Structural behaviour and optimization of moment-shaped reinforced concrete beams
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This research includes a preliminary study prior to the commencement of the Ph.D. work and three phases of design, construction and testing of three generations of moment-shaped beams. Each phase of the research brought a better understanding of curved beams which follow the shape of the moment diagram. The moment diagram in this study was for simply supported beams supporting a uniformly distributed load as would be the case in the majority of building designs. The original theory for this research can be described as follows: Moment-shaped beams are the natural outcome of a fundamental understanding of stress paths in a horizontal load bearing member. By following these stress paths we may provide materials where required to most efficiently carry the compression and tension stresses to the supports. Allowing stresses to follow their naturally desired paths reduces regions where stresses cross paths called disturbed regions. The outcome of the final phase of this research was the development of the third generation of curved beams with a camber. These beams, designated as Cambered Curve beams (CCBs), exhibited the same behaviour as the rectangular control beam design using CSA-A23.3 up to the serviceability failure of L/360 (12mm). The CCB moment-shaped beams require 20% less concrete and 40% less reinforcing steel (no shear stirrups) to carry the ultimate load which is only 12% less than that carried by the CSA-designed control beam. Due to a closed system of internal forces, the moment-shaped beams remain intact and are able to sustain self weight, even after total failure. A significant part of this research was to modify and verify a FORTRAN-based finite element analysis program: FINIT-Y. This program was reconstructed to analyse a full size beam, and enabled the researcher to model and correctly predict the maximum load, crack pattern and failure mode. This study found that moment-shaped beams with no shear reinforcement have the same stiffness and load carrying capacity as the CSA-designed rectangular control beam with shear reinforcement up to serviceability failure (L/360). The study also found that moment-shaped beams have significantly lower ductility at the ultimate load.