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Engineering Structures 30 (2008) 31413150

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Engineering Structures
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Nonlinear cyclic behaviour of Hybrid Fibre Concrete structural walls
Alessandro Dazio
, Davide Buzzini
, Martin Trb
Institute of Structural Engineering (IBK), ETH Zurich, CH-8093 Zurich, Switzerland
Pyry Infra AG. Hardturmstrasse 161, Postfach, CH-8037 Zurich, Switzerland
a r t i c l e i n f o
Article history:
Received 17 September 2007
Received in revised form
4 March 2008
Accepted 26 March 2008
Available online 29 May 2008
Fibre concrete
High performance
Structural wall
Cyclic behaviour
Numerical simulation
a b s t r a c t
Hybrid Fibre Concrete (HFC) is a self-compacting high-performance cementitious composite material
with a high-strength mortar matrix reinforced by steel fibres. HFC structural walls are characterized by
the presence of conventional mild steel flexural reinforcement and the absence of shear and confinement
reinforcement. The function of the last two reinforcements is taken over by the fibres of HFC. This paper
presents the experimental and numerical investigationof the hysteretic behaviour of three HFCstructural
walls and shows that the proposed structural system is able to provide large inelastic deformation
capacity while ensuring a superior post-earthquake functionality compared to conventional reinforced
The test units were cantilevers featuring either a rectangular (Test Units W1 and W2) or a barbelled
cross-section (Test Unit W3). The fibre volume fraction of the HFC used for the construction of the test
units ranged between 3.5 and 6%. In order to ensure the formation of a suitable plastic hinge at the base
of the cantilevers, the flexural reinforcement of all three units was artificially debonded from the HFC
by means of steel pipes (sleeves) that were slid onto the reinforcing bars. In order to prevent sliding
shear deformations at the construction joint between the footing and the wall, the steel sleeves were
partially embedded into the footing acting as dowels. HFC prevented spalling of the concrete cover,
hence preventing buckling of the flexural reinforcement. Despite the absence of shear reinforcement,
the test units failed in flexure. Because not only shear but also confinement reinforcement was not used
and because of the self-compacting properties of HFC, the construction of the test units was a lot easier
compared to conventional reinforced concrete structural walls.
The proposed numerical models were able to predict the global behaviour of the test units while at the
local level the agreement between the experimental results and the numerical simulation was not very
good. The main reason for this disagreement is the lack of accurate information about the cyclic tensile
behaviour of HFC.
2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
1.1. Statement of the problem
The ability of the capacity design method to ensure depend-
able ductile behaviour of reinforced concrete (RC) structures is
proven by a large amount of evidence worldwide [1,2]. However,
the ductile behaviour of such structures entails some disadvan-
tages. To ensure enough inelastic displacement capacity, exten-
sive transverse reinforcement for shear, confinement and stabilisa-
tionof the longitudinal reinforcement is requiredinplastic regions,
whichoftenresults inexpensive manufacture andtime-consuming
placement of the transverse reinforcing bars, in reinforce-
ment congestion and in concrete casting difficulties. The post-
earthquake functionality of conventional ductile RC structures is

Corresponding author. Tel.: +41 44 633 31 52; fax: +41 44 633 10 44.
E-mail address: (A. Dazio).
also problematic because their plastic zones are typically affected
by spalling of cover and architectural concrete already at relatively
minor plastic deformations and because residual deformations
after an earthquake are potentially large.
The use of high-performance fibre-reinforced cementitious
composites (FRCC) to improve the seismic performance of
structural elements has been investigated by many researchers in
the past and a comprehensive summary of possible applications
can be found in [3] or in the literature survey presented in [4].
As a further contribution towards the development of structural
systems incorporating FRCC and in an attempt to reduce the
disadvantages of ductile reinforced concrete structures; this paper
investigates the replacement of concrete with self-compacting
Hybrid Fibre Concrete (HFC) in the construction of structural
walls. HFC is a FRCC featuring a high-strength mortar matrix
reinforced by steel fibres of different dimensions and shapes. HFC
is characterized by a high strength, a strain hardening behaviour
and a smooth and controlled post-peak softening behaviour both
in compression and in tension.
0141-0296/$ see front matter 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
3142 A. Dazio et al. / Engineering Structures 30 (2008) 31413150
Fig. 1. Schematic representation of a RC (a) and a HFC (b) structural wall.
1.2. Hybrid fibre concrete structural walls
The behaviour of Hybrid Fibre Concrete (HFC) structural walls
can be better understood by making a comparison with the
behaviour of conventional reinforced concrete (RC) structural
walls. Fig. 1a displays a conventional RC wall that was taken as a
benchmark to assess the behaviour of different configurations of
the HFC wall shown in Fig. 1b. For this purpose, the monotonic
pushover curve of four different cantilever walls was computed
numerically. The walls all had the geometry shown in Fig. 1.
The footing was fixed to the ground, a constant axial load N =
200 kN was applied and the pushover curves were computed
by increasing the horizontal displacement at the location of the
load V in order to track global softening of the walls. The main
properties of the four walls are: (1) The RC wall is a conventional
RC wall with longitudinal reinforcement, shear reinforcement and
confined boundary elements for plastic deformation capacity. The
behaviour of this wall was predicted using the software Response-
2000 [5]. (2) The HFC wall, no joint, no sleeves is a HFC wall
with longitudinal reinforcement only. The shear transfer and the
confinement of the boundary elements are ensured by the HFC.
The wall and the footing are cast at the same time and there are
no sleeves on the longitudinal reinforcing bars. All HFC walls were
modelled using the well-known FE code ABAQUS [6]. (3) The HFC
wall, with joint, no sleeves is a HFC wall similar to wall no. (2).
However, it is cast in two lifts. The footing is cast first and the wall
is cast only after hardening of the footing. This corresponds to the
usual construction schedule for a wall on a construction site. (4)
The HFC wall, with joint, 500 mm sleeves is a HFC wall similar
to wall no. (3). However, 500 mm long plastic pipes (sleeves) are
slid onto each reinforcing bar to prevent the bond between the
reinforcing bars and the HFC. Further details on these simulations
can be found in [4].
The pushover curves of the four walls are displayed in Fig. 2
and the following remarks can be made: (1) The RC wall reached
a displacement of 56 mm (2.2% drift) before the outer reinforcing
bars reached their ultimate strain, assumed to be 0.07, and failed
in tension. The displacement ductility at that point was about 8
which is a rather high yet still reasonable value. (2) The elastic
stiffness and the strength of the HFC wall with no joint and no
sleeves were significantly higher compared to those of the RC
Fig. 2. Monotonic pushover curves of different RC and HFC structural walls.
wall. This implies a significant contribution of HFC to the strength
and stiffness of the wall which is reasonable considering that the
assumed equivalent tensile strength of HFC was 12 MPa at a strain
of 0.01 [4]. When the principal tensile strain of HFC reached 0.01,
the material started softening and the load-carrying capacity of the
wall dropped. The softening of HFC occurred at one single location
leading to strain concentrations. All the following deformations of
the wall basically occurred in one single horizontal cross-section
leading to high local strains in the longitudinal reinforcement. Due
to this strain concentration the ultimate strain of the longitudinal
reinforcing bars was reached when the top displacement was
just 28 mm (1.1% drift), implying that the displacement capacity
of such a HFC wall would be much lower than that of the
previously discussed RC wall. At that point of the simulation the
resistance of the wall did not drop sharply because the fracture
of the reinforcing bars was not modelled. Within the scope of
this problem no such structural wall with no joint and no sleeves
was tested because the predicted global softening and the reduced
plastic deformation capacity were deemed to be unacceptable
for seismic application purposes. For this reason there is no
experimental evidence for the softening behaviour of HFC walls
with no joint and no sleeves. However, a similar phenomenon,
A. Dazio et al. / Engineering Structures 30 (2008) 31413150 3143
(a) Test unit W1. (b) Test unit W2. (c) Test unit W3.
Fig. 3. Reinforcement of the plastic hinge zone of the HFC structural walls W1 (a), W2 (b) and W3 (c). All dimensions are in [mm].
i.e. a noticeable initial contribution of the fibre concrete to the
strength of the structural element followed by a global softening
behaviour, is reported by [7] where the axial deformation capacity
of large-scale prismatic bars made of conventional fibre-reinforced
concrete and featuring a mild steel longitudinal reinforcement was
investigated. (3) In the HFC wall with joint but no sleeves a
strain concentration took place already from the beginning of the
loading phase. No fibres bridged the construction joint between
the footing and the wall, making it significantly weaker than the
adjacent sections. All plastic deformations occurred at the joint
and, as in the case of jacketed sections [2], the length of the plastic
hinge canbe assumedto correspondto twice the strainpenetration
length. Due to the high tensile capacity of HFC it is believed that
strain penetration is reduced compared to conventional reinforced
concrete. This lead to significant strain concentrations and the
ultimate strain of the longitudinal reinforcing bars was reached
when the computed top displacement was only 14 mm(0.6% drift),
which resulted in a deformation capacity that is a lot lower than
that of the RC wall. Again, at that point of the simulation the
resistance of the wall did not drop sharply because the fracture
of the bars was not modelled. For seismic applications this wall is
also unsuitable. (4) To overcome the problem of excessive strain
localization, 500 mm long sleeves were slid onto the longitudinal
reinforcement in order to prevent its bond with the adjacent HFC.
The pushover curve of the HFC wall with joint and sleeves is
very similar to the curve of the RC wall with just the shape of
the curve in the elastic deformation range being slightly different
because of the different cracking patterns. However, the bilinear
approximation of the two curves would be quite similar and,
postulating a stable hysteretic behaviour, the seismic displacement
demand would also be similar for both walls [8].
During the simulation with 500 mm long sleeves, the ultimate
strain of the longitudinal reinforcing bars was reached when the
top displacement was 100 mm (4.0% drift). Such a displacement
capacity, especially in terms of displacement ductility (12.5 in this
case), is very large and it is unlikely to be required to survive even a
severe earthquake. However, the displacement capacity of the wall
can be adjusted to the effective needs by changing the lengths of
the sleeves, making this wall very suitable for seismic applications.
The intention of this short case study was to qualitatively
describe the problems arising with the design of HFC structural
walls and to suggest a strategy to overcome them. Parra-
Montesinos and co-workers also investigated the behaviour of
structural walls incorporating FRCC and they proposed a different
structural solution which was better adapted to the mechanical
properties of the FRCC they used and which differed noticeably
from HFC [9]. In the following Sections 2 and 3 the experimental
behaviour of three HFC structural walls is presented while in
Section 4 a numerical model for the simulation of such walls is
discussed. A more detailed description of the experimental results
and of the numerical model is available in [4].
2. Test units
2.1. Geometry and reinforcement
The test units represent approximately 1:3 scale models of
structural walls that could be used to stabilise multi-storey
buildings. No specific prototype building was defined. Aspect ratio,
nominal axial load and reinforcement content were chosen based
on previous experience making the most of the proposed test
setup [10].
Test Units W1 and W2 had a 900-mm-long and 100-mm-wide
rectangular cross-section as shown in Fig. 3. Test Unit W3 featured
an I-shaped cross-section with 190-mm-long and 100-mm-wide
boundary regions; the web zone was 520 mm long and 52 mm
wide. The flexural reinforcement was the same for all test units
and consisted of 6 reinforcing bars D12 in the end regions of the
cross-section and of 10 reinforcing bars D5.2 in the web region.
The location of the flexural reinforcement of Test Units W2 and
W3 close to the centreline of the section was chosen in order to
allowfor a larger thickness of the cover concrete. The shear and the
confinement reinforcement were provided by the fibres of HFC and
no additional horizontal reinforcing bars were placed. In the plastic
zone of Test Unit W1 500-mm-long plastic sleeves were used
while for Unit W2 and W3 200-mm-long steel sleeves were used.
In the first unit the sleeves were located above the construction
joint while in the other units the sleeves were embedded in the
footing over half of their length. The justification for this difference
between the test units is discussed in Section 3.
The units were all built in the same way. First the footing was
poured. After a curing time of about a week the rest of the wall
was pouredcreating a constructionjoint just above the footing. The
walls were built in upright position and HFC was poured from the
3144 A. Dazio et al. / Engineering Structures 30 (2008) 31413150
Table 1
HFC mix designs
Test Unit W1 W2 W3
Batch V3.3 V4.2 V4.3
Short straight steel [% (kg/m
)] 1.5 (117) 3.0 (234)
fibres (D0.15 6 mm)
Medium straight steel [% (kg/m
)] 0.5 (39) 1.5 (117)
fibres (D0.20 12 mm)
Long crimped steel [% (kg/m
)] 1.5 (117) 1.5 (117)
fibres (D0.60 30 mm)
Cement CEM I 52.5R [kg/m
] 1000 961
Fly ash [kg/m
] 168 161
Silica fume [kg/m
] 95 91
Aggregate 0/1 mm [kg/m
] 754 725
Water [kg/m
] 215 218
Superplasticizer [kg/m
] 20 19
Water/binder ratio [] 0.17 0.18
Table 2
Mechanical properties of HFC at day-of-testing (D.o.T)
Test Unit W1 W2 W3
Age [d] 4850 6991 70
Cylinder strength f

[MPa] 1543.6 1396.4 1354.3
Cube strength f
[MPa] 1576.2 1586.7 1589.1
3-pt. bending strength f
[MPa] 26.62.0 41.45.7 45.65.5
Modulus of elasticity E
[GPa] 41.41.0 39.90.6 39.90.2
2.2. Material properties
The HFC considered within this project was developed by the
Institute for Building Materials (IfB) at the ETH Zurich [11] and by
the Department of Design and Construction at the Delft University
of Technology [12]. The mixes that were used to build the test units
presented in the previous section were designed by the former
institution, and their detailed composition is given in Table 1. It is
important to note, that despite the high fibre content, the HFC had
self-compacting properties. However, several trial batches were
needed to adjust the rheology of HFC and avoid segregation [4].
The mechanical properties of HFC were measured in a series of
different tests and are summarized in Table 2. The compressive
strengths f

and f
were obtained from D150 300 mm cylinders
and from cube specimens with 150 mm sides, respectively, and
the relevant stressstrain relationships are plotted at the top of
Fig. 4. The tensile properties of HFC were characterized by means
of 3-point bending tests on 70 70 280 mm prisms using a
span of 220 mm. The forcedeformation curves for the mid-span
vertical deflection of the prisms are plotted at the bottom of Fig. 4.
The tensile strengths given in Table 2 were computed by simply
dividing the mid-span bending moment by the elastic modulus of
the section.
For the reinforcement of the test units Grade C reinforcing
steel according to [13] and with the mechanical properties
summarized in Table 3 was used.
2.3. Test setup, instrumentation and loading history
The test setup is depicted in Fig. 5. The test units were fixed
to the strong floor by means of a steel footing. The lateral load
was applied to Test Units W1 and W2 by a 250 kN, 250 mm
servo-controlled hydraulic actuator. The actuator was mounted on
a reaction frame in line with the strong direction (NorthSouth) of
the test units and positioned 2500 mm (Aspect ratio of 2.8) above
the footing of the test units. On the other hand, Test Unit W3 was
loaded by means of a 500 kN, 100 mmservo-controlled hydraulic
actuator positioned 1700 mm (Aspect ratio of 1.9) above the test
unit footing. To prevent out-of-plane deformations a side restraint
was provided at the top of all structural walls. A constant axial load
of 200 kNwas appliedto all test units by means of hollowcore jacks
and two post-tensioning rods running fromthe steel footing to the
top of the units. The axial load was kept constant during testing
by means of a load-follower that was connected to the hollowcore
The instrumentation of Test Unit W2 is shown in Fig. 6. The
instrumentation of the other test units was similar and is given
in [4]. In total, 26 hard-wired devices were used to monitor the
behaviour of the test unit. In addition, Demec measurements
(Whitmore gauge measurements) were taken on the east face of
the wall according to the pattern shown in Fig. 6a.
The tests were quasi-static and the test units were subjected
to a fully-reversed cyclic loading history with step-wise increasing
horizontal top displacement. The first four cycles were run in
force control up to respectively 25, 50, 75 and 100% of the force
corresponding to the onset of yielding at the extreme flexural
reinforcing bars of the section (first yield). Afterwards, the nominal
yield displacement
corresponding to displacement ductility

= 1 was defined and additional cycles in displacement

control were carried out. The displacement ductility was then
increased in steps of 1 up to

= 4 and afterwards in steps of

2 up to failure. Due to practical difficulties that were encountered
during testing, Wall W1 was loaded to slightly different target
ductilities. While presenting the results relevant to Wall W1 the
correct ductilities determined at the end of the test are used.
Fig. 4. Stressstrain relationships of the HFC that were used to build Test Units W1 (a), W2 (b) and W3 (c).
A. Dazio et al. / Engineering Structures 30 (2008) 31413150 3145
Table 3
Mechanical properties of the reinforcement
Test unit W1 W2 W3
Bar D12 D5.2 D12 D5.2 D12 D5.2
Yield strength f
[MPa] 528 503 556 511 558 579
Tensile strength f
[MPa] 634 590 689 587 691 670
Hardening ratio f
[] 1.20 1.17 1.24 1.15 1.24 1.18
Total elongation at maximum force A
[%] 9.9 6.5 10.7 7.1 11.3 8.4
(a) Setup for test units W1 and W2. (b) Setup for test unit W3.
Fig. 5. Test setup for Test Units W1 (a), W2 (b) and W3 (c).
(a) East face. (b) West face. (c) Hard-wired devices.
Fig. 6. Instrumentation of Test Unit W2.
3. Test results
In the following, the test results are presented in terms
of forcedisplacement hystereses and displacement components
with a discussion of the relevant failure mechanisms. Due to space
limitations it is not possible to present all data collected during the
tests and for further details the reader is referred to [4].
The hysteretic behaviour of all test units as well as the
displacement components at the peak top displacement during the
first cycle of every ductility level are depicted in Fig. 7. The three
components (1) shear displacements, (2) flexural displacements
and (3) fixed-end displacements were computed fromthe readings
of the Linear Variable Differential Transformers (LVDTs) mounted
on the test units (Fig. 6b). The shear displacements were computed
3146 A. Dazio et al. / Engineering Structures 30 (2008) 31413150
Fig. 7. Experimental hysteretic behaviour of Test Units W1 (a, b), W2 (c, d) and W3 (e, f).
using the procedure originally presented in [14], the flexural
displacements were computed by integration of the curvatures
obtained from the LVDTs W-V-2 to 7-North and South. The
fixed-end displacement is the component which accounts for the
rotation of the wall at the construction joint and it was computed
by integrating the rotation due to the opening of the crack at the
joint measured by means of the LVDTs W-V-1-North and W-V-
1-South over the height of the test unit. If the summation of all
three displacement components is compared to the measured top
displacement, the error is always less than 10%.
Test Unit W1 failed during the second cycle to ductility 8.5 (4.1%
drift) due to tensile fracture of several D5.2 and D12 reinforcing
bars. However, significant damage occurred well before failure.
Spalling of the concrete cover in the compression zone started
at ductility 4 (2% drift) and by the next cycle at ductility 5.7
(2.5% drift) the region affected by the spalling was so large that
the concrete cover was no longer able to prevent buckling of the
flexural reinforcement. This insufficient behaviour was caused by
the inappropriate downscaling of the prototypes dimensions to
the test units dimensions. Fig. 3a shows that the thickness of the
cover concrete was only about 10 mm. Considering the length of
HFCs mediumand long fibres (12 and 30 mm), it is straightforward
to conclude that the cover concrete failed prematurely because
it was too thin for the fibres to reach a proper distribution. In
Test Units W2 and W3 this problem was solved by increasing the
amount of fibres in the mix design and especially by increasing the
thickness of the concrete cover (Fig. 3bandc). These improvements
were extremely successful totally eliminating spalling and proving
the ability of HFC to prevent buckling of the flexural reinforcement.
A direct consequence of the spalling which could be observed in
the hysteresis curve was that the peak load reached during the first
cycle at a ductility of 4 was smaller (push direction) or just slightly
higher (pull direction) than the peak load that was reached during
the first cycle at a ductility of 2.5. The spalling of the concrete
caused a reduction of the inner lever arm, and hence a reduction
of the bending strength which could not be totally compensated
by the hardening of the reinforcing steel.
Test Unit W1 also experienced noticeable sliding at the
construction joint. The axial load acting on the wall was relatively
small allowing the wall to grow vertically. Additionally, the
concentration of the deformations at the base of the wall and the
minor roughness of the crack at the joint led to a situation where
during large portions of a loading cycle, the entire base shear had
to be carried by dowel action of the flexural reinforcement and the
reinforcing bars kinkedacross the still openjoint crack. The kinking
imposed large local inelastic deformations on the bars leading to
their failure. At the same time the sliding also affected the overall
shape of the hysteretic loops leading to significant pinching as
shown in Fig. 7a. In Test Units W2 and W3 this problemwas solved
by using steel sleeves instead of plastic sleeves and by partially
embedding them into the footing (Fig. 3b and c). The dowel action
exercised by the steel sleeves was enough to transfer the totality
of the base shear across the crack at the joint between wall and
Test Unit W2 was able to complete a full cycle at ductility
8 before failure occurred during the second cycle (see Fig. 7c).
However, already during the first cycle a D12 reinforcing bar
on the south side of the wall fractured causing the base shear
to drop to about 84% of the measured peak value of 185 kN
which corresponded to a nominal peak shear stress of
A. Dazio et al. / Engineering Structures 30 (2008) 31413150 3147
Fig. 8. Crack pattern of Test Units W1 (a), W2 (b) and W3 (c) at failure.
) = 2.4 MPa (0.20

MPa). The bar fractured
because it experienced a high tensile strain. The strain in the bar
was not directly measured. However, a preliminary estimation,
based on the maximum crack width of about 31 mm measured at
the joint, shows that the strain had to be around 10%12%. This
strain has the same order of magnitude as the total elongation at
maximum force A
measured during the material tests (Table 3).
The steel sleeves embedded in the footing prevented sliding of
the wall and the relevant pinching of the hysteresis loops. The
behaviour of Wall W2 was significantly better than the behaviour
of Wall W1 even if the latter was able to reach a slightly
larger maximum deformation. This is due to the fact that the
unbonded length of the flexural reinforcement was more than
twice the unbonded length of the flexural reinforcement of Unit
W2 (Fig. 3). The use of a longer unbonded length in Unit W2
as well would have led to a larger displacement capacity. This
was not deemed to be necessary; however it is important to
recognize that the maximum displacement capacity of the walls
can be largely influenced by the choice of the unbonded length of
the flexural reinforcement. Fig. 7d shows that shear deformations
were very limited, which is consistent with the crack pattern
depicted in Fig. 8b. Flexural displacements are due to cracking
along the wall and Fig. 7d shows that they are proportional to
the base shear. On the other hand, fixed-end displacements are
due to yielding of the flexural reinforcement and are proportional
to the measured top displacement. At displacement ductility 1,
flexural displacements are responsible for more than 50% of the
measured top displacement of Test Unit W2. At higher ductilities
their absolute value remains about constant and their percentage
contribution to the measured top displacement reduces.
Test Unit W3 was able to complete two full cycles at ductility
8 before failing on its way to ductility 10. However, significant
damage already occurred during the second cycle to ductility 8
with the fracture of a D12 reinforcing bar on the south side of the
wall. The hysteretic behaviour plotted in Fig. 7e is similar to that
of Test Unit W2 and does not require further discussion. On the
other hand, the shear deformation of Test Unit W3 is larger than
the shear deformation of Test Unit W2 (see Fig. 7d and f) and is
consistent with the crack patterns shown in Fig. 8. At displacement
ductility 1 the total deformation of Test Unit W3 is made up by 44%
fixed-end deformation, 42% flexural deformation and 14% shear
deformation. The peak base shear measured during the test was
262 kNwhich corresponds to a nominal peak shear stress of
) = 7.1 MPa (0.61

MPa) hence showing that HFC
is potentially capable of transferring large shear forces without the
need for additional bar reinforcement. However, this large nominal
peak shear stress should be interpreted with cautionbecause of the
barbelled section of Test Unit W3 whose large boundary elements
surely helped resisting shear and because of the relatively low
aspect ratio of the unit which allowed an inclined-strut load-
carrying mechanism. In fact, very little information on the ultimate
shear strength of HFC is available and additional investigations are
Fig. 8 displays the three test units at failure where the different
crack patterns and the spalling of the concrete cover in the
boundary regions of Test Unit W1 can be observed. Two different
kinds of cracks formed in the HFC walls during testing: a large
crack formed at the construction joint and thinner cracks formed
along almost the entire height of the wall. Test Unit W1 showed
no cracking along the first 500 mm of the wall because the
sleeves prevented bonding between the flexural reinforcement
and the HFC. Owing to the shorter sleeves Test Unit W2 had
a more extensive crack pattern. After yielding of the flexural
reinforcement the maximum crack width measured on the wall
was about 0.1 mm. All cracks fully closed upon unloading. The
crack at the construction joint opened considerably and remained
open after unloading causing almost the totality of the residual
deformations. During the test two kinds of cracks formed in the
plastic hinge zone of Wall W3: bending cracks and shear cracks.
Bending cracks appeared in the boundary regions and were almost
horizontal, while shear cracks formed in the web zone of the wall
and their orientation was diagonal to vertical. The shear cracks
opened because of the reduced thickness of the web zone of Test
Unit W3, which led to higher shear stresses in this zone than was
the case for Test Units W1 and W2. The maximum crack width
measured during the test was 0.3 mm, which is still very small and
can easily be bridged by the fibres of HFC [15,16].
4. Numerical simulations
4.1. Numerical model and relevant material properties
The behaviour of the test units was simulated numerically by
means of the fully nonlinear 3D finite element models depicted in
3148 A. Dazio et al. / Engineering Structures 30 (2008) 31413150
Fig. 9. Solid element model of Test Units W1 (a, b) and W2 (c, d).
Fig. 9. In this paper only the principal characteristics of the models
belonging to Test Units W2 and W3 are discussed, for further
details the reader is referred to [4].
The models were built using the well-known general purpose
finite element program ABAQUS [6]. The HFC was modelled with
3D 8-node solid elements (Type C3D8) and every vertical reinforc-
ing bar was modelled using beam elements (Type B31) that were
directly connected to the nodes of the concrete mesh. To allow for
strain penetration the free length of the beam elements crossing
the construction joint was increased from 200 mm, i.e. the length
of the steel sleeves, to 300 mm based on a conservative applica-
tion of the equation for the estimation of the strain penetration
length proposed by Paulay and Priestley in [1]. The construction
joint between the wall and the footing was modelled using gap el-
ements (Type GAPUNI) which allowed no horizontal slip while fea-
turing perfect contact in compression and unrestrained opening in
tension. The mechanical properties of the reinforcing steel were
described by means of ABAQUSs standard elasto-plastic model
using nonlinear isotropic/kinematic hardening. The input param-
eters for this model were calibrated against the stressstrain re-
lationships obtained from the monotonic and cyclic coupon tests
presented in [4]. The mechanical properties of HFC were modelled
using ABAQUSs own Concrete Damage Plasticity (CDP) formula-
tion. The *CONCRETE COMPRESSION HARDENING curve was fitted
to the stressstrain relationship of the cylinder compression test
that was the closest to the average of the three curves plotted in
Fig. 4.
As no direct tension tests on HFC material samples could
be conducted in the framework of the structural wall tests, the
*CONCRETE TENSION HARDENING curve was computed using
back-analysis onthe 3-point bending tests presentedinSection2.2.
The HFC prisms used for the 3-point bending tests were modelled
with ABAQUS using the CDP material model and making different
assumptions on the tensile behaviour of HFC based on direct
tensile tests carried out by other researchers on HFC samples with
a similar fibre mix [17]. Two of these assumptions are shown
in Fig. 10a while the respective forcedeflection curves of the
numerically simulated 3-point bending tests are compared to
experimental evidence in Fig. 10b. The simulation of the 3-point
bending test using Assumption 2 as a characterization of the
tensile behaviour of HFC yielded a very good agreement between
the test results and the numerical simulation up to a vertical
deflection of about 1.8 mmwhich corresponds to 1/122 of the span
length (Fig. 10b). Afterwards a difference between experiment
and simulation is noticeable. However, this was not deemed to
be significant because during the test of Walls W2 and W3 much
smaller strains were reached. Hence, Assumption 2 in Fig. 10a was
Fig. 10. Different assumptions regarding the uniaxial tensile behaviour of HFC (a)
and results of the relevant numerical simulations of the 3-point bending tests on
the Test Unit W3 material samples (b).
retained as the better estimate of the actual tensile behaviour of
HFC. These simulations refer to the material that was used to build
Test Unit W3; for Test Unit W2 a similar approach was used.
Unfortunately, in the framework of this research project no
material tests could be carried out in order to characterize the
cyclic behaviour of HFC. In the literature little information was
found and for this reason it was decided to choose the parameters
governing the cyclic behaviour of the CDP model based on
the findings presented in [18] even if they actually refer to a
different fibre-reinforced cementitious material. A key issue was
the definition of the unloading and reloading branches after a
tensile excursion. According to [18] the behaviour after a tensile
excursion is characterized by steep initial elastic unloading to
almost zero stress followed by crack closing with low stiffness
and afterwards by reloading with gradually increasing stiffness
in the region of zero absolute strain. It is not possible to exactly
reproduce this kind of behaviour with ABAQUSs CDP model, hence
the parameter *CONCRETE TENSION DAMAGE (*CTD) governing
the unloading after a tensile excursion was chosen to obtain an
unloading stressstrain curve as origin-oriented as possible. It was
not possible to set the parameter *CTD in such a way as to obtain
a perfectly origin-oriented behaviour because in that case the
numerical model did no longer converge.
4.2. Comparison of the numerical and the experimental results
The numerical and the experimental results are compared in
Fig. 11 in terms of forcedeformation relationships. The quality
of the numerical results is similar for Test Units W2 and W3;
hence in the following only the results for Test Unit W2 will
be discussed. The initial stiffness in the simulation of Test Unit
W2 which is displayed in Fig. 11a with a dotted line accurately
matches the one observed in the test. The shape of the simulated
hysteresis loops and the computed strength of the test unit are also
in fair agreement with the experimental results. Only in the second
cycle at a displacement ductility of 2, the numerical simulation
clearly underestimates the maximum strength. This is a direct
consequence of the inability of the nonlinear isotropic/kinematic
hardening model of the steel to match the hysteretic behaviour
A. Dazio et al. / Engineering Structures 30 (2008) 31413150 3149
Fig. 11. Comparison between the experimental and the numerical hysteretic behaviour of Test Units W2 (a) and W3 (b).
Fig. 12. Displacement components of Test Units W2 (a, b, c = test, d, e, f = simulation) and W3 (g, h, i = test, j, k, l = simulation).
of the real reinforcing bars in the strain range occurring during
reloading to ductility 2 [4].
A further comparison between numerical and experimental
results is shown in Fig. 12 where the top displacement of Test Units
W2 and W3 is broken down into its three components. In order
to compute the displacement components from the numerical
results virtual instruments were used. In the numerical model
nodes were defined in correspondence with the fixture of the
LVDTs that were mounted on the test units (see Fig. 6b). From the
relative displacement of these nodes, virtual readings of the LVDTs
could be computed. Afterwards, the displacement components
were computed using the same procedure as described in Section 3
for the experimental data.
Due to the proposed structural system for the HFC structural
walls, the largest part of the top displacement is made up by
the fixed-end component. Its hysteretic behaviour is strongly
governed by the longitudinal reinforcement and its prediction
is quite accurate over the entire deformation range. On the
other hand the hysteretic behaviour of the flexural and the
shear displacement components is strongly affected by the cyclic
tensile behaviour of HFC and as described in Section 4.1 this
behaviour is only known and modelled with large uncertainties.
The simulation of Test Unit W2 was able to accurately predict the
flexural deformation up to first cracking of the wall. Afterwards,
the behaviour of the numerical model was too stiff leading to
maximum flexural deformations (Fig. 12e) of about only 50% of
the flexural deformations computed from the experimental data
(Fig. 12b). A similar observation holds true for the flexural (Fig. 12h
and k) and shear (Fig. 12i and l) deformations of Test Unit W3, this
despite Fig. 10 showing a good agreement between the 3-point
bending tests and their simulation which is also governed by the
tensile behaviour of HFC. Owing to the large uncertainties involved
in such a procedure, it was not deemed reasonable and beyond
the scope of this investigation to further improve the numerical
simulation by iteratively adjusting the parameters defining the
cyclic tensile behaviour of HFC such as to match the overall
behaviour of the test units.
5. Conclusions and outlook
Hybrid Fibre Concrete (HFC) structural walls are able to un-
dergo large inelastic deformations while ensuring an easier con-
structability and superior post-earthquake functionality compared
3150 A. Dazio et al. / Engineering Structures 30 (2008) 31413150
to conventional reinforced concrete walls. The tests and the nu-
merical simulations on three HFC structural walls allowthe follow-
ing observations:
1. It was possible to build structural walls without any transverse
reinforcement for shear, confinement and stabilisation of the
longitudinal reinforcement. The HFC used for this purpose had
a fibre volume content between 3.5% and 6.0%. Due to the tight
control of the rheology, the HFC had self-compacting properties
despite the high fibre content.
2. The HFC structural walls were able to reach ultimate displace-
ment ductilities in excess of 8 corresponding to drifts ranging
between 3.2 and 4.2% which is comparable to the deformation
capacity of well-detailed capacity designed reinforced concrete
(RC) walls and is larger than the capacity demand required to
survive most severe earthquakes. Furthermore, the deforma-
tion capacity of HFC walls can easily be adjusted by changing
the length of the sleeves placed onto the longitudinal reinforc-
ing bars.
3. Provided that the thickness of the cover concrete was large
enough to accommodate the biggest fibres, the concrete cover
did not spall and thereby buckling of the flexural reinforcement
was prevented.
4. Test Units W2 and W3 did not suffer any significant structural
damage up to failure. However, residual displacements upon
unloading were of the same order of magnitude as those
experienced by RC walls, and they are of course affecting the
post-earthquake functionality and reparability of HFC walls. In
order to fully exploit the excellent properties of HFC, structural
systems characterized by small residual displacements should
be investigated.
5. For all test units, the cracks remained small (<0.3 mm)
throughout the whole test and the performance in shear was
very satisfactory. Test Units W1 and W2 were able to sustain
nominal shear stresses up to 2.4 MPa and Test unit W3 up to
7.1 MPa without failure. This latter value should, however, be
interpreted with caution because of the barbelled section and
the relatively low aspect ratio of Test Unit W3. Additional tests
are needed in order to define criteria for the shear failure of HFC
walls and other HFC structural elements.
6. The global hysteretic behaviour of HFC walls could be simulated
numerically. However, an accurate simulation could only be
obtained after introducing changes in the models that were
based on engineering judgment rather than evidence. In order
to allow for better modelling of the cyclic global and local
behaviour of HFC structural elements further research aiming
at the characterization of the tensile behaviour of HFC under
axial cyclic loading is needed.
The Hybrid Fibre Concrete used for the tests presented in this
paper was developed by Mr. Patrick Sthli from the Institute for
Building Materials (IfB) at the ETH Zurich working under the
guidance of Prof. Dr. Jan G.M. van Mier.
The test units were built and tested in the laboratories of
the ETH Zurich. Mr. Thomas Jaggi, Mr. Heinz Richner and Mr.
Patrick Sthli from the Institute for Building Materials (IfB) were
instrumental in the construction of the test units and also played
an essential role in preparing and testing all material samples.
Mr. Markus Baumann designed and implemented the test control
scheme. His contribution was also essential for the management of
the test unit instrumentation and for the actual testing of all test
units. Mr. Christoph Gisler manufactured several special parts for
the test setup and helped assembling them.
The ductile D5.2 reinforcing bars were donated by Ferriere Nord
SpA, Gruppo Pittini, 33010 Osoppo, Italy.
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