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Learning Outcomes

At the end of this topic, student should be able:

1. List the advantages and disadvantages of reinforced concrete. (PLO1,C1,K)

2. Explain the stages in the design and the design strength of the materials.(PLO1,
C2, K)

3. Explain the behavior of beam under loading and the importance of tension
reinforcement.(PLO1, C3, K)


1.1 Introduction

A structure is an organized combination of connected parts designed to carry loads and

provide adequate rigidity.Design is a process of selecting the material and determining
the size of the members of a structure to be built. The primary aim of design is to
achieve a safe structure that is functional and can be built and maintain with the
minimum cost.

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1.2 Reinforced Concrete

Concrete is a composite material consists of cement, aggregate, sand and water with
the approximate proportion as shown in Figure 1.1 and Figure 1.2.

Figure 1.1: Concrete cube

Figure 1.2: Concrete constituent

The strength of hardened concrete is basically controlled by the water/cement ratio.

Higher water/cement ratio used in a mixture produces workable concrete but
unfortunately will result in a weaker concrete when hardened. The relationship of
workability and strength is shown in Figure 1.3.

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Figure 1.3: Effect of water/cement ratio

Concrete is a material strong in compression but weak in tension. It has high resistance
to heat and durable if expose to the environment.

Since it is weak in tension, reinforcement is needed to strengthen it.Reinforced concrete

is thus a concrete that is strengthen using steel bars/reinforcement as shown in Figure
1.4 and Figure 1.5. Steel bar is strong in tension. It is also strong in compression but it
is rather weak in lateral stability during compression and lost most of it strength during
fire. Steel can easily corrode if it is not protected from the environment. The
complementary properties of these two materials give a material that is strong in various

Figure 1.4: Concrete is high in compressive strength but low in tensile strength

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Figure 1.5: Steel bars is embedded in concrete (reinforcing) provide tensile


The advantages of using reinforced concrete in structure are:

1) Concrete is cheaper than steel.

2) Good combination of concrete and steel:
(i) Bond between concrete and steel prevents slip of the steel bar as shown
in Figure 1.6. The bond action allows the transfer of tensile stress from the
concrete into the steel bars.

Figure 1.6: Excellent bond action between steel bar and concrete prevents slip

(ii) Concrete covering prevent water intrusion and bar corrosion.

(iii) Similar rate of thermal expansion. Concrete thermal expansion is between
0.000010 to 0.000013 where else steel is 0.000012.
3) Durability of concrete protects the steel from external elements such as fire and
4) Continuity from monolithic joint (no connection interruption or design is needed at
joints) as shown in Figure 1.7.

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Fig. 1.7: Monolithic construction

5) The reinforced concrete building system is more durable than any other building

6) Reinforced concrete, as a fluid material in the beginning, can be economically

molded into a nearly limitless range of shapes.

7) The maintenance cost of reinforced concrete is very low.

8) As reinforced concrete can be molded to any shape required, it is widely used in

precast structural components. It yields rigid members with minimum apparent

9) Compared to the use of steel in structure, reinforced concrete requires less

skilled labor for the erection of structure.

The disadvantages of using reinforced concrete are:

1) The tensile strength of reinforced concrete is about one-tenth of its compressive


2) The main steps of using reinforced concrete are mixing, casting, and curing. All
of this affect the final strength.

3) The cost of the forms used for casting reinforced concrete is relatively higher.

4) For multi-storied building the reinforced concrete column section is larger than
steel section as the compressive strength is lower in the case of reinforced

5) Shrinkage causes crack development and strength loss.

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1.3 Project Procedure

A project begins when the client whether an individual, government or company intent to
built a building, than an architect is consulted ( if the structure is bridges, airport, water
storage tanks or similar structure, than engineers will be consulted) to foresee the
owner intention such as shape, function and the estimated cost of the building.

An architect or engineer (depends on the project) will try to understand the client needs
and try to collect as much information as possible from the client point of view. After
deciding on several alternative systems, they will propose a suitable design (based on
the material and method of construction) which is presented in the form of architecture
drawings. Based on these drawings, engineer will decide and prepare the structural
drawing showing the skeleton of the structure and the position of the main elements of
the structure such as beam, column, footings and others.

Then the analysis of the structure is carried out such as calculating the loads and
determining the forces acting on each structural element. The size of the element, its
position and the amount of reinforcement is calculated and is shown in the structure
detailing drawing.The project implementation procedures and the process of designing
a structure is as shown in Figure 1.8.

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Project Manager



Engineering Consultant

Electrical and Mechanical Quantity Surveyor Civil Engineer and Structural

Engineer (M& E) Engineer (C &S)

Building Contractor

(Quantity Surveyor,
Project Engineer, Site
Supervisor, Workers

Figure 1.8:Project implementation procedures

1.4 Engineering Design Process

Structural engineering is the study of how the various components of a building or other
structure act together to transmit forces down to the foundations. The stages in the
design process are as illustrated in Figure 1.9.Stages in the process are:

1) Structural planning stage: When a structural scheme is devised to suit both

the purpose of the building and the site conditions.
2) Structural analysis stage: When the loads on the structure are determined
and the way that the loads disperse through the structure is analysed using
the principles of structural mechanics.
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3) Structural element design stage: When the size and properties of each
member are determined.
4) Structural detailing stage: When detail drawings are produced to illustrate
how the structure is to be constructed on site.
5) Structural specification stage: When specification clauses are compiled to
define the standard of materials and workmanship to be used.
6) Construction stage: When the structure is built, with appropriate
supervision, inspection and testing to ensure that it complies with the
drawings and the specification.

Figure 1.9: Design process

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1.5 Reinforced Concrete Structural System

Reinforced concrete is being used as one of the principal material used in structures.
Overall economy of reinforced concrete with the advantages of corrosion and fire
resistance make it suitable for most structures such as structural frames, retaining walls,
water retaining structures, highways and bridges.

Structural system is the particular method of assembling and constructing structural

elements of a building so that they support and transmit applied loads safely to the
ground without exceeding the allowable stresses in the members. Typical reinforced
concrete structural system are: (a) Cantilever Construction (b) Simply supported
construction (c) Continuous Construction (d) Precast/Prestressed Beam, Slab and Box
Girder (e) Hinges Construction (f) Suspension and Cable Stayed Construction (g) Shell
Construction (h) Frame Construction. Thesereinforced concrete structural system are
illustrated in Figure 1.10(a) to Figure 1.10(h).

Figure 1.10(a): Cantilever construction

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Figure 1.10(b): Simply supported construction

Figure 1.10(c): Continuous construction(continuous span girders and

continuous arch)

Fig. 1.10(d): Precast construction(precast T, double T & I beams) and box

girder bridges

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Figure 1.10(e): Hinges construction (three hinge arch)

Figure 1.10(f): Suspension and cable stayed construction(cable stayed girder


Figure 1.10(g): Reinforced concrete shell construction (free form shells)

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Figure 1.10(h): Framed construction

(moment-resisting frames and frame-wall lateral force resisting systems)

1.6 Reinforced Concrete Elements

Generally a reinforced concrete building consists of several elements such as beam,

slab, column, wall, stair and foundation as shown in Figure 1.11. The load on the floor
which consists of the self-weight of the slab and other loads imposed on the floor will be
carried by the secondary beams(joist). The load from the secondary beams will then be
transferred to the main beams (girder). The load on the beam will in turn transfer to the
column and finally to the footing where the load will be spread to the ground via the

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Figure 1.11: Typical building element

1.7 The Aim of Design

1) To achieve an acceptable probability that the structure will perform satisfactorily

during its intended life.

2) With an appropriate degree of safety, the structure should sustain all loads and
deformations of normal construction and use, have adequate durability, and
resistance to effects of misuse and fire.

3) Calculations alone do not produce safe, serviceable and durable structures.

Equally important are the suitability of materials, quality control and supervision
of workmanship during construction.

4) To produce a structure which is economical to construct, maintain and service

throughout its design life.

1.8 Design Code of Practice

During the design stage, an engineer always refers to the code of practice for guidance.
Code of practice is a document that specified the best practices accumulated from

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experience engineers and researchers. Malaysia generally has been using British Code
of Practice BS 8110 in the design of reinforced concrete structure.

However, by 2010 United Kingdom has withdrawn BS8110 and adopts Eurocode 2
(EC2). Since Malaysia has been using British Standards since its introduction in 1985,
the withdrawal of British Standard means no further maintenance of British Standard in
future. Standard Malaysia and SIRIM Bhd. therefore has made a stand to adopt EC2 to
be used by engineers in designing reinforced concrete structure in Malaysia.

1.9 Eurocode

This manual is mostly based on a set of codes produced for use throughout the
European Union – the Eurocodes. Each country in the European Union defines how
each code is to be used by publishing a National Annexfor each code. This module is
based on the UK National Annexes.(National Annexes are unique features based on
each country determined parameters and non-contradictory complementary information.
Malaysia for instance has annex on small beams and columns for domestic
construction, creep and shrinkage of concrete, durability aspects and band beams

Tables 1.1 and 1.2 list a selection of these codes and standards. In relation to structural
design, the codes and standards are in two groups:

a) Those relating to materials and components

b) Those relating to loading and to the design of structures.

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Table 1.1: Codes Relating to Materials and Components

Table 1.2: Codes Relating to Loading and Design of Structures

Malaysian Equivalent of Eurocode:

MS EN 1990:2009 - Basis of structural design

MS EN 1991-1-1:2009 - Actions on structures

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MS EN 1992-1-1:2009 - Design of concrete structures

1.10 Design Working Life

BS EN 1990, Eurocode - Basis of structural design, (Eurocode 0) gives indicative

design working lives for design purposes for various types of structures, as shown in
Table 1.3.

Table 1.3:Design Working Life of Structures

This module is only concern on the design of class 4 structures only.

1.11 Limit State

Both BS8110 and EC2 are based on ultimate limit state. The purpose of limit state
design is to achieve acceptable probabilities that a structure will not become unfit for its
intended use - meaning that it will not reach a limit state. Therefore in any way a
structure become unfit for use will constitute a limit state. The design aim is to avoid any
such condition being reached during the expected life of the structure.

The two principal types of limit state are as shown in Figure 1.12.

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Figure 1.12: Limit state (ultimate limit states and serviceability limit states)

a) Ultimate limit state

Ultimate limit state are associated with collapse or other forms of structural damage
likely to endanger life. The structure must be able to withstand, with adequate factor of
safety against collapse, the loads for which it is designed to ensure the safety of the
occupant and the building itself. Examples of ultimate limit state are overturning,
buckling, collapse or internal explosion.

b) Serviceability limit state

Serviceability limit states are associated with poor performance of the structure which,
even though not life-threatening, must be avoided. Conditions whereby a structure is not
fit to be used or the occupant feels unsafe living in the structure. Generally serviceability
limit states are:

(1) Deflection – the appearance of any part of a structure must not be adversely
affected by deflections.

(2) Cracking – local damage due to cracking and spalling must not affect the
appearance, efficiency and durability of the structure.

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(3) Durability – must be considered in terms of the proposed life of the structure
and its conditions of exposure.

(4) Excessive vibration – may cause discomfort.

(5) Fatigue - must be considered if cyclic loading is likely.

(6) Fire resistance – must be considered in terms of resistance to collapse.

1.12 Loading/Actions

Generally loads or actions cannot be predicted accurately and it is uneconomical to

design using the largest load that may be encountered by the structure. Therefore in
design practice characteristic load/actions is used with a low probabilities that it will be
exceeded during the lifetime of the structure.

Actions is the Eurocode terminology for loads and imposed deformations. EC2 defines
an action as a force or load applied to a structure. Actions are categorized into
permanent (Gk) actions and variable(Qk) actions.

Permanent(Gk) actions is the fix load and usually unchanged in its location, example
self-weight of structures, finishes(screed, tiles etc), partition walls (metal or brick),
fittings, ceiling and fixed equipment such as water pipes and air-condition ducts.
Standard characteristic loadings can be found in BS EN 1991, Eurocode 1 – Actions on
Structures. Table 1.4 shows some typical values of permanent loading.

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Table 1.4: Permanent Actions (self-weight of construction materials)

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Variable(Qk) actions is any load that is temporarily on a structure. There are 2 types of
variable action namely imposed and wind load.

(i) Imposed load: Any gravity load, e.g people, furniture etc. Example
of selected imposed loads are shown in Table 1.5.

(ii) Wind load: Reference on wind load can be obtained in Part 4 of EC

2. Wind load depends on wind speed, building height and size, etc.
Reference wind velocity for a locality is defined as mean wind

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velocity at 10 m above farmland averaged over a period of 10

minutes with a return period of 50 years. EC2 requires that effects
of horizontal loads due to geometric imperfections are considered
in addition to effects of horizontal loads due to wind.

Table 1.5: Variable Load (live/temporary load)

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Example 1.1

The reinforced concrete floor beam as shown in Figure 1.13 is used to support a
concrete slab of 6 m width and having a thickness of 100 mm. The slab also carries a
13 mm thick plaster ceiling for the floor below. The beam also carries a brick wall of
width 100 mm and 1.2 m in height. Determine the load on the beam as kN per metre
length of the beam. The density of concrete = 25 kN/m3.

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Density of brick = 22 kN/m3

Area load of 12 mm plaster = 0.21 kN/m2

Figure 1.13: Cross-section of beam, slab and wall


Using the data given, the self-weight:

Component Calculation Load

Concrete slab 25kN/m3 X 0.1 m X 6 m 15 kN/m
Plaster ceiling 0.21 kN/m2X 6 m 1.26 kN/m
Brick wall 22 kN/m3 X 0.1 m X 1.2 m 2.64 kN/m
Total load on the beam 18.9 kN/m

1.13 Design Load

Design loads for Ultimate limit State are obtained by multiplying characteristic loads by
appropriate partial safety factor as shown in Table 1.6.

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Table 1.6: Partial Safety Factor for Load

The terms favourable and unfavourable refer to the effect of the action(s) on the design
situation under consideration. For example, if a beam, continuous over several spans, is
to be designed for the largest sagging bending moment it will have to sustain any action
that has the effect of increasing the bending moment will be considered unfavourable
whilst any action that reduces the bending moment will be considered to be favourable.

Partial safety factors for actions(γf) is applied due to:

1) Design assumptions and inaccuracy of calculation

2) Possible unusual increases in the magnitude of the actions
3) Unforeseen stress redistributions
4) Constructional inaccuracies

For simply supported beams, the partial safety factors for permanent,γ G and variable
actions, γQ will normally be 1.35 and 1.5 respectively.

For checking ultimate limit states (ULS) of bending, shear and compression:

γGGk + γQQk = 1.35Gk + 1.50Qk

For checking serviceability limit states (SLS) of cracking and deflection:

γGGk + γQQk = 1.00Gk + 1.00Qk

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1.14 Placing of Loading for Analysis

In determining the maximum moment for simply supported beam the load is placed as
shown Figure 1.14.

Figure 1.14: Design load for simply supported beam

For continuous beams, clause of EC2 recommends that the following load cases
will generally be sufficient:

1. Alternate spans carrying maximum loads with the others carrying minimum load.
2. Any two adjacent spans carrying maximum load with the reminder carrying
minimum load.

An example of Ultimate Design Loadings for continuous beam is as shown in

Figure 1.15.


Figure 1.15: Design load on a continuous beam

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Elastic analysis such moment distribution method can be used to determine the bending
moment of the continuous beam above and the largest moment of the two cases is
used for design purpose.

Example 2

A rectangular beam of size 200 X 500 mm and length 5 m is simply supported. If the
beam is to carry a characteristic live load of 5 kN/m calculate the ultimate design load in
kN/m to be carried by the beam. The weight of concrete = 24 kN/m3.


Dead weight of beam (permanent load), gk = 0.2 m X 0.5 m X 24 kN/m3 = 2.4 kN/m

Live load, qk = 5 kN/m

Design load = 1.35gk + 1.5qk

= (1.35 X 2.4 kN/m)+ (1.5 X 5 kN/m) = 10.74 kN/m

Example 3

Determine the design value for load for a cable which support a total characteristic
permanent load of 3.0 kN and a characteristic variable load of 2.0 kN as in Figure 1.16.

Figure 1.16: Design load on cable

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Design load = (γG X permanent load)+(γQ X variable load)

= (1.35 X 3.0 kN) + (1.5 X 2.0 kN)

= 7.05 kN

Example 4

Figure 1.17 shows a simply supported rectangular beam of 6 m span carries

characteristic dead (excluding self-weight of beam), gk, and imposed load, qk, loads of 8
kN/m and 6 kN/m respectively. The beam dimensions are breadth, b, 275 mm and
height, h, 450 mm. Calculate:

(i) Design load

(ii) Reaction at the supports.

(iii) Maximum design bending moment at centre of span.

Figure 1.17: Simply supported rectangular beam


Self-weight of the beam = 25 kN/m3 X 0.275 mX 0.45 m = 3.1 kN/m

Total characteristic dead load = 8 kN/m + 3.1 kN/m = 11.1 kN/m

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(i) Design load = (1.35 X 11.1 kN/m) + (1.5 X 6 kN/m) = 24.0 kN/m

(ii) Reaction at support, Ra = Rb = 24 kN/m X(6 m /2) = 72 kN

(iii) The maximum design bending moment occurs at the centre of the simply

supported beam.

Mmax = wL2/8 = 24 kN/mX(6 m)2/8 =108 kNm

1.15 Material Strength

The strength of materials upon which a design is based are normally those strengths
below which results are unlikely to fail. These are called ‘characteristic’ action. For a
large sample of a material tested, the distribution of strength will approximately ‘normal”
so that a frequency distribution curve would be of the form as shown in Figure 1.18.

Figure 1.18: Normal Distribution Curve

From the graph, the characteristic action is defined:

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Characteristic actions = mean action ± 1.64 standard deviations

The mean, and standard deviation, σ are given by:

These characteristic values represent the limits within which at least 90% of values lie in
practice. It is to be expected that not more than 5% will exceed the upper limit and not
more than 5% will fall below the lower limit.

Example 5

A characteristic cube strength of 35 N/mm2 is to be obtained from a concrete batching

plant. The standard deviation of 5 N/mm2 is expected. Determine the required mean


The required mean strength = 35N/mm2 + (1.64 X 5N/mm2) = 43.2 N/mm2.

1.16 Characteristic Strength of Concrete(fck)

The concrete strength is assessed by testing the crushing strength of cylinders or cube
of concrete made from the mix in a crushing machine as shown Figure 1.19. These are
usually cured, and tested after 28 days according to standard procedures.

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Figure 1.19: Concrete Cylinder/Cube Testing Machine

Concrete of a given strength is identified by its class – a Class 25/30 concrete has a
characteristic cylinder strength(fck) of 25 N/mm2 and cube strength of 30 N/mm2. Table
1.7 shows a list of commonly used classes.

(If a cube and a cylinder are made of the same concrete then the cube will achieve a
higher strength because the steel platens of the compression testing machine exert a
greater lateral restraint on a stocky cube than they do on a more slender cylinder)

Table 1.7: Concrete Grades to BS 8500 and BS EN 206

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1.17 Characteristic Strength of Steel(fyk)

Table 1.8 shows the various characteristic strength of steel bars use in the construction

Table 1.8: Characteristic Strength of Reinforcement and Symbols

Grade 250 bars are hot-rolled mild steel bars which usually has smooth surface so that
the bond with the concrete is by adhesion. Can be readily bent and use as links in
beams and columns. (In European Union and UK plain bars are no longer available).
Grade 460 & 500 (EC2) are high yield bars with ribbed surface as shown in Figure 1.20.

Figure 1.20: High yield bar (deformed bar) with ribbed surface

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Deformed bars have a mechanical bond with the concrete, thus enhancing ultimate
bond stresses. The cross-sectional areas of various sizes of bars and the cross-
sectional area per unit width of slab are in Table 1.9(a) and (b).

Table 1.9(a): Cross-sectional Area According to Size and Number for Reinforced
Concrete Beam and Column Element

Table 1.9(b): Sectional Areas per Metre Width for Various Bar Sizes and Spacing
(mm2/m) Use for Design of Slab

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1.18 Design Strength of Material

In order to take account of the difference between actual and laboratory values, local
weaknesses and inaccuracies in the assessment of the resistance of sections, the
characteristic strengths of material, fk are divided by an appropriate partial safety factor
for material, Ỿm.

Design strength = fk/ Ỿm

Table 1.10: Partial Safety Factors for Strength of Material(Table 2.3, EC2)

Combination Concrete, γc Steel reinforcements or prestressing tendon, γs

Fundamental 1.5 1.15

Table 1.10 shows the values of Ỿm for concrete and steel as recommended by
EC2.Partial safety factor for material(Ỿm) is applied due to:

a) The actual strength in a member will differ from that measured in a

carefully prepared test specimen and it is particularly true for concrete
for placing, compaction and curing are so important to the strength.
Steel, on the other hand, is relatively consistent material requiring a
small factor of safety.

b) The severity of the limit state being considered. Thus, higher values
are taken for the ultimate limit state than serviceability limit state.

1.19 Stress-Strain Relationship for Concrete and Steel

When a member of a structure is loaded it will deform and create stress and strain
inside the member. Understanding the stress and strain of concrete and steel

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reinforcement is important to enable us to understand the analysis and design of a

reinforced concrete member.

a) Concrete

Short-term stress-strain curves for concrete and steel can be found in EC2. Figure 1.21
is an idealised stress versus strain form for concrete which can be used in the analysis
of member sections.

Figure 1.21: Idealised stress versus strain for concrete

According to EC2 clause 3.1.6:

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fcd is the ultimate design stress and is given by:

f ck 0.85 f ck

c 1.5

= 0.567 fck

(α = 0.85 is to allow for the difference between the bending strength and the cylinder
crushing strength. γc = 1.5 is the partial safety factor for strength of concrete)

Referring to Figure 1.21 and according to EC2, the ultimate strain of concrete before
failure occurs is given as follow:

εcu2 = 0.0035 is the ultimate strain for classes of concrete


εc2 = 0.002

b) Steel

The short-term design stress-strain curve for reinforcement as proposed by EC2 is as

shown in Figure 1.22.

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Figure 1.22: Design stress-strain curve for reinforcing steel

The behaviour of steel is the same in tension and compression being linear in the
elastic range up to the design yield stress fyk/γs where fyk is the characteristic yield
stress and γsis the partial factor of safety.

Design steel stress is fyk/γs


= 0.87fyk

In the elastic range, stress = elastic modulus X strain

Design yield strain εy = design stress/elastic modulus

= (fyk/γs) /Es

For fyk = 500 N/mm2

εy = (500N/mm2/1.15)/(200 X 103)

= 0.00217

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For fyk = 460 N/mm2

= (460N/mm2/1.15) / 200 X 103

= 0.002

1.20 The Behaviour of Beam in Flexure

When a reinforced concrete beam is loaded it will bend as shown in Figure 1.23. The
intensity of deflection depends on the bending moment diagram. The bending of the
beam causes one face of beam to shorten due to the compressive force and the other
face lengthen due to the tensile force. The tensile region will experience cracks since
concrete is weak in tension. Reinforcement has to be provided in this region to
overcome the problem.

Figure 1.23:Tension reinforcement and failure of a beam (simply supported beam)

In the case of cantilever beam, the tension region is on the upper side of the beam and
the largest bending moment occurs at the connection between the beam and the

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support. Thus, tension reinforcement has to be provided at the top of the beam and
extended into the wall to provide anchorage as shown in Figure 1.24.

For a continuous beam as shown in Figure 1.24, the tension reinforcement are provided
at the upper portion over the support and at the centre region where the tensile force is

Figure 1.24: The position of tension reinforcement in a cantilever beam

(top bars and ties & anchorage to support)

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Figure1.25:The tension zone and the positioning of tension reinforcement in a

continuous beam

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The diagram below shows a bending moment diagram of a continuous beam. Sketch
the position of tension steel on the beam.

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