Simplified methods are often employed for the analysis of reinforced concrete beams (R‐C beams). A three‐dimensional problem (3D) is often transformed into a two‐dimensional problem (2D) with some assumptions which are usually established in static. The essential reason for this simplification lies in the fact that the 3D finite element analysis is so expensive that it is impossible to study directly the non‐linear behaviour of R‐C beams in many cases. Our purpose is to present a specific method which allows the direct 3D analysis of R‐C beams with a suitable numerical cost. First, the 3D linear heterogeneous beam theory is briefly recalled as well as the continuum damage model used for concrete. Second, the non‐linear behaviour of concrete is introduced in the 3D beam theory. Several numerical examples illustrate the effectiveness of the method.
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