Instability, Ductility, and Size Effect in Strain-Softening Concrete

by Zdeněk P. Bažant, (M.ASCE), Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Northwestern Univ., Evanston, Ill.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Engineering Mechanics Division, 1976, Vol. 102, Issue 2, Pg. 331-344

Document Type: Journal Paper


Analysis of structural instability due to strain-softening (i.e., declining branch of the stress-strain diagram) is presented. In a continuum, strain-softening is impossible; it can exist only in a heterogeneous material. Failure occurs by unstable localization of strain or beam curvature, in which the stored strain energy of the structure is transferred into a small strain-softening region whose size is several times the aggregate size, or the spacing of reinforcement, or the depth of the beam. The existence of a lower limit on the size of this region permits ductility, along with its dependence on the size and stored energy, to be predicted by a stability analysis. Calculations of limit loads and moment redistributions in strain-softening beams and frames must include instability checks of possible curvature localization. The same applies to finite element analyses of reinforced concrete structures with account of tensile cracking, and predictions of limit loads of these structures which are questionable because they depend on the size of the finite elements.

Subject Headings: Finite element method | Beams | Structure reinforcement | Ductility | Size effect | Strain hardening and softening | Concrete | Concrete structures

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