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0 Introduction

Structural design is the process by which the Engineer translates the requirements of the client or
his/her architect into a workable, safe structure that provides the required quality at the greatest

1.1 Probability and Design

Engineers can never know exactly the strength of the materials they are using or the forces that will be
applied to their structure. Using probability can only solve this problem.

For example if we want to know the strength of the concrete for the particular production, we have to
estimate the mean and standard deviation of the whole concrete production from which the
representative sample is taken.
Note: The lager the standard deviation the more variable or poorly controlled is the production

For example 15 cubes (n=15) were tested from a series of concrete batches and gave the following
cube strengths (x)-:

Cube strengths 38,37,39,40,39,38,36,37,38,39,41,38,35,37,38

sum 570
Mean of the sample = 38
n 15
Deviation from the mean 0,-1,1,2,1,0,-2,-1,0,1,3,0,-3,-1,0

Deviation2 0,1,1,4,1,0,4,1,0,1,9,0,9,1,0
1 1

The standard deviation of the sample n is = Deviation 2 32

2 2
n 15

The best estimate of the mean of the whole production is the mean of the sample = 38

The best estimate of the standard deviation of the whole production n 1 is =

1 1
Deviation 2 2 32 2
n 1 15 1

The best estimate of the characteristic strength fcu = fm- 1.64 n 1

Where fcu = Characteristic strength
fm = Mean strength
n 1 = The best estimate of the standard deviation of the whole production
1.64 = is the Z from normal distribution curve which give 5% defective
Note: Z is used in this text and BS 8110 to mean the lever arm of the beam

fcu = 38 1.64 1.512 35.52 N

mm 2
Note: The parameter that is used to specify the strength of steel or concrete or the applied load is called
the characteristic strength or the characteristic load.

Characteristic strength (fcu) is the strength below which not more than 5% of the production falls or
characteristic strength (fcu) is the strength of the production with not more than 5% probability of not
being reached. BS 8110 sets down standard concrete grades, defined by their characteristic strengths,
of C25, C30, C35, C40 and C50.

1.2 Design Philosophy

The basis of the design philosophy is to determine the characteristic strength of the material and then
to ensure that this is greater than the stress induced (applied) by the characteristic load by satisfactory
margin. The margin is fixed by dividing the characteristic strength by a factor (partial factor of safety
for material m) and multiplying characteristic load by a factor (partial factor of safety for loads f)

The selection of partial safety factor is based on limit design.

Basically there two principal types of limit state:
(1) The ultimate limit state, which is concern with the provision of adequate safety.
(2) The serviceability limit states, which are essentially concern with durability.
When you are designing at ultimate limit state the larger partial safety factor can be used and when you
are designing at serviceability limit state the smaller partial safety factor can be used.

In general an objective of limit state design is to achieve an acceptable probability that the structure
being designed will not become unfit for its intended purpose during its expected life.

Note: the condition of structure when it becomes unfit for use or unserviceable is called a limit state.
Thus the various ways in which the structure becomes unfit for use are examined.

If the uls is reached the structure will collapse. Some of uls

Uls due to bending

Uls due to shear
Uls due to direct compression or tension
Uls due to overturning

If the sls is reached the appearance of the member or structure will be disrupted. This may render the
member unfit for its intended services (uses). Some of sls

Uls due to deflection (so the deflection should not affect the appearance)
Uls due to cracking (so the crack should not affect the appearance and durability)
Uls due to vibration

1.3 Characteristic values

1.3.1 Characteristic strength

See the equation and definition Characteristic strength (fcu) in 1.1
1.3.2 Characteristic load
Ideally a characteristic load is defined as a load with 5% probability of being exceeded during the
lifetime of the structure.

1.4 Design values

1.4.1 Design loads
The design load is give by the equation
Design load = characteristic load X partial factor of safety for loading (f)
This factor takes into account the possibility that the loads acting on the structure may be greater than
the characteristic value. The table below gives the value of f for the ultimate limit state.

Load combination Load type

Dead Imposed Earth and Wind
Adverse Beneficial Adverse Beneficial water pressure
Dead and imposed (and 1.4 1.0 1.6 1.0 1.4 -
earth and water pressure
Dead and wind (and earth 1.4 1.0 - - 1.4 1.4
and water pressure
Dead and wind and 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.2
imposed (and earth and
water pressure

1.4.1 Design Strengths

The design strength is give by the eqn
Characteristic strength
Design Strength
Partial factor of safety on the material strength ( m )
This factor takes into account the variation in workmanship and quality control that may normally be
expected to occur in the manufacture of materials.

Note: the following may cause the difference btn Characteristic strength and Design Strength of
concrete and steel (reinforcement)
For concrete
o Segregation during transit
o Dirty casting condition
o Inadequate protection during curing or poor curing
o Inadequate compaction of concrete
For steel (reinforcement)
o Wrongly positioned reinforcement
o Distorted reinforcement
o Corroded reinforcement

The table below gives the value of m for the ultimate limit state.

Material m
Reinforcement in all cases 1.15
Concrete in flexure or axial load 1.50
Concrete Shear strength without shear reinforcement 1.25
Concrete Bond strength 1.4
Concrete Others e. g bearing stress >= 1.5

1. Briefly explain why the BS 8110 recommends the uses of design strengths instead of characteristic
strengths of material in designing reinforced concrete structures

2. A concrete member with insignificant self weight is designed to support characteristic dead load of
K and unknown characteristic live load. If the total design load used in designing the member is Y,
determine the unknown characteristic live load.

3. The cube crushing strengths from each of 5 batches of concrete used to cast 7.5 cubic metre
reinforced wall were recorded as follows:-

Batch Cube crushing strength(N/mm2) at 28 days Internal dimensions of cube mould

1 25 15cm 15cm 15cm
2 26 15cm 15cm 15cm
3 28 15cm 15cm 15cm
4 24 15cm 15cm 15cm
5 x 15cm 15cm 15cm

(a) If the calculated standard deviation of the tested concrete and the best estimate of the characteristic
strength for concrete prepared to cast the wall were 1.3565 N/mm2 and 23.113 N/mm2 respectively,
determine the cube crushing strength result of the fifth batch that was mistakenly unrecorded by the
laboratory technician.

(b) Assuming there was 0% waste of concrete during casting the wall; determine the quantity of
concrete in cubic metre that was prepared per each batch.

4 Fig 1 below shows a timber formwork used to support slabs green concrete of unknown
characteristic strength. The project specifications state that: - only 6 six concrete batches shall be
required per each member, one 150mm150mm150mm concrete cube shall be taken from each
batch for test and the standard for the sample shall never be above 1.5 (N/mm2). If the actual cube
crushing strengths from each of 6 batches for slabs concrete are 32,30,32,31,29 etc(N/mm2) at 28
days, wastage and shrinkage due to compaction is expected to be 6% of the concrete that is
required in the formwork and the best estimate of the mean of the whole concrete produced is
30(N/mm2) determine:-

a) % increase/decrease between the specified best estimate standard deviation of the whole slab
and the actual best estimate standard deviation of the whole slab concrete

b) Best estimate of the characteristic strength of the whole slab concrete

c) The maximum capacity to the nearest m3 of the required concrete mixer

25 25 25
Fig1 A A 25
25 25 225

B 9050 3175
plan 4
All dimensions are in mm
5. Briefly explain why the BS 8110 recommends the uses of design loads instead of characteristic

6. Briefly explain why the BS 8110 recommends the greater factor of safety of concrete mconcrete to be
greater than that of steel msteel

7. Mention at least two things that are always taken into consideration by any comprehensive design.