Strut-and-Tie Modeling of Reinforced Concrete Deep Beams: Experiments and Design Provisions

Tuchscherer, Robin. G


Bridge bents (deep beams) in the State of Texas have experienced diagonal cracking problems with increasing frequency. These field related issues, taken in combination with discrepancies that exist between design provisions for strut and tie modeling (STM), were the impetus for the funding of the current project. The overall objective of the project was to develop safe and consistent design guidelines in regard to both the strength and serviceability of deep beams. In order to accomplish this research objective and related tasks, a database of 868 deep beam tests was assembled from previous research. Inadvertently, many of the beams in this database were considerably smaller, did not contain sufficient information, or contained very little shear reinforcement. As a result, filtering criteria were used to remove 724 tests from the database. The criteria were chosen to consider only beams that represent bent caps designed in the field. In addition to the 144 tests that remained in the database, 34 tests were conducted as part of the current experimental program resulting in 178 total tests available for evaluation purposes. Two additional tests were conducted on beams without shear reinforcement, thus they did not meet the filtering criteria. However, the results from these tests provided valuable information regarding deep beam behavior. Beams that were fabricated and tested as part of the current experimental program ranged in size from, 36”x48”, 21”x75”, 21”x42”, and 21”x23”. These tests represent some of the largest deep beam shear tests ever conducted. STM details that were investigated included: (i) the influence that triaxial confinement of the load or support plate has on strength and serviceability performance; and (ii) the influence that multiple stirrup legs distributed across the web has on strength and serviceability performance. Based on the findings of the experimental and analytical program, a new strut-and-tie modeling procedure was proposed for the design of deep beam regions. The procedure is based on an explicitly defined single-panel truss model with non-hydrostatic nodes. An important aspect of the new STM design methodology is that it was comprehensively derived based on all the stress checks that constitute an STM design. Thus, the new method considers every facet of a STM design. The newly proposed STM procedure is simple, more accurate, and more conservative in comparison with the ACI 318-08 and AASHTO LRFD (2008) STM design provisions. As such, the implementation of the new design provisions into ACI 318 and AASHTO LRFD is recommended.

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