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ACI STRUCTURAL JOURNAL

TECHNICAL PAPER

Title no. 84-816

Theory of Shear Transfer Strength of Reinforced Concrete

by Thomas T. C. Hsu, S. T. Mau, and Bin Chen


A theory of shear transfer in initially uncracked concrete is presented. The theory is based on the truss model and incorporates a
softened compression stress-strain relation along the concrete s/ruls.
For reinforced concrete specimens experiencing shear transfer across
a plane, acrilical zone in the vicinity of the shear plane is identified.
Within this zone, the stress distribution is assumed to be approximately uniform after the formation of cracks. The governing equations derived from the theory can then be applied to this crilical zone
to obtain strain responses for the given stress conditions. The ultimate shear transfer strength is identified by tracing the complete shear
stress-strain history using electronic computer. Comparison of theoretical predictions to 32 test results reported in the literature gives
good agreement.
The theory predicts that steel reinforcement parallel to the shear
plane also contributes to the shear transfer strength, while the shearfriction concept in the current design codes recognizes only the contribution of steel reinforcement crossing the shear plane. Since the
current design codes are based on test specimens with heavy reinforcement parallel to the shear plane, they could be unconservative
for the practical cases where only light reinforcemenl is provided
parallel to the shear plane.

in the compression struts formed approximately parallel to the direction of the cracks. 12. 16 The compression in
the struts and the tension provided by the reinforcing
bars across and parallel to the shear plane constitute a
truss-like action. Although this truss-like action is well
recognized, 18 direct application of the truss model
would result in a much higher prediction of the shear
strength. An attempt was made 8 to bring the predicted
shear strength in line with the measured strength by introducing shear stresses in the compression strut resulting in a biaxial failure condition. 17 18 However, this additional shear stress in the compressional strut considerably complicates the truss model theory.
The fundamental difficulty in predicting the shear
transfer strength of initially uncracked concrete is in the
uncertainty of the compressive strength of the strut. In
a study of the behavior of reinforced concrete panels

Keywords: building codes; failure mechanisms; friction; reinforced concrete;


reinforcing steels; shear properties; shear strength; stress-strain relationships;
structural analysis.

The problem of shear transfer across a plane in concrete has been studied extensively in the past 15 years.
Through experimental observations, it is established
that there are basically two kinds of distinctively different behavior in shear transfer problems: shear transfer across an initially cracked plane, and shear transfer
across an initially uncracked plane. The behavior in the
former case is governed largely by the shear-slip characteristics of the cracked plane. Aggregate interlock,
dowel action, and constraints in a direction normal to
the shear plane affect the resistance to shear. 2 3.4 5 7 The
final failure occurs along the existing crack [Fig. I (a)]
with little or no additional cracks formed across the existing crack, 8 except in cases with a high percentage of
steel crossing the initial crack. 5. 7 For design purposes,
the shear strength is predicted using an empirical formula9 based on the shear friction theory.s.to.tt
In contrast, shear failure across an initially uncracked plane occurs after numerous cracks formed in
a direction inclined to the shear plane [Fig. I (b)]. The
final failure is usually due to the crushing of concrete
1

ACI Structural Journal I March-April 1987

Shear Plane

(a) Initially Cracked

(b) Initially Uncracked

Fig. 1-Shear transfer test specimens


Received Apr. 7, 1986, and reviewed under Institute publication policies.
Copyright 1987, American Concrete Institute. All rights reserved, including
the making of copies unless permission is obtained from the copyright proprietors. Pertinent discussion will be published in the January-February 1988 ACI
Structural Journal if received by Sept. I, 1987.

149

Thomas T. C. Hsu, FACJ, is a professor in the Civil Engineering Department


at the University of Houston. Dr. Hsu is the author of many technical publications, and in 1965 was the corecipient of ACt's Wason Medal for Materials
Research. He is a member of ACT Committees 215, Fatigue; 358, Concrete
Guideways; and joint ACI-ASCE Committees 343, Concrete Bridge Design; and
445, Shear and Torsion.
ACJ memberS. T. Mau is an associate professor in the Department of Civil
Engineering, University of Houston. He received his BS and MS degrees from
National Taiwan University and his PhD from Cornell University. He is a
member of ACt Committee 446, Fracture Mechanics.
Bin Chen is a PhD candidate in the Department of Civil Engineering, University of Houston. He received his MS degree from Tong Gi University, Shanghai, China, in /98/.

Reinforced
Concrete

Concrete

Reinforcement

Concrete

Fig. 2-Truss model for reinforced concrete element


under predominately shear stresses, it was found that
compressive strength of the diagonal struts formed after the cracking of the concrete can be much lower than
the standard cylinder strength. 19 20 This phenomenon
has been called the softening of concrete. This softening of the concrete struts is related to the tensile strain
in a direction perpendicular to the struts. Using the
softened stress-strain relation proposed in Reference 19,
the shear strength and behavior of various reinforced
concrete members had been predicted with good accuracy. 21-2s

verse reinforcement percentages, the theory calls for


additional test specimens with low transverse reinforcement percentages below 2 percent.
BASIC EQUATIONS
The equilibrium, compatibility, and stress-strain
equations for a reinforced concrete element are first
presented. Stresses and strains are considered positive in
tension and are assumed uniformly distributed.
Stress transformation conditions (equilibrium)
A concrete element is reinforced with longitudinal
bars in the /-direction and with transverse bars in the
!-direction as shown in Fig. 2. It is subjected at its edges
to the in-plane normal stresses a, and a, as well as the
shear stresses r 11 After diagonal cracking, a series of
diagonal compression struts is formed in the diagonal
or d-direction, resulting in a truss-like action. It is
assumed that the element takes only compressive stress
ad in the direction of the compression struts, and tension stress a, in the r-direction transverse to the
compression struts. The shear stress rd, is assumed zero.
The angle between the 1-t and d-r coordinate systems is
designated as a. This angle is also the angle of inclination of the compression struts with respect to the longitudinal axis.
The stresses a1, a1, and Tit in the reinforced concrete
element are resisted jointly by the concrete and the steel
reinforcement. The stresses contributed by concrete are
designated as a1"' a1"' and r,,, where the subscript c denotes concrete. The concrete stresses in the two coordinate systems 1-t and d-r are transformed according to
the usual stress transformation equations
(1)

(2)
Trrc = (ac - a,) sina

150

(3)

These relationships can also be presented using Mohr's


stress circle.
The steel reinforcement is assumed to contribute only
normal stresses
a/s

RESEARCH SIGNIFICANCE
In this study, the softened truss model theory was
applied to the shear transfer problem and was found to
be successful in predicting the shear transfer strength as
well as the shear deformations of 32 initially uncracked
specimens. Contrary to the well-known shear friction
concept, the theory predicts that the ultimate failure is
caused by the crushing of concrete in the compressional struts formed after cracking of concrete. Furthermore, the transverse reinforcement parallel to and
in the vicinity of the shear plane also has an effect on
the shear strength. Since the ACI shear friction provisions are based on test specimens with very high trans-

COSO!

= Pt j,

(4)
(5)

p,, p,

j,,j,

normal stress in steel in /- and !-directions, respectively


reinforcement ratio in /- and !-directions, respectively
steel stress in /- and !-directions, respectively

The total stress in a reinforced concrete element is the


superposition of the concrete stresses, Eq. (1) to (3),
and the reinforcement contribution, Eq. (4) and (5)

ACI Structural Journal I March-April 1987

(6)

O'"d

(7)
Eq(12a)

a,) sina cosa

T 11 = (ad -

(8)

Eq(12b)

fI

-T
Strain transformation conditions (compatibility)
Assuming that the strains are distributed uniformly
in the element, they can be transformed according to
the following equations
(9)

(10)
"( 1,

where

E1, E1

'Y1r

2(Ed -

E,) sina cosa

=~
>-.

(a) Compression Stress-Strain Relationship

(11)

normal strains in the 1-t coordinate


system
shear strain in 1-t coordinate system
normal strains in the d-r coordinate
system (principal strains)

Eq(15a)
Eq(15b)

These conditions satisfy Mohr's strain circle.


Material laws
The stress-strain relation in the direction of the
compression strut is represented by the following two
equations suggested by Vecchio and Collins 19 and
shown graphically in Fig. 3(a).
Ascending branch

(b) Tension Stress-Strain Relationship

Fig. 3-Softened stress-stress relationships for concrete


Descending branch
a = _
d

J: 1 _
A

(15a)

1/A) 2
2 - 1/A

(EdiE 0

(12b)

where Ep = E/A is defined as the peak strain, with E


taken as - 0.002. A is a coefficient to take care of the
softening phenomenom and is expressed by
0

where Ec = initial modulus of elasticity of concrete,


taken to be - 2 fi IE,. This value is obtained by taking
derivative of ad with respect to Ed in Eq. (l2a), and then
taking Ed equal to zero.
For the descending branch after cracking the relationship is assumed to be
if E, >

E0

(15b)

Substituting E1 and E, from Eq. (9) and (10) into Eq.


(13), the expression for A can be simplified to

A=

(14)
d

where E, = E1 + E, - Ed. This relationship for E, can


easily be observed from Mohr's strain circle . 26
The stress-strain relation in a direction perpendicular
to the compression strut is shown in Fig. 3(b). Before
the concrete is cracked, the ascending linear relationship is
ACI Structural Journal I March-April 1987

concrete cracking stress, taken as


where !a
4Jf: if 1: is expressed in psi. E,, = concrete cracking
strain = f j E,. This expression is not the same as the
equation given in Reference 19. In Reference 19, the
term under the square root in the denominator is E,
rather thanE, - E This correction makes the resulting
Eq. (15b) consistent with the condition that a, = ;:,
when E, = E". The effect of this modification is minor,
since Ecr is usually much smaller than E,.
0

151

Eliminating P 1 from Eq. (18) and (19), but keeping Ka


and Kr as variables
(20)

T
R.

Denoting

(21)
and substituting K into Eq. (20), we obtain
(b)

Critical Zone

(22)

(a)

Fig. 4-Push-off test specimen (Reference 13) and critical zone


;; = E,E,

if E, ::::;; Ely

(16a)

;; = ;;y

if E, > Ely

(16b)

fr = E,EI

if E1

E1y

(17a)

fr = /ry

if E1 > E1y

(17b)

::::;;

where E, = Young's modulus of elasticity of the reinforcement. fry, fry = yield stresses of the longitudinal
and transverse reinforcement, respectively.
CONDENSATION OF EQUATIONS AND
SOLUTION PROCEDURE
The preceding 11 equations, Eq. (6) through (12) and
(14) through (17), contain 14 variables:;;, fr, a,, an r 11 ,
E1, En "f 1n ad, a, Ed, E, a, and A. For the shear transfer
test specimens studied in this paper (described later), a,
is specified. The other two stresses a 1 and r 11 are related
to the external applied load P 1 by
(18)

where K = ratio of maximum transverse stress to maximum shear stress. If the stresses are distributed uniformly over the whole specimen, Ka and Kr equal to
unity, and K = 1/h.
In this study, K will be assumed a known value in the
critical zone. The justification for assuming a constant
K shall be explained later. Using Eq. (22) and a specified a,, the 14 variables listed previously are reduced to
12 unknowns. By selecting one of them as a known
value, the remaining 11 unknowns can be solved by the
11 equations, Eq. (6) through (12) and Eq. (14) through
(17). A solution procedure can be implemented by first
reducing the number of equations.
It should be observed that the three stress-strain relationships of concrete, Eq. (12), (14), and (15), are
given in the d-r axis, and are expressed in terms of six
unknowns, ad, a,, Ed, E, a, and A. It is, therefore, possible to transform the stresses and strains in the 1-t axis
(!;, fr, E1 EJ onto the d-r axis, so that the equations can
be reduced to five equations containing the six unknowns. The two equations besides the three stressstrain relationships are derived as follows:
Substituting Eq. (16) into Eq. (6) and using Eq. (9)
for E1

E1

< E1y

a, = ad cos 2a + a, sin 2a
+ p,E,(Ed cos 2a + E,sin 2a)

Equating Eq. (7) and (8) and noting that a1 = Kr11


from Eq. (22)
(ad - a,) K sina cosa

b
h

152

coefficient describing the nonuniform


distribution of stress a1
coefficient describing the nonuniform
distribution of stress Tc
thickness of test specimen (Fig. 4)
width of test specimen in the longitudinal direction (Fig. 4) and
length of shear plane in the transverse
direction (Fig. 4)

ad sin 2a

+ a, cos 2a + P /r

(19)
where Ka

(23b)

(24)

Substituting Eq. (17) into Eq. (24) and using Eq. (10)
for E1
(ad =

a,)K sina cosa

ad sin 2 a + a, cos 2a + P1/ry

(ad - a,)K sina cosa


= ad sin 2a + a, cos 2a
+ p1Es(Ed sin2a + E, cos 2a)

(25a)

(25b)

ACI Structural Journal I March-April 1987

Note that Eq. (23) and (25) are expressed in terms of


the six unknowns listed in the preceding paragraphs. By
selecting a value for Ed, the other five unknowns, ad, a,
E, a, and A, can be solved by Eq. (12), (14), (15), (23),
and (25). Ed is selected because it is expected to vary
monotonically as the load is increased. Once these six
unknowns are obtained, the stress and strain in the 1-t
axis (T,, E,, E,, "f1, j,, j,) can be easily calculated.
The iterative procedure to solve the five nonlinear simultaneous algebraic equations is as follows:
1. Select a value for Ed.
2. Assume a value of a,.
3. Solve forE, from the stress-strain curves of Eq.
(15)

E,

I[_0.005 (I,a,.
a,
E,.

=-

4. Find A from Eq. (14)

5. Find a" from Eq. (12)

6. Solve for a from Eq. (23)

then calculate sin 2a, sina, and cosa.


7. Solve for a, from Eq. (25)
a,

aAK sina cosa

aiK sina cosa - sin 2a)


- p,s(Edsin 2a + E,COS 2a)
K sina cosa + cos 2a
8. If the calculated a, is close enough to the assumed
a, value, a set of solution ad, a, E, a, and A has been
obtained for the selected Ed value. Otherwise, a new a,
is calculated by a bisection method and Steps 2 to 7 are
repeated.

ACI Structural Journal I March-April 1987

9. Select another value of Ed and repeat Steps 1


through 8. In this way, a set of solution for various Ed
values can be obtained.
10. The value of Tit, E1, E, "f 1,, j,, and j, can be calculated from Eq. (8), (9), (10), (11), (16) and (17), respectively. The relationship of any two variables, such as T1,
versus "( 1,, can be plotted.
COMPARISON WITH TESTS
The theory described in the previous steps will now
be applied to the shear transfer problem. A typical test
specimen for shear transfer across a vertical shear plane
is shown in Fig. 4. To apply the theory, it is necessary
to know the ratios among the three in-plane stresses a,,
a, and Tit. These stresses should also be uniformly distributed over the region of interest. However, examination of the test specimen in Fig. 4 shows that the
stresses cannot be expected to distribute uniformly over
the entire specimen, nor can they be expected to be
uniform in the central test region. Before cracking, the
shear stress along the shear plane T 1, should be considerably larger near the two ends of the shear plane where
the open slot disrupts the smooth geometry and introduces local stress concentration. For the same reason,
the transverse normal stress in the direction of the load
a, is larger near the two ends of the shear plane. The
normal stress in the longintudinal direction a, is small
and can be neglected.
After diagonal cracking, a cracked region is observed in the vicinity of the shear plane and eventually
leads to failure. This cracked region will be called the
critical zone and is the shaded area shown in Fig. 4.
A typical width of this zone was observed to be about
2 to 3 in. for a 10 in. wide specimenY Within this zone,
the extensive cracking of the concrete had an effect of
redistributing the shear stress and the transverse normal stress more evenly along the shear plane. The
cracking also reduced the stiffness in the zone as compared to that outside of the zone. This would cause a
redistribution of the compression stress in the transverse direction to become more evenly distributed
across sections perpendicular to the shear plane. Thus,
within this critical zone the stresses might be assumed
to be uniform and the theory developed in the previous
sections could be used. More specifically, the shear
stress T" was estimated as the average stress over the
entire shear plane (i.e., Kr = 1); and the compressive
stress in the transverse direction a, was estimated as the
average stress over a cross-sectional plane perpendicular to the shear plane (i.e., Ka = 1). The K ratio, therefore, becomes 1/h as shown in Fig. 4. The normal stress
in the longitudinal direction a, is assumed to be zero
[Fig. 4(b)].
In determining the reinforcement ratio, the crosssectional area of the longitudinal steel across the shear
plane is divided by the area of the shear plane to obtain
p 1, and the area of the transverse steel is divided by the
cross-sectional area of a plane perpendicular to the
shear plane to obtain p,. As the cracks in the critical
zone are constrained by the two rows of transverse
153

1500

Ill

.e
1--

1000

ui

VI

cc:

1-

VI

cc:

SPECIMEN M2

:z:

VI

NON-SOFTENED CONCRETE

500

SOFTENED CONCRETE

-x-

0.005

TEST

6.

YIELDING OF LONGIT. STEEL

PEAK STRESS IN CONCRETE

0.01

0.015

0.02

0.025

SHEAR STRAIN, )"

Fig. 5-Shear stress-shear strain curves for Specimen


M2 (1 psi = 6.895 kPa)

2000

1500

;;

.!:

//'-

l-

ui
w

1!:

-----i(

f
I

Ill

1000

Ill

a::
w

:1:

Ill

500

0.002

SPECIMEN M8 -

-0-

NON-SOFTENED CONCRETE

-e-

SOFTENED CONCRETE

-X-

TEST

-6-

YIELDING OF LONGIT. STEEL

-0-

PEAK STRESS IN CONCRETE

0.004

0.006

0.008

0.01

SHEAR STRAIN,

'Y

Fig. 6-Shear stress-shear strain curves for Specimen


M6 (1 psi = 6.895 kPa)
154

steel, and the transverse steel is almost uniformly deployed over the whole section, the use of the average
steel ratio over the whole section for the transverse reinforcement ratio in the critical zone is considered appropriate.
The initially uncracked shear transfer tests reported
in the literature were studied by tracing the shear stressshear strain history by the method as previously described. Fig. 5 and 6 show the shear stress versus shear
strain curves for Specimens M2 and M6, respectively,
obtained from References 13 and 16. For convenience,
the starting point is taken at the zero stress state and
successive tracing is done from uncracked state to
cracked state of the concrete, even though the imposed
ratio between the normal stress and shear stress is only
applicable to the cracked state as explained previously.
Fig. 5 and 6 each provide three curves: one experimental and two theoretical. One theoretical curve is
based on the softened compression stress-strain relationship given by Eq. (12) and (14) and shown in Fig.
3(a), while the other one utilizes the nonsoftened
compression stress-strain curve specified by the CEBFIP Model CodeY The CEB-FIP curve has a parabolic-rectangular shape. The ascending parabolic curve
up to a strain of 0.002 is described by Eq. (12a), if the
coefficient 'A is taken as unity, and the continuing horizontal branch terminates at a strain of 0.0035. Fig. 5
and 6 show that the theoretical curves using the softened compression stress-strain curve agree very well
with the experimental curve. In contrast, the theoretical curves based on the nonsoftened compression stressstrain curve overestimates considerably the maximum
stress as well as the strain at maximum stress.
It should be mentioned that the truss model theory is
not intended for the prediction of behavior before
cracking. Tests in Fig. 5 and 6 show quite reasonably
that the specimens before cracking are considerably
stiffer than those predicted. Only when the ultimate
strength is approached can the predicted shear stresses
and shear strains become valid .

Push-off tests
The two specimens M2 and M6, discussed previously
and shown in Fig. 4, are subjected to the so-called
push-off loading. A total of 20 push-off tests is reported in References 13, 16, and 28 for initially uncracked specimens. The test results are compiled in Table 1, including the predicted shear stresses 7"'"''' the
shear strains at peak stress 'Ymax,n and the longitudinal
steel strains at peak stress E1 The shear stresses were
computed from Tmax,c = p,lbl, assuming K = l. Also,
assuming Ka = 1, then K = 1/h. For specimens No. 1
through 14, K = 10/10 = 1, and for specimens No. 15
through 20, K = 10/12 = 0.83. This means that the
shear stresses are assumed to be uniformly distributed
across the shear plane and the transverse stresses are
uniformly distributed on the plane perpendicular to
that.
A comparison of the calculated and experimental
maximum shear stresses is given in Fig. 7. The agreeACI Structural Journal I March-April1987

ment between the calculated and the measured shear


strengths is indeed very good. The mean value of the
ratio of the measured shear strength to calculated shear
strength is 1.054 and the standard deviation is 0.069.
Among the 20 tests, 4 of them (1.1A, 1.1B, 6.1, and
M.1) have only one row of longitudinal steel across the
shear plane. Since the theory is applicable to cases with
more evenly distributed reinforcements, appreciable error in prediction is expected for these four cases. In
fact, Table 1 shows that the test values in these cases
are 10 to 20 percent higher than the predicted values.
This indicates that other factors, such as aggregate interlocking and dowel action, which are not considered
in the present theory, may become relatively important
in these cases of low steel percentage. If these four
cases are discounted from Table 1, the remaining 16 results show excellent agreement between theory and test,
with a mean value of 1.030 and a standard deviation of
0.048, for the ratio of experimental shear strength to
calculated shear strength.
Fig. 7 also compares the experimental shear strength
to the theoretical shear strength based on nonsoftened
concrete. This theoretical prediction overestimates the
actual strength by about 50 percent.
To see how sensitive predicted shear strength is to the
assumption of the stress ratio K, results from different
K values ranging from 0.5 to 2.0 are calculated for the
first 14 cases in Table 1 and are shown in Table 2. The
ratios of the experimental to calculated maximum shear
stresses are plotted in Fig. 8 as a function of the K-ra-

2-

1500

"'"'w
...a:

<f)

a:

Af,:

:.\

"
,.";;:

)A5~

1000

NON~SOFTENED CONCRETE

"'

..,.
....
-'

500

e:JNo

1-1<~

K=ll~>"l.OO

... /::,.No

15-20

Ill>::: 0.83

><
w

2000

1500

1000

500

CALCULATED MAXIMUM SHEAR STRESS

TmaK,c (psi)

Fig. 7-Comparison of maximum shear stresses for


push-off tests (1 psi = 6.895 kPa)
tio. The shaded area indicates the range of the shear
strength ratio, and the curve through the solid dots
gives the mean value. The results are not sensitive to
changes in K; changing K from 1.0 to 2.0 and from 1.0
to 0.5 results in less than 10 percent and 5 percent difference, respectively, in shear strength. The variation of
K represents the degree of unevenness of the compressive stress distribution across a plane perpendicular to
the shear plane that could result in an increase or decrease of the compressive stress in the critical zone. The

Table 1-Comparison of experimental and theoretical results (push-off)


Number

Specimen

p,

p,

j,,
psi

I. lA

0.0044

0.0568

l.IB

0.0044

1.2A

J:.

<,,
10-'

<,
10 '

Tmax.l

-y,,,,
10 '

-y,,,,,
10 '

rm,/\.11

Tmul;<'

psi

PSI

0.314

750

684

1.0965

4.333

3.977

0.356

844

696

1.2126

4.700

57.72

2.113

0.242

1000

923

1.0834

3.933

0.4701

58.91

2.538

0.287

980

930

1.0538

4.267

0.0016

0.5859

54.05

1.769

0.172

1100

1109

0.9919

4.887

3920

0.0013

0.5617

54.85

1.716

0.195

1070

1098

0.9745

4.246

1360

1326

1.0256

5.028

1.0912

4.836

1/A

psi

f_i!

50,700

3920

0.0008

0.3965

62.79

3.415

0.0568

48,000

4340

0.0008

0.3749

63.81

0.0088

0.0568

50,700

3840

0.0010

0.4966

1.2B

0.0088

0.0568

48,000

4180

0.0010

1.3A

0.0132

0.0568

50,700

3840

1.3B

0.0132

0.0568

48,000

"

Tmax.r

1.4A

0.0176

0.0568

50,700

4510

0.0017

0.5996

53.18

1.658

0.181

1.4B

0.0176

0.0568

48,000

3855

0.0017

0.6139

52.74

1.479

0.141

1280

1173

1.5A

0.0220

0.0568

50,700

4510

0.0017

0.6161

52.39

1.429

0.159

1400

1377

1.0167

4.822

10

1.5B

0.0220

0.0568

48,000

4065

0.0017

0.6253

52.09

1.325

0.132

1384

1268

1.0915

4.711

11

1.6A

0.0264

0.0568

50,700

4310

0.0017

0.6332

51.67

1.218

0.130

1432

1366

1.0483

4.614

12

1.6B

0.0264

0.0568

48,000

4050

0.0016

0.6333

51.66

1.153

0.120

1420

1300

1.0923

4.355

13

6.1

0.0044

0.0568

48,000

3960

0.0008

0.3893

63.21

3.597

0.321

800

672

1.1905

4.441

14

6.2

0.0220

0.0568

48,000

3930

0.0017

0.6282

52.01

1.291

0.125

1240

1235

1.0041

4.672

15

Ml

0.0044

0.0587

50,900

4180

0.0008

0.3806

63.03

3.778

0.386

760

695

1.0935

4.660

16

M2

0.0088

0.0587

52,700

3900

0.0011

0.4924

57.33

2.348

0.318

980

932

1.0515

17

M3

0.0132

0.0587

52,300

3995

0.0015

0.5689

53.81

1.812

0.273

1110

1131

0.9814

4.000

4.423

3.333

4.486

4.667

18

M4

0.0176

0.0587

50,900

4150

0.0017

0.5995

52.35

1.588

0.253

1140

1233

0.9246

5.072

4.667

19

M5

0.0220

0.0587

52,700

3935

0.0017

0.6202

51.39

1.314

0.220

1280

1225

1.0449

4.814

6.667

20

M6

0.0264

0.0587

52,700

4120

0.0017

0.6281

50.88

1.197

0.219

1320

!304

1.0123

4.713

3.333

= 1.0 for No. 1 through 14; K = 0.83 for No. 15 through 20. No. I through 14 are taken from Reference 28 and No. 15 through 20 are taken from References

13 and 16. 'Ym~., -y,,,,, = experimental and calculated shear strains at maximum stress, respectively. Y
values at maximum stress. S = longitudinal steel. I psi = 6.895 kPa.

ACI Structural Journal I March-April 1987

steel yielded; N

steel not yielded.'" 1/A a ,, and, are


'
' ' '
'

155

...,

.,'l.><
E E
"' "'

2.0

,(

!/)
!/)

!/)
!/)

iii

_g.
1.5

."

MEAN

"'

1-

!/)

!/)

a:
a:
C(
C(

!/)

a:
C(
w

::r::

x x

C(

C(

:::E

:::E

ll.

C(

a:w

1000

Ul

!/)

rr:

= 0.0264)

"'

M2(P,

=0.0088)

l
y
I

oT

I
I
I

practical
regkn - 1

C(

TEST
:-sPECIMEN

max,c

*Tmax,t

:;

<..i

500

Ul

0.5

M6( P.

1-

1.0

w
::r::

w
::r::

ui
Ul
w
a:

a: a:

1-

1500

-1

><
w

(,)

0.02
0

0.5

1.0

1.5

2.0

0.04

0.06

0.1

0.08

2.5
TRANSVERSE STEEL RATIO,

K-RATIO

Fig. 8-Ejject ojK-ratio on calculated maximum shear


stresses

p1

Fig. 9-Ejject of transverse steel ratio on calculated


maximum shear stresses (1 psi = 6.895 kPa)

Table 2- Effect of stress ratio K (push-off)

711/U\,I'

Theoretical prediction
K = 1.0

K = 2.0
-y,
X 10'

'Y'

K = 0.5
-y,
X 10'

Specimen

psi

X 10 '

I. IA

750

753

3.098

684

4.333

661

5.79

I.IB

844

768

2.857

696

4.700

672

5.76

1.2A

1000

1025

3.353

923

3.933

885

5.19

1.2B

980

1046

2.904

930

4.267

893

5.59

Number

1.3A

1100

1163

4.131

1109

4.887

1063

4.90

1.3B

1070

1182

4.370

1098

4.246

1046

5.10

1.4A

1360

1395

3.950

1326

5.028

1289

5.50

1.4B

1280

1233

3.882

1173

4.836

1142

5.26

1.5A

1400

1457

3.972

1377

4.822

1334

5.29

10

1.5B

1384

1340

3.726

1268

4.711

1230

5.14

II

1.6A

1432

1451

3.596

1366

4.614

1321

5.07

12

1.6B

1420

1380

3.589

1300

4.355

1258

4.98

13

6.1

800

739

2.651

672

4.441

649

5.45

14

6.2

1240

1304

3.712

1235

4.672

1198

5.09

r = r,,_,._, in psi, "'

= "(,,_,,,. S = longitudinal steel; Y

yielded; N = not yielded. I psi = 6.895 kPa.

Table 3- Effect of transverse steel (push-off)


j,,

f,''
psi

psi
0.0293*

7 011111 . , ,
7/J/(1\,,

psi

0.011'''

0.0733*

0.088*

Specimen

p,

psi

16

M2

0.0088

52,700

3900

980

700

777

829

877

895

918

932

942

950

20

M6

0.0264

52,700

4120

1320

1174

1209

1243

1273

1284

1297

1304

1310

1313

Number

0.0025*

0.0055*

0.022*

0.044*

0.0587'

*Assumed p,.
tp, in actual test specimen.
I psi = 6.895 kPa.

insensitivity of the shear strength to the assumed K-ratio simply means that the shear strength is not sensitive
to the unevenness of the compressive stress distribution.
The choice of the simple expression K = 1/h would
have the advantage of simplicity and would provide
sufficient accuracy.
The sensitivity of shear strength to the assumption
made in determining the amount of transverse steel is
studied by comparing the results for two of the test

156

specimens, M2 and M6 (p, = 0.0088 and 0.0264). The


transverse reinforcement ratio is assumed to vary from
p, = 0.0025 to 0.088 for cases shown in Table 3. The
effect of the transverse steel ratio on the maximum
shear stress is plotted in Fig. 9. Fig. 9 shows that
changing the reinforcement ratio from the actual 0.0587
to 0.0293 or from 0.0587 to 0.088 results in a change of
shear strength by Jess than 4 percent. If, however, the
transverse steel ratio is reduced from the test specimen

ACI Structural Journal I March-April 1987

<'>

0...

8.0 .--------r------.---.------::l

.....

Ill

)>...

rri

6.0

Ill

w
a:

I-

I/)

><

4.0

""

::IE
I-

......

"':ccz
a:

I-

2.0

I/)

a:
w

1:

SPECIMEN 15-20

""

:1:

Ill

a:w

2.0

a..
><
w

8.0

6.0

4.0

CALC. SHEAR STRAIN AT MAX. STRESS,

Y max,c

= 12"

(X10" 3 )

Fig. 10-Comparison of shear strains at maximum


stress
value of 0.0587 to the minimum practical values of
0.0025, then the reduction of shear strength is as large
as 25 percent. While the test specimens are heavily
reinforced in the transverse direction to force failure at
the shear plane, such heavy reinforcement parallel to
the shear plane is generally not available in practical
structures. Thus, design guidelines based solely on these
tests may not be conservative.
Also compared in Table 1 are the shear strains at
peak stress for the six specimens for which the test values were reported from measured slip across the shear
plane. A test shear $train is calculated by dividing the
measured slip by the gage distance across the shear
plane. A comparison of the calculated and experimental shear strains at maximum stress is given in Fig. 10.
The predicted shear strains at peak stress are in generally good agreement with the test values. The scatter
can be explained by the fact that the slip across the
shear plane was measured at one level across the shear
plane, while the predicted shear strain is an average
value.

2.75"

I[

r---

~ ~
I

h = 14"

I
---1
JJ I

Fig. 11-Push-off test specimen with longitudinal tension stress (Reference 14) (1 in. = 25.4 mm)
tensile stress is kept constant during the test, the shear
strength is expected to be weakened. Test results are
available to show this weakening effect. 14 The present
theory can be applied easily to such cases by assigning
a constant normal stress in the longitudinal direction.
In these test specimens K = 12/14 = 0.86. Shown in
Table 4 are the measured and calculated shear strengths
for six tests, including four with imposed longitudinal
tension. The agreement is acceptable but not as good as

Push-off tests with imposed longitudinal tensile


stress
A tensile stress is applied in the longitudinal direction to a test specimen, 1415 as shown in Fig. 11. If the
Table 4-Effect of normal stress (push-off)
feo

J:.

,,,

,,

Normal
stress,
psi

Number

Specimen

p,

p,

psi

psi

E,,

1/f-

X JO'

10'

Tou"/'
pSI

psi

Tmax,c

xlO'

"(.,.,,,,
xiO'

21

EIU

0.0105

0.0360

52,700

4060

0.0013

0.5031

55.68

2.469

0.456

1089

1004

1.0847

5.145

6.266

22

E4U

O.QI05

0.0360

49,100

3860

0.0011

0.4236

60.00

3.745

0.515

946

757

1.2497

5.595

1.800

200

23

E6U

0.0105

0.0360

50,800

4120

0.0007

0.3178

65.13

5.178

0.563

607

545

1.1138

5.449

1.390

400

24

FlU

0.0157

0.0360

52,200

4035

0.0017

0.5865

52.17

1.699

0.352

1369

1173

1.1671

5.279

0
200
400

T,U.\,1

TI!W\:''

"(,.,,,.,

Steel

25

F4U

0.0157

0.0360

53,200

4175

0.0013

0.5219

54.55

2.125

0.437

1143

1087

1.0515

4.878

26

F6U

0.0157

0.0360

51,000

4245

0.0012

0.4411

58.86

3.581

0.546

1066

877

1.2155

5.779

1 psi = 6.895 kPa.

ACI Structural Journal I March-April 1987

157

2.0

....><

It

><

IV

IV

1.5

'"" ui
'""
ui
(/)

(/)

w w

a:

1-

(/)

a:
<1:

a:

1-

(/)

1.0

a:

<1:

w w
::c
::c (/)
(/)

><
><
<1: <1:

::1!

0.5

::1!

Fig. 13-Crack pattern of push-off specimens with


longitudinal tension stress (Reference 14)

SPECIMEN 21-26

ri cj
w ...J
Q.
<1:
>< ()
w

200

400

LONGITUDINAL TENSION STRESS,

".

(psi)

Fig. 12-Effect of longitudinal tension stress on maximum shear strength (1 psi = 6.895 kPa)

I
I I

Side View

14-r-T

1 3., - - - - . . ..
!
1

-:___ l,_\1
(.

'-

I
I

4.75"

l_ -

p_ ____'--

9.5"

--

__..

~3"-+

il-----

Section

Fig. 14-Pull-off test specimen (Reference 29) (1 in.


25.4 mm)
158

that of the previous cases. One possible reason for the


generally higher test values is the existence of the additional steel bars to apply the longitudinal stresses and
the additional ties for the transverse steel bars. This
additional steel does not pass through the shear plane
and is therefore not taken into account in the calculation. However, it may be close enough to the shear
plane to be partially effective in the truss model action.
The effect of the longitudinal tensile stress on the
shear strength is plotted in Fig. 12, showing the ratio of
the calculated to experimental maximum shear stresses
for these six specimens as a function of the imposed
longitudinal tension stress. The effect of the longitudinal tension stress is correctly predicted.
Table 4 shows that the test value of shear strain at
peak stress is reasonably close to the predicted value for
the case with no applied tension. However, in the two
cases with imposed tension the calculated values are
three to four times greater than the test values. A close
look at the reported cracking pattern, 14 shown in Fig.
13, reveals the cause. For the specimens with imposed
longitudinal tension, E4U and E6U, the critical crack
zone is much narrower than that for specimen E1 U,
where no tension is imposed. Since the gage length
across the shear plane in these tests is kept constant and
is much larger than the width of the critical crack zone
in Specimens E4U and E6U, the resulting shear strains
based on this large gage length would show much reduced values. Should the observed narrower width of
crack zone be used as the gage length, the shear strains
of Specimens E4U and E6U would be closer to the values predicted by the theory.
Pull-off tests
In a pull-off test, 829 a tension force is applied in the
transverse direction of the test specimen to produce a
shear stress at the shear plane and a tensile stress in the
transverse direction (Fig. 14). 29 In the theoretical calculation, the tensile stress is modelled by a negative stress
ratio K = - 12/13 = - 0.92. However, it is recognized that the tensile stress in the transverse direction in
the critical zone may be larger than assumed, since the
tension is transmitted almost directly through the anchoring bars within the critical zone. The local distribution of tensile stress is difficult to estimate and the
calculated shear is expected to be somewhat greater
than the actual shear strength because the tensile stress
ACI Structural Journal I March-April 1987

would be underestimated using an average value. This


indeed is the result as shown in Fig. 15. The calculated
maximum shear stresses are mostly greater than the test
values.

1500

o,../
~~/

.e

vi

ACI Structural Journal I March-April 1987

1000

w
a:
til

a:
<
w

500

/
/

::E

a:w

/
/
/

.-

/~o,..
'

/
/

SPECIMEN No. 2 7-32

c..
><
w

%
til

<

"/

1-

/'/
/.V
AI"

500

1000

CALC. MAX. SHEAR STRESS,

max,c

1500
(psi)

Fig. 15-Comparison of maximum shear stresses for


pull-off tests (1 psi = 6.895 kPa)
the truss model and incorporates a softened compression stress-strain relation along the concrete struts.
2. The current ACI Building Code design criterion
for shear strength across a plane is based on the shear
friction theory. Since the shear-friction theory assumes
that the shear transfer strength is not a function of the
reinforcement parallel to the shear plane, the ACI provisions are derived from test specimens that use heavy
reinforcement parallel to and near the shear plane. The
proposed truss model theory, however, indicates that
this reinforcement could have a significant effect on the
shear transfer strength. For the practical cases of design with small percentages of reinforcement parallel to
the shear plane, the code provisions for initially uncracked concrete might be unconservative.
3. More tests are required for shear transfer specimens with light reinforcement of 0.2 to 2 percent parallel to the shear plane. The critical zone of the future
test specimens also should be carefully instrumented to
ascertain the strain field.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The author wishes to thank Professor Alan Mattock for supplying
the detailed test data against which the proposed theory is compared.
This work is partially supported by the Texas Advanced Research
Program.

NOTATION
b
d
E,
E,

J:
f,.,

CONCLUSIONS
1. Shear strength across an initially uncracked plane
in reinforced concrete can be predicted with good accuracy by the proposed theory. This theory is based on

til

..:

,/ ,.
/

/
/

)(

...E
DISCUSSION
The proposed theory for shear transfer across aninitially uncracked plane in reinforced concrete is shown
to be sound. Excellent agreement between predicted
and measured shear strength is obtained for cases where
the stress distribution in a critcal zone encompassing the
shear plane is reasonably uniform after cracking of the
concrete. It is shown that the predicted shear strength
is not sensitive to the distribution of the compressive
stress applied in the transverse direction, nor is it sensitive to the amount of transverse reinforcement in the
specimen if a large amount of transverse reinforcement
is used. However, if a specimen is lightly reinforced in
the transverse direction near the shear plane, the reduction of shear strength can be substantial when compared to the shear strengths of specimens with heavy
transverse reinforcement reported in the literature.
According to the theory, the softening of concrete
after cracking of the concrete plays an important role
in determining the shear strength. Both the amount of
longitudinal reinforcement across the shear plane and
the transverse reinforcement near the shear plane are
important factors determining the degree of softening
of the concrete and therefore contribute to the shear
resistance across the shear plane. The longitudinal reinforcement has a more important role than that of the
transverse reinforcement in shaping the shear resistance
of the shear plane, as can be seen from both the test results and theoretical predicitons.
The literature contains reports of only nine test specimens to measure the slip across the shear plane. Despite the small number of tests and slip measurements
available, comparison of predicted and test shear
strains at peak stress shows general agreement. This is
another indication that the proposed theory is sound.
Since its incorporation into the ACI Building Code in
1971, the shear friction theory has been widely applied
in design practice. In this theory, it is assumed that the
shear transfer strength of reinforced concrete is a function of the longitudinal steel crossing the shear plane
and the compression strength of concrete, but it is not
a function of the transverse steel parallel to the shear
plane. This study shows, however, that the transverse
steel near the shear plane could have a significant effect on the shear transfer strength. Since the shear friction equations in the ACI Building Code were based on
test specimens with a very high percentage of transverse steel near the shear plane, they could be unconservative when applied to the practical cases of shear
transfer with a small percentage of transverse steel.

;;
};,
};
};,
h

thickness of test specimen


a direction parallel to the direction of the compression strut
initial Young's modulus of concrete
Young's modulus of reinforcing bars
cylinder compression strength of concrete
cracking strength of concrete
stress in the longitudinal steel reinforcement
yielding stress of longitudinal steel reinforcement
stress in the transverse steel reinforcement
yielding stress of transverse steel reinforcement
width of test specimen in the longitudinal direction (Fig. 4)

159

K
K.
K,

P,

E,

E,,
"A

a,
a,

a,,
a,
a,
a,.
a"
T1,

T,,.
T,.,

ratio of normal stress in transverse direction to shear stress in


the 1-t coordinate system
ratio of normal stress in transverse direction in the critical zone
to that of the average normal stress
ratio of shear stress in the critical zone to that of the average
shear stress over the shear plane
the longitudinal direction (a direction perpendicular to the
shear plane); length of shear plane in the transverse direction
(Fig. 4).
external applied load in the transverse direction
direction perpendicular to the direction of the compression
strut
transverse direction; a direction parallel to the shear plane
angle of inclination of the compression strut from the /-axis
shear strain in the 1-t coordinate system
tensile strain at which concrete cracks
compression strain in the direction of the strut
normal strain in the /-direction
yield strain of longitudinal steel reinforcement
compression strain at maximum stress in a uniaxial stressstrain curve of concrete cylinder
peak strain of softened concrete defined as E,/A
normal strain in the r-direction
normal strain in the /-direction
yield strain of transverse steel reinforcement
coefficient for softening effect
reinforcement ratio of the longitudinal steel
reinforcement ratio of the transverse steel
compressive stress in the concrete strut
normal stress in the /-direction
normal stress in concrete in the /-direction
normal stress in the r-direction
normal stress in the /-direction
normal stress in concrete in the /-direction
normal stress in steel in the /-direction
shear stress in the 1-t coordinate system
shear stress in concrete in the 1-t coordinate system
shear strength of test specimen

REFERENCES
I. ACI-ASCE Committee 426, "The Shear Strength of Reinforced
Concrete Members," Proceedings, ASCE, V. 99, ST6, June 1973, pp.
1091-1187.
2. Dulacska, Helen, "Dowel Action of Reinforcement Crossing
Cracks in Concrete," ACI JouRNAL, Proceedings V. 69, No. 12, Dec.
1972, pp. 754-757.
3. Paulay, T., and Loeber, P. J., "Shear Transfer by Aggregate
Interlock," Shear in Reinforced Concrete, SP-42, American Concrete Institute, Detroit, 1974, pp. 1-15.
4. Paulay, T.; Park, R.; and Phillips, M. H., "Horizontal Construction Joints in Cast-in-Place Reinforced Concrete," Shear in
Reinforced Concrete, SP-42, American Concrete Institute, Detroit,
1974, pp. 599-616.
5. Walraven, J. C.; Vos, E.; and Reinhardt, H. W., "Experiments
on Shear Transfer in Cracks in Concrete, Part I: Description of Results," Report No. 5-79-3, Stevin Laboratory, Delft University of
Technology, 1979, 89 pp.
6. Walraven, J. C., "Experiments on Shear Transfer in Cracks in
Concrete, Part 2: Analysis of Results," Report No. 5-79-10, Stevin
Laboratory, Delft University of Technology, 1979, 132 pp.
7. Walraven, J. C., Aggregate Interlock: A Theoretical and Experimental Analysis, Delft University Press, 1980, 197 pp.
8. Mattock, Alan H., and Hawkins, Neil M., "Shear Transfer in
Reinforced Concrete-Recent Research," Journal, Prestressed Concrete Institute, V. 17, No.2, Mar.-Apr. 1972, pp. 55-75.
9. ACI Committee 318, "Building Code Requirements for Reinforced Concrete (ACI-318-83)," American Concrete Institute, Detroit, 1983, Ill pp.

160

10. Birkeland, Philip W., and Birkeland, Halvard W., "Connections in Precast Concrete Construction," ACI JouRNAL, Proceedings
V. 63, No.3, Mar. 1966, pp. 345-368.
II. Mast, Robert F., "Auxiliary Reinforcement in Concrete Connections," Proceedings, ASCE, V. 94, ST6, June 1968, pp. 14851504.
12. Mattock, A. H., "Shear Transfer in Concrete Having Reinforcement at an Angle to the Shear Plane," Shear in Reinforced
Concrete, SP-42, American Concrete Institute, Detroit, 1974, pp. 1742.
13. Mattock, Alan H., "Effect of Aggregate Type on Single Direction Shear Transfer Strength in Monolithic Concrete," Report No.
SM74-2, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, Aug. 1974, 72 pp.
14. Mattock, Alan H., "Effect of Moment and Tension Across the
Shear Plane on Single Direction Shear Transfer Strength in Monolithic Concrete," Report No. SM74-3, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, Oct. 1974, 103 pp.
15. Mattock, Alan H.; Johal, L.; and Chow, H. C., "Shear
Transfer in Reinforced Concrete with Moment or Tension Acting
Across the Shear Plane," Journal, Prestressed Concrete Institute, V.
20, No.4, July-Aug. 1975, pp. 76-93.
16. Mattock, Alan H.; Li, W. K.; and Wang, T. C., "Shear
Transfer in Lightweight Reinforced Concrete," Journal, Prestressed
Concrete Institute, V. 21, No. I, Jan.-Feb. 1976, pp. 20-39.
17. Kupfer, Helmut; Hilsdorf, Hubert K.; and Rusch, Hubert,
"Behavior of Concrete Under Biaxial Stresses," ACI JOURNAL, Proceedings V. 66, No.8, Aug. 1969, pp. 656-666.
18. Zia, Paul, "Torsional Strength of Prestressed Concrete Members," ACI JOURNAL, Proceedings V. 57, No. 10, Apr. 1961, pp.
1337-1359.
19. Vecchio, F., and Collins, M.P., "Stress-Strain Characteristics
of Reinforced Concrete in Pure Shear," Final Report, IABSE Colloquium on Advanced Mechanics of Reinforced Concrete (Delft,
1981), International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering, Ziirich, pp. 211-225.
20. Vecchio, F., and Collins, M. P ., "The Response of Reinforced
Concrete to In-Plane Shear Normal Stresses," Publication No. 82-03,
Department of Civil Engineering, University of Toronto, Mar. 1982,
332 pp.
21. Hsu, Thomas T. C., and Mo, Y. L., "Softening of Concrete
in Torsional Members -Theory and Tests," ACI JouRNAL, Proceedings V. 82, No.3, May-June 1985, pp. 290-303.
22. Hsu, Thomas T. C., and Mo, Y. L., "Softening of Concrete
in Torsional Members - Design Recommendations," ACI JOURNAL,
Proceedings V. 82, No.4, July-Aug. 1985, pp. 443-452.
23. Hsu, Thomas T. C., and Mo, Y. L., "Softening of Concrete
in Torsional Members- Prestressed Concrete," ACI JoURNAL, Proceedings V. 82, No.5, Sept.-Oct. 1985, pp. 603-615.
24. Hsu, Thomas T. C., and Mo, Y. L., "Softening of Concrete
in Low-Rise Shear Walls," ACI JouRNAL, Proceedings V. 82, No.6,
Nov.-Dec. 1985, pp. 883-889.
25. Mau, S. T., and Hsu, Thomas T. C., "Shear Design and
Analysis of Low-Rise Structural Walls," ACI JouRNAL, Proceedings
V. 83, No.2, Mar.-Apr. 1986, pp. 306-315.
26. Hsu, Thomas T. C., Torsion of Reinforced Concrete, Van
Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1984, 516 pp.
27. CEB-FIP Model Code for Concrete Structures, 3rd Edition,
Comite Euro-International du Beton/Federation Internationale de Ia
Precontrainte, Paris, 1978, 348 pp.
28. Hofbeck, J. A.; Ibrahim, I. 0.; and Mattock, Alan H., "Shear
Transfer in Reinforced Concrete," ACI JouRNAL, Proceedings V. 66,
No.2, Feb. 1969, pp. 119-128.
29. Chatterjee, P., "Shear Transfer in Reinforced Concrete," MS
thesis, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Washington,
Seattle, 1971, 48 pp.

ACI Structural Journal I March-April 1987