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Mancini 1/6


G. Mancini Department of Structural Engineering and Geotechnics - Politecnico di Torino, Turin email: Keywords: analysis, format, practice


Non linear analysis in concrete structures nowdays cannot be considered only as a research tool to improve the understanding of structural behaviour, but it is also a useful mean to design more and more enhanced structures and to estimate the actual safety level in existing structures. As a consequence it becomes necessary the definition of a proper safety format for the use of non linear analysis within the frame of semiprobabilistic approach to the structural safety, the most common method currently used in practice by the designers. This subject has been considered during the last thirthy years within the activities of CEB, in parallel to the development of non linear procedures, but at the present time a general consensus on the available procedures has not been reached, in particular if, as it is logical, model uncertainties on action and/or resistence side should be taken into account. In the following, after a retrospective revue of main issues on this subject, a proposal for non linear analysis safety format is presented, able to take into account all the model uncertainties currently defined within the most update safety codes and to fullfill the safety verifications both in scalar and vectorial combination of internal actions.


As resumed by Macchi [1] the first approach to N.L. analysis may be found in some very ancient CEB Bulletins, like n 21/30/34/52/53/97, but only in Bulletins 101 [2] [3] and 105 [4] can be found a systematic approach to safety format for N.L. analysis, as included within Model Code 1978 [5] and subsequent design examples [6].

MRk MRd Myk Myd Mcr


Fig. 1 Idealized trilinear moment-rotation relationship The main problem encountered in the proposition of safety format was the definition of a constitutive law for concrete to be used in the N.L. analysis, due to the influence of c safety factor on the elasticity modulus. In Model Code 78 was suggested to use the characteristic strength of concrete and steel for the overall analysis and to perform the local verification with the design strength values. This procedure implies the adoption, in the analysis, of an idealized tri-linear moment-rotation diagram (M, ) in wich the localized plastic rotation is introduced at two different values of resisting bending moment, M yd and M yk , respectively design and characteristic yelding moments (fig. 1). In practice, the structural section or region, in wich the steel plasticization is reached first, is described by the

G. Mancini 2/6 (M, ) design relationship, the other ones remaining with the characteristic (M, ) behaviour. That means in general a high level of redistribution of internal actions in the critical section or region up to the fully exploitation of available plastic rotation. In a second time [7] [8] this procedure was slightly modified by substitution of characteristic value with the mean value of concrete strength, without a substantial changing of safety format. However, in presence of second order effects, the mean strength value for concrete was reduced by the application of a graduated c coefficient, being c = 1,2 [5], [8] or c = 1,35 [7]. In the same time several linearization procedures have been proposed [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14], having the task to consider model uncertainties in the limitation of redistribution of internal actions and to reduce the overproportional effects induced by the c > 1 coefficient, adopted in structures sensitive to second order effects. In recent years the proposed safety format for N.L. analysis received essentially the following remarks: Conventionality in the definition of the region in wich steel plasticization is reached first, wich changes, in general, in every load case; Impossibility to apply this procedure for N.L. finite element analysis, where the combination of internal actions cannot be described by (M, ) diagrams.


A more generalized approach for safety format in N.L. analysis recently proposed [15] is based on the consideration that in hyperstatic structures, assumed that the scattering of material properties and direct/indirect actions is known and evaluable by means of their stochastic distribution functions, only the sensivity of the overall structural behaviour to the scattering of those variables remains to be investigated. If we remain within the field of semiprobabilistic approach, a new safety coefficient related to the structural strength should then be defined, wich may be interpreted as a structural strength reserve due to redundancy. This safety factor should cover the probability that , for the assigned actions distribution, the strength values all along the structure fall down to the design values. The influence of materials strength scattering on the redistribution capacity of an hyperstatic structure is pictured in fig. 2 where: represent the redistribution factor evaluated with the mean strength m = Rm S el

d = Rd S x

represent the redistribution factor evaluated with the design strength

Sel Sx Rm Rd

F Fd Fm

Fig. 2 Influence of material scattering on redistribution of internal actions Then the variation of redistribution behaviour with mean and design strength may be expressed as:

d m


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and the structural strength coefficient is:

Gl =

Fm S el R m d R = = = m Fd S x m Rd Rd


where Fm and Fd represent the maximum value reached by direct/indirect action with mean and design strength respectively, that is, in terms of safety format, in the action domain:





In practice, non linear analysis with strength mean values yield ultimate load qud , when the ultimate strains on steel or on concrete are reached in any region of the structure and the safety margin is applied to the overall structural strength instead of to the local one. In a first step it has been proposed to use two different values for Gl ; considering that f cm 1,1 f ck and f ym 1,1 f yk it results that Gl assumes the values Gl = 1,1 1,5 1,7 for structures with concrete failure and Gl = 1,1 1,15 1,3 for structures with steel failure. But it has been remarked that such an high level of Gl in case of concrete failure turns out to be a strong penalization for structures subjected to second order effects, due to the overproportional relationship between external and internal actions. As an answer to this remark, it has been proposed to modify the ( , ) relationship for concrete, considering that, according to an extensive experimental research [16], the ratio between 5% fractile of actual strength in structural members and charachteristic strength is 0,85, that is:
f c ,structure ,0 ,05 f ck = 0 ,85


then, if one accepts for concrete a reference strength of 0 ,85 f ck , the corresponding Gl coefficient assumes the value Gl = 0 ,85 1,5 1,3 . As a consequence a common value Gl = 1,3 for both material failures can be assumed for the structural strength. To this proposal three main remarks can be attributed: the so definited global safety factor applied in the actions domain is not able to distinguish the different structural behaviour in regions in wich the limit strains for materials are reached (linear, overproportional, underproportional), because it is purely applied to the maximum value of direct/indirect actions reached in the analysis, omitting the consideration of internal actions path; the proposed safety format, beeing applied in the actions domain, is not consistent with the semiprobabilistic approach, in which acting external and resisting internal actions are compared; this format is not able to take account of both model uncertainties on acting and resisting side, in spite their importance is fundamental in N.L. processes, in which only the scattering of material properties is taken into account.


To overcome the main remarks resumed in point 3, mantaining the approach of a global safety coefficient, the safety format should be transferred in the external and internal actions domain, that is:
q S G G + Q Q R u Gl


where q u is the maximum level of direct/indirect actions reached in non linear analysis, performed with materials strength 0 ,85 f ck and f ym . In such a manner one can answer to the previous remarks because: the safety format eq.(5) is consistent with the semiprobabilistic approach; the comparison between S and R automatically takes account of structural behaviour;

G. Mancini 4/6 model uncertainties both on action and resisting side may be explicitely taken into account splitting the G , Q , Gl coefficients. In agreement to this last point the inequality (5) may be modified into:

Rd S ( G G + Q Q ) R

qu gl

q or Sd Rd S g G + q Q R u gl


with Sd = 1,15 , Rd = 1,08 and gl = 1,2 . The inequalities (6) should be alternatively used as safety format for non linear analysis, according to the importance assumed by model uncertainties on the action side within the specific design. The definition of uncertainties covered by Sd and Rd partial factors may be assumed in agreement to Eurocode Basis of Structural Design [17], that is: Sd takes account of uncertainties in modelling the effects of actions and, in some cases, in modelling the actions; Rd takes account of uncertainties in the resistence model and of geometric deviations not explicitely modelled. It appears then clearly the necessity to introduce the Rd and, eventually, Sd partial factors in the safety evaluation of a non linear process.






A qu

Fig. 3 Application of safety format for scalar problems The application of safety format described in (6) requires further comments according to wether the safety verification is performed within the scalar or vectorial field. In fig. 3 the application of proposed safety format ( Sd = 1 , Rd = 1,08 ) is shown for three different internal action path in the scalar field: overproportional, linear, underproportional; the corresponding final point of procedure G, G, G defines the maximum value of action combination G G + Q Q compatible with the required

safety level. From the figure it is also clear that the effect of taking into account model uncertainties resistance side is stronger in the overproportional than in the underproportional behaviour, because the first one receives a greater benefit by steel plasticization whereas the second one is penalized by the intervent of second order effects. In case of vectorial combination of internal actions, like N, Mx, My or nx, ny, nxy, the safety format application is shown in fig. 4 and fig. 5 (considering for the sake of semplicity only N, Mx combination) respectively for the case of underproportionality and overproportionality in M.

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Msd ,Mrd Internal actions path

M (qud )
q M ud gl

A D B C b
N (q ud )

q M ud gl


q N ud gl

Nsd ,Nrd


q N ud gl

Fig. 4 Safety format application for vectorial (M,N) underproportional behaviour in M

Msd ,Mrd

Internal actions path

M (qud )
q M ud gl
b B C D
q M ud gl


q N ud gl


N (qud )
q N ud gl

Nsd ,Nrd

Fig. 5 Safety format application for vectorial (M,N) overproportional behaviour in M In both figures point A is the analysis final step and the curve a represent the safety domain N,M built with the same material strength used for the analysis. By the application of gl one shifts from point A to B along the internal action path; at this point the linearization should be performed r vectorially reducing vector O B by the ratio Rd . Now point C is reached, which distance from the safety domain is a misure of the safety level required. In general point C does not belong to the internal action path. Can be individuated, then, a point D, that has the same safety level than C, at the intersection of the curve b, omothetic domain to a passing by C, with the internal action path. The final verification requires that the point representing the design combination M G G + Q Q ;
N G G + Q Q remains along the internal action path inside the omothetic safety domain b.

Same procedure applies tridimensionally in case of combination of N, Mx, My or nx, ny, nxy. It is then clear that in case of vectorial combination of actions the safety format requires the knowledge of safety domain related to the same strength distribution used in the analysis.

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A new proposal for the safety format in non linear analysis field is suggested; the procedure is able to take into account the internal action path in the region in which failure is reached and model uncertainties both on resistence and actions side. This proposal is also consistent with the safety approach within the semiprobabilistic level, the most common method currently used in design. Nevertheless this solution is contained within the well known frame of semiprobabilistic approach to structural safety and is based on engineering judgement, a calibration with level 2 method should be performed in a near future, to evaluate the scattering in value of structures designed with such an approach and able to give rise to a very large variety of internal actions paths.

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(10) Leporati E., Levi F.; Statistical Controls of Safety in the Non Linear Field; Atti dellistituto di Scienza delle Costruzioni del Politecnico di Torino, n 252, 1975 (11) Leporati E., Levi F.; Sulla scelta delle modalit operative nelle verifiche strutturali non lineari; Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Serie VIII, vol. LVIII, fasc. 3,Marzo 1975 (12) Mancini G.; On the Procedure to be Adopted for Non LinearAnalysis of Monodimensional Elements in Reinforced Concrete; CEB Workshop on Fundamental Developments in Design Models; CEB Bulletin dInformation n 178/179, March 1987 (13) Carbone V. I., Mancini G., Napoli P.; Sulla presa in conto dell Incertezza di Modello nell Analisi Non Lineare; Industria Italiana del Cemento, n 626, Ottobre 1988 (14) Levi F.; Mancini G., Napoli P.; The problem of model uncertainty in the structural analysis of concrete structures; Atti dell Accademia delle Scienze di Torino, vol. 122, fasc. 3-4, 1988 (15) Knig G., Pommerening D., Tue N.; Safety Concept for the Application of Non linear Analysis in the design of Concrete Structures, General Considerations; CEB Bulletin n 229, August 1995 (16) Knig G., Shonkov D., Jungwirth F.; Sichere Betonproduktion fr Stahlbetontragwerke, Intermediate Report, 2 March 1997 (17) EN 1990 Final Draft July 2001 Chapters 6.3.2 and 6.3.5