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So, this is the beginning of the blog and the most elementary part of any force relationship in
engineering mechanics. The purpose of "Statics" is to attain a relationship between external
forces applied to an object and the internal forces required to keep the object from moving
(static). The basic equation is:

This equation represents the equilibrium that must exist between internal forces and
external forces for a non moving object.
The summing of forces and distances is vector mechanics. For statics, zero movement of a
system means vector forces must be in equilibrium. Consider the following example, where
the node must be in static equilibrium.

Lets apply this principle to a truss. But first, what is a truss? A truss is a structure that is
assumed to have no moment reactions at any joint. This means that each member can only
have axial forces. There are two methods used to solve trusses, the first method is the
method of joints. This method involved summing the forces in the x and y direction for every
joint in the system. Take a look at this example:
Lets move on to the method of sections. The theory behind this method is that if you sum
moments about any part of the structure, the moments must sum to zero. This method is handy
if you simply want to find one internal force, he is another example of the same truss:
Beam Statics

To keep things simple I'll represent the relationship between internal forces and external forces
with a picture and explain what it means in the context of the static equilibrium equation. For a
beam with external loading:

W is simply the distributed load (force) acting on the beam and the triangle and circle
represent a pin and a roller, respectively. Technically a pin can have a force reaction in the X
(horizontal) direction, bit I'm only trying to convey the internal forces of them beam at this point.
To maintain static equilibrium at any point along the length of the beam, there must be forces
inside the beam that keep the structure from moving. These forces are:

From the same beam as before we cut a demonstrative cross-section to illuminate what
the hell is going on. We still have a distributed load acting on the beam and a reaction force
from the left support. However, we have the additional two forces acting (the internal forces).
The forces are an internal reaction force (V, which you can visualize as another reaction force; it
is simply in the beam instead of an external force) and an internal torque or Moment (M). These
forces are what maintains equilibrium in the beam along it's length. The moment is always
confusing, but look at it like this: it is a force time a distance that attempts to rotate the beam
into equilibrium.
Now that we have figures out the relationship between external in internal loading, lets look at
the most important issue in statics (I like jumping into things): Shear and moment diagrams.

From the three equations of equilibrium, we have:

These equations govern what is going on in the beam. All moments, internal, and
external forces must equal zero throughout the extents of the beam.
Shear/Moment Diagrams

Lets look at a loaded beam:

Here we see a simply supported (two point forces at the ends) beam with a point force
mid span. Below the beam is the shear diagram and under that is the moment diagram.
Lets walk through this:
The Shear Diagram
Since the beam is loaded directly in the middle, each reaction at the ends
of the beam must be F/2. As we travel from left to right, nothing changes because there in no
loading to induce change. When we reach the middle the force (F) "knocks" the shear diagram
by the magnitude of F (or, the sum of both reactions). As we travel right, nothing changes as the
loading stays the same. However, when we reach point C, the reaction "knocks up" (sorry for the
profanity) the shear diagram by F/2 to reach zero. The shear diagram of a simply supported
beam bust be zero at one extent.
The Moment diagram
One cool way to look at the moment diagram at this stage in our
learning is tho thing of it as the integral of the shear diagram. That is:

This meant that the slope of the moment diagram is the shear
force and that the area of the shear graph is the Magnitude of the moment at any point. Check
it out:

The units for Shear and Simply supported reactions Reactions are the
same, (Kips, lb, N, etc)
The units for moment are (force*Distance)=(kip*ft, N*meter, etc)
Now that the basics of shear and moment have been covered, lets look at more complicated
loading/constraint(external reaction) situations. Here is a cantilevered beam:
A cantilevered beam is different from a simple support in that it the restrains the end.
The restraint doesn't allow for "rotation" of the end, meaning that there is a larger (maximum)
moment at the only beam restraint (as the other end is free).
Above are the shear and moment diagrams for the beam, notice that F
and Rb are the same as the loading condition doesn't change until the extent of the beam.
The moment diagram differs significantly from the simply supported beam, in
that, the maximum moment occurs at the beam/wall connection and decreases (or increases
depending on your sign convention) to zero where the beam ends (remember that a moment is a
function of length and an applied force).

Lets go back to the simply supported beam for a second, now lets look at a uniform distributed
load. A uniform distributed load is a load that has a constant magnitude across the length of
the member. Here is an example:

As described above, the load is a magnitude W across the length of the beam. What
does this mean?
The shear force will have to change. The reaction at the end is of magnitude
WL/2, and the shear constantly changes (decreases) as the distributed load constantly acts down
on the beam. For a non-varying load, the shear force will vary linearly.
Remember, the moment at any point in the beam must equal the slope of the
shear diagram and the magnitude must be equal to the composite area of the shear diagram
from one extreme of the beam to the point of desired moment magnitude. So, if you wanted to
find the moment at x=.75L, just find the area of the left triangle on the shear diagram and
subtract the area of 1/2 the horizontal distance of the second triangle (not 1/2 the area
of the second triangle).

Neutral Axis/Moment of Inertia

The Centroid or Neutral axis (2d shape) is the distance from a datum that the area moments of
and object are balanced. In other words, the place where the areas of an object are balanced.
Here is the formula to calculate the neutral axis of a 2d object:

Where Ci is the distance from the datum (I usually choose the bottom of the object) to the center
point of an object. Ai is simply the area of the object.

Now lets look at Moment of Inertia. The moment of inertia is a distribution of a cross section's
area. It is used to calculate stresses and deflections in later topics. There are two parts of the
moment of inertia from the parallel axis theorem. Here is the equation:

Here is an example, it will explain the process much better that I can: (x is the location of
the neutral axis)

Next, lets look at an example of a non-square shape (we'll have to use a moment of inertia table
for weird shapes). Here is a triangle
This table should give you everything you'll need to calculate the moment of inertia for a given

So, we've covered everything you need to prepare you for Mechanics of Materials. We've looked
at how to sum forces, shear and moment diagrams, Neutral axis/centroid and the movement of
inertia. If there is anything else needed to be covered (truss, vector stuff, etc.) shoot me an
email or comment on my main page.

Mechanics of Materials I

This section is an advancement of statics. Mechanics of materials applies the same equations
and statics, except that the bodies are now deformable. What does this mean? It means that we
will have to analyze problems using stress/strain relationships.

So, what is stress? Well, it is a force over an area. The same as atmospheric pressure or any
other pressure (except peer pressure). Here is a bar under some axial loading:
What other types of stress are there? Lets keep on thing in mind: no matter what type of stress
an object is experiencing, the units (psi, kN/m^2, etc.) don't change. The other type of stress an
object may experience is shear stress:

Of course the magnitude and direction (sign, +/-) may change, but the concept is the same,
Stress = P/A. I'll define Compressional stress as a stress that shortens an element (squishes) and
tensional stress as one that would elongate an element.

What kind of an effect do axial and shear stresses have on material?

What is the relationship between axial stress and deformation? What are the material properties
involved? Well, it mush have something to do with the applied force, the cross sectional area,
the length, and something else. We need to find a relationship between elongation and material
resistance. Here is how it works:

Where stain is the change in length over the original length. So, for an elastic material (one that
doesn't permanently deform and that he stress and strain are related by Hooke's law[stress =
Elasticity modulus * strain]) the change in length and the stress have a linear relationship (for
reasonable stresses). We denote this relationship with the Modulus of Elasticity (E), for steel it is
29000 Kips/in^2. OK, here is the formula for bar elongation of a bar under axial loads:
Beam Theory!

Cool, now lets look at something that is actually interesting: Beam Theory. A beam is something
that is long and slender, it loaded perpendicular to its long axis (it can also be loaded axially).
We'll analyze how a beam reacts to external forces and how the internal forces cause
deformations. This is why shear and moment diagrams are so important. This page is intended
for Engineering students so we won't toil over the boring proofs, we'll stick to what matters and
the general concepts. Lets examine a beam under some loading condition:

We notice that the beam is bent in some parabolic shape that has a radius and a
deflection below its original position. But, what is causing the deformation. Well, we we
concluded that only bending moments contribute to the bending of the member (a good
assumptions shear forces usually only contribute 3-5% of total deformations) we notice the

The bending moment rotates the section. OK, now look at the top of the beam; we see
that is has compressed and that the bottom has elongated. This means the top and bottom are
experiencing compressive and tensile stresses, respectively. For a linear stress/strain material,
the bending stress distribution must also be linear. Look at the top two examples in the following
pic. The bottom picture shows combined bending (bending about both axis).
The point of zero bending stress in the neutral axis and the points of maximum bending
stress are the beams extremes. The formula for the distribution of bending stress is:

Where M is the moment applied at any given point along the beam (from the shear/moment
diagram), Y is the location from the neutral axis that you want to find the bending stress, and I is
the cross sections moment of inertia.

Bending stress is not the only stress that a beam experiences when loaded, there is also a shear
stress assumed by the beam cross section. This stress is weird, the proof behind it is tedious
and I don't want to do it. Here are the basics:

There is a big difference in Bending stress and shear stress. The shear stress in a
material varies parabolically and reaches a maximum at the neutral axis. This phenomenon
related to shear flow. The General formula is:
S= shear stress, Q= the moment about the neutral axis of the area above the
point you want to calculate the shear stress, I = moment of inertia, b= width of desired section.
Here is Q, find the area of the shaded region and multiply it by the centroid
distance. b is .35".

Here is the shear stress distribution on an I beam

the equation for shear stress near the fillet of the cross section is not accurate.
Beam Deflection

This is really just a preview to what happens in Structural Analysis. Here we are not concerned
about the stresses in a beam, rather the deflection of a beam along its length. The governing
equation of beam deflection is:

Where M is the complete equation for the moment distribution along a beam
Solving deflections using this equation is tedious and requires substitution to solve for the
constants of integration. A much easier way to solve for deflection at this stage is to use the
moment/area method. This method is really cool, all you need to do is formulate the moment
diagram for a beam and calculate the area (up to the desired point of deflection), multiply by the
length of the centroid, and divide by EI. You can also solve for the angle using the same process
on the shear diagram. Example (W is a distributed load):
For really simply loading cases you can simply use the following equations (note that for
combined conditions the deflections and angles may be added to find the desired values):

Buckling is one of my favorite topics, it is the theory of beam response due to large axial loads.
For long and skinny beams, a huge load may force a beam to bend perpendicular to the axial
loading axis rather than simply compress. Buckling is dependent on the cross sectional
properties, length, elasticity, loading and end (fixity) conditions. This is the general buckling
formula (maximum axial load) in which you can substitute different effective lengths (length
between mathematical inflection points) based on the column's end conditions:

These are the values of Leff for different support conditions:

Mohr's Circle

For combined stresses in a material the maximum stress and angle the stress is acting can be
computed. This is done using Mohr's Circle.
For a piece of material, the above circle governs the principle stresses, that is, the extreme
stresses in the material. the circle also governs shear and normal stresses at any angle in the
material. Here are the equations you need to know:


The easiest way to explain torsion is that when you twist a member, such as a drive shaft, the
member must resist the torque applied. The member's resistance has to result in some
deformation, this is torsion. Take a look at the simplest case, torsion of a circular bar or hollow
circular bar:
T is the torque applied to the bar (torque is just a moment applied along the center axis
of the bar). is the the angle of twist (angle of deformation). C is the radius.
Torsion is different than normal deformation (even though it still behaves linearly for
reasonable, forces), in that, it is dependent of the shear modulus G. G represents the resistance
of material planes to slide past one another, G is usually much smaller than E.
Here are the useful equations for cylandircal members:

Equation one is the shear stress at any radius inside the bar.
Equation two is the angle of twist () at any length (l) along the bar's length.
Equation three is the polar moment of inertia for a solid cylinder.
Equation four is the polar moment of inertia for a hollow shaft.
Torsion of non circular bars is extremely complicated, take a look at the deformed shape of an I-
We can see that there are many factors involved with this situation, the polar moment of inertia
is some combination of the moment of inertia about both axises (x and y), there is warping, and
geometrical change. To keep things simple in the analysis we say the torsional resistance to
deformation is:

Here are the torsional stiffnesses of an equilateral triangular shaft and a square shaft (found
experimentally) for small deflections:


You've seen the basics of Mechanics of Materials here. Mechanics of Materials is, really, the
first introduction to deformations of solids. It introduces the fundamental principals of stress and
strain as a function of external loading.

Solid Mechanics extends much further, however. More advanced topics in Solid Mechanics
include Vibration Theory, Contact Mechanics, Continuum Mechanics of solids, Finite Element
Methods for solids, Stress Waves in solids, Response to Blast and Loading, the list goes on. The
techniques employed with these methods involve higher level mathematics and numerical
methods, so if these interest you, brush up on calculus of multiple variables, tensor notation,
linear/non-linear algebra and partial differential equations!

I hope you've enjoyed my 'short' on Mechanics of Materials!

Structural Analysis I
The general purpose of Structural Analysis is to understand how a structure behaves under
loads. It is different than Strength of Materials because we are not concerned with stresses,
rather, forces and deformations. Here are the topics I'll cover:

1. Shear and Moment Diagrams

2. Statically determinate beams and frames
1. Double Integral Method
2. Moment Area method
3. Statically Indeterminate beams and frames
1. Force Method
2. Slope/Deflection Method
3. Indeterminate Shear/Moment
4. Matrix Analysis

Shear and Moment Diagrams(statically determinate)

I've covered the basics in the statics section of my web page. So, I'll go into depth with my
analysis of shear and moment diagrams. I'll try to use more complicated loading conditions and
I'll introduce hinges. Lets start with a simply supported beam:

The simply supported beam above is subjected to a evenly distributed load from L/2 to
L. Both ends are pinned so there can be no moment at either end.
To find the reactions, we place a statically equivalent load in the middle and sum the
forces and moments about on of the support locations and calculate Ra and Rb.
Now that we have Ra, we know the shear force from support A to L/2. At L/2 we know the
shear force must change linearly as the evenly distributed load acts form L/2 to L. We find the
slope of the shear by subtracting Ra from Rb and dividing by the acting length (L/2)
The first half of the moment diagram is a slam dunk. Just like the evenly distributed load
affected the right side of the shear/moment diagram, we can use the same concept on the
moment diagram. it increases linearly from 0 to L/2 with a maximum value equivalent to the
area of the shear diagram.
The point of inflection of the the moment diagram (slope = 0 = flat) is where
the shear force = 0. To find the Maximum moment, add the shear force at L/2 to the area of
the shear triangle from L/2 to the location of zero shear (5L/8) discovered from the third bullet.
From 5L/8 to L, we know the moment must decrease non-linearly (2nd power). Who
cares what it looks like.

Another example worked out in metric with the addition of a hinge. A hinge is an internal
reaction that doesn't allow moments and can only transfer shear force (summing moments about
a hinge = 0, hinges also allow for one extra equation).

Here is another example, except there is a cantilevered end at the end of the simple support
and a concentrated moment.
For my last Shear and Moment diagram example, I'll look at a frame. A frame is a structure that
has ridigidly connected members that allow for moments to be transferred. Don't be
frightened by a frame, it behaves much like a beam, in that, it is a series of beams.
The Frame example isn't complete, but here you can get the gist of the analysis.
Solve for the support reactions
Work your way from one member to another, distributing the moment from one
beam's end to the beginning of the attached beam.
Draw each beams shear and moment diagram accordingly to attain the
transferred moments and shears.

Deflections of Statically determinate structures

There are a ton of ways to calculate deflections for determinate structures. I've highlighted the
double integration method in the strength of materials section as well as the moment area
method. Honestly, double integration is the most annoying thing to preform as one has to
continually solve for integration constants using boundary conditions, but to be thorough, I'll
include another example of double integration:
OK, that was horrible.

Lets look at my favorite method again, the Moment Area method. Here are all the basics:

Now, lets look at an more complicated example using applying the Moment Area Method:
Statically Indeterminate Structures

Well, everything we've talked about so far has been structures in which we have enough
equations (three + how ever many hinges are present) to solve for all the internal forces and
external reactions. A statically indeterminate structure is a structure that has more
unknown reactions that can be discovered using the equations of statics (summing forces and
moments). In the indeterminate case, we must use the member properties (E, I, L) to find

Force Method

Lets look at the first and easiest method, the Force Method. Basically, the force method is
determine an unknown reaction by calculating the force that would be necessary to bring a
displacement back to equilibrium. First I'll show you an example:
So, this is a pretty simple and handy way to calculate redundant reactions. However, it gets
ridiculously tedious for many degrees of indeterminacy. This is why we have other methods. The
force method, however is the basis for calculating member stiffnesses for more advanced
methods of structural analysis.

Slope/Deflection Method

Before I get into the weeds about what the slope deflection method is, I need to explain what a
fixed end moment is. A fixed end moment (FEM) is the moment caused by a load on a beam with
both ends fixed (a beam cantilevered at both ends). The reason the FEM is so important is
because it is the base point from which we add or subtract moments to find the actual end
moments (don't let this confuse you, just use the equations and it will work out. Now, to find the
FEM for a member, just look at the following equations and plug in the same values give to you in
a problem:
The slope deflection method is the basis for establishing member stiffnesses. Any beam has a
stiffness based off its length, moment of inertia, and modulus of elasticity. I won't go through the
derivation because you probably don't care. However you should know that a member can be
subject to end rotations and translations (perpendicular to the beams major axis), each end
rotation and translation is associated with a member stiffness the resists the impending force.
This is what slope/deflection is based off. Here is are the two governing equations and the
procedure for analyzing any structure (not that theta A and theta B are the left and right
rotations, respectively):
Here is a basic example of a beam to get you started on the slope deflection method, note that K
is used instead of the stiffness coefficient (it doesn't really matter, if E and I are the same for
each span they will cancel anyways):
Indeterminate Shear/Moment Diagrams

The shear/moment diagrams for indeterminate structures function the same as determinate
structures. In most cases you will know the end forces for a section of a beam or frame. This
causes no problem, you will know the external loading and with the member forces you can draw
the diagrams. Lets take a look at a highly indeterminate beam:
The above example is a beam in which we know all the intermediate span end forces.
Given that there is an evenly distributed force along the length of the span we can draw the
approximate parabolic moment diagrams for each beam.
So, after you have analyzed all the forces using some Structural Analysis Method, all you
have to do is be a good bookkeeper to draw the shear and moment diagrams.

Matrix Analysis

Matrix analysis is as far as you can take traditional Structural Analysis, that is, to analyze
each member individually and compute all the internal, external, or end forced. The next level
would be finite element analysis, which breaks down the matrix member analysis to the
element (small element) size.

So, what are the building blocks for Matrix Structural analysis? Well, what we want to do,
ultimately, is find an easy of logging member stiffness based of known values (E,G,L,A,I,J). We
also want to find a way to describe element forces (that is, the forces acting on an individual
member) and input them into a larger matrix that outputs all the desired displacements or

Here are a few basics I have outlined to help you get a fundamental understanding of what is
Once all the elemental stiffnesses have been assembled they are then transformed to the global
coordinate system and compiled into the structure stiffness matrix. The structure stiffness
matrix includes all elements and may also have additional degrees of freedom such as torsion,
rigid lengths, etc. The structure stiffness matrix may also be condensed (for instance, neglect
axial deformations) or partitioned as the user requests.


I've introduced you to some major concepts and given you a few worked examples to help you
understand deflections and structural reactions. There may be some additions to be made
(Moment distribution method, continuation of matrix analysis, etc.), but I hope what I have given
you is helpful and interesting. Feel free to email me any questions.

Reinforced Concrete Mechanics I

In this section, we're discussing the behavior and basics of reinforced concrete under loads. We'll
also discuss designing a member by varying the cross sectional area and the amount of
reinforcement. I'll use ACI 318 equations and provisions. This is what I want to talk about:

1. Concrete structural
2. Flexure Analysis
1. Singly reinforced beam
2. Doubly reinforced beam
3. T beam
3. Flexure Design
4. Shear
5. Bond Development
6. Combined loading (Columns)

Concrete Structural Properties

Concrete is a material used for its compressive strength. The point of reinforcing a concrete
member is to allow the reinforcement assume tensile requirements in a member, limit cracking
and confine the core (shear and torsion). I'll explain these phenomena when necessary.

We denote the compressive strength of concrete by (f'c) which can range anywhere from 2000
psi to 10000+psi (or 2ksi to 10 ksi). We'll also use the notation (f y) for the yield strength of steel,
which is 60000 psi or 60 ksi. Lets pretend we have a little reinforced column that we want to
crush, we have to add the strength of the reinforcement to the concrete strength. All we do is
compare a ratio of the steel's elasticity modulus to the concrete modulus and make
an equivalent section:
Where N is the ratio of the moduli of elasticity (concrete vs. steel). N is usually 8.

Lets also talk about the modulus of rupture (fr), this is, essentially, the tensile strength of
concrete. When the modulus of rupture is reached in the extreme tensile face of a concrete
member, the member cracks. If the member is not reinforced, it will crack through the cross
section and cause failure. If the beam is reinforced, the crack will propagate to the neutral axis
of the equivalent cracked section. The moment that causes cracking is called the cracking
moment. Look:

If (usually) the beam is found to be cracked follow the below procedure to determine the neutral
axis (kd).
Since concrete has such a low tensile capacity (strength), it permissible to neglect any tensile
resistance in a member. That means, for a concrete member in flexure, the capacity is
dependent on the moment created by the couple (forces acting in opposite directions with a
distance between them) of the concrete in compression and the reinforcement in tension.

So, what are the allowable values for concrete and the reduction safety factors? Well, ACI 318
only allows for concrete calculations to use 85% of the actual concrete strength (.85f'c).
However analyze a members moment capacity based off the yield strength of the reinforcement
bars. For tension controlled sections the reduction factor (phi) = .9. Note that the term (1)
is used, its value is .85 for a concrete strength of .85 and reduces by .05 for
ever increase of 1000 psi.

Singly reinforced Beam Analysis

To analyze a singly reinforced beam's flexural capacity (Mn), use the following process:
Flexure Analysis

Doubly Reinforced Beam Analysis

To analyze doubly reinforced beams, use the following procedure:

T-Beam Analysis
Flexure Design

I've already introduced the important concepts regarding strength reduction (safety, phi)
factors in the previous section. Design is an iterative process, keep this in mind. If you first don't
succeed, try bigger values (b and d). Check out this guide for singly reinforced beam design:
Note that a phi value of .9 is used because the section is designed to be
tension controlled. This means that the tension reinforcement yields before the
concrete crushes.
So, I've covered two main topics in flexure design. Doubly reinforced beam design is very
tedious and complicated, and usually involves many iterations to meet ACI specifications. I could
have also included slab and doubly reinforced T-Beam design, however, one way slab design is
really easy (it is similar to singly reinforced flexure design). I will likely include these in the
future. If there is any other flexure topics you would like me to cover, feel free to ask.
Shear is a completely new topic. Shear capacity of a member is dependent on the shear
capacity of the beam's cross section. The capacity of the cross section to handle design shear
may not be sufficient. For this reason we may needshear reinforcement. Shear reinforcement
maintains the homogeneity of a member by stopping shear cracks from propagating through a
large amount of the beam.
The shear capacity (Vc) of a cross section is dependent on the cross-section's area and the
tensile capacity of a beam (related to f'c). The shear capacity is ultimately based on
experimental results, the best fit equation for shear capacity and the design equation are:

For a member experiencing compression, use:

Here is the shear design procedure in accordance with ACI provisions:

Bond development

This has nothing to do with James Bond, although I've been told I look a lot like Pierce Brosnan.
Jus seeing if you were paying attention! haha. Bond Development is my favorite topic in
concrete mechanics. It may seem a bit abstract at first, but you'll see how cool it is once I go
into detail. So, what is bond? Well, if we want to get all the moment capacity we've been
calculating in the previous sections we need to ensure that there is enough length and "friction"
(bond) between the reinforcing bars and the concrete.

At the end of the day we need a certain length of bar past our critical point (the place of
maximum moment, and, thus the maximum force being applied to the rebar). This is called the
development length, and it is a function of the concrete tensile strength, rebar yield strength,
rebar coating (epoxy), concrete cover, spacing, transverse reinforcement, and reinforcement
placement. Yes, this equation is going to get complicated quick, remember, it is just an
equation. Here is the mega bond development equation (discovered from our very own,
University of Kansas!):
The bond development equation is pretty cool, but how does one apply it? Well, this is where
you have to be familiar with the ACI Code. In the code there is a great illustration in section 12,
the bond section, that shows you everything you need to know about development lengths.
There are a ton of bond provisions and requirements to be made, reference the code when in

A lot of the time there is not enough room in a structure to implement the entire development
length, this is why hooks were developed. Simply put, a hook has a shorter bond development
length; this is its advantage. The two most common hooks are the 90 degree and 180 degree
hooks, here are the code provisions for bend diameters and development lengths:
There really is a ton to talk about in bond development. Without getting into super ACI
provisional talk, I hope I gave you a gist of what is going on with bond development. The best
thing you can do with regards to learning bond development is getting to know ACI 318 section

Combined loading (Columns)

Combined loading is the situation in which a member is experiencing axial (compression) loading
and bending. This situation is pretty neat, remember how concrete preforms poorly in tension?
The following diagram explains how a a column functions under combing loading:
The above diagram demonstrates how a compressive axial force adds only compressive stress to
the column. The non-linear behavior of concrete benefits from this phenomena because the axial
force shifts the neutral axis up, which allows more concrete to be in compression and reduces the
reinforcement tensile stress. Lets look at the design axial force for ashort column:
This example is obvious, of course the design axial capacity is going to be dependent on
the are of reinforcement and the concrete area (along with the reduction factors).
So, we know that concrete favors compression. If we combine the effects of steel reinforcement
and the concrete under compression, we should get some type of interaction curve that favors
compression. The interaction curve should be a function of the axial compression, bending
moment, concrete material properties, the depth of reinforcement and the gross reinforcement
ratio. The relationship is as such:
The chart is clearly labeled to describe the states of the reinforcement in the column. At
the top, where the axial load is the greatest and there is little bending, all reinforcement is
experiencing compression. Zone 2 is a transition zone where the tensile steel is at less that half
the yield strength. In zone 3, the tensile steel is under high stress.
How can we design a column? Well, we need a better diagram with measured inputs and
reduction factors (a reduced curve). The graph must also have a factor for reinforcement depth,
gross reinforcement and reinforcement pattern. Here is the graph and design procedure (design
graph taken from Design of Concrete Structures, Volume 8, Dr. David Darwin, Nilson, Dolan):

I realize there is a ton of information to be said about basic concrete design, but I've tried to
supplement you learning with some examples and procedures. I hope this has served as an aid
to your studies. If you have any questions or think there is something for me to add, feel free to
email me.

Fracture Mechanics

You've gotten the 'rundown' on the most basic concepts of fracture mechanics. The most
important concepts in this page are that if you limit the stress, improve material toughness and
lower the number of cycles a structure is exposed to; it's life and performance will be enhanced.
Great, but is there more involved with fracture mechanics? Yes.

We looked at fracture and fatigue from a high level of observation. The methods of finding
stresses acting around a fracture can be very complicated (for example, using FEM or continuum
mechanics) and rather inaccurate. There is can be a large degree of uncertainty in
fracture/fatigue mechanics, thus large factors of safety are usually involved when designing a
structure. However, understanding the basics is key to diagnostics and important in the design
process and maintenance of a structure.

I hope you enjoyed this section and learned a bit. I also hope you didn't mind the different
formatting, for the purpose of this page I simply used MS word and copied it over, there were a
ton of pictures and equations that made it tedious to do piecewise!