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DETERMINING

EFFICIENT STRUT AND

TIE MODELS FOR SIMPLY
SUPPORTED BEAMS
USING MINIMUM
STRAIN ENERGY
Qinang Hu, M. Tyler Ley, and Bruce W. Russell

KSHITIZ SHRESTHA
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INTRODUCTION
• Strut-and-tie modeling is a powerful design
technique for concrete members with any
geometry.
• Strut-and-tie modeling is especially useful
when members do not meet the assumptions
in a sectional analysis or where beam theory
does not apply.
• The strut-and-tie modeling method uses a
lower bound plasticity theorem i.e. the
capacity of a strut-and-tie model (STM) is
always conservative

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INTRODUCTION
• In traditional beam designs, sections must be
designed separately for bending, shear,
• STMs, any stable model chosen will account
for all forces and their interactions.
• In strut-and-tie modeling, there are three
types of members:
1) struts represent concrete compression members
2) ties represent steel tension members; and
3) nodes form the joints of the “truss model.” The
nodes transfer forces from one member to
another.
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RESEARCH SIGNIFICANCE
• STM can be flexible to the extreme, there is
little guidance in choosing a rational model.
• Flexibility has made it challenging to widely
implement strut-and-tie modeling as the
design forces within the model and, hence,
the results will vary with the STM that is
chosen.
• AIM: provide quantitative methods to choose
an STM.

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MINIMUM STRAIN ENERGY
• The elastic strain energy of a truss member
can be defined by:
𝑛

𝑈 = ෍ 𝐹𝑖 𝑙𝑖 𝜀𝑖
𝑖
where , Fi = Force in member i
li = Member length
εi = Member strain
In STMs, the strain values in concrete struts are small compared to
the yield strains in the steel ties; therefore, the contributions of
strain energy from the compression members can be excluded
from the strain energy calculation. So, n here is number of tension
members.
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MINIMUM STRAIN ENERGY
𝐹𝑖
𝜀𝑖 =
𝐴𝑖 𝐸

𝐹𝑖
𝑓𝑦 =
𝐴𝑖

𝑛 2
𝐴𝑖 𝑙𝑖 𝑓𝑦
𝑈= ෍
𝐸
𝑖
Where, fy = Yield stress of steel bar.
E = Young’s Modulus of Steel.

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MINIMUM STRAIN ENERGY
• One common application of STM is design of
deep beam.
• Deep beams are defined by ACI as members
with load on one side (for example, top) and
support on other side (for example, bottom),
and with clear span equal to or less than four
times member height; or with concentrated
loads within twice height distance from the
support (ACI Committee 318 2011)

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METHODS
• A simply supported beam with point load at
center is considered.

Where,
P = Force applied at the center of
beam
a = Shear span or one-half of
span length
d = Distance between top and
bottom chord.

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DIFFERENT STM’s MODEL
• Five STM’s model’s were investigated, one-,
three-, five-, seven-, nine-panel trusses.
In three-panel truss, In one-panel truss,
• 3 fixed nodes for center load Truss is defined by 3 nodes.
point and support reaction 2 nodes are defined by the
points. supports and third node by the
• On each side, there are two load point
variable nodes, Nodes 1 and 2
• For Node 2, the y-location (or
vertical location) is forced to the
bottom chord. However, Node
1 can be located anywhere
within the beam.
Fig: One-panel Truss Fig: Three-panel Truss

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DIFFERENT STM’s MODEL

Fig: Different STM models. 10

NUMERICAL ALGORITHM
• The beam regions were discretized by
creating a grid with equally spaced nodes at
1% of the span, or 0.01L
• First, a/d is chosen for investigation.
• All possible geometries for the variable nodes
are investigated by varying the node
locations to find the minimum strain energy.

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NUMERICAL ALGORITHM
• Iteration process are as follows:
1. Set Node 1 to a unique location. Note that both x- and
y-coordinates for Node 1 (A1 and D1) are variables.
2. Node 2 is varied along the bottom chord to all possible
geometries. Note that only the x-coordinate is variable
(A2), as the y-coordinate is constrained to the bottom
chord.
3. For each new location for Node 2, internal forces within
the truss are solved and the corresponding strain energy
value for the truss is found. Strain energy is computed for
each possible location for Node 2, and the results are
recorded.
4. After Node 2 is moved from the support to the center of
beam, move Node 1 to next location, and the procedure
from Steps 1 to 3 is repeated.

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NUMERICAL ALGORITHM
5. When the procedures from Steps 1 to 4 are repeated for all
possible locations for Node 1 and 2, then strain energy has
been computed for a large number of geometries. Strain
energies are compared and the geometry that produced the
least strain energy is identified. That geometry becomes the
least-energy Solution for that particular a/d.
6. Repeat Steps 1 through 5 for each successive a/d.

In three-panel truss , there are three

variables:
1) the x-coordinate for Node 2
(referred to as A2 in this paper);
2) the x-coordinate for Node 1 (A1);
and
3) the y-coordinate for Node 1 (D1).

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RESULT THREE-PANEL TRUSS

For an a/d of 0.6, the three-panel truss requires approximately 2% less strain
energy than the one-panel truss.

an a/d of 3.0, that difference becomes 22.4%.

Table 1: minimum strain energy geometry for three-panel truss for a/d from 0.6 to 3.0 14
OTHER RESULTS

Fig: Minimum strain energy for geometries of truss types investigated.

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OTHER RESULTS
• Results for truss types with minimum strain
energy for a/d up to 10.0
• The three-panel STM exhibited the least minimum strain
energy for a/d from 0.6 to 2.0
• A five-panel STM requires less strain energy than the three-
panel STM for a/d from 2.0 to 3.8
• a seven-panel STM requires less strain energy than a five-
panel STM for a/d from 3.8 to 7.1
• For few nine-panel STM configurations investigated, found
to provide solutions at less energy than the seven-panel
truss at a/d greater than 7.1

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OTHER RESULTS

Fig: Line diagram for selection of truss geometry on basis of a/d ratio. 17
DISCUSSIONS
• Patterns in the controlling truss models:
• Figure and above table shows that the angles
of the two compression diagonals (θ1and θ3)
are approximately the same.
• In every case shown in Table 1, angles θ1 and
θ3 are approximately the same.
• This suggests that where the STM geometry is
configured to produce minimum strain energy,
the two compression diagonals are parallel to
one another.
• Figure shows that the angle formed between
the compression struts and the tension ties are
orthogonal, at least for the three-panel trusses.
So, for the most efficient STM compression
struts and tension ties that are joined by
orthogonal angles.

Fig: 3 panel truss 18

DISCUSSIONS
For the
• As a result of this observation, controlling
the solution togeometry for the
the least-energy
truss becomes a solution five-, seven-,
with only oneand nine-panel
variable for anytruss,
three-
panel STM, instead of there three was a repeated
variables. geometry
This most-energy-
pattern
efficient truss is defined by in the of
the angle central portionofofthe
inclination thefirst
model. to
compression strut with respect This
thegeometry
bottom has a parallel
chord with ties
normal to these members. top and bottom chords with
inclination angles approximately
equal to 45 degrees of its members
and a spacing between the nodes on
the top chord equal to 2d

Fig: 5 panel truss Fig: Repeated Geometry 19

CONCLUSIONS
• In three-panel STMs with a/d equal to and
lower than 1.7, the location of Node 1 is
located below the mid height of the
member and near the end of the beam. The
significance of this phenomenon seems to
suggest that tension reinforcement
distributed through the depth of the beam
would be beneficial to performance. This
matches common detailing practice
• Beams that had an a/d larger than 2.9 were
shown to have repeating geometries with
parallel top chords and inclination angles of
45 degrees for one or more repeated panels
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EXAMPLE PROBLEM
• A simply supported beam is shown in Fig.
with a span length of 22m (72.18ft), d of 5m
(16.4ft), and a point load of 17m (55.77ft)
from the left support.

Fig: Simply supported beam with point load

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EXAMPLE PROBLEM
• The span between the point load and right
support has an a/d of 1.0
• The left side has a1/d = 3.4, which is larger
than 2.9, thus, one repeated geometry
should be used.

Fig: One repeated geometry dimension

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EXAMPLE PROBLEM
• the a/d of the remaining length becomes
a1′/d = 1.4
• this is less than 2.9, a unique geometry
should be used.
• From Table 1, A1 = 0.211d, D1 = 0.352d, and
A2 = 0.803d. These dimensions become 1.05,
1.76, and 4m.
• For the right span, because the a2/d = 1
and is less than 2.9, there is no repeated
geometry and only a unique geometry.

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EXAMPLE PROBLEM

Fig: Final efficient STM model for the problem, all dimensions in m

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AUTHOR BIOS
• ACI member Qinang Hu is a PhD Student at Oklahoma State
University, Stillwater, OK. He received his BS from China University of
Mining and Technology, Beijing, China, and his MS from Oklahoma
State University. His research interests include concrete materials,
image analysis, computational analysis, and concrete structures.
• ACI member M. Tyler Ley is an Associate Professor at Oklahoma State
University and is a member of ACI Committees 201, Durability of
Concrete; 211, Proportioning Concrete Mixtures; 236, Material
Science of Concrete; ACI Subcommittee 130-A, Materials
(Sustainability of Concrete); and the Scholarship Council. He research
interests include concrete materials and concrete structures.
• Bruce W. Russell, FACI, is an Associate Professor of civil and
environmental engineering at Oklahoma State University and is a
member and former Chair of Joint ACI-ASCE Committee 423,

THANK YOU !!!

Prestressed Concrete. He is also a member of ACI Subcommittee 318-
G, Precast and Prestressed Concrete (Structural Concrete Building
Code). He has served as a member and as Chair of the ACI
Publications Committee. His research interests include prestressed
concrete structures and concrete materials.
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