Post-earthquake damage assessment and residual capacity of concrete and RC beams.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
The assessment of damage and remaining capacity after an earthquake is an immediate measure to determine whether a reinforced concrete (RC) building is usable and safe for occupants. The recent Christchurch earthquake (22 February 2011) caused a uniquely severe level of structural damage to modern buildings, resulting in extensive damage to the building stock. About 60% of damaged multistorey concrete buildings (3 storeys and up) were demolished after the earthquake, and the cost of reconstruction amounted to 40 billion NZD. The aftermath disclosed issues of great complexities regarding the future of the RC buildings damaged by the earthquakes. This highlighted the importance of post-event decision-making, as the outcome will allow the appropriate course of action—demolition, repair or acceptance of the existing building—to be considered. To adopt the proper strategy, accurate assessment of the residual capacity and the level of damage is required.
This doctoral dissertation aims to assess the damage and remaining capacity at constituent material and member level (i.e., concrete material and beams) through a systematic approach in an attempt to address part of an existing gap in the available literature. Since the residual capacity of RC members is not unique and depends on previously applied loading history, post-event residual capacity in this study was assessed in terms of fraction of fatigue life (i.e., the number of cycles required to failure).
This research comprises three main parts: (1) residual capacity and damage assessment at material level (i.e., concrete), (2) post-yield bond deterioration and damage assessment at the interface of steel and concrete, and, finally, (3) residual capacity and damage assessment at member level (i.e., RC beam).
The first part of this research focused on damage assessment and the remaining capacity of concrete from a material point of view. It aimed to employ appropriate and reliable durability-based testing and image-detection techniques to quantify deterioration in the mechanical properties of concrete on the basis that stress-induced damage occurred in the microstructural system of the concrete material. To this end, in the first phase, a feasibility study was conducted in which a combination of oxygen permeability, electrical resistivity and porosity tests were assessed to determine if they were robust and reliable enough to reveal damage which occurred in the microstructural system of concrete. The results, in terms of change in permeability, electrical resistivity and porosity features of disk samples taken from the middle third of damaged concrete cylinders (200 mm × 100 mm) monotonically pre-loaded to 50%, 70%, 90% and 95% of the ultimate strength (f′c), showed the permeability test is a reliable tool to identify the degree of damage, due to its high sensitivity to the load-induced microcracking. In parallel, to determine the residual capacity, the companion damaged concrete cylinders already loaded to the same level of compressive strength were reloaded up to failure. Comparing the stress–strain relationship of damaged concrete with intact material, it was also found that the strain capacity of the reloaded pre-damaged concrete cylinders decreases while strength remained virtually unchanged.
In the second phase of the first part, a fluorescent microscopy technique was used to assess the damage and develop a correlation between material degradation, by virtue of the geometrical features, and damage to the concrete.
To account for the effect of confinement and cyclic loading, in the third phase, the residual capacity and damage assessment of unconfined and GFRP confined concrete cylinders subjected to low-cycle fatigue loading, was investigated. Similar to the first phase, permeability testing technique was used to provide an indirect evaluation of fatigue damage. Finally, in the fourth phase of the first part, the suitability of permeability testing technique to assess damage was evaluated for cored concrete taken from three types of RC members: columns, beams and a beam-column joint.
In view of the fact that the composite action of an RC member is highly dependent on the bond between reinforcement and surrounding concrete, understanding the deterioration of the bond in the post-yield range of strain in steel was crucial to assess damage at member level. Therefore, in the second phase of this research, a state-of-the- art distributed fibre optic strain sensor system (DFOSSS) system was used to evaluate bond deterioration in a cantilever RC beam subjected to monotonic lateral loading. The technology allowed the continuous capture of strain, every 2.6 mm along the length, in both reinforcing bars and cover concrete. The strain profile provided a basis by which the slip, axial stress and bond stress distributions were then established.
In the third part, the study focused on the damage assessment and residual capacity of seven half-scale RC beams subjected to a constant-amplitude cyclic loading protocol. In the first stage, the structural performances of three specimens under constant-amplitude fatigue at 1%, 2% and 4% chord rotation (drift) were examined. In parallel, the number of cycles to failure, degradation in strength, stiffness and energy dissipation were characterized. In the second stage, four RC beams were subjected to loading up to 70% and 90% of their fatigue life, at 2% and 4% drift, and then monotonically pulled up to failure. To determine the residual flexural capacity, the lateral force–displacement results of pre-damaged specimens were compared with an undamaged specimen subjected to only monotonic loading. The study showed significant losses in strength, deformability, stiffness and energy dissipation capacity. A nonlinear finite element analysis (FEA) using concrete damage plasticity (CDP) model was also conducted in ABAQUS to numerically investigate the behaviour of the tested specimen. The results of the FE simulations indicated a reasonable response compared with the behaviour of the test specimen in terms of force–displacement and cracking pattern.
During the Christchurch earthquake it was observed that the loading history has a significant influence on structural responses. While in conventional pseudo-static loading protocol, internal forces can be redistributed along the plastic length: there is little chance for structures undergoing high initial loading amplitude to redistribute pertinent stresses. As a result, in the third phase of this part, the effect of high rate of loading on the behaviour of seismically designed RC beams was investigated. Two half-scale cantilever RC beams were subjected to similar constant-amplitude cyclic loading at 2% and 4% drifts, but at a rate of 500 mm/s. Due to the incapability of conventional measuring techniques, a motion-tracking system was employed for data acquisition with the high-speed tests. The effect of rate of loading on the fatigue life of specimens (i.e., the number of cycles required to failure), secant stiffness, failure mode, cracking pattern, beam elongations and bar fracture surface were analysed.
Integrating the results of all parts of this research has resulted in a better understanding of residual capacity and the development of damage at both the material and member level by using a low-cycle fatigue approach.