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# CONCRETE COLUMNS AND FRAMES

## In view of the ability of concrete to resist compressive stress

and its weakness in tension, it would seem to be apparent
that its most logical use is for structural members whose
primary task is the resistance of compression.

## This observation ignores the use of reinforcement to a degree

but is nevertheless not without some note. And indeed,
major use is made of concrete for columns, piers, pedestals,
posts, and bearing walls—all basically compression members
CONCRETE COLUMNS AND FRAMES
15.1 EFFECTS OF COMPRESSION FORCE

## When concrete is subjected to a direct compressive force, the most obvious

stress response in the material is one of compressive stress, as shown in
Figure 15.1a.

## This response may be the essential one of concern, as it would be in a wall

composed of flat, precast concrete bricks, stacked on top of each other.

Direct compressive stress in the individual bricks and in the mortar joints
between bricks would be a primary situation for investigation.

## However, if the concrete member being compressed has some dimension in

the direction of the compressive force—as in the case of a column or pier—
there are other internal stress conditions that may well be the source of
structural failure under the compressive force.
CONCRETE COLUMNS AND FRAMES
CONCRETE COLUMNS AND FRAMES
Reinforcement for Columns
Column reinforcement takes various forms and serves
various purposes, the essential consideration being to
enhance the structural performance of the column.

## Considering the three basic forms of column stress failure

shown in Figure 15.1, it is possible to visualize basic forms of
reinforcement for each condition. This is done in the
illustrations in
Figures 15.2a –c.
CONCRETE COLUMNS AND FRAMES

## To assist the basic compression function steel bars are added

with their linear orientation in the direction of the
compression force.

## This is the fundamental purpose of the vertical reinforcing

bars in a column.

## While the steel bars displace some concrete, their superior

strength and stiffness make them a significant improvement.
CONCRETE COLUMNS AND FRAMES

## To assist in resistance to lateral bursting (Figure 15.2b), a

critical function is to hold the concrete from moving out
laterally, which may be achieved by so-called containment of
the concrete mass, similar to the action of a piston chamber
containing air or hydraulic fluid.

## If compression resistance can be obtained from air that is

contained, surely it can be more significantly obtained from
contained concrete.
CONCRETE COLUMNS AND FRAMES

## This is a basic reason for the traditional extra strength of the

spiral column and one reason for now favoring very closely
spaced ties in tied columns.

## In retrofitting columns for improved seismic resistance a

technique sometimes used is to actually provide a confining,
exterior jacket of steel or fiber strand, essentially functioning
as illustrated in
Figure 15.2b.
CONCRETE COLUMNS AND FRAMES
GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR CONCRETE COLUMNS
Types of Columns

## Concrete columns occur most often as the vertical support

elements in a structure generally built of cast-in-place
concrete (commonly called sitecast ).

## This is the situation discussed in this chapter. Very short

columns, called pedestals, are sometimes used in the
support system for columns or other structures.

## The ordinary pedestal is discussed as a foundation

transitional device in Chapter 16. Walls that serve as
vertical compression supports are called bearing walls.
GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR CONCRETE COLUMNS

## The sitecast concrete column usually falls into one of the

following categories:

## 1. Square columns with tied reinforcement

2. Oblong columns with tied reinforcement
3. Round columns with tied reinforcement
4. Round columns with spiral-bound reinforcement
5. Square columns with spiral-bound reinforcement
6. Columns of other geometries (L shaped, T shaped, octagonal,
etc.) with either tied or spiral-bound reinforcement
GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR CONCRETE COLUMNS
General Requirements for Columns

## Code provisions and practical construction considerations

place a number of restrictions on column dimensions and
choice of reinforcement.

Column Size. The current code does not contain limits for
column dimensions. For practical reasons, the following
limits are recommended. Rectangular tied columns should
be limited to a minimum area of 100 in.2 and a minimum
side dimension of 10 in. if square and 8 in. if oblong. Spiral
columns should be limited to a minimum size of 12 in. if
either round or square.
Reinforcement.

## Minimum bar size is No. 5. The minimum number of bars is

four for tied columns, five for spiral columns. The minimum
amount of area of steel is 1% of the gross column area. A
maximum area of steel of 8% of the gross area is
permitted, but bar spacing limitations makes this difficult
to achieve; 4% is a more practical limit. The ACI Code
stipulates that for a compression member with a larger
reduced effective area not less than one-half the total area
may be used to determine minimum reinforcement and
design strength.
Ties.

## Ties should be at least No. 3 for bars No. 10 and smaller.

No. 4 ties should be used for bars that are No. 11 and
larger. Vertical spacing of ties should be not more than
16 times the vertical bar diameter, 48 times the tie
diameter, or the least dimension of the column. Ties
should be arranged so that every corner and alternate
longitudinal bar is held by the corner of a tie with an
included angle of not greater than 135◦, and no bar
should be farther than 6 in. clear from such a supported
bar. Complete circularties may be used for bars placed in
a circular pattern.
Concrete Cover.

## A minimum of 1.5 in. cover is needed when the column

surface is not exposed to weather and is not in contact with
the ground. Cover of 2 in. should be used for formed surfaces
exposed to the weather or in contact with ground. Cover of 3
in. should be used if the concrete is cast directly against earth
without constructed forming, such as occurs on the bottoms
of footings.

Spacing of Bars.

Clear distance between bars should not be less than 1.5 times
the bar diameter, 1.33 times the maximum specified size for
the coarse aggregate, or 1.5 in.