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Department of Transport




by D W Cullington and S J Raggett

Crown Copyright 1991. The views expressed in this Report are not necessarily those of the Department of
Transport. Extracts from the text may be reproduced, except for commercial purposes, provided the source
is acknowledged.

Bridges Division
Structures Group
Transport and Road Research Laboratory
Crowthorne, Berkshire, RG11 6AU

ISSN 0266-5247
Ownership of the Transport Research
Laboratory was transferred from the
Department of Transport to a subsidiary of
the Transport Research Foundation on 1st
April 1996.

This report has been reproduced by

permission of the Controller of HMSO.
Extracts from the text may be reproduced~
except for commercial purposes, provided
the source is acknowledged.

Page Page

Abstract 1 5.6 Damaged and repaired beams 17

1. Introduction 1 5.7 Precracked webs 19

1.1 Origin of beams 1 6. Strength calculations 19

1.2 Shear strength and requirement for links 1 6.1 Basis of calculations 19

1.3 Aims of study 1 6.2 Calculated shear strength 19

1.4 Summary of test programme 2 6.3 Flexural cracking 19

2. Structural details 2 6.4 Ultimate moment 22

2.1 The bridges 2 6.5 Shear cracking 22

2.2 Obtaining beams for testing 2 6.6 Comparison of measured and 22

calculated strengths
2.3 The beams 2
6.7 Interfacial shear strength 22
3. Design rules for shear 6
6.8 Worst credible strength 26
3.1 General principles 6
6.9 Alternative methods of calculating 26
3.2 Shear resistance without shear links 6 shear resistance

3.3 Uncracked shear resistance 7 7. Discussion 26

3.4 Cracked shear resistance 7 7.1 Failure mode 26

3.5 Web crushing and the transmission 8 7.2 Ductility 27

length zone
7.3 Effectiveness of Vco calculation 27
3.6 Composite construction 8
7.4 Effectiveness of Vcr calculation 27
3.7 Interracial shear 8
7.5 Damaged and repaired beams 27
4. The tests 9
7.6 Precracked webs 28
4.1 Test configuration 9
7.7 Interfacial shear 28
4.2 Method of testing 9
7.8 Comparison with shear tests in 28
4.3 Instrumentation and observations 9 the literature

4.4 Test programme 9 8. Conclusions 29

5. Test results 10 9. Acknowledgements 3O

5.1 Shear forces at cracking and failure 10 10. References 3O

5.2 Crack diagrams 10

5.3 Load displacement behaviour 10

5.4 Description of failure for long beams 10

5.5 Description of failure for short beams 17

ABSTRACT The bridges formed a part of the Stretford/Eccles by-pass
which was constructed in the late 1950s and opened in
Design rules for shear in concrete bridges have varied 1961. It was subsequently reclassified as the M63.
over the years. Currently, the design of prestressed According to Chandler and Taylor (1990) the daily peak
concrete bridge beams is carried out according to flows had, by 1983, reached 64,000 vehicles per 16-hour
BS 5400: Part 4 which requires a minimum amount of day of which 17% were heavy goods vehicles. It was said
shear reinforcement to be present in the webs in the form that this made it the second busiest two-lane urban
of links. The Department of Transport Standard, motorway after the Chiswick Flyover on the M4.
BD 44/90, relaxes this requirement for the assessment of
existing bridges. 1.2 SHEAR STRENGTH AND THE
The present series of tests was carried out before this
standard was issued. A number of pre-tensioned l-beams
Design rules for shear in concrete bridges have varied
without links were recovered from a 30-year-old M63
over the years. At the time the Peel Green beams were
underbridge during demolition and tested to establish
designed the shear rules were less comprehensive than
their shear strength.
they are now, and links were not always provided. When
they were provided, they would not always meet present
The results indicate that the beams possessed reserves
of strength because of conservative assumptions in the requirements (eg Prestressed Concrete Design Group,
method of calculation in BS 5400: Part 4, and the high 1963).
strength of the concrete. The beams showed no ill effects There was a provision in the 1978 edition of BS 5400:
from the absence of links, nor from 30 years of traffic. Part 4 (BSI, 1978b) to allow beams without shear rein-
The test results support the case for relaxing the require- forcement in certain circumstances. The calculated
ment for minimum links in assessment. strength had to be at least twice the design requirement,
or tests had to be carried out to determine the strength of
Further tests on damaged and repaired beams indicated the beams in practice. This approach is permitted in the
that their strength compared favourably with the strength building standard, BS 8110 (BSI, 1983), and testing is
of the intact beams, although precracked webs may sometimes carried out in American practice (Burnley and
present a problem. Asward, 1989).
Currently, prestressed concrete bridge beams are
designed according to BS 5400: Part 4:1990 (BSI, 1990)
1 INTRODUCTION which requires a minimum amount of shear reinforcement
to be present in the webs in the form of links.
1.1 ORIGIN OF BEAMS To investigate the possibility of relaxing the requirement
for minimum links in assessment, beams recovered from
Two motorway underbridges were replaced at the Peel Peel Green were tested to establish their shear strength
Green roundabout, to the west of Manchester, as part of and manner of failure.
the M63 widening scheme. Consideration was given to
retaining the original structures and widening them, but In this report, reference to BS 5400: Part 4 may be
the pre-tensioned beams forming the decks contained no assumed to be the 1990 edition unless otherwise stated.
shear reinforcement, which was required by BS 5400:
Part 4:1984 (BSI, 1984). It was decided to replace the 1.3 AIMS OF STUDY
bridge decks primarily for this reason. On demolition, the
beams became available for testing. The beams were a potential source of valuable informa-
tion for the following reasons:
The consultant responsible for the scheme gave some
thought to retaining the bridges in spite of the absence of They were 30 years old and likely subjects for
shear links in the beams. Calculations showed that the assessment;
shear force under factored HB loading (BSI, 1978a) was,
at maximum, about 70% of the factored shear capacity They would contain the effects, if any, of time and
found using BS 5400: Part 4. Had the proportion been traffic;
lower (perhaps 50%) the bridges might have been
retained by means of an agreed departure from standard. Their strength, cracking load and manner of failure
would be of interest for future assessments in view
The structures were in good condition. If it had not been of the absence of shear links;
for the widening scheme, they could have continued in
service at least until selected for assessment under the The shear resistance of the interface between the
DTp programme. beams and in-situ slab was uncertain.
1.4 SUMMARY OF TEST PROGRAMME testing required the slab to be cut through mid-way
between the beams and the outer beams to be prised off.
The beams had to be tested under a variety of loading Cutting was done by sawing or water-jetting.
configurations to cover the forms of failure indicated by
BS 5400: Part 4. The parameter changed was the ratio In practice, considerable difficulty was experienced
M/V where extracting the middle beam intact. Cracking took place in
the webs in the vicinity of the transverse prestressing
M is the bending moment and wires as separation was carried out. This was thought to
be a result of the combined action of the release of
V is the coincident shear force, both in the critical prestress and the prising forces necessary to overcome
region. the residual bond between the beams, the transverse
wires and the in-situ diaphragms. Separation was finally
This was achieved by applying a single point load and achieved successfully by coring out the prestressing
varying the point of application. When the dead load is wires prior to prising the beams apart.
small relative to the applied load, the distance from the
load to the near support is M/V, the shear span. Four long beams were recovered in a satisfactory
condition for testing. Two outer beams were also retained
In the test programme, tests were carried out on two for testing in the damaged and repaired conditions.
sizes of beam, 16.1m and 8.5m in length, referred to as
the "long" and "short" beams respectively. Fifteen tests The short beams were removed from the bridge deck in
were carried out over a range of shear spans. One of the units of four. Separation proved much easier. Two units
tests was on a damaged long beam and another on a of four beams produced four inner beams for testing free
similar beam that had been repaired with unstressed from web cracks.
Details of the beams are given in Figure 2. In the bridge,
the long beams were simply supported over a span of
2 STRUCTURAL DETAILS 15.7m between bearing centres; the short beams over
8.1 m. They were cast with a slight camber at the soffit,
2.1 THE BRIDGES being 25mm deeper at the supports than at mid-span.
Both sizes of beam were of the same width and were
Each bridge was divided into two structures along the placed contiguously in the deck.
central reserve, and consisted of three simply-supported
spans. Twenty two beams formed each span, placed side The beams had been cast in a pre-casting yard off site
by side and transversely post-stressed through in-situ and were dimensionally accurate, the largest variation
diaphragms. being in the size of the in-situ top flange. Its depth was
consistent with normal site tolerances, and its width
Figure 1 shows an elevation of one structure and a cross- varied as a result of imprecision in making the cut when
section through a main span and a side span. The top separating the beams. This was taken into account in the
slab, cast on permanent timber formwork, was largely strength calculations.
The long beams contained 52 prestressing wires of 7mm
The bridge decks were in good condition, although diameter in the positions indicated in Figure 2. The small
somewhat darkened by age and the industrial environ- beams contained 28 wires. It has been assumed that the
ment. Chloride penetration was not a problem, and there initial prestress was 70% of characteristic for the wires
was no evidence of carbonation. Cores taken through the and losses were 28%: i.e. the effective prestress was
deck at construction joints showed intimate contact approximately 50% of characteristic. This provided
between opposite halves and no sign of deterioration. estimates of prestressing force for the long and short
beams of 1580kN and 850kN respectively.
There was a theoretical deficiency at the serviceability
limit state in the soffit of the beams. Calculations indi- Extracts from the original design calculations suggested
cated a possibility of tension in the bottom fibres (prima- that the initial prestress might have been lower. However,
rily attributed to the calculations for differential-tempera- no site records were available to indicate the as-built
ture effects introduced subsequent to design) but there initial prestress or concrete strength at transfer, which
was no evidence of cracking in the unloaded condition. affects the losses. During the tests, initial cracking
indicated that the effective prestress might have been
2.2 OBTAINING BEAMS FOR TESTING higher than assumed. This is discussed in 6.3.

The contractor elected to demolish the main spans by The beams contained no reinforcement in the webs
breaking out the beams in units of three joined together except for a small amount in the end block regions. The
by the top slab and transverse prestressing. This natu- provision for interfacial shear between the beams and the
rally caused impact damage to the top and bottom edges slab was between one and three 12.7mm diameter round
of the outer beams, but the middle beam remained in bars bent into the shape of a saw-tooth (see Figure 2).
good condition. To recover the middle beam intact for

-- L~
~ - = ~L.~
rain 5.2m ~sS,, '
8.1m 16.1m 8.1m I"/T ' - - T t "1
It " \\
rL t~ II
II " \\
,, ~
~rnn~ ~n~7~
II li li III I II
U UU U I,.l U


I~ 7.3m carriageway -- I

Section A-A
Motorway (~

10.3m overall w i d t h

Section B-B

Fig.1 Details of Bridges

Beam length 16.1m rB


//% /A~ ~ ~
V V ~ V V V

12.7mm diameter I 1
• , •

Part e l e v a t i o n o f long beam

• 470
Sawtooth reinforcement

reduces to 2 bars at " 254
distance 3.9m from end
470 and to 1 bar at 6.3m
i~ ~i

i oo !
32 5x311 32 i -5
52 No. pre-stressing

95~ 19 44
t I 19
I t
1 !

Section A - A Section B-B

Fig.2a Details of beams

Beam length 8 5 0 0

,2.7~m 0,a~e,er I I Jl
1 I

Part elevation of short beam

Sawtooth reinforcement
reduces to 2 bars 2 . 8 m
f r o m end
~ 470

J ° ° I !
~ -."

4xt ~o m

51 19

f !
3 8 19

t t

Section A-A Section B-B

Fig.2bDetails of beams

The long beams had eleven holes along their length for It is important to note that the design standards assume
transverse prestressing. For the tests, the transverse that:
wires and diaphragms were removed, and the holes
refilled with flowing mortar. Load positions were selected the limit of resistance of the concrete section is
for the shear tests so that the principal bending cracks reached when inclined cracks occur.
avoided the hole positions in areas of high shear. The
short beams contained six similar transverse holes which Any margin of resistance present in the concrete section
were treated in the same way. after cracking is ignored. To find the total strength of the
section, the resistance of any links provided above the
minimum requirement is taken into account by simple
addition to the concrete cracking resistance.
3 DESIGN RULES FOR SHEAR The method of calculation for design has remained
substantially the same since it was first adopted in
3.1 GENERAL PRINCIPLES CP 110:1972 (BSI, 1972). The origins are given in a
report by Reynolds et al (1974). Prior to that,
BS 5400: Part 4 requires two primary modes of shear CP 115:1959 (BSI, 1959) dealt with regions uncracked in
failure to be considered in the design of prestressed flexure by limiting the principle tensile stress, and gave a
beams. These are denoted by the symbols Vco and Vcr warning, but no specific guidance, about the shear
where: resistance of cracked sections.

VcoiS the ultimate shear resistance of a section that is The original data used to derive the method adopted by
uncracked in flexure; and CP 110 was obtained in the University of Illinois and first
reported in the period 1959 to 1961 (Sozen and Hawkins,
Vcr is the ultimate shear resistance of a section that is 1962). In that test series, 190 beams were tested to
cracked in flexure. failure. Hicks (1958) carried out a much smaller pro-
gramme at the Imperial College of Science and Technol-
For a beam of constant cross-section (including prestress ogy, London, but made similar observations about the
and reinforcement) the Vco resistance is constant and dependence of shear failure on shear span.
governs at short shear spans. Vcr reduces as the shear
span is increased and governs at larger shear spans.
In addition, there is a limit placed on the maximum shear SHEAR LINKS
force to prevent crushing of the web, and a further
provision for shear within the transmission length. For The resistance of a section without shear links cannot be
flanged beams there is a requirement to check longitudi- calculated according to BS 5400: Part 4 because such
nal shear on any potentially weak planes. In composite sections are not permitted. However, the situation
beams, such as the ones tested in this series, longitudi- becomes clearer if reference is made to the literature, or
nal shear has to be checked at the interface between the the original edition of BS 5400: Part 4, published in 1978.
in-situ slab and the prestressed beam. This adopted a slightly different approach with respect to
shear steel.
The principles for calculating Vco and Vcr are the same as
those used in BS 8110 (BSI, 1985), although there are Clause of that code permitted the use of pre-
some differences of detail. Figure 3, taken from the stressed beams without shear reinforcement in three
Handbook to BS 8110 (Rowe et al, 1987) shows dia- situations:
grammatically the generally accepted form of failure in
each mode. a) where the applied shear force at ultimate load, V,
was less than 0.5Vc; V c being the resistance of the
concrete section alone;


Web shear crack I Flexural crack eventually

eventually causing failure (Vcr)
causing failure (Vco)

Fig.3 Prestressed beam with possible shear failures

b) in members of minor importance; In flanged members, where the centroidal axis lies in the
flange, the principle tensile stress, ft, is limited to the
c) where tests carried out in accordance with clause above value at the junction of the web and flange.
8.6.2 of BS 5400: Part 1 : 1978 had shown that
shear reinforcement was not required. Removing the partial safety factors allows a direct
comparison to be made between calculated and meas-
Clause 8.6.2 of Part 1 : 1978 (BSI, 1978c) is quite oner- ured resistances. This results (see Clark, 1983) in the
ous. It requires the investigation of all stress combina- following unfactored expression for Vco:
tions to be sustained in service, and sufficient data for
each critical stress condition to enable a mean strength Vco = 0"67bh f'~t2 +fcp ft
and standard deviation to be obtained in each case.
where, in this case,
The same expressions are given for the resistance of the
concrete section in BS 5400: Part 4:1978 as are given in ft = 0"37 f~cu
the later editions. It can therefore be inferred that the
resistance of a section without shear links is also as- The constant 0.37 arises by multiplying the original
sumed to be the shear force which causes inclined constant by a factor of 1.25 to allow for shrinkage,
cracking in the concrete. rel~.~ated loading and variation in concrete quality, and
, the square root of the partial safety factor for
Testing in accordance with Part 1:1978 enabled a further strength (Tm) of the concrete.
component of resistance to be taken advantage of - the
margin between cracking and collapse - provided it could The resistance obtained from tests may be compared
be shown that this margin was present. with the calculated resistance using the above unfactored
expressions in which the strength of concrete, fcu, is
3.3 UNCRACKED SHEAR taken as the mean measured value.
BS 5400: Part 4 states (Clause that the ultimate
The expression for the shear resistance of the concrete
shear resistance of a section uncracked in flexure may be
section of a prestressed beam cracked in flexure is given
assumed to correspond with the occurrence of a maxi-
in BS 5400: Part 4, clause as:
mum principle tensile stress, at the centroid of the
section, of Vcr = O.037bd f~-cu + Mcr V / M where
ft = 0-24 f~cu taken as positive
d is the distance from the extreme compression fibre
to the centroid of the tendons at the section consid-
This leads to the expression for Vco given in BS 5400:
Part 4 ered;

V is the applied shear;

Vco = 0.67bh~Jft2 + "/fLfcp|t where
M is the applied moment;
fcu is the characteristic concrete cube strength;
McriS the cracking moment at the section considered,
fcp is the compressive stress at the centroidal axis due
given by:
to prestress, taken as positive; in the expression
above it is multiplied by the partial safety factor YfL
as given implicitly in BS 5400; Mcr =(0-37 f~cu + YfL fpt)' I/y in which

is the breadth of the member which for T, I and L fpt is the stress due to the prestress at the tensile fibre
beams should be replaced by the breadth of the distance y from the centroid of the concrete section
which has a second moment of area of I; the value
web, bw;
of fpt is derived from the prestressing force after all
h is the overall depth of the member. losses have occurred, and in the expression above
is multiplied by the partial safety factor YfL as given
It is arguably more correct to calculate the worst principle implicitly in BS 5400.
tensile stress at any point in the web, allowing for flexural
stresses and non-uniform prestress. Clark (1983) notes, With partial safety factors and a conservative simplifica-
however, that the constant 0.67 applies to rectangular tion removed (Clark, 1983) the expression becomes:
beams and is conservative for I-beams, and this compen- Vcr = O.045bd f~cu 4" Mcr
sates for the slightly non-conservative practice used in (M / V - d / 2) where
the evaluation of the principle tensile stress.

Some authors have suggested that the critical tensile

stress should be calculated at the centroid of the section The d/2 term is part of the original equation and was
omitted from the code equation as a conservative
because that is where the cracks seem to form initially.
simplification. The constant 0.57 is obtained by multiply-
ing the code constant by a factor of 1.25 for shrinkage, that for I-beams the shear force due to ultimate loads is
rel~.~ated loading and variation in concrete quality and resisted by the composite section, ie the section may be
, the square root of the partial safety factor for treated as monolithic. Allowance must be made for
strength (~'m) of the concrete. different grades of concrete where appropriate.

The original equation (Hawkins, 1964) equated failure Clark (1983) describes measures that may be adopted to
with the occurrence of inclined flexural-shear cracks as account for the difference between monolithic and
shown in Figure 3. These are assumed to occur at a composite construction.
distance of d/2 from the critical load point taken in the
direction of reducing moment: ie at "shear span - d/2" For uncracked shear resistance, this entails computing
where M/V is the shear span. The second term in the the stress at the composite centroid but applying the load
above expression effectively calculates the shear force in two stages. Generally, the full dead load would be
consistent with flexural cracking in the soffit of the beam applied to the precast unit and the remaining load to the
at d/2 from the load. composite section.

The first term provides an additional component of shear For cracked shear resistance, load is again applied in two
force to enable the flexural crack in the bottom fibre to stages to compute the cracking moment and hence the
propagate into the web, thus becoming the critical second term in the expression for Vcr. For the first term in
flexure-shear crack. The constant 0.045 is obtained by the expression, a weighted mean strength for concrete
multiplying the code constant by the square root of ~'m for cube strength may be used.
concrete, 1~T_5.5.
Clarke and Evans (1983) report that the use of the
composite resistance is reasonable. For calculating the
3.5 WEB CRUSHING AND THE shear force at cracking, the use of the monolithic ap-
TRANSMISSION LENGTH ZONE proach can be slightly non-conservative. However, it is
conservative at failure because of the margin between
BS 5400: Part 4 clause limits the nominal mean cracking and failure.
shear stress in the web of a prestressed beam to avoid
premature crushing. The code provides a table of For the calculations given in this report, the composite
maximum stresses that are derived from the same section has been used throughout.
formula as that used for reinforced concrete:
maximum shear stress = 0.75~ f~/f~-.. 3.7 INTERFACIAL SHEAR
For composite construction, it is necessary to ensure that
up to a given limiting value. there is adequate resistance against failure in longitudinal
shear at the interface between the pre-cast beam and the
Clarke and Taylor (1975) report that tests on prestressed
in-situ concrete. Clause of BS 5400: Part 4
beams failing in web crushing indicate experimental
provides for an elastic calculation of the resistance of the
values of nominal stress between 1.04 and 4.5 times
interface at the ultimate limit state. The limiting longitudi-
0.75~Vf_/~., with a mean of 2.13.
~u nal shear force per unit length at the interface of the
precast beam and the in-situ slab is the lesser of:
In the transmission length zone, BS 5400: Part 4 allows
the shear resistance to be taken as the greater of two
k 1 fcuLs and
v 1 Ls + 0.7 Ae fy
a) the resistance of the section considered as rein-
forced; where for a type 1 surface k 1 is 0.15, and for concrete of
grade 40 or more, v 1 is 0.8 N/mm2;
b) the resistance of the section assuming a linear
variation of prestress over the transmission length. L s is the length of the shear plane;
In the series of tests described in this report, the trans- A e is the area of fully anchored shear reinforcement
mission length was contained within the end block region. crossing the shear plane; and
Web crushing was not theoretically critical, especially
because of the large average margin in the code. There fy is the characteristic strength of the reinforcement.
was no distress in the tests. For these reasons the report
considers only the two primary modes of failure, Vco and BS 5400: Part 4 requires a minimum area of fully an-
Vcr. chored reinforcement of 0.15% of the area of contact.
The requirements for anchorage are given in Clause

BS 5400: Part 4, Clause 7.4 contains provisions for The assessment advice note, BA 44/90 states that test
composite construction: for example, prestressed beam data (Hughes, 1987) have shown that BS 5400: Part 4
with in-situ slab. Clause permits the assumption contains values of k 1 and v 1 that allow implicitly for partial

safety factors of 1.6, and that there is a factor of 1.15 for There are a number of advantages in displacement
the steel in the second expression. control: measured strains and displacements form a more
consistent set, failure is more controlled, and it is safer for
In the assessment standard BD 44/90, the equations in observers who approach the beam to plot crack posi-
BS 5400: Part 4 are modified to allow explicitly for Tm so tions.
that reduced values may be used with worst credible
strengths: k 1 is enhanced to 0.24, and v~ is enhanced to During the last stages of loading, the displacement was
0.04fcu, but no more than 1.28 N/mm 2. The coefficient of increased continuously without interruption to avoid
0.7 in the second equation is increased to 0.8, and the affecting the failure. The falling branch of the load-
characteristic strength of the reinforcement proportioned displacement curve was obtained in a number of cases.
by the ratio of the anchorage available to that required by Displacement control was not perfect. In practice, sudden
Clause 5.8.6. failures could still occur.


4 THE TESTS The instrumentation consisted of load cells under the jack
and at each support, transducers registering vertical
4.1 TEST CONFIGURATION displacement of the bottom flange on the beam centre-
line and Demec studs to determine strain. In addition, an
The test configuration is shown in Figure 4, and was X-Y plotter was connected to the jack load cell and to a
common to the long and short beams. Loading was displacement transducer beneath the load point to give
provided by a single hydraulic jack of 1000 kN capacity an independent record of load-displacement behaviour.
operated through a servo-control panel. The test illus-
trated is one carried out over the full original span of the Acoustic emission microphones were attached to the web
beam as was usually the case. of the beams in a number of cases to give an indication
of prolonged cracking after the application of each load
Wherever possible, the beams were re-tested at the increment - a sign of impending failure. Cracks were
second end with a different shear span. In some cases marked on the beams at various increments. Video
this was accomplished by strapping the partially dam- cameras were used to record the failuresl
aged beam and re-testing over the full span. In other
cases, where the damage to the first end was too great, a 4.4 TEST PROGRAMME
smaller span was adopted for the second test.
Table 1 provides details of the overall spans and shear
One test on a long beam, that at the largest shear span, spans adopted for each test. The term shear span is
was carried out using an alternative configuration, with used to mean the distance from the load to the near
two equal applied loads and a short constant-moment support. In the main series of tests, four long beams were
region. tested at seven shear spans (L1 to L7) and four short
beams were tested at six shear spans ($1 to $6). Beam
4.2 METHOD OF TESTING L7 was tested with two equal loads 1.8m apart in the
centre thus providing a short constant moment region.

The tests were carried out under displacement control.

Two additional tests were carried out on the long beams
This allows the load to decrease during pauses for
(L8 and L9 in Table 1). These specimens were the outer
measurements but reduces the influence of creep on
beams obtained during separation that otherwise would
strains and displacement readings.
have been discarded.

[1 Jack and load cell

and loadbearingo
Rocker cell I i=l }"1 J=l ]~ y
I FI H I~1 I-I I'1 I'1 I°

-, \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \
Displacement transducer

Fig.4 Test configuration

Test programme

Long beams Short Beams

Test Long Shear Full Test Short Shear Full
No beam span span No beam span span

L1 1 2.9 15.7 $1 1 2.6 8.07

L2 1 4.1 12.3 $2 2 3.7 8.07
L3 2 5.7 15.7 $3 3 2.2 8.07
L4 2 1.6 8.1 $4 4 1.6 8.07
L5 3 5.0 15.7 $5 4 1.2 3.9
L6 3 2.1 15.7 $6 1 0.65 3.9
L7 4 6.95 15.7

L8 5 5.0 15.7 damaged beam

L9 6 5.0 15.7 repaired beam

All dimensions in m

Inspection of the ends of the beams after failure revealed

5 TEST RESULTS that in most cases some or all of the prestressing wires in
the bottom flange had pulled in. Although it is difficult to
5.1 S H E A R FORCES AT CRACKING say with certainty when this occurred, it appears to have
AND FAILURE been initiated by the formation of cracks in the end-block/
transmission-zone during failure. Bond failure did not take
Table 2 contains the values of shear force measured at place in tests $1, $2 and $3. It seems likely that the
cracking and failure and the corresponding measured position of the cracks in these beams allowed a sufficient
values of displacement. Cracking loads are relevant anchorage length to remain.
because BS 5400: Part 4 regards cracking as indicative
of failure in shear calculations. The shear force at failure 5.3 LOAD DISPLACEMENT
is greatest for the beams loaded near the support and
reduces as the shear span is increased.
Load displacement graphs are given in Figures 7 and 8
The final two columns in Table 2 give the values of shear
for the long and short beams respectively. In many cases
force and displacement that were held after the maximum
a degree of ductility is evident. This occurred either as a
load had passed. For instance, test L7 reached its
large non-linear displacement before failure or a retention
maximum shear resistance, 180 kN at a displacement of
of capacity after the maximum load had passed. For the
39mm, but the beam continued to resist load. At a
shortest shear spans there was little displacement before
displacement of 115mm the resistance was still 110 kN.
failure, which therefore must be considered sudden.
Values of effective in-situ cube strength (see BS 6089: However, in these cases the failure load was high relative
1981, BSI, 1981) obtained from 100mm cores taken from to the theoretical cracking load (see 6.6).
the beams and slab are given in Table 3.
Crack diagrams for the long beams are given in Figure 5. For the beams tested at short shear spans (1.6 and
Failure was caused by one or more inclined web cracks, 2.1m) web cracks appeared first at loads well below
which formed independently of flexural cracks and finally failure. Minor flexural cracking occurred later, but flexural-
connected the load point to the support. For the long shear cracks did not appear. Maximum load coincided
shear spans the inclination of the cracks to the horizontal with the development of severe web cracks. In both
was very small. This mode of failure occurred even for cases failure was sudden, but the beam tested at 1.6m
test L7 in which the beam was loaded close to mid-span. was able to sustain a modest increase in displacement
after cracking without significant loss of resistance. The
Crack diagrams for the short beams are given in beam tested at 2.1m failed as maximum load was
Figure 6. The form of failure was very similar to that of reached, but there was a degree of non-linearity in the
the long beams, although in two cases the critical shear load displacement curve.
cracks penetrated the bottom flange before the support.
In addition, there was a tendency for cracks to form at the For the beams tested at intermediate shear spans (2.9,
web/bottom-flange junction in the long shear span as 4.1 and 5.0m) flexural cracks appeared first and were
failure took place. well developed before failure. The first web cracks
appeared shortly before the maximum load but did not


0 c-
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TABLE 3 and substantially recovered. It would probably have
sustained a significant load at higher displacements. The
Core test results beam tested at 2.9m did not develop flexural-shear
Long beams .Short beams
Beam No Web Slab Web Slab The beams tested at the long shear spans (5.7 and
6.95m) behaved in a similar way to those tested at an
1 93 - 96 70 intermediate shear span, the main difference being that
2 96 83 84 62 instability occurred in the top flange in both cases.
3 94 71 87 81
4 84 88 81 73 For the beam tested at 5.7m, this instability occurred at
5 74 57 (Damaged) the maximum load. Shortly before failure, severe cracks
6 86 68 (Repaired) appeared in the web at a shallow angle to the horizontal.
A further small increase was accompanied by widening of
Values given are the average effective cube strength (N/mm2) of the cracks. Finally the top flange buckled upwards (see
typically three 100mm cores taken from each beam and slab. Figure 9). At one stage in this test, failure in the long
shear span by the propagation of cracks at the transverse
stressing positions looked to be a possibility. These
lead to failure. The critical web cracks formed at the cracks and the bending cracks closed up partially when
maximum load. In all cases there was a substantial the jack was retracted.
capacity remaining after the maximum load had been
passed. The beam tested at 5.0m was unloaded to The beam tested at 6.95m appears to have been affected
preserve it after the maximum load had been achieved by weaknesses in two of the transverse prestressing

~L Shear span 2.9m Test L1

~ Shear span 4.1m Test L2

Jr Shear span 5.7m Test L3

Test L4 I Shear span 1.6m

Figo5 Crack diagrams at failure for long beams

Shear span 5.0m Test L 5
! ,'~_~=_= ~. _

(11 / ,
(It, lz)

Shear span 2 . 1 m Test L 6

! I I

Shear span 6 . 9 5 m Test L7

Shear span 5 . 0 m Test L8

Shear span 5.0m Test L 9


Fig.5 (continued)

~ Shear span 2,6m Test $1

Test S2

Test S3


Shear span 1.3m Test S5 Test S6 ~ Shear span .65m

Fig.6 Crack diagrams at failure for short beams

600- 600 -

z 400


< 200
Test L2
~hear span 4.1m
Test L1
Shear span 2.9m I I
50 100
50 100 Displacement under load (mm)
Displacement underload (mm) L J

. . . . . Vcr
• . 800

Z 400 ~ 600~

. . . . . . Moo

< 200 <

Test L4
Shear span 1.6m

50 100 150 5O
Displacement under load
Displacement under load (Mm)




400 '
< 400

~d 200~
< 200

a %m Test L6
r span 2.1m
50 100 50
Displacement under load (ram) Displacement under load (mm)

Fig.7 Load/displacement graphs - long beams


...... Vcr



?~ 200


Test L7
Shear span 6.95m

1 O0 200

Displacement under load (mm)

400 400

Vcr Vcr

~. 200 -- " f ~ - = ~ Test L8 200


5O 50 1O0
Displacement under load (mm) Displacement under load (ram)

Fig.7 (continued)


400 I Bending - A Bending


< <
I-'f Test S1 X Test S2
Shear span 2.6m l Shear span 3,7m

I I I I I J i I I 1
20 40 60 10 30 50 70 90
Displacement under load (ram) Displacement under load (mm)

400 400

< < 200

/ / Shear span2.2m
I I I I I rll
20 40 60 , SheTes~r, $4
n .em,
Displa(~emnt under load (mm)
10 30 50
Displacement under load (mm)




< "~ 400

200 I / Test $5
Shear span 1.2m

I/ 0 20 30

Test $6
Displacement under load (rnm) Shear span .65m
I i I
5 10
Displacement under load

Fig.8 Load/displacement graphs - short beams

T-~" L3


T--st L7


Fig.9 Failure of long beams

positions as the failure plane passed through these there was no instability of the top flange, probably
areas. In spite of the long shear span, flexural-shear because it was so massive in comparison with the rest of
cracks did not have the opportunity to form. The maxi- the beam. Failure was more prominent in the top flange
mum load occurred at the formation of the major web under the load.
cracks, but instability did not occur immediately - as
indicated by the load-displacement graph. Figure 9 For the beams tested at the three longest shear spans,
shows the final shape of the beam after instability had failure was accompanied by severe cracking along the
occurred. web/bottom-flange junction. On the video recordings, the
instant that these cracks occurred can not be distin-
5.5 DESCRIPTION OF FAILURE FOR guished from the primary shear failure. However, they
appear to be a consequence of failure and not the cause.
SHORT BEAMS The test at 1.6m shear span (Test $4) showed some
signs of cracking along the web.
For the beams tested at 0.65 and 1.2m. failure was
similar to that at the short shear spans in the long beams. Figure 10 shows test S1 after failure.
In neither case did flexural-shear cracks form. The load
displacement graphs indicate that the failure was sudden.
Unlike the long beams, the web cracks did not form until
shortly before failure. The beam tested at 1.2m jammed BEAMS
against the bearing after failure and was able to sustain a
further period of loading at larger displacements. Tests L8 and L9 were done on a damaged beam and a
repaired beam. In both cases, a shear span of 5.0m was
The remaining beams failed in a similar way to the long adopted, the same as for the undamaged beam in test
beams loaded at intermediate shear spans. All the L5. Figure 1 1 illustrates the condition of the beams before
specified types of crack occurred. Unlike the long beams, and after repair.

T;~s~ $1


Fig.lO Failure of short beams

L>I ~ 2 ~ 3 ~- 4 L,- 5 L,- 6 ~- 7

i } > !
Cross-sections Four wires slack/not properly bonded at this end of beam

Repaired beam , Load Beam repaired to this point --i='1

[ 11 11 11 II II

./ etej
D2 ~>3
~4 t>~

° o
1>6 t>7


Fig.11 Details of damaged and repaired beams

The damaged beam had up to about half of the top flange 6 STRENGTH CALCULATIONS
and one third of the bottom flange missing. The
prestressing wires were largely intact, but many were
exposed. It had a measured shear strength of approxi-
mately 3/4 of the undamaged beam tested at the same BS 5400: Part 4 was used for the primary calculations of
shear span. There was no recorded flexural cracking, shear strength and cracking moment. Some calculations
probably because most of the original soffit under the were done using the standard directly, with partial safety
load was missing, and failure occurred at a load only factors included, and others with factors excluded.
slightly above the cracking load for the undamaged Appropriate values were used for characteristic strength
beam. and mean strength of concrete.
The repaired beam was similarly damaged, but was Some calculations were also carried out using BD 44/90
repaired before testing by restoring the original cross which permits the use of a "worst credible" concrete
section using plain unstressed concrete. A small number strength and reduced partial safety factors.
of 6mm bars were inserted in the top flange to ensure
that the new concrete was tied to the old. The measured
shear strength of the repaired beam was slightly above
that of the undamaged beam, although as expected
For the factored calculations, the expressions in
flexural cracking occurred at a lower load because the
BS 5400: Part 4 were used with characteristic strengths
concrete at the soffit was not prestressed.
of 45 and 60 N/mm 2 for the slab and beam concrete
respectively. These values were deduced from the design
5.7 PRE-CRACKED WEBS calculations allowing for ageing of the concrete and
would probably have been assumed for assessment in
On a number of occasions pre-existing cracks in the web the absence of further information.
of the long beams caused, or threatened to cause,
premature failure. This did not happen in the short For the unfactored calculations mean strengths of 75
beams. N/mm 2 for the slab and 90 N/mm 2 are used for all beams.
Table 3 gives the core test results from each beam.
The problem first arose in test L3. A crack in a transverse
prestressing position on the long shear span side opened For BD 44/90 calculations "worst credible" strengths of 60
and propagated as failure was approached. It did not, N/mm 2 and 75 N/mm 2 are assumed. These values were
however, influence failure which occurred in the short obtained from the effective in-situ cube strengths by
shear span side. On completion of this test the long shear inspection and by considering values for the characteris-
span side of the beam contained a number of typical tic strength obtained from a "mean - 1.64 x standard
flexural-shear cracks and web-shear cracks. deviation" calculation, the damaged beam being ignored.

Test L4 was carried out on the other end of the same Table 4 gives values of calculated ultimate shear strength
beam, but using a short shear span (1.6m). The beam and a comparison with measured strengths at failure. In
was strapped on the long shear span side to give this table, the measured dimensions of the top flange and
strength to the cracked region, which was consequently the deeper section nearer the support are taken into
not expected to influence the second test. However, extra account.
strapping was necessary during the test because a shear
crack in the bottom of the web, in the previously-tested 6.3 FLEXURAL CRACKING
end, began to propagate towards the load point. It had
not been thought of as a problem initially because its Figures 12a and 12b contain a comparison of the meas-
slope was in the opposite direction to the expected shear ured and calculated shear forces at flexural cracking. The
cracks in the second test. calculated shear force at ultimate moment and the shear
force at failure are also shown. In these graphs, the
Test L7 has been described in 5.4. Cracking in the calculated values were obtained from the standard beam
transverse prestress positions is believed to have caused dimensions. For calculating shear-span/depth ratios, the
failure at a lower load than would otherwise have been overall depth at mid-span has been used.
the case.
It must emphasized that the cracking moment has been
For test Lg, the repaired beam was left in the original calculated assuming a monolithic section (ie the compos-
damaged condition for a length near the support on the ite section resists the dead and live loads) as permitted in
long shear span side (see figure 11). During loading, a BS 5400: Part 4. This tends to over-estimate the theoreti-
crack in the web in the damaged area began to propa- cal cracking load. It can be seen in the figure that there is
gate and almost caused failure at a shear force of 230 kN a reasonably good agreement between the theoretical
(as measured on the short shear span side). The load and measured values. This implies that there may have
was removed and the beam strapped before continuing been a higher effective prestress in the beams than
the test. assumed and/or that the cracking resistance of the
concrete has been underestimated. However, the
comparisons indicate that the assumptions provide a
satisfactory basis for calculating shear strength.

oo ~-

o~ z ~ o ~ o

g ~ . . . . . ~ , , ,
OOo ~ o

_~ z

.~= o O~o
_~ co (/]
o~ 00
z ~ o o ~ ~ o ~ ~ ~ o o ~

I- o~ S- -g
~ o o ~ o ~ ~ ~

~ . . . . . ~ ' ' '
noO ~o

o z

~gg .... g ~ , , ,

f]) 0
"o(J o


o o o

~g-~ o

~3 o

x: i~.

a) Long Beams
m Mu
k • Failure
k _~__ lrv~i/lexure crack




0 ! I I I I r I I I
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Shear span/depth

b) Short beams

.... Mcr

800 • Failure
._~ll~ Jr- lr~tu flexure crack




200 "'~...,_+ ~-..+~

0 I I I I r I I

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Shear span/depth

(75/90 N/ram 2 concrete strength, unfactored calculation)

Fig.12 Behaviour in flexure

6.4 ULTIMATE MOMENT The full lines indicate the factored resistance using
concrete strengths of 45 and 60 N/mm 2 and the broken
Figure 12a for the long beams indicates that, in all cases, lines the calculated capacity with partial safety factors
shear failure occurred at less than the calculated ultimate removed and concrete strengths of 75 and 90 N/mm 2.
moment. However, as the shear spans become larger, Two curves are given for the cracked resistance, Vcr.
the shear force at failure approaches the value calculated One has been obtained using the equation given in BS
for ultimate moment. The exception is the measured 5400 and the other using the equation with the d/2 term
shear force for failure at the largest shear span, test L7, restored. This corresponds to the equation given in
where a flexural failure was thought possible. It is BD 44/90 (Department of Transport, 1990a).
believed that this beam failed prematurely in shear
because of the weakness in the transverse stress Wherever Vco governs, there is a substantial reserve of
positions (see 5.4). strength for both sizes of beam. Where Vcr governs, the
measured resistance of the beam is greater than the
For the short beams, the measured shear force at failure unfactored calculation including the d/2 term. Even where
exceeds the calculated shear force for ultimate moment Vco governs the measured resistance is greater than the
in four out of the six tests (see Figure 12b). Examination calculated resistance using the equation without the d/2
of the crack patterns at failure, however, indicate that the term. It may be concluded that BD 44/90 is conservative,
failures were in shear and not bending, although bending but less so than BS 5400: Part 4.
failure was close.
Values for the measured resistance of the damaged and
repaired beams are not plotted on Figure 14(a). Inspec-
tion of Table 4 reveals that the calculated strength of the
Figures 13a and 13b illustrate graphically the relationship damaged beam in the cracked mode is almost the same
between the measured cracking forces and the calcu- as the calculated strength of the undamaged beam. In
lated shear resistances, Vco and Vcr. In these figures, the the uncracked mode the calculated strength is higher
calculated resistances are given for the unfactored than that of the undamaged beam.
calculation using the mean concrete strength and with d/2
It was assumed in the calculations that the prestressing
included in the expression for Vcr (see 3.4). It must be
wires were effective when uncovered. For Vco the web
remembered that the calculated resistance is actually the
was assumed to retain its full width over the whole depth
value at cracking: web cracking for Vco and flexural-shear
although the overall cross-sectional area was reduced.
cracking for Vcr.
The resulting increase in prestress raised the calculated
The main conclusion to be drawn from these graphs is resistance. For Vcr a small loss in overall depth was
that shear cracking is predicted reasonably well and assumed as well as a reduction in area. The net effect on
conservatively. the calculated resistance was small.

Web shear cracks occurred in all tests, as indicated. For the repaired beam the calculated values given are
Flexural-shear cracks did not form much below a shear- those for a standard monolithic section. A multi-stage
span/depth ratio of three. Above a ratio of three there is calculation would also be possible, allowing for the
little or no margin between web cracking and failure load, changes to load and prestress as concrete was added
although in some cases the displacement was much and removed.
greater at failure than cracking.
In the regions governed by Vcr, flexural cracking at d/2 is
represented reasonably well by the Vcr curve. Wherever During the tests there was no sign of failure at the
flexural-shear cracking was present, the measured value interface between the beams and in-situ slab. However,
is above this curve. Here, as in 6.3, a monolithic section because of the unusual nature of the interface shear
has been assumed in the calculations. reinforcement in the beams, consideration was given to
their resistance in this mode.
For the regions governed by Vco, the behaviour of the two
sizes of beam was different. The long beams cracked in Calculations were carried out using the method given in
the web at a shear force barely above the calculated Vco BS 5400: Part 4 and also as modified in BD 44/90. Elastic
resistance, whereas the short beams remained free from theory was used to compute the applied shear stress as
web cracks until a significantly higher relative load. required by both standards, and a type 1 surface was
assumed. Table 5 contains values of calculated resist-
6.6 COMPARISON OF MEASURED ance at short shear spans with and without the interracial
shear steel considered as effective.
STRENGTHS The interfacial steel (sawtooth shaped bars, see Figure 2)
may not be treated as the equivalent of links as they do
Figures14a and 14b contain a comparison of the meas- not enclose any longitudinal reinforcement. Hughes
ured and calculated shear capacities for the long and (1987) considers interfacial shear reinforcement to act as
short beams. a series of ties rather than dowels. The ties ensure that
the shear resistance of the concrete interface is

a) Long beams
.... Moo
800 .~ 0 Flex/shear crack
_}_~ • Failure

Z "4- d/2 crack

600 [] Web crack



0 t ~ I ~ I I ~ I
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Shear span/depth

b) Short beams

.... Vco
800 ~ Flex/shear crack

.~ • Failure

r~ -}- d/2 crack

_{_ ~ . D Web crack


200 ........

0 I T I I I I f I I
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Shear span/depth

(75/90 N / m m 2 concrete strength, unfactored calculation, d/2included)

Fig,13 Shear cracking

a) L o n g beams

.... Vcr with d/2

..... Vcr no d/2

"t Factored Vcr
i .... Vco
E • t - - Factored Vco
'. \ Failure
%. \



0 I I P } } I I I
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10


b) S h o r t b e a m s

.... Vcr with d/2

..... Vcr no d/2

800 t
- - Factored Vcr

• ~ .... Moo

li - - Factored Vco
600 i
>. • ~ Failure
%• tt


0 I I I I I 1 I I I

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Shear s p a n / d e p t h

(75/90 N/mm concrete strength, unfactored calculation)

(45/60 N/ram 2 concrete strength, factored calculation)

Fig.14 Comparison of measured and calculated capacity

Calculated vertical shear force for interfacial shear failure

Concrete strength (N/mm 2) 75/90 60/75 45/60

Partial safety factors (y) no y's BD 44/90 y's BS 5400

Long beams ignoring steel 280 245 175

Long beams including steel 710 635 550

(Shear span < 3.9m)

Short beams ignoring steel 150 130 90

Short beams including steel 375 335 290

(Shear span < 2.8m)

Type 1 surface, mid-span dimensions

developed. This implies that, to be fully effective, there the concrete slab or beam. Under these assumptions the
must be sufficient resistance against pulling out to sustain bars were judged to be fully anchored at all the assumed
the yield stress in the steel. concrete strengths.

Two methods were used to test, theoretically, whether It can be seen in Table 6 that with the steel excluded
the bars could be considered as fully anchored. One was from the calculations, interfacial shear governs at short
to consider the reinforcement to be equivalent to a bend, shear spans. When the steel is included, however,
tangential to the sawtooth at the concrete interface, and interfacial shear is not critical. In the tests the calculated
to apply Clause of BD 44/90. Another was to interfacial shear resistance with steel was exceeded, for
consider the resistance to pulling out of a small part of the shorter shear spans.

Comparison of vertical shear force for vertical and longitudinal shear failure

Test Shear Measurement Calculated Vertical Shear Resistance

No Span 75/90 Concrete, No y
Max. Vert. V /V r Longitudinal interface
Shear Force No Steel With Steel
Surface Surface Surface Surface
Type 2 Type 1 Type 2 Type 1
m kN kN kN kN kN kN
L4 1.6 745 420 (V o) 135 270 550 690
L6 2.1 615 400 (Vo) 135 270 550 690
L1 2.9 425 340 ( V ) 135 280 565 705
L2 4.1 360 255 ( V ) 135 280 425 565
$6 0.65 685 290 ( V ) 75 155 315 395
$5 1.2 450 280 ( V ) 75 160 325 405
$4 1.6 420 230 (Vc,) 75 150 300 375
$3 2.2 300 165 ( V ) 75 150 305 385
$1 2.6 270 170 (Vc,) 75 150 300 375

6.8 WORST CREDIBLE STRENGTH spans, and anchorage failure is affected. However, the
crack position is more likely to be accurate for shorter
Table 4 contains the results of shear calculations using shear spans where pull-out may be more critical.
worst credible strength values with the reduced partial
safety factors permitted in BD 44/90 (1.2 for concrete, 1.1 Combining Regan's and Nielsen's methods improved the
for steel and, by implication, an allowance of 1.15 for correlation with the present test results a little, but a free
shrinkage etc). In all cases the calculation produced a choice of Nielsen's effectiveness factor was still required.
safe estimate of the ultimate shear resistance. The table However, if in an assessment it is intended to allow a
provides values of the ratio of measured to calculated higher shear force than Vco at short shear spans, on the
resistance expressed as a percentage. basis of the data in this report and elsewhere in the
literature, it would be sensible to check the anchorage of
For the long beams, the mean ratio is 140% when the the tendons by Regan's method.
measured resistance is compared with calculated Vcr. If it
is assumed that the relationship is not systematic but
follows a normal distribution a "characteristic" value of
this ratio can be obtained (mean - 1.64 x standard 7 DISCUSSION
deviation). This ratio is over 100%, which implies that the
worst credible strength approach gives safe results using 7.1 FAILURE MODE
Vcr throughout.
Using BS 5400: Part 4 and Figure 3 as a guide, it might
The same conclusion is reached for the short beams
have been expected that:
except when the shortest shear span is included in the
calculations. In this case, the shortest shear span has a Uncracked shear failures would result from tests at
ratio of only 84%. However, this rises to 130% if the a short shear span (shear-span/depth less than 3),
expression excluding d/2 is employed. characterised by web cracks joining the load point
to the support;
It is concluded that, for these particular beams, the worst
credible strength calculation gives a safe result for Vcr Cracked shear failure would result from tests at a
where this normally governs. If the d/2 term is omitted, long shear span, characterised by diagonal flexure/
the calculation gives a safe result throughout the range of shear cracks close to the load point; and
shear spans. Where Vco governs, and is adopted as the
limit, the worst credible approach would be more con- Flexural failures might result from loading near the
servative. beam centre, with cracking beneath the load and a
local failure plane.
CALCULATING SHEAR In practice, shear failure occurred in all cases, the
primary cause being the propagation of web cracks.
There were generally two systems of cracking present in
There is scope for a more rational way of calculating the the beams as failure was reached.
ultimate resistance of members in shear (Collins and
Mitchell, 1986). One method is described by Nielsen Flexural cracks beneath and on either side of the
(1984). It relies on the beam acting as a tied arch as applied load emanating from the bottom flange; and
discussed in 7.1 and requires the wires to be fully
anchored. There are two expressions for ultimate resist- One or more pronounced inclined shear cracks in
ance depending on whether or not the tendons fail. They the web.
are primarily dependent on shear span and an effective-
ness parameter for the concrete resistance. An attempt The two systems of cracking were independent and did
was made to apply the method to the present results not combine.
without success. The general form of the curve obtained
is consistent with the measured data in Figures 14a and Web cracking is a characteristic of Vco but the reduction
14b (ie the shear resistance reduces with increase in of shear resistance with increase in shear span, as
shear span) but no satisfactory overall fit was possible measured in the tests, is a characteristic of Vcr. The
even when the effectiveness factor was allowed to take mode of failure was not, therefore, wholly of one type or
any value. the other.

Regan (1990) has suggested a method for determining It is fortunate that the Vcr calculation provides a satisfac-
the resistance to anchorage failure of the prestressing tory estimate of shear resistance even though the
wires in the tied arch model. This depends on determin- assumption that failure stems from flexural-shear crack-
ing the available bond length according to the position of ing is not correct.
the primary shear crack, which is assumed to run in a
straight line between the load point and the support. It The resistance of the beams after web cracking can be
can be seen from 5.2 that the position of the primary explained by means of an alternative load path: the tied
shear crack is not reliable, particularly for long shear arch. It is assumed that an arch or strut is formed within

the concrete connecting the load point to the support, 7.4 EFFECTIVENESS OF THE Vcr
equilibrium being maintained by the tension in the
prestressing wires.
Numerically, the calculation for Vcr (mean strength,
This would explain why the resistance of beams tested at
unfactored, d/2 included) provides a reasonable lower
relatively short shear spans greatly exceeded the web-
bound to the measured failure loads over the longer
cracking load. It would also explain why the beams tested
shear spans, although the theoretical basis for this is
at longer shear spans were able to sustain the maximum
load after formation of the critical web cracks, or in some
cases offer a residual resistance at a large displacement
BS 5400: Part 4 equates failure with the formation of
after the maximum load had been passed. Finally, it is
flexural-shear cracks, and ignores any further resistance
consistent with instability failure observed in the top
in the beam. In those cases where flexural-shear cracks
flange of the long beams tested at the two longest shear
occurred in the tests, the measured shear force at
spans. cracking is indicated quite well by the calculation. How-
ever, the failure plane did not pass through the flexural-
7.2 DUCTILITY shear cracks, and their formation is not directly con-
nected with the load path by which the beams sustain
For all but the shortest shear spans (in the region where load after cracking. All that can be said is that, for longer
Vco governs) there was a measure of ductility observed in shear spans, failure is unlikely to occur before flexural-
the tests. This appeared as a large flexural displacement shear cracks form.
before failure or a residual strength and displacement
capacity after the maximum load was passed. Bearing in mind that the web cracking mode of failure
was common to all the tests, it is interesting to note that
If the flexural strength of a beam is high in relation to the the Vcr calculation with d/2 gives a safe estimate of failure
shear strength (and the stiffness is also high) there is load down to a shear-span/depth ratio of 2.0. If the
likely to be less displacement and hence less observed expression without the d/2 term is used, the calculated
ductility at failure. However, tied arch behaviour can allow curve in figures 14(a) and 14(b) are acceptable lower
additional displacement as failure is approached. bounds to all the measured resistances.
Ductility permits redistribution to take place within a For these particular beams, therefore, it would have been
structure in the case of a local structural inadequacy or safe to assess the shear capacity at short shear spans
overload. The absence of web reinforcement may have using the equation for Vcr without the d/2 term rather than
reduced ductility in these beams but their behaviour gave the Vco equation. However, taking into account the fact
no cause for concern in this respect. that the large beams cracked in the web at a shear force
given by the Vco calculation, it would be advisable to
There was less displacement for the short shear spans
ensure that the Vco shear resistance was not exceeded
and failure was quite sudden; but shear cracks appeared
with serviceability limit state loading.
in the webs well before failure, and the margin of resist-
ance above the calculated Vco values was large. This, to
a degree, compensates for the lower ductility.
The strength of the damaged beam was obtained for a
CALCULATION long shear span, 5.0m. In this position, its measured
strength was about 3/4 of the strength of the undamaged
The calculation for Vco in BS 5400: Part 4, which equates
beam, which is encouraging given the seriousness of the
failure with web cracking, provides a conservative
damage. As explained in 6.6 the strength, calculated
estimate for the ultimate shear resistance over short
according to the principles in BS 5400: Part 4 is slightly
shear spans for these particular beams. In the tests,
higher than the undamaged beam in uncracked shear
cracks formed in the web as expected, and the primary
and only slightly less in cracked shear.
failure plane followed the line of these cracks. To this
extent, the Vco calculation provides a reasonable model The strength calculations are not satisfactory because in
for the behaviour of the beams, although their strength is the tests the damaged beam was clearly inferior to the
underestimated. undamaged beam. The lower strength of the concrete in
the damaged beam may have had an influence on the
For the long beams, web cracking was predicted reason-
behaviour, but is not entirely responsible. The calculation
ably well but the ultimate resistance was considerably
is not rational because failure of this beam occurred
higher. For the short beams, web cracking and ultimate
before flexure or flexural-shear cracks developed.
resistance were both considerably higher than calculated.
The repaired test was rather artificial, because it seems
unlikely that such extensive damage would be repaired in
practice. There is also the question of durability. How-
ever, it is encouraging that the behaviour of the damaged
beam was reasonable in the test and the repair effective

at the ultimate limit state. It should be noted that cracking sion that the interface reinforcement was effective.
occurred at a low load in the unstressed concrete, as Calculations indicate that without the steel, the interface
would be expected. should have initiated or participated in failure.

For large shear spans the Vcr calculat=on is numerically 7.8 COMPARISON WITH SHEAR
satisfactory for a normal beam even when flexural-shear
cracking does not occur. However, calculations for TESTS IN THE LITERATURE
damaged or repaired beams which rely on establishing
There are many examples in the literature, spanning the
the difference in flexural-shear cracking are not necessar-
last three decades, of shear tests on prestressed con-
ily correct or relevant to the ultimate resistance. A more
crete beams. A large number of these, particularly in the
rational approach to the ultimate limit state is desirable.
early years, concerned beams with no shear links in the
webs (eg Hicks, 1958; Hawkins, 1964; Arthur, 1965; Kar,
7.6 PRECRACKED WEBS 1969; Mahgoub, 1975; Elzanaty et al, 1986). Through
these tests it has been established that there is a reliable
In general the measured values of shear strength are
measure of shear strength in beams with no links.
substantially above the resistance calculated according to
BS 5400:Part 4. The margin is least for the long beam Many of the tests reported have ended in sudden failure.
test L7 which had a shear span/depth ratio of 8 (see This is not a desirable mode of behaviour in beams
Figure 12a). The special factor in this test was the intended for use in a working structure. Consequently, it
presence of web cracks resulting from the separation has lead to conservatism in shear design and require-
process. ments for minimum links in code rules. Reynolds (1974),
for example, notes that a small amount of web reinforce-
The effect of pre-cracked webs is an unfavourable aspect
ment improves strength and ductility, and recommends
of the observed behaviour. In the test L7, it appeared that
its inclusion.
web cracks propagated from the transverse hole posi-
tions and initiated a failure plane between the support The suddenness of failure is, however, a subjective
and the load point. matter. In the present tests the final failures could be
described as sudden: but except for the shortest shear
This was the only beam in which the transverse hole
spans there was ample warning given by the large
positions had an adverse effect on the final measured
displacements and extensive cracking. Similar observa-
resistance, although two other beams were affected by
tions made by other authors suggest that their "sudden"
pre-cracking. In those cases the beams had been
failures were similar.
damaged by previous tests at the other end. Premature
failure was avoided by attaching steel straps. There has been widespread agreement among authors
that the difference in shear force between cracking and
It is suggested therefore that caution should be exercised
failure in a beam without links is variable and cannot be
when assessing beams that have structural cracks in the
relied on in design. For example, tests reported by Arthur
webs, in cases where there is no shear steel present or
(1965) on relatively small beams indicated a ratio of
the amount is significantly below the normal minimum.
ultimate shear force to cracking shear force in the range
Where the beams are contiguous and webs cannot be
1- 1.7 at short shear spans and 1- 1.2 for long shear
inspected there is less likelihood of a problem because
spans. It is agreed that the ratio depends on many factors
transverse redistribution is likely to occur before failure of
that are difficult to quantify for practical use. This is
the deck. It is not suggested that steps should be taken to
reflected in the current design and assessment standards
inspect the webs of contiguous beams.
which equate failure with cracking.

7.7 INTERFACIAL SHEAR Results from the present tests indicate that, for the
particular beams tested, there was a useful margin
At no time in any of the tests was there any indication of between cracking and failure in many cases; but for the
unsatisfactory behaviour of the interface between the long shear-span tests there is no practical way of using
prestressed beam and in-situ slab in spite of the non- this in assessment. For beams tested at short shear
standard reinforcement. span, other authors have found that a principle tensile
stress calculation (Vco type) generally underestimates the
Calculations described in 6.7 might be used to demon- cracking load (eg Mahgoub, 1975). In the present beams,
strate the effectiveness of the steel in similar situations. this was the case for the short beams but not the long
beams. However, the long beams possessed a large
The steel provided was clearly sufficient to maintain the
margin of strength beyond cracking that compensated for
integrity of the interface during the life of the structure
the early cracking.
and the demolition processes. There should be little
doubt about a similar detail behaving in a comparable Many of the characteristics observed in the present tests
way in other bridges. have been found in previous work. It is clear that dividing
the manner of failure into two modes in BS 5400: Part 4
At the very least, the presence of the steel enabled the is a simplification. Behaviour can vary depending on the
concrete interface to function as intended. Furthermore,
cross-section (Hawkins, 1964). For rectangular beams it
the magnitude of the test failure loads lead to the conclu-

is more likely that flexural-shear cracks will lead directly flexural-shear cracking less so as strength increases: but
to failure, whereas for an I-beam web cracking becomes the effect does not appear to be large. High strength in
increasingly more likely as the web thickness is reduced the paper refers to cylinder compressive strengths
in proportion to the other dimensions. between 40 and 80 N/mm 2.

Arching action has long been recognised and is men- Bennett et al (1989) considered fatigue. They report that
tioned by many authors. CP 115:1959 (Clause 311) reinforcement was necessary to control web cracks under
refers to the possibility of developing resistance by repeated loading. However, they note that:
arching action, but gives no guidance for doing this.
Nielsen (1984) and Regan and Yu (1973) present There is little stress in links before the formation of
methods of calculation. cracks.

Instability of the top flange has been reported (Bennett et The static inclined cracking load will usually be
al, 1989, Regan and Yu, 1973 and Sethunarayanan, appreciably greater than the maximum service load
1960) and also failure at the "wrong" end of beams. Two in bridges designed to British practice (eg BS 5400:
tests reported by Clarke and Evans (1983) fall into the Parts 2 and 4).
latter category. The beams had previously been tested at
the other end and damage had been sustained. It is not The risk of fatigue cracking in concrete under
clear whether or not the problem was caused by the normal service conditions is negligible:
propagation of existing cracks, but there was a weakness
that led to unexpected failure. It may be concluded that there is a negligible risk of
cracking occurring in unreinforced webs under highway
Slippage of the tendons has been observed by a number loading when assessed in accordance with BS 5400:
of authors including Kaufman and Ramirez (1988), Part 4 or BD 44/90. The absence of links should therefore
Maruyama and Rizkalla (1988), and Bennett et al (1989). not increase the risk of fatigue damage or consequent
The importance of the shear crack crossing the line of the loss of resistance.
tendons in the transition zone is generally recognised,
and is taken into account by Regan (1990) (see 6.9).

Although there have been a great many tests on pre- 8 CONCLUSIONS

stressed beams without shear links, the current series
has a contribution to make in a number of respects. The test results support the principle of allowing beams
without shear links to remain in service after assessment.
The beams had been produced for normal construction This provision is contained in the assessment standard
and built into a bridge. They had been in service for a BD 44/90. Although it is better to have links, it should not
considerable period of time on a heavily trafficked route. generally be necessary to replace a structure because
Similar beams are still in service. they are absent.
They were of composite construction and large in size - There is no reason to believe that the beams had deterio-
many of the tests reported in the literature were carried rated with age, and no sign of adverse behaviour arising
out on monolithic beams of small cross-section (eg from their period in service. The main factor in their
250mm deep and 3m span). It is important to test large performance was a substantial increase in strength of the
beams because their strength may be lower, in relative concrete.
terms, than similar small beams (Bazant and Cao, 1986).
Furthermore they could be tested over the original full The beams did not behave in the manner indicated by the
span, and develop the correct displacements. The tests design and assessment standards BS 5400: Part 4 and
were carried out under displacement control which is BD 44/90, but strengths calculated in accordance with the
arguably more likely to give information relevant to the standards are conservative for these beams. For regions
mode of failure of a beam in a bridge deck. cracked in flexure, I-beams without shear reinforcement
are likely to fail by web cracking rather than flexural-shear
Tests on composite beams have been carried out by cracking which is assumed to govern in the Vcr calcula-
Clarke and Evans (1983), Cederwall and Saran (1988), tion.
and Bennett et al (1989). From these studies it may be
concluded that it is reasonable to use assume a mono- It is likely that the high loads resisted after cracking were
lithic section for design, although other methods are likely the result of arching action. This requires the prestressing
to be better, either to determine shear force at cracking or wires to be well anchored in the failure mode in order to
failure. Cederwall and Saran (1988) prefer a compression provide a horizontal reaction to balance the thrust.
theory method (described by Collins and Mitchell, 1986).
For beams similar to the ones tested, it would not be
The effect on shear resistance of high strength concrete unreasonable to allow an ultimate resistance above Vco
has been investigated in recent papers in America provided that the anchorage is satisfactory and Vcr, as
(Kaufman and Ramirez 1988, Elzanaty et al, 1986). The calculated using the expression without d/2, is not
latter authors say that, compared with the ACI code exceeded. A serviceability check for Vco cracking would
equations, web cracking becomes more conservative and be advisable.

Caution should be exercised when assessing beams with BSI, 1981. Assessment of concrete strength in existing
no shear reinforcement and structurally cracked webs. structures. BS 6089: 1981. London: British Standards
The interfacial resistance between the precast beams
and in-situ slab was sufficient to ensure that failure did BSI, 1984. Steel, concrete and composite bridges. Code
not take place in longitudinal shear. The sawtooth bars, of practice for design of concrete bridges. BS 5400: Part
which were considered to be fully anchored, appeared to 4: 1984. London: British Standards Institution.
make a significant contribution to strength. The anchor-
age of bars such as these could be checked using the BSI, 1985. Structural use of concrete. Code of Practice
method given in BD 44/90 and an appropriate allowance for design and construction. BS 8110: Part 1: 1985.
made for them in assessment. London: British Standards Institution.

BSI, 1990. Steel, concrete and composite bridges. Code

of practice for design of concrete bridges. BS 5400: Part
4: 1990. London: British Standards Institution.
BURNLEY, G P E and A P E ASWAD, 1989. Omission of
The work described in this report was carried out in the web reinforcement in prestressed double tees. PCl
Bridges Division of the Structures Group of the TRRL. Journal, 34 (2) (March-April), 48-65.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the contributions
made by other members of the Structural Assessment CEDERWALL, K and E SARAN, 1988. Shear capacity of
Section and Bridges Workshop. Thanks are also offered composite prestressed concrete beams. Nordic Concrete
to the staff of the Lancashire County Council for informa- Research Publication No. 7. The Nordic Concrete
tion about the beams, the North West Regional Office of Federation.
the Department of Transport for assistance in obtaining
the beams, and Parkman Consulting Engineers who CHANDLER, J and R J TAYLOR, 1990. M63 widening
arranged for their removal from the bridges. and improvement junctions 3 to 5. Part 1 - Planning and
Design. Highways and Transportation (April), 8-12.

CLARK, L A, 1983. Concrete Bridge Design to BS 5400.

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