, 397413
PAPER 9200 STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING
GROUP
Tests are reported on aggregate interlock in reinforced concrete beams which have web
reinforcement and are made of high strength concrete. High strength concrete is here defined
as concrete which has a strength in excess of 6000 Ibf/in2 (41 N/mm’). The various mecha
nisms that contribute to shear in reinforced concrete beams are discussed in relation to the
effect high strength concrete has on these mechanisms. These test results show that the
contribution of aggregate interlock to beams made of high strength concrete decreases
significantly as the concrete compressive strength increases. Conversely, the contribution of
the dowel action increases while that of the concrete in the compression zone remains fairly
constant as the concrete compressive strength increases.
Notation
A, stirrup area
b beam width
d effective beam depth
E, modulus of elasticity of concrete
E, modulus of elasticity of steel
fc concrete compressive strength, cylinder
reinforcement yield strength
bending moment at section
r AJbs
s stirrup spacing
V shear force at section
U Vlbdshear stress
U, predicted shear strength of beams without stirrup
U, shear carried by aggregate interlock
U,, shear carried by compression zone
ud shear carried by dowel action
U, shear carried by stirrups
U, measured ultimate shear strength of beams
E longitudinal strain in concrete
c longitudinal stress in concrete
txy shear stress in concrete compression zone
Introduction
The design of reinforced concrete beams for shear is still highly empirical. This is
mainly due to the fact that a proper mathematical model that accurately predicts
~~~
397
MPHONDE
shear behaviour is not yet available, the most accurateto datebeing that given by
Zsutty' for concretes ranging from2000 to 6000 Ibf/in2 (14 to 41 N/mmz).
2. Mphonde and Frantz2 haverecentlyproposed an empiricalequation to
estimate the ultimate shear strengthof reinforced concrete beams without stirrups
and made of concrete, with strengths ranging from 3000 to 13000 lbf/in2 (21 to
90 N/mm2). However, the proposed equationis not general enough becauseit did
notinclude different values of shearspan/depth, a/d ratioand steel p ratios. The .
equation is therefore accurate for the a/d and p ratios used of 3.6 and 0.0336.
Ahmad et aL3 have pointed out this limitation and have proposed anew equation
based on Zsutty's original equation.
3. The purpose of this test study, however,is not to discuss the validityof any
proposed equationsfor the predictionof ultimate shear, butto show theeffect that
high strength concrete hason the aggregate interlock mechanism.
4. Fenwick andPaulay4haveisolatedtheprincipalmechanismsofshear
transfer in reinforced concrete beams without stirrups, namely
(a) shear carried by the concrete in the uncracked compression zone
v,=
(b) interface shearor aggregate interlock across the crackface v,
( c ) shear carriedby dowel actionof the longitudinalflexural steel vd .
Therefore, the total ultimate shear
v , for beams without stirrupsis
v, = v,, + v, + v*
where v, is the total concrete contribution to shear.
5. Theaddition of shearstirrupsincreasestheultimateshearcapacityofsuch ~
beams, and Swamy and Andriopo~los~ have reported that as much as 48% of the
total shear in beams of aid = 3.0 is carried by aggregate interlock and dowel
action. The addition of the steel contributes significantly to the shear capacity of
the member by increasing or maintaining the shear carried by interface shear
transfer.6 As the width of the crackincreases, the contribution from interface shear
decreases.Therefore,stirrups assist theaggregateinterlockmechanism by
restricting the widths of diagonal cracks, thus maintaining bearing of aggregate
across the crack.
6. Naaman7 hasreportedthatin high strengthconcrete,a brittle type of
failure may occur accompanied by a smooth crack leadingto a decrease in aggre
gateinterlockcapacity.This is because,astheconcretecompressivestrength
increases,crackstend to propagate through the coarse aggregate rather than
around the aggregate asin normal strength concrete, resulting in smoother cracks.
The addition of stirrups, therefore, may notassist the aggregate interlock mecha
nism as much inhigh strengthconcretebeamsas it obviouslydoes in lower
strength concretes.
7. Taylor'reported tests in 1970 on aggregateinterlocksheartransfer in
concrete blocks made with limestone aggregate and found that, as the concrete
compressive strength increased, the cracks became smoother and the aggregate
interlock shear decreased.In a beam made of high strength concrete, the concrete
contribution to shear strength after inclined cracking may, therefore, be less than
the shear neededto cause inclined cracking (the value used by the present codesto
predict shear capacity) becauseof the decreasein the contribution from the aggre
gate interlock. Therefore,it is necessary to study the effect of high strength on the
aggregate interlock shear.
398
A G G R E G A T E I N T E R L O C K IN CONCRETE BEAMS
C : j r L ,$!
N,
 0..
3 No. 8 bars
qa
84 in
1. I Sertes A 1 In cover
I 1/ein.3/lsinor
In + 3/16 in
stirrups at
3.5 in spacing
2 3 No. 8 bars, 1 In
cover on A,
yJR
2=
Serles B
'/smor%6in
stirrupsat
3.5 In spacing
3 No 8 bars, 1 in
SenesCcoveron A,
I 1
Fig. 1. Specimen details (No.8 bar = I in diu.; No. 7 bar = 7/8 in diu.)
MPHONDE
\
Preformedcrack i
Q
Fig. 2. Selection of preformed cracks
(76 mm X 152 mm) test cylinders. However, these were converted to equivalent
6 in X 12 in (152 mm X 304 mm) cylinder strengths, which were assumed to be
92% of the smaller cylinder strengths. Ahmad et aL3 have recently confirmed that
correction
this factor is correct for high strength concrete. I.
Test procedure
13. Beams were tested in a 300klbf (1330 kN) hydraulic testing machine
(Fig. 3) and loaded at midspan in load intervals of 2 klbf (8.9 kN) until failure. At
each load stage, midspan beam deflexions and concrete cracking patterns (all
, 4 In X 1 in plate 
L@ 10 In
cross
dla
1 India roller
In '
he,
In plate
I
beam Test l
I i
t 42.0 In
L
1
k
42.0 in
Test results
Analysis of shear transfer mechanisms
14. From the modified truss analogy, it is assumed that the shear not carried
by the concrete is carried by the stirrups; therefore, the total shearis
v, = v, f v, (2)
15. However, in the beams of series C, which have the aggregate interlock
contribution eliminated by preforming smooth diagonai cracks, the ultimate shear
strength is given by
v"(=) = Vd + v,, + 0% (3)
Therefore, the aggregate interlock shear should be the difference between the
ultimate shear capacities of series C beams and those of series B beams having
identical shear reinforcement.
16. The stirrup contribution v, was measured directly from the stirrup strains.
The dowel resistance was therefore assumed to be equal to the difference between
the total shear and the sumof the compression zone and stirrup shears for series C
beams.
Onegaugeflxedon
 X
compresslon
faceof beam
lme
, I
1
c 5.
O
Preformedcrack
X
10 
I
t
t
I l+

3 In
1.5 In
I I
4 31.5 In
3 4
t
E,
p?
p?
0
m
0
0

0 0
N
l
402
AGGREGATE INTERLOCK IN C O N C R E T E B E A M S
.
c
P
4 0

4 4
N
MPHONDE
19. The longitudinal strains E for each level measured at each load stage were
plotted against the moment at that load stage (Fig. 5). A slope &/aM of the plot
was obtained. To simplify calculations, the slope was assumed to be a constant
with respect to M . This approach, however, might have resulted in a small loss of
accuracy.
20. The total shear force a M / a x for each load stage under consideration was
then determined. This is the same for all gauge levels at each load stage because
the shear force is taken at onesection.
21. The shear stress 7ry was then obtained by integrating the expression of
equation (4) to each gauge level. Because it was the slopes of the strain against
moment plots which had been obtained, this slope was multiplied by E, to obtain
an equivalent slope but with stress against moment, rather than strain against
moment.
22. The shear force carried by the compression zone U,, was then obtained by
integrating the shear stresses from the compression face down to the level of the
inclined shear crack. Taylor," however, integrated the shear stresses down to the
neutral axis which was located below the crack. The shear stresses below the crack
should not be included in compression zone shear force, as only the portion of the
uncracked compression zone actually contributes to this shear force. Details of
how the shear carried by the concrete compression zone was calculated are fully
reported by Shagrithaya.
t
gaugeStraln I
Serles B
I
Y
Stralngaugesinbothshearspansonlyfor
15 000 PSI beams In series B
e
I
Serles C
Test results
27. Table 1 and Fig. 7 show the test results of the comparable series B and C
beams as well as the contributions of the various shear transfer mechanisms for
series C only. Series A test results are also shown in Table 1.
28. The percentage contributions of the various mechanisms determined in
terms of the total concrete shear resistance are shown in Table 2(a). In Table 2(a),
the concrete resistance U, from the beams with web reinforcement was obtained
from series B by making use of equation (2);therefore
405
MPHONDE
AGGREGATE INTERLOCK IN CONCRETE BEAMS
500 L
0 SeriesB
0 SeriesC
400 
c
.
oL 0
g 300 

v)
a,

5 200
5
100  . X
L.. v.
__
~. .X 
..
VC,
&
i
V*
0 I 1
0 4000 8000 12000
Concretestrength: Ibf/in2
(a)
500 
400 
N
c
5

n
300 
v)
2

5 200
5
100
V*
0 I I I
0 4000 8000 12000
Concretestrength: Ibf/in2
(b)
Fig. 7. Eflect of concrete strength on shear distribution at ultimate load: (a) ‘f, =
50 lbfin’ ;(b)‘fy = 100 lbfin’
29. Table 2(b) and Fig. 8 also show percentage contributions of the various
mechanismsusingthetotalshearcontribution U, obtained from series A test
results. As series A beams had no shear stirrups, their ultimate failure loads were
taken to be the ultimate shear capacities of the beams. The following equation,
which was obtained froma regression analysisof the datafor series A beams, was
used to calculate the concrete contribution
used in Table 2(b) and Fig. 8
U, = uJbd = 1.52,/( f i) + 135
Ibf/in2 (94
wheref i is in lbf/in2.
U, = 0.126,/( f L) + 0.931 N/mmz (9b)
wheref: is in N/mm’.
407
MPHONDE
Table 2. Percentage contributions of shear transfer: mechanisms to beam strength
(a) Percentage of v , contribured by each mechanismmeasured from beams with
web reinforcement
rfy = 50: Ibf/in2 rf, = 1 0 0 : lbf/in2
v. 5@17% 4312% for 3000 <f: < 6000 Ibf/in2
0?h 0% forf: > 9000 lbf/in2
'd 2877% 2875% for 3000 < f : < 13000 Ibf/in*
'c, 2223% 2925% for 3000 <f: < 13000 Ibf/in2
120 L
e
/  
100
e
52 80 *
60 e
40  vd
0
20  0 .
0 0
VC,
.
l
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 12000
f‘,: Ibf/in2
(4
140
120  e
/ 
/
/
100. a
80 
2
60 
40  vd
0
20  0 ,
 0 0
VC,
P, : Ibfhn’
(b)
Fig. 8. Effect of concrete strength on contribution of various transfer mechanisms as
a percentage of vc: (a)J$, = 50 lbf/in2; (b)J$, = 100 lbflin2 (v, is based on equation
(9),ultimate strength of series A beams)
20
0
50 100
fly: Ibfiln'
35. It was observed in these tests that an increase in 'f, resulted in smaller
widths of the diagonal cracks(Fig. 10).The contribution from the aggregate inter
lock should, therefore, increaseon account of the increased bearing between sur
faces. However, Fenwick" has reported that a higher area of stirrups decreases
the rotation of the concrete cantilever about the head of the diagonal crack,
resulting in a smaller displacement along the crack. This causes a reduction in the
aggregate interlock shear. As rfy increased from 50 to 100 Ibf/inz (0.34to 0.68
N/mm2), some small reduction in the percentage contribution of U,, compared
with the totalconcrete contribution, occurred.An increase in rfy, however, did not
affect thepercentageshearcontributionfromdowelaction and only slightly
increased the contribution from the compression zone.
36. The results of Swamy and Andriopoulo~~ on the contribution of aggregate
interlock and dowel action to the shear capacity of a beam indicate that, as the
amount of stirrups increases, the shear carriedby the concrete sectionucz remains
fairly constant; however, as a percentageof the totalshear resistance, its contribu
tion decreases.Fig. 9, which was derived fromFig. 8, shows a similar trendfor the
beams testedin this project.
37. The dowel mechanism was a significant contributor to shear strength of
the beam in this current study, especially at the higher compressive strengths. It
should be noted that these beams had stirrupswhich would increasedowel capac
ity, while most previous work has been done on beams without stirrups.
410
AGGREGATE INTERLOCK IN CONCRETE BEAMS
70 
60 .
/r’
*K’ C100153
C50113
50 
c
40:
0 ’
0.04 0.08 0.12 0.16
Crackwidth: in
Conclusions
38. The Paper has presented results of tests to show the significance of the
aggregate interlock mechanismto the shear capacityof reinforced concrete beams
made of high strength concrete.
39. The study has shown conclusively that while aggregate interlock plays a
very significant role as a shear carrying mechanism at low concrete compressive
strengths, it does not have much influence on the shear strength of reinforced
concrete beamsat high concrete strengths.
40. However, dowel action is more predominant at very high strengths, and
the shear carried by the concrete compression zone remains fairly constant with
increasing concrete compressive strengths.
41. The contributions from the dowel action and the compression zone were
not substantiallyaffected bythe amount of web reinforcement. However, the shear
carried by aggregateinterlockshowedsomedecrease with anincrease in the
amount of web reinforcement.
42. The results obtained for the contributions of different mechanisms for low
to medium concrete strengths are in general agreement with those obtained by
other investigators. However, no such comparisonwas possible at higher strengths
because of lack of previous test results.
41 1
MPHONDE
43. The decrease in the importance of aggregate interlock as a shear carrying
mechanism may have significant implications in the design of high strength con
crete elements such as corbels and brackets which use the shear friction concept of
shear transfer. However, because of the conservative nature of the current design
methods such as the American Concrete Institute (ACI) method, Yong et
have found that a comparison of test values with those predicted by the ACI Code
confirm the conservative nature of the Code provisions, while the truss analogy
model predicted values which weresafe but less conservative than the ACI values.
Acknowledgements
44. The research reported in this Paper was conducted at the University of
Connecticut,under National Science Foundation grant CEE8119386. The
Author is grateful to Dr Gregory C. Frantz who supervised the work, to Nagaraja
Shagrithaya who did the aggregate interlock tests, and to the Atlantic Cement
Company, the Balf Corporation, The Tilcon Tomasso Corporation, Jack Weber
and P. J. Morvissey for the assistance rendered during the study.
References
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Inst., 1968,65, Nov., 942951.
2. MPHONDE A. G. and FRANTZG. C. Shear tests of high and low strength concrete beams
without stirrups. J . Am. Concr. Inst.,1984,81, No. 4, JulyAug., 35Cb357.
3. AHMADS. H. et al. Shear capacity of reinforced highstrength concrete beams. J . Am.
Concr. Inst.,1986,83, No. 2, Mar.Apr., 297305.
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412
AGGREGATE INTERLOCK IN CONCRETE BEAMS
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Conversion factors
Imperial SI
1 in 25.4 m m
1 ft 0.3048 m
1 klbf 4.448 kN
1 Ibf/inz 04069 N/mrnz
413