The Mechanics and Design of a Non-tearing Floor Connection using Slotted Reinforced Concrete Beams
Thesis DisciplineCivil Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Engineering
Ductile plastic hinge zones in beams of reinforced concrete frames are known to incur extensive damage and elongate. This ‘beam elongation’ can inflict serious damage to adjacent floor diaphragms, raising concerns of life safety. In light of this, the slotted reinforced concrete beam was investigated as a promising non-tearing floor substitute for conventional design. It consists of a conventional reinforced concrete beam, modified with a narrow vertical slot adjacent to the column face, running approximately three-quarters of the beam depth. Seismic rotations occur about the remaining concrete “top-hinge”, such that deformations are concentrated in the bottom bars of the beam, away from the floor slab, and beam elongation is minimised.
The inclusion of the slot raised several design issues which needed to be addressed. These were the shear transfer across the top-hinge, buckling of bottom longitudinal reinforcement, low cycle fatigue, bond anchorage of reinforcement in interior joints, interior joint design, detailing with floor units and beam torsion resulting from eccentric floor gravity loads. These issues were conceptually investigated in this project. It was found that most issues could be resolved by providing additional reinforcement and/or specifying alternative detailing.
As part of the experimental investigation, quasi-static cyclic tests were performed on in-plane beam-column joint subassemblies. Specimens tested included exterior and interior joint subassemblies with slotted-beams and a conventional exterior joint as a benchmark. This was followed by a test on a slotted-beam interior joint subassembly with precast floor units and imposed gravity load. Experimental tests revealed significant reductions in damage to both the beam and floor when compared to conventional beams. Issues of bar buckling, bond-slip and altered joint behaviour were also highlighted, but were resolved in the final test.
A simple analytical procedure to predict the moment-rotation response of slotted-beams was developed and verified with experimental results. This was used to perform sensitivity studies to determine appropriate limits for the concrete top-hinge depth, top-to-bottom reinforcement ratio and depth of diagonal shear reinforcement.
For the numerical investigation, a multi-spring model was developed to represent the flexural response of slotted-beams. This was verified with experimental tests and implemented into a five-storey, three-bay frame for earthquake time history analyses. To provide a benchmark, a conventional frame was also setup using the plastic hinge element developed by Peng (2009). Time history analyses showed that the slotted-beam frame response was very similar to the response of a conventional frame. Due to greater hysteretic damping, there was a slight reduction in the average interstorey drift and lateral displacement envelopes. The slotted-beam frame also exhibited 40% smaller residual drifts than the conventional frame.
The research carried out in this thesis showed slotted reinforced concrete beams to be an effective non-tearing floor solution, which could provide a simple and practical substitute for conventional reinforced concrete design.