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SIMPLIFIED ASSESSMENT OF BENDING MOMENT CAPACITY FOR RC MEMBERS


WITH CIRCULAR CROSS-SECTION

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Cosenza, Galasso and Maddaloni 3rd fib International Congress - 2010

SIMPLIFIED ASSESSMENT OF BENDING MOMENT CAPACITY FOR RC


MEMBERS WITH CIRCULAR CROSS-SECTION

Edoardo Cosenza, Dept. of Structural Engineering, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy
Carmine Galasso, Dept. of Structural Engineering, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy
Giuseppe Maddaloni, Dept. of Technology, University of Naples Parthenope, Naples, Italy

ABSTRACT

Reinforced concrete (RC) members with circular cross-section are widely


used in structural and geotechnical engineering (e.g. columns in frame
structures, foundation piles, contiguous pile walls). Generally, for such
members, the analysis is more complex than for rectangular cross-section
and the problem is not sufficiently investigated in literature. Circular
shape and uniform distribution of reinforcement along the perimeter cause
some difficulties for a simple assessment of bending moment capacity.
In this study, for RC members with circular cross-section, simplified
methods for the evaluations of bending moment of resistance are
presented. The performed analyses demonstrate that the design value of
moment capacity, determined by the proposed approach, is very close to
the results obtained applying rigorous methods.
Furthermore, analysis results prove that in bending condition without
axial load, the flexural strength depends, on the geometry of the section
(i.e. radius and concrete cover) and on mechanical ratio of steel
reinforcement by a very simple formula.

Keywords: Circular cross-section, Flexure capacity, Simplified formulae.

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Cosenza, Galasso and Maddaloni 3rd fib International Congress - 2010

INTRODUCTION

Reinforced concrete (RC) columns of circular cross-section are widely used in the
building of framed structure (e.g. in high rise buildings, Fig. 1) or in bridges. Circular
cross-section members are frequently used also in geotechnical engineering, e.g. in pile
foundation systems.
Columns are basically axial load carrying element; however, as a result of lateral load due
to wind pressure or seismic excitation, they are subjected to considerable shear and
bending load. For a circular RC cross-section with symmetric arrangement of steel, the
loading axis always coincides with a symmetry axis of the element cross-section and then
the member is always subjected to uniaxial bending (i.e. no biaxial bending arises) and
compression.
It is nevertheless true that analysis of such members is more complicated than that of
rectangular cross-section members. Circular shape of the cross-section and uniform
distribution of reinforcement along the perimeter of cross-section create some
peculiarities in assessment of state of stresses and deformations and hence in assessment
of carrying capacity of such members. In the engineering literature this problem is not
enough investigated. Some studies1,2 on rectangular and circular concrete cross-sections
analysis/design focused on integration methods using analytical and numerical
algorithms. In this case a computer program implementing these procedures is necessary
and a quick “handmade” calculation is not possible.
Furthermore, the majority of design codes do not distinguish distinctly between the
design of rectangular section and the one of a circular section.

Fig. 1 Examples of RC columns of circular cross-section at School of Engineering of


University of Naples.

The objective of this paper is to present a quite simple method for analysis of RC circular
section. The developed equations are based on the assumption that the entire steel area is
lumped into equivalent steel ring. This assumption simplifies the calculations but it
affects the results of the analysis.
An example for the verification of the results of the proposed formulae indicates a very
good approximation of the values obtained with other methods widely used in practice.
Then the proposed approach may be considered simple and more straightforward for
professional engineers.

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Cosenza, Galasso and Maddaloni 3rd fib International Congress - 2010

RC MEMBERS ULTIMATE FLEXURE CAPACITY*

On 14 January 2008 the Italian Minister for Infrastructures signed a Decree containing the
new Building Code (NTC), published on the Official Gazette no. 29 (4 February 2008)3,4.
Sec. 4.1.2.1.2 of NTC gives principles and rules for the evaluation of the RC member
flexure capacity (with or without axial force).
When determining the ultimate moment resistance of RC cross-sections, the following
assumptions are made, consistently with Eurocode 2 (EC2) Sec. 6.15:
1. plane cross-sections remain plane after deformation up to failure;
2. the strain in bonded reinforcement, whether in tension or in compression, is the same
as that in the surrounding concrete (i.e. perfect bond exists between steel and
concrete);
3. the tensile strength of the concrete is neglected;
4. the stresses in the concrete in compression are derived from the design stress/strain
relationship given in Sec. 4.1.2.1.2.2 of NTC (in Sec. 3.1.7 of EC2);
5. the stresses in the reinforcing are derived from the design curves given in Sec.
4.1.2.1.2.3 of NTC (in Sec. 3.2.7 of EC2);
f f yk
6. design strength for concrete and steel are defined as f cd = 0.85 ck and f yd =
γc γs
respectively (Secc. 4.1.2.1.1.2 and 4.1.2.1.1 3 of NTC and Secc. 3.1.6 and 3.2.7 of
EC2), where f ck is specified compressive strength of concrete (cylinder strength) and
f yk is specified yield stress of steel, γ c and γ s are material safety factor according to
Eurocode-like LRDF;
7. material safety factor are takes as γ c = 1.5 for concrete and γ s = 1.15 for steel (Secc.
4.1.2.1.1.2 and 4.1.2.1.1 3 of NTC and Sec. 2.4.2.4 of EC2).

For the analysis and design of cross-sections at Ultimate Limit State (ULS), simplified
stress-strain relationships may be used. For instance, in order to simplify the calculations,
the axial force and bending moment analysis usually idealizes the stress-strain behavior of
the concrete with a rectangular stress block with a depth equal to some fraction of the
neutral axis depth and a magnitude equal to some fraction of the concrete compressive
design strength.
According to EC2, if the width of the compression zone decreases in the direction of the
extreme compression fiber the value of the effective strength should be reduced by 10%.
More detailed moment curvature analysis may be performed with more complex stress-
strain relationships (e.g. parabola-rectangle diagram).
For a given section, the position x of the neutral axis (from the extreme compression
fiber) is calculated based on the force equilibrium as in Eq. 1.

N c + N s ' − N s = N Ed (1)

N c and N s ' represent compressive forces in concrete and steel reinforcement of the
compression zone, respectively, N s represents the tensile force in reinforcement of the
tension zone; N Ed is design value of the applied axial force (compression).

*
In the rest of the article, all calls and verbatim citations of NTC and EC2 will be simply indicated in italic.

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Cosenza, Galasso and Maddaloni 3rd fib International Congress - 2010

When assuming a simplified elasto-idealplastic stress-strain diagram for reinforcing steel


(i.e. with a horizontal top branch without a strain limit), the flexural failure occurs due to
concrete crushing. Any strain diagram corresponding to such failure mode has its fixed
point at the limit value of ε cu (maximum concrete compressive strain) with a linear strain
distribution over the depth of the section6.
The member flexural capacity (i.e. the design value of moment of resistance) M Rd can be
determinated by summing the moment due to internal (and external) forces about the axis
through the center of cross-section of the member.

CIRCULAR CROSS-SECTION ANALYSIS

In this section equations for computing the flexure capacity of circular cross-section with
longitudinal steel bar arranged (equally spaced) in a circle of radius r are presented
( r = R − c , where R is the radius of the circular cross-section and c is the concrete cover).
Note that the equations of equilibrium are complex because of the cross-section type and
the discrete position of bars, i.e. utilization of reinforcement strength depends on its
location in the cross-section7.
The compressive force in concrete is given in Eq. 2 using the formula of area for a
circular segment (Fig. 2); the relationship between concrete compressive stress
distribution and concrete strain is assumed to be rectangular. The factor λ, defining the
effective height of the compression zone and the factor η, defining the effective strength,
are assumed equal to 0.8 and 0.9 respectively (according to NTC and EC2).

R2
Nc = (2θ − sin 2θ ) f cd (2)
2

θ is one half of the angle subtended at the center of the cross-section by the concrete
compression stress block, fcd is the design value of concrete compressive strength.
The compressive force in concrete is applied at a distance d c from center of cross-
section, see Fig. 2.

R − 0.8 x
θ = arccos
x
R2
Ac = (2θ − sin 2θ )
2
4 sin 3 θ
dc = R
3 2θ − sin 2θ

Fig. 2 Circular segment formulae.

The compressive and tensile forces in reinforcement are given in Eq. 3 and 4; the bars
with the same ordinate from the neutral axis are subject to the same stresses (Fig. 3).

nc
N s ' = ∑ ni As ,i f s ,i (3)
1

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Cosenza, Galasso and Maddaloni 3rd fib International Congress - 2010

nt
N s = ∑ ni As ,i f s ,i (4)
1

As,i is the cross sectional area of each reinforcing bar, ni is the number of reinforcing bar
in each row parallel to the neutral axis, nc is the number of rows of reinforcing bars in the
compression zone, nt is the number of rows of reinforcing bars in the tension zone, fs,i is
the stress in each row parallel to the neutral axis.
Assuming that the maximum concrete compressive strain ε cu is reached, the assumption
of plane cross-section after deflection allows the calculation of the strain in any row of
reinforcing bars ε s,i as in Eq. 5, where yi is the vertical distance of the i-th row of
reinforcing bars from the neutral axis.

yi
ε s ,i = ε cu (5)
x

The determination of location of the neutral axis (i.e. x or, equivalently, θ) is carried out
by iteration methods.

Fig. 3 Diagrams for analysis of circular cross-section.

The design flexural capacity M Rd is equal to the sum of the design flexural strength due
to concrete and the design flexural strength due to steel.

PROPOSED METHOD

In the proposed method longitudinal bar arrangements are replaced with a thin steel ring
equivalent to steel total area ( As ) , Fig. 4. This assumption does not account for vertical
bar location with respect to the neutral axis affecting the results of the analysis.
Moreover, the diagram of concrete and reinforcement strength are superseded by
rectangular ones with effective strength equal to f cd ' = 0.9 f cd and f yd respectively, as in
Fig. 4.
The value of θ defining the compressive part of the cross-section may be determined from
the condition of equilibrium that the sum of all (internal and external) forces is equal to
zero, Eq. 6.

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Cosenza, Galasso and Maddaloni 3rd fib International Congress - 2010

R2
(2θ − sin 2θ ) f cd ' +  θ  As f yd −  π − θ  As f yd = N Ed (6)
2 π   π 

Fig. 4 Diagrams for analysis of circular cross-section by proposed method.

θ  π −θ 
In Eq. 6,   As and   As are approximately cross-sectional areas of longitudinal
π   π 
reinforcement in compression and tension correspondingly (the value of angle defining
the compressive part of reinforcement in the cross section, θs, does not coincide with θ,
see Fig. 5).

Fig. 5 Difference between θ and θs.

2
Dividing each terms by 2
, Eq. 6 may be formulated as in Eq. 7.
R f cd '

(2θ − sin 2θ ) + 2ωθ − 2ω (π − θ ) = 2νπ (7)

As f yd N 1
In Eq. 7 ω = and ν = Ed2 are the dimensionless parameter of cross-
πR f cd '
2
πR f cd '
section, i.e. mechanical steel ratio and design axial force normalized to the total cross-
sectional concrete area of the member. Setting ϕ = 2θ , condition of equilibrium can be
rewritten as in Eq. 8.

f (ϕ ) = 0 ⇔ ϕ (1 + 2ω ) − sin ϕ − 2π (ω + ν ) = 0 (8)

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Cosenza, Galasso and Maddaloni 3rd fib International Congress - 2010

The solution of Eq. 8 may be found by Newton's method† since an analytical expression
for the derivative of f (ϕ ) may be easily obtainable, Eq. (9).

f ' (ϕ ) = (1 + 2ω ) − cos ϕ (9)

Flexural capacity of circular cross-sections is determined from condition of equilibrium


that the sum of the moments due to external and internal forces about the axis through the
center of cross-section of the member as in Eq. 10.

R sin 3 θ f cd ' + (R − c ) As sinθ f yd


4 3 2
M Rd = M Rd ,c + M Rd ,s = (10)
3 π

ILLUSTRATIVE EXAMPLE

The values of ultimate bending moment capacity of a circular cross-section of radius 30


cm, concrete cover of 4 cm, for reinforcement ratio (ρ) between 0.01 and 0.04 and for ν
values between 0 and 0.5 are given in Table 1 using the presented approaches; concrete
and steel are characterized by f ck = 25 MPa and f yk = 450 MPa respectively.
In Table 1, M Rd 1 is the value of flexural capacity of cross-section computed by Biaxial
software (freely available at the website of the Italian network of earthquake engineering
university labs http://www.reluis.it/index_eng.html) using parabola-rectangle diagram for
concrete under compression and elasto-idealplastic stress-strain diagram for reinforcing
steel; the software, based on the well-known fiber method, allows to account for the
effective vertical bar location with respect to the neutral axis. M Rd 2 is the value of
flexural capacity of cross-section computed using stress-block diagram for concrete under
compression and elasto-idealplastic stress-strain diagram for reinforcing steel (accounting
for the effective vertical bar location with respect to the neutral axis). M Rd 3 is the value
of flexural capacity of cross-section computed by proposed method.
Table 1 reveals that the design value of load carrying capacity of eccentrically
compressed RC members of circular cross-section determined by the proposed method is
very close to that determined using more rigorous methods of analysis.
The comparison shows that the average ratio between design load carrying capacity of
eccentrically compressed RC members of circular cross-section determined by the
proposed method (M Rd 3 ) and the rigorous ones (M Rd 1 ) is 1.031 with a coefficient of
variation (CoV, the ratio of the standard deviation to the mean) of 1.4%; the maximum
M
value of Rd 3 is 1.058.
M Rd 1


According to Newton's method, given a function ƒ(x) and its derivative ƒ '(x), we begin with a first guess
x0 (e.g., ϕo = π is a reasonable value for the first guess of the Newton’s method for the case on
f ( x0 )
examination). A better approximation x1 is x1 = x0 − . Newton's method is perhaps the best
f ' (x0 )
known method for finding successively better approximations to the zeroes (or roots) of a real-valued
function. It can often converge remarkably quickly.

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Cosenza, Galasso and Maddaloni 3rd fib International Congress - 2010

Table 1 also shows a conservative good approximation of M Rd 1 using a rectangular stress


M Rd 2
distribution for concrete under compression: the minimum value of is 0.953 (mean
M Rd 1
0.984, CoV 1 %) if the value of the effective strength of stress block is reduced by 10%
according to EC2 prescription.
Note that, because of errors in the realization phase, the location of steel bars in the cross
section cannot perfectly match the distribution used in the calculations.
To take into account this problem, 100 possible configurations of bar arrangement have
been simulated using the Monte Carlo method. The simulated cross-sections have been
obtained by varying the angular position of bar according to a Normal probability model
centered on the design value ("true", α = 0) with a standard deviation of π/10, as in Fig. 6.

Fig. 6 Simulation of eccentricity in bars arrangement.

It is interesting to note that the value of flexure capacity of cross-section obtained by


proposed methods practically coincides with the mean value of flexure capacity values
obtained by rigorous method for the 100 simulated cases (e.g. Fig. 7).

Fig. 7 Examples of MRd distribution accounting for eccentricity in bars arrangement (data:
R = 30 cm, c = 4 cm, ρ = 1%, ν = 0, f ck = 25 MPa and f yk = 450 MPa ).

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Cosenza, Galasso and Maddaloni 3rd fib International Congress - 2010

Table 1 Results of illustrative example.

MRd1 MRd2 MRd3


ν ρ MRd2/MRd1 MRd3/MRd1
[kNm] [kNm] [kNm]
1% 278 276 0.993 279 1.004
2% 462 459 0.994 472 1.022
0
3% 680 676 0.994 699 1.028
4% 848 844 0.995 876 1.033
1% 330 327 0.991 335 1.015
2% 505 502 0.994 516 1.022
0.1
3% 715 708 0.990 735 1.028
4% 875 868 0.992 907 1.037
1% 375 370 0.987 378 1.008
2% 539 530 0.983 551 1.022
0.2
3% 737 729 0.989 763 1.035
4% 895 886 0.990 931 1.040
1% 404 393 0.973 409 1.012
2% 560 551 0.984 576 1.029
0.3
3% 754 743 0.985 783 1.038
4% 908 899 0.990 948 1.044
1% 418 406 0.971 427 1.022
2% 571 557 0.975 591 1.035
0.4
3% 762 748 0.982 795 1.043
4% 913 899 0.985 958 1.049
1% 426 406 0.953 433 1.016
2% 573 555 0.969 596 1.040
0.5
3% 760 742 0.976 799 1.051
4% 909 893 0.982 962 1.058

BENDING WITHOUT AXIAL FORCE

The circular shape is not widely used in members subject to simple bending but it may be
encountered in special cases, like contiguous pile walls.
For this case, analysis results prove that the flexural strength depends, on the geometry of
the section (i.e. radius and concrete cover) and on mechanical ratio of steel reinforcement
by a very simple formula, Eq. 11.

As
M Rd = kM Rd ,max = k f yd (2 R − 2c ) = k As f yd r (11)
2

As
M Rd ,max = f yd (2 R − 2c ) = As f yd r is the flexure capacity when concrete is neglected
2
and the longitudinal bars arrangement is replaced with two steel points equivalent to steel
total area ( As ) , as in Fig. 8.

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Cosenza, Galasso and Maddaloni 3rd fib International Congress - 2010

Fig. 8 Schematic of proposed method for bending without axial force.

Fig. 9 Regressions for k coefficient of Eq. 11.

c
The coefficient k depends on mechanical ratio of steel reinforcement and on ratio as in
R
c
Fig. 8. Figure refers to a circular cross-section of radius 30 cm with different values of
R
ratio (0.10, 0.15 and 0.20) and with five different steel ratio ( 0.4%, 1%, 2%, 3% and
4%); concrete and steel are characterized by f ck = 25 MPa and f yk = 450 MPa
respectively.
Using a non-linear regression, the observational data may be modeled by the function of
Eq. 12.

 c 
− 0.3 + 0.08 
k = 0.75 ω  R 
(12)

c c
The curves of Fig. 8 show a low sensitivity of k to ratio; if the ratio is neglected as
R R
explanatory variable, the very simple regression function of Eq. 13 may be used.

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Cosenza, Galasso and Maddaloni 3rd fib International Congress - 2010

k = 0.75 ω −0.13 (13)

The comparison of actual and predicted values of k coefficient has indicated that the
maximum deviation is below 1% using both Eq. 12 and Eq. 13.

CONCLUSIONS

Generally, the columns of RC buildings or bridges are subjected to axial load and uniaxial
or biaxial bending moments as a result of their geometry, the shape of the cross-section
and the type of external actions (e.g. wind and seismic forces). For this type of structures
the cross-section are typically rectangular or circular.
Generally, for RC members of circular cross-section, the structural analysis (and design)
is more complex than for rectangular cross-section member and the problem is not
sufficiently investigated in literature. Circular shape and uniform distribution of
reinforcement along the perimeter cause some difficulties for a simple assessment of
bending moment capacity.
In this study, simple formulae were proposed for the ultimate analysis and design of
circular cross-section subjected to axial loads combined with uniaxial bending.
An extensive example has been carried out to determine the degree of accuracy of the
proposed design formulae. The results obtained for a wide range of design case
(corresponding to the most frequently used in practice) have shown a very good
approximation of the values computed by more rigorous methods.
Furthermore, analysis results prove that in bending condition without axial load, the
flexural strength depends, on the geometry of the section (i.e. radius and concrete cover)
and on mechanical ratio of steel reinforcement by a very simple formula.

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Eng. Antonio Naclerio for the precious collaboration on the
development of numerical examples.

REFERENCES

1. Bonet, J. L., Barros, M. H. F. M., Romero, M. L. (2006). Comparative study of


analytical and numerical algorithms for designing reinforced concrete section
under biaxial bending. Computers & Structures, 84, pp. 2184-2193.
2. Davalath, G. S. R., Madugula, M. K. S. (1988). Analysis/Design of Reinforced
Concrete Circular Cross Sections. ACI Structural Journal, 85(6).
3. CS.LL.PP. (2008). DM 14 Gennaio, Norme tecniche per le costruzioni. Gazzetta
Ufficiale della Repubblica Italiana 29 (in Italian).
4. CS.LL.PP. (2009). Istruzioni per l’applicazione delle norme tecniche delle
costruzioni. Gazzetta Ufficiale della Repubblica Italiana 47 (in Italian).
5. CEN, European Committee for Standardisation (2004). Eurocode 2: Design of
concrete structures. Part 1-1: General rules and rules for buildings.
6. Cosenza, E., Manfredi, G., Pecce, M. (2008). Strutture in cemento armato. Basi
della progettazione. Hoepli (in Italian).
7. Ghersi, A. (2005). Il cemento armato. Dalle tensioni ammissibili agli stati limite:
un approccio unitario. Dario Flaccovio editore (in Italian).

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