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Minimum Reinforcement Ratio in the Jordanian

Code: Applicability and Comparisons

Article in Jordan Journal of Applied Science · January 1999


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Hisham Qasrawi Peter I. Kattan

Hashemite University Researcher


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J.J. Appl. Sci. 1999 : 2 (1) , 25 - 36.

Minimum Reinforcement Ratio for Concrete in the Jordanian Code: Applicability

and Comparison with Other Codes

Hish am Qasrawi * Peter Kattan **

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The requirements regarding the min imum reinforcement rati o in various reinforced con­
crete elements is considered. Variou s f ormulas, bas ed on six different major codes, are pre ­
sented, discussed and compared with the recommendations of the Jordanian Code. Emph a­
sis is pla ced on the applicability of the requirements of the local Jordanian Code and their
suitability in reinforced concrete elements. Finally, conclusions and recommendations are
made regarding the minimum reinforcement ratio requirement in gen eral and the Jordanian
Code in particular.

Key Words: Concerte, Reinforcement, Codes, Minimum Reinforcement, Reinforced Con ­


When a flexural member is subjec ted to a small ultimate moment, it may not beh ave as expect­
ed by the ultimate strength theory. The method used for computing flexural strength is bas ed on
the assumption that concrete in the tension zone is cracked and cannot resist loads. Thus if the
nominal strength for a section having a small amount of steel reinforcement is less than the crack­
ing moment of the section, the beam will fail immediately and without or insufficient warning
distress on formation of the first crack [1]. This type of failure , of course, is brittle failure which
is not usually allowed in reinforced concrete sections. Since a ductile failure mode is always de­
sired, the lowest amount of stee l permitted should be the amount that would equal the strength of
the unreinforced beam section [2].
Applying the previous principle, the minimum amount of steel reinforcement in a rectangular
section can be estimated using the relationship:

* Dept. of Civil Eng ., Applied Sciences University, Amman, Jordan.

** Dept. of Civil Eng., Applied Sciences Uni versit y, Amman , Jordan.

isham Qasrawi and Peter Kattan .

bh 2
M cr =f
.r rt - 6 -< M II (1 )


Mer = the moment that causes cracking of the section,

fCI = tensile strength of concrete,

b = width of the beam.

H = height of the beam.

M R = the moment that can be resisted by the section using the ultimate strength theory.

Using the strength theory and equation (l), it can be shown that:

p >- -6-~-'~-y [d( /0/2)] (2)

p = reinforcement ration = As/(bd) .
As = amount (cross-sectional area) of steel reinforcement.
d = depth of tension steel in the section.
cp = factor depending on the code of practice used.
fy = yield strength of steel reinforcement.
Assuming d ::::: 0.9h and a =:: 0.111, the relationship in equation (2) can be reduced to:

0.217 Jet (3)

p~- ---

The tensile strength of concrete can be related to its compressive strength. A number of empiri­

cal formulae connecting fel and fe have been suggested, Many of these formula s are of the type
represented in equation 4 [3-8].


k = constant.
fc = concrete compressive strength.
n = constant representing the power of the formula.
According to the available literature, the values of n range from 1/2 to 3/4 [3-8].
J.]' Appl. Sci. 1999: 2 (1) , 25 - 36.

In addition to the previously mentioned problem of failure, concrete always experiences strains
due to shrinkage and temperature effects. Therefore, codes tend to specify another lower limit of
reinforcement in order to control the cracking produced by the hydration shrinkage and the tem­
perature effects. This amount is based on the gross area .
The steel reinforcement ratio required to control cracking of concrete due to thermal and
shrinkage effects is usually called the critical reinforcement ratio, Per This value can be obtained
by equating the tension and compression forces adjacent to the crack after concrete cracking
[9,10). When both concrete and steel reach tbeir limiting values, the following equation can be ob­
tained [9]:

As In
P rr = - = --::---=--- (5)
A( f y + I;

As = steel area.
A: = concrete area.

Esc = compressive stress in steel.

The value of fsc is generally very small and can be taken as zero without introducing undue
accuracy. Hence, the critical value of steel ratio is approximately [8-10]:

I('/ (6)
P('r = Iy

The control of cracking is critical during the early life of the concrete, and tberefore a value of
concrete strengtb at 3 days should be used. Anchor [10] tabulated some of the values of Per for dif­
ferent types of concrete and steel.

Requirements of the Jordanian Code of Practice:

The Jordanian Code of Practice [12] specifies the following:
1 . The amount of tension reinforcement in beams should not be less than (70/f y )% (article 4/8/
1). In the case of T or L sections, the amount of steel reinforcement should be increased by
one third when bJb f < 0.4, where b., is the width of the web and b, is the width of the flange
(article 4/811) .
2 . The transverse reinforcement in the compression zone in T - or L-sbaped beams should not
be less tban 0.2% based on the gross area of the section (article 4/811) .
1 Thp ;1l1l()lInt of tension reinforcement in both directions in solid slabs should not be less than
iisham Qasrawi and Peter Kattan .

(70/fy )% (article 5/8/1) .

4 . The amount of tension reinforcement in ribbed slabs mu st not be less than (70/f y )% in addi­
tion to article 4/8/1 mentioned in (1) and (2) above.
5 . Minimum reinforcement in flat slabs should not be less than (70/f y )% in both directions (arti­
cle 718/1) .
6 . Minimum reinforcement ratio in columns should not be less than 0.40% (article 8/811) .
7 . Minimum reinforcement ratio in walls is 0.40 % for vertical reinforcement and 0.25 % for
horizontal reinforcement.
8 . Minimum reinforcement ratio in footings is (70/f y)% (article 10/8/1) .

Requirements of the British Code of Practice (BS 8110- 1985,1997):

Article 3.12 .5 of BS 8110 [13,14] gives a table showing the minimum reinforcement ratio re­
quired for concrete elements. The values can be summarized as follows:
1. Members subjected to direct tension: 0.80% for grade 250 steel and 0.45% for grade 460
2 . Minimum reinforcement ratio for beams ranges from 0.24% to 0.48% for grade 250 steel
and ranges from 0.13% to 0.26% for grade 460 steel. The variations depend on the shape of
the beam (rectangular, L- or T-section), the web width to tlange width ratio, and the position
of tension reinforcement (top or bottom).
If control of shrinkage and temperature cracking is critical, the amount of steel in each direc­
tion should be at least 0.25% of gross area for grade 460 steel and 0.3% of gross area for I

grade 250 steel (article !


3. A value of 0.40% is used in rectangular columns or walls .

4. Minimum reinforcement ratio for slabs is 0.13% for 460 steel and 0.26 % for 250 steel.
However, based on the BS 8110-1985, the Institution of Structural Engineers (lStructE) gives
the minimum percentages of reinforcement shown in Table (l) [15].
Requirements ofthe ACI-318 Code:
For rectangular sections, ACI 318-95 [16] gives the following range for the minimum reinforce­

ment ratio: 3« 4« 1

p = l Sf, to p = 15fy

New in 1995, ACI-1O .5.l gives as Formula (10-3) for the minimum reinforcement ratio:

p =-­
hut not less than l.4/L which was the sole recommendation in the 1989 Code [17]. This latter
].]. Appl. Sci. 1999 : 2 (1) , 25 - 36 .

limit was a last minute addition to these Code changes to satisfy negative voters.
For T-sections having slab in tension, the following range is given:

to P = --'--­

New in 1995, ACI- to .S.2 gives as Formula (10-4) for the minimum reinforcement ratio:

but not more than ACI Formula (10-3) . This modifier of the above equation was an addition to
addres s concerns of Code Committee members that the equation would require too much mini­
mum reinforcement.
for situations where the reinforcement required for strength is far below the minimum required
by ACI Formulas (10-3) or (10-4), ACI-10.S.3 permits the use of a lesser minimum, as long as the
amount is "at least one-third greater than that required by analysis".
For structural slabs and footings of uniform thickness , the following range is given for the min­
imum reinforcement ratio:


ACI-10.S.4 requires that A/(b)l) to be not less than O. 20% for Grades 40 and SO deformed
bars, and not less than 0.18% for Grade 60. These amounts agree with the lower end of the ranges
indicated above for rectangular section s.

Requirements of the Egyptian Code of Practice:

For the sake of comparing the Jordanian Code with other Arab codes, the requirements of the
ECP [18], the common Arab Code in the Arab World , is introduced. The ECP specifies the fol­
1. Minimum reinforcem ent ratio for members subjected to bending moments and reinforced by
tension reinforcement is given in article 4-2-1. The minimum reinforcement ratio must be as
Pmin ~ (1 lO/f) %
sham Qasrawi and Peter Kattan .

Also, P min can be 30% more than that steel required for flexural reinforcement but in no way
should be less than 0.25 % for grade 60 steel or 0.15 % for grade 40 steel.
2. In members with moment and small loads, P 2:: 0.4% (Article 4-2-1-3).
3. In normally tied columns, P > 0.8% of the effective concrete section and p > 0.6% of the
gross concrete area (Article 7-4-6) .
4 . In spirally tied columns, p > 1.2% of the effective concrete area and p > 1% of the gross
concrete area (Article 7-4-6).

Application ofthe Requirements for Various Sections:

For the sake of comparison of the previous requirements, the minimum amount of steel rein­
forcement (p) has been estimated. using the previous codes. The results obtained are shown in Ta­
ble 2. Two types of steel were used in the calculations; ASTM Grade GO (l~ == 415 Nzrnm-) and
Grade 40 Cfy = 275 Nzmm-). The values obtained from the table in article 3.12 .5 of the BS 8110
and those of the IStructE were multiplied by the appropriate factor ( 1.108 for grade 60 instead of
the BS 460 steel and 0.91 for grade 40 instead of the BS 250 steel). This factor represents the ratio
between the ASTM steel strength and the corresponding BS steel strength.

Comparison of Results:
Comparing the results obtained and shown 111 Table 2, the following conclusions can be
1 . The results of the ACI 318-95 are the highest among all results, and are now more than the
previously recommended values of ACI 318-89 . Only the yalues for solid slabs Grade 40 are l
, I
not higher than other values recommended by the other codes.
2 . The Jordanian Code of Practice uses the value 70/fy in most cases. This value is not suitable;
for all cases when compared with results of the other codes. For example, this value is ap- ~

proximately one-half that of the ACI and about two-thirds that of the ECP. 'I

3 . The values recommended by the Jordanian Code for the T,-Section are much lower than the
values recommended by all other codes. : I
4. The minimum reinforcement ratio for columns recommended by the Jordanian Code is equal :
to that recommended by the DS 8110 and both me onl y about 40% of those recommended by ;
the ACI -318 and are also less than those of the ECP.
5. The values of the ACI 3 18-95 vary according to concrete strength as expected from the basic
principles given in the Introduction. This variation is not observed in the other codes because
other codes do not take into consideration the effect of concrete strength in their equations .
The previous Soviets Code also gives a minimum reinforcement ratio which depends on con­
crete strength [8] .
].]. Appl. Sci. 1999 : 2 (1) , 25 - 36.

Discussion ofthe 70/fyLimit ofthe Jordanian Code:

Using equation (3), the reinforcement ratio ( can be calculated as follows:
1. Assuming t~1 = 0 .62 (f)'/2 (ACI 318-95) and <p = 0.90, equation (3) can be reduced to:

This value ranges from (67/fy )% for concrete of strength f'c of 20 MPa (25 MPa cube strength)
and (95/f y )% for concrete of f'c = 40 MPa.

2. Assuming fCI = 0. 39(f'c)2I3, (the EC2 requirement, [19]), equation (3) can be reduced to:

0.085(/ ) 2-3
P -> fy

This value ranges from (63/fy )% for concrete of strength f 'c of 20 MPa (25 MPa cube strength)
and (l OO/fy )% for con crete of f'c = 40 MPa.
3. Using the limits of Table 5.4 of the BS 8110 : 1997 , and assuming that concrete cub e
streng th is 1.25 times that of the cylinder streng th, and rp = 0.87, which is the requirement of both
the Jordanian and the BS 8110 1985 Codes, equation (3) can be reduced to:

p > 80/f y for f", = 20 MPa and 125/f y for f'c = 40 MPa.

Using <p = 0.95 (US 8110 : 1997 , [12]) and the previous assumptions, p will range from 73/f y
[or r, = 20 and 114/f y for f'c = 40 . I
The ECP [17] specifies l10/f y for all types of concrete.
The previous Sovietfs standards [8] gives a formula for calculating the tensile strength of con­
crete in the form fCI = 0.5(R)2/3 , where R is the strength of 200 nun Cubes in kgf/cm". Assuming the
. .
str ength of 150 mID cube = 1.1R [8] and that f", = 1.25 times the cube strength, the relationship be-

comes :

fCI = 0.25(R/
,in SI unit s.

According to the same reference, ela stop1asti c analysis of concrete in tension of simply sup­
ported beams using 2 point loading showed that the section modulus is 1.7 times the elastic modu­
lus that appears in equation (3). Using the pre vious equation and elastoplastic analysis it can be
shown that minimum reinforcement ratio will range from (68/f y )% for con crete of strength f, of
Esham Qasrawi and Peter Kattan .

20 MPa (25 MPa cube strength) and (l08/f)% for concrete of f' c = 40 MPa.
Furthermore, using concrete strength (f'c) = 20 MPa (fcu = 25 MPa), fCI can be taken as 1.15
[9], then equation (6) becomes Per = 115/fy ' This value (of course) is much higher than the values
obtained using equation (3). However, this critical reinforcement ratio is recommended only when
control of cracking is essential such as in the design of liquid retaining structures . Unfortunately,
the Jordanian Code of Practice does not provide any recommendation for such a case. Moreover ,
this value is close to the ECP limit of 110/fy and approximately to the upper limits of equation 3.
From the previously obtained results, it is clear that the Jordanian limit of 70/f y is close to the
lower limit of equation (3); i.e. for f", = 20 MPa (fell = 25 MPa), which is relatively a low strength .
This value becomes unsafe and cannot be accepted for higher concrete strengths.

Further Comments:
Elastoplastic analysis of concrete in tension of simply supported beams using 2 point loading
showed that the section modulus is 1.7 times the elastic modulus that appears in equation (3) [8].
Since values in the previous paragraph were obtained using elastic analysis, elastoplastic analysis
would result in an increase of about 70% in the minimum reinforcement ratios obtained before.
Conclusion and Recommendation:
One can easily draw conclusions from the numerical comparison made in Table 2.
1. It is clear that the Jordanian Code requirements are consistently lower for the minimum re­
inforcement ratio than in the other codes. Moreover, in many cases (e.g. rectangular beams,
Tvbeams) the Jordanian Code recommends only half the requirement of the ACI Code and
also two thirds of the requirement of the ECP. This clearly demonstrates the inadequacy of
the requirements of the Jordanian Code in this regard. It is recommended that the minimum
reinforcement ratio in the Jordanian Code be increased in order to meet the requirements of
the other codes, preferably the well know and well tested American Code ACI 318-95.
2. It is also recommended that the Jordanian Code should include the following in its recom­
mendation for minimum reinforcement:
a. concrete strength, and
b. control of cracking due to shrinkage and temperature.
3. It is recommended that the minmum reinforcement ratio.!required for columns in the Jorda­
nian Code should be adjusted (increased). A thorugh investigation and study of the actual
conditions in Jordan should be performed before any decision is taken. The requirement of
the ACI or the ECP might suit Jordan more that that represented in the recent code.
4. The Jordanian requirement of 70/f y is quite suitable for solid slabs in Jordan. This value is
consistent with the requirements of other codes.
J.]. Appl. Sci. 1999: 2 (1), 25 - 36.

Table 1 Minimum Reinforcement Ratios based on IStructE


fy = 250 fy = 460
Rectangular Beams 0.24 % 0.20 %

Flanged Beams (Web 111 0.24-0.35 % 0.20%

Tension) depending on bjb(

Flanged Beams (Top Rein­ 0.48% for T 0.26% forT

forcement) 0.36% for L 0.20% for L

Columns (Based on Gross 0.40% 0.40%


0.4% of the cross-sectional area divided equally between the two

Walls faces of the wall and also to control cracking by providing horizon-

tal steel in accordance with article of BS 8110.

Slabs 0.25 % 0.13 %

0.30%* 0.25%*

Footings 0.25% 0.13%


~: if control of cracking is critical.

Hisham Qasrawi and Peter Kattan .

Table 2 Compariso n of Code Req uirements for Reinforcement Ratio p ( 0/0 )

Secti on Example Jordanian BS 8110 IStructE ACI - 95 ACI - 89 ECP - 98

Rect angular Beam Sec-

tions Under Positi ve Mo­

(a) Gra de 60 0.17 0.14** 0.22** 0.34 -0.38 0.3 4 0.27

(b) Grade 40 0.25 0.22 ** 0.22 ** 0.51 -0 .57 0.51 0.40

T-S ection Beams: Flange

in Ten sion

(a Gr ade 60 0.23 0.29 0.29 0.54-0.76 0.68 0.27

(b) Grade 40 0.33 0.44 0.44 0 .82-1.14 1.00 OAO

Solid Slabs (Both Direc­

ti ns), Gross Area :

(a) Grade 60 0.17 0.14 ** 0.14 ** 0.18 0.18 0.15

(b) Gra de 40 0.25 0.22 ** 0.22 ** 0.20 0.20 0.25

Flanged Beams (Web In

Ten sion and b jb r < 0.40 ,

Suc h as Ribbed Slabs)

(a) Grade 60 0 .23 0.20 ** 0.22** 0 .34-0.38 0.34 0.27

(b) Grade 40 0.33 0.29 0.32 0 .51-0.57 0 .51 OAO

Columns (Gross Area ) 0.40 0.40 0.40 1.0 1.0 0.6-1.0*

* depends on type of link s and the area considered

** 0 .28% is used if control of crac king is critica l.
J.J. Appl. Sci. 1999 : 2 (1) , 25 - 36 .
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Accepted: 29/05/99 Received: 14/02/99

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