Efficient finite element analysis of large‐scale structures based on a phenomenological approach to RC membrane behaviour

Mário Pimentel (Civil Engineering Department, University of Porto, Faculty of Engineering, Porto, Portugal)
Joaquim Figueiras (Civil Engineering Department, University of Porto, Faculty of Engineering, Porto, Portugal)

Engineering Computations

ISSN: 0264-4401

Publication date: 16 August 2013

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present the implementation in a finite element (FE) code of a recently developed material model for the analysis of cracked reinforced concrete (RC) panels. The model aims for the efficient nonlinear analysis of large‐scale structural elements that can be considered as an assembly of membrane elements, such as bridge girders, shear walls, transfer beams or containment structures.

Design/methodology/approach

In the proposed constitutive model, the equilibrium equations of the cracked membrane element are established directly at the cracks while the compatibility conditions are expressed in terms of spatially averaged strains. This allows the well‐known mechanical phenomena governing the behaviour of cracked concrete elements – such as aggregate interlock (including crack dilatancy effects), tensile fracture and bond shear stress transfer – to be taken into account in a transparent manner using detailed phenomenological models. The spatially averaged stress and strain fields are obtained as a by‐product of the local behaviour at the cracks and of the bond stress transfer mechanisms, allowing the crack spacing and crack widths to be obtained directly from first principles. The model is implemented in an FE code following a total formulation.

Findings

The fact that the updated stresses at the cracks are calculated explicitly from the current spatially averaged total strains and from the updated values of the state variables that are used to monitor damage evolution contributes to the robustness and efficiency of the implementation. Some application examples are presented illustrating the model capabilities and good estimates of the failure modes, failure loads, deformation capacity, cracking patterns and crack widths were achieved.

Originality/value

While being computationally efficient, the model describes the complex stress and strain fields developing in the membrane element, and retrieves useful information for the structural engineer, such as concrete and reinforcement failures as well as the crack spacing and crack widths.

Keywords

Citation

Pimentel, M. and Figueiras, J. (2013), "Efficient finite element analysis of large‐scale structures based on a phenomenological approach to RC membrane behaviour", Engineering Computations, Vol. 30 No. 6, pp. 774-791. https://doi.org/10.1108/EC-May-2012-0100

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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