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The Assessment and Design of Adhesive Anchors in Concrete for Sustained Loading

R. Eligehausen
1
, J. Silva
2

7-Jan-08

1.0 Foreword
On July 10, 2007 the National Transportation Board (NTSB) issued its final report on the
partial collapse of the ceiling system in the I-90 Seaport Portal Tunnel on July 10, 2006.
The collapse of the concrete ceiling panels resulted in one fatality and significant traffic
disruption in the Boston Central Artery/Ted Williams Tunnel system over an extended
period. The cause of the collapse was identified as creep failure of adhesive anchors
installed overhead and subjected to sustained tension loading. The NTSB report
3

specified the following safety issues relative to the ongoing use of adhesive anchors in
construction:
Insufficient understanding on the part of designers and builders regarding the
nature of adhesive anchoring systems; and
Lack of standards for the testing of adhesive anchors in sustained tensile load
applications.
The veracity of these statements notwithstanding (standards for the creep testing of
adhesive anchors have existed since 1993), the NTSB report has generated legitimate
concerns in the design and constructions communities regarding the qualification, design
and use of adhesive anchors for safety-related applications in construction. The report
also makes the following recommendation to the Federal Highway Administration:
Prohibit the use of adhesive anchors in sustained tensile-load overhead
highway applications where failure of the adhesive would result in a risk
to the public until testing standards and protocols have been developed
and implemented that ensure the safety of these applications.
4,5
What follows is an overview of the assessment and design of adhesive anchors in the U.S.
The following points are emphasized:
a. Testing of adhesive anchors under sustained loading conditions has been ongoing
for over a quarter of a century.

1
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Rolf Eligehausen, Institut fr Werkstoffe im Bauwesen, University of Stuttgart.
2
John Silva, S.E., Director of Codes & Standards, Hilti North America.
3
National Transportation Safety Board, Accident Report No. NTSB/HAR_07/02 Ceiling Collapse in the
Interstate 90 Connector Tunnel, Boston, Massachusetts, July 10, 2006, Executive Summary July 10, 2007,
p. ix.
4
Ibid., p. 109.
5
This recommendation has as of this writing been adopted by the FHWA and by at least one state highway
agency. The use of adhesive anchors for sustained tensile-load overheadapplications in highway
construction is likely limited in any case. Historically, typical applications include the anchorage of
guardrails, lighting standards and post-installed reinforcing bars.
Page 1



b. Standards for the assessment of adhesive anchors to address this condition have
been in place for over a decade.
c. The use of adhesive anchors overhead to resist tension loads in safety-related
applications is admissible provided that the system has been properly qualified,
designed and installed.
The findings of the aforementioned NTSB report with regard to cause of failure or
responsibility are not discussed, and the information presented herein should not be
construed as an opinion on the part of the authors or Hilti with respect to the NTSB
investigation and subsequent proceedings.
2.0 Background
Adhesive anchors are widely used around the world to address a variety of structural and
non-structural fastening problems in both new construction and structural renovation of
concrete structures. [As used here, the term adhesive anchor refers to anchorages
comprised of a steel anchor element, usually threaded rod or reinforcing bar, installed in a
drilled hole and bonded to the surrounding concrete with a polymer-based adhesive
filling an annular gap of no more than 1-1/2 times the anchor element diameter.
6

Anchorages based on larger annular gaps are typically referred to as grouted anchors and
are generally executed with cementitious grouts. These are not addressed further here.]
The widespread use of adhesive anchors can be attributed to several factors:
Thixotropic adhesives (gels) are generally suitable for all orientations of
installation, provided that issues of void-free installation and creep under sustained
load have been adequately addressed. Cementitious-based grouts are usually
suitable for down-hole applications only.
Adhesive anchors provide the designer with a wide range of possible embedment
depths to accommodate the specific geometry and material parameters of the
anchorage. Most mechanical anchor systems provide only limited options for
varying the embedment depth.
Adhesive anchors accommodate a wide variety of anchor element types (threaded
rod of any grade, reinforcing bar, internally threaded inserts)
Adhesive anchors do not generate the large expansion forces upon installation that
are associated with most mechanical anchor systems. This makes them more
suitable for near-edge applications where splitting of the concrete is a concern.
Similarly, the use of adhesive anchor systems for the installation of reinforcing in
hardened concrete, usually for the purpose of shear transfer between new and existing
concrete elements, but sometimes also for flexural and direct tension applications, is
common practice. Again, the utility, flexibility and reliability of injectable adhesive
anchoring systems makes them preferable to other solutions (drypack, poured grout) for
these applications.

6
The limit of 1-1/2 times the anchor element diameter is based on current practice. Many adhesive anchor
systems specify thin bond lines (on the order of 1/16-inch or 1.5 mm) in order to limit shrinkage and
maximize the value proposition for the system.
Page 2



The use of adhesive anchor systems in construction is predicated on several points:
The availability of systems that provide for consistent mixing of the adhesive
components in the correct proportion and the efficient delivery of the mixed
adhesive into the drilled hole.
Relative insensitivity of the adhesive anchor system to minor variations in the
installation procedure.
Predictable response of the installed adhesive anchor to loading at service and
ultimate load levels.
Stable behavior of the cured adhesive over time frames consistent with the lifespan
of the built environment and under conditions as might be anticipated to occur over
the life of the anchorage (temperature variations, etc.)
The verification of these critical characteristics is the domain of the assessment procedure
used to provide the building official or other authority having jurisdiction with the
requisite assurance of code compliance as well as the information required for design.
Prior to the mid-1990s, assessment of adhesive anchor systems was performed on an ad
hoc basis by the International Conference of Building Officials Evaluation Service
(ICBO-ES) and other evaluation agencies in the U.S. and Canada. The development of
standardized test procedures specifically for adhesive anchor systems was first
incorporated in ASTM 1512-93, and a complete set of testing requirements and
assessment criteria on the basis of that standard was issued by ICBO-ES as AC58,
Acceptance Criteria for Adhesive Anchors in Concrete and Masonry Elements in 1995.
This document has since been revised to address adhesive anchors in masonry only, and
as of January 1, 2007 the assessment of adhesive anchors in concrete is covered
exclusively (in the context of IBC/IRC jurisdictions) by AC308, Acceptance Criteria for
Post-Installed Adhesive Anchors in Concrete Elements.
7
These two criteria, AC58 and
AC308, are briefly compared and contrasted with respect to their treatment of both
service load and suitability assessment procedures in the following.

7
AC308 is based substantially on Part 5 Bonded Anchors, of the European Technical Approval Guideline
(ETAG) 001. As of October of 2007, 73 adhesive anchor systems had been assessed and 140 European
Technical Approvals issued under this guideline.
Page 3



3.0 Assessment of adhesive anchors for service conditions
3.1 Service condition testing under AC58
Under AC58, assessment for service loads was conducted using an allowable stress
design (ASD) format, whereby a global safety factor (see Fig. 1) was applied to the mean
of five replicates to develop allowable loads for comparison with unfactored load
combinations. Group and near-edge effects were assessed on the basis of replicate tests
with groups and near-edge anchors at specific anchor spacings and edge distances, and
these results were then extended to other cases, usually by linear interpolation. Typically,
testing of all diameters was required to establish allowable loads for single anchors
whereas values for edge distances and spacings less than the value required for full
capacity were based on testing of small, intermediate and large diameters. Where
multiple embedment depths were associated with a single diameter, tests were required at
each embedment depth for which recognition was desired. Testing was typically
conducted in three concrete strengths.
Fig. 1 Global factors of safety for various codes and test conditions as reproduced from
AC58
8
3.2 Service condition testing under AC308
AC308 was developed for use in conjunction with the limit state (LRFD) design format
established in ACI 318 Appendix D. It is based largely on procedures developed by the
European Organization for Technical Approvals for the assessment of adhesive anchors.
9

Assessment for service conditions in AC308 primarily consists of testing to establish the
characteristic bond strength associated with the adhesive anchor system.
10
In this context,

8
ICC-ES, AC58 Acceptance Criteria for Adhesive Anchors in Concrete and Masonry Elements, as
approved June 2005, p. 11.
9
See European Organization for Technical Approvals (EOTA), European Technical Approval Guideline
001, Part 5, Bonded Anchors, Brussels, March 2002.
10
AC308, in accordance with ACI 318 Appendix D, makes a general distinction between anchors to be
used in concrete that may develop cracks in the anchor vicinity over the service life of the anchor (cracked
Page 4



the term adhesive anchor system is understood to comprise the adhesive, injection system,
installation procedures and anchor element. The bond strength
k
is suitable for use in a
uniform bond stress equation (see Fig. 2) to predict the anchor resistance as governed by
bond failure
11
for comparison with the calculated strength associated with the other
applicable failure modes. The assessment is potentially valid for embedment depths
ranging from 4 to 20 anchor diameters. This represents a significant departure from past
anchor testing criteria.
4.0 Assessment of adhesive anchors for suitability
4.1 Suitability testing under AC58
In addition to service load testing, AC58 contained suitability tests for in-service
temperature (required), response to sustained tension loading (optional), dampness
(optional), freezing and thawing (optional) and seismic (optional) with a table linking the
successful performance of the creep and seismic tests to the global safety factor (see Fig.
1) and permissible load cases (seismic, sustained loads).
13
For example, a product that
either was not tested for creep or did not satisfy the acceptance criteria for creep testing in
AC58 would be limited to applications involving wind or earthquake loading only (no
dead or live loads), and would carry a safety factor of 5.33 instead of 4. In particular, the
test procedures for response to sustained tension loads (creep testing) have come under
close scrutiny recently, and this is discussed in further detail below.

h
D.5.3.9 The basic strength of a single adhesive anchor in tension in cracked concrete shall not
exceed
, a0 k cr ef
N d =
where
, k cr
= characteristic bond stress in cracked concrete;
d = anchor diameter
ef
h = anchor embedment
Fig. 2 Bond stress equation for cracked concrete as expressed in AC308
12
concrete applications) and those that will not (uncracked concrete applications) and contains test
procedures for both cases. AC58 was originally formulated for testing in uncracked concrete only, and as
such was only suitable to qualify anchors for the uncracked concrete applications. This was clearly stated in
evaluation reports issued by ICC-ES on the basis of AC58 testing for use with IBC/IRC codes.
11
The value of N
a0
corresponds to the resistance of a single anchor far from edges or adjacent loaded
anchors. See Eligehausen, R., Cook, R., and Appl, J., Behavior and Design of Adhesive Bonded
Anchors, ACI Structural Journal Vol. 103, No. 6, December 2006, pp. 822-831 for additional information.
12
ICC-ES, AC308 Acceptance Criteria for Post-installed Adhesive Anchors in Concrete Elements, as
approved February 2007, p. 19. A similar expression addresses uncracked concrete applications.
13
Fire tests were permitted as an option in AC58; however, guidance was lacking with respect to how the
resulting design values should be applied in an ASD design environment.
Page 5



4.2 Suitability testing under AC308
AC308 likewise requires suitability testing. In addition to tests for the conditions covered
in AC58, AC308 specifies tests for sensitivity to reduced cleaning effort in dry, wet and
underwater conditions, sensitivity to installation direction and sensitivity to mixing effort.
In contrast to the requirements of AC58, tests for sensitivity to sustained tension load are
not optional in AC308.
5.0 Assessment for response to sustained tension loading
5.1 Assessment for sustained loading under AC58
Testing for response to sustained tension loads in AC58 (designated as creep testing)
consists of subjecting 1/2-inch diameter anchors installed to an embedment of 4-1/2
inches in concrete blocks at a constant elevated temperature of 110 F (43.3 C) to 40%
of the mean ultimate tension strength in tension as measured in tests at room temperature
(see Fig. 3).
14
The load is maintained over a period of at least 42 days (1,008 hours) with
the displacement measured at roughly 24-hour intervals. The resulting displacement
measurements are then extrapolated to 600 days using a logarithmic function of the form
y = c ln(x) + b and the mean displacement at 600 days is compared with the mean
displacement at peak load as measured on anchors tested in tension to failure at 110 F
(43.3 C) . Criterion for acceptance (passing) is that the mean extrapolated displacement
should not exceed the mean displacement corresponding to peak load in short-term tests
at elevated temperature or 0.12 inches (3 mm), whichever is less. No requirements are set
on the residual strength of the anchor on the assumption that any anchor fulfilling the
displacement criteria will not exhibit appreciable strength loss.

14
AC58 permits the use of either unrestrained tests (in accordance with E 488) or restrained tests (in
accordance with E 1512 Section 7.1.2) for the establishment of the mean ultimate tension strength; however,
where unrestrained tests are used to establish the sustained load (40% of the mean ultimate strength), the
sustained load test is to be performed with wide support spacing as well. The following observations are
relevant: 1) Since the ultimate strength associated with a restrained test, wherein the support spacing is
purposely restricted in order to preclude concrete breakout, is generally elevated (from 10-35% in
uncracked concrete, depending on the bond characteristics of the adhesive) over that associated with
unrestrained testing, the restrained testing option likely represents a more severe standard. It is not known
how many product assessments under AC58 are based on sustained loads determined from restrained vs.
unrestrained testing, however, in the authors experience many creep tests were performed using a semi-
restrained test setup (see Fig. 3a) 2) There is a question regarding the impact of close support spacing (see
Fig. 3b) on the displacements recorded in a sustained test; it is not known to what degree the reduction in
displacements associated with restrained creep testing offset the increased sustained load associated with
restrained reference tests.
Page 6


spring dashpot
LVDT ea. side
temperature-
controlled
chamber
1.5 d
o
d
o
spring dashpot
LVDT ea. side
temperature-
controlled
chamber
1.5 d
o
d
o

spring dashpot
LVDT ea. side
temperature-
controlled
chamber
spring dashpot
LVDT ea. side
temperature-
controlled
chamber

a) Semi-restrained test configuration b) Restrained test configuration
Fig. 3 Typical test setups for sustained loading

Duration of
load t [hours]
D
i
s
p
l
a
c
e
m
e
n
t

[
m
m
]
2000
600
days
1000 4000
1000 Duration of load t
[hours]
2
1
2
D
i
s
p
l
a
c
e
m
e
n
t

[
m
m
]
Detail A
Detail A
data points used for extrapolation
log function extrapolation

600
Duration of
load t [hours]
D
i
s
p
l
a
c
e
m
e
n
t

[
m
m
]
2000
600
days
1000 4000
1000 Duration of load t
[hours]
2
1
2
D
i
s
p
l
a
c
e
m
e
n
t

[
m
m
]
Detail A
Detail A
data points used for extrapolation
log function extrapolation

600
Fig. 4 Extrapolation of sustained load displacements per AC58
Page 7


5.2 Assessment for sustained loading under AC308
The fundamental premise used for evaluating the long-term performance of adhesive
anchors under AC308 is the same as that used in AC58; namely, that relatively short-term
test results may be extrapolated to predict long-term behavior. However, the parameters
specified in AC308 for the load level, the extrapolation range, displacement limits, and
requirements on residual capacity vary from AC58. While the requirements on the
minimum duration of the test (42 days) and on the number of data points used for the
extrapolation (minimum last twenty) are the same in both criteria, AC308 uses an
extrapolation equation commonly referred to variously as the Findley Power Law or
Findley Creep Law. Originally developed for plastics, it has the general form
where
0 n
t
+
= +
0
,
+
, and are functions of material (plastic). This equation has
been found to provide very satisfactory predictions for plastic laminates, polyethylene
and polyvinylchloride over long time (10+ years) spans.
n
15
It yields superior predictions to
those provided by linear viscoelastic models involving combinations of dashpots and
springs. According to Findley, et al.
This is due in part to the fact that creep of plastics,
concrete and some metals under moderate stresses starts
out at a very rapid rate immediately after loading and
progresses at a continuously decreasing rate.
Furthermore, AC308 requires that sustained load tests be conducted at two concrete
temperatures: standard temperature (essentially room temperature) and the maximum
long-term elevated concrete temperature
16
established for the adhesive anchor system.
The displacements obtained
by extrapolating the data from
these two sets of tests to 50
years (standard temperature)
and 10 years (maximum long-
term elevated temperature) are
not compared with values
corresponding to peak load in
static short-term tests as in
AC58, but rather with the
mean displacement associated
with loss of adhesion in
tension tests conducted at the
respective temperatures (see
Fig. 5).
Displacement
Tension load N
Load at loss of
adhesion N
adh
N

Peak load N
ult

adh

ult
Displacement
Tension load N
Load at loss of
adhesion N
adh
NN

Peak load N
ult

adh

ult

Fig. 5 Establishment of displacement corresponding
to loss of adhesion
The use of the displacement at
loss of adhesion as a marker

15
Findley, W., Lai, J., and Onaran, K., Creep and Relaxation of Nonlinear Viscoelastic Materials, Dover,
N.Y., N.Y., 1976, p. 14.
16
The long-term elevated concrete temperature is assumed to be roughly constant over significant periods
relative to the life of the anchorage. AC308 also defines short-term elevated concrete temperatures as those
that occur over brief intervals, e.g., as a result of diurnal cycling.
Page 8


for creep behavior is well established.
17
The sustained load level used in AC308 is 55% of the mean ultimate load established
from short-term tension tests to failure at standard and maximum long-term temperature,
respectively.
Comparing the sustained load used in AC58 (assuming unrestrained tests
18
) to that
specified in AC308 as a function of the design load:
AC58: = =
sust u
design u
N 0.4N
1.6
N 0.25N
(1)
AC308: =



sust u
design u
N 0.55N
1.6
N 0.65 0.75N
1.4


(2)
whereby in the second instance the ratio of characteristic strength to mean ultimate
strength is assumed to be 0.75, the strength reduction factor is conservatively taken as
0.65 (Category 1 anchor) and the load factor for sustained load is taken as 1.4.
A summary comparison of the creep test parameters defined in AC58 and AC308 is
provided in Table 1.

17
Eligehausen, R., Mallee, R., and Silva, J., Anchorage in Concrete Construction, Ernst & Sohn, Berlin,
2006, p. 201.
18
It should be noted that an additional margin of safety, anywhere from 10 to 25%, would be present if
restrained reference tests were used to establish the sustained load (see Footnote 14).
Page 9



Table 1 Summary comparison of creep test parameters in AC58 and AC308
Test condition AC58 AC308
Static tension
load

u,std temp
0.40 N
u
0.55 N *
Temperature(s)
during creep
test
110F (43.3C) standard (room) temp.
max. long-term elevated temp.
Duration of test min. 42 days min. 42 days
Extrapolation
period
600 days (elevated temp.) 50 years (room temp.)
10 years (elevated temp.)
Extrapolation
method
Logarithmic
( ) = + + ( t ) a ln t b
0

Findley Power Law
( ) = +
b
( t ) a t
0

Residual
capacity
No test required Test anchors in tension to
failure following application of
sustained load
Acceptance
criteria
( )


u,elevated temp
( 600days ) min
0.12in. 3mm



lim,roomtemp
lim,elevated temp
( 50 yrs )
( 10 yrs )
**
Residual load:
req
=0.90
* The mean ultimate loads associated with standard temperature and elevated temperature conditions are
used for the sustained load tests at room temperature and elevated temperature, respectively.
**The calculated estimated displacement service for any one test may not exceed 1.2lim

6.0 Validity of current methods for predicting creep behavior

The methodology used for determining the response to sustained tension load in both
AC58 and AC308 fundamentally assumes that relatively short-term testing (typically in
the range of 1,000 hours) can be extrapolated to long-term behavior. This is an admissible
assumption assuming that the adhesive behaves like a visco-elastic material and it has
been applied to other cases where adhesives are used in thin bond lines (e.g. externally-
applied carbon fiber reinforcing
19
). It further assumes that the behavior of the tested

19
Triantafillou, T., Fardis, M., Strengthening of historic masonry structures with composite materials,
Materials and Structures, Vol. 30, No. 8, Springer Netherlands, November 2006, pp. 486-496.
Page 10


anchor diameter and embedment is representative of the entire anchor diameter and
embedment range, and that all other factors investigated in the assessment of the anchor
system for short-term strength, such as incomplete hole cleaning, affect the long-term
behavior to the same degree. These assumptions are less well supported by systematic
investigation. There is no evidence to indicate that they are incorrect, however.
Current experience with long-term testing of adhesive anchors is extensive owing to the
number of manufacturers engaged in the development and marketing of adhesive anchor
systems over the past 30 years.
20
It may be observed from Fig. 6, Fig. 7, and Fig. 8 that
the displacement curves exhibit increasing stability over time. This is generally true of
systems that exhibit stiff response up to ultimate in short-term testing to failure. However,
systems that exhibit a large ratio between peak load and the load at loss of adhesion (as
evidenced by a sharp change in the load-displacement response) have a greater tendency
to show increased displacements over time when the sustained load exceeds the load
corresponding to loss of adhesion. It has further been noted that sustained loading does
not appear to impair short-term strength provided that long-term failure is not
imminent.
21
Finally, it may be stated that the predicted anchor displacements associated
with sustained tension loading as yielded by the logarithmic function (AC58) are in
accordance with current experience and that those associated with the Findley Power Law
(AC308) are generally conservative.
y = 0.1629Ln(x) - 0.7079
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
1.2
1.4
0 50000 100000 150000 200000 250000
D
i
s
p
l
a
c
e
m
e
n
t

[
m
m
]
Duration of load [hrs]
AC58 logarithmic projection
Measured displacements
Spring re-tension
27 years
y = 0.1629Ln(x) - 0.7079
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
1.2
1.4
0 50000 100000 150000 200000 250000
D
i
s
p
l
a
c
e
m
e
n
t

[
m
m
]
Duration of load [hrs]
AC58 logarithmic projection
Measured displacements
Spring re-tension
27 years

Fig. 6 Long-term testing of 16 mm capsule anchors in 2,900 psi (19/20 MPa) concrete
subjected to N
sust
0.36 N
u,m
comparison with logarithmic projection

20
Mszrs, J., Tragverhalten von chemischen Befestigungen unter zentrischer Belastung, doctoral thesis,
University of Stuttgart Institut fr Werkstoffe im Bauwesen, April 2002, p. 18.
21
Eligehausen, R., et al., op. cit., p. 201.
Page 11



6.1 Adequacy of Adhesive Anchoring Systems for Sustained Load
6.1.1 Systems qualified under AC58
Ongoing changes to qualification methods for adhesive anchors with respect to sustained
load naturally raises questions concerning the adequacy of existing installations based on
earlier qualification methods (i.e. AC58). In this regard, the following may be said:
Where adhesive anchor systems qualified under AC58 for sustained loading have been
designed properly and installed correctly (e.g., without voids and with proper hole
cleaning)
22
, the likelihood of premature failure under sustained load is extremely low.
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
1.2
1.4
0 20000 40000 60000 80000 100000 120000
D
i
s
p
l
a
c
e
m
e
n
t

[
m
m
]
Duration of load [hrs]
AC308 (Findley) projection
AC58 logarithmic projection
Measured displacements
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
1.2
1.4
0 20000 40000 60000 80000 100000 120000
D
i
s
p
l
a
c
e
m
e
n
t

[
m
m
]
Duration of load [hrs]
AC308 (Findley) projection
AC58 logarithmic projection
Measured displacements

Fig. 7 Long-term testing of 12 mm injection anchors in 4,200 psi (29 MPa) concrete
subjected to N
sust
0.41 N
u,m
comparison with logarithmic and Findley extrapolations
This is in part due to the relatively large safety factor associated with the ASD design
paradigm. It is also due to the fact that the conditions imposed under AC58 (elevated
temperature) represents an extreme usually not seen in practice, i.e., service conditions
generally do not produce a constant 110F (43.3C) in situ temperature in the concrete.
(The extrapolation to 600 days in the AC58 criteria is based on outdoor field tests and
was intended to represent the number of high temperature days that an anchor might
experience over its service life.) Additionally, experience shows that the practical

22
It should be noted that tests to verify the effectiveness of overhead installation procedures were not
included in AC58, and where specific instruction for overhead installations (either in writing or on the
jobsite) were not provided, the quality of the installation may be questionable.
Page 12


considerations associated with running creep tests dictate that the displacement criteria
established for passing the test (non-exceedence of the lesser of failure displacement or 3
mm) are rarely if ever fulfilled without an additional margin of safety, and design
conditions (group effects, near edges, steel capacity, practical constraints on minimum
bolt diameter) often dictate a lower bond stress than that corresponding to marginal long-
term behavior.
23
Finally, it should also be noted that some manufacturers (e.g. Hilti) have conducted
extensive testing of adhesive anchor systems over many years to verify their performance
under conditions and load levels that exceed the requirements of AC58.
Where there is doubt about the correct installation of adhesive anchors subjected to
sustained tension loading and where the level of sustained load is high relative to the
anchor design bond strength, it is advisable to investigate their behavior via on site proof
load testing, regular displacement monitoring or both. In specific cases, testing to failure
of a sample of the installed anchors may also be warranted to ascertain the quality of the
installation.
y = 0.1629Ln(x) - 0.7079
y = 0.018x
0.4565
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
0 50000 100000 150000 200000 250000
D
i
s
p
l
a
c
e
m
e
n
t

[
m
m
]
Duration of load [hrs]
AC308 (Findley) projection
AC58 logarithmic projection
Measured displacements
y = 0.1629Ln(x) - 0.7079
y = 0.018x
0.4565
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
0 50000 100000 150000 200000 250000
D
i
s
p
l
a
c
e
m
e
n
t

[
m
m
]
Duration of load [hrs]
AC308 (Findley) projection
AC58 logarithmic projection
Measured displacements

Fig. 8 Long-term testing of 16 mm capsule anchors in 2,900 psi (19/20 MPa) concrete
subjected to N
sust
0.36 N
u,m
data plotted against AC58 logarithmic projection and
AC308 Findley Power Law (compare to Fig. 6.)

23
As stated earlier, an additional margin of safety would also be present where restrained reference tests
were used to establish the sustained load (see Footnotes 14 and 18).
Page 13


6.1.2 Systems qualified under AC308
Under the LRFD design paradigm associated with AC308, the global safety factor can be
less than that mandated by AC58. Assuming a strength reduction factor on concrete-
related failure modes of 0.65 (optimum anchor reliability) and a relationship of
characteristic to mean strength of 0.75, the global safety factor resulting from ACI 318
Appendix D for a sustained permanent (dead) load would be:
u
design
N 1.4
2.9
N 0.65 0.75

=

(3)
This reduced safety factor (for superior systems as determined through reliability tests) is
justified by the increased robustness of the assessment and design processes embodied in
AC308 and ACI 318 Appendix D. With respect to creep behavior, the reduced safety
factor is partly offset by the fact that anchors qualified under AC308 for sustained load
must meet a substantially stricter standard due to the increased time of extrapolation, the
use of the more conservative Findley expression for predicting creep displacements (see
Fig. 8) and the limitation on displacement corresponding to loss of adhesion vs. peak load
(see Table 1 and Fig. 5).
6.2 Further Considerations
6.2.1 Overhead installation
The installation of adhesive anchors in the overhead position presents particular
challenges.
24
These may be summarized as follows:
a. Void-free injection of adhesive into the hole.
b. Avoidance of adhesive run and attendant fouling of anchor rod
25
.
c. Securing of the anchor rod in the hole prior to cure of the adhesive, particularly
for larger diameters.
Anecdotal evidence indicates that the presence of entrained air bubbles and voids caused
by adhesive run are particularly relevant to long-term behavior and can aggravate the
creep response of anchors subjected to sustained tension. This may be ascribed to two
effects: 1) the effect of the limited oxygen in the voids on the curing process of the
adhesive and 2) the loss of bond area; whereas the impact on cure is dependent on the
adhesive formulation, loss of bond area will always result in a lowering of the load
associated with loss of adhesion. It is therefore particularly important that measures be
taken to prevent adhesive loss and air entrainment. These may include use of specialized

24
AC308 mandates testing of anchors installed in the overhead position for anchors that are intended for
this application.
25
Protective wear appropriate to the hazard level of the adhesive being used should always be used. Refer
to manufacturer instructions and MSDS.
Page 14


injection equipment such as
stoppers fitted to the end of the
injection tube. One method for
assessing the effectiveness of
procedures intended to ensure
void-free installation is to perform
the injection in a Plexiglas tube
of corresponding diameter and
length. This method is particularly
effective when performed blind
by the installer (see Fig. 9).
6.2.2 Long-term strength and
factor of safety
The foregoing discusses methods
for qualifying adhesive anchor
systems for applications involving
sustained tension load. For
practical reasons, these are
conceived as pass-fail tests with
pre-defined levels of acceptable
displacement based on short-term behavior.
Clear plastic tube (e.g.,
Plexiglas)
support
system for
tube
shield to block line of sight
beyond concrete surface
Clear plastic tube (e.g.,
Plexiglas)
support
system for
tube
shield to block line of sight
beyond concrete surface

Fig. 9 Use of a Plexiglas tube to verify the
installation procedures and equipment for an
adhesive anchor system
To extract more complete information regarding the response of an adhesive anchor
system to long-term loading it would be necessary to conduct tests at various levels of
sustained tension load (see Fig. 10). Testing at higher sustained loads (i.e., approaching
the anchor ultimate capacity) would necessarily result in failure after a short time. Lower
levels of load would provide correspondingly longer time periods prior to failure.
Ultimately, sufficient tests could be conducted to develop a sustained load strength
curve with the sustained load plotted against the time to failure. Such a curve would
show, at some level of sustained load, runout behavior whereby failure does not occur
for any reasonably anticipated time duration. (This is analogous to the runout portion of
s-n fatigue curve.)
Page 15


tension
load
time t from onset of loading
sustained load strength curve
N
sust,1
N
sust,2
t
fail,1
t
fail,2
N
permissible
N
u,m
margin
against
failure
under
short-term
load
margin
against
failure under
sustained
load
N
sust,3
mean tension capacity under short-term load
2
scatter
associated
with
sustained
load
behavior
tension
load
time t from onset of loading
sustained load strength curve
N
sust,1
N
sust,2
t
fail,1
t
fail,2
N
permissible
N
u,m
margin
against
failure
under
short-term
load
margin
against
failure under
sustained
load
N
sust,3
mean tension capacity under short-term load
2
scatter
associated
with
sustained
load
behavior

Fig. 10 Concept of a sustained load strength curve
Considering such a process, it can be observed that the margin between the design or
permissible load and the failure load as described by the sustained load strength curve
necessarily decreases over time and that at some load level N
sust
corresponding to runout,
the margin between long-term strength and applied load is defined. Such a curve would
be associated with some scatter, and this is represented in the form of a Gaussian
distribution. Similarly, the applied loading is associated with some uncertainty, and the
usual relationship between load and resistance can be drawn.
This approach is outlined in ASTM D 4680
26,27
which provides guidelines for testing
creep performance of glued wood joints in static shear (see Fig. 11):
To establish a curve of stress versus time to failure, a common practice is
to load specimens at four or more evenly spaced intervals of stress
beginning at 90%. Stress is expressed as a percentage of the average short-
term ultimate shear strength of adhesive bonds. It is desirable that at least
one data set at each stress level fall within each base-10 log of time cycle.

26
ASTM D 4680-98, Standard Test Method for Creep and Time to Failure of Adhesives in Static Shear by
Compression Loading (Wood-to-Wood), Annual Book of ASTM Standards Vol. 15.06, pp. 392-393.
27
ASTM D 2990-01, Standard Test Method for Tensile, Compressive, and Flexural Creep and Creep-
Rupture of Plastics, contains a similar procedure.
Page 16



Fig. 11 Stress versus log of time to failure curve excerpted from ASTM D 4680
Development of a long-term strength curve for an adhesive anchor system would
naturally lead to the application of the safety factor directly to the predicted long-term
strength. While appealing for its simplicity, this approach assumes that the necessary
long-term strength data can be generated in a reliable and consistent manner. This has yet
to be verified experimentally.
The relationship of the methodologies embodied in AC58 and AC308 to such an
approach is unclear at present.
In view of the above, and considering the difficulties associated with overhead
installations and the possibility that the creep behavior could be negatively affected by
poor installation, it is reasonable to perform an additional design check for overhead
installations subjected to sustained tension loading (e.g. hanger installations), whereby a
reduced resistance is compared with only those portions of the load that is sustained. This
supplemental design proof thus takes the form of:
R, S ,
N N



(4)
where
R,
N

is the resistance associated with a reduced bond value
k

where
k
is the bond
strength generated by the AC308 qualification process.
S ,
N

is the tension component of the sustained load (usually, dead load plus some
portion of the live load that is assumed to be sustained)
This supplemental proof has been implemented by ICC-ES in AC308 on an ad hoc basis
for overhead applications involving direct tension whereby a value of 0.75 has been
adopted for

. Extension of this proof to other design conditions such as cantilever


Page 17



beams where anchors may be subject to sustained tension loading is warranted for
specific cases (e.g., where the ratio of live to dead loads is small).
7.0 Conclusions
The use of adhesive anchors for safety-related applications involving sustained tension
loading is supported by extensive experience both in the field and in the laboratory. The
following points are relevant:
1. Standards for the assessment of adhesive anchor systems to address sustained
loading have been in place for over a decade.
2. Assuming proper installation and design in all other respects, allowable stress
designs of adhesive anchors qualified to resist sustained tension loading in safety-
related applications under AC58 provide the requisite level of safety against creep
failure.
28

3. The qualification and design of adhesive anchors for sustained tension load
applications in accordance with the provisions of AC308 and ACI 318 Appendix
D provide a level of safety in accordance with current standards and procedures
for reinforced concrete design. Pending further research on the relationship of
creep testing to long-term strength, the additional check on long-term strength as
discussed in Section 6.2.2 should be included in the design.
4. Particular care should be exercised in the installation of adhesive anchors in
overhead conditions due to the potential for degraded creep response associated
with inadequate hole cleaning and injection techniques.
5. Ongoing research into creep phenomenon in adhesives used to transfer sustained
loads is warranted. This research has applicability to a wide range of applications,
including the use of surface-applied strengthening materials (carbon fiber, other),
repair of reinforced concrete elements with crack injection, etc.
6. In light of the standards now in place for the assessment of adhesive anchor
systems for sustained loading, the authors are of the opinion that the NTSB
recommendation to prohibit the use of adhesive anchors in sustained tensile-
load overhead highway applicationsuntil testing standards and protocols have
been developed and implemented... is excessively broad in scope. A prohibition
on the use of systems that have not been assessed in accordance with AC308
would be appropriate.

28
Where anchors have been installed in the overhead position to resist sustained tension loads and there are
questions regarding the quality of the installation or the procedures used to assure good bond and a void-
free installation, it may be prudent to perform periodic field checks as discussed in Section 6.1.
Page 18



Postscript: Discussion of Federal Highway Administration report
29
on creep behavior of
adhesive anchors in connection with the I-90 Seaport Portal Tunnel partial ceiling
collapse of July 10, 2006.
Background:
The partial collapse of the ceiling system in the I-90 Seaport Portal Tunnel resulted in an
extensive investigation by the National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal
Highway Administration (FHWA). As part of that investigation, tests were conducted at
the FHWAs Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center on the anchors used in the
tunnel, including tests specifically intended to investigate creep behavior.
The apparent purpose of the FHWA investigation into creep behavior was to establish
whether the products used in that application were subject to creep failure and whether
this could have been anticipated with current screening methodologies. The focus of the
investigation, however, was on realistic re-creation of in-situ conditions in the I-90 tunnel,
not laboratory testing and qualification procedures.
Synopsis of the FHWA testing and analysis:
Twelve anchor specimens were installed in the overhead position and individually loaded
with dead weights placed by forklift. The anchors were installed in cored holes and the
ambient laboratory temperature during the test varied between approximately 75 and 90
degree Fahrenheit
30
. The measured displacements and residual failure loads were
recorded and analyzed. Subsequent inspection revealed the existence of substantial air
voids in at least 8 of the 12 test specimens, particularly in the anchorages executed with
the fast-cure adhesive. A power function was used to extrapolate the displacements out to
various time periods. These were then compared to the predicted displacements using the
natural log function specified in AC58. A limiting displacement of 0.20 in. (5.1 mm) was
taken for predicting the life of the anchors under sustained load, and a conclusion was
reached that the time to failure could best be predicted with the power function developed
using regression analysis and that the log function specified in AC58 is inadequate for
this task.
Analysis:
A preliminary review of the FHWA findings contained in the report indicates the
following:
1. That practical difficulties associated with installing the anchors overhead (as
reported in their findings) resulted in significant voids in the adhesive mass with
attendant significant decreases in the bond strength of the anchors.

29
Federal Highway Administration Turner-Fairbanks Highway Research Center, Report I-90 Seaport
Portal Tunnel Partial Ceiling Collapse Investigation: Sustained Load Behavior of Powers Fasteners Power-
Fast
+
Adhesive Anchors, July 2006, as made available on the Boston Globe website
www.bostonglobe.com.
30
Ibid., p. 16, p. 74, The report notes that the increase in ambient temperature towards the end of the testing
correlated with increased anchor displacements.
Page 19



2. That the fast-cure product in question, had it been subjected to the complete
criteria contained in AC58 for creep testing (constant elevated temperature of 110
degrees Fahrenheit, displacement limit derived from static tests with maximum
displacement 0.12 inches, etc.), would not have been qualified for long-term
loading, not even at the reduced design capacity associated with the application in
question (2.6 kips per anchor corresponding to a mean ultimate of 10.4 kips and a
sustained load requirement of 4.2 kips.
31
).
Conclusion:
In several respects, the FHWA testing of the subject product did not correspond to an
AC58 assessment. Had such an assessment been conducted by the FHWA, they would
have found that the fast-cure adhesive in question would be precluded for long-term
loading and, in fact, it was not rated for such loading in the ICBO-ES evaluation report
32

issued for the product after the anchors had been installed. That evaluation report was
based on an assessment using AC58 criteria.
AC308, the current ICC-ES acceptance criteria for assessing adhesive anchors, requires
extrapolation of measured displacements under sustained loading to 50 years at room
temperature and 10 years at elevated temperature (mandatory requirement). The
establishment of a time window of 75 to 100 years for highway construction (as opposed
to 50 years for buildings) does not materially affect the outcome since the incremental
increase in displacement at these long time frames is marginal.
It is therefore the opinion of the authors that the conclusion stated in the FHWA report
that the continued use of adhesive anchors subject to sustained tension loads should
be very limited if not eliminated for life safety applications
33
is not supported by these
tests and is unwarranted.


31
National Transportation Safety Board, op cit., p. 37.
32
ER-4514, Chem-Stud and Power-Fast Adhesive Anchor Systems, ICBO Evaluation Service, Inc.,
Whittier, CA, re-issued February 1, 2000, p. 2.
33
Federal Highway Administration Turner-Fairbanks Highway Research Center, op cit., p. 48.
Page 20