Guide to the Design of Anchor Bolts and Other Steel Embedments

by R. W. Cannon, D. A. Godfrey, and F. L. Moreaditb


There has been little published on the design of steel embedments. Many designers looking for guidance have found the work of ACI Committee 349, Concrete Nuclear Structures, extremely helpful. Because there may be designers who are not aware of this information, which is an appendix to the Code prepared by Committee 349, a modified version is offered here which can be applied outside the design of nuclear structures.

Appendix B, "Steel Embedments" of "Code Requirements for Nuclear Safety Related Concrete Structures (ACI 349-76)" was adopted by the American Concrete Institute in August 1979. The authors of this article were principal authors of Appendix B. The appendix was ballotted and revised extensively several times before being accepted by ACI Committee 349. Additionally, the document was extensively reviewed by the ACI Technical Activities Committee (TAC). Following revision and ballotting by ACI 349 and further review by TAC, the document was accepted for ballotting by the general membership of the Institute and published in the August 1978 ACI JOURNAL Proceedings of the American Concrete Institute. It was adopted as part of the Code in June 1979.

Appendix B is, for the most part, directly applicable to concrete structures in general, not only to nuclear safety related structures. The parts of this article presented in italic-type represents modifications which the authors feel transform Appendix B into a general guide for designing steel embedments. For the most part, the changes fall into one of three categories:

1. 1980 proposed revisions to Appendix B.

2. Deleting references to ACI 349-76 and inserting references to ACI 318-77.

3. Technical changes which the authors feel constitute an improvement in the content of Appendix B.

It is important to emphasize that the regular-type portions of this article have been subjected to a rigorous evaluation by ACI Committee 349, TAC, and the general membership of the Institute.

This guide defines minimum requirements for design of steel embedments used to transmit loads from attachments into reinforced concrete structures. Loads may be transmitted into structures by means of tension, bearing, shear, friction, or any combination thereof. The design limits have been established using both analytical and test methods. The commentary provides background information on the provisions.

Keywords: anchorage (structural); anchor bolts, anchors (fasteners); building codes; composite construction (concrete and steel); embedment; grouting; inserts; loads (forces); reinforced concrete; shear properties; structural design; studs.

1.0 - Notation


dimension out to out of bearing edges (see Fig. 5-2), in.

reduction in projected area, sq in.


AI loaded area, sq in.

A2 maximum area of the portion of the supporting surface that is geometrically similar to and concentric with loaded area, sq in.

b dimension, out to out of bearing edges (see Fig. 5-2), in.

D major thread diameter of threaded anchor or nominal diameter of anchor, in.

f; specified compressive strength of concrete, psi

i; minimum specified tensile strength of anchoi steel, psi

I, mmimum specified yield strength of embedment steel, psi

h overall thickness of member, in.

L; embedment depth for tensile anchorage measured from anchorage bearing surface to concrete surface, in.

m minimum side cover distance from the center of an anchor to the edge of the concrete (see Fig. 5-1), in.

n number of threads per in.

P, design pullout strength of concrete in tension, lb

U required strength to resist factored loads or related internal moments and forces

~ strength reduction factor, dimensionless

2.0- Scope

2.1 - This guide provides minimum requirements for design and anchorage of steel embedments used to transmit loads from attachments into reinforced concrete structures by means of tension, bearing, shear, friction, or any combination permitted by this guide.

Typical embedment details and concepts as referenced in this guide are shown in Fig. 2-1 and 2-2.

In addition to meeting these requirements consideration shall be given to the effect of the forces applied to the embedment on the behavior of the overall structure.

2.2 - The requirements for the attachment to the embedment shall be in accordance with applicable codes and are beyond the scope of this guide.

2.3 - Design limits less conservative than those specified in this guide may be used by the engineer if substantiated by experimental or detailed analytical investigation.





_. \1£MB£R






Fig. 2-1 - Bearing embedments - TypicaJ embedment details.

3.0 - Definitions

Anchor head - A nut, washer, plate, stud, or bolt head or other steel component used to transmit anchor loads to the concrete by bearing.

Attachment - The attachment is that structure external to the surfaces of the embedment which transmits loads to the embedment.

Embedment - The embedment is that steel component in contact with the concrete or grout used to transmit applied loads to the concrete structures. The embedment may be fabricated of plates, shapes, bolts, reinforcing bars, shear connectors, expansion anchors, inserts, or any combination thereof.

Expansion anchor - A component installed in hardened concrete for the transfer of loads into structural components by direct bearing and/or friction.

Grouted embedment - An embedment located in a formed or drilled hole in hardened concrete utilizing a grout to provide load transfer from the embedment to the concrete.

Inserts - Commercially available, predesigned, and prefabricated embedments installed prior to concrete placement which are specifically designed for attachment of bolted connections.

4.0 - General requirements and loading eombinations

4.1 - The embedment and surrounding concrete or grout shall be designed for transmitting to the concrete structure all loads used in the design of the attachment.







e c

, .



.l.NCH('R~ HEAD ~ 'f------~ i=-=~-'!:--=-,=-=-= -CJ


U ~



__ VE.CHAN!-:"AL SPUc.E.


.: ' 1-1 -"-5 T;_:E:::.E~::....::.:E M.:.::B:,.::E:::.J'.:.::, lE::_Il:_:_T __


Fig. 2-2 - Tension embedments - Typical embedment details.

4.2 - Reactions on the embedment due to individual loads such as dead, live (including vibratory loads), thermal and seismic, loads shall be considered. The loading combinations for embedment design shall be in accordance with Section 9.2 of ACI 318-77.

4.3 - Material and testing requirements for embedment steel shall be specified by the engineer to ensure that the intended function of the embedment and the attachment is compatible.

4.4 - The strength of embedments as affected by the size and grade of steel, spacing, and depth of embedment and any concrete dimensions which limit or restrict the transfer of loads from steel to concrete shall be considered as defined in Sections 5.0, 6.0, and 7.0.

4.5 - Shear lugs that meet the requirements of Sections 5.5 and 6.1.2(b) shall be considered effective only when located in a concrete compression zone developed between the embedment and the concrete and transverse to the direction of the shear force for a given load combination unless adequate reinforcement is provided.

4.6 - A combination of bearing and shear friction mechanisms shall not be used to develop the required




Fig. 5-1 out.

Effective stress area for anchorage pull-





Fig. 5-2 - Stress area reduction for limited depth Ar•

shear strength defined in accordance with Section 9.2 of ACI 318-77.

5.0 - Design requirements for concrete

5.1 - The design provisions of this guide are based on the strength design method. The assumptions, principles, and requirements of ACI 318-77 are applicable for all load combinations except as modified herein.


5.2 - Tension - The design pullout strength of concrete P, for any anchorage shall be based on a uniform tensile stress of 4~ VI: acting on an effective stress area which is defined '!ly the projected area of stress cones radiating toward the attachment from the bearing edge of the anchors, The effective area is limited by overlapping stress cones, by the intersection of the cones with concrete surfaces, by the bearing area of anchor heads, and by the overall thickness of the concrete (see Fig. 5-1 and 5-2). The inclination angle for calculating projected areas shall be 45 deg. The ~ factor shall be taken as 0.65 for an embedded anchor head unless the anchor head is beyond the far face reinforcement. In such cases a ~ factor of 0.85 may be used.

5.3 - Shear - The design shear strength of anchors subject to shear shall satisfy the requirements of Sections 6.1.2 and 7.2.2.

5.4 - Reinforcement - If the requirements of Section 6.1 are not satisfied, reinforcement shall be provided to develop the required strength. Reinforce ment requirements shall be in accordance with applicable sections of ACI 318-77 and placed to prevent failure of the concrete in tension.

5.5 - Bearing

5.5.1 - The bearing requirements of Sections 10.16 or 18.13 of ACI 318-77 shall apply to the maximum bearing stress at a shear lug or anchor head except as permitted by Section 5.5.2.

5.5.2 - The bearing requirements of Section 5.5.1 do not have to be met if the anchor head at the base of the tensile stress component satisfies the following conditions:

(a) The bearing area of the anchor head (excluding the area of the tensile stress component) is at least 1.5 times the area of the tensile stress component.

(b) The thickness of the anchor head is at least 1.0 times the greatest dimension from the outer most bearing edge of the anchor head to the face of the tensile stress component.

(c) The bearing area of the anchor head is approximately evenly distributed around the perimeter of the tensile stress component.

6.0 - Anchorage requirements

6.1 - Anchorage design shall be controlled by the strength of embedment steel unless otherwise specified in this guide.

6.1.1 - Tension. Steel strength controls when the design pullout strength of the concrete P, as determined in Section 5.2 exceeds the minimum specified tensile strength of the tensile stress component of the embedment steel and full load transfer is accomplished from steel to concrete within the depth of the anchorage by one of the following methods:

(a) A mechanical anchor at the base of the tensile stress components which satisfies the requirements of Section 5.5.2. To prevent failure due to lateral bursting forces at an anchor head, the side cover dis-


tance m shall be determined such that the lateral concrete design strength (based on a uniform tensile stress of 4~ VI: acting on an effective area defined by projecting 45 deg tslenes from the anchor head to the free surface) exceeds the lateral bursting force unless the requirements of Section 5.4 are met. The ~ factor shall be taken as 0.85.

(b) Reinforcing bars with development lengths in accordance with the requirements of Chapter 12 of ACI 318-77, for anchor steel composed of reinforcement.

6.1.2 - Shear. For steel strength to control the design shear strength: (a) For anchor bolts, studs, or bars the side cover distance m for shear loading toward a free edge shall be such that the concrete design strength (based on a uniform tensile stress of 4~ VI: acting on an effective area defined by projecting 45 deg planes to the free surface from the centerline of the anchor at the shearing plane) exceeds the ultimate shear strength of the bolts, studs, or bars (based on fu.J unless the requirements of Section 5.4 are met. The ~ factor shall be taken as 0.85.

(b) For shear lugs bearing in the direction of a free edge, the concrete design shear strength shall be determined based on a uniform tensile stress of 4~ VI:

. acting on an effective stress area defined by projecting 45 deg planes from the bearing edges of the shear lug to the free surface and shall exceed the ultimate shear strength of the steel (based on fu.J unless the requirements of Section 5.4 are met. Bearing area of the shear lug shall be excluded from the projected area. The ~ factor shall be taken as 0.85.

6.1.3 - For combined tension and shear, the depth of embedment shall be in accordance with Section 6.1.1 and the minimum edge distance in accordance with Section 6.1.2(a).

6.1.4 - Where reinforcement is provided in accordance with Section 5.4, the side cover distance shall not be less than 1J3 that required by Section 6.1.2. Under no conditions should the edge distance be less than the concrete cover requirements for reinforcement in Section 7.7 of ACI 318-77.

7.0 - Design requirements for embedment steel

7.1 - Embedment material shall be defined by the Engineer in contract documents.

7.2 - The design strength for embedments shall be based on a maximum steel stress of ~ i, or ~ (0.8 fu.J, whichever is less. The design yield strength fy shall not exceed 120,000 psi. The following values for ~ shall be used:

7.2.1 - Tension, compression, and bending. ~ = 0.9. 7.2.2 - Shear - Structural shapes and fabricated steel sections and shear lugs. ~ = 0.55. - The shear-friction provisions of Section

11. 7 of ACI 318-77 (as herein modified) shall be applied to bolts, studs, and bars using a ~ of 0.85. The coefficient of friction J.l shall be:


(a) 0.9 for concrete or grout against as-rolled steel with the contact plane a full plate thickness below the concrete surface.

(b) 0.7 for concrete or grout against as-rolled steel with contact plane coincidental with the concrete surface.

(c) 0.55 for grouted conditions with the contact plane between grout and as-rolled steel exterior to the concrete surface.

7.3 - Combined tension and shear

7.3.1 - For structural shapes and fabricated steel sections, the web shall be designed for the shear and the flanges designed for the tension, compression, and bending.

7.3.2 - For bolts, studs, and bars the area of steel required for tension by Section 7.2.1 and for shear by Section shall be additive.

7.4 - The tensile stress area of a threaded anchor shall be taken as:

[ ]2

0.9743 0.7854 D--n-

where D is the, major thread diameter and n is the number of threads per in.

7.5 - The tensile stress area of Section 7.4 shall be applied to all threaded anchors subject to direct tensile and shear stress.

B.O - Expansion anchors

This section provides minimum requirements for the design of typical expansion anchors used in concrete structures and does not restrict the use of other expansion anchors provided the expansion anchors are designed and tested in accordance with the requirements of this section.

B.1 - Design requirements - Expansion anchors shall be designed to assure that the design strength of concrete for a given expansion anchor or group of expansion anchors is greater than the strength of the anchor steel except as permitted in Section 8.2. This requirement shall be met by satisfying the requirements of Sections 8.1.1 or 8.1.2.

B.1.1 - Design by analysis

(a) Tension: The design pullout strength of concrete P, shall be as defined in Section 5.2 except that the effective stress area shall be defined by the projected area of the stress cones radiating toward the concrete surface from the innermost expansion contact surface between the expansion anchor and the drilled hole. Refer to Fig. 8-1 for typical details. The design pullout strength of concrete shall be equal to or greater than the minimum specified tensile strength or average tensile strength if a minimum is not defined for the expansion anchor. The minimum edge distance requirement of Section 6.1.1(a) shall be satisfied.

(b) Shear: Expansion anchors subject to shear shall meet the requirements of Section 6.1.2(a).





Fig. 8-1 - Typical details of expansion anchors.

(c) For combined tension and shear, the depth of embedment shall be in accordance with Section 8.1.1(a) and the minimum edge distance in accordance with Section 8.1.1(b).

(d) The design requirements for embedment steel shall be in accordance with Section 7.0.

8.1.2 Design by testing. Tests shall be conducted to verify that the concrete will develop the steel strength of the expansion anchors. Design by test results shall be restricted to tests that are representative of the anchor spacing and load application.

8.1.3 Strength reduction factors. The requirements of Section 7.1 shall apply except that the + factors for expansion anchors shall be 0.9 times the values specified in Section 7.2.

8.2 - Alternative design requirements - For expansion anchors that do not meet the requirement of Section 8.1, the design strength shall be 0.35 times the average test failure load. This factor applies to tension and shear test failure loads. The average test failure load shall be equal to the average of the test loads carried by test anchors at failure (maximum load) or at a magnitude of displacement of test anchors as specified by the engineer. A linear interaction shall be used for combined tension and shear.

8.3 - A single expansion anchor used to anchor an attachment shall be designed for liz of the design strength defined herein.

8.4 - Testing

8.4.1 - Expansion anchors designed in accordance with the guide shall be tested to verify anchorage or


to determine the average test failure load. Tests shall be conducted by a testing agency other than the anchor manufacturer and shall be certified by a professional engineer with full description and details of the testing program, procedures, results, and conclusions.

8.4.2 - The expansion mechanism of the anchor shall be tested for the installed condition by one of the following methods:

(a) The mechanism shall be actuated and tested during installation by preloading the expansion anchor to a minimum value as specified by the engineer.

(b) A random selection of the installed anchors shall be load tested to a minimum of 100 percent of the required strength. The testing program shall be established by the engineer.

8.5 - Expansion anchor selection - The engineer shall review the expansion anchor design features, failure modes, test results, and installation procedures prior to selecting a specific expansion anchor for an application. Expansion anchors shall not be used to resist vibratory loads in tension zones of concrete members unless tests are conducted to verify the adequacy of the specific anchor and application.

9.0 - Inserts

Concrete inserts shall be specified in accordance with Section 7.1 and tested in accordance with Section 8.4.1.

9.1 - Design requirements - When inserts cannot be designed to meet the requirements of Sections 5.0, 6.0 and, 7.0, the design strength shall be based on actual test data of tests performed on inserts embedded in concrete. The tests shall cover the full range of possible loading conditions.

9.2 - Strength reduction factor - When inserts cannot be designed to meet the requirements of Sections 5.0, 6.0, and 7.0, a + factor of 0.5 shall be applied to the average test failure loads in determining the design strength.

10.0 - Grouted embedments

10.1 - Grouted embedments shall meet the applicable requirements of Sections 5.0, 6.0, and 7.0.

10.2 - For general grouting purposes the material requirements for cement grout shall be in accordance with Chapter 3 of ACI 318-77. Special grouts used to achieve certain properties such as high strength, low shrinkage, or expansion shall be the responsibility of the engineer and specified in contract documents.

10.3 - Grouted embedments shall be tested to verify anchorage strength. Grouted embedments installed in tension zones of concrete members shall be capable of sustaining design strength in cracked concrete. Tests shall be conducted by an independent testing agency and shall be certified by a professional engineer with full description and details of the testing programs, procedures, results, and conclusions.


10.4 - Grouted embedments shall be tested for the installed condition by testing randomly selected grouted embedments to a minimum of 100 percent of the required strength. The testing program shall be established by the engineer.

10.5 - The tests required by Sections 10.3 and 10.4 may be waived by the engineer if tests and installation data are available to ensure that the grouted embedment will function as designed or if the load

transfer through the grout is by direct bearing or compression.

11.0 - Fabrication and instaUation

Welding of attachments to embedments shall be in accordance with good practice to avoid excessive expansion of the embedment which could result in detrimental spalling or cracking of the concrete or excessive stress in the embedment anchors.

Commentary on Guide to the Design of Anchor Bolts and Other Steel Embedments

1. O-Notntion

In addition to the notation provided in Section 1.0, the notation used in this guide is the same as in ACI 318-77.


This guide provides minimum requirements for the design of steel embedments used to transmit loads from attachments into the reinforced concrete structures governed by ACI 318-77.

Design limits have been established using both analytical and test methods. Analytically, limits on capacity for both concrete and steel have been established which are consistent with accepted ACI and AISC practice. Where design limits have been established through test programs, test results have been published or are available from the original source." Tests have been performed on steel embedments to determine the limiting load capabilities and anchorage requirements for fabricated anchorages, concrete inserts, anchor bolts, welded studs, and expansion anchors subject to loads applied in direct tension and shear. The effect of edge conditions, strength of concrete, size, strength, number, and spacing of anchors was investigated. Typical arrangements and geometry of steel embedments are as reflected in the figures of the guide, commentary, and references.

Although typical embedment details and concepts are referenced in Section 2.1, this does not preclude the use of other details of concepts to which the provisions of this guide and ACI 318-77 are applicable.

Various methods of joining the attachment to the embedment may be used, a few of which are shown in figures which are a part of the guide. Section 2.2 specifies that the design of attachments is not a part of the guide; however, proper consideration should be given to their design to ensure compatibility with assumptions made in the design of the embedment.

3.0- Definitions

In addition to the definitions provided in Section 3.0, the definition of other terms used in the guide are the same as those in ACI 318-77.


4.O-General requirements and loading combinations

The requirements of this section reference other sections of the guide and ACI 318-77. The engineer, using the applicable requirements of the referenced section, is responsible for the design of an embedment which is compatible with the material, design loads, and function of the attachment and the supporting structure.

Sections 4.1 and 4.2 require that the engineer coordinate the design of the attachment with the design of the embedment and surrounding concrete and that the embedment be designed for the load combinations of Section 9.2 of ACI 318-77 as a minimum. It is suggested that special consideration be given to embedments designed for vibratory loads (e.g., increased load factor).

The variation in type of loading coupled with the various loading combinations result in a wide range of design problems for the embedment designer. Also, a wide range of material for embedments is available which restricts Section 4.3 from being more explicit. From a practical point of view as well as from an economic standpoint, it must be the responsibility of the engineer to select appropriate materials for embedments and specify testing, if necessary, for each class of embedments (as implied by Section 4.3) which will ensure that the intended function of the attachment is not impaired.

Section 4.5 places limitations on shear lugs which do not satisfy the requirements of Section 6.0, i.e., that the embedment exhibit ductile behavior if subjected to overload. The engineer is cautioned that shear lugs, even though located in the specified compression zone, may not be fully effective if edge distance between the lug bearing surface and free surface of the concrete is limited. The requirements of Section 5.4 must be satisfied when those of Section 6.1.2(b) are not.

Although specific requirements are not given in the guide, the engineer must ensure that the stiffness characteristics of the shear lugs are compatible with the assumed bearing stress distribution between the lugs and the concrete.





Fig. 1 - Load transfer behavior of deformed reinforcement.

Section 4.6 prohibits the engineer from combining the design shear strength of bearing (e.g., shear lugs) and shear friction (e.g., shear studs) mechanisms. This exclusion is justified in that it is difficult to predict the distribution of shear resistance as a result of the differential stiffness of the two mechanisms.

5.O-Design requirements for concrete

The basic requirements for the development of embedments in reinforced concrete are provided by Sections 5.0 and 6.0. The transfer of tensile stress from steel to concrete using deformed reinforcement or headed anchors is accomplished by mechanical means if the location of the load transfer mechanism (either bar deformations or anchor heads) is in close proximity to one or more concrete surfaces, tensile cracking of the concrete will occur at the load transfer mechanism. The extent of cracking is dependent on the tensile strength of concrete and location of the load transfer mechanism with respect to embedment depth and side cover distance.

Development length requirements for deformed reinforcement are dependent on the relationship of the height and spacing of deformations with respect to bar size and the influence of adjacent stressed reinforcement. The basic development length requirements of Section 12.2 of ACI 318-77 are based on clear side cover distances equal to or less than 3 in. (76.2 mrnl and maximum bar spacing of 6 in. (152.4 mm). Reinforcement in concrete members is generally located near the surface and, therefore, the development length requirements of Section 12.2 of ACI 318-77 are reasonably conservative to ensure a ductile failure without tensile splitting of the concrete.

If a reinforcing bar is used as a tensile stress component embedded into the interior of a concrete mass, the development length requirements of Section 12.2

are excessive. For uniformly sized and spaced bar deformations, the tensile stress in the steel varies from a maximum at the surface of the concrete to zero at the end of the bar as illustrated in Fig. 1. For embedment lengths equal to the ld of Section 12.2, the failure mode would be rupture of the steel at its ultimate tensile strength. Typically, complete failure is preceded by developing a shallow surface cone (see Fig. 1) when the bar reaches yield. This preliminary distress occurs typically because the bar deformations along the embedded portion of the reinforcement are trying to participate equally in the load transfer from the bar to the concrete. Using the ld values of Section 12.2 is conservative. However, these requirements are specified in Section 6.1.1(b) of the guide due to the lack of available data necessary to reduce the embedment requirements.

A single mechanical anchor (e.g., head of an anchor bolt or stud) at the end of a smooth bar or rod behaves differently than deformed reinforcement. As tensile load is increased, bond failure will occur such that the entire tensile load is transferred into the concrete by the anchor head. If the depth of embedment is less than that required to develop the ultimate tensile strength of the bar or rod concrete tensile failure will occur with initial cracking beginning around the perimeter of the anchor head. A "pullout cone failure" results as the cracking propagates to the surface.

5.1-The combined requirements of Sections 5.0 and 6.0 are intended to result in an embedment design which will exhibit ductile behavior in the case of unanticipated overload. This philosophy is consistent with the code in that sudden brittle failure is an undesirable failure mode.

Section 5.1 requires the designer to be cognizant of satisfying applicable general requirements of the code.

5.2- Tension - This section defines the method of calculating design pullout strength of concrete, i.e., direct tensile capacity, for an embedment.

The tensile strength of concrete is generally accepted as ranging from 6 to 7 times the square root of the compressive strength of concrete (in psi). The distribution of principal tensile stress in the concrete along the potential pullout failure plane defined by Section 5.2 is assumed to vary (based on References 1,2, and 3) from a maximum at the mechanical anchor on the end of the steel embedment to zero at the surface of the concrete. This constitutes an average resistance provided by the concrete of approximately 4 fl.. acting on the projected tensile stress area. Failure is initiated at the outside periphery of the mechanical anchor (anchor head) and, therefore, the area of the anchor head does not contribute to the pullout strength of the concrete and should be subtracted from the projected tensile stress area in computing pullout strength. Thus, it is desirable to keep


the effective size of anchor head as small as possible to reduce embedment requirements. Tests':" have shown that the head of a standard anchor bolt or stud, without a plate or washer, is sufficient bearing area to fully develop the tensile strength of bolts without damage to the concrete when the head of the bolt has sufficient side cover for development of the necessary confining pressure. This is the basis of the requirement specified in Section 5.5.2 which defines anchor head dimensions that are similar to the head of standard anchor bolts.

When the individual tensile stress components (e.g., bolts or studs or an embedment configuration are located sufficiently close together (i.e., center-tocenter spacing) for overlapping of the potential pullout failure planes of the individual anchors, then the loss of the effective tensile stress area can be compensated for by increased depth of embedment. The projected tensile stress area of the group must be capable of developing the combined strengths of the tensile stress components as required by Section 6.1.1. Otherwise, the reinforcement provisions of Section 5.4 must apply.

For fully developed embedments, the concrete dimension parallel to the development length must be of sufficient thickness to meet the nominal shear stress requirements of Section 11.11 for two-way action. When the anchorage is made up of a number of bolts or individual anchors, spaced over a relatively wide surface area of the structure, the effective stress area must be reduced to comply with Section 11.11 of ACI 318-77 as illustrated in Fig. 5-2 of the guide.

The nominal inclination of the failure plane for pullout of the concrete is 45 deg; due to principal stress orientation; if the concrete is stress-free transverse to the pullout force. As the crack propagates toward the surface the uncracked portion flexes as a shallow disc putting the outer surface in compression around the perimeter and causing a change in the failure plane inclination. For shallow embedments, generally less than 5 in. (127 mm), the flexural strength due to the disc action is greater than the cone pullout strength such that an increase in load is required to propagate the crack. For this reason, the normal 90 deg failure cone (total angle) will approach 120 deg with decreasing anchor depth in correlating failure loads! to calculated values using 4 VI: as a uniform stress. The actual concrete spall for shallow depth anchors will produce an even wider area of failure. However, caution should be observed in the utilization of inclination angles greater than 45 deg because of the possibility of surface cracking which might restrict flexural action. For this reason the use of inclination angles greater than 45 deg for shallow depth anchors is not recommended.

The inclination of the failure angle will also vary as a function of state of stress in the plane of the concrete structure (e.g.; wall or slab) into which the


embedment is being anchored. For example, several cases are as follows:

1. Biaxial compression in the plane of the structure will result in the total angle approaching zero as the magnitude of in-plane biaxial compression stresses becomes very large. The mode of failure of the concrete approached direct shear.

2. Biaxial tension in the plane of the structure would tend to result in a total angle limit of 180 deg with increasing magnitude of in-plane tension. However, as a real limit, the reinforced concrete would crack with the crack width being controlled by main reinforcement designed in accordance with appropriate provisions of ACI 318-77. In such cases of cracking due to biaxial tension (or flexural cracking of the face containing the embedment), the authors feel that the total angle can still be taken as 90 deg in conjunction with 4+ VI: to calculate pullout strength.

The two + factors specified in this section, i.e., 0.65 and 0.85, represent a simplification of a very complex problem. When the anchor head is between the far face reinforcement and the near face concrete, the pullout strength of the concrete is dependent primarily on the tensile strength of the concrete and the + factor, 0.65, has been specified to correspond with Section 9.3.2(f) of ACI 318-77 for bending stress in plain concrete which also relies on concrete tensile strength. When the anchor heads are beyond the far face reinforcement, the entire depth of structure is involved in the failure in a manner consistent with the shear provisions of Section 11.11. In this case, using a + factor of 0.85, the provisions of Section 5.2 are equivalent to those of Section 11.11.

Ideally, the + factor could be varied over a considerable range dependent upon such factors as depth of embedment, amount of main reinforcement in the near face, and state of stress in the plane of the structure. However, there is not sufficient data; nor is it practical for design purposes to be more precise than 0.85 or 0.65 in the current version of the guide.

5.3- Shear- The strength of anchors subject to shear are not significantly affected by concrete strength unless the anchors are located near an edge or in the case of anchors (e.g., "shell-type" expansion anchors) which exhibit nonlinear load deflection behavior. For bolts (also studs or bars) shear is transmitted from the bolt to the concrete through bearing of the bolt at the surface, forming a concrete wedge approximately 1/4 of the bolt diameter in depth. Translation of the wedge under the shearing force cannot occur without vertical movement or an upward thrust of the wedge on the restraining plate as illustrated in Fig. 2. This thrust induces tensile elongation in the anchor and thus the clamping force on the wedge increases in direct proportion with the shear as long as the anchor steel remains elastic. When the bolt is near an edge, the total shearing force must be developed by tensile stress on a potential failure plane radiating at 45 deg toward the




Fig. 2 - Concrete wedge due to shear.

rfit1 V /FORCE
I -' I

l't:, •• ,,~i. ~' "\,// V 4.,D~:.:.';·:
1 -,,' I . • ~ I! A..'_:.
~:;;. '4'4
/ I
~~~~- I
·:~l:~O c: ~
"m" Fig. 3 - Potential shear failure near a free edge.

free edge from the anchor steel at the surface of the concrete as illustrated in Fig. 3. If several bolts are parallel to a free edge, the effect of overlapping failure planes (i.e., center-to-center spacing less than 6.6 ft (2 m) on the concrete design strength must be considered.

When the steel is not fully anchored (i.e., minimum side cover distance is not provided) or the anchorage behavior is nonlinear in the normally elastic stress range, there is a radical reduction in the clamping force of the plate restraining the movement of the


wedge. The depth of the wedge is then controlled by bending and is reduced in direct proportion to an increased depth of the wedge.

The location of the shear plane with respect to the concrete surface affects the development of shear friction resistance and is discussed under Section

6.4- Reinforcement - Concrete tensile failure may occur either directly or indirectly as a result of insufficient embedment depth or side cover distance. When embedment depths or side cover distances are not sufficient to fully develop the strength of anchor steel, reinforcement must be located to intercept potential cracking planes.' The reinforcement must be sized and oriented to restrict propagation of cracking should it occur. To accomplish this, reinforcement must be fully developed on both sides of a postulated crack. It is recommended that the reinforcement patterns be concentric with the tensile stress field.

For direct tensile load transfer, Fig. 4 illustrates, how the tensile capacity of studs might be assured by reinforcing the potential concrete failure cone. For hairpin reinforcement to effectively intercept the potential failure planes, each leg should be located with L)3 from the edge of an anchor head. The portion of the hairpin anchored in the potential failure cone should extend a minimum of eight (8) bar diameters of the reinforcement configurations into the potential failure cone, the anchorage requirements of Chapter 12 should be satisfied. In any case the limiting dimensions of eight (8) bar diameters and Ld/3 should be complied with.

If anchorage of the reinforcement cannot be accomplished in the available dimensions, the anchorage configuration should be changed.

Limited testing" has shown that when the edge distance is less than 2/a of the minimum provision of Section 6.1.2(a), premature concrete failure occurred for the reinforcement pattern provided. For edge distance from l/a to 213 of the minimum, reinforcement did restrain 45 deg tensile cracking; however, concrete shear failure occurred on a plane parallel to the shear plane at the uppermost surface of the reinforcing steel. While the anchorage remained ductile the shear strength was reduced by the increased bending of the bolt about the concrete failure plane; therefore, reinforcement and confinement similar to that illustrated in Fig. 5 should be considered to preclude premature failure. When the edge distance was less than 113 of the Section 6.1.2(a) requirement, there was insufficient anchorage of the reinforcement on the wedge side of the crack and failure was controlled entirely by the tensile strength of the concrete. Therefore, in no case should anchors with less than 113 the side cover required by Section 6.1.2(a) be considered active for shear capacity. The engineer should be extremely cautious with edge distances less than those required by Section 6.1.2(a). If reinforcement cannot be provided to develop the required ca-




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Fig. 4 - Example of reinforcement for direct tension.

pacity, the shear capacity of all such anchors should be completely discounted or the embedment configuration changed.

When the side cover distances for direct tension are less than the Section 6.1.1(a) requirement, reinforcement must be provided to arrest tensile failure of the concrete due to lateral bursting forces at anchor heads near the free surface. Tests have not been performed to date on the effectiveness of reinforcement to prevent tensile failure due to lateral bursting forces at an anchor head when the side cover distances are less than required by Section 6.2.2(a). Therefore, the engineer should rely on accepted practices for prestressing anchorages and spiral reinforcement as illustrated in Fig. 6 is recommended. For conventional anchor heads the lateral force may be conservatively taken as 1/4 of the tensile capacity of the anchor steel (based on the Poisson, effect in the lateral direction). For expansion anchors this force should not be taken as less than the pullout capacity of the anchor because of the significant lateral force required to restrain an expansion anchor.

Any embedment configuration requiring reinforcement must also permit development of the reinforcement. If sufficient space is not available for appropriate development, the engineer should consider alternative configurations.

6.5-Bearing- The bearing requirements of Section 5.5.1 reference the bearing requirements of Section 10.16 of ACI 318-77 deal with bearing stresses on concrete supports which are not laterally reinforced to resist splitting stresses.' When reinforcement is provided to prevent splitting and develop the



Fig. 5 - Example of reinforcement for shear near an edge.




"'",4 'b

(),', '0"' 4 I I ,


Fig. 6 - Example of reinforcement to prevent lateral bursting.

bursting force of the anchorage, anchorages shall comply with the requirements of Section 18.13 of ACI 318-77. The force required to pull out a cone of concrete for an individual headed anchor (anchored in accordance with Section 6.1.1) is less than the force required to split the concrete and, therefore, splitting parallel to the tensile force does not occur irrespective of the bearing stress at the anchor head. Splitting transverse to the tensile force can occur between





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Fig. 7 - Splitting transverse to tension load.

anchor heads in multiple stress component anchorages. particularly when the center-to-center spacing between the anchor heads is less than the anchor embedment depth (see Fig. 7). However, the splitting plane is at 90 deg to the plane of concern for bearing restrictions and may be controlled with proper depth of embedment. If the concrete has been previously cracked in the normal splitting plane, then the force required to propagate the crack is approximately 112 of the force required to initiate splitting. Under these conditions splitting may control the failure mode. However. the failure load is approximately the same as the force required for pullout cone failure in uncracked concrete.

In compression anchorages. bearing stress is transmitted to the concrete at the concrete surface; therefore. splitting is likely to occur only in compression anchorages of limiting supporting surface area. For such anchorages. the normal bearing restrictions should apply.

Section 5.5.2 describes anchor heads that do not have to satisfy the requirements of Section 5.5.1 (see Commentary for Section 5.2).

6.0-Anchorage reqoirements

The basic philosophy of anchorage requirements is consistent with the ultimate strength design philosophy of reinforced concrete. The failure mechanism is controlled by requiring yielding of the steel anchorage prior to brittle failure. While ductility is not possible in all types of anchorages. it is required in

TA.BLE 6.1.1 - Sample side cone blowont test data

those types which can be made ductile (custom design). Most commercially available expansion anchors are not ductile and are penalized by requiring a higher safety factor against failure (see Section 8.2 of the guide).

Fig. 8 is a typical load deflection curve for ductile anchorages. Fig. 9 is typical of nonductile anchorages.

6.1.1- Tension. The requirement of this section that the calculated pullout strength of concrete exceeds the minimum specified tensile strength of the steel is to assure ductile behavior of the embedment in the event of overload. Typical embedment steels exhibit significant variation in actual yield strength above specified minimums and have a wide ratio of yield to tensile strength. Therefore. fo" rather than a factor times fy, is used to ensure ductile behavior.

A minimum side cover distance is required at the anchor head to confine the lateral thrust generated by the full load transfer from steel to concrete. Because of the significant difference in restraint stiffness around the periphery of the anchor head. lateral strains are not uniform and tend to concentrate in the region of minimum cover. The lateral bursting force is. therefore. of a magnitude relative to the longitudinal load similar to that of the lateral strainto the longitudinal strain. Sample side cone blowouts are represented by the test data given in Table 6.1.1.

Equating the lateral bursting force to the concrete capacity for a single anchor bolt, stud, or bar results in


(concrete tensile strength)

Applying a ~ factor of 0.85 to concrete strength. a conservative {3 or 0.25 and a tensile stress area of 0.75 of the gross area of bolt, stud, or bar

{3P (lateral force)

(projected area)

[ 0.751lD2 ]

{3P = {3 4 X fo' = 4~ VI: 1lm2


If several bolts are parallel to a free edge, the effect of overlapping failure planes on the lateral concrete design strength must be considered.

Similar relationships can be developed for other embedment shapes that are embedded close to a

Bolt ASTM Side cover Concrete Lateral force
size material distance strength Failure load coefficient
D, in. specification m, in. I,; psi ff
,/. A 307 2 5500 + 22100 0,17
1 A 490 4'/z 4245 94000 0,18

( ",
V 10





Fig. 8 - Ductile load deflection behavior.



./ lCuRE
V .,/
/ 10.0








0.06 0.08





Fig. 9

Nonductile load deflection behavior.

"free" edge of the concrete. For expansion anchors r-;;30;-:::;====;::::===;:::===;:::==::::;~==::::;1

it is recommended that the lateral bursting force, {3P, be assumed equal to the average tension test failure load of the anchor being used.

When the anchor steel is composed of reinforcement without mechanical end anchorage the development requirements of Chapter 12 are more than adequate for development of the tensile strength of the reinforcement.

6.1.2- Shear. A minimum edge distance is required for full development of the shear strength of anchor steel. The projected tensile stress area of a single bolt, stud, or bar for shear toward an edge is exactly half of the normal stress area for tensile loading of an anchor without an edge effect. For a design shear capacity of V and an edge distance of m

V= 4~V7:


For a friction coefficient of 0.7 for steel against concrete, the ultimate shear strength of a bolt equals:


V= 0.7 -4-1",

The minimum edge distance for a single bolt. stud, or bar is obtained by equating the two expressions for V:


Similar relationships can be developed for other embedment shapes that are embedded close to a "free" edge of the concrete.

It should be noted that plates embedded near an edge will behave essentially as shear lugs and should be treated as such.

The utilization of reinforcement to reduce edge requirements for shear was discussed in Section 5.4. 6.1.3-Combined loading. The resultant load capacity of anchors subject to combined tension and shear


I .. :











Fig. 10 Effect of shear plane location on load de-

flection behavior.

is always less than the tensile capacity alone. The development requirements for tensile loading are therefore also good for combined loads.

6.1.4. - Side cover distances less than m/3 may result in side blowout cone failures and loss of anchorage (see Section 6.4 of the Commentary).

T.O-Design reqnirements for embedment steel

7.1- Embedments can be designed using a variety of materials and attachments under varying loading conditions and construction situations. The engineer must therefore consider all this in his selection and specification of materials, structural shapes. or types of anchors best suited to fit each situation.

7.2.1- The ~ factor of 0.9 for tension compression. and bending for the embedment steel is consistent with Section 9.3.2(a) of ACI 318-77. The ~ factor of 0.5 for shear stress in structural shapes. shear lugs. and fabricated sections is consistent with the AISC shear yield stress for plastic design which corresponds to the required strength methods of ACI 318-77.

89 - The mechanism of shear transfer for bolts and bars is commonly termed shear-friction. The location of the plane of stress transfer from bolt to concrete directly affects the shear strength of the anchorage. The effect of shear plane location on anchorage behavior is illustrated by the load deflection curves of Fig. 10. If the plate contacting the concrete is embedded in the concrete with its outer surface flush with the exterior surface of concrete then, for a given horizontal movement, the component of clamping force perpendicular to the plate is greater than when the contact plane is flush with the exterior concrete surface. This increased clamping force directly increases the frictional shear strength of the anchorage as reflected in the 0.9 coefficient as compared with the commonly accepted coefficient of 0.7 for a flush mounted plate.

When the contact plate is mounted on a group pad exterior to the concrete surface the forward bolts in the direction of shear have only the width of grout from the bolt to the edge of the plate for an assured edge distance to develop the shear strength of the bolts. (Even if the grout pad is extended away from the plate the extended portion cannot be relied upon to remain bonded and uncracked from drying shrinkage.) This nominal edge distance is not sufficient to develop the shear strength in the forward bolts; therefore, a much larger portion of the shear must be carried by the back bolts. Plate rotation follows grout failure, reducing the clamping force and subsequent shear strength of the back bolts and thus the coefficient of friction is reduced for these anchorages.

7.3 - Combined tension and shear

7.3.1 - Normally accepted practice for structural shapes.

7.3.2 - The effect of direct tension on an anchorage is a direct reduction of the clamping force which provides shear transfer resistance. While this effect can be offset somewhat in the elastic stress range by preloading bolts there is no difference in effect once the tensile load component exceeds the preload. The reduced shear strength corresponding to the loss in clamping force affects the combined load capacity such that no more than a straight addition of component strengths is allowed.

7.4 - This section is consistent with the AISC "Specification for the Design, Fabrication and Erection of Structural Steel for Buildings."

7.5 - The shear failure plane can be excluded from the threads by care in detailing the connection. Under these conditions the gross area may be utilized for shear.

B.O - Expansion anehors

Section B.O was developed to provide guidance in the design and use of concrete expansion anchors.

8.1 - Design requirements - The preferred design for concrete expansion anchors is for the concrete to have a capacity greater than the anchor steel and, therefore, provide indication of an impending

failure if an overload condition should occur. In lieu of design strength calculations as defined in Section 8.1.1, design strengths can be established by tests as defined in Section. 8.1.2.

Due to variations in installation conditions, expansion mechanisms, and repeatability of test results, the permissible design capacity for the expansion anchor steel is reduced to 90 percent of the values specified in Section 7.2.

8.2 - Alternative design requirements - Expansion anchors that do not meet the ductility requirements of Section 8.1 are penalized by this section. The permissible design strength is limited to approximately 113 of the average test failure load. An overall factor of safety of 4.0 is achieved by combining the 0.35 factor with a load factor of 1.4 (i.e., only dead load). This limitation is applied to both tension and shear test loads since shear capacity generated by shear friction resistance is a function of tensile anchorage capacity.

8.3 - The use of one expansion anchor results in a connection with no capability to redistribute load; therefore, additional conservatism is required.

8.4 - Testing - Testing of expansion anchors to verify anchor strength as used in Sections B.1 or 8.2 is required by Section 8.4.1. Anchor strength shall be established by tests and shall include testing of the anchor expansion mechanism and its ability to transmit the load to adjacent concrete. Concrete capacity shall be determined in accordance with Sections B.1.1 or 8.1.2. Tests performed to meet the requirements of Section 8.1.2 may be incorporated in the tests specified in Section 8.4.1. It is not practical to specify in the guide a detailed testing program for expansion anchors due to the variety of applications and designs. The testing requirements defined in ANSI! ASTM E 488-76 are acceptable as a guide for establishing a testing program. However, the engineer is responsible for assuring that the testing program used qualified the particular anchor for the intended application.

Testing of expansion anchors in the installed conditions specified in Section 8.4.2 is to verify actuation of the expansion mechanism. Test method (a) is intended primarily for wedge type expansion anchors that are typically installed and tested via torquing, and method (b) is intended primarily for shell type anchors which should be tested by direct load application.

8.5 - Expansion anchor selection - The engineer is cautioned to select an expansion anchor that is designed, manufactured, and tested to be compatible with the load application, environment, and installation conditions. Cracking of concrete in tension zones subsequent to anchor installation can result in a reduction of anchor capacity and complete loss of preload if the cracking is coincident with the anchor location. In this kind of application the engineer should have results from tests conducted in cracked concrete


specimens. As an alternative, an appreciably higher factor of safety than would otherwise be required should be used to define design strength.

When such anchors are subject to vibratory loads (i.e., nonseismic continuous or intermittent cyclic loads), a complete loss of function can occur. Anchor type and application must be qualified by testing or such use is prohibited.

9.0 - Inserts

Inserts are not subject to the same variables as expansion anchors and, therefore, the safety factors are adjusted accordingly. Testing to verify capacity is a requirement.

10.0 - Grouted embedments

10.1 - Since grouted embedments are required to transfer loads the same as cast-in-place embedments, the appropriate design and anchorage requirements defined in Sections 5.0, 6.0, and 7.0 are applicable.

10.2 - Grouts are used frequently for their special characteristics. Special grouts shall be tested to verify their required properties. Epoxy grouts are not covered by this guide.

10.3 - Grouted embedments designed to transfer load between steel and grout or grout and concrete by tension, shear or bond shall be tested to verify load transfer capabilities. The testing program shall be established by the engineer.

Special considerations are required for grouted embedments that are designed to transfer tension loads where cracking may be parallel to and coincident with the axis of the embedment. The testing program must address this situation if applicable. Testing has demonstrated that the bond between grout and concrete can be lost due to cracking. In lieu of relying on bond, a belled hole in the region of the anchor head is suggested.

10.5 - Grouted embedments designed to transfer load by bearing or compression should only require testing to verify compressive strength of grout and do not require in place verification testing.

11.0 - Fabrication and installation

The engineer must consider and make provisions for fabrication and installation conditions that could influence the load capacity. Thermal expansion due to welding after the embedment has been set in concrete is considered to be a frequent problem.


1. "Anchorage to Concrete," Research and Development Report No. CEB 75-32, Civil Engineering Branch, Tennessee Valley Authority, Knoxville, Dec. 1976, 25 pp.

2. McMackin, P. J.; Slutter, R. G.; and Fisher, J. W., "Headed Steel Anchors Under Combined Loading," AISC Engineering Journal, 2nd Quarter, 1973, pp. 43-52.

3. Bailey, John W., and Burdette, Edwin G., "Edge Ef· fects on Anchorage to Concrete," Civil Engineering Research Series No. 31, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Aug. 1977, 21 pp.


4. ACI Committee 318, "Commentary on Building Code Requirements for Reinforced Concrete (ACI 318-77)," American Concrete Institute, Detroit, 1977, 132 pp.

5. "Standard Test Methods for Strength of Anchors in Concrete and Masonry Elements," (ANSI-ASTM E 488-76), 1976 Annual Book of ASTM Standards, Part 18, American Society for Testing and Materials, Philadelphia, pp. 843- 851.

6. ACI Committee 349, "Proposed Addition to: Code Requirements for Nuclear Safety Related Concrete Structures (ACI 349-76)," ACI JOURNAL, Proceedings V. 75, No.8, Aug. 1978, pp. 329-347.

7. PCI Design Handbook, Prestressed Concrete Institute, Chicago, 1971, 380 pp.

Received June 1980 and reviewed under Institute publication policies.

Robert w. CB.DD.on, FACI, is a Consulting Engineer in Maryville, Tennessee. He recently retired from TVA after 25 years of Design and Research in Reinforced Concrete and Structural Applications. A major portion of research during the last eight years has been in steel embedments. He is a member and past chairman of ACI Committee 207, Mass Concrete, and a member of ACI Committee 349, Nuclear Structures.

ACI member Dwaine A. Godfrey is president and founder of Nuclear Structures, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. He is involved in the analysis and design of steel and concrete structures for nuclear generating plants. He is a member of ACI Committee 349, Concrete Nuclear Structures (currently the chairman of the Working Group on Steel Embedments).

ACI member F. L. Moreaditb is manager, Structural Department and Chief Structural Engineer; Power Division-Reading; Gilbert/Commonwealth; Reading, Pa. He received his Ph.D. from North Carolina State University in 1964 and was engaged in teaching and consulting in reinforced and prestressed concrete at Old Dominion University before joining Gilbert/Commonwealth in 1972. He is a member of ACI Committee 359, Con-

crete Components for Nuclear Reactors (Sub-group on Containment Design) and ACI Committee 349, Concrete Nuclear Structures (currently chairman of the Working Group on Design with previous activity on the Working Groups for Steel Embedments and Impactive and Impulsive Loads).

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