in the reinforced in the longitudinal direction.

404 ACI Structural Journal/July-August 2007

It is to be noted that the torsion equations are based on the
outer dimensions of the cross sections, which implies that the
concrete outside the hoops does not spall at ultimate load. If
spalling is expected due to a relatively large concrete clear
cover, the terms pc and Ac in Eq. (15), (18), (19), and (21) can
be replaced with the ph and A0h, respectively.

Unsymmetrically reinforced sections

Figure 5(a) shows an unsymmetrically reinforced section.
The membrane element in the top flange of the tube is
weaker than that in the bottom flange, and its ultimate shear
strength is critical in calculating the ultimate torsional
capacity. The additional strength of the stronger wall can not
be achieved, and the strength of the unsymmetrical section Fig. 5—Strength of unsymmetrically reinforced sections.
can be accurately and conservatively taken as that of a section
symmetrically reinforced with the weaker reinforcement.15,16 compression flange typically has smaller reinforcement, but
Hence, the strength of the section shown in Fig. 5(a) is taken to is strengthened by the flexural compressive force.1,16 The
be the same as that shown in Fig. 5(b) where the stronger strength in the longitudinal direction effective in resisting the
bottom steel is replaced with an amount equal to the weaker torsional moment is that from the actual reinforcement,
top steel. modified by the flexural tensile or compressive force. As
shown in Fig. 5, the total amount of longitudinal reinforcement
FLEXURE BY SUPERPOSITION resisting torsion is twice the critical (modified) steel. Any
OF REINFORCEMENT skin reinforcement that contributes to the resistance of the
Superposition of the longitudinal reinforcement required wall can be added to this longitudinal index. Accordingly,
to resist M to that required to resist T is adopted to account the longitudinal reinforcing index is taken as
for the interaction between the two moments. This is illustrated
in the following procedures for the cases of design and analysis,

and is verified in the following section.

2M ⁄ jd + 2 ( A s f y ) top∑
⎪ 0.375A c f c′
Design procedure ωL ≤ ⎨ (21)
1. Design for M (say positive) using the flexure theory, and ⎪
⎪ ∑
– 2 M ⁄ jd + 2 ( A s f y ) bot
calculate amount of tensile (bottom) steel. ⎩ 0.375A c f c′
2. Calculate ν using Eq. (15).
3. Select a reinforcement indexes (say, ωL ) and obtain the
where M is positive if it causes tension in the bottom of the
other index (ωt) using Fig. 3 (or using Eq. (6) if section is
cross section and negative otherwise, and steel includes
fully under-reinforced).
nonprestressed and prestressed reinforcement, as well as
4. Calculate amounts of longitudinal and transverse steel
skin reinforcement.
from Eq. (18) and (19). Select stirrups size and spacing.
Distribute longitudinal steel symmetrically to top and bottom
flanges (and on sides if skin reinforcement is to be provided). Capacity calculation procedure
1. Select bending moment M at which co-existing
5. In the tension zone, combine (bottom) longitudinal steel torsional moment is to be calculated.
from Steps 1 and 4 (to resist M and T, respectively). 2. Calculate ωt based on Eq. (19) and ωL based on Eq. (21).
6. In the compression zone, reduce the (top) longitudinal 3. Use Fig. 3 (or, if the section is under-reinforced, Eq. (6))
steel (required to resist T) by the amount equivalent to the to obtain v/f ′c.
compression force caused by bending, given approximately by 4. Calculate T using Eq. (15).
The procedure is illustrated in Appendix B using a
---------- solved example.
jdf yL
Step 6 is similar to the approach permitted in the ACI code 1 The basic ACI1 equilibrium equation that relates the
(where jd = 0.9). General design requirements such as torsional strength to the amount of transverse reinforcement
providing a minimum of four longitudinal corner bars and and is based on the hollow tube model
limiting the spacing of the transverse and longitudinal steel
need to be respected. The procedure is illustrated in A t f yt
- cot θ
T = 2A 0 --------- (22)
Appendix A using a solved example. s

Capacity calculation ACI permits the area enclosed by the shear flow A0 to be taken
If the cross section is not symmetrically reinforced or if a as 0.85A0h. A similar equilibrium equation relates the torsional
bending moment is acting, either the top or the bottom flange strength to the amount of longitudinal reinforcement
(whichever is weaker in the longitudinal direction) can be
critical in determining the beam strength. The flexural A L f yL
tension flange typically has larger reinforcement, but is - tan θ
T = 2A 0 ------------ (23)
weakened by the flexural tensile force, while the flexural ph

ACI Structural Journal/July-August 2007 405

Fig. 6—Details of beams used in detailed evaluation of SMCS model.

Table 1—Properties of reinforcement in beams To avoid concrete crushing before yielding of the reinforce-
used in verification ment and to limit the crack width at service load, the ACI
code requires that
Bar size Area, mm2 (in.2) fy , MPa (ksi) Used in
No. 3 71 (0.11) 366 (53.0) Groups 1 to 4
Tp h
No. 3 71 (0.11) 376 (54.5) TB - ≤ 0.83 f c ′
No. 3 71 (0.11) 406 (58.9) TBS 1.7A 0h
No. 3 71 (0.11) 552 (80.0) TBU
Longitudinal steel

No. 4 129 (0.20) 433 (62.8) TBS If the cross section is hollow and its wall thickness t is
No. 4 129 (0.20) 393 (57.0) TBU smaller than A0h/ph, then the left-hand side term for torsional
No. 5 200 (0.31) 337 (48.9) Groups 1 to 4 shearing stress is replaced with T/(1.7A0ht).
No. 5 200 (0.31) 363 (52.6) TB The steel required to resist the torsional moment is
No. 6 283 (0.44) 323 (46.8) Groups 1 to 4 superimposed on the steel required to resist the flexural moment.
No. 8 510 (0.79) 436 (63.2) TBU, TBS In the compression zone, the longitudinal steel required for
φ4.2 13.9 (0.022) 640 (92.8) A-2, B11, C17, D15 flanges torsion can be reduced using Eq. (20) (with jd = 0.9d) due to
φ12 113 (0.175) 540 (78.3) A-2, B11, C17, D15 webs
the favorable effect of the flexural compression force.
No. 3 71 (0.11) 376 (54.5) TB
No. 3 71 (0.11) 379 (55.0) 1-1 to 1-5, Group 3
A total of 111 beam specimens4,17-23 are used to evaluate
No. 3 71 (0.11) 370 (53.6) 1-6, Groups 2, 4 the ability of the proposed model and of the ACI code

No. 4 129 (0.20) 379 (55.0) TBU provisions to calculate the strength of reinforced and
No. 4 129 (0.20) 443 (64.2) TBS partially prestressed beams subjected to combined torsion
φ4.2 13.9 (0.022) 640 (92.8) A-2, B11, C17, D15 flanges and bending. The specimens tested in these series include
φ6.5 33.2 (0.051) 330 (47.8) A-2, B11, C17, D15 webs hollow and solid, nonprestressed and partially prestressed,
Note: TB series prestressing steel: effective prestress 1145 MPa (166 ksi), ultimate symmetrically and nonsymmetrically reinforced, and rectan-
strength 1703 MPa (247 ksi). gular and T sections. These test results studied the effects of
T to M ratio, nonsymmetry in longitudinal reinforcement,
amount of transverse reinforcement, concrete compressive
Equating T from Eq. (22) and (23) results in the ACI equation strength, and size of T-beam flanges. Thirty-eight of these
for the required amount of longitudinal reinforcement for beams are selected for detailed comparisons, and the cross
torsional resistance section geometry and reinforcement are given in Fig. 6 and
Table 1. A summary of the results of the 111 test specimens
A f yt 2
is given in Table 2. The results from the ACI equations are
- cot θ
A L = -----t p h ----- (24) also listed. One set of results is based on an angle θ of 45 degrees
s f yL
for reinforced members and 37.5 degrees for partially
prestressed members, and the other set is based on calculating
ACI requires that the angle of inclination θ of the diagonal an angle between 30 and 60 degrees that satisfies the truss
struts of the truss model shall not be smaller than 30 degrees model Eq. (22) to (24) is also shown.
nor larger than 60 degrees. ACI further suggests that the
angle to be taken as 45 degrees for reinforced members and Symmetrically reinforced nonprestressed beams
37.5 degrees for prestressed members. The Commentary, on the Group 2 of the specimens tested by McMullen and
other hand, suggests that the angle can be obtained by analysis. Warwaruk17,18 contained five nonprestressed solid

406 ACI Structural Journal/July-August 2007

Table 2—Experimental verification
(θ = 450 (30 degrees ≤ θ
Distribution of Concrete
SMCS degrees) ≤ 60 degrees)
Number and type of beam longitudinal Nominal size, strength,
Reference specimens reinforcement mm (in.) MPa (psi) Mean COV, % Mean COV, % Mean COV, %
McMullen and 20 rectangular solid Five symmetrical 152 x 305 30 to 40
0.98 5.8 1.31 14.9 1.19 12.9
Warwaruk17-18 reinforced beams 15 unsymmetrical (6 x 12) (4350 to 5800)
Five rectangular hollow 305 x 432 ≈38
Mardukhi19 partially prestressed beams
(12 x 17) (5500)
1.03 5.5 1.34 22.8 1.13 10.5

Five hollow and four solid 508 x 410 15 to 46

Onsongo4 rectangular reinforced beams
(20 x 16.1) (2200 to 6670) 1.15
13.1 1.38 20.9 1.35 21.1

12 rectangular solid 203 x 203,152 x 305 27 to 40

Gesund et al.20 reinforced beams
(8 x 8, 6 x 12) (3900 to 5800) 0.91
14.1 1.34 13.6 1.26 14.9

Zararis and 42 T- and four rectangular 100 x 210* 14 to 41

Unsymmetrical (2030 to 5950) 1.11
15.2 1.98 20.9 1.65 18.3
Penelis21 solid reinforced beams (4 x 8.3)
Pandit and 14 rectangular solid Three symmetrical 152 x 305 32 to 40
(4650 to 5800) 0.95
10.3 1.25 13.3 1.15 12.7
Warwaruk22 reinforced beams 11 unsymmetrical (6 x 12)
Lampert and Five square hollow 500 x 500 26
Unsymmetrical 1.04 4.5 1.32 13.2 1.11 3.76
Thurlimann23 reinforced beams (19.7 x 19.7) (3770)
111 beam specimens 1.04 14.7 1.59 28.2 1.39 23.5
Flange dimensions of T beams: 152 to 203 mm (6 to 8 in.) thickness, and 400, 700, and 1000 mm (15.7, 27.6, and 39.4 in.) width.

specimens tested under various combinations of T to M

ratios. The longitudinal reinforcement was symmetrically
distributed around the solid cross section as shown in Fig. 6.
Figure 7(a) shows the experimentally observed and the
calculated T-M interaction curves. The model is capable of
accurately modeling the interaction. For the five beams, the
average ratio of experimental to calculated ultimate moment
was 1.00 and the coefficient of variation (COV) was 2.6%.
These numbers were 1.32 and 15.2% for the ACI variable θ
analysis and 1.36 and 11.7%, respectively, for the ACI
45-degree analysis. Equation (25) (safeguard against
concrete crushing) was critical in determining the strength of
members with significant torsion, and is shown to give
relatively more conservative results. Where bending was
significant, the results based on θ = 60 degrees provided
more accurate results compared with the calculations based
on θ = 45 degrees.

Symmetrically reinforced-partially
prestressed beams
Mardukhi19 tested five symmetrically reinforced, partially
prestressed hollow members (Series TB) under various
combinations of torsion and bending. Figure 7(b) shows the
comparison between the calculated and observed results and a
good agreement is observed. For the five beams, the average
ratio of experimental to calculated ultimate moment was 1.03
and the COV was 5.5%. These values are relatively similar to
those of Group 2, pointing to consistency in the results of the
method for reinforced and partially prestressed concrete
beams when symmetrically reinforced in the longitudinal
direction. In the zone of predominant bending, both the longi- Fig. 7—T-M interaction diagrams in symmetrically
tudinal and transverse reinforcement were below balanced reinforced and partially prestressed beams.
values, and Eq. (6) was used instead of Fig. 3 to calculate the
torsional shear strength v. reinforcement was critical, and a larger value of the angle
The average and COV values were 1.13 and 10.5% for the 55 degrees provided more favorable results.
ACI variable θ analysis and 1.34 and 22.8%, respectively, for
the ACI 45-degree analysis. In pure torsion and predominant Unsymmetrically reinforced beams
torsion, the amount of transverse reinforcement was critical, The six nonprestressed solid specimens of Group 117,18
and using a small θ of 30 degrees provided more accurate were similar to those in Group 2, except that a smaller
results. In predominant bending, the amount of longitudinal amount of longitudinal reinforcement was provided in the

ACI Structural Journal/July-August 2007 407

values were 1.21 and 8.8% for the ACI variable θ analysis and
1.38 and 15.0%, respectively, for the ACI 45-degree analysis.
The specimens of Group 317,18 had smaller amounts of
transverse and bottom longitudinal reinforcement. Figure 8(b)
shows the observed and the calculated T-M interaction
curves. The proposed model was unconservative for two
specimens. The average ratio of the experimental to calculated
ultimate moment in the five specimens was 0.96 and the
COV was 10.0%. These values were 1.11 and 11.6% for the
ACI variable θ analysis and 1.21 and 21.2% respectively for
the ACI 45-degree analysis.
The under-reinforced TBU series tested by Onsongo4
consisted of five hollow beams unsymmetrically reinforced
in the longitudinal direction. Figure 8(c) shows the observed
and calculated interaction diagrams. The proposed model
accurately calculated the interaction, while the ACI code
provisions were considerably conservative, except for
Specimen TBU2. This specimen, along with TBU4 suffered
from difficulties during casting, which led to a reduced wall
thickness in the top flange and hence possibly a reduced
capacity. The average ratio of the experimental to calculated
ultimate moments in the five specimens was 1.08 and the
COV was 8.3%, respectively.
Similar to the observation in Fig. 7(a) and 8(a), Eq. (25)
under-estimated the maximum torsional strength where it
was critical (in pure torsion and at relatively low T/M). Also,
larger values of the angle θ were obtained when the strength
in the longitudinal direction in the top or bottom flanges
was critical. The average and COV of the experimental to
calculated ultimate strength were 1.39 and 27.8% for the
variable θ analysis, and 1.44 and 26.8% for the θ = 45-degree
analysis, respectively.

Effect of concrete strength

The four specimens of the TBS4 series were tested to study
the effect of the fc′ on the strength at a T/M of approximately
1.25. The specimens were solid and unsymmetrically
reinforced in the longitudinal direction, as shown in Fig. 6,
and the concrete strength ranged from 15.5 to approximately
46 MPa (2200 to 6670 psi). Figure 9(a) shows the observed
and calculated results. The tests showed an increase in beam
capacity at higher concrete strength. The proposed SMCS
captured this trend, but over-estimated the increase for
Fig. 8—T-M interaction diagrams in unsymmetrically concrete strength above 33 MPa (4800 psi). The average and
reinforced beams. COV of the ratio of observed to calculated moment were
1.24 and 14.2%, respectively, for the proposed SMCS model,
flexural compression flange. Figure 8(a) compares the and 1.31 and 9.1% for both ACI methods. The ACI calculated
experimentally observed and the calculated T-M interaction strength was limited by concrete crushing (Eq. (25)) and are
curves. Smaller levels of flexural moments increased the shown again to be conservative.
torsional capacity due to the strengthening effect of the flexural
compressive force on the weaker top flange. The SMCS Effect of stirrups spacing
model was capable of accurately modeling the interaction, The four specimens of Group 417,18 were tested to study
including the increase in torsional strength at relatively low the effect of the stirrups spacing on the strength at a T/M of
flexural moments. The average ratio of the experimental to approximately 0.6. The cross sections of these specimens
were similar to that of Group 3, and Specimen 3-4 from
calculated ultimate moment in the six specimens was 1.00
Series 3 tested at the same T/M fits within the graph. The
and the COV was 4.1%.
spacing of the stirrups ranged from 76 to 230 mm (3 to 9 in.),
The ACI equations were considerably conservative in and was larger than the ACI limit of ph/8 in four out of the
calculating the torsional strength at relatively low flexural five specimens. The proposed SMCS model and the ACI
moment, but were more accurate at higher levels of M. In the variable θ analysis accurately captured the decrease in
cases where the longitudinal reinforcement in either the strength at larger stirrups spacing even where the spacing
compression or the tension flange was critical in determining can be considered inadequately large. The average and COV
the overall strength, using larger values of θ provided larger of the ratio of observed to calculated strength were 0.97 and
strength and more accurate calculations. The average and COV 4.8% for the proposed SMCS model, 1.10 and 1.2% for the

408 ACI Structural Journal/July-August 2007

Table 3—Comparison with performance of SMCS
in other studies (total 415 specimens)
No. of calculated
Type of elements Stress-resultants specimens Mean COV, %
Beams (this study) Torsion and bending 111 1.04 14.7
9 In-plane shear 46 1.01 12.5
Membrane elements
10 In-plane shear
Membrane elements 14 1.17 12.2
and normal
Beams11 Pure torsion 83 1.03 11.1
Shear, bending and
Beams12 axial load
161 1.28 18.8

ACI variable θ analysis, and 1.25 and 8.5% for the ACI
45-degree analysis, respectively.

Effect of flange width in T-beams

Figure 9(c) shows the experimentally observed and the
calculated strength of a series of four specimens from an
experimental program21 designed to study the effect of
flange size on the strength of T-beams subjected to
combined torsion and bending. Both the web and the flange
were reinforced with longitudinal and transverse steel, and
the flange width ranged from 100 mm (4 in.) (rectangular
section) to approximately 1000 mm (39.4 in.) (refer to Fig. 6).
The four specimens were tested under T/M of approximately
1.18. The proposed method captured the trend in increase in
strength with an overhang width up to approximately five
times the flange thickness, but slightly under-estimated the
increase in strength at larger overhang size. The average and
COV of the ratio of observed to calculated moment were
1.09 and 9.0%, respectively, for the proposed SMCS model;
1.94 and 5.6%, respectively, for the ACI variable angle
analysis; and 2.00 and 6.5% for the ACI 45-degree analysis,
respectively. The ACI results are shown to be unduly

Overall performance of proposed model

Table 2 shows the average and COV of the experimental
to calculated strength of the 111 specimens.4,17-23 The ACI
results were more conservative than those of the proposed
model, mainly in members subjected to significant torsion as
shown in the previous section. The conservatism in Eq. (25)
is partially due to the assumption of spalling of the concrete
cover in torsion, a phenomenon that did not affect the results
most (if not all) of the 111 specimens because of the relatively Fig. 9—Effect of fc′ , stirrups spacing and T-beam flange
small thickness of clear cover used. In addition, spalling width on strength of beams.
does not affect all sides of the cross section subjected to
combined stresses24 as assumed by the ACI equation. The SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
proposed model resulted in a smaller COV, pointing to a A simple method for the design and capacity calculation of
more uniform calculation of the strength at the various levels strength of reinforced and prestressed concrete members
of T/M and variables affecting the results. subjected to combined torsion and bending was presented.
Table 3 compares the performance of the SMCS model for The interaction between the two moments was achieved by
combined torsion and bending with that for the case of adopting the concept of superposition of the longitudinal
beams subjected to pure torsion;11 membrane elements reinforcement for the two cases.
subjected to in-plane shearing stresses;9 membrane elements The calculations of the SMCS model were compared with
subjected to in-plane shearing and normal stresses;10 and the experimental results from 111 nonprestressed and
beam elements subjected to shear, bending, and axial partially prestressed rectangular and T-beam specimens
loads.12 The results were slightly more conservative and subjected to combined torsion and bending. Full interaction
with slightly higher variation when shear was combined with curves were calculated using the proposed model, and were
bending. In general, however, the performance of the SMCS shown to be in very good agreement with the observed
model can be considered consistent in both beam and results. The model also captured the effect of the concrete
membrane elements subjected to the stress-resultants shown. strength, the amount of transverse reinforcement, the

ACI Structural Journal/July-August 2007 409

distribution of the longitudinal reinforcement, and the size of 2. American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials,
the T-beam flanges on the beam strength. The performance of “AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications and Commentary,” SI
Units, 3rd Edition, Washington, D.C., 2004.
the model was consistent with that in previous studies on: 3. Ewida, A. A., and McMullen, A. E., “Torsion-Shear-Flexure
1) pure torsion in beams; 2) combined shear, bending, and axial Interaction in Reinforced Concrete Members,” Magazine of Concrete
load in beams; 3) pure shear in membrane elements; and Research, V. 33, No. 115, 1981, pp. 113-122.
4) combined shear and normal stresses in membrane elements. 4. Onsongo, W. M., “The Diagonal Compression Field Theory for
The equations of the ACI code were also compared with Reinforced Concrete Beams Subjected to Combined Torsion, Flexure, and
Axial Load,” PhD thesis, Department of Civil Engineering, University of
the experimental results and were found to be satisfactory. Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1978, 246 pp.
They showed a significantly higher level of conservatism in 5. Cocchi, G. M., and Volpi, M., “Inelastic Analysis of Reinforced
beams subjected to pure or predominant torsion, especially Concrete Beams Subjected to Combined Torsion, Flexural and Axial
when the upper limit set by ACI Eq. (11-18) (Eq. (25)) was Loads,” Computers and Structures, V. 63, No. 3, 1996, pp. 479-494.
6. Rahal, K. N., and Collins, M. P., “Analysis of Sections Subjected to
critical in determining the strength. This conservatism can be Combined Shear and Torsion—A Theoretical Model,” ACI Structural
partially attributed to the assumption of spalling of the Journal, V. 92, No. 4, July-Aug. 1995, pp. 459-469.
concrete outer cover in torsion calculation. 7. Karayannis, C. G., and Chalioris, C. E., “Strength of Prestressed
In using the ACI code for capacity calculations, Concrete Beams in Torsion,” Journal of Structural Engineering and
calculating the angle θ (between 30 and 60 degrees) based on Mechanics, V. 10, No. 2, 2000, pp. 165-180.
8. Vecchio, F. J., and Collins, M. P., “Modified Compression Field
the actual reinforcement was found to provide more accurate Theory for Reinforced Concrete Elements Subjected to Shear,” ACI
results than simply using 45 degrees for nonprestressed JOURNAL, Proceedings V. 83, No. 2, Mar.-Apr. 1986, pp. 219-231.
members and 37.5 degrees for prestressed members. This 9. Rahal, K. N., “Shear Strength of Reinforced Concrete, Part I—
calculation typically provided larger torsional strength. Membrane Elements Subjected To Pure Shear,” ACI Structural Journal,
In general, the results of the proposed SMCS model were V. 97, No. 1, Jan.-Feb. 2000, pp. 86-93, and closure to discussion, V. 97,
No. 6, Nov.-Dec. 2000, pp. 910-913.
more favorable than those of the ACI equations. Given that 10. Rahal, K. N., “Membrane Elements Subjected to In-Plane Shearing
this proposed model can be applied not only to beam elements and Normal Stresses,” ASCE Structural Journal, V. 128, No. 8, 2002,
but also to membrane elements subjected to various stress pp. 1064-1072.
resultants, it is suggested that the SMCS model can be the basis 11. Rahal, K. N., “Analysis and Design for Torsion in Reinforced and
Prestressed Concrete Beams,” Structural Engineering and Mechanics,
of a more general and unified treatment of shear and torsion in V. 11, No. 6, 2001, pp. 575-590.
reinforcement and prestressed concrete structural elements. 12. Rahal, K. N., “Shear Strength of Reinforced Concrete, Part II: Beams
Subjected to Shear, Bending Moment and Axial Loads,” ACI Structural
NOTATION Journal, V. 97, No. 2, Mar.-Apr. 2000, pp. 219-224.
A0 = area enclosed in shear flow resultant 13. Rahal, K. N., and Collins, M. P., “Simple Model for Predicting the
A0h = area enclosed in centerline of outermost closed stirrup or hoop Torsional Strength of Reinforced and Prestressed Concrete Sections,” ACI
Ac = area enclosed in outer perimeter of cross section Structural Journal, V. 93, No. 6, Nov.-Dec. 1996, pp. 658-666.
AL = total area of symmetrical non-prestressed longitudinal reinforcement 14. Braestrup, M. W., “Plastic Analysis of Shear in Reinforced Concrete,”
in section Magazine of Concrete Research, V. 26, No. 89, Dec. 1974, pp. 221-228.
Aps = total area of symmetrical prestressed longitudinal reinforcement 15. Mitchell, D., and Collins, M. P., “The Behaviour of Structural
in section Concrete in Pure Torsion,” Publication No. 74-06, Department of Civil
As = area of bottom or top longitudinal reinforcement in section Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1974, 88 pp.
At = area of one leg of transverse closed stirrup or hoop 16. Lampert, P., and Collins, M. P., “Torsion, Bending, and Confusion—
a0 = depth of equivalent stress block in shear flow zone An Attempt to Establish the Facts,” ACI JOURNAL, Proceedings V. 69,
b = width of flange in T-beam No. 8, Aug. 1972, pp. 500-504.
bw = width of web in T-beam 17. McMullen, A. E., and Warwaruk, J., “Concrete Beams in Bending,
d = effective depth in bending Torsion and Shear,” Proceedings, ASCE, V. 96, 1970, pp. 885-903.
f c′ = compressive strength of concrete 18. McMullen, A. E., and Warwaruk, J., “The Torsional Strength of
f1, f2 = principal tensile and compressive stress in membrane element Rectangular Reinforced Beams Subjected to Combined Loading,” Report
fpy = yield strength of symmetrical prestressed longitudinal reinforcement No. 2, Civil Engineering Department, University of Alberta, Alberta,
fsx, fsy = stress in x and y direction reinforcement in membrane element Canada, 1967, 162 pp.
fy = yield stress in bottom or top longitudinal reinforcement in section 19. Mardukhi, J., “The Behaviour of Uniformly Prestressed Concrete
fyL = yield stress in symmetrical non-prestressed longitudinal Box Beams in Combined Torsion and Bending,” MASc thesis, University
reinforcement of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1974, 73 pp.
fyt = yield stress of stirrups or hoops 20. Gesund, H.; Schuette, F. J.; Buchanan, G. R.; and Gray, G. A.,
fyx, fyy = yield stress of x direction and y direction reinforcement in “Ultimate Strength in Combined Bending and Torsion of Concrete
membrane element Beams Containing Both Longitudinal and Transverse Reinforcement,”
hf = depth of flange in T-beam ACI JOURNAL, Proceedings, V. 61, No. 12, Dec. 1964, pp. 1509-1521.
jd = flexural lever arm, can be taken as 0.9d 21. Zararis, P. D., and Penelis, G. G., “Reinforced Concrete T-Beams in
M = acting flexural moment Torsion and Bending,” ACI JOURNAL, Proceedings V. 83, No. 1, Jan.-Feb.
p0 = perimeter of the shear flow resultant 1986, pp. 145-155.
pc = outer perimeter of section 22. Pandit, G. S., and Warwaruk, J., “Reinforced Concrete Beams in
ph = perimeter of centerline of outermost closed stirrup or hoop Combined Bending and Torsion,” Torsion in Structural Concrete, SP-18,
q = shear flow in hollow tube model American Concrete Institute, Farmington Hills, Mich., 1968, pp. 133-163.
s = spacing of stirrups or hoops 23. Lampert, P., and Thurlimann, B., “Torsions-Biege-Versuche an
T = torsional moment Stahlbetonbalken,” Bericht Nr. 6506-3, Institut fur Baustatik, ETH Zurich,
t = thickness of walls in hollow sections Germany, Jan. 1969.
td = depth of shear flow zone 24. Rahal, K. N., and Collins, M. P., “Effect of Cover Thickness on
v = maximum shear stress in walls of tube Shear and Torsion Interaction-An Experimental Investigation,” ACI
θ = angle of inclination of diagonal strut in truss model Structural Journal, V. 92, No. 3, May-June 1995, pp. 334-342.
ρx, ρy = reinforcement ratio in x and y directions
σx,σy = membrane element stresses in x and y directions
Design a reinforced concrete section for: M = 1500 kN·m
REFERENCES (1106 k·ft), T = 700 kN·m (516 k·ft). Use fc′ = 30 MPa
1. ACI Committee 318, “Building Code Requirements for Structural
Concrete (ACI 318-05) and Commentary (318R-05),” American Concrete (4350 psi), fyt = fyL = 400 MPa (58 ksi), cover to steel = 30 mm
Institute, Farmington Hills, Mich., 2005, 430 pp. (1.18 in.). Preliminary analysis suggests the section shown in

410 ACI Structural Journal/July-August 2007

Fig. A1 with geometric properties: pc = 3925 mm (154.5 in.),
Ac = 945,000 mm2 (1464.8 in.2).
Step 1: Design for flexure: Assuming φ25 mm (1 in.)
longitudinal bars and φ14 mm (0.55 in.) hoops are used, d =
900 – 30 – 14 – 13 = 843 mm (33.2 in.). The required ratio of
reinforcement is 0.501% corresponding to a bottom steel area
of approximately 5150 mm2 (8 in.2) (within limits of
maximum and minimum reinforcement).
Step 2: Equation (15) gives a shear stress v = 700 (106)(3925)/
(945,0002)/(0.67) = 4.59 MPa (665 psi). The normalized
shear stress is v/fc′ = 4.59/30 = 0.153.
Step 3: Because the section is under-reinforced for torsion
resistance, the most straight-forward design, though not
necessarily the most economical, is to use Eq. (8).
Step 4: With ωt = ωL = 0.153, the amounts of steel are
calculated using Eq. (18) and (19):
At /s = 0.153(0.42)(945,000)(30)/(400)/(3925) = 1.16 mm2/mm
(0.0457 in.2/in.) Fig. A1—Cross section in design example.
AL = 0.153(0.375)(945,000)(30)/400 = 4066 mm2 (6.3 in.2)
The maximum spacing of φ14 mm (0.55 in.) stirrups is 129 ( 379 ) ( 1836 )
132 mm (5.2 in.). Choose s = 130 mm (5 in.). This satisfies ω t = ------------------------------------------------------------ = 0.388
0.42 ( 76 ) ( 208280 ) ( 34.8 )
the upper limit of d/2 and 1/8 hoop perimeter usually considered
in building codes.
Step 5: The depth is relatively large, and hence 6φ14 bars Calculate critical ωL using Eq. (21). Top steel: As = 387 mm2
are provided as skin reinforcement. The remaining area is (0.6 in.2), fy = 393 MPa (57 ksi), skin steel As = 1/2(426)
4066 – 6(154) = 3142 mm 2 (4.87 in.2) is split in two halves mm2 (0.33 in.2), fy = 552 MPa (80 ksi), d = 376 mm (14.8 in.)
(1571 mm 2 [2.44 in.2] each) in the top and bottom flange.
Total bottom steel is that from M and that from T = 5150 + 6
( 2 ( 277 ) ( 10 ) ) ⁄ ( 0.9 ) ( 376 ) + 2 ( 387 ) ( 393 ) + 426 ( 552 )
1571 = 6721 mm 2 (10.4 in.2). Fourteen φ25 (No. 8) bars ω L – top = -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- =
0.375 ( 208,280 ) ( 34.8 )
provide the required amount and are placed with clear
spacing of approximately 60 mm (2.36 in.), which satisfies 0.80
the code requirements of minimum spacing.
Step 6: The top steel can be reduced using Eq. (20) by: Bottom flange steel: As = 3570 mm2 (5.53 in.2), fy = 436 MPa
1500(106)/0.9/843/400 = 4942 mm2 (7.66 in.2). Hence, no (63.2 ksi), skin steel As = 1/2 (426) mm 2 (0.33 in.2), fy =
top reinforcement is needed. However, 4φ14 are used to 552 MPa (80 ksi)
provide minimum reinforcement in the top flange.
The results of the design are summarized in Fig. A-1. 6
– 2 ( 277 ) ( 10 ) ⁄ ( 0.9 ) ( 376 ) + 2 ( 3570 ) ( 436 ) + 426 ( 552 )
ω L – bot = -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- = 0.63
0.375 ( 208,280 ) ( 34.8 )
Calculate the torsional capacity of a TBU4 specimen (Fig. 6
and Table 1) when a moment M = 277 kN·m (204.3 k·ft) is The bottom reinforcement is critical.
acting. The area and perimeter enclosed within the outer Step 3: With ωL = 0.63, ωt = 0.388, Fig. 3 gives v/fc′ =
dimensions of the section are calculated as pc = 1836 mm 0.32, and v = 0.32(34.8) = 11.14 MPa (1616 psi).
(72.3 in.) and Ac = 208,280 mm2 (322.8 in.2). The stirrups Step 4: The ultimate T is calculated using Eq. (15) as follows
are No. 4: At = 129 mm2 (0.2 in.2), fyt = 379 MPa (55 ksi),
spacing s = 76 mm (3 in.) The concrete compressive strength 2
fc′ is 34.8 MPa (5050 psi). ( 208,208 )
T = 0.67 --------------------------11.14 = 176 kN·m (130 k·ft)
Step 1: M = 277 kN·m (204.3 k·ft). 1836
Step 2: Calculate the transverse reinforcement index using
Eq. (19) This point corresponds to the same T/M as Specimen TBU3.

ACI Structural Journal/July-August 2007 411

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