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Title No. 111-S96

Temperature Effects in ACI 307, ACI 349, and ACI 359

by Sungjin Bae

Consideration of temperature effects is important for designing

concrete structures such as chimneys, nuclear structures, and
liquefied gas containments. Internal stresses due to temperature
changes need to be estimated and accounted in design loads or
design strengths. These internal stresses vary with cracking of
concrete, yielding of reinforcement, and restraint conditions; thus,
accurate estimates of internal stresses due to temperature changes
involve complicated analysis procedures.
Due to the complexity of the problem, ACI 307, ACI 349, and
ACI 359 have developed different design approaches for tempera-
ture effects. The objective of this study is to examine these design
approaches and evaluate their performance on estimating thermal
effects. The influence of axial forces on thermal effects is discussed,
and recommendations are made. Fig. 1—Temperature distributions in concrete wall.
Keywords: containment; temperature; thermal; thermal gradient; thermal this paper discusses thermal effects on moment-curvature
responses and presents a method for estimating thermal
moments using moment-curvature responses. Comparison
of thermal moments estimated using different methods is
Temperature changes in concrete members generate
provided, and limitations of each code method are identified.
volume changes of concrete and reinforcement. Volumetric
In this study, the importance of axial forces on thermal loads
changes cause deformations of members if they are free to
is revealed, and design recommendations for thermal effects
move. If members are restrained against thermally induced
are made. It should be noted that ACI 359-103 is known as
movements, internal stresses are developed. Temperature
ASME Section III, Division 2.
effects (or thermal effects) refer to responses of members
due to temperature changes.
Assessment of thermal effects becomes essential to the
This research is important for understanding tempera-
design of concrete structures such as chimneys, nuclear
ture effects and design methods presented in ACI 307-08,1
structures, and liquefied gas containments because of their
ACI 349-06,2 and ACI 359-10.3 Little research has been
exposure to considerable temperature changes. Accordingly,
conducted to examine code methods, even though the
ACI 307-081 (concrete chimneys), ACI 349-062 (nuclear
assessment of temperature effects is essential to designing
concrete structures), ACI 359-103 (nuclear concrete contain-
concrete structures such as chimneys, nuclear structures,
ments) and ACI 376-104 (liquefied gas containments) list
and liquefied gas containments. This study evaluates code
temperature effects as one of the important design loads and
methods for considering temperature effects in design, and
provide design provisions for thermal effects.
identifies their limitations. The results of this study can
Internal stresses due to thermal effects are different from
serve as a basis of future code changes and better design for
the stresses generated by mechanical loads. Internal stresses
temperature effects.
due to mechanical loads, which include dead load, live load,
and wind load, are generated to equilibrate applied loads.
Internal stresses due to thermal effects, however, are not
Change of temperature introduces temperature differ-
required for the equilibrium, but are generated by restraints
ential in a concrete member. Temperature distributions in
against thermal deformations. As a result, thermally induced
concrete walls will be either steady-state or transient-state
internal stresses are self-relieving, that is, stresses are reduced
conditions (Fig. 1). When ambient temperatures at both
or completely relieved with the decrease of restraints caused
inside and outside surfaces stay at constant levels for long
by cracking of concrete, yielding of reinforcement, creep,
durations, the temperature through the thickness becomes a
and relaxation. Thermal loads are called as secondary loads
to emphasize this nature. ACI Structural Journal, V. 111, No. 5, September-October 2014.
This paper investigates the influence of mechanical axial MS No. S-2013-073.R1, doi: 10.14359/51686818, was received May 17, 2013, and
reviewed under Institute publication policies. Copyright © 2014, American Concrete
forces and moments on thermal loads and the performance Institute. All rights reserved, including the making of copies unless permission is
obtained from the copyright proprietors. Pertinent discussion including author’s
of different code methods for thermal effects. In addition, closure, if any, will be published ten months from this journal’s date if the discussion
is received within four months of the paper’s print publication.

ACI Structural Journal/September-October 2014 1135

steady-state condition. The temperature distribution at this
condition is linear, as shown in Fig. 1(a). When ambient
temperature changes at either concrete surface or both, the
temperature distribution varies along time, which is a tran-
sient-state condition, and a nonlinear temperature distribu-
tion in Fig. 1(b) is obtained. The steady-state conditions can
be analyzed using well-established formulas,5 but comput-
er-based heat transfer analyses are required to get tempera-
ture distributions for transient-state conditions.5,6
Once temperature distributions are determined, uniform
temperature changes and thermal gradients are calculated
for concrete design. In case of nonlinear temperature distri-
butions, ACI 349-062 provides a method of converting a
nonlinear temperature distribution to an equivalent linear
temperature distribution. Free uniform strains and curva-
tures can be obtained from uniform temperature changes
and thermal gradients. Bae6 has examined the validity of
the equivalent linear temperature distribution method in
ACI 349-062 by comparing calculated uniform strain and
curvature with the results from heat transfer and structural
analyses using a finite element program.
Thermally induced uniform strains and curvatures Fig. 2—Temperature effect on moment-curvature relationship.
generate internal stresses when they are restrained against ACI 3071 for concrete chimneys
movements. The amount of thermal loads is dependent on Thermal stresses are calculated based on a cracked
the degree of restraints. For axisymmetric structures, which concrete and specified compressive strength fc′ of concrete
include chimneys, shield buildings, and containments, and specified yield strength fy of reinforcement are reduced
thermal curvatures are fully restrained, but restraints against by thermal stresses in this code. The nominal moment
uniform strains are trivial other than local boundaries. strength Mn and design moment strength φMn are calculated
Accordingly, thermal effects due to curvature are mainly using modified specified compressive strength fc′′ and yield
discussed in ACI codes1,2,7 and previous studies.8,9 Thermal strength fy′. In this manner, the design strength is reduced
effects due to uniform strains are often neglected or included for thermal effects, and the remaining concrete design is
in factored mechanical loads.7 performed using mechanical loads.
Figure 2 illustrates the effect of thermal curvature on a Equations (1) through (5) show the expressions for
moment and curvature response. A constant restrained thermal stresses of concrete and reinforcement. The deri-
thermal curvature φth is applied to various magnitudes of vation of equations is based on the following assumptions:
mechanical moments (M1, M2, and M3). Thermally induced 1) the free thermal curvature (φth = αΔT/t) is fully restrained;
moment Mth is the increase of moment due to restrained 2) concrete sections are cracked; and 3) the stress-strain
thermal curvature.8,9 Thermal moments (Mth,1, Mth,2, and distribution of concrete is triangular. Note that reinforce-
Mth,3) decrease with the increase of mechanical moments. ment in both compression and tension are transformed using
This is because the stiffness of a concrete section is reduced nEc, where n is the modular ratio.
after concrete cracking and reinforcement yielding. Equations (6) through (9) show modified specified
It is possible that a concrete member may be exposed strengths (or usable strengths) of concrete and reinforcement.
to temperature changes before mechanical loads. In this A load factor of 1.2 for temperature effect is not included for
case, the initial thermal moment will be large if the section the purpose of comparison with other codes. Interestingly,
remains uncracked. Thermal moment reduces once cracking the comparison of Eq. (7) and (9) shows that yield strength
of concrete occurs due to mechanical loads, however, of reinforcement in the vertical direction has modified differ-
because thermal loads are secondary loads. In other words, ently from that in the circumferential direction. The speci-
thermal loads are self-relieving with cracking of concrete fied yield strength of reinforcement in the vertical direction
and yielding of reinforcement. Thus, thermal loads are is reduced by the average of thermal tension stress in outside
always the least amount of loads that can be generated by face reinforcement and thermal compression stress in inside
given restrained thermal strains/curvatures. face reinforcement. This is due to the fact that ACI 307-081
calculates axial and moment strengths in the vertical direc-
REVIEW OF DESIGN CODE APPROACHES tion based on a whole concrete section. ACI 307-08 does not
ACI codes that contain design provisions and guidelines discuss thermal effects for serviceability.
for thermal effects are reviewed in this section. They are Vertical temperature stresses—At inside face of the
ACI 307-08,1 ACI 349-062/ACI 349.1R,7 and ACI 359-10.3 A chimney
summary of relevant provisions and guidelines is presented
and comparison is made. fCTV′′ = αc × DTEc (1)

1136 ACI Structural Journal/September-October 2014

fSTV′′ = α(c – 1 + γ2) × ΔTnEc (2) Further, Options 1 and 2 are not recommended because
Option 1 may be too conservative for estimating thermal
At outside face of the chimney effects by not considering the self-relieving nature associ-
ated with concrete cracking, and Option 2 requires compli-
fSTV = α(γ2 – c) × ΔTnEc (3) cated nonlinear and iterative analysis process for each
load combination. Accordingly, Option 3 is the preferable
Circumferential temperature stresses—At inside face of analysis approach.
the chimney ACI 349.1R-077 provides more detailed discussion on this
subject. For the use of Option 3, it recommends an elastic
fCTC′′ = αc′ × ΔTEc (4) FE analysis with a reduced modulus of 0.50Ec for concrete.
A value of 0.5Ec is based on past practice to account for
At outside face of the chimney various effects of cracking, creep, and yielding.
ACI 349.1R-077 also introduces an alternative simplified
fSTC = α(γ2′ – c′) × ΔTnEc (5) calculation method, which calculates thermal moment using
a set of formulas in Eq. (10) through (14). Note that the Pois-
Usable compressive strength of concrete and yield son’s effect is included in Eq. (12), and corrections/changes
strength of reinforcement—In the vertical direction are made in Eq. (11), (13), and (14). Details of corrections/
changes made to the original equations in ACI 349.1R-077
fc′′ = fc′ – fCTV′′ (6) are given in Appendix A.* Thermal moments are calculated
in the following steps:

f y′ =−
1+ γ1 )
fSTV − γ 1 fSTV ′′ (7)
1. Determine the concrete compressive stress fcL at the
extreme fiber and the kL factor for the neutral axis produced
by mechanical forces (N and M) from Eq. (10) and (11);
2. Calculate the final compressive stress of concrete fc at
In the circumferential direction
the extreme fiber in Eq. (12) by adding the concrete stress
due to thermal gradient to the compressive stress fcL;
fc′′ = fc′ – fCTC′′ (8)
3. Find the k factor for the neutral axis from Eq. (13),
which equilibrates the axial force N and the resultant of the
fy′ = fy – fSTC (9)
stresses produced by N, M, and DT; and
4. Calculate the total moment M produced by N, M, and
ΔT using Eq. (14). The thermal moment is the change of
ACI 3492 for nuclear safety-related concrete
moments from the mechanical moment to the total moment,
which can be expressed as Mth = M̄ – M.
Appendix E and Section RE of ACI 349-062 provide
Before ΔT
design guidelines for temperature effects. For strength design
requirements, thermally induced axial forces and moments
1  d′ 1 
need to be estimated, factored, and combined with other N =+fcL bk L d 2ρ′ nbdfcL  k L −  
factored mechanical loads. Combined factored mechanical 2  d kL 
and thermal loads are then examined with design strengths.  1
For serviceability, Section RE.3 of ACI 349-062 requires + ρnbdfcL ( k L − 1) 
consideration of steady-state temperature conditions. Crack  kL 
control on the tensile face, strain limitations of the section,
and deflections need to be examined. 1  t kL d 
M =−fcL bk L d 
The challenge of this design approach is the dependence 2 2 3 
of thermal loads on mechanical loads. In theory, thermal
loads need to be evaluated for each load combination  d′ 1  t 
+2ρ′ nbdfcL  k L −    − d ′ (11)
because thermal loads vary with mechanical axial forces and   d  k L 
 2 
moments. In comparison, ACI 307-081 accounts for thermal
 1  t 
effects to design strength and, thus, avoids the problem of +ρnbdfcL ( k L − 1)   − d 
estimating thermal loads with other combined loads.  k L 
 2 

The following finite element (FE) analysis approaches for
estimating thermal loads are discussed in Section RE.3.3 of After ΔT
ACI 349-062: 1) analysis based on full uncracked concrete
sections; 2) analysis that considers concrete cracking and  fcL αDT 
reinforcing bar yielding for all combined forces; and 3) analysis fc =+
  Ec kd (12)
that consider the effect of cracking on thermal forces only.  Ec k L d t (1 − ν) 
The Appendix is available at in PDF format,
appended to the online version of the published paper. It is also available in hard copy
from ACI headquarters for a fee equal to the cost of reproduction plus handling at the
time of the request.

ACI Structural Journal/September-October 2014 1137

1  d′ 1 
N =+ fc bkd 2ρ′ nbdfc  k −  
2  d  k
 1
+ ρnbdfc ( k − 1) 
 k

1  t kd 
M =−fc bkd 
2  2 3 
 d′ 1  t 
+ 2ρ′ nbdfc  k −    − d ′ (14)
  d  k   2 
 1 t 
+ ρnbdfc ( k − 1)   − d 
 k  2 
Fig. 3—Details of concrete section. (Note: 1 in. = 25.4 mm;
1 in.2 = 645.16 mm2; 1 ksi = 6.895 MPa; 1 psi = 6.895 kPa.)
The solution of this method is valid only when the
calculated kL and k are in the range of 0.10 ≤ kL ≤ 1.0 ACI 3593 for nuclear concrete containments
and 0.10 ≤  k  ≤ 1.0. These requirements are to ensure that ACI 359-103 is the design code for nuclear concrete
the obtained section is cracked, which is the assumption containments. Members subjected to axial forces and
involved in deriving Eq. (10) through (14). moments should not exceed allowable stress and strain
ACI 349.1R-077 permits thermal gradients less than limits. Design loads are categorized into: 1) factored primary
100°F (56°C) and uniform temperature changes less than loads; 2) factored primary and secondary loads; 3) service
50°F (28°C) to be ignored in concrete design. It states that primary loads; and 4) service primary and secondary loads.
changes in stresses and strains due to such small temperature Primary loads are those which require equilibrating applied
changes are minor and, hence, the reinforcement provided loads. Secondary loads are not required for equilibrating
for seismic forces (Eo or Ess) and minimum reinforcement the applied loads. Examples of secondary loads are internal
requirements will be sufficient for crack control. forces due to shrinkage and temperature changes.
It should be noted that design formulas in ACI 307-081 and Stress and strain limits are specified for each load cate-
in the simplified calculation method of ACI 349.1R-077 are gory. Accordingly, design allowable strengths are calculated
based on a cracked concrete section. The following observa- and compared with design loads for each load category.
tions can be made from the comparison of ACI 307-081 and However, ACI 359-103 does not provide guidelines for esti-
ACI 349.1R-077 design approaches: mating thermal loads. Design guides in ACI 349-062 and
• A cracked concrete section with a triangular concrete ACI 349.1R-077 are typically used in practice.
stress distribution is the basis of both design equations
for thermal effects in ACI 307-081 and ACI 349.1R-07.7 EVALUATION OF CODE-PREDICTED
The actual concrete relationship starts to deviate from THERMAL MOMENTS
the linear response beyond the concrete stress level of Design approaches for thermal effects in ACI 307-08,1
0.4fc′.10 Bae11 found that the use of triangular stress ACI 349-062 and ACI 349.1R-07,7 and ACI 359-103 were
distribution above this concrete stress level may over- discussed in the previous section. The performance of each
estimate moment strengths; code is evaluated by comparing thermal moments calculated
• Poisson’s effect is included in ACI 349.1R-077 for using different methods. A rectangular concrete section of
wall-type structures, but ignored in ACI 307-08.1 As a 36 x 12 in. (914 x 305 mm) in Fig. 3 is used for this purpose.
result, the restrained curvature in ACI 307-081 is under- This section is a part of an axisymmetric structure with fc′ =
estimated compared with that in ACI 349.1R-077 by 5 ksi (34 MPa) and fy = 60 ksi (414 MPa). The structure is
1/(1 – n); exposed to a thermal gradient of ΔT = 80°F (44°C) that is hot
• Compression reinforcement is transformed using inside and cold outside. Thermal curvatures are considered
a modular ratio of 2n in ACI 349.1R-077 and n in to be fully restrained due to the axisymmetric geometry.
ACI 307-08.1 An effective modular ratio of 2n is typi- The behavior of the member is analyzed for compressive
cally used for compression reinforcement in the working forces of 100, 500, and 1000 kip (445, 2224, and 4448 kN) to
stress design12 to account for the long-term effect of investigate the influence of axial forces on thermal moments.
concrete; and Note that tall concrete chimneys and prestressed concrete
• ACI 349-062 accounts for thermal effects by estimating containments are susceptible to high levels of compres-
thermal loads and combining them with other mechan- sive forces. The P-M interaction curve in Fig. 4 illustrates
ical loads. On other hand, ACI 307-081 includes thermal nominal moment strengths Mn and design moment strengths
effects to design strengths. φMn at each axial force level. Positive moment is defined as
one that produce tensile stress on the outside face. Because
the applied thermal gradient develops compressive stresses

1138 ACI Structural Journal/September-October 2014

Fig. 4—P-M interaction curve. (Note: 1 kip = 4.448 kN;
1 kip-ft = 1.356 kN-m.)
on the inside face due to the restraint, the thermal moment
is positive.

Thermal moments from moment-curvature

Figure 2 illustrates the procedure for estimating thermal
moments from moment-curvature responses. The thermal
moment can be determined by measuring the change of
moment due to the restrained thermal curvature.
Moment-curvature responses are generated by sectional
analyses13,14 using Hognestad’s stress-strain relationship15
for concrete and an elasto-plastic stress-strain relationship
for reinforcement. Tensile strength of concrete is neglected
in this study. Hognestad’s concrete model in Eq. (15) and
(16) complies with requirements specified in ACI 307-08,1
ACI 359-10,3 and ASCE Manual No. 5816

 2ε  ε  2 
fc = 0.85 fc′  c −  c   for ε c ≤ ε o (15)
 ε o  ε o  

  ε − εo  
fc = 0.85 fc′ 1 − 0.15  c  for ε c > ε o (16)
  0.003 − ε o  

where εo is 0.002.
Moment-curvature responses are generated for different Fig. 5—Thermal moments from moment-curvature relation-
axial forces, as shown in Fig. 5. The curvature due to thermal ship. (Note: 1 in. = 25.4 mm; 1 kip = 4.448 kN; 1 kip-ft =
gradient of ΔT = 80°F (44°C) is calculated as 1.356 kN-m.)
curvature of 15.3 × 10–6/in. (6.02 × 10–5/mm). Estimated
αDT (5.5 × 10 −6 / °F )(80°F )
φth = = thermal moments from moment-curvature responses are
t (1 − ν) (36 in.)(1 − 0.2) shown in Fig. 5.
= 15.3 × 10 −6 /in. (6.02 × 10 −5 /mm ) Figure 5 shows the dependence of thermal moments on
mechanical loads. Estimated thermal moments decrease
with the increase of mechanical moments and increase
It should be noted that Poisson’s effect is included in the
with the increase of axial forces. When the axial force is
estimated curvature.
small, thermal moments can be reduced to close to zero as
Because axisymmetric structures provide full restraints
the mechanical moment approaches the nominal moment
for thermal curvatures, moments will be developed by the
strength (Fig. 5(a)).

ACI Structural Journal/September-October 2014 1139

The nominal and design moment strengths (Mn and
φMn) calculated using the equivalent rectangular concrete
stress block are included in Fig. 5. An “x” mark represents
the nominal moment strength Mn based on the ultimate
concrete strain of 0.003 in a moment-curvature response.
Both nominal moment strengths agree well. It should be
noted that ACI 307-081 and 349-062 calculate nominal and
design moment strengths in a similar manner except that
ACI 307-081 has an additional requirement for the reinforce-
ment strain. The ultimate tensile strain of reinforcement is
0.07, which does not govern the nominal moment strength
in this problem.
Total required moment is the sum of mechanical moments
and thermal moments. Based on the fact that thermal
moments reduce with the increase of mechanical moments,
the minimum thermal moment that satisfies the code strength
requirement of Mu ≤ φMn is the thermal moment at which the
total moment is equal to the design moment strength φMn.
This minimum thermal moment is referred as design thermal
moment Mth′ herein. The use of design thermal moment
enables the calculation of a usable design moment strength,
which is defined as design moment strength minus (factored)
design thermal moment (φMn′ = φMn – γthMth′, where γth is a
load factor on temperature effects). As such, the remaining
concrete design can be conducted by comparing the usable
design moment φMn′ with mechanical moments, which is
similar to the design approach in ACI 307-08.1
It can be observed in Fig. 5 that design thermal moments
are similar at axial forces of –100 and –500 kip (–445 and
–2224 kN), which are Pcomp ≤ 0.2fc′Ag. The design thermal
moment, however, becomes large at axial force of
–1000 kip (–4448 kN) because high compressive forces
(Pcomp > 0.2fc′Ag) prevent cracking of concrete at design
moment strengths. The influence of axial forces and moments
on thermal moments was investigated by Gurfinkel,8 who
reported that maximum thermal moments occurs when axial
forces approach to near the balanced loads, which agrees
with the results shown in Fig. 5.

ACI 3071
Thermal effects predicted by ACI 307-081 are presented in
Fig. 6. Modified specified compressive strength of concrete
and tensile strength of reinforcement due to thermal effects
and resulting reduced design strengths are shown in this
figure. The difference between the original design strength
and the reduced design strength is the thermal moment
Fig. 6—Thermal moments from ACI 307. (Note: 1 in. =
predicted by ACI 307-08.1 It should be noted that thermal
25.4 mm; 1 kip = 4.448 kN; 1 kip-ft = 1.356 kN-m; 1 ksi =
moments in Fig. 6 are calculated using design equations in
6.895 MPa; 1 psi = 6.985 kPa.)
the circumferential direction because the concrete section in
Fig. 3 is a part of an axisymmetric structure rather than the (–445 kN) is contributed by the negligence of Poisson’s
whole section. effect in ACI 307-08.1 Because concrete members have
The estimated thermal moments are 57, 81, and 100 kip-ft relatively large deformation capacity at low axial loads
(77, 110, and 136 kN-m) for the axial forces of –100, –500, (Fig. 6(a)) and thermally induced moments are self-re-
and –1000 kip (–445, –2224, and –4448 kN), respectively. lieving, the underestimation of thermal moments can be
Comparison with the design thermal moments in Fig. 5 indi- accepted at low axial forces.
cates that ACI 307-081 underestimates thermal moments at On the other hand, the underestimation of thermal
axial forces of –100 and –1000 kip (–445 and –4448 kN). moment becomes more severe at the axial force of
The underestimation of thermal moment of 57 versus –1000 kip (–4448 kN), which is 100 versus 219 kip-ft
77 kip-ft (77 versus 104 kN-m) at the axial force of –100 kip (136 versus 297 kN-m). The thermal moment is underes-

1140 ACI Structural Journal/September-October 2014

timated by 54.3%. Design equations for thermal effects in
ACI 307-081 are based on a cracked concrete section with
a triangular concrete stress distribution. This is not valid,
however, when applied compressive forces are high enough
to prevent cracking.
In reality, the use of design equations in the circumferen-
tial direction can be justified because the level of axial forces
in the circumferential direction is small in concrete chim-
neys. More study is required to examine the effect of axial
forces on thermal loads in the vertical direction, particularly
for tall chimneys.

ACI 3492 and ACI 349.1R7

Two methods of estimating thermal loads are examined
herein. They are: 1) the elastic FE analysis method using a
reduced modulus of 0.5Ec; and 2) the simplified calculation
method using a set of design expressions in Eq. (10) though
(14). These are the recommended methods by ACI 349.1R-077
and in accordance with ACI 349-06.2
Thermal moments in the elastic FE analysis are
calculated as

M th ==
Ee I g φth Ee I g × (17)
t (1 − ν)

where Ee is the effective elastic modulus of concrete. The

recommended value is 0.5Ec.
Figure 7 shows thermal moments calculated using the
reduced concrete modulus of 0.5Ec. Also included are
thermal moments using the uncracked concrete modulus
of Ec. Note that thermal moments estimated by the elastic
analysis method are not dependent on mechanical loads.
Figure 8 illustrates thermal moments calculated by the
simplified calculation method. The simplified calculation
method in ACI 349.1R-077 calculates thermal moments by
taking into account mechanical loads and thermal gradient.
Accordingly, this method captures the dependency of
thermal moments on mechanical loads. Calculated thermal
moments decrease with the increase of mechanical moments,
but increase with the increase of mechanical axial forces.
The results of the simplified calculation method, however,
are only valid when the corresponding neutral axis locations
satisfy the requirements of 0.10 ≤ kL ≤ 1.0 and 0.10 ≤ k ≤ 1.0.
Thermal moments are crossed out when they do not satisfy
these requirements, as shown in Fig. 8. The figure indi-
cates that the simplified calculation method cannot predict Fig. 7—Thermal moments using elastic analysis method:
thermal moments when mechanical moments are small or ACI 349/ACI 349.1R. (Note: 1 in. = 25.4 mm; 1 kip =
mechanical compressive forces are high. In addition, thermal 4.448 kN; 1 kip-ft = 1.356 kN-m.)
moments are overestimated at the occurrence of yielding of
tensile reinforcement, which can be seen in Fig. 8(a). This ACI 3593
can be fixed by adding a requirement that the stress in rein- As discussed previously, axial and moment strengths in
forcement should be less than or equal to its specified yield ACI 359-103 are calculated based on allowable stress and
strength. Otherwise, the results of the simplified calculation strain limits for each load category. Figure 9 presents calcu-
method show good agreement with the thermal moments lated moment strengths. A triangular concrete stress distri-
calculated from moment-curvature responses. bution is used to obtain moment-curvature responses for
service loads per the code requirement, which are shown as
dotted lines. The obtained responses for service loads are
close to the responses for factored loads.

ACI Structural Journal/September-October 2014 1141

Fig. 8—Thermal moments using simplified calculation Fig. 9—ACI 359-10 strength limits. (Note: 1 in. = 25.4 mm;
method: ACI 349.1R. (Note: Calculated moment is not 1 kip = 4.448 kN; 1 kip-ft = 1.356 kN-m.)
valid because kL (or k) is out of permissible range; 1 in. =
25.4 mm; 1 kip = 4.448 kN; 1 kip-ft = 1.356 kN-m.) for factored primary and secondary loads becomes less with
the increase of compressive forces. In summary, allowable
At the axial force of –100 kip (–445 kN), the inclusion stress and strain design in ACI 359-103 results in bigger
of thermal effects (or secondary loads) results in little/small strength increase, but less curvature capacity increase with
increase of moment strengths for both service and factored the increase of compressive forces for the factored load
loads. Interestingly, the curvature capacity for factored loads case. It is important to note that temperature effects can be
increases significantly when thermal effects are included. At examined with respect to both design strength and design
axial forces of –500 and –1000 kip (–2224 and –4448 kN), curvature capacity in ACI 359-10.3 ACI 359-103 permits the
moment strengths increase with the inclusion of thermal significant increase of curvature capacity for thermal effects
effects. On the other hand, the increase of curvature capacity at low axial forces.

1142 ACI Structural Journal/September-October 2014

Fig. 10—Comparison of predicted thermal moments at P = Fig. 11—Comparison of predicted thermal moments at P =
–100 kip (–445 kN). (Note: 1 kip-ft = 1.356 kN-m.) –500 kip (–2224 kN). (Note: 1 kip-ft = 1.356 kN-m.)
Comparison of code performance
Comparisons of predicted thermal moments are presented
in Fig. 10 through 12. The horizontal coordinate presents
mechanical moments and the vertical coordinate is total
moments, which are the summation of mechanical and
thermal moments. The difference between two coordinates
is the thermal moment.
Thermal moments from the moment-curvature response
are calculated by varying mechanical moments based on
moment-curvature relationships, shown in Fig. 5. Results
from moment-curvature responses suggest that thermal
moments reduce with cracking of concrete and further
decrease with yielding of tensile reinforcement. Yielding of
reinforcement, however, occurs above the design strength
φMn due to the strength reduction factor φ. As such, yielding Fig. 12—Comparison of predicted thermal moments at P =
of reinforcement cannot be used to reduce thermal moments –1000 kip (–4448 kN). (Note: 1 kip-ft = 1.356 kN-m.)
under the strength requirement (φMn ≥ Mu).
The design approach of ACI 307-081 is to reduce design In summary, the performance of all ACI methods for
moment strengths. The reduced amount of design moment thermal effects, which were discussed in this paper, is closely
strength is agreeable at compressive forces of –100 and related to the level of axial forces. High compressive forces
–500 kip (–445 and –2224 kN), but becomes too small at can suppress cracking of concrete, which significantly influ-
compressive force of –1000 kip (–4448 kN) due to the limita- ences the performance of ACI methods for thermal effects.
tion of code equations based on a cracked concrete section. Therefore, the selection of proper analysis and design should
Elastic analysis method using concrete modulus of be made by considering the influence of axial forces on
0.5Ec produces acceptable, yet conservative, estimates of thermal effects.
thermal moments at compressive forces –100 and –500 kip
(–445 and –2224 kN), except when mechanical moments are PROPOSED CHANGES TO ACI 3071 AND
small. The elastic analysis method using concrete modulus ACI 3492/ACI 349.1R-077
of 0.5Ec, however, becomes unconservative at a compres-
sive force of –1000 kip (–4448 kN). The opposite trend can ACI 3071
be observed for the elastic analysis method using uncracked Because concrete chimneys are circular wall structures, it
concrete modulus of 1.0Ec. Estimated thermal moments is recommended to include Poisson’s effect in the estimated
are overly conservative at compressive forces –100 and thermal curvature. Also, an effective modular ratio of 2n for
–500 kip (–445 and –2224 kN), but are in good agreement at compression reinforcement is recommended in accordance
a compressive force of –1000 kip (–4448 kN). with the allowable stress design in the ACI code.12
The simplified calculation method in ACI 349.1R-077
provides excellent predictions of thermal moments, but ACI 3492/ACI 349.1R7
cannot be used when the compressive force level is high (P = The elastic analysis method using the concrete modulus
–1000 kip [–4448 kN]) or mechanical moments are small of 0.5Ec produces acceptable, yet conservative, estimates
due to the limitation of the use of a cracked concrete section. of thermal moments for strength design when factored
Also, the predicted thermal moments become overestimated compressive forces are equal to or less than 0.3Agfc′. Caution
at the occurrence of yielding of tensile reinforcement. should be taken, however, when factored compressive forces

ACI Structural Journal/September-October 2014 1143

are greater than 0.3Agfc′. The use of concrete modulus of Ec
may be considered for members in which factored compres-
sive forces are greater than 0.3Agfc′.
The simplified calculation method provides reliable
estimates of thermal moments when the results meet the
required criteria of 0.10 ≤ kL ≤ 1.0 and 0.10 ≤ k ≤ 1.0. It is
recommended to require the stress in tensile reinforcement
to not exceed its specified yield strength.
ACI 349.1R-077 permits thermal gradients less than 100°F
(56°C) and uniform temperature changes less than 50°F
(28°C) not to be analyzed. The following statements are
provided for the explanation:
“If the reinforcement strain is equal to 0.9εy without the
thermal effect, the total strain with the thermal gradient
(of 100°F) will be approximately 1.2εy, or approximately
20% beyond yield. Such an exceedance is inconsequential
and will not reduce the capacity of the concrete section for
mechanical loads.” “Such a temperature change (of uniform
temperature change of 50°F) may cause up to approximately
0.0003 in./in. strain, which is only 10% of the maximum
design concrete strain of 0.003.”
Figure 5, however, demonstrates that thermal gradi-
ents less than 100°F (56°C) can cause significant thermal
moments when the compressive force level is high and,
thus, their thermal effects should not neglected in the design.
Also, it is important to note that yielding of reinforcement
occurs beyond the design strengths of ACI 349-06.2 Poten-
tial impacts of exceeding code design strengths are further
reviewed with respect to curvature and strength.
Figure 13 presents the thermal curvature demand compared
with curvatures at nominal strength and design strength at
different level of axial forces. The thermal gradient of 80°F
(44°C) applied to the section in Fig. 3 generates a constant
curvature of 15.3 × 10–6/in. (6.02 × 10–5/mm). This thermal
curvature demand is relatively small compared with the
curvature capacity reserved by the strength reduction factor.
Table 1 summarizes curvature demands for thermal gradients
of 80, 100, and 150°F (44, 56, and 83°C), and presents ratios
of thermal curvature to reserve curvature capacity. Thermal
curvatures consume small margins of reserve curvature
capacity when the compressive force is small. Because the
concrete member becomes less ductile with the increase of
compressive force, the reserve curvature capacity decreases
and, thus, thermal curvatures take a larger portion of the
reserve curvature capacity.
Similarly, thermal moments are estimated at design
moments for various thermal gradients, and ratios of thermal
moment to design moment φMn are presented in Table 2.
The exceedance of design strengths due to thermal moments
is less than 5.9% up to ΔT = 150°F (83°C) when the
Fig. 13—Thermal curvature due to ΔT = 80°F (44°C).
compressive force is small, but increases with the increase
(Note: 1 in. = 25.4 mm; 1 kip = 4.448 kN.)
of compressive forces.
Results in Tables 1 and 2 indicate that the level of permis- below 100°F (56°C), however, need to be analyzed when
sible thermal gradients without analysis should be deter- the factored compressive force is greater than Agfc′/10.
mined in relation to the axial force level. When the factored A similar statement can be made for uniform temperature
compressive force on the member is equal to or less than strains. Uniform temperature changes less than 50°F (28°C)
Agfc′/10, thermal gradients even greater than 100°F (56°C) are permitted without analysis if axial restraints are small.
can be permitted not to be analyzed. Thermal gradients Care should be taken otherwise.

1144 ACI Structural Journal/September-October 2014

Table 1—Comparison of thermal curvatures to design margin curvatures
Thermal curvature φth, × 10–6/in. (× 10–6/mm) Ratio of thermal curvature to design margin curvature
Curvature at Curvature at
(4) (4)/[(3) – (2)]
φMn, × 10–6/in. Mn, × 10–6/in.
P, kip (kN) (× 10–6/mm) (× 10–6/mm) ΔT = 80°F ΔT = 100°F ΔT = 150°F ΔT = 80°F ΔT = 100°F ΔT = 150°F
(1) (2) (3) (44°C) (56°C) (83°C) (44°C) (56°C) (83°C)
–100 (–445) 90.5 (3.56) 594.0 (23.39) 15.3 (0.60) 19.1 (0.75) 28.6 (1.13) 3.0% 3.8% 5.7%
–500 (–2224) 79.3 (3.12) 226.0 (8.90) 15.3 (0.60) 19.1 (0.75) 28.6 (1.13) 10.4% 13.0% 19.5%
–1000 (–4448) 29.8 (1.17) 124.8 (4.91) 15.3 (0.60) 19.1 (0.75) 28.6 (1.13) 16.1% 20.1% 30.1%

Table 2—Thermal moments measured at design moment strengths

Mth at φMn, kip-ft (kN-m) Ratio of thermal moment to design moment strength
(3) (3)/(2)
φMn, kip-ft
P, kip (kN) (kN-m) ΔT = 80°F ΔT = 100°F ΔT = 150°F ΔT = 80°F ΔT = 100°F ΔT = 150°F
(1) (2) (44°C) (56°C) (83°C) (44°C) (56°C) (83°C)
–100 (–445) 539 (731) 29 (39) 30 (41) 32 (43) 5.4% 5.6% 5.9%
–500 (–2224) 739 (1002) 73 (99) 91 (123) 133 (180) 9.9% 12.3% 18.0%
–1000 (–4448) 469 (636) 178 (241) 212 (287) 284 (385) 38.0% 45.2% 60.6%

It is important to note that the strength design in b = width of section

c =  ratio of distance from extreme compression fiber to
ACI 349-062 permits yielding of tensile reinforcement neutral axis for vertical stresses to total thickness
for the following cases only: 1) redistribution of negative (ACI 307-08)
moments; 2) compatibility torsion; and 3) seismic design. c′ = c for circumferential stresses (ACI 307-08)
d = distance from extreme compression fiber to centroid of
Accordingly, yielding of reinforcement is not permitted for longitudinal tension reinforcement
thermal effects. This becomes clear in Section E.3.3 of the d′ = distance from extreme compression fiber to centroid of
code, which lists concrete cracking but excludes yielding longitudinal compression reinforcement
Ec = elastic modulus of concrete
of reinforcement as a means of reducing thermal moments. Ee = effective elastic modulus of concrete
Therefore, a revision of ACI 349-06 will be required to use Eo = load effects of operating basis earthquake (OBE)
permissible thermal gradients and uniform temperature Es = elastic modulus of reinforcement
Ess = load effects of safe shutdown earthquake (SSE)
changes without analysis in the design. (EI)cr = cracked flexural stiffness
(EI)uc = uncracked flexural stiffness
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS fCTC′′ =  maximum circumferential stress in concrete inside
chimney shell due to temperature effects (ACI 307-08)
The influence of mechanical moments and compres- fCTV′′ = maximum vertical stress in concrete inside chimney shell
sive forces on thermal effects was investigated. Various due to temperature effects (ACI 307-08)
methods in ACI 307-08,1 ACI 349-062/ACI 349.1R-07,7 fc = compressive stress in concrete (due to M, N, and ΔT in
Eq. (12) through (14))
and ACI 359-103 for predicting thermal moments were fc′ = specified compressive strength of concrete
discussed, and their performance was evaluated. It was fc′′ = specified compressive strength of concrete modified for
found that the level of axial forces is a key parameter on the temperature effects (ACI 307-08)
fcL = extreme fiber compressive stress in cracked section due
performance of ACI methods for predicting thermal effects. to M and N (ACI 349.1R-07)
Limitations of each method were identified, and proposed fSTC =  maximum stress in outside circumferential reinforce-
changes of codes were made. A future study to experimen- ment due to temperature effects (ACI 307-08)
fSTV = maximum stress in outside vertical reinforcement due to
tally examine the effect of axial forces on thermal loads temperature effects (ACI 307-08)
would be recommended. fSTV′′ = maximum stress in inside vertical reinforcement due to
temperature effects (ACI 307-08)
fy = specified yield strength of reinforcement
AUTHOR BIOS fy′ = specified yield strength of reinforcement modified for
ACI member Sungjin Bae is a Senior Structural Engineer at Bechtel
temperature effects (ACI 307-08)
Corporation, Frederick, MD. He received his BS and MS from Hanyang
Ig =  moment of inertia of gross concrete section about
University, Seoul, Korea, and his PhD from the University of Texas at
centroidal axis, neglecting reinforcement
Austin, Austin, TX. He is Chair of Joint ACI-ASCE Committee 441, Rein-
k = ratio of depth of triangular compressive stress block to
forced Concrete Columns, and is a member of ACI Committee 349, Nuclear
depth d due to M, N and ΔT (ACI 349.1R-07)
Safety Structures; and Joint ACI-ASME Subcommittee 359 SC-3C, Working
kL = ratio of depth of triangular compressive stress block to
Group on Design (Concrete Containments for Nuclear Reactors). His
depth d due to M and N (ACI 349.1R-07)
research interests include performance-based design of concrete columns,
M (or Mm) = moment due to mechanical loads
high-strength concrete columns, temperature effects, and design of nuclear
structures and dynamic equipment foundations.
(or M2, M3) = mechanical moment
Mn = nominal moment strength at section
NOTATION Mth = moment due to temperature effects
Ag = gross area of concrete section Mth,1
As = area of longitudinal tension reinforcement (or Mth,2, Mth,3) = thermal moment corresponding to mechanical moment
As′ = area of longitudinal compression reinforcement M1 (or M2, M3)
Mth′ = design thermal moment

ACI Structural Journal/September-October 2014 1145

N (or P) = axial force at section centerline due to mechanical loads 3. Joint ACI-ASME Committee 359, “Code for Concrete Containments
n = modular ratio of elasticity, Es /Ec (ACI 359-10),” Part of Division 2 of ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel
Pcomp = compressive axial force Code, Section III, American Concrete Institute, Farmington Hills, MI,
Tb = base (stress-free) temperature 2011, 27 pp.
t = thickness of section 4. ACI Committee 376, “Code Requirements for Design and Construc-
x = total moment due to M, N, and ΔT (ACI 349.1R-07) tion of Concrete Structures for the Containment of Refrigerated Liquefied
α = coefficient of thermal expansion. The recommended design Gases (ACI 376-10) and Commentary,” American Concrete Institute,
value is 5.5 × 10–6/°F (9.9 × 10–6/°C) in ACI 349-06 and 6.5 × Farmington Hills, MI, 2010, 165 pp.
10–6/°F (11.7 × 10–6/°C) in ACI 307-08. 5. Drysdale, D., An Introduction to Fire Dynamics, second edition, John
ΔT = temperature gradient Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 1999, 451 pp.
εc = compressive stain in concrete 6. Bae, S., “Thermal-Induced Uniform Strains and Curvatures Calcu-
φ = strength reduction factor lated Using Equivalent Linear Temperature Distributions,” Nuclear Engi-
φ1 neering and Design, V. 250, Sept. 2012, pp. 42-52.
(or φ2, φ3) = curvature at mechanical moment M1 (or M2, M3) 7. ACI Committee 349, “Reinforced Concrete Design for Thermal
φlimit = curvature that corresponds to moment strength Effects on Nuclear Power Plant Structures (ACI 349.1R-07),” American
φm = curvature due to mechanical loads Concrete Institute, Farmington Hills, MI, 2007, 36 pp.
φth = curvature due to temperature effects 8. Gurfinkel, G., “Thermal Effects in Walls of Nuclear Containments—
φMn′ = usable design moment strength, which is design moment Elastic and Inelastic Behavior,” Proceedings of 1st Conference on Struc-
strength minus factored design thermal moment (φMn – γthMth′) tural Mechanics in Reactor Technology (SMiRT), J 3/7, Berlin, Germany,
γ1 = ratio of inside face vertical reinforcement area to outside face Sept. 1971, pp. 277-296.
vertical reinforcement area (ACI 307-08) 9. Kohli, T. D., and Gurbuz, O., “Optimum Design of Reinforced
γ2 = ratio of distance between inner surface of chimney shell and Concrete for Nuclear Containments, Including Thermal Effects,” Proceed-
outside face vertical reinforcement to total shell thickness ings of the Second ASCE Specialty Conference on Structural Design of
(ACI 307-08) Nuclear Plant Facilities, New Orleans, LA, 1975, pp. 1292-1319.
γ2′ = ratio of distance between inner surface of chimney shell 10. Nawy, E. G., Prestressed Concrete: A Fundamental Approach,
and outside face circumferential reinforcement to total shell second edition, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 1996, 789 pp.
thickness (ACI 307-08) 11. Bae, S., “Concrete Stress Block Method for Nuclear Containments,”
γth = load factor on temperature effects ACI Structural Journal, V. 108, No. 4, July-Aug. 2011, pp. 434-443.
ν = Poisson’s ratio of concrete 12. ACI Committee 318, “Building Code Requirements for Reinforced
ρ = ratio of As to bd Concrete (ACI 318-63),” American Concrete Institute, Farmington Hills,
ρ′ = ratio of As′ to bd MI, 1963, 144 pp.
13. Bae, S., “Seismic Performance of Full-Scale Reinforced Concrete
Columns,” PhD dissertation, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX,
REFERENCES Dec. 2005, 311 pp.
1. ACI Committee 307, “Code Requirements for Reinforced Concrete 14. Collins, M. P., and Mitchell, D., Prestressed Concrete Structures,
Chimneys (ACI 307-08) and Commentary,” American Concrete Institute, first edition, Response Publications, 1997, 766 pp.
Farmington Hills, MI, 2008, 30 pp. 15. Hognestad, E., “A Study of Combined Bending and Axial Load in
2. ACI Committee 349, “Code Requirements for Nuclear Safety-Related Reinforced Concrete Members,” Bulletin Series No. 399, University of Illi-
Concrete Structures (ACI 349-06) and Commentary,” American Concrete nois Engineering Experiment Station, Urbana, IL, 1951, 128 pp.
Institute, Farmington Hills, MI, 2006, 153 pp. 16. Manual No. 58, “Structural Analysis and Design of Nuclear Plant
Facilities,” American Society of Civil Engineers, Reston, VA, 1980, 553 pp.

1146 ACI Structural Journal/September-October 2014



Chapter 4 of ACI 349.1R7 presents equations to calculate thermal moments for axisymmetric

structures in a relatively simple manner. The original form of equations in ACI 349.1R is given


Before T

[( ) ] [( ) ] (4-8) of ACI 349.1R

( ) [( ) ]( )
(4-9) of ACI 349.1R
[( ) ]( )

After T

[ ] (4-7) of ACI 349.1R

[( ) ] [( ) ] (4-10) of ACI 349.1R

̅ ( ) [( ) ]( )
(4-11) of ACI 349.1R

[( ) ]( )

Unfortunately, these equations contain many errors. Those errors are (1) the term is

missing after in Eq. (4-10); (2) the tension reinforcement ratio is misprinted by in

Eq. (4-11); and (3) the expression ( ) in Eq. (4-11) is incorrect. The correct expression is

( ). See Eq. (4-9) for comparison.

Note that the present form of Eq. (4-8) through Eq. (4-11) is error-prone because different

expressions are used for tension reinforcement. More specifically, expressions of ( ) and

( ) are used in Eq. (4-8) and Eq. (4-10), respectively. However, the expression ( ) is

used in Eq. (4-10) and ( ) in Eq. (4-11) if it is corrected. The use of different expressions of

( ) and ( ) may also cause confusion to users. This potential confusion can be

avoided by changing the expression ( ) in Eq. (4-9) into ( ) and the expression

( ) into ( ) at the same time. Similar changes can be made to Eq. (4-11).

In addition, Section 4.3 of ACI 349.1R7 states that the Poisson’s effect should be included in

Eq. (4-7) of ACI 349.1R. The original equations of ACI 349.1R are rewritten as Eq. (10) through

Eq. (14) to address the above mentioned issues.