You are on page 1of 6

See discussions, stats, and author profiles for this publication at: https://www.researchgate.


Tension-stiffening model based on test data of RC beams

Article · January 2010


1 83

5 authors, including:

Gintaris Kaklauskas Siim Idnurm

Vilnius Gediminas Technical University Tallinn University of Technology


Viktor Gribniak Darius Bacinskas

Vilnius Gediminas Technical University Vilnius Gediminas Technical University


Some of the authors of this publication are also working on these related projects:

Sustainable Fibre-Reinforced Polymer Concrete Structures View project

We are doing experimental research of different types bridges (railway, road and pedestrian) View project

All content following this page was uploaded by Darius Bacinskas on 19 January 2015.

The user has requested enhancement of the downloaded file.

Aleksandr Sokolov 1, Gintaris Kaklauskas 2, Siim Idnurm 3, Viktor Gribniak 4, Darius Bacinskas 5
Dept. of Bridges and Spec. Structures, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University,
Saulėtekio ave. 11, LT-10223 Vilnius, Lithuania. E-mails: 1;
2; 4; 5
Department of Bridge Constructions, Tallinn University of Technology,
Ehitajate 5, Tallinn, 19086 Estonia, E-mail:

Abstract. Based on a method proposed by the authors, a new tension-stiffening law has been proposed for short-term
deformational analysis of flexural reinforced concrete members. It was derived from experimental moment-curvature
diagrams of RC beams reported by the authors. A quantitative dependence has been established between the length of
the descending branch and the reinforcement ratio. The proposed relationship has been applied in a simple engineeing
technique based on layered approach and principles of strength of materials. To assess accuracy of the technique, def-
lections/curvatures have been calculated for a large number of experimental reinforced concrete beams reported in the
literature. Comparison has been carried out with proposed relationship and design code methods such as the ACI 318,
Eurocode 2 and SP 52-101 (new Russian code).

Keywords: reinforced concrete beams, tension stiffening, shrinkage, experimental tests, short-term loading.

1. Introduction It is known that shrinkage might significantly affect

cracking resistance and deformations of RC members
At a cracked section of reinforced (RC) member, all subjected to short-term loading. The necessity to assess
tension is carried by reinforcement. However, the con- shrinkage influence on deformation behaviour of cracked
crete continues to carry tensile stresses between the RC members has been recognised in the beginning of the
cracks because of bond action, which effectively stiffens 2nd half of XX century. However, in most cases, tension-
the member response and reduces deflections. The phe- stiffening relationships were derived from shrunk expe-
nomenon, commonly known as tension-stiffening, is rimental RC members. Therefore, tension-stiffening rela-
effectively responsible for above-zero average tensile tionships were coupled with shrinkage and accompanying
stresses existing in cracked concrete. Tension-stiffening creep effects (Kaklauskas et al. 2009).
is sometimes confused with tension softening which is a Present study aims at deriving a tension-stiffening
property of plain concrete and may be modelled by frac- relationship for short-term deformational analysis of RC
ture mechanics models. flexural members. The proposed relationship is based on
Cracking and tension-stiffening parameters probably moment-curvature diagrams of RC beams experimentally
have the most significant effect on numerical results of obtained by the authors. The method applied for deriving
concrete members subjected to short-term loading. Ten- the relationship is based on Layer section model (Kak-
sion-stiffening effects usually need to be included in an lauskas 2004) and combines direct and inverse techniques
analysis that uses averaged stresses and strains to predict of analysis of RC members. The shrinkage effect is elim-
member behaviour, such as with smeared finite elements, inated using the technique proposed by Kaklauskas et al.
a layered beam section analysis, or truss modelling which (2009). A simple formula was proposed for calculation of
incorporates compatibility of overall averaged strains. the tension-stiffening diagrams.
This type of approach requires a suitable material model
for cracked concrete, and tension-stiffening results can be 2. Deformational model of RC flexural member:
used to obtain the post-cracking stress-strain response of theoretical background
concrete. Based on a variety of assumptions, many con-
stitutive models for RC in tension have been proposed. The proposed method is based on Layer section
The relationships were defined from tension, shear or model and combines direct and inverse techniques of
bending tests. analysis of RC members. In the direct technique moment-
curvature diagrams are calculated for assumed constitu- cracking, tension-stiffening and deformations of lightly
tive laws of the materials, i.e. compressive and tensile reinforced members. Four beams with various reinforce-
concrete and reinforcement. The inverse technique pro- ment ratios and diameter were tested under a four-point
posed by the second author in co-authorship (Kaklauskas loading system, which gave a constant moment zone of
& Ghaboussi 2001) is aimed at determining average 1.0 m, and two shear spans of 1.0 m each. Main charac-
stress-average strain relations for cracked tensile concrete teristics of the specimens are given in Table 1.
from flexural tests of RC members. For given experimen- The experimental results are presented in terms of
tal moment-curvature diagrams, the material stress-strain moment-curvature diagrams for each of the beam. The
relation (including the descending branch) is computed moment-curvature diagrams obtained from the tests and
from the equilibrium equations for incrementally increas- with eliminated shrinkage are shown in Fig 3.
ing moment assuming portions of the relations obtained
from the previous increments. In the present analysis, Table 1. Main characteristics of the test beams
shrinkage is eliminating by assuming reverse (expanding) h db a' As1 As2 fcyl
shrinkage strain (Kaklauskas et al. 2009). Beam
mm mm2 MPa
The proposed method has been applied to the test
S1-3 299 268 283 23 755 57 48.2
data of two reinforced beams reported by Sato et al. 2007.
S2-3 300 272 282 29 466 57 48.1
Most of the characteristics, excepting the curing condi-
tions, were very similar for the beams. Beam V-01-13WB S3-2-2 298 274 283 32 232 57 52.8
was prevented from shrinking (wet curing), whereas S3-2-3 298 271 284 32 232 57 50.9
beam V-01-13DB was exposed to drying condition. This
resulted in different shrinkage strains. 1 – 1 P P
As shown in Fig 1, the proposed method consists of As2
the following steps: 1) Using the experimental moment- a´
1000 1000 1000
curvature diagrams (see Fig 1a), tension-stiffening rela-
h d 3000
tionships (see Fig 1b) were derived by the inverse tech- As1
nique. 2) Free-of-shrinkage moment-curvature diagrams 1

(see Fig 1c) were calculated by the direct technique, as-

suming obtained tension-stiffening relationships and ex- b 100ø6 1
pansion concrete strain. It should be noted that due to
similar beam parameters, these diagrams have practically Fig 2. Cross-section and loading scheme of experi-
coincided. 3) Free-of-shrinkage tension-stiffening laws mental beam
were derived (see Fig 1d) by the inverse technique.

Fig 3. Experimental moment-curvature relationships

Fig 1. Deriving free-of-shrinkage tension-stiffening
relationships from RC beam tests reported by Sato et
al. (2007)
4. Derivation of tension stiffening law

The tension-stiffening law was obtained from the

3. Experimental program moment-curvature diagrams applying the algorithm dis-
cussed in Section 2. In addition, shrinkage effect was
The tests were performed in the Laboratory of Rein- eliminated from experimental moment-curvature dia-
forced Concrete and Masonry Structures of Vilnius Ge- grams. Free-of-shrinkage tension-stiffening relationships
diminas Technical University. Lightly and moderately are shown in Fig 4. The relationships were normalised by
reinforced concrete beams (p = 0.30%, 0.60% and 1%) dividing stresses by the tensile strength calculated using
were subjected to short-term loading. Beams have the
Eurocode 2 provisions ( σ ct ft , EC 2 ) and the strains by the
same cross-section parameters and material characteris-
tics (see Fig 2 and Table 1). Experimental program re- cracking strain ( ε ct ε cr , EC 2 ).
ported in (Gribniak et al. 2007, Kaklauskas et. al. 2008) The descending branch of the tension-stiffening rela-
was devoted to investigation concrete shrinkage effect on tionships was fitted using following relationship:
⎛ ⎛ ε ct ⎞ ⎞ comparative study was based on the predictions made by
σ ct = f t , EC 2 ⎜ 1 − 0.27 ln ⎜ ⎟ − 0.21 p ⎟ (1) three design codes (Eurocode 2, ACI 318, SP 52-101) and
⎝ ε cr , EC 2 ⎠
⎜ ⎟
⎝ ⎠ the proposed model [see Equation (1)].
The experimental data collected by the authors
The above relationship allows to take into account
(Gribniak et al. 2004, Gribniak 2009) consists of 40 RC
free shrinkage strain of concrete as independent parame-
flexural members reported by six investigators. All the
ter. The calculated tension-stiffening laws are presented
members were subjected to a four-point bending. They
in Fig 5.
had a rectangular cross-section. Main characteristics of
Comparison of the test and calculated (using the
the members indicating variations in span, cross-section
proposed tension-stiffening law) moment-curvature dia-
parameters and concrete strength are listed in Table 2. In
grams are presented in Fig 6. Figure 7 is compare the
this table, N represents the number of the specimens in a
obtained from tests and the proposed tension-stiffening
test program. The tests covered wide ranges of rein-
forcement ratios. Experimental data of Clark & Speirs
(1978), Ashour (2000) and Nejadi (2005) can be catego-
σct/ ctm,EC2
rised as beams having average and high reinforcement
ratios. The experimental data of Figarovskij (1962),
1.0 Gushcha (1968) and Kaklauskas et al. (2005) should be
0.8 dealt separately, since most of the beams had a very low
0.6 S3-2-3 S3-2-2
reinforcement ratio.
0.4 S2-3 S1-3
Lightly reinforced beams is an extreme case of
0.2 εct/εcr,EC2 bending analysis, because the stress-strain state as well as
0 curvatures and deflections are significantly influenced by
-0.2 effects of cracked tensile concrete (Gribniak et al. 2004).
-0.4 Since tensile strength is a highly dispersed value, it is
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 very difficult to predict deflections accurately at loads
Fig 4. Normalised tension-stiffening laws just above the cracking loads, particularly for lightly rein-
forced members.
1.4 σct/ ctm,EC2
Table 2. Main characteristics of the test beams
1.0 N L h p fcu
p = 2.0% Author
0.8 pcs. m mm % MPa
0.6 p = 1.0% Clark &Speirs
14 3.2
200- 0.4- 23-
0.2% (1978) 500 2.0 40
p =

Kaklauskas et al 41-
0.2 εct/εcr,EC2 7 3.0 300 0.3
(2005) 55
0.3- 31-
-0.2 Gushcha (1967) 4 3.6 300
0.8 43
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 Figarovskij (1962) 7 3.0 250
0.4- 29-
0.9 37
Fig 5. Proposed tension-stiffening laws
1.2- 61-
Ashour (2000) 6 3.08 250
2.4 98
100 Moment, kNm 333-
With eliminated Nejadi (2005) 2 3.5
0.5 45
80 shrinkage
S1-3 From test Total: 40
3.0- 200- 0.3- 23-
3.5 500 2.0 98
60 S2-3

40 S3-2-2
The calculation methods employed for comparative
deflection analysis of flexural RC members are as fol-
20 lows: Eurocode 2 (CEN 2004); ACI 318 (ACI 318 2008);
Curvature x 103, m-1 new Russian code SP 53-101 (NIIZB 2006); and the pro-
0 posed model [see Equation (1)].
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 The experimental mid-span curvatures were com-
Fig 6. Calculated and experimental moment-curvature diagrams pared with those predicted by the techniques described
above. The analysis was based on Sliced data transforma-
tion (Gribniak 2009, Gribniak et al. 2010) introducing
5. Statistical analysis eleven levels of loading intensity M taken in relative
terms between the cracking and ultimate bending mo-
This Section presents statistical analysis on short- ments:
term deflections of RC bending members. The analysis
has employed data of six experimental programs. The

1.4 σct/fctm,EC2 sideration. Analysis performed has resulted in three such
1.2 intervals:
1.0 1: p < 0.5%; 2 : 0.5 ≤ p ≤ 1.0%; 3: p > 1.0% (5)
0.6 S3-2-3
Graphical illustration of the analysis results is pre-
0.4 sented in Fig 8 with shown 95% confidence intervals of
0.2 expectation μΔ for the grouped data. Width of the confi-
0 dence intervals characterises variation of the relative error
-0.2 of predictions.
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 3 Δ p < 0.5%
1.4 σct/fctm,EC2 Eurocode 2 ACI 318
1.0 1

0.8 S3-2-2
0.6 S1-3 SP 52-101 Proposed
0.4 2

εct/εcr,EC2 1

0 M´
-0.2 0
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1

0 5 10 15 20 25 30 3 Δ 0.5 ≤ p ≤ 1.0%
Eurocode 2 ACI 318
Fig 7. Calculated and proposed tension-stiffening 2


M ' = ( M − M cr ) ( M ult
∗ − M );
cr SP 52-101 Proposed
M' = {0; 0.1; ...; 0.9; 1} 2

Here M*ult is the pseudo-ultimate bending moment calcu- M´
lated for each member under assumption of yielding 0

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1

strength of tensile reinforcement 400 MPa; Mcr is the
cracking moment (CEB-FIP 1991): 3 Δ p > 1.0%
Eurocode 2 ACI 318
M cr = I el f ct yt ; 2

f ct = 0,3 3 f c'2 ; f c' = f cu 1, 25 1

Here fcu is the compressive 150 mm cube strength of con- Proposed
SP 52-101
crete (see Table 2). Thus, M’ = 0 and M’ = 1 corresponds 2
to cracking and pseudo-failure of the RC element, respec-
tively. 1

Accuracy of the predictions was estimated by means M´

of a relative error Δi , k calculated at each level M’ for
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1

each of 40 experimental members:

Δi,k = xcalc
' ' ;
xobs Fig 8. 95% confidence intervals of the expectation for
(4) different load levels and reinforcement ratio intervals
i = 1; 2; 3; ...; 10; 11, k = 40
Here x’cal and x’obs are the mid-point deflec- Concluding remarks
tions/curvatures interpolated at the level M’ from calcu-
lated and original test data, respectively. It should be The research presented in this paper was dedicated
noted that not all specimens contained eleven output to the investigation of tension-stiffening effect in rein-
points as their testing was terminated before reinforce- forced concrete beams. A new, free-of-shrinkage tension-
ment reached 400 MPa. The transformation resulted in stiffening law, has been derived from experimental beams
383 output points covering post-cracking stage (compare reported in the authors. In general, results of this analysis
to 899 measured points). fitted well the conclusions of the previous findings and
In practical application of the procedure, it was in- were extended for the case of small reinforcement ratios.
tended at each normalised load level to define reinforce- It has been shown that the shape of the relationships
ment ratio intervals with normal probability distribution mostly depends on reinforcement ratio. The length of the
of relative error Δ valid for all the methods under con- descending branch of the curves reflecting the tension-
stiffening effect was considerably more pronounced for действии на- грузки]. PhD dissertation. Moscow:
beams with smaller reinforcement ratios. The proposed NIIZhB. 210 p. (In Russian).
model was applied in a simple iterative technique based Gribniak, V. 2009. Shrinkage Influence on Tension-Stiffening
on classical principles of strength of materials extended of Concrete Structures. PhD dissertation, Vilnius Gedimi-
to the layered approach. Accuracy of the technique has nas Technical University, Vilnius, Lithuania. 146 p.
been investigated by calculating deflections/curvatures Available from Internet: <http://www.dart- 2160>.
for a large number of experimental reinforced concrete
beams reported by several investigators. Comparison has Gribniak, V.; Christiansen, M. B.; Kaklauskas, G. 2004. Com-
been carried out with the predictions made for design parative statistical deflection analysis of RC beams by FE
software ATENA, design code methods and the Flexural
code methods. For beams with average and high rein-
model, in Proc. of the Eighth International Conference
forcement ratios (p > 0.5), accurate predictions have been Modern Building Materials, Structures and Techniques.
made by all the methods yielding an error (standard de- Vilnius: Technika, 462–469.
viation) from 8.8 to 10.3%. However, predictions for the Gribniak, V.; Kaklauskas, G.; Bacinskas, D. 2007. Experimental
lightly reinforced beams (p < 0.5 %) were far less accu- Investigation of Deformations of Lightly Reinforced Con-
rate. These risen inaccuracies are related to the increased crete Beams, in Proc. of the Ninth International Confer-
influence of the tensile concrete which is a highly dis- ence Modern Building Materials, Structures and Tech-
persed value. For the lightly reinforced beams, the most niques. Vilnius: Technika, 2: 554–562.
accurate predictions in terms of standard deviation Gribniak, V.; Kaklauskas, G.; Idnurm, S.; Bacinskas, D. 2010.
(24.0 %) have been achieved for the proposed model. Finite element mesh size effect on deformation predic-
Relatively accurate predictions were also made by the tions of reinforced concrete bridge girder, The Baltic
ACI 318 method yielding standard deviations of 28.0 %. Journal of Road and Bridge Engineering, 5(1): 19–27.
The Eurocode 2 method underestimates the cracking doi:10.3846/bjrbe.2010.03
moment and often significantly overestimates the corre- Gushcha, Yu. P. 1967. Investigation of Elastic-Plastic Behav-
sponding deflection, in some cases yielding an error of iour of Flexural Concrete Members Reinforced with De-
over 100%. formed Bars [Исследование изгибаемых
железобетонных элементов при работе стержневой
Acknowledgements арматуры в упруго-пластической стадии]. PhD disser-
tation. Concrete and Reinforced Concrete Research and
Technological Institute (NIIZhB), Moscow. 210 p. (in
The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial
support provided by the Research Council of Lithuania,
and by the complementary financial support provided by Kaklauskas, G. 2004. Flexural layered deformational model of
reinforced concrete members, Magazine of Concrete Re-
the Agency of International Programs of Scientific and
search 56(10): 575–584.
Technology Development in Lithuania.
Kaklauskas, G.; Ghaboussi, J. 2001. Stress-Strain Relations for
References Cracked Tensile Concrete From RC Beam Tests, ASCE
Journal of Structural Engineering 127(1): 64–73.
ACI Committee 318. 2008. Building Code Requirements for doi:10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9445(2001)127:1(64)
Structural Concrete, ACI318-08 and Commentary. Farm- Kaklauskas, G.; Christiansen, M. B.; Bacinskas, D.; Gribniak,
ington Hills, Michigan: ACI. 471 p. V. 2005. New Method for Deformation Analysis of Rein-
Ashour, S. A. 2000. Effect of Compressive Strength and Tensile forced Concrete Structures [Naujo inžinerinio gelžbet-
Reinforcement Ratio on Flexural Behaviour of High- oninių elementų deformacijų skaičiavimo metodo kūri-
Strength Concrete Beams, Engineering Structures 22(5): mas], Technical Report Nr. T-05127. Vilnius: VGTU. 33
413–423. doi:10.1016/S0141-0296(98)00135-7 p.
CEB-FIP (Comité Euro International du Béton; Fédération Kaklauskas, G.; Bacinskas, D.; Girdzius, R.; Sokolov, A. 2008
International de la Précontraint). 1991. CEB-FIB Model Numerical Deformation Analysis of Bridge Concrete
Code 1990: Design Code. London: Thomas Telford. 437 p. Girders, The Baltic Journal of Road and Bridge Engineer-
ing 3(2): 49–54.
CEN (Comité Européen de Normalisation). 2004. Eurocode 2:
Design of Concrete Structures – Part 1: General Rules and Kaklauskas, G.; Gribniak, V.; Bacinskas, D.; Vainiūnas, P.
Rules for Buildings, EN 1992-1-1:2004. Brussels: CEN. 2009. Shrinkage influence on tension stiffening in con-
230 p. crete members, Engineering Structures 31(6): 1305–1312.
Clark, L. A.; Speirs, D. M. 1978. Tension Stiffening in Rein-
forced Concrete Beams and Slabs under Short-Term Nejadi, S. 2005. Time-Dependent Cracking and Crack Control
Load. Technical Report 42.521. Cement and Concrete As- in Reinforced Concrete Structures. PhD dissertation. Uni-
sociation. 19 p. versity of New South Wales. 390 p.
Figarovskij, V. V. 1962. Experimental Investigation of Stiffness NIIZhB (Concrete and Reinforced Concrete Research and
and Cracking of Reinforced Concrete Flexural Members Technology Institute). 2006. Concrete and Reinforced
Subjected to Short-Term and Long-Term Loading Concrete Structures without Pre-Stressing, SP 52-101-
[Экспериментальное исследование жёсткости и 2003. Moscow: NIIZhB. 53 p. (in Russian).
трещиностойкости изгибаемых железобетонных Sato, R.; Maruyama, I.; Sogabe, T.; Sogo M. 2007. Flexural
элементов при кратковременном и длительном Behavior of Reinforced Recycled Concrete Beams, Jour-
nal of Advanced Concrete Technology 5(1): 43–61.


View publication stats