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Received: 27 July 2017 Revised: 10 January 2018 Accepted: 16 January 2018

DOI: 10.1002/suco.201700150


Analytical displacement solutions for statically determinate

beams based on a trilinear moment–curvature model
Yiming Yao1 | Karan Aswani2 | Xinmeng Wang3 | Barzin Mobasher4

Key Laboratory of Concrete and Prestressed
Concrete Structures of Ministry of Education, A standard approach is presented to obtain analytical solutions for deflection field
School of Civil Engineering, Southeast University, of determinate beams subjected to conventional loading patterns. The solutions
Nanjing, China
are based on a trilinear moment–curvature response using a deflection hardening
PK Associates, Scottsdale, Arizona
behavior characterized by flexural crack initiation, inelastic response due to crack
DiGioia Gray & Associates, Tempe, Arizona
extension, and full plastic hinge formation. Methodology for full span deflection
Arizona State University, School of Sustainable
and rotation distributions are presented for multiple cases that include three- and
Engineering and Built Environment, Tempe,
Arizona four-point bending, uniform load, concentrated moment, and cantilever beams.
Correspondence The proposed approach provides analytical expressions for the curvature, rotation,
Barzin Mobasher, School of Sustainable and deflection at any point along the beam, and correlated to stress or strain distri-
Engineering and Built Environment, Arizona State bution. The procedure can therefore be integrated into a serviceability-based
University, Tempe, AZ.
design approach. A parametric study of the effects of model parameters on the
stages of the response is addressed. Several case studies involving steel fiber rein-
forced concrete (SFRC), textile reinforced concrete (TRC) and ultra-high perfor-
mance concrete (UHPC) are conducted and the simulated load-deflection
responses are verified against the experimental data from several published experi-
ments. Size effect on the serviceability limits of beams with spans ranging from
0.22 to 8.6 m is studied by tracking the full-range moment–curvature and load-
deflection responses.


back-calculation, cracking, ductility, fiber reinforced concrete, flexural tests,

load-deflection response, moment–curvature, serviceability-based design, size
effect, stress–strain

1 | INTRODUCTION (TRC),6 fiber reinforced polymers (FRP), and RC with FRP

bars.7,8 As common tools to simulate the flexural response,
To simulate the load-deflection responses of flexural mem- analytical, or empirical moment–curvature (or rotation) rela-
bers such as reinforced concrete (RC), steel, and composite tionships have been used in modeling of load-deflection,
sections, one needs to address the interaction of a range of moment capacity, and ductility of structures.9–11
reinforcing systems and failure mechanisms such as brittle Applications of cross section’s moment–curvature
fracture, plasticity, strain hardening, and strain-softening. responses for structural members include beams and
General formulations to these responses have been dis- columns,12,13 composite plates and slabs,14 steel bridge
cussed on RC,1 prestressed concrete,2,3 structural steel,4 girders,15 and shear tab connections.16 The common feature
fiber reinforced concrete (FRC),5 textile reinforced concrete of many experimental studies is to capture the deflection of
a beam at one or selected points, which is used to develop
Discussion on this paper must be submitted within two months of the print
publication. The discussion will then be published in print, along with the
load vs. center-line deformation response. Recent studies,
authors' closure, if any, approximately nine months after the print publication. however, have expanded to measure the full displacement

Structural Concrete. 2018;1–14. © 2018 fib. International Federation for Structural Concrete 1

field throughout the stages of cracking and localization, as compatibility analysis can then be conducted to obtain
deflection distribution is important in health monitoring and closed-form moment–curvature relationships. The analytical
maintenance of structures such as bridges.17 Full-field methods reduce the computational time to obtain the load
deformation is also of great interest in mechanics of com- history as well as the distribution of stresses, strains, and
posite materials due to their heterogeneities at different deformations.5 The full-range and full-field load-deflection
scales.18 Experimental techniques such as digital image responses provide all parameters such as moment, rotation,
correlation (DIC), which measure full-field displacements curvature, deflection, strain and stress distributions at any
easily,19,20 create the demand for solutions to support model level of deformation. Serviceability-based design can then
verification in nonlinear materials. By tracking strain and be specified as the load capacity of a cracked section based
curvature distributions, analysis and design procedures can on imposed deformation limit. The present approach is
be conducted allowing every aspect of deflection, crack based on the premise that by representing the moment–
width, or stiffness at serviceability limit states. Full-field curvature relationship as a piecewise linear distribution, its
displacement at various load stages is possible through integration over the specimen length yields the rotation and
finite element modeling (FEM), which may be, however, deflection profiles.12
quite tedious and time consuming.5 A procedure for development of analytical load-
The objective is to present full-field analytical load- deflection solutions is proposed based on a two-step
deflection response of a flexural member using closed- parameterized trilinear moment–curvature response. The
form moment–curvature solutions of the cross section. load-deflection response of a beam under statically determi-
Algorithms expressed with closed-form solutions are nor- nate loading such as three-, four-point bending (3, 4 PB),
mally more computational efficient and easier for imple- distributed, or cantilever loading are derived. Subsequently,
mentation into computer programs or hand calculations in the deformation field throughout the entire loading range is
comparison with the numerical methods such as FEM. In compared with experimental results for common structural
addition, closed-form solutions are presented as symbolic sections. Results are verified for a variety of different mate-
math expressions, which offer a clear view into how dif- rials, loading conditions and specimen sizes.
ferent variables interact with each other and affect the
results, especially under various loading and material char-
acteristics. Parametric studies can be conducted readily to 2 | D E R I VA T I ON O F M O M E NT –
investigate the role of critical parameters such as rein- CU RV AT UR E R EL ATIONSHIP
forcement ratio, concrete strength, and tensile residual
strength. Optimization algorithms can also be easily imple- 2.1 | Modeling assumptions
mented as the number of function evaluations are drasti-
The modeling framework includes a prismatic rectangular
cally reduced.
beam of homogeneous material with or without reinforce-
The first task is to express material properties as piece-
ment, small deformation theory, and negligible shear defor-
wise linear models as used by Soranakom and Mobasher,21
mations. After cracking the gross flexural modulus (EIg)
Taheri et al,22, and van Zijl and Mbewe.23 The strain-
reduces to an effective cracked section stiffness (EIcr), and
the load-deflection response is computed up to the ultimate
flexural strength that is treated as a yield hinge with a pre-
defined localization length.

2.2 | Moment–curvature analysis

Analytical moment–curvature solutions were introduced by
authors for FRC21 and hybrid reinforced concrete (HRC)
using a combination of fibers, rebars, or FRP.24 The starting
point is a set of parameterized compressive and tensile
stress–strain models that describe the brittle matrix or strain
softening/hardening FRC, as well as steel or FRP rebars, as
shown in Figure 1. The variables are represented as parame-
terized functions of tensile stiffness E and tensile cracking
strain εcr, which are marked red. An elastic perfectly plastic
model is used to describe the compressive behavior, which
FIGURE 1 Material models for hybrid reinforced concrete (HRC) design is specified by the compressive modulus Ec = γE, yielding
(a) compression model; (b) tension model; (c) steel model; (d) beam cross stress σ cy = ωγEεcr and strain εcy = ωεcr, and ultimate com-
section24 pressive strain εcu = λuεcr (Figure 1a). The trilinear tension

model shown in Figure 1b consists of linear elastic stage; two control points (φcr, Mcr) and (φp, Mp). The linear elastic
softening/hardening stage with a cracked stiffness Ecr = χE range is characterized by the slope of EIg and extends up to
and transition strain εtrn = αεcr; and residual stage with con- the first control point as flexural cracking (φcr, Mcr). The
stant strength σ cst = μεcrE and ultimate tensile strain εtu = postcrack region has a reduced stiffness EIcr and extends to
βtuεcr. The trilinear tension model is applicable to a wide the second control point of ultimate flexural capacity (φp,
range of materials such as FRC and SFRC with low-fiber Mp), as defined in Equation (2). The response beyond this
content (strain softening), TRC and UHPC (strain hardening), point is modeled by a constant plastic moment. To include
or plain concrete using the linear elastic stage only. The steel structural ductility limits, one can terminate the computation
model is characterized by elastic modulus Es = nE and the at specified curvature, tensile or compressive strain, or user
yield strain εsy = ψεcr, while a constant yield stress of fsy = defined limit-state criterion. The perfectly plastic stage is
ψεcrnE is used in plastic stage. In the case of FRP bars, lin- defined by a constant moment level, Mp, which extends up
ear elastic behavior can be applied without plasticity. to the limiting curvature φmax:
By using a linear strain distribution across the depth and
M ðφÞ = EIg φ 0 ≤ φ < φcr
ignoring shear deformations, stress distributions at three
Mp −Mcr
ranges of imposed tensile strain: 0 ≤ β ≤ 1, 1 < β ≤ α, and M ðφ Þ = ðφ −φcr Þ + Mcr φcr ≤ φ < φp ð2Þ
φp −φcr
α < β ≤ βtu are obtained. Since the force components are
M ðφÞ = Mp φp ≤ φ < φmax :
computed as quadratic functions, the equilibrium equation
can be solved analytically to obtain neutral axis ratio k, nor-
malized moment m, and normalized curvature κ, for full In order to get generalized closed-form solutions that
combinations of tensile, compressive and steel failure cri- are free of unit system and applicable to different
teria.21,25 The closed-form solutions for FRC and HRC sec- section sizes and materials, the variables in Figure 2b, and
tions are summarized in Tables A1 and A2, respectively, in Equation (2) are normalized using Mcr and φcr, see Equa-
Appendix S1 (Supporting Information). Since β is used as tion (3). In this study, the first cracking coordinates or con-
the independent variable to incrementally impose the flex- trol point is (1.1) at the end of Stage 1 and coordinates (κ p,
ural responses, the moment Mi and curvature φi at each mp) represent the second control point and transition from
increment step i of βι are represented as functions of first Stages 2 to 3. The three stages are expressed by normalized
crack parameters and geometrical beam width (b) and variables m and κ in Equation (4).
depth (h):
M ðφ Þ φ Mp φp
m ðκ Þ = , κ= , mp = , κp = : ð3Þ
1 Mcr φcr Mcr φcr
Mi = mðβ, k,ω, μÞMcr , Mcr = bh2 Eεcr ;
φi = κ i ðβ, k, ω, μÞφcr , φcr = : ð1Þ m ðκ Þ = κ 0<κ≤1
h mp −1
m ðκ Þ = ðκ − 1Þ + 1 1 ≤ κ ≤ κp ð4Þ
Users may choose to define customized sections, circular κ p −1
sections, T-sections, or composite sections with desired rebar m ðκ Þ = m p κp ≤ κ ≤ κ max :
configuration. In these cases, the moment–curvature relation- With normalized equations, parametric studies can be
ship may be alternatively obtained using SAP2000,26 SE:: readily conducted to reveal the sensitivity of specific param-
MC by Structure Express,27 Cross Section Analysis & eters by excluding the actual geometries and material prop-
Design,28 OpenSees,29 XTRACT,30 KSU_RC31, erties. Design charts addressing ultimate and serviceability
INSTRUCT32, etc. These programs apply a numerical rou- limit state can be generated and used for design guidelines
tine to construct the moment–curvature response by combin- for a variety of fiber reinforced systems.
ing multi-layer analysis, numerical integration, and strain
compatibility approach. User defined or integrated material
models address unconfined and confined concrete and steel
stress–strain curves. In the present study, analytical 3 | L O AD -D EFL EC TI ON S O LU TI O N F OR
moment–curvature developed by authors21,24 are used for S T A T I CA L L Y D E T E RM I N AT E SY S T E M S
computational efficiency in comparison to abovementioned
programs. Figure 3 presents the elastic and cracked regions of a simply
supported beam under 4 PB loading condition. While the
entire beam starts as elastic before cracking, as the load
2.3 | Trilinear moment–curvature relationship increases and the section undergoes distributed cracking that
Figure 2 presents the idealized parametric moment– initiates from the maximum moment point. The zone
curvature response as a trilinear function that includes elas- defined by the length parameter Lcr specifies the cracked
tic, postcrack, and fully plastic range referred to as Stages region where the applied bending moment exceeds the
1, 2, and 3, respectively. The trilinear model is defined by cracking moment (m(κ) > 1 and κ > 1). The transition point

FIGURE 2 (a) Simplified parametric

moment–curvature relationship: trilinear
representation; (b) dimensionless moment–
curvature curve represented as variables (κ, m)

between the cracked and elastic region is defined by the correspond to the Regions I or II (in terms of location
length parameter Le such that m = 1 and κ = 1 at x = Le. along the length), respectively. Length of Region I,
defined as Le is determined using similar triangles
applied to moment distribution, such that M(x = Le) =
3.1 | Three-point bending
Mcr. The distribution of curvature within the two regions
Figure 4 illustrates the moment and curvature distribu- along the beam is expressed as:
tions for a three-point bending (3 PB) prismatic beam.
Various stages of trilinear M-φ relationship (see φ 2 , I ðx Þ = x, 0 ≤ x < Le
Figure 2) and regions along a beam (see Figure 3), cre- 2ðκ −1Þðκ −Le Þ L
ate piecewise linear distributions along the length. As φ2, II ðxÞ = φcr +1 , Le ≤ x ≤ ð6Þ
L−2Le 2
shown in Figure 4b, prior to the first flexural crack φðL=2Þ L Mcr L
(0 ≤ M(L/2) ≤ Mcr), the linear curvature and bending where κ = , Le = = :
φcr 2 M ðx = L=2Þ 2mðx = L=2Þ
moment diagrams are obtained. The well-known deriva-
tions of the linear elastic case are obtained by direct The angle of rotation θ2,I(x), θ2,II(x) and deflection
integration.33 For a beam of length L, the deflection pro- δ2, I(x), δ2,II(x) in each region are derived by
file δ1(x), is normalized as δ*1 ðxÞ with respect to first crack
curvature φcr and expressed as:
x xL L
δ1 ðxÞ = φcr
− κ, 0<x< , 0<κ<1
3L 4 2 ð5Þ
δ1 ðxÞ = φcr L δ1 ðxÞ:
2 *

As the applied load exceeds the cracking load, Stage

2 of loading defined by: (κ > 1, Mcr ≤ M(L/2) ≤ Mp) is
initiated with two distinct regions of elastic (I) and
cracked Regions (II), as shown in Figure 4c. The curva-
ture distributions φ2,I(x) and φ2,II(x) are expressed in
terms of position x along the length of the beam and
characterized by the solid line in Figure 4c. These two
regions are associated with the moment–curvature rela-
tionship, where the subscripts “1” and “2” refer to
Stages (in terms of load), and the numerals “I” or “II”

FIGURE 3 Flexural stiffness regions for four-point loading of a simply FIGURE 4 (a) Schematic drawing of 3 PB; (b) moment and curvature
supported beam distributions in Stage 1; (c) moment and curvature distributions in Stage 2

Ð x φcr
θ2, I ðxÞ = 0 xdx + C3 , 0 ≤ x ≤ Le
Ð x Le
δ2, I ðxÞ = 0 θ21 ðxÞdx + C4 ,   0 ≤ x ≤ Le
ÐL φ 2ðκ −1Þðx − Le Þ L ð7Þ
θ2, II ðxÞ = 0 e cr xdx + φcr + 1 dx + C5 , Le ≤ x ≤
Le Le L − 2Le 2
Ðx L
δ2, II = δ21 ðLe Þ −δ21 ð0Þ + Le θ22 ðxÞdx + C6 , Le ≤ x ≤ :

Constants C3 through C6 are evaluated by applying con- as shown in Figure 5c. The distributions of curvature φ2,
tinuity of slope and deflection at transition point as I(x), φ2,IIa(x), and φ2,IIb(x) within the three regions along the

C3 = C5 = φcr ð2Le κ4− Lκ − LÞ, C4 = C6 = 0. The deflection coef- beam is expressed as:
ficients are reduced to: φcr
φ2, I ðxÞ = x, 0 ≤ x ≤ Le
x 3
ðL + Lκ −2Le κÞx 3ðκx −κLe −xÞ + L L
δ*2, I = − , 0 ≤ x ≤ Le
6L2 Le 0 4L2 φ2, IIa ðxÞ = φcr , Le ≤ x ≤ ð10Þ
1 L −3 Le 3
ðκ −1Þx3
ðL−2Le κÞx2
1 B 3L2 + L L
2L2 C L φ2, IIb ðxÞ = κφcr , ≤x≤ :
δ2, II =
@ A, L e ≤ x ≤ : 3 2
L −2Le xð4Le κ −L −Lκ Þ L2e ðL− 2Le κÞ 2
+ +
4L 6L2 The deflection distribution in each region is obtained by
ð8Þ integration and imposition of boundary conditions:

1  3 
δ*2, I = 2
x + xLe ð3Le κ −2Lκ −LÞ , 0 ≤ x ≤ Le
6Le L
3x3 ðκ −1Þ + 3x2 ðL −3Le κÞ −xL2 ð2κ + 1Þ + 9xLLe κ + L2e L−3L3e κ L
δ2, IIa =
2 ðL −3L Þ
, Le ≤ x ≤ ð11Þ
  e   3
x2 κ xκ 1 3Le 3Le κ L L
δ*2, IIb = 2 − + +1 −1 + κ , ≤x≤ :
2L 2L 54 L L 3 2

3.2 | Four-point bending These equations provide the complete deflection and rota-
Figure 5 illustrates the moment and curvature distributions tion profiles at any point of a beam. This approach has been
for a four-point bending (4 PB) prismatic beam. Depending extended and applied to a variety of beam types (cantilever,
over-hang) and loading conditions (constant force/moment,
on the moment distribution, two sub-regions “Ia” and “Ib”
are defined to represent the linear and constant moment zones uniform load) with detailed derivations by Wang.33 Results of
whereas “IIa” and “IIb” are used in cracked zones. The distri- analytical expressions for rotation and deflection profiles for
several cases are presented in Tables 1 and 2. These tables can
bution of deflections (normalized with respect to φcrL2) for
two distinct sub-regions Ia and Ib are obtained as: be used in the preliminary or analytical design of any beam.
The approach can also be extended for optimization of a cross
x x L section in the context of combined geometrical and material
δ1, Ia ðxÞ = κ
− , 0≤x≤
3 properties as response surfaces can be generated.
2L2 3L  3
x x 1 L L
δ1, Ib ðxÞ = κ
− + , ≤ x ≤ :
2L2 2L 54 3 2 3.3 | Deflection envelope
The analytical moment–curvature and neutral axis solutions
As the applied load exceeds the cracking threshold, Stage serve as the link between the parametric tension-
2 of loading (Mcr ≤ M(L/3) ≤ Mp) is initiated where three compression uniaxial models,21,24 and the displacement
regions are defined as elastic Region I (0 ≤ x ≤ Le), function proposed. The deflection or rotation envelopes
Le = L3 M ðxM=crL=3Þ = 3mðx =L L=3Þ, and cracked Region IIa (Le ≤ governed by two primary model variables mp and κ p, are
x ≤ L/3) with linear applied moment distribution, and independent of cross sectional size and shape, but incorpo-
Region IIb (L/3 ≤ x ≤ L/2), constant moment distribution, rate the loading condition and material properties. Figures 6

Figure 6b shows the deflection envelopes in a 3 PB

beam at three levels of ultimate curvature (κ p = 2.0, 2.5,
5.0). Due to the symmetry, half of the beam is shown. The
model parameters mp = 2 implies that the ultimate moment
is twice of the cracking moment while an increase in the
ultimate curvature κ p from 2 to 5 indicates a reduction in
postcrack stiffness to accommodate the increased strain
capacity, and results in increasing deflection by as much as
50%. Different regions of I (solid lines) and II (dashed lines)
are differentiated by the parameter Le, which quantifies the
length of Region I as listed in Tables 1 and 2. If the peak
moment mp is held constant, parameter Le is also constant
and equal to 0.25 for mp = 2 (as it is a function of L and
m only). As mp increases, Le decreases indicating that a
larger portion of the beam enters the cracked region with
increasing load (Figure 6c). As a baseline comparison, the
elastic solution at the end of Stage 1, i.e., mp = κp = 1, is
also plotted. As shown in Table 1, mid-span deflection of a
beam under 3 PB at the instant of first cracking (κ = 1) can
be simplified to the classical solution via substitution of
x = L/2:
L * L ðL=2Þ3 L=2 φ L2
δ1 = δ1 φcr L =
− φcr L2 = − cr ,
2 2 3L 4L 12
FIGURE 5 (a) Schematic drawing of 4 PB; (b) moment and curvature
distributions in Stage 1; (c) moment and curvature distributions in Stage 2 where φcr = Mcr
EI ,and M = PL 4 for 3 PB, thus
L φcr L2 2
δ1 2 = − 12 = − 12 4EI = − 48EI :
and 7 show the distributions of the deflection coefficient δ*
with several combinations of mp and κp, correlated through
Figure 7b,c compares the deflection coefficients with
the postcrack stiffness η. The effects of the two parameters
various end-points mp and κp for a 4 PB, including two sub-
on the deflection coefficients are evaluated at various levels
regions IIa and IIb. As the loads are applied at L/3 from the
when mp and κ p ranging from 1.2–2.0 to 2.0–5.0, respec-
support, the length of constant moment Region (IIb) equals
tively. The equations for the nondimensionalized deflection
0.167 L for half of the beam. Note that by decreasing the
coefficient δ* = δ/φcrL2 are directly used from Tables 1 and
postcrack stiffness, the deflection increases significantly,
2. The sign convention is defined as downward negative.
while the zone of cracking remains constant for the fixed
TABLE 1 Solutions of curvature and deflection in elastic beams maximum moment. However, the zone of cracking extends
Beam type φ1 δ1a from 0.555 to 0.648 L if the maximum moment is increased

at the maximum curvature.

3 PB 2x x 4x2
4 L 3 L2 −1 κ

In addition to 3 and 4 PB, which are commonly used
4 PB x ≤ L3 Lφ
3x x 3x2
3 L 2 L2 − 1 κ in experimental programs, parametric studies are also

≤ x ≤ L2 φ extended for simple beam under uniformly distributed load
2L2 − 2L + 54 κ
x x 1

3 (UDL) and/or concentrated moment applied at the mid-
SS-UDL − L L −1
4x x
φ − 3xL Lx 3 − 2x
L2 + 1 κ span.33 The control point (κp, mp) correlates with the ten-

Lφ sion and compression constitutive laws (see Figure 1)
SS-Conc. moment (middle) 2x
12 L L2 − 1 κ
x 4x

 through moment–curvature relationship. In order to imple-

SS-Pure bending φ 2L L − 1 κ
x x

x 2
2 ment a serviceability-based approach, one can impose the
C-UDL − L −1 φ x2
2L2 6 L2 − 3L + 1 κ
x 2x
design criteria based on curvature or deflection distribution
L φ at a specific point and obtain the corresponding service
2L2 3 L − 1 κ
C-Conc. load (end) x

 load. The deformation envelop is generated as a function

0≤x≤S a
S φ
x− S x2
2S2 3 S − 1 κ
C-Conc. load (any point) x

2S − 6 κ
x 1 of given curvature, strain, and stress level, or their interac-
tions. The design parameters can be selected among the
C = cantilever; Conc. = concentrated; SS = simply supported; UDL = uni-
formly distributed load. geometrical and mechanical response fields such as maxi-
S is the distance from start point to loading point. mum allowable curvature, or deflection between any two

TABLE 2 Solutions of curvature and deflection in cracked beams

Beam type Le Region I Region II φ2,I φ2,II δ2,Ia δ2,IIa

L L φcr x h i
3 PB 0 < x < Le Le < x < 2ðκ − 1Þðx − Le Þ f1 + f2 f3(f4 + f5 + f6 + f7)
2m 2 Le φcr L− 2Le +1
φcr x
φcr 3ðκx −L−
κLe − xÞ + L
4 PB 3m
0 < x < Le Le < x < L3 Le
x3 + g1 g2( g3 + g4 + g5)
3 Le 6Le L2
3 <x< L
κφcr κx2
− 2κxL + f6

qffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi 2!
1 − 1− m1 0 < x < Le Le < x < L2
Le ðL − Le Þ ðL− xÞ xLκ − x2 κ − xL + x i1 i2 ði3 + i4 +
2 L2 i5 + i6 + i7 Þ
ðL− 2Le Þ2 − Le Lκ + κL2e +
L φcr x h i
SS-Conc. moment (middle) 2m
0 < x < Le Le < x < L2 Le φcr 2ðκ −L−
1Þðx − Le Þ
+ 1 j1 j2
SS-Pure bending / / / mφcr φ mx x
2L L −1 2L L − 1
mx x

ðκ − 1Þðx2 − 2LLe Þ
C-UDL L 1 − m1 Le < x < L 0 < x < Le − φðcrL−
ðL− xÞ
L Þ2 φcr −κ
o1(o2 + o3 + o4) o5
ðL2e − 2LLe Þ
 φcr ðx − LÞ
h i
C-Conc. load (end) 1− m1 L Le < x < L 0 < x < Le ðκ − 1Þðx − Le Þ u1 u2
L − Le φcr Le −1
 h i
C-Conc. load (any point) 1− m1 S Le < x < S 0 < x < Le φcr ðx − SÞ
φcr ðκ − 1Þðx − Le Þ
−1 − v1 +6SL
v2 + v3
2 v7 − 2L
x 2

S − Le Le

v4 + v5 + v6
S<x<L 0 6SL2

C = cantilever; Conc. = concentrated; SS = simply supported; UDL = uniformly distributed load.

Variables f1–f7, g1–g6, i1–i7, j1–j2, o1–o5, u1–u2, and v1–v7 are summarized in Appendix S1.

FIGURE 6 (a) Schematic drawing of half 3 PB;

(b) effects of normalized moment m on deflection
distribution for 3 PB; (c) effects of normalized
curvature κ on deflection distribution for 3 PB

points. For example, one can solve for the level of rein- curvature solutions or other cross-sectional analysis pro-
forcement for a given cross-sectional size of the beam such grams with the following steps:
that a specified load would not cause a deflection thresh-
old. Deformation envelope at desired level of serviceability 1. Generate moment–curvature response for given geome-
level, or the response surface can be constructed using try and material properties using the proposed equations
continuous, or discrete variables in the form of design in Tables A1 and A2 in Appendix S1, or other software
charts. tools. Then linearize and normalize the results to get
model inputs mp and κp.
2. For a given type of beam boundary and loading condition,
use the deflection coefficient δ* to get the normalized cur-
4 | GENERALIZED APPROACH TO vature κ as a function of position x using Tables 1 and 2.
C OM P U T E LO A D - D E F L E CT IO N R E S P O N S E 3. Substitution of the geometrical parameters: b, h, L,
basic material properties: E, εcr in the normalized solu-
As a generalized approach to generate load-deflection tions yields the numerical magnitude of load and deflec-
responses with given dimensions, loading geometry, and tions. Equations can be significantly simplified if the
material properties, one can use the closed-form moment– deformation at a specific point is required such as

FIGURE 7 (a) Schematic drawing of half 4 PB;

(b) effects of normalized moment m on deflection
distribution for 4 PB; (c) effects of normalized
curvature κ on deflection distribution for 4 PB

mid-span deflections, or any other specific point, stiffening, crack bifurcation, steel-concrete bond assumptions,
i.e., by setting x = L/2 in Step 2 for deflection coeffi- and use of an elastic perfectly plastic steel model which pre-
cient equations, one may get the mid-span deflection. dicts the limit-state moment capacity at the onset of steel
yielding. The increase in flexural load is therefore underesti-
mated. As the reinforcement ratio increases from 1.80 to
5 | E X P E R IM EN T A L V E R IF I C A T IO N OF 4.29%, ultimate moment capacity mp significantly increases
T H E AN A L YT I C A L M O D E L from 3.6 to 8.2 and curvature increases from 11.6 to 16.5,
which implies the dominating role of steel reinforcement in
5.1 | Conventional RC beams improving load bearing and deformation capacities.
To verify the broad applicability of the proposed model,
experimental data from literature covering various materials 5.2 | HRC beams with steel reinforcement and fibers
and sizes were simulated. The first set of data is reported by
Besides conventional RC, experimental data of HRC beams
Ko et al,34 where full-scale RC beams with various rein-
reported by Meda et al35 are also simulated. A span of 3.6 m
forcement ratio ranging from 1.80 to 4.29% were tested
and two different reinforcement ratios of 0.75 and 1.5% as well
under 3 PB. The RC beams have a span of 1.38 m and cross
as 30 kg/m3 of steel fibers in each group were studied in com-
section of 150 mm by 150 mm, with 30 mm concrete
parison with control RC beams. The beam specimen had
cover. The yield strengths of the rebars vary from 406 to
dimensions of h = 300 and b = 200 mm with concrete cover
443 MPa. The main model parameters include Young’s
=60 mm. Material properties of concrete and steel are listed in
modulus E, first crack tensile strain εcr, stiffness ratio Table 3. Figure 9a shows the trilinear moment–curvature
η = EIcr/EIg, and the full list of material properties is pre- models used for the simulation of experimental data, with
sented in Table 3. As presented earlier, full-range moment– results compared in Figures 9b,c. The analytical load-deflection
curvature responses of these sections were generated using responses accurately match the flexural responses of the HRC
the closed-form solutions in Tables A1 and A2 in Appendix beams under 4 PB tests. Ultimate moment capacity mp of
S1. The control points (κ p, mp) were taken from the normal- RC/HRC beams increases about 50% from 4.6/5.1 to 9.0/9.4
ized curve while Mcr and φcr were calculated using Equa- and curvature increases from 22.4/22.8 to 25.2/25.5 for the two
tion (1) and the model parameters in Table 3. Linearized reinforcement ratios of 0.75 and 1.5%, indicating the primary
moment–curvature models are therefore obtained in role of longitudinal reinforcement in enhancing the flexural
Figure 8a where beam dimensions and Mcr and φcr are capacity. On the other hand, addition of 30 kg/m3 of steel
indicated. fibers increases mp from 4.6 to 5.1 for ρ = .75%, and from 9.0
Comparison of experimental and simulated load- to 9.4 when ρ = 1.5%. In addition, stiffness ratio η increases
deflection responses is illustrated in Figure 8b, where good slightly from 0.17 to 0.19 and 0.33 to 0.34, respectively. The
agreement can be observed up to the steel yield point. How- role of steel fiber in improving the moment capacity and post-
ever, the ultimate strength in flexure is generally underesti- crack stiffness correlates with a normalized residual strength of
mated by the present model. Such discrepancies are μ = 0 and 0.2, which represents a change from a plain matrix
attributed to several factors such as multiple cracking, tension to one with a residual strength of 0.7 MPa. Note that in

TABLE 3 Geometries, material properties, and model parameters for experimental verification studies

Study Beam series Fiber content L (m) E (GPa) σ cy (MPa) Es (GPa) fsy (MPa) εcr (με) ω μ ζ η mp κp EI (106 Nm2) EIcr (106 Nm2)
Ko et al ρ = 1.80% – 1.38 38.4 66.6 200 413 186 9 0 0.8 0.24 3.6 11.6 1.62 0.4
ρ = 2.91% 172 443 0.35 6.1 15.5 0.6
ρ = 3.59% 174 419 0.41 6.9 15.5 0.7
ρ = 4.29% 174 419 0.47 8.2 16.5 0.8
Meda et al35 (HRC) 2φ16-B-PC – 3.6 37.0 49.7 200 534 100 13 0 0.87 0.17 4.6 22.4 16.7 2.8
2φ16-B-30 30 kg/m3 45.0 12 0.2 0.19 5.1 22.8 3.1
4φ16-B-PC – 49.7 13 0 0.33 9.0 25.2 5.5
4φ16-B-30 30 kg/m 45.0 12 0.2 0.34 9.4 25.5 5.7
Yoo and Yoon37 (HPFRC) S30-1 2% 2.2 47.0 210 200 495 180 25 0.6 0.89 0.22 3.6 12.7 6.3 1.4
T30-1 232 27 0.7 0.25 3.9 12.6 1.6
S30-2 210 510 25 0.6 0.31 4.8 13.3 2.0
T30-2 232 27 0.7 0.33 5.1 13.3 2.1
Dupont40 (HRC) HRC 25 kg/m3 1.0& 30.5 26.4 200 560 110 8 0.34 0.93 0.11 3.0 19.4 4.1 0.4
HRC 50 kg/m3 30.3 26.1 130 7 0.39 0.22 4.9 18.5 4.0 0.9
HRC 60 kg/m3 39.0 55.4 160 9 0.56 0.32 5.7 15.7 5.2 1.7
41 3
Minelli et al H500 50 kg/m 2.64 30.8 32.1 200 580 146 7 0.3 0.88 0.29 6.4 19.9 80.2 22.9
H500 75 kg/m3 31.0 33.1 120 9 0.4 0.29 7.8 24.3 80.7 23.7
H1000 50 kg/m3 5.64 30.0 32.1 555 80 9 0.3 0.94 0.37 12.1 31.4 625.0 228.6
H1000 75 kg/m3 31.0 33.1 120 9 0.4 0.36 10.7 27.8 645.8 234.0
H1500 50 kg/m 8.64 29.0 32.1 518 80 9 0.3 0.96 0.29 11.27 27.9 2,109.4 804.8
H1500 75 kg/m3 30.0 33.1 110 9 0.4 0.29 8.6 20.7 2,109.4 810.0
Kim et al42 (HPFRC) S79-HL-28d 79 kg/m3 0.45 20.0 84 – - 260 16 0.13 – 0.10 2.2 13.3 0.84 0.1
S79-TL-28d 290 15 0.13 0.10 2.2 13.3 0.1
Mobasher et al43 (TRC) 100A 1.29% 0.25 20.0 51.0 – – 150 17 12.9 – 0.11 18.2 156.3 36.5 (10−6) 4.0 (10−6)
44 3
Mobasher et al (SFRC) S13-HL-28d 13 kg/m 31.0 28.0 – – 61 15 0.12 – 0.27 1.6 3.0 1.31 0.36
S26-HL-28d 26 kg/m3 0.45 31.0 28.0 63 14 0.33 0.24 1.7 3.9 1.31 0.31
S39-HL-28d 39 kg/m3 21.0 28.0 89 15 0.42 0.23 1.7 4.2 0.89 0.20

HPFRC = high-performance fiber reinforced concrete; HRC = hybrid reinforced concrete; SFRC = steel fiber reinforced concrete; TRC = textile reinforced concrete.

FIGURE 8 (a) Normalized moment–curvature

diagrams of simulated data for different reinforcement
ratio; (b) comparison of load-deflection responses
between analytical simulation and experimental data

FIGURE 9 (a) Normalized moment–curvature diagrams of simulated data for different reinforcement ratio and fiber content; load-deflection responses of
HRC beams for different reinforcement ratios: (b) ρ = .75%; (c) ρ = 1.5%

comparing plain and FRC, contribution of plain concrete in ten- (UHPC). Yoo and Yoon37 tested full-scale UHPC beams
sion is ignored in design guidelines such as ACI 318-14.36 reinforced by rebar and steel fibers. The beams with a cross
section of 150 mm by 220 mm were tested under 4 PB and
span of 2,200 mm. Effect of reinforcement ratio was evalu-
5.3 | Ultra-high performance concrete ated at 0.94 and 1.50%. Two distinct types of smooth and
In addition to normal strength concrete, the proposed model twisted steel fibers were used at volume fraction of 2%.
is also applicable to ultra-high performance concrete Figure 10a shows the normalized moment–curvature

FIGURE 10 (a) Normalized moment–curvature relationship used to simulate the experimental responses of UHPC beams; comparison of load-deflection
responses between analytical simulation and experimental data for various reinforcement ratios: (b) ρ = .94%; (c) ρ = 1.5%

FIGURE 11 Simulated maximum curvatures for various materials and beam sizes corresponding to deflections of (a) δ = L/600; (b) δ = L/450;
(c) δ = L/150

responses and Figure 10b,c compare the predicted and exper- parameters have been proposed to characterize the flex-
imental load-deflection responses for reinforcement ratios of ural toughness and residual strength of FRC. For exam-
0.94 and 1.50%, respectively. The basic material parameters ple, EN1465138 uses residual flexural tensile strengths
used in the model include Young’s modulus E = 47GPa, fR,1 and fR,3 at deflection levels of δ = 0.47 and
first crack tensile strain εcr = 180με. 2.17 mm, respectively (corresponding CMOD values of
The model simulations underestimate the moment 0.5 mm and 2.5 mm); ASTM C1609 uses an equivalent
capacity within an approximate range of 8–13% for different flexural strength ratio Re,3 at a similar deflection of
beam specimens, which have been discussed in the case of δ = L/150. However, extraction of design parameters
RC simulations. In addition, due to the significantly high- from small beams at an arbitrary deflection may be
compressive strength of UHPC, failure due to concrete questionable for full-scale structures due to many objec-
crushing is unlikely to occur for an under-reinforced beam. tions, among them the nature of size effect and the cur-
As a result, pronounced strain hardening is exhibited by vatures involved.39 A study of maximum curvature that
steel rebars after yielding and the flexural load increases correlates with the load at specified level of deflection is
until rebar fracture. In fact, all of the UHPC beams with therefore conducted. In addition to the beam specimens
steel fibers were subjected to flexure failure due to rebar presented earlier, simulations are extended to a database
rupture, as reported by the authors.37 Thus, the proposed of experiments by Dupont40 and Minelli et al41 on HRC
model provides conservative estimation as a preferred fea- beams, Kim et al42 on high-performance fiber reinforced
ture from the design perspective. It is also clearly shown concrete (HPFRC) and Mobasher et al43,44 on TRC and
that the load carrying capacity increased by approximately SFRC beams. Model parameters are summarized in
30% with an increase in the reinforcement ratio from 0.94 Table 3. Once the load-deflection responses are simu-
to 1.50%. Furthermore, marginal improvements in moment lated, the magnitude of maximum curvatures correspond-
capacity and stiffness ratio are observed in the UHPC ing to the specific levels of mid-span deflection at
beams with addition of twisted fiber in comparison to δ = L/600, L/450, and L/150 are extracted and plotted as
smooth fibers. The ultimate moment parameter mp increases a function of span (see Figure 11). Results show that as
from 3.6 to 3.9 when ρ = .94%, and 4.8 to 5.1 for the size of the beam increases, the maximum curvature
ρ = 1.5%. The improvement can be explained by the higher required to attain the load-deflection response decreases sig-
bond strength between twisted steel fibers and concrete nificantly, therefore large rotation capability observed in
matrix compared with smooth fiber. small samples may not be necessary, nor applicable in real
structures. The maximum curvature decreases by about 90%
as the span increases from 1 to 8.6 m (Figure 11a,b), and
5.4 | Correlation of specimen size with the maximum decreases by almost 80% from 0.45 to 2 m when δ = L/150
curvature in simulation (Figure 11c). The range of span studied is quite representa-
Since the analytical model provides the curvature and tive which covers many experiments reported in the litera-
deflection distributions to determine the load at given ture from lab to full scales. The simulated curvatures of
deformation levels, it can be used to compare the beam large beams using identical material parameters as smaller
results of various sizes for a serviceability-based crite- beams are much lower at equivalent levels of deflection. In
rion. Design parameters may include maximum allowable addition, large mid-span deflection of L/150 cannot be
curvature, deflection, ductility, or stress. Various reached in the case of larger beams (span >2 m) and thus

Figure 11c only shows the results of smaller beams. These

Icr moment of inertia of cracked section
observations point out that the trend of specifying parame-
k neutral axis depth ratio
ters such as Re,3 at quite a large deflection for small speci-
L length of beam
mens in order to design and construct large beams may be
Le length of linear elastic region
too conservative as the curvatures obtained by the small
Lcr length of linear cracked region
samples may not be obtained in real size structures.
m normalzied moment
mp normalzied moment at onset of perfectly
plastic stage
6 | CON CLU SION S M moment
Mp moment at onset of perfectly plastic
A trilinear moment–curvature relationship defined by the flex- stage
ural crack initiation and ultimate capacity was proposed as the n modulus ratio (Es/E)
basis for the derivation of an analytical load-deflection model P applied load
exhibiting deflection hardening behavior. The analytical solu- α normalized transition strain
tions characterize the full-range distributions of curvature, β normalized tensile strain (εt/εcr)
rotation, and deflection at any given point along the beam. βtu normalized ultimate tensile strain
Various types of beams and loading conditions were χ normalized postcracked modulus (Ecr/E)
addressed such as 3, 4 PB, uniformly loaded, concentrated δ beam deflection
moment on simple and cantilever beams. δ* deflection coefficient
The load-deflection and moment–curvature responses ε strain
correlated with the classical elastic solutions and extended εc concrete compressive strain
into parameterized nonlinear stress–strain materials model. εcr concrete strain at first tensile crack
Deformation envelope at any given level of load, deforma- εcy concrete compressive strain at peak
tion, and location along the beam as well as their interac- stress
tions were generated. Results are directly applicable to εcu ultimate compressive strain
serviceability-based design tools. A parametric study exam- εt concrete tensile strain
ined the effect of moment–curvature parameters on the εtrn concrete strain transition point
load-deflection response. The model’s accuracy was verified εtu ultimate tensile strain
by comparing simulated and experimental load-deflection εs steel strain
responses for RC, HRC and UHPC beams. Various beams φ curvature
with spans ranging from 0.22 to 8.6 m, which cover many φcr curvature at first flexural crack
experimental data in the literature from lab-scale to full size φp curvature at onset of perfectly plastic
specimens were simulated and the results indicated that stage
residual strength parameters such as Re,3 at relatively large φmax maximum curvature
deflection values for small specimens may be too conserva- η normalized postcracked flexural stiffness
tive for design of real size structures. (EIcr/EIg)
κ normalized curvature
7 | NOTATIONS κp normalized curvature at onset of per-
fectly plastic stage
As area of steel rebar κmax normalized maximum curvature
A21, A22, A31, variables in Table A1 in Appendix S1 λ normalized compressive strain (εc/εcr)
A32, B21, B22, μ normalized residual tensile strength
B31, B32 (σcst/σcr)
C1–C11, D1–D5 variables in Table A2 in Appendix S1 ρg steel reinforcement ratio per gross area
b beam width σ concrete stress
d effective depth at location of steel rebar σc concrete compressive stress
E elastic tensile modulus of concrete σ cr cracking tensile strength
Es elastic modulus of steel σ cy concrete compressive yield strength
f1–f7, g1–g6, variables in Table 2 σ cst residual tensile strength
i1–i7, j1–j2, σt concrete tensile stress
o1–o5, u1–u2, ω normalized concrete compressive yield
v1–v7 strain (εcy/εcr)
h full height of a beam section. ζ normalized depth of steel reinforcement
Ig moment of inertia of gross section (d/h)

ORCID Compos. 2008;30:465-477.

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Yiming Yao
Key Laboratory of Concrete and
Prestressed Concrete Structures
of Ministry of Education, School
Additional Supporting Information may be found online in
of Civil Engineering, Southeast
the supporting information tab for this article.
University, Nanjing, China

How to cite this article: Yao Y, Aswani K,

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