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Effect of bond, aggregate interlock and dowel action on the shear strength
degradation of reinforced concrete

Article  in  Engineering Structures · February 2001

DOI: 10.1016/S0141-0296(00)00004-3

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Engineering Structures 23 (2001) 214–227

Effect of bond, aggregate interlock and dowel action on the shear

strength degradation of reinforced concrete
a,* b
B. Martı́n-Pérez , S.J. Pantazopoulou
Institute for Research in Construction, National Research Council, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 0R6
Department of Civil Engineering, Demokritus University of Thrace, Xanthi 67100, Greece

Received 21 June 1999; received in revised form 2 December 1999; accepted 29 December 1999


The macroscopic shear strength contribution of concrete in reinforced concrete members is supported by dowel action, aggregate
interlocking across tension-shear cracks and the tensile stress field that becomes mobilised in concrete through reinforcement con-
crete bond. The mechanics of this relationship are explored in this paper for the benefit of improved understanding of the degradation
of shear strength in reinforced concrete as a function of imposed deformation demand. The mathematical formulation uses the non-
linear smeared crack/smeared reinforcement approach to consider plane stress states in reinforced concrete elements. The critical
modelling assumption in assessing the concrete contribution to shear resistance was the representation of force transfer from bar
to concrete, which requires establishing equilibrium both at crack locations as well as in a global sense. The significance of this
modelling approach on the overall shear strength was evaluated by the comparison of computed results with those obtained from
the conventional model, wherein concrete participation is lumped artificially under the so-called ‘tension-stiffening’ property. From
this comparison the parametric dependence of tension stiffening on bar diameter, crack spacing and bond properties is illustrated.
Through the mathematical formulation it was possible to identify and highlight the effect that compression softening of the concrete
struts has on the contribution of the web reinforcement to shear resistance, which represents yet another source of globally observed
strength degradation. The proposed model was verified by comparison with experimental results and was subsequently used for
parametric investigation of the associated design problem.  2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Aggregate interlock; Bond; Concrete contribution; Dowel action; Shear design; Shear strength; Strength degradation

1. Introduction interpretation are still fraught with considerable debate.

For example, consensus is lacking as to the physical sig-
Recent trends towards developing a complete frame- nificance of the concrete contribution term, and to the
work for earthquake design of reinforced concrete (r.c.) mathematical description of tension-based sources of
members that is driven by assessing shear-strength and their relationship to strain intensity
displacement/deformation demands (rather than force and cyclic displacement history. In general, the available
demands) have forced the need to describe nominal expressions for shear strength are independent of the
strength and to detail requirements in terms of defor- magnitude of imposed deformation, leading to overly
mation. For most limit states of r.c., linking strength to conservative estimates of capacity for low levels of dis-
deformation is not an easy or straightforward task, placement ductility demand, and becoming increasingly
because it requires a valid physical model in order to unconservative as the displacement ductility demand
state in mathematical terms the relationship between the increases.
important design parameters. For the case of shear Except for a recent amendment in the Japanese Code
strength sources in r.c., most issues relating to physical [1,2], the effect of deformation demand on the primary
and secondary sources of resistance, which are supported
by the compression struts of the 45°-truss idealisation,
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +1-613-993-3788; fax: +1-613-954- has not been addressed in design codes. Conceptually,
5984. the degradation of shear strength n and of its individual
E-mail address: (B. Martı́n-Pérez). components nc and ns (concrete and steel contributions,

0141-0296/01/$ - see front matter  2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
PII: S 0 1 4 1 - 0 2 9 6 ( 0 0 ) 0 0 0 0 4 - 3
B. Martı́n-Pérez, S.J. Pantazopoulou / Engineering Structures 23 (2001) 214–227 215

respectively), with increasing deformation in r.c. mem- strength and the pattern of its degradation with increas-
bers undergoing cyclic loading, follows the qualitative ing deformation could be more transparent when the
pattern shown in Fig. 1(a) (taken from [3]). This model mechanical problem is studied through a consistent
has been verified by experiments and has been used by mathematical model. There is a vast amount of literature
researchers to define the nc term [4–8]. In most of the and diversity on the subject of modelling plane stress
above studies, the ns term was taken to be constant when states in r.c.; however, the basic framework of smeared
reducing the experimental data (this value being associa- models is now generally accepted as a successful model-
ted to yielding of the transverse reinforcement), thereby ling tool for concrete members where reinforcement has
attributing to nc whatever strength reduction is observed been detailed so as to provide adequate crack control. In
in the overall strength as a result of cyclic loads. It is, these models, stresses and strains are usually evaluated
however, debatable whether the strength of the 45°-truss in principal directions using equilibrium and kinematic
(the ns term) is indeed insensitive to deformation considerations. Principal stresses are calculated from
demand. Thus, resolving this point through modelling principal strains based on pertinent material constitutive
of the related mechanisms is a pre-requisite in properly relations that usually represent results from standard uni-
quantifying nc as well. axial compression/tension tests of concrete. For this rea-
Furthermore, the parametric dependence of shear son, softening in the basic constitutive relations is
directly reflected in the macroscopic scale in the calcu-
lated relationship between stress and strain resultants.
However, whereas in general terms all models will pre-
dict softening of shear resistance with increasing distor-
tion, the exact magnitude will vary between models
depending on the sensitivity of the constitutive relations
and the associated assumptions of the critical parameters
of the problem. With respect to the modelling pro-
cedures, controversy is focused on a number of issues,
ranging from the true relationship between angles of
principal stress and principal strain (the simplest option
is to use coincident principal axes for clarity of the for-
mulation, but other options include coincident directions
for principal incremental stress and strain, or setting the
principal strain axes in concrete coincident with the prin-
cipal directions of the boundary stresses); the source and
numerical definition of the residual tensile strength of
concrete (to avoid mesh dependency of the mathematical
problem, but to also reflect the size dependency of the
physical problem); and, the interpretation of the local
stress state at the crack.
In this paper non-linear analysis of r.c. membrane
elements using the basic ‘smeared’ stress/strain frame-
work was conducted to investigate how modelling the
different sources of shear strength might affect the com-
puted relationship between strength and deformation
demand. The parametric dependence of shear strength
degradation on several design variables was investigated
by the authors [9], where the residual sources of concrete
strength in tension were represented collectively by the
conventional ‘tension-stiffening’ model that lumps all
these mechanisms in an artificially large post-cracking
stiffness of cracked concrete [10]. It is the objective of
the present work to model explicitly the residual strength
mechanisms of concrete, namely mobilisation of tension
stress fields in concrete by bond-slip at the steel–con-
crete interface, dowel action of primary and secondary
Fig. 1. (a) ATC model for shear strength degradation (ATC 6-2, reinforcing bars crossing the crack planes, as well as
1983). (b)Truss analogy for the shear. (c) Free body equilibrium high- aggregate interlock at crack faces, while taking into
lighting the role of stirrups in the truss analogy. account the correct magnitude of post-cracking resist-
216 B. Martı́n-Pérez, S.J. Pantazopoulou / Engineering Structures 23 (2001) 214–227

ance of concrete in order to study the effect of these

phenomena on the global shear-strength/deformation
CSA [14]:
2. Shear design of prismatic members for 冑
n⫽fsns⫹fcnc⫽fsrnfy⫹fc0.20 f⬘c; fs⫽0.85, fc (1b)
earthquake resistance
The principle underlying the current design practice
is still motivated by the original truss analogy that was
advanced over a century ago by Ritter and Mörsch CEB/FIB [15]:
[11,12]. In the original truss, compression struts were
assumed inclined at 45°, whereas horizontal and vertical
reinforcement acted as tension ties (Fig. 1(b)). From the
nRd3⫽fnw⫹nc⫽0.9rnfy⫹l1nRd1; nRd1⫽ tRdK(1.2 冋 (1c)

equilibrium of the free body shown in Fig. 1(c), it fol-

lows that the nominal shear resistance associated with
yielding of the transverse reinforcement is Vn=nAsfy,
Ag 册
where n is the number of stirrups/ties intersecting a 45°-
crack (the crack is assumed to run parallel to the com-
pression strut), As is the total cross-sectional area of the Stress units are MPa. In Eqs. (1a) and (1b) the contri-
legs of a single transverse reinforcement layer inter- bution of the axial load P in the nc term is only con-
secting the crack plane, and fy is the yield stress of that sidered when compressive. The term tRd in Eq. (1c) is
reinforcement. (The nominal shear force is converted to the nominal shear resistance of the cross section at diag-
stress by dividing by the effective web area bwd.) Con- onal tension cracking, taken as one-quarter of the design
sidering that n=d/s, where s is the spacing of transverse tensile strength of concrete, which is in turn related to
reinforcement in the longitudinal direction of the mem- (f⬘c)2/3 (whereas the nominal shear strength at cracking
ber, it follows that the nominal resistance of the truss, in Eqs. (1a) and (1b) is related to √f⬘c.) The other vari-
nn, is nn=rnfy where rn is the ratio of vertical shear ables in Eq. (1c) are as follows: K accounts for the effect
reinforcement. of size of the cross section (K=1.6⫺dⱖ1 in m) and
Although understanding and modelling the mechanics rl⬍0.02 is the percentage of adequately anchored longi-
of shear in r.c. has advanced greatly from the time when tudinal tension reinforcement in the cross section of
the above result was first established, the various code interest. Parameter l1 regulates the magnitude of con-
design equations that have been adopted over the years crete contribution depending on the proximity of the
may be viewed as variations of the same basic theme cross section to a plastic hinge zone and the magnitude
expressed by the Ritter–Mörsch equation. Because the of the axial compression acting on it, i.e., l1=1 every-
estimate nn=rnfy has been shown by experiments to be where outside the critical regions of beams and columns,
too conservative, nn is enhanced in most design codes whereas within the critical regions l1=0.9 for Pⱖ
today by an additional empirical term nc, so-called ‘con- 0.1Agf⬘c/gc (with gc=1.5) and l1=0.3 for smaller axial
crete-contribution’, that is meant to account collectively loads (these values apply to earthquake design only,
for the participation, in the actual function of the truss, otherwise l1 is always 1). In comparison, in earthquake
of several secondary sources of resistance in r.c., such design the ACI and CSA Codes neglect the concrete
as aggregate interlock, dowel action of reinforcement contribution entirely for P⬍0.05Agf⬘c and P⬍0.1Agf⬘c,
crossing the crack planes, restraint in the form of com- respectively, but account for the value of Eq. (1a) and
pressive axial load, transfer of stress from reinforcement half the value of Eq. (1b), respectively, for higher values
to concrete through bond, and the residual tensile of axial load.
strength of concrete. The empiricism necessarily The truss analogy is valid provided the diagonal struts
involved in expressing the concrete contribution nc in have adequate compressive strength to support the forces
mathematical terms has led to different expressions for that develop in the longitudinal and transverse reinforce-
nc in different codes. For example, the ACI Code [13], ment. For this reason, all codes limit implicitly or
the simplified method in the CSA Standard [14], and explicitly the design shear n by a lower bound estimate
the CEB/FIB Model Code [15], respectively, propose the of the force required to crush the diagonal struts, i.e.,
following basic equations for the design shear strength n:
ACI [13]:
ACI [13]:

冉 冊
nsⱕ0.66 f⬘c (2a)

n⫽f(ns⫹nc)⫽frnfy⫹f0.17 f⬘c 1⫹
;f (1a)
B. Martı́n-Pérez, S.J. Pantazopoulou / Engineering Structures 23 (2001) 214–227 217

CSA [14]: regions of frame and shear wall elements, this sensitivity

of shear resistance to deformation may dramatically
fsnsⱕ0.8fc f⬘c; fs⫽0.85,fc⫽0.6 (2b) affect the realisation of the design objectives. Note that
in adequately detailed, under-reinforced frame members,
flexural response is very ductile, i.e., flexural resistance
CEB/FIB [15]:
may be sustained with minimal or no degradation up to
冉 冊
nⱕnRd2⫽0.9 l2f⬘c/gc ; gc⫽1.5, l2⫽0.7⫺
excessively large curvatures. In such a case the design
shear Vf=Mf/L, where L is the length of the shear span,
is insensitive to displacement demand, particularly if the
ⱖ0.5 shear span is slender (⬎3d, where d is the static depth
of the beam’s cross section). In contrast, as the imposed
deformation increases, the shear strength Vn decreases
rapidly due to diagonal cracks extending normal to the
In Eq. (2c) the resistance nRd2 is reduced if there is axial principal tensile stress field and due to the subsequent
compression on the cross section, in order to account for widening of these cracks, a circumstance that eventually
the weakening influence it has on the residual compress- leads to reversal of the inequality Vn⬎Vf, despite the
ive strength of the web. Coefficient l2 in Eq. (2c) reflects initial intentions of the design (Fig. 2). In a recent study
the reduction in concrete compressive strength due to it has been suggested that shear failure is likely in shear
the weakening influence of cracks due to tension in the walls where the shear force required to cause flexural
orthogonal principal direction. According to the AIJ hinging is greater than 60% of the nominal shear resist-
Code [1], further reduction from this reference value of ance [16].
l2 is necessary to capture the strength loss in plastic
hinge regions of earthquake resistant members (i.e.,
l2⬘=t2l2, where the reduction factor r2 is a function of
4. Sources of shear strength
the lateral drift d in radians, i.e., r2=1⫺15d for d⬍5%,
and r2=0.25 for d⬎5%).
It was mentioned in the preceding section that shear
resistance in r.c. comprises a primary contribution rep-
resented by the truss analogy, and a secondary compo-
3. Effect of damage on shear strength

All of the preceding definitions of shear strength (Eqs.

(1a, 1b, 1c, 2a, 2b and 2c)), and in particular, the con-
crete contribution component nc, explicitly rely on mech-
anisms of tensile resistance (marked by the root powers
of f⬘c) that degrade and eventually break down with
increasing crack width. Yet, these expressions are
entirely insensitive to parameters that would characterise
the width of cracks and the level of damage in the mem-
bers, such as for example the intensity of deformation
demand and the number of imposed cycles in earthquake
loading. Similarly, the compressive strength of the diag-
onal struts (appearing either implicitly or explicitly in
Eqs. (2a, 2b and 2c)) is affected by the presence of paral-
lel cracks (i.e., softening due to orthogonal tensile strain
[10]). Through nodal equilibrium, the force that could
be developed in the longitudinal and transverse ties of
the idealised truss is directly related to the force magni-
tude of the diagonal compression strut. Therefore, propa-
gation and widening of cracks not only affects the nc
term, but also the integrity and load carrying capacity of
the overall truss mechanism as that is expressed through
the ns term in Eqs. (2a) and (2b) and through the nRd2
term in Eq. (2c).
In seismic design, where the aim is to control the Fig. 2. Relationship between nominal shear capacity, Vn and shear
location and type of damage by controlling the relative demand, Vf: (a) Calculation of Vf; (b) variation of Vn and Vf with defor-
magnitudes of flexural and shear strengths in the critical mation demand.
218 B. Martı́n-Pérez, S.J. Pantazopoulou / Engineering Structures 23 (2001) 214–227

nent that collectively represents all other contributing steel stresses at a crack from their smeared average
mechanisms, namely: values is usually attributed to the so-called ‘tension-stiff-
ening’ mechanism, which stands for the increase in stiff-
(a) Bond of reinforcement to concrete and the ten- ness of the tensile reinforcement effected by the contri-
sile stress field mobilised in the concrete mass bution of concrete. Tension stiffening is often described
surrounding the reinforcement through this by the post-peak branch of the uniaxial tension stress–
interaction. strain curve that models the behaviour in the principal
(b) Residual diagonal tensile strength of cracked tensile direction, i.e., it is usually considered as the
concrete. residual tensile strength of cracked concrete [10]. Nat-
(c) Dowel action of reinforcement intersecting the urally, the actual residual tensile strength in concrete is
inclined cracks. orders of magnitude smaller than what the tension-stiff-
(d) Friction between crack faces and aggregate ening models assume, but what causes such a relatively
interlock. slow rate of decay in tests of r.c. specimens is the bond
of reinforcement to concrete. Recently published ‘ten-
Despite the obvious significance bond has in determining sion-stiffening’ relationships have the form [10,19]:
the response of r.c. to shear stress, in the vast majority
of specimens used for the systematic study of shear in fc1⫽

r.c. these have been tested with reinforcement and con- 1+ Bec1
crete clamped at the ends, thereby ensuring compatibility
of deformations in a smeared sense [17,18]. This is an where fc1 is the post-cracking principal tensile stress in
important point of difference between experiments and concrete, ec1 is the co-axial tensile strain, and B is an
the actual circumstances that occur in plastic hinges of empirical constant (B ranges between 200 and 500
structural members, wherein global bond-slip may domi- [10,19], as experimental values differ from one test ser-
nate the load–deformation response, the redistribution of ies to another). Thus, the commonly accepted models for
stress, and the rate of strength degradation. tension stiffening are unnaturally insensitive to design
For a uniform stress field (as in most experiments on parameters known to affect the concrete-reinforcing bar
r.c. panels, [17,18]), reinforcement stresses at all parallel interaction (e.g., bar size, length of bar over which trans-
crack faces are constant throughout the specimen; these fer takes place, degree of transverse confinement, bond
reduce to an intermediate value between cracks due to strength). Therefore, though tension stiffening is an
bond transfer (Fig. 3). The ensuing difference between indirect way of modelling the bond, it cannot realisti-
cally account for the bond-slip action that occurs along
the anchored reinforcement. (This is the most likely rea-
son why tests from different investigators point to such
vastly different values for the post-cracking stiffness as
expressed through Eq. (3).) Furthermore, the post-crack-
ing stiffness required to match experimental results using
the tension-stiffening modelling option is unnaturally
high, the residual tensile strength also being attributed
implicitly to all the mechanisms, (a)–(d), mentioned pre-
viously. In the following sections these mechanisms are
modelled explicitly in order to provide a vehicle for the
study of their influence on the computed shear strength.

5. Analytical modelling of stress-states involving


The mechanics of r.c. shear behaviour were estab-

lished here from the equilibrium and compatibility con-
siderations of a simple r.c. element, whose deformation
is primarily characterised by in-plane shear distortion gxy
and where material stresses are approximated by a state
of plane stress (Fig. 4). With no loss of generality, it
was assumed that the element considered has an orthog-
Fig. 3. Variation of reinforcement stress and bond stress between onal grid of reinforcement in directions x and y, parallel
successive cracks. to the element boundaries and uniformly distributed in
B. Martı́n-Pérez, S.J. Pantazopoulou / Engineering Structures 23 (2001) 214–227 219

Fig. 4. Membrane element: (a) externally applied stresses; (b) average strains; (c) definition of terms cqx, cqy, and d; (d) average stresses; (e) local
stresses at a crack.

each principal reinforcing direction (under this condition crete at every point over the element were described by
it is possible to assume that cracks are smeared over the the second-order tensors:

冉 冊 冉 冊
element). It was further assumed that the crack planes
coincide with planes of maximum normal tensile strain, ex 0.5gxy fcx nxy
ẽ⫽ s̃⫽ (4)
and that cracked concrete behaves as an orthotropic 0.5gxy ey nxy fcy
material with the material axes being oriented along the
direction of principal stress. The direction of principal In Eq. (4), fcx and fcy are the average concrete stresses
strain was assumed to coincide with the direction of in the x and y directions, respectively, and nxy the shear
principal stress. For specified normal boundary stresses stress. The above obey all the characteristic properties
nx, and ny, the progressive evolution of the shear stress of a second-order tensor (e.g., they possess invariants,
nxy that develops in the element in response to an eigenvalues (principal values) and eigenvectors
imposed history of shear distortion gxy was determined. (principal directions), and obey coordinate
The states of average stress and average strain in con- transformations). The convention used here is tension
220 B. Martı́n-Pérez, S.J. Pantazopoulou / Engineering Structures 23 (2001) 214–227

positive. With fsx and fsy representing the average axial sponding bar diameters in the two principal reinforcing
stresses in the reinforcement, consideration of global directions, respectively. Average diagonal crack spacing
equilibrium with the normal boundary stresses yields along the principal tensile direction is given by [19]:

冉 冊
(Fig. 4):
1 l Dbx
nx⫽fcx⫹rxfsx; ny⫽fcy⫹ryfsy (5) cq⫽ ; sx⫽2 c⫹ ⫹0.25k1 (7)
sin q cos q 10 rx
where rx and ry are the reinforcement ratios in the x sx sy
and y directions, respectively (neglecting the reduction where q is the direction of average principal compressive
in concrete area of concrete due to the presence of the stress measured from the x-axis, sx and sy are the average
reinforcing bars). crack spacings that would result if the member was sub-
The kinematic relationship between deformations of jected to mere tension along the x and y axes, respect-
concrete and steel (a compatibility requirement) is usu- ively, k1 is 0.4 for deformed bars and 0.8 for plain bars,
ally defined by means of an interaction model for the c is the maximum distance from the reinforcement cross-
two materials, where bond-slip is modelled explicitly. In ing the crack plane, and l is the maximum spacing
this case, kinematics require compatibility between between the reinforcing bars (⬍15Dbx) [15].
strains in the reinforcement, slip, and average strains in The free body diagrams illustrated in Fig. 4(d, e) show
concrete. An additional equation is needed to state equi- the average stresses of the element and the local stresses
librium between average bond stress and average and that occur at a crack, respectively. The principal plane
local stresses in the reinforcement. Tension stiffening is was defined here from average stresses, i.e., the average
inconsistent with this modelling approach, and hence, shear stress component vanishes. However, at the crack
the descending branch of the tensile stress–strain plane, shear is transferred by means of aggregate inter-
relationship of concrete is taken to be several orders of lock, nagg, and by dowel action of the reinforcing bars,
magnitude steeper than what is used in conventional fdx and fdy (fdx is the dowel shear stress along the x-axis).
models [10,19], because now this property only rep- The two stress states illustrated in Fig. 4(d, e) are stati-
resents progressive microcracking. cally equivalent. By summing the components of the
stresses normal to the crack direction it follows that:
fc1⫽sin2 q[rx(f cr
sx⫺fsx)⫹ryfdy]⫹cos q[ry(f sy⫺fsy)
2 cr
6. Local equilibrium at crack locations
At crack locations, tensile stresses in concrete are By substitution of Eq. (6) into Eq. (8a), the principal
zero, and all the tension must be carried by the reinforc- tensile stress takes the form given by Eq. (8b). Thus, in
ing bars. While tensile stresses in the reinforcement order to ensure local equilibrium at the cracks, the prin-
crossing the cracks are higher than the average values cipal average tensile stress in concrete given by Eq. (8b),

obtained from the constitutive relations, the stresses in
cqx cqy
the reinforcement between cracks are lower than the fc1⫽sin2 q[rx fbx⫹ryfdy]⫹cos2 q ry fby (8b)
average values (Fig. 3). This non-uniform distribution of Dbx Dby
stresses along the reinforcing bars is important because
the load-carrying capacity of the cracked structural
member may be governed by the reinforcement’s ability
⫹rxfdx 册
to transmit stresses along the anchorage length, as well must be less or equal at all times than the corresponding
as across the cracks. It was assumed here that bond value that is specified through the constitutive relation-
stresses are distributed uniformly between cracks, ship. This implies that the envelope of the constitutive
whereas the average reinforcement stress value matches relationship for post-cracking tension of r.c. is controlled
the actual stress in the bar at the quarter points within by the characteristics of the bond and dowel action. As
the crack spacing (Fig. 3). By establishing equilibrium an extension to the above, note that for tension-stiffening
along the bar segment bound by two consecutive cracks, modelling purposes, the residual tensile stress in any
the stress in the reinforcement, fsxcr, at crack locations is principal direction may be calculated from Eq. (8b).
obtained as a function of the average reinforcement Hence, any decay with an increasing value of strain must
stress value, fsx, and the intensity of bond stress, fbx, be linked to the associated degradation of the bond and
(similarly for the y direction): dowel action.
cqx cqy
f cr f ; f cr ⫽f ⫹ f (6) 7. Constitutive relations
Dbx bx sy sy Dby by
where cqx and cqy represent the x and y projections of The softening behaviour of concrete under cyclic
the crack spacing (Fig. 4(c)), and Dbx and Dby the corre- compression, as well as the tensile/compressive behav-
B. Martı́n-Pérez, S.J. Pantazopoulou / Engineering Structures 23 (2001) 214–227 221

iour of steel reinforcement under reversed cyclic loading, Hence, the resulting average bond stresses along the x
were modelled following the same procedure as that and y directions are estimated from:
used earlier by the authors [9], which relied on a ‘ten-
Dbs t Dby t
sion-stiffening’ model (also see Fig. 5). Components of fbx⫽ Esesx; fby⫽ Ee (9)
the constitutive response used in the present work, which 4cqx 4cqy s sy
depart radically from that classical ‘smeared model’, are where Ets is the tangent modulus of the average stress–
described below. strain curve of the reinforcing steel (dfs/des), which was
obtained by differentiation of the associated mathemat-
7.1. Constitutive model for bond ical form [20]. The envelope of the bond-slip response
was defined by the monotonic response curve shown in
A simple average bond stress/strain relationship was Fig. 6(a), which was obtained according to Eq. (9). The
adopted to simulate the stress attenuation in steel with unloading path followed two linear segments: the first
increasing distance from a crack (Fig. 6). From the equi- with a slope equal to Es, the elastic modulus of steel,
librium of an infinitesimal segment of an embedded bar i.e., fb=Es(es⫺xo) for 兩es兩⬎兩xo兩; the second segment with
of length dl, the bond stress was evaluated as zero slope (fb=0 for 兩es兩⬍兩xo兩). Upon reloading, the path
fb=0.25Db(dfs/des)(des/dl) (Fig. 3), i.e., the bond demand followed was the same as under unloading conditions
on concrete is a function of the average stress and strain, until the envelope was reached again, i.e., there was no
fs, es, in the reinforcement. For the sake of simplicity, additional energy dissipation in this phase of the
the rate of change in strain along the length of the bar, response.
des/dl, was approximated here by the average strain in
the reinforcement normalised by the crack spacing in the 7.2. Concrete in tension
direction of the reinforcing bar (cqx or cqy respectively).
The relationship between average principal tensile
stress fc1 and average principal tensile strain ec1 in con-
crete was assumed to be linear-elastic prior to cracking,
with a slope equal to Ec. After cracking (i.e., ec1⬎
f⬘t/Ec, f⬘t being the concrete tensile strength, taken here
as 0.33√f⬘c) the response was assumed to follow a linear
strain-softening branch (Fig. 6(b)). The softening modu-
lus Et depends on the fracture energy Gf, which is
defined as the energy dissipation due to localised crack-
ing per unit length of fracture and corresponds to the area
under the stress–strain curve [21]. The fracture energy
is considered a material property of concrete and was
determined here by means of an empirical relationship
proposed by Bazant and Oh [22]:
Gf⫽(2.72⫹3.10ft⬘)ft⬘2 N/mm (10)
where da is the maximum aggregate size in the mix. Note
that in using the fracture energy as a cracking criterion,
it is necessary to adjust the average stress–strain relation
of concrete in tension so as to ensure the same energy
dissipation Gf for any crack spacing cq (to avoid the
problem of dependency of the analysis results on the
choice of crack spacing). By equating the product of the
area under the uniaxial tensile stress–strain curve and the
crack spacing cq to the fracture energy Gf [21], the ulti-
mate strain eu is calculated as (Fig. 6(b)):
e u⫽ (11)
Under cyclic loading, an open crack was assumed to
Fig. 5. Material models under cyclic load reversals: (a) concrete in have closed when the principal strain across it became
compression and tension; (b) steel. compressive, and, consequently, the concrete was able
222 B. Martı́n-Pérez, S.J. Pantazopoulou / Engineering Structures 23 (2001) 214–227

Fig. 6. (a) Averaged bond-stress/axial strain relationship; (b) tension stress–strain curve in plain concrete; (c) in-plane shear stress due to aggregate
interlock; (d) unloading–reloading path; (e) dowel force versus transverse displacement relationship; (f) definition of dowel displacement.

to transmit compression loads in that direction again. crack surfaces and dowel action of the reinforcing bars
The crack was assumed to reopen again when the princi- crossing the crack planes. Based on experimental data it
pal strain normal to it became tensile. was established that the shear stiffness of these mech-
anisms decays rapidly after cracking. In this work, shear
7.3. Shear interface stress due to aggregate interlocking nagg was formulated
explicitly as an inverse function of the principal tensile
At crack locations, in-plane shear transfer was strain ec1, which is an indicator of the actual crack width.
accomplished through aggregate interlock of the rough The proposed expression Eq. (12) was calibrated with
B. Martı́n-Pérez, S.J. Pantazopoulou / Engineering Structures 23 (2001) 214–227 223

shear panel tests [17] to obtain the values given in the the bar and a crushing zone in the concrete under the
right-hand term (F represents the shear strength at crack- dowel:
ing and a is a normalising constant, Fig. 6(c)):

Fdu⫽1.30D2b f⬘cfy(1−A2) (N) (16)
F 0.1342×10−3Ec
nagg⫽ ⫽ (12) with A the ratio of applied axial force to the yield axial
ec1 ec1
1+ 1+ force of the bar with diameter Db. From experimental
a 0.0018
evidence it is known that axial tension in the bars close
Eq. (12) defines the envelope of the aggregate interlock to yielding adversely affects the dowel resistance
cyclic response adopted here. Unloading from the envel- (causing a reduction in dowel stiffness and bending
ope was defined by two linear segments with slopes En1 capacity [23]). This is why Eq. (16) results in zero dowel
and En2 (Fig. 6(d)), where En1 is the initial tangent modu- capacity for rebar forces equal or exceeding yield (A⬎1).
lus of the proposed shear stress/principal tensile strain With regards to the initial stiffness, the following
relationship (En1=0.1342×10⫺3 Ec), and En2 is given as: expressions were adopted from the literature [24,25]:
0.1342×10−3Ec Ki⫽0.166K 0.75
f D1.75
b Es
(N/mm); (17)
max ·En1 (13)
c1 −nagg

Kf⫽127b f⬘c (N/mm3); Es⫽200 GPa
with emax
1 the maximum principal tensile strain that con- Db
crete has undergone in a given direction and nmax agg the
where Kf is the foundation stiffness of concrete and b is
maximum in-plane shear stress developed in that direc-
a coefficient ranging from 0.6 for a clear bar spacing
tion. Reloading towards the envelope followed the slope
of 25.4 mm to 1.0 for larger bar spacings. The dowel
of the straight line that passes through the points in the
displacement ⌬ that is used in Eq. (15) is the component
stress–strain curve corresponding to the maximum
of crack width w in the direction normal to the reinforc-
(emax min
c1 ) and minimum (ec1 ) principal tensile strains that
ing bar (w=cqec1, with the crack spacing cq as calculated
the r.c. element has undergone in the previous cycle, i.e.,
from Eq. (7)). Thus (Fig. 6(f)),
agg −vagg
nmax min
agg ⫹Er(ec1⫺ec1 ); Er⫽ max
(14) ⌬x⫽w sin q;⌬y⫽w cos q (18)
ec1 −ec1

Eq. (15) was used as the envelope of the dowel response

where nmin
agg is the minimum in-plane shear already curve. Unloading from the envelope followed a straight
developed in a given direction. line with stiffness Ki (the initial stiffness) up to zeroing
of the dowel force; at that point bars were assumed to
7.4. Dowel action of reinforcement act as dowels in the opposite direction following the
envelope (Eq. (15)) in that direction. Reloading followed
The primary mechanism of resistance against sliding a straight line with slope depending on the maximum
shear failure after the breakdown of aggregate interlock and minimum dowel shear displacements attained in the
is the dowel action of the reinforcing bars. Although it previous cycle (Fig. 6(e)), i.e.,
has been suggested that dowel strength across a shear
d −Fd
Fmax min
plane is owing to a combination of direct shear, kinking Fd⫽Fmin
d ⫽Er(⌬⫺⌬min); Er⫽ max (19)
and flexure of the reinforcing bars, Millard and Johnson ⌬ −⌬min
[23] have illustrated that flexure of the bars predomi- with ⌬min and ⌬max the minimum and maximum trans-
nates, since there is a significant amount of deformation verse displacements that the dowel bar has undergone,
in the underlying concrete cover. A physical model for and Fmin
d and Fmax
d the minimum and maximum dowel
dowel bars embedded in concrete after cracking is that shear forces developed previously in the bar.
of a beam resting on an elastic foundation (the concrete
representing the flexible foundation). The following
load–deformation response for dowel bars was adopted 8. Establishing the shear resistance of cracked
in this study [23]: concrete

冋 冉 冊册
Fd⫽Fdu 1⫺exp
(15) 8.1. According to the proposed model

where Fd is the dowel force at a shear displacement By establishing global equilibrium in terms of local
across the crack equal to ⌬ (Fig. 6(e)), Fdu is the ultimate stresses developed along the crack interface, bond,
dowel force, and Ki is the initial dowel stiffness. To aggregate interlock and dowel action are introduced
evaluate Fdu, a simple limit analysis model was used explicitly (see free-body diagrams in Fig. 4(d, e)). Thus,
assuming simultaneous formation of a plastic hinge in the shear stress nxy of the r.c. element is evaluated from:
224 B. Martı́n-Pérez, S.J. Pantazopoulou / Engineering Structures 23 (2001) 214–227

nxy⫽nagg⫹rxfdx⫹cot qryf cr
sy⫺cot qny (20) however, here the concrete shear contribution nc is
defined as the shear resisted by the tensile stresses car-
Although angle q defines the principal plane in terms
ried by cracked concrete as given by the tension-stiffen-
of average stresses (an assumption of the model), the
ing model.
introduction of shear stresses at the crack implies that
this direction changes when local conditions are con-
sidered. By substituting Eq. (6) into Eq. (20), the shear
resistance nxy becomes: 9. Discussion of the various definitions for nc

nxy⫽ nagg⫹rxfdx⫹cot q ry冉 cqy
f ⫺n
Dby by y 冊册 According to Eqs. (21) and (22), the explicit math-
ematical description of the concrete contribution term is
⫹[cot qryfsy]⫽nc⫹np⫹ns; nc⫽nagg⫹rxfdx (21) dependent on the underlying assumptions of the formu-
lation adopted and, thus, it is biased to reflect the pos-
cqy ition of the individual researcher in the ongoing debate
⫹cot qry f
Ddy by about the issue [26–28]. Still, the universally acknowl-
edged role for the nc term is that it collectively represents
The truss mechanism contribution to shear resistance,
all unaccounted for sources of residual shear resistance
ns=cot qryfsy, maintains the same form as given by the
supplied by the concrete in the form of bond (or tension
standards, although expressed in terms of average
stiffening), aggregate interlock and dowel action. Note
stresses. However, the nc term is now explicitly related
that the truss component ns, in Eqs. (21) and (22) must
to aggregate interlock, dowel action, and the bond mech-
be equilibrated by the stresses developed in the concrete
anism. Note the increase in the nxy term when compress-
struts and can therefore be expressed as:
ive normal boundary stresses ny (axial loads) are applied,
marked by the np component in Eq. (21) (np=⫺ ryfsy⫽(sin2 q⫺1)fc1⫺sin2 qfc2⫹ny (23)
cot qny, ny⬍0 for compression); it is recalled that this
term has been acknowledged explicitly by both the ACI where fc1 (Eqs. (8a) and (8b)) and fc2 are the average
[13] and CEB/FIP [15] Codes in Eqs. (1a) and (1c), principal tensile and compressive stresses in concrete,
through the terms 0.17√f⬘c(P/14Ag) and 0.15 l1(P/Ag), respectively. According to Eq. (23), the truss contri-
respectively. bution to shear resistance depends on the principal com-
pressive stress, fc2, which, however, is limited by soften-
8.2. The significance of alternate assumptions for q ing due to parallel cracking [10,19] (fc2 max=f⬘c/(0.8⫺
It was assumed here that the direction of principal
average stresses and principal average strains coincide,
allowing angle q to rotate. Alternative formulations 10. Analytical results
assume that the principal strain axes in concrete coincide
with the principal directions of the applied boundary The shear stress nxy required to resist a given angle
stresses [26–28]. If this assumption is considered, the of shear distortion gxy was calculated from Eqs. (4, 5,
mathematical form of Eq. (21) would remain the same, 8a, 8b) and (21) using an incremental iterative algorithm
except now q would be given by the initial crack pattern [29]. At the first step, starting values for the algorithm
resulting from the boundary stresses. were obtained by solving the associated linear-elastic
problem (assuming that in the beginning concrete is iso-
8.3. Shear resistance according to the tension- tropic and untracked):

再冎 再 冎再冎
stiffening model
ex −1
1−n2c 1+rxEs nc nx
⫽ (24)
Alternatively, by representing the mechanism of shear ey Ec nc 1+ryEs ny
resistance at the crack interface through the tension-stiff-
ening model [9,10] and neglecting local conditions at For all subsequent steps, starting values for ex and ey
crack locations, the shear stress nxy is calculated in terms were the last converged values from the previous cycle.
of average stresses from the equilibrium of the free body Specifically for the case of pure shear (nx=ny=0), the
shown in Fig. 4(c): elastic problem becomes homogeneous and no unique
solution can be obtained from Eq. (24). In this special
nxy⫽cot q(fc1⫺ny)⫹cot qryfsy⫽nc⫹np⫹ns; (22) case, starting values for ex and ey were obtained
assuming cracked concrete (fc1=0), in which case the
nc⫽cot qfc1
angle of inclination of principal tensile strain, along with
The shear contribution of the truss component, ns, as the needed values for ex and ey, are obtained from the
well as the np term, remain the same as in Eq. (21); tensorial properties of the stress and strain tensors of r.c.:
B. Martı́n-Pérez, S.J. Pantazopoulou / Engineering Structures 23 (2001) 214–227 225

1 modelling assumptions by crushing of the concrete struts

1+ and hence by the load carrying capacity of the overall
nr Es gxy
; n⫽ ; ex⫽ (cot q⫺tan q)⫹ey;
tan4q⫽ (25) truss mechanism (Eq. (23)). This was further explored
1 Ec 2
1+ by modelling the cyclic shear problem on the basis of
Eq. (23) as illustrated in Fig. 8, in which the change in
gxy cot q−tan q the angle of the compressive struts q is plotted against
ey⫽ ductility mg for various reinforcement ratios ry (rx was
2 ry
tan2 q −1 kept constant at 1.00%). The ductility index mg was
defined here as the maximum shear strain attained up to
(for rx=ry, ey=⫺gxy/2, based on L’Hospital’s rule). the point considered in the displacement history normal-
To illustrate the effect of the two alternative modelling ised by the shear strain corresponding to the first yielding
approaches, the monotonic envelope results obtained of the reinforcement in either direction. It is observed
from Eqs. (21) and (22) were compared for a r.c. panel from the graph that the angle q decreases with increasing
with f⬘c=45 MPa, eo=0.002, fyx=fyy=500 MPa, mg when the r.c. element is heavily reinforced in one
rx=ry=1.0%, and subjected to pure shear conditions (i.e., direction compared to the other. As the crack planes
nx=ny=0). Fig. 7 illustrates the calculated shear stress nxy become flatter with increasing ductility demand, the truss
versus shear strain gxy for both cases. Although the contribution to shear resistance, as given by ns, will be
response given by Eq. (21) is much higher before crack- limited by softening of the diagonal compression struts.
ing occurs (note that stresses here are given in terms of
local values instead of average ones), the total responses
in both cases follow the same trend (cracked and failed 11. Sensitivity analysis
at the same values of gxy). However, when the different
contributions to shear resistance are separated, the calcu- To investigate the response of the model to different
lated responses for nc are quite different in both cases. input parameters, the model was used to correlate experi-
Consideration of local conditions at crack locations pro- mental results obtained from a series of r.c. panel tests
vides a more realistic interpretation of the physical [17]. All specimens had standardised dimensions 890
behaviour of r.c. Note that the contribution of aggregate mm square by 70 mm thick. Experimental variables
interlock to nc is definitely larger at low values of gxy, were: the uniaxial compressive strength f⬘c, the strain eo
whereas dowel action becomes significant after cracking at peak uniaxial stress, the amounts and yield stresses of
towards the latter stages of loading, both results being the longitudinal and transverse reinforcement rx, ry, fyx,
entirely consistent with familiar experimental obser- fyy, and the type of load condition examined in the tests,
vation. It is also apparent from Fig. 7 that the concrete namely, pure shear (PS), combined shear and biaxial
contribution to shear strength decreases with increasing compression (SBC) and combined shear and biaxial ten-
deformation values. The difference between the steel sion (SBT). From this series of tests (30 in total), panel
components in both cases is due to the contribution of PV22, tested in pure shear, was chosen as a reference
bond stresses in the first approach when calculating local case to study the sensitivity of the model. This panel had
stresses in the reinforcement crossing the crack. properties: f⬘c=19.5 MPa, eo=0.002, fyx=458 MPa,
It is worth noting that the ultimate shear strength of fyy=420 MPa, rx=1.785%, ry=1.524%, da=10 mm, and
the panel represented in Fig. 7 is limited under both had failed by compression crushing of concrete. Corre-

Fig. 7. Calculated shear stress nxy versus shear strain gxy according Fig. 8. Influence of ry on q with increasing ductility mg (rx was kept
to Eq. (21) (bond model) and Eq. (22) (tension-stiffening model). constant at 1%).
226 B. Martı́n-Pérez, S.J. Pantazopoulou / Engineering Structures 23 (2001) 214–227

10 the y-axis represents the estimated shear strength nor-

malised with respect to √f⬘c, whereas the x-axis is the
shear distortion g0..5 at 50% strength degradation.) The
arrows indicate the directions of change in nmax
xy and g0..5
as a particular design variable is increased. With the
exception of f⬘c, an increase in any of the variables stud-
ied causes an increase in the shear capacity of the r.c.
element. The shear strain g0..5 increases with an increase
in either f⬘c or eo. The reverse effect is seen with an
increase in the amount of reinforcement (addition of
reinforcement renders failure by crushing of the concrete
struts, the more likely mode of failure). The variables
affecting the shear transfer at crack locations (a and Kf)
do not have a direct influence on the deformation
capacity of the element, but they cause an increase in
Fig. 9. Correlation of experimental and analytical values for PV22. initial stiffness and strength.

lation of measured response with the analytical model 12. Conclusions

is illustrated in Fig. 9, along with the sensitivity of the The dependence of shear resistance of r.c. elements
calculated response to alternative values of f⬘c. The on deformation demand was investigated in this paper
model also appeared to correlate well with all panels of by means of a non-linear smeared-crack/smeared-
the experimental study, regardless of the failure mech- reinforcement plain-stress model. Cracked concrete was
anism involved (yield of reinforcement or crushing of treated as an orthotropic material, with the material axes
concrete). Other design variables considered in the para- being oriented along the directions of principal stresses.
metric sensitivity investigation were: eo which ranged In a global sense the model is formulated in terms of
from 0.0018 to 0.003; fyy which ranged from 250 to 450 average stresses and average strains, but local equilib-
MPa; ry which was varied from 0.25 to 2%; the aggre- rium at crack locations was also enforced explicitly. This
gate interlock variable a, which was varied from 0.0005 was achieved by modelling the mechanics of load trans-
to 0.005; and, the dowel action parameter that character- fer through reinforcement concrete bond between cracks,
ises the stiffness of the concrete cover, Kf, which was and through aggregate interlock and dowel action at the
varied from 100 to 500 N/mm3. The effect that these crack faces. Results of the formulation were compared
variables have on the shear strength and deformation with those of conventional models that use a tension-
capacity of the r.c. element are summarised in Fig. 10. stiffening idealisation to implicitly account for the above
The reference case, panel PV22, with a=0.0018 and mentioned sources of secondary resistance in concrete.
Kf=170 N/mm3 is represented by the common point of Thus, it was possible to establish the parametric depen-
the intersecting lines. Its peak strength was estimated as dence of the tension stiffening property (i.e., the post-
xy =1.54√f⬘c and the corresponding shear distortion was
nmax cracking stiffness of r.c.), which was fraught with con-
7.3×10⫺3, whereas shear distortion g0..5, corresponding siderable empiricism, to reinforcing bar diameter, bond
to a 50% loss in shear strength, was 8.1×10⫺3. (In Fig. strength, dowel strength, and aggregate interlock. Com-
parisons between both approaches revealed that, even
when tension stiffening is properly calibrated so that the
estimated shear strengths from the two models are in
agreement, definitions of the individual components of
shear resistance, namely the concrete and steel contri-
butions, were dependent upon the modelling assump-
tions adopted. It was observed from the analytical results
that shear strength degradation occurs because of the
reduction of the nc term with increasing imposed defor-
mation and because of the limitation of the ns term with
softening of the compression struts. The primary source
of these degradations is the susceptibility of concrete
tensile and compressive strengths to increasing crack
widths, represented by principal tensile strains in this
work. The proposed model was verified by comparison
Fig. 10. Parametric sensitivity of the model. with experiments and through a sensitivity analysis.
B. Martı́n-Pérez, S.J. Pantazopoulou / Engineering Structures 23 (2001) 214–227 227

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