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Torsional strength of reinforced concrete beams

Khaldoun N. Rahal

Abstract: A simple method for predicting the ultimate strength and mode of failure of reinforced concrete beams sub-
jected to pure torsion is presented. This method is an extension of a recently developed method for predicting the
strength of membrane elements subjected to pure shear that was also applied to beams subjected to combined shearing
forces, bending moments, and axial loads. The torsional strength is related to the amounts of transverse and longitudi-
nal reinforcement and to the concrete strength. To check the adequacy of this simple method, the calculated strength
and mode of failure are checked against the experimental results of 66 beam tests available in the literature, and good
agreement is found. The simplicity of the method is illustrated by an example.

Key words: beams, building codes, mode of failure, reinforced concrete, shear, strength, torsion.

Résumé : Une méthode simple pour prédire la résistance ultime et le mode d'écroulement de poutres en béton armé
soumis à une torsion pure est présentée. Cette méthode est une extension d'une méthode récemment développée pour la
résistance d'éléments de membrane soumis à un cisaillement pur, et qui a été appliquée pour des poutres sous l'effet
combiné de forces de cisaillement, de moments fléchissants, et de charges axiales. La résistance en torsion est reliée
aux montants d'armature transversale et longitudinale et à la résistance du béton. Pour vérifier la convenance de cette
simple méthode, la résistance calculée et le mode d'écroulement sont vérifiés à partir de résultats expérimentaux de 66
tests de poutres disponibles dans la littérature, et un bon accord est trouvé. La simplicité de cette méthode est illustrée
à l'aide d'un exemple.

Mots clés : poutres, codes du bâtiment, mode d'écroulement, béton armé, cisaillement, résistance, torsion.

[Traduit par la Rédaction] Rahal 453

Introduction amount of transverse and longitudinal steel and the intensity

of the shearing stresses required for torsion resistance to
Many structural elements in building and bridge construc- those required for shear resistance. The Canadian code (CSA
tion are subjected to significant torsional moments that af- 1994) assumes a similar interaction and further superim-
fect the design. Spandrel beams in buildings, beams in poses the effects of torsion and shear on the longitudinal
eccentrically loaded frames of multi-deck bridges, and box strain indicator required in the design solution. Moreover,
girder bridges are examples of such elements. interaction surfaces between shearing and axial forces and
Torsional moments acting on a cross section of a beam bending moment such as those suggested by Elfren et al.
cause shearing stresses, which circulate near the periphery, (1974) and Ewida and McMullen (1981) are still of practical
see Fig. 1a. For this reason, torsion design has typically importance. The use of such interaction surfaces and the use
been linked to shear design. Similar to the case of shear, the and development of the code equations require knowledge
design provisions for torsion in different building and bridge of the pure torsional strength of reinforced concrete.
codes (CSA 1994; AASHTO 1994; ACI 1995;
Rahal and Collins (1996) assigned the methods available
AS3600 1994) have been based on the 45° truss model. In
for computing the torsional capacities to two main catego-
1899, Ritter (1899) developed a planar truss model for shear
ries. Methods in the first category use semi-empirical equa-
strength and in 1929, Rausch (1929) used a space truss
tions chosen to fit available experimental data. The strength
model to derive equations for the torsional strength.
of these methods comes generally from their simplicity.
Torsional moments in reinforced concrete are typically ac-
Methods in the second category use procedures based on
companied by bending moments and shearing forces. How-
more rational models such as the space truss model. These
ever, simplified methods in design codes are based on a
models are generally more time demanding, but their
simple combination of the pure shear methods and pure tor-
strength comes from their rationality and their ability to give
sion methods. In the ACI code (ACI 1995), the effects of the
the engineer a feel for the behavior of the structural member
torsional moment are accounted for by superimposing the
designed. A similar argument can be applied to the current
available shear strength equations.
Received May 14, 1999. Revised manuscript accepted The current Canadian building code (CSA 1994) and
October 19, 1999. American bridge code (AASHTO 1994) offer two alternative
design methods for shear and torsion. The first is based on
K.N. Rahal, Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of the traditional semi-empirical methods, while the second is
Engineering and Petroleum, Kuwait University, Safat, 13060, based on the more rational model named the “General
Kuwait (e-mail: rahal@civil.kuniv.edu.kw).
Method,” which is based on the equations of the Modified
Written discussion of this article is welcomed and will be Compression Field Theory (MCFT). The General Method
received by the Editor until October 31, 2000. could be slightly more time demanding than the traditional
Can. J. Civ. Eng. 27: 445–453 (2000) © 2000 NRC Canada
446 Can. J. Civ. Eng. Vol. 27, 2000

Fig. 1. Reinforced concrete beam subjected to torsion: (a) shearing stresses across cross section and (b) equivalent hollow tube and
centerline of shear flow.

semi-empirical methods in the case of simple shear and tor- This indicates that the contribution of the inside core of the
sion design of non-prestressed beams. The current American concrete to the capacity of the section is negligible. Simi-
building code (ACI 1995) and the Australian code larly, measurements by Mitchell and Collins (1974) showed
(AS3600 1994) are based on semi-empirical models. In con- that near ultimate conditions the principal compressive
clusion, there is a lack of a unified approach, which blends strains between the cracks vary in a linear manner, with the
the simplicity of the traditional semi-empirical approach and maximum near the surface and zero at a distance td below
the rationality of the alternative approach. the surface. This reinforces the conclusion from Hsu’s tests
A recently developed simplified model (Rahal 2000a) was regarding the contribution of the inside core of concrete.
shown to be an accurate and rational tool for calculating the The hollow tube analogy assumes that near ultimate con-
shear strength of membrane elements subjected to shear. ditions a concrete beam can be idealized as a hollow tube
Similar to the General Method (CSA 1994; AASHTO 1994), with the same outer dimensions and with a thickness td. See
this model is based on the equations of the MCFT. The Fig. 1b. A field of shearing stresses n circulating in the tubu-
MCFT is a powerful rational model capable of calculating lar section resists the torsional moment. These stresses vary
the full response of sections subjected to shear, axial load, from zero on the inside face to a maximum at the outer face
and bending and torsional moments (Vecchio and Collins of the tube, as shown in Fig. 1b. An equivalent field of con-
1986, 1988; Collins and Mitchell 1991, Rahal and Collins stant shear flow q acting over a thickness ao can be obtained
1995b). The new model was able to cast the results of the ra- (Collins and Mitchell 1991). The area enclosed by the cen-
tional MCFT into a simple procedure. The applicability of terline of the shear flow is named shear flow area Ao.
the model was extended (Rahal 2000b) to cover beams sub- For thin-walled closed sections, the relationship among
jected to shearing and axial forces and bending moments. the ultimate torque Tu, the shear flow qu, and the shear flow
The effects of axial forces and bending moments on the area Ao is given by
shear strength were accounted for by a simplified superposi-
tion procedure. [1] Tu = 2q u Ao
This method was proposed as the basis for a new unified The shear flow qu can be related to a nominal shear stress
and simple approach for the shear design and analysis of re- nu by
inforced concrete beams (Rahal 2000a). An attractive
method should also account for the effects of torsional mo- [2] q u = a onu
ments in a simplified and rational manner.
This paper extends the applicability of the new method to The thickness of the diagonal depends on the amounts of
sections subjected to torsion. The adequacy of the new longitudinal and transverse reinforcement, the concrete
method is checked by comparing the calculated torsional strength, and the geometry of the section. Based on a simpli-
strength and mode of failure (MOF) with experimental re- fied model, Rahal and Collins (1996) found that the average
sults from 66 beam tests available in the literature. The sim- value of the thickness of the concrete that is effective in re-
plicity of the model is illustrated by an example. sisting the torsional moment was
[3] td = 0.5Ac/pc
Hollow tube analogy for torsion
where Ac and pc are, respectively, the outer area and perime-
Experimental testing by Hsu (1968) showed that hollow ter of the concrete cross section. This relationship is also
and solid beams have a similar ultimate torsional strength. found in the Canadian code (CSA 1994) as the minimum re-

© 2000 NRC Canada

Rahal 447

Fig. 2. Normalized shear strength curves for reinforced concrete.

quired thickness of hollow sections for which the presence Proposed method
of the core does not reduce the torsional capacity.
For concrete strengths below 50 MPa, a parabola can be A simplified method has been recently developed to cal-
used to represent the stress–strain relationship of concrete in culate the ultimate shearing stress in membrane elements
compression. Based on a linear variation of the concrete subjected to pure shear (Rahal 2000a). This section presents
principle compressive stress along td, and a parabolic stress– a summary of the method and the details of extending this
strain relationship of concrete in compression, the depth of method to beams subjected to pure torsion.
the equivalent stress block ao can be taken as (Collins and
Mitchell 1991) Membrane shear method
In the pure shear method, the ultimate shearing stress was
[4] ao = 0.833td related to the following two non-dimensional indexes:
Equation [4] is based on the assumption that the principal [7] wL = r L fyL / fc¢
compressive strains vary linearly from a maximum at the
[8] w t = r t fyt / fc¢
surface to zero at a depth td. Mitchell and Collins (1974)
proposed this assumption in their Compression Field Theory where r L = ratio of longitudinal steel, r t = ratio of trans-
(CFT) model. verse reinforcing steel, fyL = yield strength of longitudinal
Based on the results of Rahal and Collins (1996), the area steel, and fyt = yield strength of transverse steel.
enclosed by the centerline of the shear flow Ao can be ap- The index w is commonly referred to as the reinforcing in-
proximated as dex. The subscript letters “t” and “L” in the index terms
w t and wL refer to transverse and longitudinal, respectively.
[5] Ao . 0.8Ac Figure 2 shows the relationship between the indexes and the
Combining eqs. [1] to [5] gives the following relationship normalized shear resistance nu / fc¢ . It is to be noted that w t ,
between the ultimate torsional moment Tu and the ultimate wL and nu / fc¢ are dimensionless values, and hence are suit-
shearing stress in the walls of the equivalent tube: able for calculations in both the SI as well as the US Cus-
tomary systems of units.
[6] Tu = 0.67( Ac2 / pc )nu The curves shown in Fig. 2 were developed based on the
results of the MCFT (Vecchio and Collins 1986, 1988; Col-
The walls of the section can be idealized as reinforced lins and Mitchell 1991). The analysis is performed on a
concrete membrane elements subjected to pure in-plane square membrane element of unit dimension, concrete
shearing stresses. If the nominal shearing capacity of the re- strength of 35 MPa, maximum aggregate size of 10 mm, and
inforced concrete in the walls of the tubular section is average crack spacing of 300 mm. A level of longitudinal
known, the ultimate torsional moment can be easily calcu- and transverse reinforcement is selected, and the ultimate
lated using eq. [6]. strength is calculated using the results of the theory. This
It is to be noted that because of the simplified assump- gives one point in the graph. Repeating the same analysis for
tions in eqs. [3]–[5], the equation for torsional strength the same level of longitudinal reinforcement but with differ-
(eq. [6]) does not depend on the shape of the cross section. ent levels of transverse reinforcement results in one of the
Consequently, the method can be applied to a wide range of curves shown in Fig. 2. Repeating the same analysis using a
cross-sectional shapes such as square, rectangular, circular, different level of longitudinal reinforcement results in an-
and T-section. other curve.

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448 Can. J. Civ. Eng. Vol. 27, 2000

At low levels of transverse reinforcement, this steel yields calculated using eq. [6] and the cracking torque Tcr. The
before crushing of the concrete, and a change in the amount cracking torque can be taken as
of reinforcement results in a significant increase in the
strength. As the amount of reinforcement increases, the Ac2
[14] Tcr = 0.4 fc¢
strains in the steel at ultimate conditions decrease. Beyond a pc
specific level of reinforcement, the concrete crushes before
the steel yields. The set of points corresponding to these spe- which is adopted from the CSA code (CSA 1994).
cific levels of reinforcement beyond which the reinforcement Similar to the case of shear, the relative position of a point
does not yield produces two curves referred to as “yield of coordinates (wt , wL ) with respect to the yield curves
curves.” These curves are used to check the mode of failure shown in Fig. 2 indicates the expected mode of failure
of the membrane element as shown in the following section. (MOF) of the reinforced concrete beam subjected to torsion.

Mode of failure Use of curves

The two yield curves divide Fig. 2 into four regions. The The following steps are followed to calculate the strength
relative position of a point of coordinates (wt , wL ) with re- and to determine the mode of failure of a cross section:
spect to these curves or regions indicates the expected mode 1. Calculate the reinforcement indexes wL and wt using
of failure (MOF) of an element. Four modes of failure are eqs. [12] and [13], respectively.
possible: completely under-reinforced (longitudinal and 2. Use Fig. 2 to obtain nu / fc¢ .
transverse steel yield), partially over-reinforced (only longi- 3. Calculate Tu from eq. [6].
tudinal steel yields or only transverse reinforcement yields), 4. Ensure Tu is larger than Tcr calculated using eq. [14].
and completely over-reinforced (concrete crushing before 5. Use Fig. 2 to determine the mode of failure based on
steel yielding). the relative position of a point of coordinates (wL , wt )
with respect to the yield curves.
Torsion method To show how the proposed method is used, an example is
For the case of torsion in the equivalent hollow tube, the illustrated in Appendix A.
following equations can be used to calculate the longitudinal
and transverse ratios in each of the four walls of the equiva-
lent tube: Experimental verification
[9] r L = AL/(poao) The proposed method is used to calculate the strength and
mode of failure of 66 test specimens available in the litera-
[10] r t = At/(sao) ture. Fifty-three of these specimens were tested at the PCA
labs (Hsu 1968), ten at the University of Calgary (McMullen
where AL = total area of longitudinal steel, At = area of stir- and Rangan 1978), and three at the University of Toronto
rups within a distance s of a single wall, s = spacing of the (Mitchell and Collins 1974). The results of the ACI equa-
stirrups measured along the length of the beam, and po = tions (ACI 1995) and the General Method (CSA 1994;
perimeter of centerline of the shear flow. AASHTO 1994) are also used in the comparison. In apply-
In eq. [9], it was assumed that the longitudinal reinforce- ing the code equations, material and strength reduction fac-
ment is distributed over an effective area of thickness ao, and tors are taken as unity.
of length po. Based on the results from Rahal and Collins
(1996), the term po can be approximated as Ultimate torsional strength
[11] po . 0.9pc Table 1 compares the observed ultimate torsional mo-
ments and the calculations of the proposed method. The
Combining eqs. [3], [4], [7], [9], and [11] for wL and mean of the ratios Texp/Tcalc of the 66 test results is 1.03 and
eqs. [3], [4], [8], and [10] for wt gives the coefficient of variation is 11.1%. The ratios ranged from
0.76 to 1.37.
AL fyL
[12] wL = Table 1 also shows the results obtained using the General
0.375 Ac fc¢ Method and the ACI method. It is to be noted that both
methods disregard the contribution of the concrete cover to
At fyt pc the ultimate torsional capacity, which explains the conserva-
[13] wt =
0.42 sAc fc¢ tism in the results. The mean and the coefficient of varia-
tions were 1.41 and 16.6% for the General Method and 1.33
The longitudinal and transverse indexes can be easily calcu- and 16.7% for the ACI method. Table 1 also shows a consid-
lated if the cross section details are known. erably larger scatter in the two code methods relative to that
It is to be noted that eqs. [6], [12], and [13] are associated in the proposed method.
with the maximum torque resisted by the section after con- The PCA test program (Hsu 1968) is one of the most
siderable straining in the steel and considerable cracking and comprehensive series of tests on the torsional strength of re-
non-linearity in the behavior of the concrete. If the amount inforced concrete beams. This test program studied the ef-
or distribution of the reinforcement is inadequate, the maxi- fects of numerous variables such as the amount of transverse
mum attainable torque could be the cracking torque. Conse- and longitudinal reinforcement, the concrete strength, and
quently, the ultimate capacity should be the larger of that the aspect ratio on the torsional behavior. These test results

© 2000 NRC Canada

Rahal 449

Table 1. Comparison between experimental and theoretical results.

Torsion Texp/Tcalc – 66 beams
Average Std. dev. C.O.V. (%) Maximum Minimum
Proposed method 1.03 0.114 11.1 1.37 0.76
General method 1.41 0.233 16.6 2.06 1.01
ACI code 1.33 0.223 16.7 1.95 0.95
General method 1.14 0.152 13.4 1.71 0.71
ACI code 0.95 0.165 17.4 1.58 0.66

Shear n exp /n calc – 46 shear panels (Rahal 2000a)

Average Std. dev. C.O.V. (%) Maximum Minimum
Proposed method 1.01 0.126 12.5 1.36 0.83
General Method 1.07 0.142 13.3 1.49 0.83
ACI code 1.13 0.372 32.9 2.27 0.60

are used to verify the ability of the method to account for Mode of failure
these variables. In the 66 torsion tests used in this study, the measured
Figure 3 shows a plot between the Texp/Tcalc ratio and the transverse strains exceeded the yield strains in 45 specimens
concrete compressive strength for the three methods. The while the measured longitudinal strains exceeded this limit
proposed method showed a narrower range of scatter at dif- in 44 specimens.
ferent levels of concrete compressive strengths. The state of transverse stress (yielding versus non-
In six of the B-series specimens (254 ´ 381 mm2), the yielding) was correctly predicted in 42 cases (proposed
amounts of transverse and longitudinal reinforcement were method), in 38 cases (ACI method), and in 45 cases (Gen-
increased while all other variables remained unchanged. Fig- eral Method). For the longitudinal stresses, these numbers
ure 4a compares the experimental results from beams B1 to were 40, 45, and 49, respectively. All three methods are reli-
B6 with the calculations of the proposed method. Figure 4a able in predicting the mode of failure, but the results of the
also shows the ultimate torsional moments calculated using General Method were slightly more accurate than the results
the equations of the General Method (CSA 1994; AASHTO of the other two methods.
1994) and the ACI code (ACI 1995).
Specimens within series G (254 × 510 mm2) and C (254 × Nominal shear stress
254 mm2) were also tested to study the effect of changing
It is commonly accepted that the shearing stresses due to
the amount of reinforcement on the behavior of sections of
torsion are largest near the surface of the concrete cross sec-
different sizes. The calculations of the proposed method and
tion and that they decrease to zero at a distance inside the
the two code methods are compared with the experimental
surface. See Fig. 1b. The maximum shear stress can be cal-
results from these series in Fig. 4b and c and a good agree-
culated only if the distribution of the stresses and the thick-
ment is observed.
ness of the tube effective in the resistance are known. For
For the three series of tests, Fig. 4 shows that the pro- this reason, there is not a unified equation for the calculation
posed as well as the code methods are reliable in calculating of the nominal shear stress value. The General Method (CSA
the ultimate torsional moment and in capturing the effect of 1994; AASHTO 1994) assumes
increasing the reinforcement.
The aspect ratio is the ratio of the longer to smaller outer [15] nu = (Tu ph )/ Aoh

dimension of a concrete rectangular section. In specimens

where ph and Aoh are, respectively, the perimeter and area
C1, B1, G2, G6, and K1 this ratio ranged from 1 to about
enclosed by the stirrups. The ACI code (ACI 1995) assumes
3.25 while the concrete strength and reinforcement levels re-
mained practically the same. Figure 5a shows a plot of the [16] nu = 0.59[(Tu ph )/ Aoh
observed and calculated normalized torsional strength
nu / fc¢ /1.5 calculated using eq. [6] and the aspect ratio for Based on eq. [6], the proposed method uses
these specimens, which failed in an under-reinforced mode. [17] nu = 1.5[(Tu pc )/ Ac2 ]
Figure 5b shows a similar plot for specimens C4, B4, G5,
and K3, which had larger reinforcement levels causing spec- The suitability of eqs. [6] and [17] needs to be verified. It
imens C4 and G5 to fail in an over-reinforced mode. was suggested by the author (Rahal 2000a) that for under-
Figure 5 shows that the normalized torsional shear reinforced sections with equal reinforcement indexes (wL =
strength calculated using eq. [6] is practically independent of wt < 0.27), the normalized strength nu / fc¢ can be taken equal
the aspect ratio and that the proposed method and the code to wt = wL . This is equivalent to assuming that the concrete
methods captured this phenomenon. contribution factor nc is zero and the angle of the truss

© 2000 NRC Canada

450 Can. J. Civ. Eng. Vol. 27, 2000

Fig. 3. Correlation ratio Texp/Tcalc versus fc¢. Fig. 4. Effects of amount of reinforcement on torsional strength
(PCA tests).

model is 45° in the traditional n = (nc + ns) equation. The cluded any empirical modifications to improve the accuracy
concrete term is considered negligible because, after signifi- of the proposed method.
cant yielding, the steel cannot resist slipping along the crack.
The angle is taken as 45° because of symmetry of the rein- Spalling of concrete cover
forcement. Figure 6 shows how well this proposal agreed
with experimental results on shear panels (Rahal 2000a). At ultimate conditions, the ACI method and the General
Figure 6 also shows a comparison between nexp/ fc¢ for 17 Method relate the torsional strength to the centerline dimen-
torsion tests and wL and wt (calculated using eqs. [6], [12], sions of the stirrups instead of the outer dimensions of the
and [13]). A good agreement is observed, which indicates concrete. ACI Commentary (ACI 1995) explains this as-
that the assumptions adopted to develop eqs. [6] and [17] on sumption by: “the concrete outside these stirrups is relatively
one side and eqs. [12] and [13] on the other side are compat- ineffective.” The General Method (CSA 1994; AASHTO
ible. It is to be noted that eqs. [6], [12], and [13] did not in- 1994; Collins and Mitchell 1991) conservatively assumes

© 2000 NRC Canada

Rahal 451

Fig. 5. Effect of aspect ratio on torsional strength. Fig. 6. Strength of under-reinforced sections with wt = wL .

cantly between the torsion and the shear cases. However, the
accuracy of the semi-empirical ACI equations (unspalled di-
mensions) differed significantly because the shear panels in-
cluded high strength concrete elements while the torsion
tests used in this study did not. The semi-empirical ACI
equations were developed to fit experimental shear and tor-
sion results of normal strength concrete.
In beams of practical dimensions, the concrete cover in
sections subjected to torsion is prawn to spalling and conse-
quently should not be considered in the capacity calcula-
tions. Design codes recommend disregarding the
contribution of the concrete cover only in calculating the ul-
timate torsional strength (CSA 1994; AASHTO 1994; ACI
1995). However, if spalling is expected to take place, a simi-
that the concrete cover spalls off near ultimate conditions lar reduction in the dimensions of the cross section should
and cannot contribute to the torsional resistance. also be considered in the design for bending, shear, and axial
Experimental evidence (Mitchell and Collins 1974; loads when they are acting in combination with torsion.
Nagataki et al. 1988: Rahal and Collins 1995a) verified that
the concrete cover spalls off when the cover is relatively Conclusions
large, but showed that a small cover has a significant contri-
bution to the resistance. In the 66 tests used in this study, the A simple method for calculating the torsional strength of
ultimate torque was reached before any signs of spalling in reinforced concrete beams is presented. This method is an
the relatively small concrete cover. Hence, spalling did not extension of a recently developed simplified approach to the
affect the strength of these specimens. In beams with small calculations of the ultimate strength of shear panels. This
cover, signs of spalling can be observed only upon signifi- method is also applicable to beams subjected to shearing and
cant twisting of under-reinforced beams after the ultimate axial forces and bending moment.
capacity is reached. Rahal and Collins (1996) provided a The results of the method are compared with the experi-
simple criterion to check when spalling is expected to occur. mental results from 66 beams tested at the PCA laboratories,
To provide an alternative basis for comparing the perfor- the University of Calgary, and the University of Toronto, and
mance of the three methods, the equations of the two code good agreement is obtained. The accuracy of the method for
methods are modified and used to calculate the strength of the cases of pure torsion (shown in this study) and pure
the 66 specimens based on the un-spalled dimensions. A shear (from a previous study) are very similar, which indi-
comparison is shown in Table 1. It can be seen that the con- cates that the assumptions adopted to apply the method to
servatism is similar in the three methods, while the proposed the torsion problem are adequate.
method is slightly superior as regards the relatively limited The results from the current ACI code method and the
scatter in the correlation with the experimental results. current CSA and AASHTO code methods are also used in
Table 1 also shows the correlation between the results of the comparison. It was found that the results of the proposed
the proposed code methods and the experimental results method agreed slightly better with the experimental results.
from 46 panels subjected to pure shear (Rahal 2000a). It is The main advantage of the proposed method over the
shown that the proposed method has a very similar accuracy available code methods is that it combines the rationality of
for both shear and torsion. The accuracy of the General the General Method (CSA 1994; AASHTO 1994) and the
Method (unspalled dimensions) also did not differ signifi- simplicity of the traditional ACI approach (ACI 1995). It is

© 2000 NRC Canada

452 Can. J. Civ. Eng. Vol. 27, 2000

suggested that the proposed method can serve as a basis for Ritter, W. 1899. Die bauweise hennebique, Schweiserische
a unified and rational treatment of the design and capacity Bauzeitung. Switzerland.
calculations of beams subjected to combined stress resul- Standards Association of Australia. 1994. Australian standard of
tants. concrete structures, (AS 3600-1994). North Sydney, Australia.
Vecchio, F.J., and Collins, M.P. 1986. The modified compression
field theory for reinforced concrete elements subjected to shear.
Acknowledgments ACI Journal, 83(2): 219–231.
Vecchio, F.J., and Collins, M.P. 1988. Predicting the response of
The research reported in this paper was made possible by reinforced concrete beams subjected to shear using the modified
a Grant from the Kuwait University Research Administra- compression field theory. ACI Structural Journal, 85(4): 258–
tion, Project No. EV-098. This support is gratefully ac- 268.

List of symbols
ao depth of equivalent stress block
ACI. 1995. Building code requirements for reinforced concrete Ao area enclosed by shear flow resultant
(ACI 318-95) and commentary — (ACI 318 R-95). Committee Aoh area enclosed in closed stirrup
318, American Concrete Institute (ACI), Detroit, Mich. Ac gross area of concrete
AASHTO. 1994. AASHTO LRFD bridge design specifications, SI AL total area of longitudinal steel in the section
units, first edition, American Association of State Highway and At area of one leg of transverse reinforcement within a dis-
Transportation Officials (AASHTO), Washington D.C. tance s
CSA. 1994. Design of concrete structures for buildings. Standard fc¢ specified compressive strength of concrete
A23.3-94, Canadian Standards Association (CSA), Rexdale, fyL yield strength of longitudinal bars
Ont. fyt yield strength of the stirrups
Collins, M.P., and Mitchell, D. 1991. Prestressed concrete struc- po perimeter of shear flow resultant
tures. Prentice Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J. pc perimeter of outer concrete dimensions
Elfren, L., Karlsson, I., and Losberg, A. 1974. Torsion–bending– ph perimeter of closed stirrup
shear interaction for concrete beams. ASCE Journal of the
qu shear flow at ultimate
Structural Division, 100(8): 1657–1676.
s spacing of the stirrups measured along the length of the
Ewida, A.A., and McMullen, A.E. 1981. Torsion–shear–flexure in-
teraction in reinforced concrete members. Magazine of Concrete
Tcr cracking torsional moment
Research, 23(115): 113–122.
Hsu, T.T.C. 1968. Torsion of structural concrete-behavior of rein- td thickness of concrete resisting torsion
forced concrete rectangular members. Torsion of structural con- Tu ultimate torsional moment
crete, SP-18, American Concrete Institute, Detroit, Mich. x smaller dimension in concrete cross section
pp. 261–306. y larger dimension in concrete cross section
McMullen, A.E., and Rangan, B.V. 1978. Pure torsion in rectangu- rL ratio of total longitudinal reinforcement
lar sections — A re-examination. ACI Journal, Proceedings, rt ratio of transverse reinforcing steel
75(10): 511–519. nc concrete contribution to shear stress
Mitchell, D., and Collins, M.P. 1974. Behavior of structural con- ns steel contribution to shear stress
crete beams in pure torsion. Publication No. 74-06, Department nu ultimate shearing stress resistance
of Civil Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont. wL non-dimensional longitudinal reinforcement index
Nagataki, S., Okomoto, T., and Lee, S.H. 1988. Study on mecha- wt non-dimensional web reinforcement index
nism of torsional resistance of reinforced concrete members.
JSCE Transactions, 190(Y-8): 75–91.
Rahal, K.N. 2000a. Shear strength of reinforced concrete: Part I: Appendix A
Membrane elements subjected to pure shear. ACI Structural
Journal, 97(1): 86–93. The torsional strength of specimen B1 tested by Hsu
Rahal, K.N. 2000b. Shear strength of reinforced concrete Part II: (1968) at the PCA labs is calculated here to illustrate the
Beams subjected to shear, bending moment and axial load. ACI simplicity of the proposed method.
Structural Journal, 97(2). fc¢ = 27.6 MPa, At = 129 mm2, AL = 516 mm2, fyt =
Rahal, K.N., and Collins, M.P. 1995a. The effect of cover thick- 341.4 MPa, fyL = 313.8 MPa, x = 254 mm, y = 381 mm, pc =
ness on the shear and torsion interaction — An experimental in- 1270 mm
vestigation. ACI Structural Journal, 92(3): 334–342. From eq. [12]
Rahal, K.N., and Collins, M.P. 1995b. Analysis of sections sub-
jected to combined shear and torsion — A theoretical model. AL fyL (516)(313.8)
ACI Structural Journal, 92(4): 459–469. wL = = = 0.16
0.375 Ac fc¢ (0.375)(254)(381)(27.6)
Rahal, K.N., and Collins, M.P. 1996. Simple model for predicting
torsional strength of reinforced and prestressed concrete sec-
From eq. [13]
tions. ACI Structural Journal, 93(6): 658–666.
Rausch, E. 1929. Design of reinforced concrete in torsion At fyt (71)(341.4)(1270)
(Berechnung des eisenbetons gegen verdrehung). Ph.D. thesis, wt = = = 0.18
Technische Hochschule, Berlin, Germany. 0.42 sAc fc¢ (0.42)(152)(254)(381)(27.6)

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Rahal 453

From Fig. 2, nu / fc¢ = 0.17. The calculated ultimate torque results. The ratio Texp/Tcalc is hence 22.26/23.2 = 0.96. The
is given by eq. [6]: calculated torque is 15.6 kN·m. for the General Method and
18.3 kN·m. for the ACI method.
Ac2 The relative position of the point (wL = 0.16; wt = 0.18) in
Tu = 0.67 nu
pc Fig. 2 indicates that the transverse as well as the longitudinal
steel yield at ultimate conditions. Hsu (1968) reported that
(254 381) 2
= 0.67 (0.17)(27.6) = 23.2 kN×m two out of the six measured longitudinal strains showed
1270 yielding and that five out of the six measured transverse
strains on the longer leg of the cross section also showed
The observed Texp = 22.26 kN·m. The cracking torque cal-
culated using eq. [14] is 15.5 kN·m and does not govern the

© 2000 NRC Canada