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Permanent Camp at Yibal

Report on Expansion Joint

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J ULY 2019
Table of Contents
Scope 2
General 3
Criteria for expansion joint 5
Suggested procedure 6
General 8
Methods 9
Expansion joints in long building 11
Our Observations 12


 Due to the variation of temperature, there is contraction and expansion in
structural element and if this is not within tolerable limit then there is a
chance of crack. To avoid cracking, we purposely introduce provision in
structural element so that in can have the movement (due to expansion
and contraction) without any interruption.

 Movement joints provided within a building is to permit the separate

segments of the structural frame to expand and contract in response to
temperature changes without adversely affecting the building’s structural
integrity or serviceability.

 This report is limited to the discussion of expansion joints that permit

movement in the horizontal direction only.


As Per “Federal Construction Council. Technical Report No. 65”


 The structural analysis of a building should include a determination of

the need for thermal expansion joints in view of the potential impact of
temperature-produced dimensional changes on structural integrity and
building serviceability.

 As a minimum, each of the following factors should be examined and

taken into account during expansion joint location and design:

a. Dimensions and configuration of the building.

b. Design temperature change, which should be computed in

accordance with the formula:

∆t= (Tw –Tm) or (Tm –Tc)

Whichever is greater, where,

Tm = the mean temperature during the normal construction season

in the locality of the building. For the purpose of this report, the
normal construction season for a locality is defined as that
contiguous period in a year during which the minimum daily
temperature equals or exceeds 32ºF.

Tw = the temperature exceeded, on the average, only 1% of the
time during the summer months of June through September in the
locality of the building.

Tc = the temperature equaled or exceeded, on the average, 99% of

the time during the winter months of December, January, and
February in the locality of the building.

c. Provision for temperature control.

d. Type of frame, type of connection to the foundation, and symmetry

of stiffness against lateral displacement.

e. Material of construction.

f. The following figures show the effect of temperature on different

condition of structure.

The need for thermal expansion joints in buildings may be determined initially on
an empirical basis. If results are deemed by the designer to be too conservative or
if the empirical approach is not sufficiently comprehensive to be applicable to the
type of structure being investigated, a more precise analysis should be
undertaken. In either case, the following criteria should be utilized in the absence
of more rational approaches.

i) Empirical Approach:

a. For buildings having a beam-and-column or slab-and-column

structural frame, the maximum length of the building without
expansion joints should be determined in accordance with Figure 1
on the basis of the design temperature change (∆t) in the locality of

b. For buildings supported by continuous exterior unreinforced

masonry, expansion joints should be placed at intervals not
exceeding 200 feet (60 m). In addition, intermediate sub joints
should be positioned as spaced in accordance with the
recommendations of the Brick Institute of America (BIA) and the
National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA).

(a) If the building will be heated only and will have hinged-column bases, use
the allowable length as specified.

(b) If the building will be air conditioned as well as heated, increase the
allowable length by 15% (provided the environmental control system will
run continuously);

(c) If the building will be unheated, decrease the allowable length by 33%;

(d) If the building will have fixed-column bases, decrease the allowable length
by 15%

(e) If the building will have substantially greater stiffness against lateral
displacement at one end of the plan dimension, decrease the allowable
length by 25%.

When more than one of these design conditions prevail in a building, the
percentile factor to be applied should be the algebraic sum of the adjustment
factors of all the various applicable conditions.

ii) Analytical Method:

For those situations in which the need for thermal expansion joints can’t be
determined on an empirical basis or in which the empirical approach provides a
solution that professional judgment indicates is too conservative, a detailed
analysis should be performed.


The following guidelines are recommended as bases for expansion joint design
and location:

a. Expansion joints should extend over the entire height of the building from
the top of the foundation footing (or perimeter base wall) through the roof.
The resulting two separate but adjacent structural frames may share the
same footing.

b. The upper bound (UB) of horizontal closing in building with a beam-and-

column frame should be calculated from the expression:

UB = 6*10-6*∆te*L

Where ∆te = (Tw-Tm) in degree Fahrenheit

L= effective length

c. To allow the construction tolerances and compressibility and expandability
of the joint sealants, the expansion joint width (W), in inches, should be as

W = C1 * UB

Where, C1 = 2.0 for unheated building, 1.7 for building heated but to air
conditioned, or 1.4 for buildings for both heated and air conditioned.

d. For buildings with continuous exterior bearing walls of clay masonry, the
maximum spacing of the expansion joints should be limited to 200 ft (60m),
and the minimum required joint width (W), in inches, should be calculated
from the following expression:

W = C1*L*(50ºF. ∆te)(4*10-6)

e. The minimum width of an expansion joint should in no case be less than

1inch (25mm). If the computed expansion joint exceeds 2 inches (50mm),
special consideration should be given to the materials and methods of joint
construction to ensure that the joint itself will be able to withstand the
distress caused by substantial movement at the joint.


Reported by ACI Committee 224

a. All buildings are restrained to some degree; this restraint will induce
stresses with temperature changes.

b. Temperature induced stresses are the direct result of volume changes

between restrained points in a structure.

c. As estimate of the elongation or contraction caused by temperature

change is obtained by multiplying the coefficient of expansion of concrete
α [about 5.5x10-6 /F (9.9x10-6 /C)] by the length of the structure and the
temperature change.

d. Expansion Joint Spacing is dictated by the amount of movement that can

be tolerated, and the permissible stresses or capacity of the members.


a. As with expansion joints, rules of thumb have been developed.

b. These rules are generally quite conservative and rage from 30 to 200 ft (9
to 60 m) depending on the type of structure.

c. Analytical methods may be used to calculate expansion joint spacing.

d. Two of these methods are presented by Martin and Acosta 1970, National
Academy of Sciences 1974.

e. Pfeiffer and Darwin (1987) used those two procedures along with a third by
Varyani and Radhajii (1978) to obtain expansion joint spacing for two
reinforced concrete frames.

f. Expansion joint spacing by Martin and Acosta (1970)-

Lj = 12.24/(R ∆T) meter, ∆t in C
In the above expression:
R= 144 (Ic /h2 ) (1+r) /(1+2r)
R = ratio of stiffness factor of column to stiffness factor of beam =
∆T = (2/3) (Tmax – Tmin ) + Ts
Kc = Column stiffness factor = Ic/h , m3
Kb = beam stiffness factor = Ib/L , m3
h = column height, m
L = beam length, m
Ic= moment of inertia of the column, m4
Ib= moment of inertia of the beam, m4
Ts= 17 C

g. Martin and Acosta proposed an additional criterion for Lj to limit the

maximum allowable lateral deflection d to h/180 so as to avoid damage to
exterior walls.
Accordingly Lj≤ 1111h/(∆t).

h. Most federal Agencies relied on rules (Fig. 1) that provided maximum

building dimensions for heated and unheated buildings as a function of the
change in the exterior temperature.

i. However, no significant quantitative data was found to support these

criteria. The criteria illustrated in Fig. 1 reflected two assumptions.

j. First, the maximum allowable building length between joints decreases as
the maximum difference between the mean annual temperature and the
maximum/minimum temperature increases.

k. Second, the distance between joints can be increased for heated

structures. Here, the severity of the outside temperature change is
reduced through building temperature control.

l. The lower and upper bounds of 60 and 200m were a consensus, but have
no experimental or theoretical justification.



In the 1940s a distinct trend started toward the elimination of expansion joints in
long buildings. This trend is continuing into the present time. Even in locations
with large temperature ranges, building up to 120 and 150 m have been
constructed without expansion joints, and seemingly the performance has been
satisfactory. The following are examples of such buildings

a. The General Accounting Office Building, built in 1951, Washington, D.C. is

an eight storey, flat slab building 638X389 ft in plan, with 25x25 ft bays.
Control joints were used on 50ft centers. No evidence of distress resulting
from the omission of expansion joints was found in this building in 1956.

b. The Los Angeles union Terminal has a seven-storey, flat slab warehouse
550x100ft in plan, with 20x20 ft bays, as well as a four-storey building
440x100 ft in plan. According to an inspection report of 1958, both
buildings were in excellent condition after 40 to 50 years, showing no
distress due to lack of expansion joints.


a. Sultan Center, Qurum, Oman, with 60X65 m in plan without any expansion
joint. This structure is designed by AL-HATMY.
b. Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque at Sohar: Expansion joint spacing is 65 m.
The structural design of this mosque is done by the author.



01 For calculation of expansion joint spacing, we considered several

values as follows:

02 As per the method presented by Martin and Acosta (1970)-

Expansion joint spacing, Lj > 133m

03 As per Fig-1 presented by Federal Agencies, spacing of expansion

joints is equal to 60m.

04 For our project, we suggested 45m of maximum expansion joint