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Discussion of Unloading and Reloading

Stress-Strain Model for Confined Concrete
by Junichi Sakai and Kazuhiko Kawashima
January 2006, Vol. 132, No. 1, pp. 112122.

DOI: 10.1061/ASCE0733-94452006132:1112

Asad Esmaeily, A.M.ASCE1; Steven D. Hart2; and

Brandy Gaitan3

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Kansas State Univ.,

Manhattan, KS. E-mail:
Graduate Research Assistant, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Kansas State
Univ., Manhattan, KS. E-mail:
Research Assistant, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Kansas State Univ.,
Manhattan, KS.

In this paper, the authors, Sakai and Kawashima, propose a comprehensive . . . model . . . that takes into account the effect of
repeated unloading and reloading and partial loading. This
model was evaluated by conducting several tests on concrete cylinders confined by carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer CFRP material.
Three standard 150 mm 300 mm 6 in. 12 in. concrete
cylinders were cast and cured for 28 days in a moist curing room.
Two strain gauges with a length of 50 mm 2 in. were placed
longitudinally on the central part of the specimens on opposite
sides. The unconfined compressive strength of the specimens was
40.7 MPa 5.9 ksi at the time of testing. Confinement was provided by two layers of CFRP attached by an epoxy adhesive,
which is different from conventional confinement by steel as used
in the authors original research. Testing was conducted by using
a closed loop servocontrolled material testing system with a maximum capacity of 667 kN 150 kips. Since the envelope for
CFRP confined concrete does not have the descending branch
after a peak point as observed for conventionally reinforced cases,
all specimens were initially loaded to 614 kN 138 kips at a rate
of 62 kN 14 kips per minute to achieve sufficient plastic strain
for a reasonable evaluation of the unloading/reloading paths.
There was a creep-hold of 108 min at 133 kN30 kip load level
for one of the specimens. At the load level of 614 kN 138 k, the
specimen with a creep-hold was subjected to three complete unloading and reloading cycles at a rate of 124 kN 28 kips per
minute, the next specimen had similar cycles but at a rate of
186 kN 42 kips per minute, and the last one was loaded monotonically to 614 kN 150 kips to establish the envelope curve.
Fig. 1 shows a sample specimen cylinder positioned in the load
The authors used the total length of the specimen to evaluate
the average strain, as did some previous studies Wang et al.
1978; Ahmad and Shah 1982; Hoshikuma et al. 1997. However,
Mander et al. 1988a used the central one-third of the specimen.
The authors discuss softening that may occur because of imperfect contact between the load heads and specimen, but they do not
correct for this effect or for the end restraining effects as described by Mansur et al. 1995. Because the nonlinear behavior
at failure occurs in a specific area, the data collected to model that

behavior should come from the area in question, not from the
structure as a whole. So, using an area away from and less affected by the local restraining effects, namely, the central onethird of the specimen length as used by Mander et al. is more
accurate and realistic. The average strain within the central
50 mm 2 in. of the length is used in this evaluation.
Fig. 2 and Fig. 3 compare the Sakai-Kawashima model and
results of the tests. Only the first of the three cycles is shown for
clarity. Test specimens under both loading rates exhibit curved
unloading and linear reloading paths. On the unloading branch,
the Sakai-Kawashima model underpredicts the actual stress measured on the specimens. Additionally, the test data indicate that
the curvature of the parabolic function of the model is too severe
to track closely with the observed stress and gives a lower plastic
strain for the first reloading point. For the complete reloading
curve, our experiments, as well as other models Mander et al.
1988b; Bahn and Hsu 1998, show this path as linear. The model
does not consider parameters related to confinement, concrete, or
reinforcement that may affect the pattern of unloading/reloading
curves as observed here and mentioned by the authors: caution
should be used when applying it to conditions not addressed in
the test program. However, it must be noted that the SakaiKawashima model, which was developed on the basis of spiral
steel reinforcement, does provide a reasonable approximation for
the behavior of CFRP confined concrete.
The Sakai-Kawashima model describes the unloading path
with a parabolic function and the complete reloading path initially
with a parabolic function that transitions to a linear function as
strain increases. At low levels of load or stress near the value of
the plastic strain, pl, the efforts to enhance the assumed accuracy
may exceed what can reasonably be extracted from the test data
or what is practically necessary for application.


Fig. 1. CFRP confined specimen in the test apparatus

Fig. 2. Cycles at 124 kN 28 kips per minute specimen with creephold

Performance of a reinforced concrete member is primarily determined by the behavior of the steel at typical axial load levels
Kunnath 2004. For example, a 300% increase of the concrete
peak strength for a section under an axial load of 0.15f cAg, leads
to less than 10% increase in moment capacity Esmaeily and
Lucio 2004. Additionally, the models used for the monotonic
envelope curve of confined concrete are limited in their accuracy.
Finally, determination of the basic model parameters from the test
data, as described in the paper, has its margin of error. Under
these conditions, a simple linear function to model the stressstrain relationship at stresses below 7 MPa about 1.0 ksi seems
to be sufficiently accurate to model the response.
Our tests were conducted following the authors cycling
scheme of complete unloading/reloading from a given stress-

Fig. 3. Cycles at 186 kN 42 kips per minute

strain point. Comparisons were not conducted for partial

unloading/reloading, which were conducted between a set unloading strain and a set reloading stress. These types of tests are
described by Bahn and Hsu 1998 as cycles from and to a common point. Bahn and Hsu also describe three additional necessary
loading regimes for investigating concrete response to cyclic
loading: monotonic, cycles to the envelope curve, and cycles with
random loading. The authors focus almost exclusively on cycles
to a common point. Although these tests are suitable for developing this model, the model should then be evaluated against a
random loading response, which is the scenario in an earthquake.
Partial unloading/reloading cycles by the model between two
strain levels, and not an unloading strain and reloading stress,
may end up to unrealistic low stresses for a specific strain.
In conclusion, the Sakai-Kawashima model is in approximate
agreement with our test data conducted under different confinement and thus shows promise as a comprehensive model useful
under varying conditions. Issues remain, however, with the applicability of the model to random loading scenarios; shape of the
unloading/reloading curves and its correlation to the type of confinement, concrete, and steel; loading rate, and other factors such
as creep history; and the degree of the accuracy of these curves
compared with the accuracy of the global parameters.

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