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Conv course topic 3.

2 - WJL

3.2 Design of reinforced concrete Stress-strain curves for concrete Concrete in uniaxial tension and compression:

Fig. 3.2a

Failure in concrete under tension occurs at very low strains, approximately 1/35 of the compressive strain. Hence tensile strength of concrete corresponds to ~1/10 of its compressive stress, and is ignored in design. Steel reinforcement is put into a tension zone and it is assumed that this reinforcement carries all the tensile forces that develop there.

Conv course topic 3.2 - WJL

For the purpose of design, the actual stressstrain curve for concrete in compression is simplified; a parabolic-rectangular curve is used:

Fig. 3.2b Design stress-strain curve for concrete in compression

Ultimate design strain, cu2 =0.0035. It is a strain at which visible cracking occurs. As stated earlier, compressive strength of concrete is established from samples made in

Conv course topic 3.2 - WJL

cylinder or cube moulds and, therefore, it is referred to as, either: the cylinder or the cube strength. Fresh concrete gains strength with time; the final strength is the 28-day cube strength. Samples of concrete are taken, as the concrete is poured on site. They are sent to the laboratory for curing and then testing for compressive strength. The 7-day results should produce strength ~ 2/3 of the 28-day strength. Design compressive stress = fck/c (3.2.1) where fck is the characteristic compressive strength of concrete, and c is the partial factor of safety (f.o.s) for the material The coefficient 0.85 is not a factor of safety, but a coefficient taking into account the fact that the compression zone in concrete in bending does not extend to the whole crosssection.

Conv course topic 3.2 - WJL

Characteristic strength of normal concrete varies from 25 N/mm2 to 50+ N/mm2. Stress-strain curves for steel reinforcement Steel reinforcement is equally strong in tension and compression. The design stressstrain curve is, again, bi-linear, but it extends to both tension and compression zones.


Fig. 3.2.c Design stress-strain curve for reinforcement. Es= 200 kN/mm2

Design stress for reinforcement

f yk s


Conv course topic 3.2 - WJL

where fyk is the characteristic strength of reinforcement and s is the partial f.o.s for steel (Table 3.2.3) There is only one strength fyk for reinforcing bars: 500MPa. [Properties of steel reinforcement for use with EC2 are given in BS4449 (2005)]. Purpose of reinforcing bars: - to resist tension - to hold other bars in place - to increase compressive strength of section - to reduce cracking of concrete

Practical points:

Conv course topic 3.2 - WJL

Length of bars > 12m- too difficult to transport, or handle on site. Bars should be ductile enough for cold bending at low temperatures on site; hence use smaller diameter bars in design.

In the design of r.c. beams the calculated amount of reinforcement (in mm2) is automatically converted into the required number of bars, using the design aid shown in Table 3.2.1
Table 3.2.1 reinforcement for r.c. beams

Conv course topic 3.2 - WJL

In the design of r.c. slabs, the calculated

amount of reinforcement (in mm2) is automatically converted into the required bar diameter and spacing, as shown below.
Table 3.2.2 Reinforcement for r.c. slabs

Bars are identified on drawings using H symbol followed by bar diameter, eg., H25 means high tensile bar, 25 mm dia.

Conv course topic 3.2 - WJL

As stated earlier, uncertainties associated with material properties are dealt with using m factors. Table 3.2.3 gives the values of these factors, for different materials and types of structural action:
Table 3.2.3. ULTIMATE LIMIT STATE DESIGN - m factors Design situation
Persistent and transient Accidental

Concrete c
1.5 1.2

Steel s
1.15 1.0

Why does reinforced concrete work? coefficient of thermal expansion of steel and concrete is approximately the same strong bond between the steel + concrete, improved by shrinkage of concrete during hardening and the presence of ribs on bars

Conv course topic 3.2 - WJL

- alkaline environment protects bars from corrosion (at least should do; concrete cover to reinforcement is very important).