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Title no. 98-S39

Design of Reinforced Concrete Beams with Circular

by Kiang-Hwee Tan, M. A. Mansur, and Weng Wei

This study examines the adequacy of the ACI Code approach, mod- encountered loading case of combined bending and shear.
ified for the inclusion of transverse openings, for shear design of a Only recently, Mansur19 proposed a design method that is
beam with circular openings. Seven T-beams with circular web similar to the ACI Code approach20 for solid beams. It is
openings were designed for moderate to high shear force and based on the test results of joists (unreinforced in shear) con-
tested in an inverted position to simulate the conditions that exist
in the negative moment region of a continuous beam. Test results
taining a small opening, as reported by Hanson,12 and Somes
indicate that crack control and preservation of ultimate strength and Corley,13 as well as the observations made by Salam14
may be achieved by providing reinforcement around the opening. without any experimental verification. The Architectural In-
Diagonal bars were found to reduce the high stress in the compres- stitute of Japan21 has adopted a different approach22 based
sion chord, thus avoiding premature crushing of the concrete. The on the truss model, but this also lacks adequate experimen-
modified ACI approach has been found to give conservative design tal substantiation. Further research on the topic is therefore
provided the reinforcement is properly detailed near the opening warranted.
The study reported in this paper was aimed primarily at
checking the adequacy of Mansurs19 modified ACI Code
Keywords: beams; cracking; deflection; design; openings; shear strength;
test. method for designing a beam with small openings.


In the construction of modern buildings, transverse open- In addition to confirming the modifications proposed to the
ings are often provided through beams for the passage of ACI Code method for designing a beam with small circular
utility ducts and pipes to better utilize the otherwise dead opening under predominant shear, the research reported here-
space below the beam soffit. Such an arrangement of build- in provides answers to some critical design issues. These in-
ing services leads to a significant reduction in the dead space clude apportioning of the applied shear between the
and results in a more compact and economical design. For members above and below the opening, maximum shear that
multistory buildings in particular, the savings in story height can be applied to avoid web crushing failure, and the amount
thus achieved at each level adds up to a substantial savings and distribution of reinforcement around the opening for ad-
in the surface area of partition walls, length of riser ducts, equate crack control. This information will be useful to prac-
and overall loads on foundation. ticing engineers in obtaining a satisfactory design solution
The provision of transverse openings will, however, for beams with small openings.
change the simple beam behavior into a more complex be-
havior. It is obvious that the provision of openings produces DESIGN METHOD
discontinuity in the normal flow of stresses, and this results When a beam contains a small opening, two types of diag-
in stress concentration and early cracking around the opening. onal tension failure are possible.19 The first is typical of the
The ultimate strength of the beam may also be seriously af- failure commonly observed in prismatic beams, except that
fected. Therefore, special reinforcement should be provided the failure plane passes through the center of the opening. In
around the opening to contain the width of cracks and to pre- the second type, the formation of two independent diagonal
vent possible premature failure of the beam. cracks, one in each chord member that bridges the two pris-
When the building services are preplanned, the sizes and matic beam segments, leads to failure. Mansur19 has labeled
locations of openings are known in advance. Although, no these types of failure as beam-type failure and frame-type
specific provisions or guidelines are provided in any of the failure, respectively, and emphasized that they require sepa-
major codes, the designer can extract the necessary informa- rate treatment for a complete design.
tion and guidelines from the technical literature1-11 and use
his judgement to arrive at a suitable design solution. Unfor-
Beam-type failure
tunately, the bulk of the available information is particularly
relevant to beams containing a large rectangular opening. In designing for this type of failure, a 45-degree inclined
failure plane through the center of the opening may be as-
In cases of small (circular, square, or nearly square) open-
sumed similar to a prismatic beam. According to the ACI
ings, it has been recognized12-14 that the beam behaves in a
manner completely different from those containing a large
rectangular opening. Although several investigations have ACI Structural Journal, V. 98, No. 3, May-June 2001.
treated such an opening under pure torsion,15 torsion com- MS No. 00-148 received June 30, 2000, and reviewed under Institute publication
policies. Copyright 2001, American Concrete Institute. All rights reserved, includ-
bined with bending,16,17 or combined torsion, there is inad- ing the making of copies unless permission is obtained from the copyright proprietors.
Pertinent discussion will be published in the March-April 2002 ACI Structural Jour-
equate research on bending and shear,18 the most commonly nal if received by November 1, 2001.

ACI Structural Journal/May-June 2001 407

where fc is the cylinder compressive strength of concrete in
ACI member Kiang-Hwee Tan is an associate professor in civil engineering at the
National University of Singapore. He received his doctorate from the University of Tokyo, MPa, and bw is the web width. The applicability of Eq. (2)
Japan. He is a member of ACI Committee 440, Fiber Reinforced Polymer Reinforcement. was tested by Mansur19 against the results reported by
His research interests include fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) reinforcement, beams with
web openings, external prestressing, and strut-and-tie methods.
Hanson12 and Somes and Corley13 and found to give a good
but conservative predictions of the shear strength of a beam
M. A. Mansur, FACI, is an associate professor in civil engineering at the National without shear reinforcement.
University of Singapore. He received his engineering degrees from Bangladesh Uni-
versity of Engineering and Technology, Dhaka, and his PhD from the University of Refer to Fig. 1 for the component Vs, where it can be seen
New South Wales, Australia. He is a member of ACI Committee 549, Thin Reinforced that the stirrups available to resist shear across the failure
Cementitious Products and Ferrocement. He is a corecipient of the ACI Maurice P. plane are those by the sides of the opening within a distance
Van Buren Structural Engineering Awards in 1988 and 1992. His research interests
include structural concrete and ferrocement. (dv do), where dv is the distance between the top and bot-
tom longitudinal reinforcing bars. The contribution of diag-
Weng Wei is a planning engineer with Paul Y (S) Construction Pte. Ltd., Singapore. onal reinforcement, if any, intercepted by the failure plane
He received his BEng from South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, P.R.
China in 1994, and his MEng from the National University of Singapore in 1998. His may also be taken into account in the calculation of shear re-
research interests include analysis and design of concrete structures. sistance. Thus, including the contribution of diagonal rein-
forcement, one has

A v f yv
- ( d v d o ) + A d f yd sin
V s = V sv + V sd = ----------- (3)

where Vsv and Vsd are the contributions of vertical and diag-
onal reinforcement, respectively; Av and Ad are the areas of
vertical and diagonal reinforcement, respectively; fyv and fyd
are the yield strengths of vertical and diagonal reinforce-
ment, respectively; s is the spacing of the stirrups; and is
the inclination of diagonal reinforcement to the beam axis.

Frame-type failure
For this type of failure, each chord member behaves as an
independent entity similar to that in a framed structure.
Therefore, according to Mansur,19 each member should be
Fig. 1Shear resisted by stirrups and diagonal bars.
designed separately for the respective forces transmitted
through it. As shown in Fig. 2, the applied moment Mu is re-
sisted by the usual bending mechanism, that is, by the couple
formed by the compressive and tensile stress resultants Nu in
the members above and below the opening. These stress re-
sultants may be obtained as

( N u ) t = ----------------
- = ( Nu )b (4)
d a ---

where a is the depth of the ultimate compressive stress block,

Fig. 2Free-body diagram at beam opening. which is taken not greater than the depth of the top member,
and the subscripts t and b denote the top and bottom mem-
Code,20 the nominal shear strength Vn of a beam consists of bers through the opening, respectively.
two components as follows The applied shear Vu is, however, shared by the two mem-
bers. According to Nasser, Acavalos, and Daniel,8 it may be
Vn = Vc + V s (1) assumed that Vu be distributed between the two members in
proportion to their cross-sectional areas. Thus
where Vc is the shear resistance attributable to the concrete,
and Vs is the shear resistance attributable to shear reinforce- ( V u ) t = V u ----------------
- (5)
ment. A + A
t b
In estimating the contribution of the concrete Vc,
Mansur19 has suggested that the simplified ACI expression
should be used by replacing the effective depth d by the net
depth (d do), irrespective of vertical and horizontal location
of the opening, where do is the diameter of the opening. ( Vu ) b = V u ( Vu )t (6)
Thus, Vc for a beam with an opening is given by
Knowing the shear and axial forces, each member can be
1 independently designed by following the usual shear design
V c = --- f c b w ( d d o ) (2)
6 procedure for prismatic beams.

408 ACI Structural Journal/May-June 2001

Table 1Beam details, cracking load, and service load behavior
Cylinder Cracking load, kN Service load behavior*
Diameter of compressive Maximum Maximum
openings do, strength fc, crack width, deflection,
Beam mm MPa Flexural crack Shear crack mm mm
S NA 3.8 80 200 0.27 4.83
R-1 32.7 92 170 0.43 4.26
R-2 150 33.2 100 170 0.24 4.18
R-3 34.9 100 168 0.26 4.20
R-4 33.6 125 100 0.54 4.79
R-5 200 37.2 130 160 0.36 6.09
R-6 37.2 130 150 0.32 6.20
*For Series 1, service load taken as ultimate load of Beam S/1.7 = 268.6 kN; for Series 2, service load taken as experimental col-
lapse load/1.7.

Maximum shear issues while assessing the modification proposed to the ACI
To ensure yielding of stirrups when the shear strength is Code approach.
reached and, hence, to avoid web-crushing failure, the upper
limit on Vu for prismatic beam has been set in the Code20 as Test specimens
Table 1 and Fig. 3 show the details of this test program. All
[ V u ] max = 5 V c (7) beams were 2.9 m long and contained a central stub to repre-
sent a continuous support. The cross section consisted of a
400 mm deep and 200 mm wide web with a 100 mm thick
where is the strength reduction factor taken as 0.85. and 700 mm wide flange. The openings were located in the
For beams with small openings, it was suggested that the web with a clearance of 50 mm from the flange and with
maximum be limited for the sections above and below the their centers located at a distance of 625 mm away from the
opening, as well as the overall section through the opening, center of the stub. The general arrangement of reinforcement
in accordance with Eq. (7) to avoid primary crushing failure. can be seen in Fig. 3.
In the latter case, however, the value of Vc to be used in Eq. (7) The seven test beams were divided into two series. Series 1
should be calculated by Eq. (2). consists of four beams, S, R-1, R-2, and R-3, where the solid
Beam S was included to serve as a reference. It was designed
Crack control for a shear capacity of 326 kN using the traditional ACI Code
To achieve adequate crack control around a large rectan- method.20 Each of the remaining beams in this series was
gular opening, Mansur3 suggested the use of a combination also designed for the same shear capacity, but contained a
of both vertical stirrups and diagonal bars at each side of the 150 mm diameter circular opening on each side. The opening
opening. It was proposed that a shear concentration factor effect, however, was accounted for by following Mansurs19
of 2 be used such that the diagonal bars provide at least 75% modified ACI Code approach.
of the shear resistance. Thus, for each side of the opening, Beam R-1 was designed for the same shear capacity as
the required area of vertical stirrups Av is given by the solid beam using the modified ACI Code method, that
is, using Eq. (1) to (6). Beam R-2 was identical to R-1, ex-
0.25 ( V ) cept that two additional high yield diagonal bars 10 mm in
A v = ----------------------- (8) diameter (designated T10) were provided at 45 degrees on
f yv
each side of the opening for crack control. This resulted in
the diagonal bars shear carrying capacity of 52% of the total
The vertical stirrups should be placed as close to the edge shear with a shear concentration factor of 1.32. In Beam R-
of the opening as permitted by the concrete cover require- 3, the short stirrups together with the longitudinal bars above
ment. The area of diagonal reinforcement Ad is given as and below the opening and one of the full-depth stirrups
from each side were withdrawn, and the size of diagonal bars
0.75 ( V ) was increased to T13. With these changes, the proportion of
A d = ----------------------- (9) total shear being carried by the diagonal reinforcement in-
f yd sin
creased to 79% with a shear concentration factor of 1.54.
Thus, these four beams would not only serve as a means to
Mansur19 tentatively recommended the same amount and check the adequacy of the modified ACI Code method, but
distribution of reinforcement in his design proposal for would also provide useful information on how much of the
beams with small openings. total shear should be assigned to the diagonal reinforcement
and what value of should be used to achieve adequate
TEST PROGRAM crack control.
It should be noted that there are a few critical issues that Series 2 was basically planned to check whether the ACI
need to be adequately addressed. These include proportion- limit (see Eq. (7)) on maximum shear stress for solid beams
ing of the total shear between the two chords, adequacy of can still be applied to beams with openings, provided the cal-
Eq. (7) to prevent web crushing failure, and the reinforcement culation is based on the net section through the opening. To
requirement to achieve an acceptable level of crack control. achieve this objective, the size of opening had to be increased
The present experiments have been designed to address these to 200 mm and the beams were designed, using the modified

ACI Structural Journal/May-June 2001 409

Fig. 3Beam and reinforcement details.

ACI method, for a high shear force of approximately 830 kN. force carried by the diagonal reinforcement in Beams R-2
Based on a design concrete strength of 40 MPa, this corre- and R-3 corresponded respectively to 51 and 76% of the total
sponded to a maximum shear value of 6.7Vc and 11Vc for shear, with the shear concentration factor being 0.95 and
the solid and net sections, respectively. The beams were pro- 0.96, respectively.
vided with sufficient flexural reinforcement to induce a shear
failure prior to flexural distress. Test setup, instrumentation, and test procedure
The three beams, R-4, R-5, and R-6, in this series were The beams were cast in a plywood mold using concrete
provided with the arrangement of shear reinforcement supplied by a ready-mix company. The target cylinder com-
around the opening that was the same as that in Beams R-1, pressive strength was 40 MPa. For each beam, three 150 mm
R-2, and R-3, respectively. But, because of high shear, the x 300 mm concrete cylinders were prepared. The beams and
amount was different, as can be seen in Fig. 3. The shear the control specimens were demolded the next day, cured for

410 ACI Structural Journal/May-June 2001

7 days in a moist environment by using damp hessian, and
then air-dried in the laboratory. The concrete compressive
strengths at the time of testing the parent beam are presented
in Table 1.
The beams were simply supported over a span of 2.6 m
and tested in an inverted position under a point load applied
through the central stub to simulate the conditions that exist
near the interior support of a continuous beam. A 1000 kN
MTS stroke-controlled actuator was used to apply the load.
A set of linear variable displacement transducers (LVDTs)
was used to measure the deflected shape of the beams.
Strains in the steel reinforcement at critical locations were
recorded using 5 mm electrical resistance strain gages. Crack
widths were measured using a hand-held microscope with a
resolution of 0.02 mm. The concrete surface strains were
measured using a demountable mechanical extensometer
(demec gage) with a gage length of 100 mm, as well as by
electrical resistance strain gages arranged in a 60-degree
rosette pattern on the vertical faces at mid-depth of the
compression chord over the opening. From these strain read-
ings, an estimate of the shear force carried by the compres-
sion chord at different stages of loading could be made.


General behavior of beams
The load-deflection curves of beams with openings in Se-
ries 1, plotted in Fig. 4(a), show remarkable similarities with
the solid Beam S. Initially, the beams behaved like a linear
elastic solid, and the presence of an opening showed very lit- Fig. 4Load-versus-midspan deflection curves: (a) beams
tle effect. This linear elastic response was terminated at the in Series 1; and (b) beams in Series 2.
occurrence of cracking, which led to a sudden decrease in the
slope of the load-deflection curve.
The first crack that appeared in all the beams was of flex- linearity; the slope of the curves decreased with an increase
ural type, and this was followed by diagonal cracking. Being in the applied load. In this series of beams, the diagonal
originated at the edge of the opening (or at mid-depth for the cracks displayed the widest crack width.
solid beam), these diagonal cracks propagated towards the A comparison of cracking patterns in Series 2 beams is
top and bottom faces of the beam as the applied load was in- shown in Fig. 5. The first crack observed in Beam R-4 was a
creased. New cracks then developed in succession away shear crack at the edge of the opening. This crack propagat-
from the loading point. Such cracking reduces the beam stiff- ed diagonally towards the top and bottom faces of the
ness, but the load-deflection curve remains essentially a beam. After that, flexural cracks occurred, but most of them
straight line, indicating elastic response. developed very slowly and remained in the flange region. As
This near-linear, postcracking response of Beams S and R-l the loading was increased, many secondary flexural cracks
continued until near the ultimate load. At this stage, one of the emerged and, in the web region, some diagonal cracks orig-
diagonal cracks continued to grow excessively wide, leading inated at the mid-depth of the web, propagated towards the
to final failure. At failure, some crushing of the concrete was top and bottom faces of the beams. When the load greater
observed at the tip of the major diagonal crack, which, in the than 600 kN, some small, near horizontal cracks were ob-
case of Beam R-l, passed through the opening center. served near the top of the beam on the high-moment side of
From Fig. 4(a) and the observed crack patterns shown in the openings. One of these cracks then grew excessively wide
Fig. 5, it can be seen that the behavior of Beams R-2 and R-3 and traversed from the top of the opening to the top of the
were almost the same. Unlike Beams S and R-1, in which the beam next to the central stub. Close to the ultimate load, some
widest crack was observed to be the shear crack after it concrete crushing was noted in between these cracks. When
emerged, the widest crack in Beams R-2 and R-3 was always the load reached 670 kN, concrete crushing occurred on the
of flexural type. The growth of shear cracks was relatively top of the beam at the high-moment end of the opening.
slow and they almost stopped propagating after the loading The first crack in Beam R-5 was of the flexural type. Be-
was increased to 250 kN. New cracks then developed at both fore the nonlinear stage, the overall response of R-5 was
sides of the openings. The flexural cracks near the central quite similar to that of R-4 (Fig. 4(b)), except that the diago-
stub continued to grow wider and extended to the top of the nal shear cracks passing through the openings propagated
beams, finally causing the beams to fail in flexure. slowly towards the top of the beam. The small near-horizontal
The beams in Series 2 behaved similar to the beams in cracks that occurred above the openings in R-4 did not appear
Series 1, as shown in Fig. 4(b). The load-deflection curves here. When the load reached approximately 920 kN, some
indicate two near linear portions, one before and the other crushing of concrete was observed on the top near the central
immediately after first cracking. At the onset of yielding of stub on both sides. Because of the confinement effect of the
steel reinforcement, observed at approximately 500 kN for central stub, the beam was still able to carry additional load.
R-4 and 680 kN for R-5 and R-6, the curves deviated from When the load was increased to 936 kN, many inclined

ACI Structural Journal/May-June 2001 411

Fig. 5Cracking patterns of beams.

cracks emerged in a sudden manner between the top of open- unaffected by the presence of an opening. The shear cracks ap-
ing and the loading point on the left half-span of the beam. peared earlier in the beams with openings than in the solid
The beam finally collapsed by concrete crushing at the end beam. The diagonal cracking load was almost constant despite
of these inclined cracks near the central stub. the difference in the arrangement of shear reinforcement.
Beam R-6 had a similar overall behavior as Beam R-5 Figure 6 shows the load versus maximum crack width
(Fig. 4(b)). When the applied load reached 920 kN, the con- curves. In Beams S and R-1, the shear crack width exceeded
crete in the compression zone near the central stub crushed the flexural crack width shortly after shear cracking and re-
on one side of the beam. When failure occurred, numerous mained the widest up to ultimate. In Beams R-2 and R-3,
cracks emerged in different directions in the compression which had diagonal bars beside the openings, the widest
chord above the right opening (Fig. 5). This may be due to crack was always of the flexural type.
the lack of any stirrups in the compression chord. To evaluate the effect of an opening on the serviceability
limit state of cracking, the solid beam is taken as the refer-
Cracking characteristics ence for which the service load is calculated as 268.6 kN by
The load at which first vertical (flexural) and diagonal dividing the experimental ultimate load by a factor of 1.7. At
(shear) cracks occurred are summarized in Table 1. In Series 1, this load, the solid beam exhibited a maximum crack with of
shear cracking was always preceded by flexural cracking, and 0.27 mm, less than the maximum width of 0.3 mm that is
the load at which the first flexural crack occurred was relatively generally allowed in building codes20 for indoor conditions.

412 ACI Structural Journal/May-June 2001

Fig. 6Load versus maximum crack width curves: (a) Fig. 7Proportion of applied shear carried by compression
beams in Series 1; and (b) beams in Series 2. chord.

As can be noted from Table 1, however, the maximum crack for each beam is taken as its own experimental collapse load
width at the same load level exceeded this permissible value divided by a factor of 1.7. For the beam with vertical stirrups
in Beam R-1. This serves as a warning that the provision of only (Beam R-4), the maximum crack width at service load
an opening without any diagonal reinforcement for crack is larger than the permissible value for serviceability require-
control might seriously affect the serviceability limit state of ment, that is, 0.3 mm for indoor conditions. For Beams R-5
cracking. and R-6, the proportions of shear resistance provided by di-
On the other hand, the maximum crack widths at the as- agonal bars were 51 and 76%, respectively, with the shear
sumed service load for Beams R-2 and R-3 are less than that concentration factors being 0.95 and 0.96, respectively. It
of the solid beam. Diagonal bars are therefore essential for can be seen that the diagonal reinforcement provided in
shear crack control. Comparing Beams R-2 and R-3, whose Beam R-5 was still not sufficient for achieving adequate
diagonal bars were designed to carry 52 and 79% of the ap- crack control, while those in Beam R-6 could barely satisfy
plied shear force, the maximum shear crack width curves the serviceability requirement. Hence, a larger value of of
show little difference. Because the shear concentration fac- at least 1.3, as in the case of Series 1 beams, should be used
tors for R-2 and R-3 were 1.32 and 1.54, respectively, it may for crack control.
be concluded that using diagonal bars to carry 50% of the
shear force with a shear concentration factor of 1.3 seems to Shear force carried by chord members
be adequate for crack control around a circular opening. The shear forces calculated5 from the strains measured by
The flexural cracking load for the beams in Series 2 was the 60-degree rosette at different stages of loading are plot-
also independent of the amount and arrangement of shear re- ted in Fig. 7. For Beams R-1 and R-4, which did not have any
inforcement around the openings (Table 1). The shear crack- diagonal bars, the applied shear force was basically distrib-
ing load for Beam R-4, however, which had only vertical uted in proportion to the cross-sectional areas of the chords
stirrups as shear reinforcement, was 100 kN, much less than prior to the shear cracking load. But after the first shear crack
those of Beams R-5 and R-6 (that is, 160 and 150 kN, respec- occurred, the compression chord above the opening tended
tively). Compared with the beams in Series 1, it is seen that to carry more shear force. This is due to the development of
when the opening is enlarged, as in Series 2, the diagonal bars the cracks in the tension chord, which reduced its shear car-
serve to delay shear cracking at the edge of the openings. rying capacity. At ultimate, the compression chords in
The load versus maximum crack width curves for Series 2 Beams R-1 and R-4 carried 79 and 70% of the applied shear
beams are plotted in Fig. 6(b), and the maximum crack force, respectively, while their cross-sectional areas were 57
widths at service load are given in Table 1. The service load and 50% , respectively, of the net cross section.

ACI Structural Journal/May-June 2001 413

Table 2Ultimate shear strength and comparison with modified ACI method
Experimental Modified ACI method19
Ultimate load based on Ultimate
nominal shear strength, kN load based
on nominal
Ultimate Mode of Beam-type Frame-type flexural Mode of
Beam load, kN failure Vt /V failure failure strength, kN failure
S 456.6 S NA 326.4* NA 493.9 S
R-1* 452.2 S 0.79 326.2* 410.7 496.5 S
R-2 515.1 F 0.53 551.2 607.7 497.1* F
R-3 518.9 F 0.07 623.4 * 499.1 CS
R-4 669.8 WC,F 0.67 838.3* 899.9 874.2 S
R-5 935.8 F 0.55 * 1152.7 883.9 S
R-6 921.2 F 0.47 881.2 725.2* 883.9 CS
*Figures correspond to predicted failure load.
Note: S = shear compression failure; F = flexural failure; CS = shear failure in compressions chord; and WC = failure by con-
crete crushing in compression chord.

For the other beams with diagonal bars placed beside the shape, and the compression chord had a larger depth towards
openings, the diagonal shear crack passing through the cen- its ends.
ter of opening was well arrested, and the two chord members Test results indicate that diagonal bars not only provide
carried the applied shear in proportion to the cross-sectional crack control, but also serve as shear reinforcement. Al-
areas up to ultimate. Therefore, it seems that the assumption though small stirrups above and below the openings are not
of distributing the total shear between the two chords in pro- necessary if the diagonal bars can resist the shear force in the
portion to their cross-sectional areas is valid only when suf- chord members, these stirrups should be provided nominally
ficient diagonal bars are provided close to the opening. for structural integrity.


In Series 1, Beams S and R-1 had almost the same predicted Within the scope of the investigation conducted herein on
shear strength. They also had attained similar shear strength in concrete beams with small circular openings under bending
the tests, indicating that the modified ACI method19 is ade- and shear, the following conclusions can be made.
quate for the strength design of a beam with an opening. 1. A beam with circular openings can be conservatively
Beams R-2 and R-3 failed in flexure due to the contribution designed using the modified ACI Code approach.19 This
of the diagonal bars to the shear strength and their ultimate method incorporates the reduction in concrete contribution
loads were accurately predicted. to shear strength due to the opening and considers two differ-
In Series 2, the predicted ultimate load based on shear fail- ent types of failure;
ure of Beam R-4 is 838.3 kN, but it failed prematurely at a 2. Diagonal bars are essential for achieving adequate crack
20% lower value of 669.8 kN. Compared with Beams R-5 and control. The amount of these diagonal bars should be suffi-
R-6, which have the predicted values closer to the observed cient enough to carry at least 50% of the applied shear with
shear strengths, the reduction in ultimate strength for Beam R- a shear concentration factor of at least 1.3;
4 is approximately 28%. Thus, there is a need to provide diag- 3. When a sufficient quantity of diagonal reinforcement is
onal bars to contain early distress due to crack widening. The provided, the applied shear may be distributed between the
failure load of Beam R-4, however, is 6.9 times the value of Vc chord members in proportion to their cross-sectional areas; and
calculated for the opening segment using Eq. (7). This value 4. The ACI Code20 limit on maximum shear force for solid
is considerably larger than the maximum limit set by the ACI beam may also be applied to beams with small openings pro-
Code.20 As a result, the failure of this beam might have oc- vided that the calculation is based on net section.
curred by the concrete crushing rather than yielding of the re-
inforcement. Thus, the ACI limit on maximum shear appears ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
to apply to beams with openings, provided Vc is calculated The concrete required for this project was donated by Pioneer Concrete
on the basis of net section through the opening. (S) Pte Ltd. The authors gratefully acknowledge this support.
Beams R-5 and R-6 that contained diagonal bars attained
a much higher strength than Beam R-4 (Table 2). The respec- CONVERSION FACTORS
1 in. = 25.4 mm
tive failure loads were found to be 9.2 and 9.1 times the value
1 kip = 4.448 kN
of Vc at the opening segment. These two beams apparently 1 ft-kip = 1.356 kNm
failed in flexure with no visible web crushing through the net 1 ksi = 6.895 MPa
section. The diagonal bars in these two beams might have
contributed to their increased shear resistance. REFERENCES
No beam failed by the so-called frame-type failure, al- 1. Arney, G. B.; Corley, W. G.; Hanson, J. M.; and Parmelee, R. A.,
though Table 2 shows that Beams R-3 and R-6 that were pro- Behavior and Design of Prestressed Concrete Beams with Large Web
vided with diagonal bars only were predicted to fail in that Openings, Journal of the Prestressed Concrete Institute, V. 22, No. 6,
Nov.-Dec. 1977, pp. 32-61.
manner. The reason may be that in frame-type failure, the 2. Huang, L. M., Analysis and Design of Reinforced Concrete Beams
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