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Mech Time-Depend Mater (2013) 17:297–313

DOI 10.1007/s11043-012-9184-y

Long-term deflections of reinforced concrete elements:


accuracy analysis of predictions by different methods

Viktor Gribniak · Darius Bacinskas ·


Rimantas Kacianauskas · Gintaris Kaklauskas ·
Lluis Torres

Received: 2 November 2011 / Accepted: 28 July 2012 / Published online: 15 August 2012
© Springer Science+Business Media, B. V. 2012

Abstract Long-term deflection response of reinforced concrete flexural members is influ-


enced by the interaction of complex physical phenomena, such as concrete creep, shrinkage
and cracking, which makes their prediction difficult. A number of approaches are proposed
by design codes with different degrees of simplification and accuracy. This paper statistically
investigates accuracy of long-term deflection predictions made by some of the most widely
used design codes (Eurocode 2, ACI 318, ACI 435, and the new Russian code SP 52-101)
and a numerical technique proposed by the authors. The accuracy is analyzed using test data
of 322 reinforced concrete members from 27 test programs reported in the literature. The
predictions of each technique are discussed, and a comparative analysis is made showing the
influence of different parameters, such as sustained loading duration, compressive strength
of concrete, loading intensity and reinforcement ratio, on the prediction accuracy.

Keywords Reinforced concrete · Deflection · Creep · Shrinkage · Design code ·


Regression analysis

1 Introduction

Structures and structural members should be designed to satisfy both strength and service-
ability requirements. As a result of the extensive studies carried out in different countries,
the ultimate load behavior of reinforced concrete (RC) flexural members is now quite well

V. Gribniak () · R. Kacianauskas


Department of Strength of Materials, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (VGTU),
Sauletekio av. 11, Vilnius 10223, Lithuania
e-mail: Viktor.Gribniak@vgtu.lt

V. Gribniak · D. Bacinskas · G. Kaklauskas


Department of Bridges and Special Structures, VGTU, Vilnius, Lithuania

L. Torres
Advanced Materials and Analysis for Structural Design (AMADE), Polytechnic School,
University of Girona, Campus de Montilivi, Santo Domingo sq. 1, Girona 17071, Spain
298 Mech Time-Depend Mater (2013) 17:297–313

understood. Nevertheless, due to the use of refined ultimate state theories as well as higher
strength materials, resulting in structures with longer spans and smaller depths, control of
deflections is often the governing design criterion.
Complex physical phenomena, such as concrete creep, shrinkage, and cracking, strongly
contribute to deflection increments, in such a way that due to long-term effects, deflec-
tions might increase up to 3–4 times above initial values (Espion 1988). These effects are
time-related and interdependent, which makes the prediction of deflections difficult. The
study of the deflections of RC members has been the object of research for many years and,
as a result, various methods have been proposed both for short-term and sustained load-
ing (Branson 1963, 1977; Broms 1964; Gilbert 1999; Torres et al. 2004; Kaklauskas 2004;
Balevicius 2010; Bacinskas et al. 2012, among others).
Most often structural engineers choose design code methods for the analysis of concrete
structures. Although, ensuring safe design, they have significant shortcomings, mainly due
to their inherent simplicity. Hence, the code methods cannot include many important ge-
ometrical and physical parameters resulting in lack of accuracy (Ghali 1993; Bažant and
Baweja 1995a, 1995b; Sherif and Dilger 1998; Gilbert 1999; and Balevicius and Dulinskas
2010). Using numerical techniques is an alternative to the design code methods. Recently, a
numerical procedure based on the layer section model was proposed by the authors (Bacin-
skas et al. 2012) for deformation analysis of RC flexural members subjected to sustained
loading. Study of accuracy of the proposed model was limited investigating the effect of
load duration period.
The current paper extends the statistical study of deflection prediction reported in Bacin-
skas et al. (2012). Next to load duration, the manuscript investigates the influence of vari-
ation in a model parameters such as compressive strength of concrete, loading intensity,
and reinforcement ratio on long-term deflection prediction. It also checks capability of the
proposed technique of being a useful alternative for the commonly used code methods. The
accuracy is analyzed using an experimental database of RC members collected by Espion
(1988) and test data reported by Prokopovich and Temnov (1969).

2 Deflection prediction methods

In the present analysis, four design code deflection calculation techniques have been used,
namely the Eurocode 2:2004 (CEN 2004), the Structural Building Code reported by the
American Concrete Institute (ACI) Committee 318 (ACI 318 2008), the ACI Committee
435 modification of the latter method (ACI 435 2003) and the new Russian code SP 52-
101:2006 (NIIZhB 2006) on the one hand, and the numerical technique proposed by the
authors (Bacinskas et al. 2012) on the other hand.
It is common for the code methods based on beam model to calculate the mid-span
deflection from the formula representing an approximate integration of curvature along the
member:

δ = s · κ · l02 . (1)

In this formula, s is the factor depending on a loading case covering the shape of the bending
moment distribution, κ is the curvature corresponding to the maximum moment, and l0 is
the beam span. The crucial point is to estimate the curvature.
Mech Time-Depend Mater (2013) 17:297–313 299

2.1 Eurocode 2:2004

The Eurocode 2 analysis of long-term curvature is based on an interpolation formula relat-


ing two states: state I, uncracked, and state II, fully cracked. In state I, both concrete and
steel behave elastically with composite action, while in state II the contribution of tensioned
concrete is ignored and the reinforcing steel carries all the tensile force. The mean curvature
is expressed as
κ = (1 − ζ )κ1 + ζ κ2 , (2)
where κ1 and κ2 are the curvatures obtained taking into consideration the creep and the
shrinkage effects in states I and II, respectively; ζ is the distribution coefficient representing
the extent of cracking. For elements subjected to pure bending it can be obtained as
ζ = 1 − 0.5 · (Mcr /M)2 . (3)
Here M and Mcr are the applied and the cracking moments, respectively. The curvatures κ1
and κ2 are calculated as follows:
M M
κ1 = + κcs,1 ; κ2 = + κcs,2 . (4)
Ec,eff (t, t0 ) · Iel Ec,eff (t, t0 ) · Icr
Here the effective modulus of elasticity Ec,eff (t, t0 ) at time t is calculated taking into con-
sideration the creep coefficient ϕ(t, t0 ):
Ec (t0 )
Ec,eff (t, t0 ) = . (5)
1 + ϕ(t, t0 )
In the above equation, Ec (t0 ) = 1.05 · Ecm (t0 ) is the tangent modulus of elasticity of con-
crete at the time of loading; Ecm (t0 ) = [fcm (t0 )/fcm ]0.3 · Ecm is the modulus of elasticity of
concrete at the time of loading; fcm (t0 ) is the mean compressive cylinder strength at the
time of loading; fcm and Ecm are the mean compressive cylinder strength and the modulus
of elasticity of concrete at the age of 28 days; Iel and Icr are the second moments of area
of uncracked and cracked sections, respectively; κcs,1 and κcs,2 are the shrinkage-induced
curvatures in states I and II, respectively, which can be calculated as follows:
αeff · Sel αeff · Scr
κcs,1 = −εcs ; κcs,2 = −εcs . (6)
Iel Icr
Here εcs is the free shrinkage strain (assumed to be negative); αeff = Es /Ec,eff (t, t0 ) is the
steel-to-concrete effective modular ratio; Sel and Scr are the first moments of area of the
reinforcement about the centroid of the uncracked and fully cracked sections, respectively.
In Eq. (5), the creep coefficient is estimated depending on the stress level in the com-
pressed concrete σcc as shown in Fig. 1. It should be noted that in practical serviceability
problems, compressive stresses of concrete due to sustained loading σcc generally do not
exceed 0.6 · fck (t0 ). In the present study, this was the adopted limitation.

Fig. 1 Stress-strain laws for


concrete in compression under
long-term loading
300 Mech Time-Depend Mater (2013) 17:297–313

2.2 ACI 318-08

The ACI 318-08 technique is based on the method proposed by Branson (1963, 1977), which
uses the effective moment of inertia,
 
Ie = Ig (Mcr /M)m + Icr 1 − (Mcr /M)m , (7)
where Ig is the second moment of area of the gross section (uncracked concrete section ig-
noring reinforcement); Icr is the second moment of area of the fully cracked section; M is the
applied bending moment; Mcr = fr Ig /yt is the cracking moment; fr = 0.623 · [fcm (t0 )]0.5
[MPa] is the modulus of rupture; yt is the distance from the centroid of the section to the
extreme tension fiber; the power m = 3 is adopted since 1971 without specifying any appli-
cation restrictions concerning the type of loading or boundary conditions.
Following ACI 318 approach, the short-term curvatures are determined as
κ = M/(Ecm · Ie ). (8)
Here Ecm is the secant modulus of elasticity of concrete.
Additional long-term deflections can be determined by multiplying the immediate deflec-
tion by the factor λδ :
 
λδ = ξ/ 1 + 50 · p  ; p  = As2 /(b · d). (9)
Here As2 is the area of compressive reinforcement, b and d are the width and the effective
depth of the section, and ξ is the time-dependent factor. Variation of the factor λδ with time
is given in Fig. 2.

2.3 ACI 435R-95

In contrast to the above technique, the long-term deflections due to creep δcr and shrinkage
δcs are calculated separately:
 
δcr = λc · δsus , λc = 0.85 · ϕ(t, t0 )/ 1 + 50 · p  ;
⎧ √
  ⎪
⎪ 0.7 3 p, p  = 0;
εcs (t) 2 ⎨ √ √ (10)
δcs = 0.13 · Acs l0 , Acs = 0.7 3 p − p  (p − p  )/p, (p − p  ) ≤ 3.0 %;
h ⎪


1.0, (p − p  ) > 3.0 %.
Here p and p  are the tensile and compressive reinforcement ratios [%], respectively, and
δsus is the initial deflection due to sustained load. The shrinkage strain εcs (t) at time t and
the creep coefficient ϕ(t, t0 ) are calculated in accordance with the ACI Committee 209 rec-
ommendations (ACI 209 2008).

Fig. 2 Variation of additional


long-term deflection factor
Mech Time-Depend Mater (2013) 17:297–313 301

Table 1 Mechanical properties of concrete

Parameter ∅150 × 300 mm cylinder strength [MPa]


10.3 15.4 20.6 25.7 30.8 36.0 41.1 46.3 51.4 56.6 61.7

Ec , [MPa] 19.0 24.0 27.5 30.0 32.5 34.5 36.0 37.0 38.0 39.0 39.5
fcp , [MPa] 6.0 8.5 11.5 14.5 17.0 19.5 22.0 25.0 27.5 30.0 33.0
fct,n , [MPa] 0.85 1.10 1.35 1.55 1.75 1.95 2.10 2.25 2.45 2.60 2.75

Table 2 The creep coefficient ϕc,cr and the deformation modulus reduction εc1,red coefficients

Relative ∅150 × 300 mm cylinder strength [MPa] εc1,red


humidity [%] 10.3 15.4 20.6 25.7 30.8 36.0 41.1 46.3 51.4 56.6 61.7

RH > 75 2.8 2.4 2.0 1.8 1.6 1.5 1.4 1.3 1.2 1.1 1.0 2.4 × 10−3
40 ≤ RH ≤ 75 3.9 3.4 2.8 2.5 2.3 2.1 1.9 1.8 1.6 1.5 1.4 2.8 × 10−3
RH < 40 5.6 4.8 4.0 3.6 3.2 3.0 2.8 2.6 2.4 2.2 2.0 3.4 × 10−3

2.4 Russian code SP 52-101:2006

In this code, the long-term curvature is calculated as follows:


Ec (t) = Ec /(1 + ϕc,cr );
M/[Ec (t) · Iel ] for M ≤ Mcr ,
κ= where Ecr = 0.9 · fcp /εc1,red ; (11)
M/[Ecr · Ie ] for M > Mcr ,
Mcr = 0.9 · fct,n · Iel /yt .
Here Iel is the second moment of area of the uncracked section, Ec is the short-term
tangent modulus of elasticity (see Table 1), fcp is the design compressive strength of
150 × 150 × 600 mm prism (Table 1) and fct,n is the characteristic tensile strength of con-
crete (Table 1); coefficients ϕc,cr and εc1,red are given in Table 2. It should be noted that the
above characteristics in the code are related to concrete grade B, but not to cylinder strength.
To ease perception for a reader, the compressive strength herein is recalculated as cylinder

strength fc using the conversion expression B ≈ 0.778 · fc,cube where 150-mm cube and

cylinder strengths are related by fc,cube ≈ 1.25 · fc .
In Eq. (11), the effective moment of inertia Ie is calculated as for fully cracked section.
To include the tension-stiffening effect, the area of tensile reinforcement As1 is divided by
the factor
ψs = 1 − 0.8 · Mcr /M ≤ 1. (12)

2.5 Design models in comparison

In the early development of the theory of RC deformation problems were simply ignored.
First attempts to assess deflections of flexural RC members were based on elastic behavior
of materials, which significantly underestimated deformations of cracked members. The
research was quite independently carried out by Nemirovsky (1948), Murashev (1950),
Gvozdev et al. (1962) and by Branson (1963, 1977), Broms (1964), Ghali and Favre (1986).
In Russia, on the basis of a large amount of test data, Murashev (1950) developed an innova-
tive method for the calculation of deformations of cracked flexural members. This method
302 Mech Time-Depend Mater (2013) 17:297–313

modified by Gvozdev et al. (1962) since 1963 was introduced into the modern design code
SNiP II-V.I-62∗ (ACEA 1970). Further investigations resulted in the updated code version
SNiP 2.03.01-84∗ (NIIZhB 1989) issued in 1986. In the USA, Branson (1963) proposed
perhaps the best known method (based on the effective moment of inertia, see Sect. 2.2)
which was adopted in the design codes of the USA (ACI 318 2008), Canada, Australia, New
Zealand and a number of countries in South America. The Eurocode 2 method (CEN 2004),
based on Model Code 1990 (CEB-FIP 1991), gives an alternative approach.
Considering the deformation models, the Eurocode 2 does not use an effective moment
of inertia to compute deflection, as is done in North America. Taken from the work of Rao
(1966) and Leonhardt (1977), this tension-stiffening approach was introduced into CEB-FIP
model code for concrete structures since 1978 (CEB 1978). In Bischoff’s view (Bischoff
2008), Rao may have received his idea for the tension-stiffening model from Nemirovsky
(1948) and Murashev (1950, 1957), which seem providing some inspiration to Branson
(1977) in his original work on the effective modulus conception (Sect. 2.2). However, Mura-
shev’s approach (Murashev et al. 1971) was found to be too stiff when deflections of lightly
reinforced beams were analyzed. Therefore, Branson (1963) who initially in Eq. (7) was ex-
pecting a squared term for (Mcr /M), further found that the power m needed to be increased
from 2 up to a value of 3 for average member behavior or 4 for section behavior.
The aforementioned code SNiP 2.03.01-84∗ was the last design document in the USSR
dedicated to analysis of reinforced concrete. It could be noted that research funding after
the collapse of the USSR was substantially reduced what, naturally, led to a significant con-
traction of research in RC structures. Many former Soviet Republics for over a decade were
using the SNiP 2.03.01-84∗ as their national document. In 2001 a strategy has been devel-
oped aiming at harmonizing of the Russian codes. By the year 2015, all design documents in
Russia should be “harmonized” in accordance with the respective European guidelines (Za-
lesov et al. 2001; Nesbetaev 2007; Skvortsov 2012). The “harmonization” process aims at
modifying the governing equations to secure the calculation results matching the Eurocode
predictions (Almazov 2011). The new release of the Russian building code SP 52-101 (NI-
IZhB 2006), introduced in 2004, serves an example of such “harmonization” process. It is
relevant to note that the new version employs a simplified deformation model with fewer
empirical parameters than the SNiP 2.03.01-84∗ . In fact, the SP 52-101 model should not be
considered as a new approach, but rather an adaptation of the Eurocode 2.
Before performing the accuracy analysis, let us discuss the sources of possible differ-
ences in the long-term deformation predictions by the codes. Firstly, the codes use different
interpolation equations for prediction of flexural stiffness of a cracked member. Secondly,
the techniques are based on different material models and characteristics. As the mechanical
properties of reinforcing steel are time-independent, it is evident that the main source of
differences in the predictions is the assumed material model for concrete. Such input param-
eters as the deformation modulus, tensile strength, creep and shrinkage strains of concrete
become the key parameters of the deformation model.
It is known that deformation properties of concrete depend on the type of the aggregate,
curing conditions and the test method. Different conceptions are employed in the codes in
regard to the deformation modulus. Generally, the modulus of elasticity (Young’s modulus)
of concrete is defined as the tangent modulus at the origin of the stress–strain diagram. Only
the Russian code uses the latter approach, whereas the Eurocode 2 and both ACI techniques
are based on the secant modulus conception. The Eurocode 2 relates the tangent Ec and
the secant Ecm moduli by the following dependence: Ec ≈ 1.05 · Ecm . Expressions for de-
formation modulus by the codes are given in Table 3, were fcm and fc are the 28-day and
other-age concrete compressive cylinder strengths, respectively, and ρc is the concrete den-
sity. The secant modulus dependence on the compressive strength is shown in Fig. 3a. The
Mech Time-Depend Mater (2013) 17:297–313 303

Table 3 Formulas for modulus of elasticity and tensile strength of concrete [MPa]

Code Deformation modulus Tensile strength Limitation

Eurocode 2 Ecm = 22000 · (fcm /10)0.3 fctm = 0.3 · (fcm − 8)2/.3 , fcm ≤ 58 20 ≤ fcm ≤ 90
fctm = 2.12 · (1 + fcm /10), fcm > 58
ACI 318-08 Ecm = 4734 · (fc )0.5 fr = 0.623 · (fc )0.5 fc ≤ 138
ACI 435R-95 Ecm = 0.043 · ρc1.5 · (fc )0.5 fr = 0.013 · (ρc · fc )0.5 20 ≤ fc ≤ 90
SP 52-101 Ec = 54300 · fc /(21.6 + fc ) fct = 5.5 · fc /(49.7 + fc ) 10 ≤ fc ≤ 62

Fig. 3 Predictions of the elastic modulus (a) and the tensile strength (b) by the code models

most significant differences in the predictions (up to 25 %) are obtained for weak concrete.
The differences decrease with growing strength, not exceeding 7 % at fc > 45 MPa.
The tensile strength, as can be seen from Table 3, is mostly related to the compressive
strength. The relationships between the tensile and the compressive strengths for the codes
are shown in Fig. 3b. It can be observed that the ACI provides significantly higher tensile
strength predictions than the other two codes. It should be kept in mind that the codes are
based on different concepts of tensile strength. The ACI techniques use the modulus of rup-
ture (flexural tensile strength) fr , whereas the remaining two codes apply the direct tensile
strength (noted as fctm and fct for the 28-day and other-age concrete, respectively). The dif-
ference between the ACI and the Eurocode 2 predictions is practically constant being about
1 MPa; however, in relative terms it varies from 50 to 20 %.
The deformation modulus and tensile strength evolve substantially with the hardening
of the material. Similarly to the compressive strength, these parameters can be regarded as
monotonically increasing functions of the maturity of concrete. As can be seen from Table 3,
in the ACI and SP 52-101 techniques the deformation modulus and tensile strength relate to
the compressive strength fc at a specific age, whereas the Eurocode 2 predictions at time t
are based on the 28-day age parameters:
 
Ecm (t) = (βcc )0.3 Ecm , fct (t) = (βcc )2/3 fctm , βcc = exp s(1 − 28/t) . (13)
Here t is the age of the concrete (days) and s is a coefficient which depends on the type of
cement (for normal cement it is equal to 0.25).
Other important input parameters of the long-term deformation models are the creep
factor and the shrinkage strain of concrete. The simplified ACI 318 technique is limited by
using the additional deflection factor λδ dependent on the load duration and the compressive
304 Mech Time-Depend Mater (2013) 17:297–313

Table 4 Limits of variables in the creep and shrinkage prediction models

Variable Eurocode 2 ACI 435 SP 52-101

Compressive strength of concrete 20 ≤ fcm ≤ 90 20 ≤ fc ≤ 90 10 ≤ fc ≤ 62


h0 [mm] 100. . . 1600 26. . . 1200 –
RH [%] 20. . . 100 40. . . 100 0. . . 100
Cement [kg/m3 ] – 500. . . 1600 –
Cement type N , S or R N or R –
Slump [mm] – 0. . . 200 –
Fine-to-total aggregate ratio [%] – 30. . . 70 –
Air content [%] – ≤12 –
ts [days] – ≥1 (moist curried) –
1 to 3 (steam curried)
t0 [days] ≥1 ≥7 –
Nonlinear creep (0.45 . . . 0.6) · fck (t0 ) – –
Autogenous shrinkage + – –

reinforcement ratio p  [Eq. (9)]. Figure 2 indicates that the factor λδ may increase short-term
deflections up to three times.
Other three considered codes use more sophisticated creep and shrinkage models. Their
parameters are given in Table 4, where h0 = 2 · Ac /u is the notional member size, Ac is the
cross-sectional area, u is the perimeter of the member in contact with atmosphere, and t0
and ts are the age of concrete at loading and beginning shrinkage, respectively.
As it can be observed from Tables 1, 2, and 4, the tong-term deflection analysis by the SP
52-101 technique requires specifying concrete strength and relative humidity only, thus be-
coming time-independent. On the other hand, the ACI as well as the Eurocode 2 techniques
take into account the load duration.
Analyzing the creep and shrinkage models, the codes according to their complexity can
be separated into two groups. The ACI 318 and the SP 52-101 techniques providing the
simplest approaches compose the first group, whereas the two remaining codes can be as-
signed to the second (advanced models) group. Obviously, an engineer might expect to ob-
tain more accurate deflection prediction results by applying the models from the second
group. However, it is not always the case as the predicted creep and shrinkage strains should
be considered as a stochastic variable with their expected average values and characteristics
of variation. As reported by the ACI Committee 209 (2008) the coefficients of variation for
creep and shrinkage were, respectively, 30 and 25 % for the Eurocode 2 and 30 and 41 %
for the ACI technique. Thus, the structural response should be investigated as a statistical
variable rather than a deterministic value.
The present paper statistically investigates whether simple code models may assure rea-
sonable accuracy of long-term deflection predictions. The comparative analysis has been
extended, next to code methods, to include a simple and computationally effective numeri-
cal technique recently proposed by the authors (Bacinskas et al. 2012).

2.6 Proposed numerical technique (Bacinskas et al. 2012)

This section briefly introduces the numerical technique proposed by Bacinskas et al. (2012).
The analysis of a RC section given in Fig. 4a is based on the layer section model shown in
Fig. 4b.
Mech Time-Depend Mater (2013) 17:297–313 305

Fig. 4 Layer section model for long-term deflection analysis

Fig. 5 Tension–stiffening
diagrams assumed for short-term
(t = t0 ) and long-term (t > t0 )
analyses

The iterative procedure uses the material stress–strain relationship for compressive
concrete, tensile concrete and steel. Such effects as linear and nonlinear creep, crack-
ing, tension–stiffening as well as reduction of concrete tension strength due to sustained
loading are included in the model. As shown in Fig. 4c, the shrinkage effect is mod-
eled by means of adequate actions of fictitious axial force Ncs (t) and bending moment
Mcs (t) = Ncs (t) · [yC (t) − yRC (t)].
The model uses material parameters recommended by the Eurocode 2 (see Sect. 2.1). For
the compressive concrete, the relationship shown in Fig. 1 has been employed. The behavior
of concrete in tension was simulated using the constitutive law presented in Fig. 5. The creep
factor of tensile concrete and so the effective modulus of elasticity is taken equal to that in
compression. The ultimate strain εult as the main quantitative parameter of tension–stiffening
is calculated as follows (Kaklauskas 2004):
 
εult = εcr (t0 ) × max 5; 32.8 − 27.6p + 7.12p 2 , εcr (t0 ) = fct (t0 )/Ecm (t0 ). (14)
Here p is the tensile reinforcement ratio [%]; fct (t0 ) and Ecm (t0 ) are the tensile strength and
the elastic modulus of concrete at time t0 ≥ 28 days determined by the Eurocode 2 formulas
from Table 3 and Eq. (13). The reduction in the tensile strength due to sustained loading is
performed as follows (Bacinskas et al. 2012):
 
fct (t, t0 ) = fct (t0 ) · 0.794 − 0.06 · log10 (t − t0 ) ≥ 0.45 · fct (t0 ). (15)

3 Accuracy analysis

The present study employs experimental data of 322 rectangular, I- and T cross section
specimens from 27 test programs with over 1300 observations. The experimental results
were taken from the database collected by Espion (1988) and the report conducted by
Prokopovich and Temnov (1969). The main properties of specimens are presented in Ta-
ble 5, where N is the total number of measurements in a program, kM = M/Mcr is the factor
Table 5 Main properties of test specimens
306

Program Members N h p fcm (t0 ) Load duration kM sl20


mm % MPa days – m2

1. 1. . . 21 264 241. . . 254 0.16. . . 1.01 17.6. . . 30.2 121. . . 288 1.13. . . 3.24 0.95. . . 0.96
2. 22 4 150 1.74 39.0 528 2.54 1.49
3. 23. . . 24 4 127 2.07 31.3. . . 35.4 88 1.23. . . 1.33 0.78
4. 25. . . 33 63 280 1.07 25.4. . . 61.6 2853. . . 3123 1.10. . . 4.49 5.64. . . 5.86
5. 34. . . 37 8 152. . . 154 1.19. . . 1.21 25.9 208 2.81. . . 3.03 0.06. . . 0.47
6. 38 2 152 1.37 19.2 728 3.11 0.38
7. 39. . . 46 46 99. . . 202 0.31. . . 2.28 20.6. . . 25.1 561. . . 2221 1.70. . . 3.86 0.88
8. 47. . . 53 14 203 3.23 16.9. . . 26.5 195. . . 281 3.04. . . 8.59 0.19
9. 54. . . 59 12 127 0.61 19.3. . . 20.1 473. . . 1825 1.15. . . 2.54 1.94. . . 2.18
10. 60. . . 89 60 76. . . 305 1.59. . . 1.67 20.1. . . 25.0 927 2.58. . . 2.88 1.51. . . 4.19
11. 90. . . 107 36 280 0.82. . . 3.53 29.8. . . 34.3 800. . . 1638 3.19. . . 8.72 0.83
12. 108. . . 127 40 152 0.29. . . 1.23 34.6. . . 47.4 326. . . 592 0.74. . . 2.92 0.98. . . 0.99
13. 128. . . 130 6 210 2.21 16.5. . . 28.5 220. . . 285 2.40. . . 3.35 0.11. . . 0.36
14. 131. . . 134 8 350 0.57. . . 1.43 26.2 360 2.70. . . 3.04 1.96
15. 135. . . 158 48 150 0.89. . . 1.40 34.6. . . 36.3 1677 0.89. . . 1.27 2.40
16. 159. . . 168 20 120 0.32. . . 0.72 43.5 1032 0.88. . . 1.93 1.31
17. 169. . . 180 278 191 0.70. . . 1.26 19.6. . . 34.7 1783. . . 1836 1.73. . . 2.60 1.07. . . 4.27
18. 181. . . 245 130 191. . . 241 0.33. . . 0.89 23.6. . . 44.8 155. . . 1028 1.09. . . 2.46 3.14. . . 6.54
19. 246. . . 251 18 203. . . 305 1.01. . . 2.07 24.4. . . 30.1 211. . . 217 3.23. . . 5.57 1.90. . . 3.87
20. 252. . . 262 81 120. . . 160 0.55. . . 0.58 20.2. . . 37.2 378. . . 532 0.94. . . 1.99 1.00. . . 1.03
21. 263. . . 264 4 203 1.30 34.1 170 2.73. . . 2.86 0.36
22. 265. . . 268 8 216 1.36. . . 2.64 33.6. . . 38.9 148. . . 178 1.67. . . 2.83 0.56
23. 269. . . 272 8 305 2.20. . . 2.64 26.9. . . 37.4 302 3.08. . . 3.22 1.00
24. 273. . . 275 6 75. . . 160 0.62. . . 0.75 26.7. . . 28.5 117 1.70. . . 2.19 0.46. . . 1.67
25. 276. . . 286 22 200. . . 212 0.42. . . 1.40 29.8 284. . . 326 1.57. . . 3.05 0.46
26. 287. . . 314 56 77 0.80. . . 1.59 16.4. . . 29.5 1832 1.42. . . 2.39 0.55. . . 2.96
27. 315. . . 322 60 160 0.56. . . 0.82 18.6. . . 24.0 800. . . 1080 2.25. . . 2.75 0.43
Mech Time-Depend Mater (2013) 17:297–313
Mech Time-Depend Mater (2013) 17:297–313 307

that represents the loading level in respect to the theoretical cracking moment (discussed in
this section below), and sl20 is the factor from Eq. (1) that depends on the loading scheme
and boundary conditions.
Deflections of the test members are compared with the predictions obtained from pre-
viously presented methods. For the analysis and comparisons, relative predictions used are
determined as the ratio
Δ = δcalc /δobs . (16)
Here δobs and δcalc are the experimentally observed and the calculated deflections, respec-
tively. Logarithmic normalization
Θ = ln(Δ) (17)
has been introduced to assure equal contribution to the accuracy of underestimated (Δ <
1) and overestimated (Δ > 1) predictions. The authors kept the view that a prediction is
safe if Δ ≥ 1 (Θ ≥ 0), meaning that the code rather overestimates than underestimates the
deflection.
Considering the relative deflection Δ as a random variable, statistical methods can be
used to assess the accuracy represented by the central tendency and variability. The cen-
tral tendency is regarded as a precision parameter of a calculation method. The postulate
of minimum variability is used to evaluate consistency of a model. Basic statistics, such as
means mΘ and mΔ estimator of the central tendency) and standard deviations sΘ and sΔ
(measure of variability), are calculated for each method. Taking into consideration transfor-
mation (17), the deflection Δ is statistically assessed using the following relationships:
     
mΔ = exp mΘ + 0.5 · sΘ2 , sΔ2 = m2Δ exp sΘ2 − 1 . (18)
All descriptive statistics are given in Table 6. The most striking feature is the high values of
the coefficient of variation vΔ obtained for all methods under consideration. To investigate
the reasons for that, a regression analysis was carried out.
Influence of variation in parameters, such as loading duration t , compressive strength of
concrete fcm (t0 ), loading intensity, and reinforcement ratio p, on accuracy of the predictions
are analyzed. The loading level is considered as the ratio Mcr /M, where M is the external
bending moment and Mcr is the cracking moment:
 2/3
Mcr = fct · Iel /yt , fct = 0.3 fcm (t0 ) . (19)
It is important to note that the codes under discussion give rather different values for Mcr .
The authors’ experience in deformation analysis of RC members subjected to short-term
loading (Gribniak 2009) has shown that the ACI 318 significantly overestimates, whereas
the Eurocode 2 underestimates, the cracking moment. The latter is particularly evident for

Table 6 Main descriptive statistics

Calculation technique mΘ sΘ mΔ sΔ vΔ = sΔ /mΔ

Eurocode 2:2004 0.201 0.327 1.289 0.433 33.6 %


ACI 318:2008 −0.079 0.637 1.131 0.800 70.7 %
ACI 435:2003 −0.083 0.490 1.037 0.540 52.1 %
SP 52-101:2006 −0.032 0.411 1.054 0.452 42.9 %
Proposed 0.078 0.350 1.150 0.416 36.1 %
308 Mech Time-Depend Mater (2013) 17:297–313

concrete of smaller strength. In the authors’ view, the predictions of Mcr can be improved, if
the mean compressive strength fcm is used instead of the characteristic value fck = fcm − 8
[MPa] suggested by the Eurocode 2. The modified Eurocode 2 expression (20) for cracking
moment was further applied to define the load intensity intervals [0 . . . 1.5] taken uniform
for all the codes. It should be kept in mind that due to stochastic nature of concrete cracking,
the tensile strength is highly scattered. Therefore, assessment of the cracking resistance is
always related to certain level of uncertainty.
The ratios Δ were scattered against the analyzed parameters for each method. These
scatter plots are given in Fig. 6. The regression analysis was performed to investigate the
influence of variation of a model parameter X on scatter of deflection predictions. Taking
into consideration the transformation (17), the logarithmic scale for the ordinate axis is used
in Fig. 6. Then the regression model
Δ = exp(a + b · X), (20)
shown in Fig. 6, becomes linear (Θ = a + b · X). The values of the coefficients a and b as
well as the coefficient of correlation r are also given in this figure.
It is important that in an ideal case no correlation between Δ and X should be obtained.
The high absolute value of r indicates presence of such correlation. The coefficient b (slope)
characterizes the influence of the variation of parameter X on the precision of the method
expressed in terms of Δ. As indicated, the accuracy of a deflection prediction method should
be independent of the variation of the model parameters, i.e. b should be close to 0. The sys-
tematic error of the method is characterized by the constant a (intercept) that ideally should
approach 0. It indicates that the predicted values are equal to the experimental deflection,
i.e. the method does not have a systematic error. In this study, it will be assumed that a code
technique is safe if it systematically overestimates the measured deflections. The coefficients
a and b are shown as strikethrough (see Fig. 6) if their difference from 0 is insignificant (at
the 5 % significance level).
Influence of variation of X on Δ can be compared using the dimensionless factors
BΔ/X = b · mX /mΔ and SΔ/X = r · b · sX /sΔ . (21)
Here mX and mΔ are the mean values of the parameters X and Δ, respectively, and sX and
sΔ are the respective standard deviations. The factor BΔ/X indicates a relative increase of
Δ with a unit increment of X, whereas SΔ/X shows a relative part of variation of Δ due to
scatter of parameter X. These factors are given in Table 7 with the extreme values shown in
bold.
It should be pointed out that a regression model is developed using sample data and there-
fore it is influenced by sampling variation. Assessing the variation, widths of confidence and
prediction intervals constructed for a regression model can be analyzed. In accordance with
Draper and Smith (1998), the lower Θconf,1 and the upper Θconf,2 bounds of the (100 − α) %
confidence interval for assessing true mean value μΘ in the fixed value X0 of a parameter
might be obtained from the following condition:

1 (X0 − mX )2
Θconf,1 ≤ μΘ ≤ Θconf,2 ; Θconf,1(2) = Θ0 ± tα/2 (ν) · sΘ|X + n ;
i=1 Xi − n · mX
n 2 2

Θ0 = a + b · X0 ; ν = n − 2; (22)
 n n
n
i=1 Θi − a i=1 Θi − b
2
i=1 Θi Xi
sΘ|X = ,
n−2
Mech Time-Depend Mater (2013) 17:297–313 309

Fig. 6 Regression analysis of long-term deflection predictions

where n is the number of measurements (in our case n = 1306); tα (ν) is the αth quintile
of Student’s distribution with ν degrees of freedom; sΘ|X is the standard error of the esti-
mate Θ0 ; Θi and Xi are, respectively, the values of prediction ratio and a model parameter
obtained in the ith measurement.
Unlike the confidence interval that assesses the mean prediction μΘ , the prediction inter-
val estimates the likely value of the deflection prediction Θ ∗ , meaning that (100 − α) % of
forecast predictions Θ would be inside the interval. As these predictions are associated with
310 Mech Time-Depend Mater (2013) 17:297–313

Table 7 Coefficients BΔ/X , % | SΔ/X , % (extremely high values are in bold)

Loading duration Compressive strength Load intensity Reinforcement ratio

Eurocode 2:2004 −1.1 | 0.0 4.7 | 0.2 7.2 | 1.0 −10.1 | 4.2
ACI 318:2008 32.7 | 2.5 −9.3 | 0.2 −63.3 | 16.2 18.7 | 3.1
ACI 435:2003 19.2 | 1.4 −4.0 | 0.0 −52.9 | 18.2 16.9 | 4.1
SP 52-101:2006 −53.7 | 15.7 −7.2 | 0.2 −12.8 | 1.6 −9.5 | 1.9
Proposed −17.2 | 2.5 −2.9 | 0.1 −3.1 | 0.1 −7.8 | 1.9

Table 8 Characteristics of the


prediction intervals Calculation technique Width, % Lower (unsafe)
min max bound, %

Eurocode 2:2004 348.1 363.8 −121.7


ACI 318:2008 934.5 1239.1 −940.5
ACI 435:2003 559.8 695.5 −518.2
SP 52-101:2006 434.7 507.5 −205.9
Proposed 388.7 400.0 −136.1

errors from the future observation, naturally, the prediction interval becomes wider than the
confidence interval. Analogously to Eq. (22), the prediction bounds Θpred,1 and Θpred,2 can
be given as

∗ 1 (X0 − mX )2
Θpred,1 ≤ Θ ≤ Θpred,2 ; Θpred,1(2) = Θ0 ± tα/2 (ν) · sΘ|X 1 + + n .
i=1 Xi − n · mX
n 2 2

(23)
As shown in Fig. 6, the confidence and prediction intervals for all the regression models
were calculated under the assumption of α = 5 %. The numerical parameters of the predic-
tion intervals are also given in Table 8.
Below the obtained results are discussed separately for each of the considered methods.
Eurocode 2:2004. On average it gives the deflection predictions overestimated by 29 %
(see mΔ in Table 6). Variation was the lowest among the methods (minimal value of the
coefficient of variation vΔ in Table 6). Reinforcement ratio has the most significant effect
on the accuracy: 4 % of Δ scatter can be attributed to the variation of p (see factor SΔ/p in
Table 7). Increase in p at an average of 1 % decreases Δ by 10 % (see BΔ/p in Table 7).
Other factors were less significant.
ACI 318-08. The technique demonstrates high dependence on loading intensity: deflections
are significantly underestimated at the load close to cracking, whereas the predictions im-
prove at higher load levels. On average they are overestimated by 13 % with standard devi-
ation as well as coefficient of variation being the highest among the studied methods. This
can be explained by the simplicity of the model (see Sect. 2.2). Variation in load intensity
is responsible for 16 % of scatter of the predictions. The precision is significantly affected
by the loading intensity. Moreover, it has been found to be time-dependent (BΔ/t = 63 %).
As can be observed from Fig. 6, the linear regression model is not adequate for high rein-
forcement ratio (p > 3 %). This might be associated with the extreme effect of restrained
Mech Time-Depend Mater (2013) 17:297–313 311

shrinkage causing stiffness degradation due to cracking prior to the external loading. How-
ever, this issue is of minor importance as such high values of p are rarely used for bending
members.
ACI 435R-95. Being more sophisticated with regard to the ACI 318-08, it gives more accu-
rate though qualitatively similar results.
SP 52-101:2006. On average deflections are overestimated by 5 %. The accuracy is signifi-
cantly affected by the loading duration: 16 % of the scatter can be attributed to the variation
of t (see factor SΔ/t ). This is due to the fact that the code disregards shrinkage and assumes
constant creep factor. With tenfold increase in t, Δ on average decreases by 54 % (see
factor BΔ/t ). Other factors have a less significant effect on the accuracy.
Proposed numerical technique (Bacinskas et al. 2012). The method gives the lowest stan-
dard deviation with safe (overestimated) average predictions (see Table 6). The precision
is slightly dependent on the load duration. Other factors are insignificant.
Location of the confidence and the prediction intervals (see Fig. 6) with respect to the
accurate forecast (Δ = 1) serves as a key factor of the analysis. A calculation method is
regarded as precise (with the 95 % probability) if its confidence intervals include the value
1 (see the “optimal modeling” zone in Fig. 6). Otherwise, in the authors’ view, the results
on the safe side (overestimated predictions, Δ > 1) are preferred considering the underes-
timation (Δ < 1) as unsafe. As can be observed from Fig. 6, precision of the ACI codes
varies significantly with change in load intensity improving when the bending moment M
increases (well captured results were obtained for M ≥ 2 · Mcr ). The SP 52-101 predictions
are found to be dependent on the loading duration, presenting safe results only at the early
ages (t ≤ 144 days).
The Eurocode 2 and the proposed technique present analogous results: unsafe predictions
are obtained only for the members with higher amount of reinforcement. Considering the
prediction intervals (which would contain 95 % of the forecasts), the Eurocode 2 and the
proposed numerical technique demonstrate the most accurate results with respect to the
other methods. As it can be observed from Table 8, these two methods have the smallest
width of the prediction intervals. They secure the safest prediction among all methods: the
lower prediction bound does not exceed 122 % underestimation for the Eurocode 2 and
136 % for the proposed numerical technique.

4 Conclusions

Analysis of the accuracy of long-term deflection predictions using some of the most widely
used design codes, and a numerical technique proposed by the authors, has been performed.
Long-term deflection predictions have been analyzed statistically using test data of 322 re-
inforced concrete flexural members reported in the literature. Effects of variation of loading
duration, compressive strength of concrete, loading level and reinforcement ratio on the
accuracy have been analyzed. The following conclusions can be drawn for each of the pre-
diction techniques:
Eurocode 2:2004. The deflections are overestimated securing safe predictions. Accuracy
decreases for reinforcement ratios above 2.77 %.
ACI 318-08 and ACI 435R-95. The methods produce unsafe prediction margins and lack
consistency. Variation in load intensity has a significant effect on the accuracy: the predic-
tions are on the safe side for bending moment M ≥ 2 · Mcr .
312 Mech Time-Depend Mater (2013) 17:297–313

SP 52-101:2006. Deflections are slightly overestimated, with an average value of 5 %. Ac-


curacy is significantly affected by loading duration with acceptable predictions at the early
stage (t ≤ 144 days).
Numerical technique. The technique has well captured the time-deflection behavior of re-
inforced concrete flexural members securing precise predictions. Unsafe predictions have
been obtained only for heavily reinforced members (p > 2.24 %).

Acknowledgements The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support provided by the Research
Council of Lithuania (Research Project MIP–083/2012). Viktor Gribniak wishes to acknowledge the support
by the Research Council of Lithuania for the Postdoctoral Fellowship granted within the framework of the
EU Structural Funds (Project “Postdoctoral Fellowship Implementation in Lithuania”). The authors also wish
to thank Prof. B. Espion, Université Libre de Bruxelles, for the kindly sent reference on selected test data.

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