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Friday, October 1, 2010

Reinforced concrete Design philosophy and concepts

Reinforced concrete Design philosophy and concepts

The design of a structure may be regarded as the process of selecting proper materials and proportioned elements of the structure, according to the art, engineering science and technology. In order to fulfill its purpose, the structure must meet its conditions of safety, serviceability, economy and functionality.
Serviceability: No excessive deflection, no excessive deformation and no cracking or vibrations No excessive reinforcement. Must be able to perform the function, it is built for.

Strength design method

It is based on the ultimate strength of the structural members assuming a failure condition, whether due to the crushing of concrete or due to the yield of reinforced steel bars. Although there is additional strength in the bar after yielding (due to Strain Hardening), this additional strength in the bar is not considered in the analysis or design of the reinforced concrete members. In the strength design method, actual loads or working loads are multiplied by load factor to obtain the ultimate design loads. The load factor represents a high percentage of factor for safety required in the design. The ACI code emphasizes this method of design.

Working stress design

This design concept is based on elastic theory, assuming a straight line stress distribution along the depth of the concrete. The actual loads or working loads acting on the structure are estimated and members are proportioned on the basis of certain allowable stresses in concrete and steel. The allowable stresses are fractions of the crushing strength of concrete (fc') and the yield strength (fy). Because of the differences in realism and reliability over the past several decades, the strength design method has displaced the older stress design method.

Limit state design

It is a further step in the strength design method. It indicates the state of the member in which it ceases to meet the service requirements, such as, loosing its ability to withstand external loads or local damage. According to limit state design, reinforced concrete members have to be analyzed with regard to three limit states:
  1. Load carrying capacity (involves safety, stability and durability)
  2. Deformation (deflection, vibrations, and impact)
  3. The formation of cracks
The aim of this analysis is to ensure that no limiting sate will appear in the structural member during its service life.


  1. Reinforced concrete is something that has kept my home safe for generations. The concrete has steel bars running through it and this helps with structural integrity. I keep wondering if there isn't an even better way to reinforce it though. Only the future can tell with these kinds of things. I am excited to see what developments come about in the next few years.

  2. Informative and valuable to read

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