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EXPERIMENTAL STUDY ON THE INFLUENCE OF THE REBAR

ARRANGEMENT AND OF THE SHAPE OF THE CROSS-SECTION ON THE
FRACTURE OF LRC BEAMS

G. Ruiz y J.R. Carmona

ETSI Caminos, C. y P., Universidad de Castilla la Mancha
Avda. Camilo José Cela s/n, 13071 Ciudad Real, Spain

Abstract. The experimental program reported in this paper investigates the sensitivity of lightly reinforced
concrete beams (LRC) to the shape of the cross-section and to the rebar arrangement. Twenty-four micro-
concrete reinforced beams were tested; these were rectangular and T beams reinforced with one, two or
three rebars aligned horizontally or vertically. The concrete mechanical properties were all obtained from
independent tests. Likewise, experimental errors due to material heterogeneity or incorrect set-up of the
tests were minimized to ensure a high level of control during the execution of the program. The experimen-
tal results exhibit maximum load shape effect, i.e. the maximum load does not vary as no-tension hypothe-
sis indicates. Beams in which rebars are aligned horizontally show a secondary load peak after cover crack-
ing, while a vertical arrangement of the rebars provokes more energy dissipation and ductility in the post-
peak response.

Resumen. El programa experimental que exponemos en este comunicación investiga la sensibilidad de las
vigas de hormigón débilmente armadas (LRC) frente a la forma de la cabeza de compresión y a la disposi-
ción de la armadura traccionada. Ensayamos 25 con dos secciones diferentes, unas rectangulares y otras
con forma de T. Asimismo se ha variado la distribución del armado colocándolo en varias capas, pero to-
mando el mismo valor para el recubrimiento mecánico en todas los casos. Las propiedades mecánicas del
hormigón se obtuvieron por medio de ensayos independientes. Del mismo modo, los errores debidos a la
heterogeneidad del material o a la incorrecta realización de los ensayos se redujeron al mínimo. Los resul-
tados experimentales muestran un efecto de forma, es decir, que la carga máxima obtenida no varía como
es esperable según las formulaciones clásicas para las vigas en T. Respecto a la distribución de las barras
las vigas en las que el armado se encuentra en una sola capa presentan un pequeño pico secundario después
de haberse fisurado el recubrimiento. Por otra parte las disposiciones del armado en varias capas provocan
una disipación de energía mayor, lo que se traduce en una respuesta más dúctil en la respuesta post-pico.

1. INTRODUCTION ence the response of the beam. Ruiz et al [6] made a set
of tests that disclosed the influence of several parame-
This paper presents very recent results of an experimen- ters —size, steel ratio, steel yield strength and bond-slip
tal program aimed at disclosing advanced aspects of the properties— on the fracture behavior. In addiction, they
fracture behavior of lightly reinforced concrete beams.
made a complete material characterization by direct
In particular, the program was designed to investigate testing that made objective numerical modeling possible
the dependence of these beams on (1) the arrangement [6,8].
of the reinforcing bars around the steel centroid; and (2)
the shape of the cross-section. All the beams were made However, there were still some points to study. On the
out of the same materials —micro-concrete and steel one hand, all the works approaching collapse of brittle
bars— whose properties remain constant throughout the
beams by fracture mechanics have been done on rectan-
program. Nevertheless, the beams are reinforced differ- gular beams —Ozcebe et al. [9] used a technological
ently by changing the number of bars, the spacing be- approach to study the failure of T beams—. On the
tween them and the arrangement of bars around the steel
other hand, Ruiz et al. [10] and Ruiz [8] showed theo-
centroid. retically that other parameters with influence on the
problem were the concrete cover and the type of ar-
Various experiments on lightly reinforced beams [1-7]
rangement of the bars around the steel centroid. Thus a
were based on the idea that minimally reinforced beams need was felt for an experimental program covering
are brittle structures susceptible to theoretical analysis such topics.
by fracture mechanics. These experimental programs
showed that brittle collapse of lightly reinforced beams The paper is structured as follows: a brief overview of
is size dependent, suggesting that the failure is due to the experimental program is given in Section 2. The
fracture processes in concrete. Specifically, Hededal and
materials and specimens are described in Section 3. Sec-
Kroon [4] considered the bond-slip properties of the tion 4 summarizes the experimental procedures. The
reinforcement and found that they substantially influ- experimental results are presented and discussed in Sec-

(c) specimen nomenclature. As a first approximation.2 : 0. Hillerborg's brit- tleness number βH was used as the comparison parame- T1 T2H T2V T3H T3V ter.75 = = = = 16. relatively brittle micro-concrete was selected with a characteristic size of approximately of lch = 90 mm (the 3.12].5 23 1 6 . Steel properties were provided by the rebar l ch ft2 maker. experimentation. 1. which is A single micro-concrete mix was used throughout the considered a reasonable size for the study. (a) Rectangular and T cross-section dimensions.75 17. the pro- gram had to provide an exhaustive material characteri- c) zation to allow a complete interpretation of the test re- sults that could be useful for future investigations. = = 8. the average strength. a T2V and thus the specimens made out of it are not considered beam is a T beam reinforced by means of 2 bars aligned for getting material properties or conclusions. We use 1.2 5 1 7 . In addition. The mix proportions by the rectangular beam by 50%.25 16. to minimize scatter in test results. Regarding the scale of the specimens. We can anticipate here that the tests are sensi- 150 (D) tive to both the shape of the cross-section and the ar- rangement of the rebars around the centroid. value being 12 mm. kinds of arrangement of the reinforcement bars around the steel centroid.2 5 1 6 .5 tion for all the beams. where l ch = (1) concrete. OVERVIEW OF THE EXPERIMENTAL PROGRAM 50 The experimental program was intended to study b) whether the fracture of lightly reinforced concrete beams depends on the rebar arrangement and on the shape of the cross-section. Nevertheless.5 D ) ment. 50 75 68.5 8 . a) tracted.tion 5. zontally or vertically. 6 0 0 (4 D ) ior is more ductile than with a single layer reinforce. GF the fracture their value using the Model Code [13] (see next section energy and ft the tensile strength. All the specimens were made from 6 batches of 35 litres. tion specimens of all batches.25 selected rectangular and T beams. βH is defined as: arrangements. Figure 1c names the resulting Batch 1 was devoted to tuning the experimental set-up combinations for future reference.2 5 1 6 . a for details). To show the influence of the shape of the cross-section on the fracture process we 8.5 : 1 (aggregate: water: cement). E is the elastic modulus. 6 7 5 (4 . in Section 6 some conclusions are ex. the cement used was taken from the same cement con- Note that the T beam is built by thickening the head of tainer and dry-stored until use.5 16. we estimated teristic length. and normal Portland cement (ASTM type I). We made characteriza- Standard characterization and control tests were per. a strict control of the specimen-making progress. the behavior of the laboratory beams should be representative of the behavior of beams of ordinary size R1 R2H R2V R3H R3V made of ordinary concrete.2 5 1 6 . The Abrams cone slump formed to determine the compressive strength. (b) rebar brittleness numbers are equal [11. MATERIALS AND SPECIMENS details of the micro-concrete are given in the next sec- tion). For instance. D EG F βH = . Fi- nally. were not measured directly. Since the characteristic length of ordinary con- crete is 300 mm on average. All and T beams chosen for this experimental program. which was kept in the same relative posi. All the specimens were cast in steel . Finally. made with a lime aggregate of 5 mm maximum size that follows the corresponding Fuller Figure 1a sketches the dimensions of the rectangular curve. 22.25 steel centroid. laboratory beams of 3. Specifi- cally.7 5 We used two different rebar distributions around the 22. Figure 1b depicts the five weight were 3. The properties of the steel-to-concrete interface D is the depth of the beam and lch is Hillerborg's charac. tensile was measured immediately before casting. There was vertically.5 50 150 (D) 150 2. two geometrically similar structures will display a similar fracture behavior if their Fig. 2 or 3 rebars aligned hori.7 5 8 .1 Micro Concrete 150 mm depth are expected to simulate the behavior of ordinary concrete beams 500 mm in depth. According to this. elastic modulus and fracture energy of the con. when bars are aligned vertically the beam behav.

dev. Brazilian tests were also carried out on 12 cylindrical (b) Cylinder splitting (Brazilian). Neverthe- less. Finally we anchors were used. Compression tests were carried out on 18 cylindrical specimens —three from each batch— according to Table 1. The specimen 3. During the opening of the aforementioned extensometer at an casting and vibration the wires were tensioned by nuts average rate of 2 µm/min. 75 mm depth and 337. The elastic modulus was the beam and rolling along the beams longitudinal axis 212 GPa.molds. The Model Code [13] suggests that in our conditions the The tests were performed in control position. in metallic molds. vibrated by a vibrating table. During the test the beams rested on two rigid-steel semi-cylinders laid The mechanical properties of the wires were measured on two supports permitting rotation out of the plane of by standard tensile test. All the beams were 50 mm control the fracture process. 4. This device measured a com- central cross-section to a depth of half the total beam bination between the stretching of the concrete in the depth. This kind of test control leads to 3.1 Characterization and control tests chanical parameters of the micro-concrete determined in the various characterization and control tests. that described for the plain notched beams. in order to concrete fracture properties. These supports roll on the upper was 810 MPa. Then we passed the control of to hold them tight and in place. ing.7 4. 50 µm/min during the following 15 min and 250 µm/min until the end of 3. fc(a) fts (b) Ec(a) GF lch The strain was measured over a 50 mm gage length by MPa MPa GPa N/m mm means of two inductive extensometers placed symmetri- mean 48. (a) Cylindrical specimens. Guinea and ent specimens.7 cally.4 10.5 — a rate of 0. wrap-cured for 24 4. three linear ramps at different displacement rates: 10 µm/min during the first 15 min. The properties of the steel-to. lower surface of the beam and the crack mouth opening displacement (CMOD). The tests were run under displacement control.3 mm/min. EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURES hours. demolded. The span was 340 mm.9 93. actuator. ratios.2 Reinforced beam tests in length and 75 mm in diameter were cast to determine standard mechanical properties. The micro within the linear response of the beams and provoked concrete was compacted on a vibrating table. The velocity of displacement of the For the beam dimensions selected. 1.2% with negligible friction. The notch was sawn at the a gage length of 100 mm. concrete interface were not measured directly. Planas [14-16]. so commercial smooth Stable three-point bend tests on notched beams were wires with a nominal diameter of 2. Thus.4 Reinforced micro concrete beams stable tests in which the entire post-peak behavior is recorded. Reinforced beam tests Cylindrical specimens whose dimensions were 150 mm 4. No hooks or obtain the post peak behavior of the beams. Figure 1 summarize the geometrical characteristics of the reinforced concrete beams. This loading ramp was fully at the ends through holes in the mold walls. we added a resistive exten- thick. and the face of a very stiff steel beam fastened to the machine ultimate strain was 6. this ramp allowed us to left protruding from the end of the beam. the diameter of the steel bars had to be smaller than that of standard rebars. 3 for compression tests and 2 for split.4 0. following the procedures devised by Elices.3 mm/min. The wires were during the following 30 min.5 5. changed to displacement control at a rate of 0. Out of each someter centered on the tensioned face of the beam with batch we made 4 specimens.8 25.9 74. We made 5 specimens The reinforced beams were tested in three-point bend- from each bath. The specimens were cast The tests started in load control until reaching 5 KN.5 mm were used to carried out to obtain the fracture properties of concrete achieve the desired reinforced configuration for differ. In principle the experimental set-up was similar to ting tests. the yield strength was 870 MPa. Table 1 shows the characteristic me. specimens —two from each batch— following the pro- cedures recommended by ASTM C496. and the desired steel machine actuator was 0. compression. Micro-concrete characteristics. We used maximum tangent stress in the interface can be 1 MPa.2 Steel was loaded through plywood with a width of 178 of the specimen diameter. The tension of the wires the test to CMOD and kept the opening rate constant was released right before demolding. . the standard yield strength for a strain of 0. at std.2 mm/min until the end of the test.3 Characterization and control specimens the test. with the reinforcing wires protruding which was done in 5 min. the first set of experiments showed that the beams Notched plain concrete beams were used to characterize were not stable after the peak load. and stored for 4 weeks —until they were tested— in a moist chamber at 20 oC and 98% of relative humidity.5 mm long.0%. ASTM C-39 and C-469 except for a reduction in size.

5. beams in this program the critical cover is 15. For the mens. any of the R3H) starts compressive and tensile strengths. on the size of the beam and on the parameters that char- acterize the first stages of the fracture progress. Indeed. 5. while the two lowermost rows depict the curves for the T-beams.1 Characterization tests Regrettably. 1b). which shows drawn in Figure 3 to keep the symmetry of the experi- that the process of making the specimens was properly mental program. In contrast. However. the boundary conditions at the point where the actuator applies the load may gener. i. The deficient resolution of the LVDTs used to measure the load transfer between the concrete and the reinforce- strain (only 4 × 10-4). while which represents 40% of the mean. As it is well known. The plots The effect of steel ratio and more generally of the strength of the reinforcement on the fracture process is are arranged so that the amount of reinforcement is kept constant for columns and the type of alignment for well known [7]. The Model Code also suggests a defi. the deviation in the ment enables the beam to recover and generates a U- fracture energy can be considered as normal if we take shaped stretch in the P-δ curve. [6] measured τc for stiffer and stand more load than their R counterparts. In the case the fracture process. Ruiz et al.5.5 MPa. a few tests were not stable due to the ex- treme sensitivity of the machine to the parameters defin- The main results for the characterization tests were ing the control loop. the standard deviation being 0. We also reach the same conclusion if we notice the low values of the standard deviation of the A typical P-δ curve (for instance. The two uppermost rows contain the results of the that the amount of reinforcement does not influence the value of the peak load when the concrete cover is longer beams with rectangular cross-section. 5.5% —as an average of all the tests—. are related to the gradient of stresses generated in the tion when the bars start to slip. while the minimum cover is 16. We can speak of a kind of shape effect that one to model the global beam resistance. Particularly Ruiz et al [10] observed rows. The post peak behavior is quite different for beams . RESULTS AND DISCUSSION corrected to the theoretical value stemming from strength of materials. the steel. the elas. Figure 3b confirms that observation by Consequently. This may be has the same cause as the size effect: the initiation and due to the normal forces acting over the reinforcing wire development of the fracture process as well as the cross- during the bending process. Figure 3a compares P-δ curves corresponding to R and T beams reinforced with 3 horizontal wires (R3H versus Experimental data on this topic is available in scientific T3H). It may seem trivial to point out that T-beams are literature. hypothesis would foretell an 8.2 MPa. They used pull-out strength of materials together with the usual no-tension tests and assumed that the interface behaved in a rigid.9 mm. in order to facilitate the comparison be- tween similar beams. tensioned fibres. load signals the slipping of the reinforcing wires. with a linear ramp-up. which indicates the initiation of 20 and 15% of their respective mean values. the load perfectly plastic manner. standardized. only of 2. For example.25 mm in length (Fig.3 Reinforced beam tests Amount of reinforcement All the experimental load-displacement (P-δ) curves for the reinforced beams are drawn in Figure 2. concrete interface according to the Model Code is of the order of 1 MPa. it was necessary variation of tension in the lower part of the beam to consider a τc several times bigger than the measured smoother. ate small variations in the global flexibility of the beam. for the clude analytical data manipulation when getting the not. Indeed. interface was not strong enough to cause the yielding of measured energy [17]. Nevertheless they are between specimens from the same batch. Such forces can slow the ing of the reinforcement layers by the crack or cracks progress of the debonding process and increase the fric.2 Steel slip bond properties Next we discuss the results focusing on their sensitivity to the shape of the cross-section and to the number and The value of the shear strength τc at the steel-to. Shape of the cross-section nite bond-slip law for the interface that can be of inter- est to model the global behavior of the beams.e. There is a loss of linearity before tic modulus and the fracture energy have deviations of reaching the load peak. Specifically the two R2H and one given in Table 1. Each then a certain critical cover. T beams shift up- it seemed that the interface was actually stronger than wards the compressive resultant and thus make the suggested by the pull-out tests. Right after the peak the displace- of E there may be some spurious scatter attributable to a ment snaps back while the beam loses resistance. alignment of wires. the initial slope of the curves is plotting the P-δ curves for R2V and R3V beams to- gether: both of them reach approximately the same peak load. Such critical cover depends single plot depicts the curves for two identical speci. A sudden drop in the into account that the procedures to obtain GF also in. smooth wires of the same kind of steel and got a mean Nevertheless the extent of increase in the peak load is value of 0.3% increase. When modeling bending tests peak increases less than expected. Standard deviation between specimens of the T2H were unstable and the snap-back stretch of made from different batches was of the same order as the P-δ curve was not caught.

V beams are more ductile in the post peak tive position of the centroid in all the specimens. We identical except for the reinforcement alignment around wanted to study the influence of the shape of the cross- the steel centroid. wires that produce a secondary peak when the crack we made rectangular and T beams with the same depth zone crosses it. A single micro- Figure 3c. the behavior of H beams is and the same shape in the lower part of the beam.2 0 . Load-displacement curves. 10 10 10 R 1 R2H R 3H 8 8 8 6 6 6 P (KN) P (KN) P (KN) 4 4 4 2 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 . 2 or 3 rebars that were only develop after a certain crack opening is achieved.3 0 . Con- response. this effect is comparable to the size . 6. In addition.2 0 . The H beams.4 0 .3 0 .3 0 .2 0 .3 0 .5 0 0 . for the stresses at the steel-to-concrete beams were reinforced with 1.2 0 .4 0 .5 0 0 .1 0 .e. reinforced differently: the more reinforcement the beam has the higher values the U-shaped portion reaches. The following conclusions layer are smeared. d compares P-δ curves for beams that are concrete was used to make all the experiments.4 0 . CONCLUSIONS Alignment of the wires This paper presents recent experimental results on lightly reinforced concrete beams.1 0 .1 0 .3 0 .4 0 .5 0 0 . Particularly.1 0 .5 0 0 .3 0 .4 0 .5 δ (m m ) δ (m m ) Fig.1 0 . 2. the vertical arrangement can be drawn from the study: of the wires produces a more continuous stress transfer that eventually leads more energy to be consumed at the − Lightly reinforced beams show a shape effect in the beginning of the fracture maximum load.4 0 .5 0 0 .3 0 . trolled to ensure the same material characteristics and to The secondary peaks that would correspond to each reduce experimental scatter.5 δ (m m ) δ (m m ) δ (m m ) 10 10 R2V R3V 8 8 6 6 P (KN) P (KN) 4 4 2 2 0 0 0 0 .1 0 .1 0 .3 0 . beams that have the section and of the arrangement of the rebars around the wires aligned horizontally.2 0 .2 0 .1 0 .2 0 .5 δ (m m ) δ (m m ) 10 10 10 T1 T2H T3H 8 8 8 6 6 6 P (KN) P (KN) P (KN) 4 4 4 2 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 . i.2 0 .4 0 .1 0 .5 δ (m m ) δ (m m ) δ (m m ) 10 10 T2V T3V 8 8 6 6 P (KN) P (KN) 4 4 2 2 0 0 0 0 . aligned horizontally or vertically while keeping the rela- In contrast. Besides.4 0 .3 0 .4 0 .2 0 .3 0 . These quite fragile.4 0 . have just one single layer of steel centroid on the fracture of the beams.5 0 0 .1 0 . The crack zone does not develop that easily crete-making and testing procedures were closely con- because it finds several reinforcement layers in its way.2 0 .

G. horizontally and vertically. . 1990. “Minimum rein- forcement in high-strength concrete”. M. REFERENCES [17] Ruiz. P-δ curves corresponding to: (a) rectangular and T beams. “Influence of the reinforcement Fig. U. C. Hededal. A.”Influencia del tamaño y de la adherencia en la armadura [1] Bosco. The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support [16] Planas. R.).2 0. Influence of ACKNOWLEDGMENTS experimental procedures”. 1998. P. E & FN Spon. A. & Ashmawi. Final Draft. “Measurement of the for this research provided by MCYT. “Minimum Reinforcement in Concrete R3H secondary T3H Members”.a) 10 b) 10 T3H [5] Ulfkjær.4 0. G. Gettu. O. 3. In A. Comitee Euro- large amount of energy dissipation. Materials and Structures 0 0 31: 683-691. J. Denmark: Åalborg. 1992. W. “Experimental study of fracture 2 2 of lightly reinforced concrete Beams”. [11] Bache.). K. 1998. G. & Planas. A & Debernardi.. M. J. B. Bažant (Eds. J. “Fracture of reinfor.3 0. Materials and Structures. International Journal of Fracture 111: 265-282.) Concrete Technology: New Trends. G. Åalborg University. Arbilla. [12] Petersson. G. H. [4] Hededal.1994. & Planas. However. J. Sc. bulk energy dissipation”. ced concrete: Scale effect and snap-back instability”. T. 4 4 [6] Ruiz. & Kroon. G. London: S.3 0. Ersoy. “Fracture mechanics application to reinforced concrete members in flexure”. & Guinea. & Brincker. I. M. 0 0.2 δ (mm) δ (mm) dian Journal of Civil Engineering 25(5). V. P.” In beams reinforced with 2 and 3 bars. gle layer provokes a small secondary peak within the [14] Elices. P. H. Oka- 6 6 mura and Z. 1992.1 0. and Shah. P. (d) T beams with bars aligned Structures. London effect. Journal of Structural En- gineering (ASCE) 116 (2): 427-437. Materials and Structures 25: 121-218. Elices.1994 as no-tension hypothesis indicates. & Debernardi. Guinea. “Crack growth and development of fracture tain critical cover length.1 0.). Influence of grants MAT2000-0705 and MAT2003-00843. I. Report TVBM- not influenced by the reinforcement. 1990. Elsevier. “Minimum flexural rein- forcement for T-beams made of high strength concrete”. Division of Building Materials. “Lightly reinforced high- strength concrete”. “Measurement of the snap back zone of the P-δ curve. Cana- 0. Paris. thus the maximum load is zones in plain concrete and similar materials”. Imternational du Beton. 3. 2. Thesis.G. a sin. P. E. 1992. 1999. Elices. Azad.2 0. 25: 327-334. [3] Baluch.15 0. E & F.G. J. “Simple R3V 8 R3H 8 R2V application of fictitious crack model” In H. V. Applications of Fracture Mechanics to Rein- forced Concrete: 413-436. A. London . Enginee- ring Fracture Mechanics 35 (4-5): 665-667. − In our beams the concrete cover is larger than a cer. under Fracture Energy using Three Point Bend Tests.P.2 0.e. Freigburg. M. A. Spon. Lausanne.N. − Distributing the reinforcement in several layers in- duces a ductile post peak behavior accompanied by a [13] CEB.1981.4 0. “Measurement of the Fracture Energy using Three Point Bend Tests. Industrial Applications: 113-125. (b) cover on the brittle to ductile translation of a LRC beam. Model Code. 1991.. V. Influence of cut- − These experimental results can be used profitably for ting the P-δ tail”. I. (Eds. i. Takut. H. fracture energy using three point bend tests. (Ed. ESIS Publication 24. J. C. Materials and Structures 25: 305-312.5 0 0. R. Size Effect in Concrete Structures: P (KN) P (KN) 281-292. Mihashi. peak R3V T3V 8 secondary 8 peak smeared smeared [8] Ruiz. Lund Institute of Technol- ogy. London 1999. O. M.) Fracture Mechanics of Concrete aligned horizontally and vertically.. modeling the behavior of lightly reinforced concrete beams.15 0. 1999.1 0. “Propagation of a cohesive crack crossing a reinforce- P (KN) P (KN) peaks peaks ment layer”. G. 1. Carpinteri. Aedificatio Publishers. In Aguado. [2] Bosco. Sweden: University of Lund . H. (c) rectangular beams with bars Mihashi & Rokugo (Eds. London. & Elices.5 δ (mm) δ (mm) c) 10 d) 10 [7] Carpinteri. G. [10] Ruiz. 6 6 2001. 1998. Planas. “Design for ductility”. Kroon. Madrid: GEHO-IECA. Carpinteri (Ed. Carpinteri. [15] Guinea. mínima de vigas en flexión”. 1991. the maximum load does not actually vary . Spain.1 0. Elsevier. 1990. 1992. 1006. 4 4 [9] Ozcebe. & Planas. M.