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ACI STRUCTURAL JOURNAL

TECHNICAL PAPER

Title no. 103-S77

Behavior of Reinforced Concrete Members Prone to Shear


Deformations: Part IIEffect of Interfacial Bond Stress-Slip
by Suraphong Powanusorn and Joseph M. Bracci
Interfacial bond stress-slip between the concrete and longitudinal
reinforcement always occurs in reinforced concrete (RC) members.
For strength design purposes, the effect of interfacial bond stressslip does not have a significant effect on the overall strength of the
RC members with adequate reinforcement development length. The
results in a companion paper, however, showed that the direct
application of the Modified Compression Field Theory (MCFT) led
to an overestimation of the post-cracking stiffness of the RC bent
cap members. This may be attributed to the inadequate representation
of bond-slip using tension-stiffening in MCFT. Constitutive models
for bond-slip between the concrete and reinforcement available in
the literature are normally applied to RC members where flexural
deformations are dominant, but these may not be applicable to
shear-dominated RC members. A parametric study on the effect of
interfacial bond-slip modeling in shear-dominated RC members is
presented. Results from the analytical investigation are compared
with experimental results on RC bent caps. Based on this parametric
study, a new bond-slip model is proposed for RC members prone to
shear deformations with lumped longitudinal reinforcement.

381 mm could eliminate the concern for bond-slip failure at


the cantilevered end of the cap.
In a companion paper, Powanusorn and Bracci (2006)
presented an analytical investigation on the effect of
confinement due to transverse reinforcement on both
strength and deformation of RC bent caps specimens by
incorporating the effect of confinement into the Modified
Compression Field Theory (MCFT) (Vecchio and Collins
1986). Although excellent results were obtained for
predicting the strength, the proposed analytical model overestimated the post-cracking stiffness of the bent cap specimens.
Parametric studies showed that the overestimation was not
caused by changes in the constitutive relationship for
concrete that incorporated the effect of confinement. In fact,

Keywords: concrete; longitudinal reinforcement; shear.

INTRODUCTION
The behavior of shear-dominated reinforced concrete (RC)
members is different from the conventional RC members
where flexural deformations normally control the overall
response. One of the differences between flexural and sheardominated RC members is in distribution of the reinforcement
stresses. In flexural members, the stress in reinforcement
depends directly upon the bending moment at that particular
cross section and the assumption that plane sections remain
plane. In shear-dominated RC members, however, the stress
distribution may be nonlinear. Ferguson (1964) performed
an experimental program on RC cantilever bent caps with
short shear span-to-depth ratios similar to that shown in Fig. 1.
Because of the experimental setup, at the point of load
application, the bending moment diagram varies linearly
from zero to the maximum value at the centerline of column.
If the shear span-to-depth ratio is high, that is, if the member
deformations are controlled by flexural action, the recorded
stress or strain at the loading point should be negligible at all
stages of loading. However, Ferguson (1964) indicated for
members with short shear span-to-depth ratios that a considerable amount of reinforcement strain at the loading point
develops at higher load levels. This high magnitude of stress
at the point of zero bending moment was attributed to the
effect of interfacial bond stress-slip between the main flexural reinforcement and the surrounding concrete. Ferguson
(1964) also performed an experimental investigation on the
effect of the embedment length of main longitudinal reinforcement extending beyond the center of the applied load
location and concluded that an embedment length exceeding
ACI Structural Journal/September-October 2006

Fig. 1Behavior of reinforced concrete bent caps with


small shear span ratios.
ACI Structural Journal, V. 103, No. 5, September-October 2006.
MS No. 03-398 received March 26, 2006, and reviewed under Institute publication
policies. Copyright 2006, American Concrete Institute. All rights reserved, including
the making of copies unless permission is obtained from the copyright proprietors.
Pertinent discussion including authors closure, if any, will be published in the JulyAugust 2007 ACI Structural Journal if the discussion is received by March 1, 2007.

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Suraphong Powanusorn is a Structural Engineer with Thai Nippon Steel Engineering


and Construction Co. Ltd. in Chachuengsao, Thailand. He received his PhD in civil
engineering from Texas A&M University, College Station, Tex.; his MS in civil
engineering from the University of New South Wales, Australia; and his BS from
Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand.
Joseph M. Bracci is a Professor and Head of the Construction, Geotechnical, and
Structural Engineering Division in the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering at
Texas A&M University. He received his PhD from the State University of New York at
Buffalo, Buffalo, N.Y. His research interests include experimental testing, analytical
modeling, and performance-based design of structures.

the effect of confinement was only mobilized at higher levels


of load as the analytical predictions on the load-displacement
diagrams were virtually the same before the first reinforcement
yielding for models with and without confinement. The effect
of the base curves for the confined and unconfined concrete
stress-strain relationships in compression (Mander et al. 1988)
model and Hognestad parabola (Vecchio and Collins 1982)
respectively, on the predicted load-deformation was also
negligible.
Despite the large number of parameters affecting the
constitutive model of RC elements, two likely sources of
discrepancies that led to an underestimation of the RC bent
cap deformations were identified: (1) shrinkage of the concrete;
and (2) interfacial bond slip between the concrete and
reinforcing steel. Parametric studies (Powanusorn and Bracci
2003), using the ACI 209-78 model (Baant and Wittmann
1982), on the effect of shrinkage showed that uniform
member shrinkage caused a reduction in the predicted
cracking strength of the RC bent cap members and a slight
shift to the right of the predicted the predicted load-deformation
behavior, which improved the correlation of the simulated
response to the experimental results as shown in Fig. 2. The
incorporation of concrete shrinkage, as expected, had negligible
influence on the ultimate strength, as predicted strengths of
a RC bent cap member with and without shrinkage were

virtually identical. Although the simulated response including


uniform shrinkage better correlated with the experimental
results, the slope of the predicted post-cracking loaddeformation curve remained unchanged, regardless of the
magnitude of shrinkage strains used in the parametric
studies. Therefore, it was concluded that the effect of
shrinkage was not the real physical reason behind the too stiff
post-cracking response of the proposed constitutive relationship.
Under the context of the MCFT, the effect of cracking
in RC members in the principal tensile direction is
handled by decreasing the tensile stress according to the
constitutive relationship of concrete in tension. It was
experimentally determined, however, that the post-peak
tensile stress-strain relationship of concrete in RC members
is generally much higher than that of unreinforced concrete
(Hordijk 1991; Vecchio and Collins 1982). This effect is
called tension-stiffening, which is generally acknowledged to
be attributed to the interfacial bond stress between the
concrete and reinforcing steel. Therefore, it can be concluded
that the effect of interfacial bond stress-slip is implicitly
taken into account by a tension-stiffening model (Rots
1988). For RC members with well-distributed reinforcement,
the average post-cracking tensile stress-strain behavior of
concrete can be modeled as follows (Collins and Mitchell 1987)
f cr
t = -------------------------, t > cr
1 + 500 t

(1)

where t and t are the concrete stress and strain in tension;


cr is the concrete cracking strain associated with the
cracking stress, fcr (fcr is assumed to be equal to 0.33 f c ,
where f c is the uniaxial compressive strength of concrete at
28 days). For RC members such as bent caps with concentrated
longitudinal reinforcement, however, the effect of local

Fig. 2Parametric study on effect of shrinkage.


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ACI Structural Journal/September-October 2006

bond-slip can pose difficulties such that the average


approach used by tension-stiffening may cause large errors
in numerical simulations (Rots 1988).
RESEARCH SIGNIFICANCE
The results in a companion paper (Powanusorn and Bracci
2006) showed that the direct application of the MCFT led to
an overestimation of the post-cracking stiffness of the RC
bent cap members. This paper shows that the overestimation
is caused by the use of tension stiffening to implicitly take
into account the interfacial slip between the concrete and
reinforcement. Although the use of bond-slip constitutive
models proposed in the available literature leads to an
improvement on the load-deformation behavior, the postcracking stiffness of the RC bent cap specimens remains
somewhat overestimated. Based on a parametric study by
curve-fitting the overall response from 16 bent cap test
specimens, a new bond-slip relationship is proposed for
members with lumped reinforcement and that are prone to
shear deformations (small shear span-depth ratios).
FEM MODEL FOR REINFORCED CONCRETE
BENT CAPS USING EXPLICIT BOND-SLIP MODEL
To justify the proposition by Rots (1988), parametric studies
on the effect of interfacial bond-slip were performed in this
work. In this approach, the effect of bond-slip was modeled
explicitly through the use of nonlinear spring elements using
the program ABAQUS. Early research on finite element
method (FEM) modeling of RC members by Ngo and Scordelis
(1967) adopted the same approach to take into account the
effect of slip between the concrete and reinforcing steel. In
essence, this method separates the concrete and reinforcing
steel elements through the use of different nodes, even
though the nodes may share the same geometric locations at the
interfacial zone. Fictitious spring elements were then assigned
to simulate the effect of interfacial normal contact and
tangential slip as shown in Fig. 3. The stiffness normal to the
interface represents the dowel action between concrete and
reinforcing steel (Rots 1988), while the stiffness parallel to
the interface represents the interfacial slip.
In general, both the normal and tangential stiffness of the
spring element should be correctly identified. The effect of
the dowel action between the concrete and reinforcing steel,
however, is complicated and highly variable. Pruijssers (1988)
indicated that experimental results on the effect of dowel
action is relatively scattered and can vary by several orders
of magnitude. Research in the past on FEM modeling of the
interfacial bond-slip effect on the overall performance of RC
members usually assumed that the stiffness in the direction
normal to the slip interface was perfectly rigid (Rots 1988).
This assumption was also used in this research. Therefore,
only the effect of tangential slip was considered in the
explicit bond-slip models in this work.
The mechanical properties of the spring elements are crucial
to simulate the slip between the concrete and reinforcement
interface. Eligehausen et al. (1983) conducted an experimental
program to determine a constitutive model for interfacial slip
between the concrete and reinforcement. They concluded
that the bond stress-slip under monotonic loading depends
on several factors such as bar diameters, type and rib area
of deformed bars adopted, concrete strength, restraining
reinforcement, confinement, loading rate, and positions of
bars during casting. These results served as the basis for the
modeling of the concrete-reinforcement interface and were
ACI Structural Journal/September-October 2006

adopted in the CEB-FIP Model Code (1990) for bond-slip


modeling as follows
s 0.4
= max ---- , s < s 1
s 1
= max, s 1 < s < s 2
( max f )
- ( s s 2 ), s 2 < s < s 3
= max -----------------------( s3 s2 )

(2)

= f , s > s3
where is the calculated bond stress (MPa); s is the interfacial
slip between the concrete and reinforcement (mm); max is
the maximum bond stress = 2.5 f c (Mpa); f is the bond
stress at failure = 0.4max (MPa); s1, s2, s3 are constants = 1.0,
3.0, and 10.5 mm, respectively. Figure 4 shows the bond
stress-interfacial slip model proposed by the CEB-FIB
model code (1990).
Shima et al. (1987) performed experimental studies on
bond between reinforcing steel and concrete. They concluded
that the bond stress-slip relationship generally depends on
the boundary conditions and should not be regarded as a
unique material property. However, when the effect of strain
in the reinforcement is additionally incorporated to form a bond
stress as a function of the slip and strain in the reinforcement,
a unique relation was found and can be treated as a material
property. The bond stress-slip-strain relationship proposed
by Shima et al. (1987) is
3

0.73 ( ln ( 1 + 5S ) ) f c
= ------------------------------------------------5
1 + 10

(3)

Fig. 3Interface modeling with spring element.

Fig. 4Interfacial bond-slip model (CEB-FIP 1990).


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where is the calculated bond stress (MPa); S is a nondimensionalized parameter (= 1000s/D); s is displacement of the
bars at the concerned point measured relative to a fixed point
in the concrete (not interfacial slip between concrete and
reinforcing bar) (mm); D is the bar diameter (mm); and is
the reinforcement strain.
Shima et al. (1987) also concluded that the bond stressslip relationship only exists under the limited condition of
sufficient bar embedment. The bond stress-slip relationship
in this case can be represented as
2
---

3
40S
= 0.9 f c 1 e

0.6

(4)

where S is a nondimensionalized parameter (= s/D).


Figure 5 shows the bond stress-slip model proposed by
Shima et al. (1987).
For sake of comparison, two-dimensional FEM analyses
of the RC bent caps tested by Young et al. (2002) were
performed using both the implicit bond model (tensionstiffening) and explicit bond model between the concrete
and the main longitudinal reinforcement using the spring
elements as defined in Eq. (2) and (4). Because the bent cap
specimens typically have skin reinforcement, interfacial slip

can also occur between the concrete and this skin reinforcement.
However, the amount of skin reinforcement is relatively
small and the slip between the concrete and skin reinforcement
should not significantly affect the overall load-deformation
response. Therefore, the skin reinforcement was neglected in
this work.
The FEM mesh, applied loading, and boundary conditions
of the RC bent cap model are shown in Fig. 1 and 6. In the
implicit bond model, the post-cracking stress-strain relationship
of concrete in the longitudinal reinforcement region, as
shown in Fig. 6(a), is modeled using Eq. (1).
Three major changes were made for the explicit bond
model: (1) change of the node numbering system along the
concrete-reinforcement interface; (2) introduction of spring
elements; and (3) change of concrete constitutive model in
principal tension directions. Because the effect of interfacial
bond-slip is now taken into account by an explicit bond slip
model, only tension-softening of concrete after cracking
was considered. Therefore, the post-cracking stress-strain
relationship of concrete in tension as proposed by Hordjik
(1991) was used for all concrete elements, as shown in Fig. 6(b).
This expression is described by the tensile stress-crack width
relationship of concrete as given by

w 3
w
-----t = 1 + c 1 ------ exp c 2 ------

f cr
w c
w c

(5)

3
w
------ ( 1 + c 1 ) exp ( c 2 )
wc

Fig. 5Interfacial bond-slip model (Shima et al. 1987).

Fig. 6Zoning in reinforced concrete bent caps according


to post-cracking stress-strain curve.
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where wc is the crack opening at the complete release of


stress (wc = 5.14GF /fcr); GF is the fracture energy of concrete
required to create a unit area of stress free crack, which is
equal to the area under the tensile stress and crack width
(GF = 0.000025fcr) curve; w is the crack opening associated
with the concrete is tension; and c1 and c2 are the material
constants which equal 3.0 and 6.93, respectively. The crack
opening displacement (w) is a product of the cracking strain
and the length of the localized zone, which is equal to the
characteristic length of the element in the FEM application.
Cracking strain is obtained from the concept of decomposition
of the total strain into the concrete elastic strain and cracking
strain as shown in Fig. 7.
Because stiffness and stress for spring elements in
ABAQUS are calculated on the basis of relative displacement
between two connecting nodes, the application of the CEB-

Fig. 7Strain decomposition of total strain.


ACI Structural Journal/September-October 2006

FIP Model can be applied directly using the default spring


element. However, slip in the Shima et al. (1987) model is
defined as the slip of reinforcement measured relative to a
fixed point in the concrete. Therefore, a separate FEM code
was developed specifically for this purpose. The program is
capable of performing a nonlinear analysis for two-dimensional
RC membranes subjected to in-plane loading using the
proposed constitutive relationship with the introduction of
spring elements where stiffness and stress are defined solely
by the displacement (or strain) of the reinforcement.
For concrete in compression, the confined model in the
companion paper by Powanusorn and Bracci (2006) is used
along with the same assumptions of the MCFT.
Results using CEB-FIP Model Code (1990)
and Shima et al. (1987) bond-slip model
Figure 8 shows the comparison between the predicted
load-deformation curves for RC bent cap Specimens 1A, 1B,
2A, and 2B (Young et al. 2002 and Bracci et al. 2000) using
the implicit (tension-stiffening) model and explicit CEB-FIP
(1990) and Shima et al. (1987) models for the interfacial
bond-slip between the concrete and reinforcement. The
figure shows that the use of an explicit bond model yields
superior results beyond the first cracking compared with the
implicit bond model as the simulated response of RC bent
caps consistently lies closer to the experimental response.
The difference in the predicted member strength for cracking,
first yielding of the longitudinal reinforcement, and ultimate
for the implicit and explicit bond models is insignificant.
However, the predicted post-cracking stiffness of the explicit
bond models better correlates with the experimental results.
PROPOSED BOND-SLIP MODEL
Results in the previous sections show that the application
of the CEB-FIP and Shima et al. bond-slip models led to

improved predictions of the load-deformation behavior for


the RC bent cap specimens. The predicted first cracking and
ultimate strengths of the RC bent caps were also in good
agreement with the results obtained in the experimental
program. In addition, the incorporation of the explicit bondslip model between the concrete and reinforcement led to a
similar post-cracking stiffness. In spite of this, the
predicted post-cracking deformations remained somewhat
underestimated, as shown in Fig. 8. The CEB-FIP model for
the concrete and reinforcement interface was derived based
on pull-out tests of a single bar in a concrete block. Therefore,
the direct application of the model may not be representative of
the interfacial slip between the concrete and longitudinal
reinforcing steel in typical RC bent caps where multiple
numbers of large diameter reinforcing steel are concentrated
for bending resistance. Following an argument proposed by
Shima et al. (1987), the bond stress-slip relationship only
exists under limited conditions with sufficient embedment.
Consequently, it could be hypothesized that the embedment
of main longitudinal reinforcement may be adequate for
developing the full strength of the reinforcement, but
inadequate for ensuring the bond stress-slip relationship to
exist. In addition, the effect of shear cracking in members
with small shear span ratios, as with RC bent caps, may
somewhat deteriorate the bond-slip stiffness. Therefore,
parametric studies were performed to determine an appropriate
bond-slip model to correlate with the response of the same
16 RC bent cap specimens. The study showed that the slope
of the post-cracking load-deformation curve of the RC bent
caps depends upon the initial slope of the bond stress-slip
model. Based on curve fitting, the following constitutive
relationship for the bond stress-slip between the concrete and
reinforcement interface was determined

Fig. 8Simulated results using explicit bond-slip models.


ACI Structural Journal/September-October 2006

751

s
= max ---- , s < s 2
s2

(6)

( max f )
- ( s s 2 ) , s 2 < s < s 3 = f , s > s3
= max -----------------------( s3 s2 )
Essentially, the curve is a modification of the CEB-FIP
model by decreasing the initial slope. Figure 9 shows the
bond stress-slip curve proposed for the RC bent caps.
Figure 10 shows the comparison between the experimental
results and simulated response of the RC bent caps using the
implicit bond model, explicit CEB-FIP bond model, explicit
Shima et al. (1987) bond model, and the proposed model.
The figure clearly indicates that the proposed bond-slip
model leads to a better improvement in the prediction of the
load-deformation response of the RC bent cap specimens
prone to shear deformations.

Fig. 9Proposed bond-slip model.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS


In a companion paper by Powanusorn and Bracci (2006),
the direct application of the MCFT using an implicit bondslip model for the concrete and reinforcement interface
through tension-stiffening led to an overestimation of postcracking stiffness in RC members prone to shear deformations,
regardless of the incorporation of confinement due to the
transverse reinforcement. The overestimation of stiffness led
to the underestimation of deformation, which is related to the
overall member cracking and magnitude of crack widths
under loading, particularly at service loading. Parametric
studies showed that the overestimation was not caused by a
change in the constitutive relationship of concrete that
incorporates the effect of confinement. In fact, the effect of
confinement was only mobilized at higher levels of load as
the analytical predictions of the load-displacement response
were virtually the same before the first reinforcement yielding
for models with and without confinement. The effect of the
base curves for the confined and unconfined concrete stressstrain relationships in compression (Mander et al. [1988]
model and Hognestad parabola [Vecchio and Collins 1982],
respectively) on the predicted load-deformation was also
negligible. Additional parametric studies on the effect of
shrinkage through a pre-strain concept led to better correlation
with experimental behavior. However, it did not provide the
correct mechanism as the slope of the load-deformation
relationship after initial cracking remained unchanged.
A remedy to improve the analytical model was proposed
in this paper by the direct incorporation of an interfacial
bond-slip representation between the concrete and the main
longitudinal reinforcing steel. It was shown that, by using
explicit bond-link element models to simulate the interface
between the concrete and reinforcement, the analytical
prediction of the load-deformation relationship was
improved as the stiffness, particularly in the post-cracking

Fig. 10Response using proposed bond-slip model.


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ACI Structural Journal/September-October 2006

range, had a better fit with the experimental results.


However, numerical simulations of the explicit bond-link
elements using the bond stress-slip relationships normally
proposed in the literature did not lead to significant
improvements in the predicted load-deformation response
in the RC bent caps, as opposed to its good performance
when flexural deformations are predominant. Better results
were obtained by decreasing the initial stiffness of the bond
stress-slip relationship as proposed in this work. In reality,
the decrease in bond stress-slip stiffness for the concretereinforcement interface in RC bent caps may be justified
because most experiments on interfacial bond-slip between
the concrete and reinforcing steel were conducted using pullout tests of a single bar in a block of concrete. For RC bent
cap applications, multiple numbers of large diameter
reinforcing bars are typically arranged in a single layer or
possibly multiple layers. The effect of early splitting cracks
between the bars may somewhat alter the bond-slip stiffness.
In addition, the effect of inclined cracks due to the shear
action in RC bent caps can also lead to bond stiffness
deterioration. Experimental results reported in the literature
also show large differences in bond stress-slip relationships.
Some even suggest that the bond stress-slip relationship
should not be treated as a unique material property. Based on
a parametric study by curve-fitting the overall response from
16 bent cap test specimens, a new bond-slip relationship is
proposed for members with lumped reinforcement and that
are prone to shear deformations. Results show that the
proposed model better correlates with the experimental loaddeformation response in the 16 RC bent cap test specimens,
while still providing an accurate prediction of member strength.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Funding for this research was provided by the National Science Foundation
under Grant No. CMS. 9733959, the Texas Department of Transportation
(Project 0-1851), and the Department of Civil Engineering of Texas A&M
University, College Station, Tex. This support is gratefully acknowledged. Any
opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this
material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of
the sponsors.

ACI Structural Journal/September-October 2006

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