Study Looks at Beam Behavior


The American Concrete Institute has revealed a new research study evaluating seismic behavior of coupling beams with different types of steel fiber reinforced concrete.

The ACI Foundation says data gleaned from the research, “Evaluation of Seismic Behavior of Coupling Beams with Various Types of Steel Fiber Reinforced Concrete,” were used to develop new design guidelines.

Gustavo J. Parra-Montesinos, from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, served as the principal investigator for the project and it was funded by the ACI Foundation’s Concrete Research Council (CRC) and several other financial supporters.

The goal was to evaluate the use of FRC (Fiber Reinforced Concrete) to allow the design of coupling beams that no longer require the use of diagonal bars, according to a research announcement.

Project Details

Traditionally, coupling beams between special structural walls (shear walls) are reinforced with diagonal bars that are “woven” together with dense transverse reinforcement. The “woven” design, which comes from research conducted in the 1960s and 1970s, is difficult to construct, according to the ACI.

A total of six FRC mixtures were evaluated as part of the project, using three types of hooked steel fibers and three different fiber volume fractions. The material properties of the various FRCs were evaluated using four-point bending tests, direct tension tests and compression tests. Eight FRC coupling beams were reportedly tested under large displacement reversals.

The experimental data from the research were used to develop design guidelines for FRC coupling beams linked to material performance criteria. The proposed coupling beam design results in less congested reinforcing bar configurations—a benefit to owners, designers and contractors, ACI suggests.

Code Change Considered

These new provisions could be used to develop a code change proposal to ACI Committee 318, Structural Concrete Building Code.

“Linking coupling beam drift and shear stress capacity to FRC bending performance obtained through a standard ASTM test is expected to further facilitate adoption of the proposed FRC coupling beam design by structural engineers,” said Parra-Montesinos.

“Such a link could also serve as the basis for future design provisions to be proposed to ACI Committee 318.” Adding the FRC design option to the current code provisions would translate into simplified and more straightforward construction, saving construction time, financial resources, and labor—creating a positive impact on the concrete construction industry.

The results of this research were presented at the 16th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Jan. 9-13, in Santiago, Chile.

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Tagged categories: American Concrete Institute; Associations; Building owners; Certifications and standards; concrete; Good Technical Practice; Research and development

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