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Structural Design 1

(Reinforced Concrete)
Chapter 6:
(Deflection and Crack Control)

The structural design profession to date is mainly concerned with a limit

states philosophy. The term limit state is used to describe a condition at
which a structure or some part of a structure ceases to perform its intended
function. Basically, there are two categories of limit states, strength and

 Strength limit states are based on the safety or load-carrying capacity of

structures and include buckling, fracture, fatigue, overturning, and so on.
 Serviceability limit states refer to the performance of structures under
normal service loads and are concerned with the uses and/or occupancy of
structures, including such items as deflections, cracking, and vibrations.
These items may disrupt the use of structures but do not involve collapse.

Vertical vibration for bridge and building floors, as well as lateral and
torsional vibration in tall buildings, can be quite annoying to users of these
structures. Vibrations, however, are not usually a problem in the average size
reinforced concrete building, but we should be on the lookout for the situations
where they can be objectionable.

This chapter is concerned with serviceability limits for deflections and crack
widths. The NSCP concentrates on very specific requirements relating to the
strength limit states of reinforced concrete members but allows the designer
freedom of judgment in the serviceability areas.
Importance of Deflection
Importance of Deflection

The adoption of the strength design method and with the use of higher-
strength concretes and steels has permitted the use of slender members. As a
result, deflections and cracking has become a problem.

The following contribute to the magnitude of deflections for reinforced

concrete members
 Sagging of floors
 Ponding of water
 Excessive vibration
 Interference in the operation of machinery
These deflections may damage partitions and cause poor fittings of doors
and windows. Furthermore, they may be unappealing to the occupants even
though they are safe from the structural design viewpoint.
Control of Deflection
Control of Deflection

Deflections of reinforced concrete members are usually controlled by any of

the following:

 Limiting the member thickness in some proportion to their span length.

 Providing the permissible computed deflection for any given situation.

Control of Deflection
Minimum Thickness
NSCP 407.3.1.1 and 409.3.1.1
provides a set of minimum
thicknesses for beams and one-way
slabs, unless actual deflection
calculations shows a lesser
thickness that is permitted. These
minimum thicknesses should be
used only for beams and slabs that
are not supporting or attached to
partitions or other members likely to
be damaged by deflections.
Control of Deflection
Minimum Thickness

NSCP 407. and 409. For fy other than 420 MPa, the expressions
in Table 407.3.1.1 and 409.3.1.1 shall be multiplied by (0.4 + fy/700).

NSCP 407. and 409. For non-prestressed slabs/beams made

of lightweight concrete having wc in the range of 1440 to 1840 kg/m3, the
expressions in Table 407.3.1.1 and 409.3.1.1 shall be multiplied by the greater
a. 1.65 - 0.0003wc

b. 1.09
Control of Deflection
Minimum Thickness

NSCP 407. and 409. For non-prestressed composite

slabs/beams made of a combination of lightweight and normal weight
concrete that are shored during construction, where the lightweight
concrete is in compression, the modifier of Section 407. or
409. shall apply.
Control of Deflection

Maximum Deflections

If it is not chosen to meet the minimum thicknesses shown in NSCP Tables

407.3.1.1 and 409.3.1.1 , then deflections must be computed. Deflections that
occur immediately on application of load shall be computed by usual methods
or formulas for elastic deflections, considering the effects of cracking and
reinforcement on member stiffness. The computed deflection may not exceed
the values specified in NSCP Table 424.2.2.
Control of Deflection
Control of Deflection

The deflection of reinforced concrete members may also be controlled by
cambering. The members are constructed of such a shape that they will
assume their theoretical shape under some service loading condition. A simple
beam would be constructed with a slight convex bend, so that under certain
gravity loads, it would become straight, as assumed in the calculations. Some
designers take into account both dead and full live loads in figuring the
amount of camber. Camber is generally used only for longer-span members.
Calculation of Deflection
Calculation of Deflection
Deflections for reinforced concrete
members can be calculated with the usual
deflection expressions.
Calculation of Deflection

Effective Moment of Inertia

Regardless of the method used for calculating deflections, the question lies
in the determination of the moment of inertia to be used. It is uncertain
whether the amount of cracking involved is negligible or not.

 If the flexural stress is less than the modulus of rupture, the full uncracked
section provides rigidity; the moment of inertia of the gross section Ig can be

 If larger moments are present, different size tension cracks occur. The
position of the neutral axis then varies. A more exact moment of inertia
value needs to be used.
Calculation of
Effective Moment of Inertia

The figure illustrates the problem

involved in selecting the moment of
inertia to be used for deflection
calculations. Although a reinforced
concrete beam may be of constant size (or
prismatic) throughout its length, for
deflection calculations, it will behave as
though it were composed of segments of
different-size beams.
Calculation of
Effective Moment of Inertia
For the portion of a beam where the
moment is less than the cracking moment,
Mcr, the beam can be assumed to be
uncracked, and the moment of inertia can
be assumed to equal Ig.

When the moment is greater than Mcr,

the tensile cracks that develop in the beam
will cause the beam cross section to be
reduced, and the moment of inertia may be
assumed to equal the transformed value, Icr.
It is as though the beam consists of the
segments shown in figure (d).
Calculation of
Effective Moment of Inertia

It is true that at cross sections where

tension cracks are actually located, the
moment of inertia is probably close to the
transformed Icr, but in between cracks, it is
perhaps closer to Ig. Furthermore, diagonal
tension cracks may exist in areas of high
shear, causing other variations. As a result,
it is difficult to decide what value of I
should be used.
Calculation of Deflection

Effective Moment of Inertia

NSCP Section 424.2.3.5 gives an effective moment of inertia, Ie that will be
used for deflection calculations. This is an average value and can be used at
any point of the beam, regardless of the cracks present.

Ig = gross amount of inertia (without considering the steel) of the section
𝐟𝐫 𝐈𝐠
Mcr = cracking moment =
Ma = maximum service-load moment occurring for the condition under
Calculation of Deflection

Effective Moment of Inertia

Icr = transformed moment of inertia of the cracked section, mm4 (using
Transformed Area Method for cracked section).
fr = modulus of rupture, MPa (NSCP 419.2.3.1).
for normal weight concrete, 𝐟𝐫 = 𝟎. 𝟔𝟐𝛌 𝐟′𝐜
yt = distance from the neutral axis of the gross section (neglecting steel) to
the extreme tension fiber.
Ec = modulus of elasticity considering normal weight concrete, MPa (NSCP
𝐄𝐜 = 𝟒, 𝟕𝟎𝟎 𝐟′𝐜
Calculation of Deflection

Effective Moment of Inertia

When lightweight concrete is used one of the following modifications shall
 When the splitting tensile strength, fct is known and concrete is proportioned
in accordance with NSCP Section 426.4.3., fr shall be modified by substituting
1.80fct for f′c but the value of 1.80fct shall not exceed f′c .

 When the splitting tensile strength, fct is not specified, fr shall be multiplied
by 0.75 for “all-lightweight concrete”, and 0.85 for “sand-lightweight
concrete”. Linear interpolation shall be permitted to be used when partial
sand requirement is used.
Long-Term Deflection
Long-Term Deflection

Long-term or sustained loads cause large increases in deflections. The

factors that tend to increase deflections include:

 Early application of loading

 Shrinkage and creep
 Humidity
 Temperature
 Curing conditions
 Compression steel content
 Ratio of stress to strength
 Age of concrete
Long-Term Deflection

Due to the several factors affecting increase in deflection, long-term

deflection can only be estimated. The NSCP Section 424. states that to
estimate the increase in deflection due to the mentioned factors, the part of the
instantaneous deflection that is due to the sustained loads may be multiplied by the
factor, λ and the result added to the instantaneous deflection.

The initial deflection due to the sustained load is calculated as

𝐷𝐿 + %𝑠𝑢𝑠 𝐿𝐿
∆𝑖 = ∗∆
Long-term deflection:
∆𝒍𝒕 = ∆ + 𝝀∆𝒊
Long-Term Deflection

ρ’ = value at midspan for simple and continuous spans, and at the support
for cantilevers.
ρ’ = As’/bd, computed at midspan for simple and continuous spans, and at
the support for cantilevers, mm2
ξ = time-dependent factor as determined in NSCP Section 424.
Δ = instantaneous deflection, mm.
Δi = initial deflection, mm.
Δlt = long-term deflection, mm.
%sus = percentage of sustained load.
Long-Term Deflection

The deflections calculated should not exceed the limits depicted in NSCP Table
(Long-Term Deflection)
Examples – Long-Term Deflections

1. A rectangular beam has a width of 300 mm and an effective depth of

425 mm with a 75 mm steel covering. It is reinforced with 3-28mm f
rebars. The beam has a simple span of 6m and carries a service dead
load including its own weight of 14 kN/m and service live load of 10 kN/m.
f‘c = 20.7 MPa and modular ratio is 10.

a. Compute the effective moment of inertia;

b. Compute the instantaneous deflection for dead load + live load;
c. Compute the deflection for the same loads after one year assuming
that 30% of the live load is sustained.
Examples – Long-Term Deflections

2. A cantilever beam having a span of 5m

carries a uniform dead load of 15 kN/m
including its own weight and a concentrated
live load of 60 kN at its free end. The beam has 100
the given cross-section shown in the figure.
f‘c = 20.7 MPa, fr = 2.832 MPa, Ec = 21650 MPa
Es = 200 GPa, fy = 344.80 MPa, n = 9

a. Compute the effective moment of inertia; 500

b. Compute the instantaneous deflection;
c. Compute the long term deflection after 5
years if 20% of the live loads are sustained.
Types of Cracks
Types of Cracks

a. Flexural cracks are vertical cracks that extend from the tension sides of
beams up to the region of their neutral axes. Should beams have very deep
webs, the cracks will be very closely spaced, with some of them coming
together above the reinforcing and some disappearing there. These cracks
may be wider up in the middle of the beam than at the bottom.

b. Inclined cracks due to shear can develop in the webs of reinforced concrete
beams either as independent cracks or as extensions of flexural cracks.
Occasionally, inclined cracks will develop independently in a beam, even
though no flexural cracks are in that locality. These cracks are called web-
shear cracks.
Types of Cracks

c. The usual type of inclined shear cracks are the flexure-shear cracks. They
commonly develop in both prestressed and nonprestressed beams.

d. Torsion cracks are quite similar to shear cracks except that they spiral
around the beam. Should a plain concrete member be subjected to pure
torsion, it will crack and fail along 45° spiral lines due to the diagonal
tension corresponding to the torsional stresses. Although torsion stresses
are very similar to shear stresses, they will occur on all faces of a member.
As a result, they add to the shear stresses on one side and subtract from
them on the other.
Types of Cracks

e. Bond cracks are due to bond stresses between the concrete and the
reinforcement which will lead to a splitting along the bars

f. Cracks can also occur in concrete members due to shrinkage, temperature

change, settlements, and so on.
Control of Cracks
Control of Cracks

Cracks occur in reinforced concrete structures due to low tensile strength.

For members with low tensile stresses, cracks may be very small and might
not be visible except upon scrutiny. These are called hairline cracks or micro

When steel stresses are high at service conditions, cracks are visible. These
cracks should be limited to certain maximum sizes so that the appearance of
the structure is not spoiled and so as corrosion of the reinforcing bars does
not occur.
Control of Cracks

Definite data are not available as to the sizes of cracks above which bar
corrosion becomes apparent. Tests reveal that the following affect crack sizes:

 Type of structure
 Reinforcement size
 Concrete quality
 Cover thickness
 Amount of concrete vibration
 Shrinkage and creep
 Exposure and environment factors
 Other time-dependent factors
Control of Cracks

Results of laboratory tests of reinforced concrete beams to determine crack

sizes vary. Nevertheless, the ACI Committee 224 (1972), in a report on cracking
presented a set of approximately permissible maximum crack widths for
reinforced concrete members subject to different exposure situations.
Control of Cracks
Although cracks cannot be avoided,
they can be limited to acceptable sizes by
spreading out or distributing the
reinforcement. This means that smaller
cracks will result if several small bars are
used with moderate spacing rather than a
few large bars with wide spacing.

For crack control, the spacing of the

reinforcement must not exceed that
specified in NSCP 424.3.2. This section
prescribes the rules for the distribution of
flexural reinforcement in beams and one-
way slabs.
Control of Cracks

- cc = least distance from surface of
reinforcement or prestressing steel to the
tension face.
- fs = 2/3 of fy
(Control of Cracks)
Examples – Control of Cracks

1. Is the spacing of the bars shown in the figure within the requirements
of the NSCP 424.3.2 from the standpoint of cracking, if fy = 420 MPa?

Any questions?