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Design of Reinforced Concrete Beams per ACI 318-05

Reinforced concrete is made of two materials, concrete and reinforcing steel.


Concrete is made of five parts:

Air
Water
Cement, five main types per ASTM
Sand, fine aggregate
Gravel, course aggregate

The compressive strength (fc’) of concrete is the 28-day strength. This could be
from 2,500 psi to 20,000 psi. Most concrete used is between 3,000 psi to 6,000 psi.
Concrete is very good in compression but its tensile strength is only about 8 to 15%
of the compressive strength. This is the reason why we need reinforcing steel.
When we load a beam, the bottom is in tension.

Reinforcement could be fiber-reinforcement or reinforcing steel. In this course, we


will only look at reinforcing steel. Reinforcing steel comes in the following sizes,
areas, weights and diameters:

ASTM Standard Reinforcing Bars

Bar Size Area Weight Diameter


(in2) (lbs/ft) (in)
#3 0.11 0.376 0.375
#4 0.20 0.668 0.500
#5 0.31 1.043 0.625
#6 0.44 1.502 0.750
#7 0.60 2.044 0.875
#8 0.79 2.670 1.000
#9 1.00 3.400 1.128
# 10 1.27 4.303 1.270
# 11 1.56 5.313 1.410
# 14 2.25 7.650 1.693
# 18 4.00 13.600 2.257

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Reinforcement steel comes in the following designations, types, grades, strengths
and available sizes.

ASTM Standard Reinforcing Steel

Strength
ASTM Type Grade (fy ) ksi Sizes
40 40 3-6
A 615 Billet 60 60 3-11, 14, 18
75 75 6-11, 14, 18
A 706 Low-alloy 60 60 3-11, 14, 18
50 50 3-8
A 996 Rail
60 60 3-8
40 40 3-8
A 996 Axle
60 60 3-8

It appears from the above table, A615, grade 60 and A706, grade 60 cover all
sizes.

The stress distribution may be rectangular, parabolic, trapezoidal, etc. Here are two
stress distributions, parabolic (b) and rectangular (c):

We use figure c, rectangular. The ACI code says for concretes with fc’>4,000 psi, β1
can be determined with the following formula:

f c ' 4000
1 0.85 0.05 0.65
1000

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This is a table for the above formula (ACI 10.2.7.3):

fc’ ß1

2500-4000 .85

5000 .80

6000 .75

7000 .70

8000 .65

9000 .65

The ACI code says design value must be greater than or equal to the required
value.

Mn Mu
Vn Vu
Pn Pu

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In the formula, ρ is the steel ratio, As / bd.

Beams are considered to be under three types of control:

Compression control, εt <0.002

Transition, 0.002<εt<0.005

Tension control, εt>0.005

We use a strength reduction factor to account for many uncertainties in the design.
For tension-controlled beams, we use a strength reduction factor (φ) of 0.90.

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ACI (10.5.1) specifies the minimum about of reinforcement by the following two
formulas:

3 fc '
As ,min bw d
fy
200 bw d
nor less than
fy

Note: When the code specifies a minimum and they give two or more formulas, we
use the formula that yields the maximum. For example, if one formula gives 16 in2
and the other formula gives 18 in2, then the minimum would be 18 in2. Also, bw is
the width of the beam.

ACI (10.2.3) states that the maximum usable strain at extreme concrete
compression fiber shall be assumed equal to 0.003. In other words, εc=0.003.

ρ for tensilely reinforced rectangular section

3000 4000 5000 6000 fc' in psi


0.85 0.85 0.80 0.75 ß1
0.0371 0.0495 0.0582 0.0655 ρ balanced
40000 0.0050 0.0050 0.0053 0.0058 ρ min
0.0203 0.0271 0.0319 0.0359 ρ max
0.0275 0.0367 0.0432 0.0486 ρ balanced
50000 0.0040 0.0040 0.0042 0.0046 ρ min
0.0163 0.0217 0.0255 0.0287 ρ max
0.0214 0.0285 0.0335 0.0377 ρ balanced
60000 0.0033 0.0033 0.0035 0.0039 ρ min
0.0135 0.0181 0.0213 0.0239 ρ max
0.0155 0.0207 0.0243 0.0274 ρ balanced
75000 0.0027 0.0027 0.0028 0.0031 ρ min
0.0108 0.0145 0.0170 0.0191 ρ max
fy in psi

It is desirable, under ordinary conditions, to design beams with a steel ration (ρ)
between ρ min and ρ max.

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Load factors are numbers, used to increase the estimated loads applied on a
structure. The loads are increased to account for the uncertainties involved in
estimating the magnitude of the loads. How good can you estimate the loads on the
floor where you are right now? Sections 9.2 gives the required strength based on
load factors and combinations of loads:

D=dead loads, F=weight and pressure of fluids, T=temperature, creep, shrinkage


and differential settlement, L=live loads, H=weight and pressure of soil, water in
soil or other materials, Lr=roof live loads, S=snow loads, R=rain loads, W=wind
loads and E=earthquake loads.

Section 9 gives the following table for minimum depth of beams:

Minimum thickness of nonprestressed beams or one-way slabs unless diflections are computed
Minimum thickness, h
Simply One end Both ends
Supported continous continous Cantilever
Member
Members not supporting or attached to patitions or other
construction likely to be damaged by large deflections
Solid one-way slabs l/20 l/24 l/28 l/10
Beams or ribbed
one-way slabs l/16 l/18.5 l/21 l/8

In Section 7.7.1 of the code, it specifies the amount of cover for the reinforcement.
Cover is the distance from the edge of the reinforcing bar to the face of the
concrete beam. For beams with primary reinforcement, ties, stirrups and spirals, it
is 1 ½ inches when the concrete is not exposed to weather or in contact with the
ground.

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In section 7.6 of the code, it specifies the minimum clear spacing between parallel
bars in a layer to be db or 1”, whichever is larger. Remember, when the code
specifies the minimum and gives you two or more items, you use the larger of the
values.

As a rule of thumb, beams 20-25 feet long have a ratio of d to b of 1.5 to 2. For
longer beams the ratio of depth to width may be as high as 3-4. Beam dimensions
are selected in whole inches. The width is usually a multiple of 2 or 3. Beams
should probably not be less than 12” wide to get the steel and your hands in the
form.

For the usual situation, use bars of size # 11 and smaller if possible. Rarely will you
use # 14 or # 18 bars.

Design aid

Area of of number of bars (in²)


Number of bars
Bar 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
#4 0.39 0.59 0.79 0.98 1.18 1.37 1.57 1.77 1.96
#5 0.61 0.92 1.23 1.53 1.84 2.15 2.45 2.76 3.07
#6 0.88 1.33 1.77 2.21 2.65 3.09 3.53 3.98 4.42
#7 1.20 1.80 2.41 3.01 3.61 4.21 4.81 5.41 6.01
#8 1.57 2.36 3.14 3.93 4.71 5.50 6.28 7.07 7.85
#9 2.00 3.00 4.00 5.00 6.00 7.00 7.99 8.99 9.99
# 10 2.53 3.80 5.07 6.33 7.60 8.87 10.13 11.40 12.67
# 11 3.12 4.68 6.25 7.81 9.37 10.93 12.49 14.05 15.61
# 14 4.50 6.75 9.00 11.26 13.51 15.76 18.01 20.26 22.51
# 18 8.00 12.00 16.00 20.00 24.01 28.01 32.01 36.01 40.01

Area of of number of bars (in²)


Number of bars
Bar 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
#4 2.16 2.36 2.55 2.75 2.95 3.14 3.34 3.53 3.73 3.93
#5 3.37 3.68 3.99 4.30 4.60 4.91 5.22 5.52 5.83 6.14
#6 4.86 5.30 5.74 6.19 6.63 7.07 7.51 7.95 8.39 8.84
#7 6.61 7.22 7.82 8.42 9.02 9.62 10.22 10.82 11.43 12.03
#8 8.64 9.42 10.21 11.00 11.78 12.57 13.35 14.14 14.92 15.71
#9 10.99 11.99 12.99 13.99 14.99 15.99 16.99 17.99 18.99 19.99
# 10 13.93 15.20 16.47 17.73 19.00 20.27 21.54 22.80 24.07 25.34
# 11 17.18 18.74 20.30 21.86 23.42 24.98 26.54 28.11 29.67 31.23
# 14 24.76 27.01 29.26 31.52 33.77 36.02 38.27 40.52 42.77 45.02
# 18 44.01 48.01 52.01 56.01 60.01 64.01 68.01 72.02 76.02 80.02

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Design aid based on

fy in psi 40000 40000 50000 50000 60000 60000


fc' in psi 3000 4000 3000 4000 3000 4000
2 2 2 2 2 2
ρ Mu/φbd ρ Mu/φbd ρ Mu/φbd ρ Mu/φbd ρ Mu/φbd ρ Mu/φbd

0.0050 192.2 0.0050 194.1 0.0040 192.2 0.0040 194.1 0.0033 190.3 0.0033 192.2
0.0055 210.5 0.0055 212.9 0.0045 215.1 0.0045 217.6 0.0035 201.4 0.0035 203.5
0.0060 228.7 0.0060 231.5 0.0050 237.7 0.0050 240.8 0.0040 228.7 0.0040 231.5
0.0065 246.7 0.0065 250.1 0.0055 260.2 0.0055 263.9 0.0045 255.7 0.0045 259.3
0.0070 264.6 0.0070 268.5 0.0060 282.4 0.0060 286.8 0.0050 282.4 0.0050 286.8
0.0075 282.4 0.0075 286.8 0.0065 304.3 0.0065 309.5 0.0055 308.6 0.0055 314.0
0.0080 299.9 0.0080 304.9 0.0070 326.0 0.0070 332.0 0.0060 334.6 0.0060 340.9
0.0085 317.3 0.0085 323.0 0.0075 347.4 0.0075 354.3 0.0065 360.2 0.0065 367.6
0.0090 334.6 0.0090 340.9 0.0080 368.6 0.0080 376.5 0.0070 385.4 0.0070 394.1
0.0095 351.7 0.0095 358.8 0.0085 389.6 0.0085 398.4 0.0075 410.3 0.0075 420.2
0.0100 368.6 0.0100 376.5 0.0090 410.3 0.0090 420.2 0.0080 434.8 0.0080 446.1
0.0105 385.4 0.0105 394.1 0.0095 430.8 0.0095 441.8 0.0085 459.0 0.0085 471.8
0.0110 402.0 0.0110 411.5 0.0100 451.0 0.0100 463.2 0.0090 482.8 0.0090 497.1
0.0115 418.5 0.0115 428.9 0.0105 471.0 0.0105 484.5 0.0095 506.3 0.0095 522.2
0.0120 434.8 0.0120 446.1 0.0110 490.7 0.0110 505.5 0.0100 529.4 0.0100 547.1
0.0125 451.0 0.0125 463.2 0.0115 510.2 0.0115 526.4 0.0105 552.2 0.0105 571.6
0.0130 467.0 0.0130 480.2 0.0120 529.4 0.0120 547.1 0.0110 574.6 0.0110 595.9
0.0135 482.8 0.0135 497.1 0.0125 548.4 0.0125 567.6 0.0115 596.6 0.0115 620.0
0.0140 498.5 0.0140 513.9 0.0130 567.2 0.0130 587.9 0.0120 618.4 0.0120 643.8
0.0145 514.0 0.0145 530.5 0.0135 585.7 0.0135 608.0 0.0125 639.7 0.0125 667.3
0.0150 529.4 0.0150 547.1 0.0140 603.9 0.0140 627.9 0.0130 660.7 0.0130 690.5
0.0155 544.6 0.0155 563.5 0.0145 621.9 0.0145 647.7 0.0135 681.4 0.0135 713.5
0.0160 559.7 0.0160 579.8 0.0150 639.7 0.0150 667.3 0.0136 685.4 0.0140 736.2
0.0165 574.6 0.0165 595.9 0.0155 657.2 0.0155 686.7 0.0145 758.7
0.0170 589.3 0.0170 612.0 0.0160 674.5 0.0160 705.9 0.0150 780.9
0.0175 603.9 0.0175 627.9 0.0163 684.8 0.0165 724.9 0.0155 802.8
0.0180 618.4 0.0180 643.8 0.0170 743.8 0.0160 824.5
0.0185 632.6 0.0185 659.5 0.0175 762.4 0.0165 845.9
0.0190 646.7 0.0190 675.1 0.0180 780.9 0.0170 867.0
0.0195 660.7 0.0195 690.5 0.0185 799.2 0.0175 887.9
0.0200 674.5 0.0200 705.9 0.0190 817.3 0.0180 908.5
0.0203 682.7 0.0205 721.1 0.0195 835.2 0.0181 912.6
0.0210 736.2 0.0200 852.9
0.0215 751.2 0.0205 870.5
0.0220 766.1 0.0210 887.9
0.0225 780.9 0.0215 905.1
0.0230 795.5 0.0217 911.9
0.0235 810.1
0.0240 824.5
0.0245 838.8
0.0250 852.9
0.0255 867.0
0.0260 880.9
0.0265 894.8
0.0270 908.5
0.0271 911.2

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Example 1

Design a rectangular beam that is simply supported with a span of 22 feet. The
dead load is 1.1 k / ft (not including the weight of the beam) and the live load is
2.2 k / ft. Use concrete with fc’ = 4,000 psi and reinforcement steel with fy =
60,000 psi.

Estimate the beam dimensions and weight

Refer to the table on page 6 from section 9 of the ACI code.

This was not much help. The minimum width of a beam should be 12 inches in
order to get the steel and your hands in the form.

If b = 12 inches

Then d = 2b = 24”

h is about d + db/2 + ds + 1.5 in = 24” + ½” + 3/8” + 1.5” = 26.375”, say 27”

Weight = 12” (27”) (150 # / ft3) (ft2 / 144 in2) = 337.5 # / ft = 0.3375 k / ft

Compute wu and Mu

wu = 1.2D + 1.6L = 1.2 (1.1 k / ft + 0.3375 k / ft) + 1.6 ( 2.2 k / ft) = 5.245 k / ft

Compute steel ratio (ρ) Assume φ = 0.90

Refer to table on page 5

Ρmin = 0.0033 and ρmax = 0.0181 so this is between both values

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Select the reinforcement steel

As = ρbd = 0.01134 (12 in) (24 in) = 3.26 in2

Refer to the table on page 1.

area d spacing
(in²) (in) (in)
3 - #10 3.80 24.49 2.22 OK>db
4 - #9 4.00 24.56 1.246 OK>db
5 - #8 3.93 24.625 0.813 NG<1"
6 - #7 3.61 24.688 0.600 NG<1"
8 - #6 3.53 24.75 0.321 NG<1"

Note: 8 - #6 bars gives the smallest area which would be the lightest and smallest
cost.

d = h – db/2 – ds – cover = 25.125 – db/2

Spacing = (b – (2 x cover) – 2ds – ndb) / (n-1) = (8.25 – ndb) / (n-1)

Remember, the ACI code says the minimum spacing is the larger of the bar
diameter or 1 inch. Only two meet this requirement. Since 3 - #10 bars have the
smallest area, let us choose 3 - #10 bars. The area of steel (As) is 3.80 in2 and d =
24.49 inches.

Check solution

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Once we determined Rn we could have used the design aid table on page 8 to
determine the steel ratio (ρ). We would do a straight line interpolation between the
values in the table.

Rn ρ
595.9 0.0110
612.12 0.01134
620.0 0.0115

I think it is much easier using the table. We got the same steel ratio (ρ) using the
table. Are beam looks something like this with #3 stirrups.

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Example 2

Design a beam where Mu = 600 ft – k. Assume this includes the weight of the
beam. The reinforcement steel has an fy = 60,000 psi and the concrete has an i
fc’ = 4,000 psi.

Refer to the table on page 5 and note that ρmin = 0.0033 and ρmax = 0.0181. Let us
assume a steel ratio (ρ) of 0.0107.

Determine b, d and h

Refer to the design aid table on page 8 and do a straight line interpolation.

Rn ρ
571.6 0.0105
581.32 0.0107
595.9 0.0110

b d d/b
12 33.86 2.82
14 31.35 2.24
15 30.29 2.02
16 29.33 1.83

Now we have b = 16 inches: 1.5 < d/b <2.0

h is about equal to d + db/2 + ds + cover = 29.33” + 0.5” + 0.375 + 1.5” = 31.7”

We will round this up to 32”.

Now, d = h – db/2 – ds – cover = 32” – 0.5” – 0.375” – 1.5” = 29.63”

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Select the reinforcement steel

As = ρbd = 0.0107 (16”) (29.63”) = 5.07 in2

Refer to the table on page 7.

area d spacing
(in²) (in) (in)
4 - #10 5.07 29.50 2.39 OK>db
6 - #9 6.00 29.57 1.10 NG<db
7 - #8 5.50 29.63 0.88 NG<1"
9 - #7 5.41 29.69 0.55 NG<1"

Notice: 7 - #8 bars, the d is the same as what we used but the spacing is no good.

Check solution

You might want to increase h to 33 inches and compute again.

Shear reinforcement (stirrups)

We also need to design the shear reinforcement (stirrups) to prevent shear


cracking. In section 11.1 of the ACI code, it says the design shear strength must be
greater than or equal to the required shear strength.

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It also states that the nominal shear strength (Vn) is equal to the nominal shear
strength provided by the concrete (Vc) and the nominal shear strength provided by
the reinforcement (Vs).

In section 11.3, it says Vc shall be computed by:

In ACI 11.5.6.1, shear reinforcement (stirrups) must be provided when:

In ACI 11.5.6.1, we rewrite equation (11-15) to solve for the spacing.

In ACI 11.5.5.1, the maximum spacing is d/2 or 24 inches when:

In ACI 11.5.5.3, the maximum spacing is d/4 or 12 inches when:

In ACI 11.5.7.9,

Comments: Normally I place the first stirrup at s/2 or 2-3 inches from the support.
Then you space them at s until it equals d/2. Then you go at d/2 until you get to
(R), the required distance that we need stirrups. Stirrups are usually spaced at
multiples of 3-4 inches. Normally, 3-4 inches is the minimum spacing for stirrups so
the aggregate can get through and your hands can get in and out of the form.
Always round the spacing down to the nearest whole inch.

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In ACI 11.5.6.3, the minimum area of shear reinforcement is the larger of:

Example 3

Design a rectangular beam that is simply supported with a span of 14 feet. The
dead load is 4 k / ft (not including the weight of the beam) and a live load of
6 k / ft. The concrete has an fc’ = 4 ksi and the reinforcement has an fs = 60 ksi.

Compute wu and Mu

Assume the weight of the beam is 400 # / ft or 0.4 k / ft.

wu=(1.2 (4 k/ft + 0.4 k/ft)) + (1.6 x 6 k/ft) = 14.88 k/ft

Refer to the table on page 5.

Ρmin=0.0033

Ρmax=0.0181

Use ρ=0.0107

Refer to the design aid table on page 8 and do a straight line interpolation.

Rn ρ
571.6 0.0105
581.32 0.0107
595.9 0.0110

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b d d/b
12 26.40 2.20
14 24.44 1.75
15 23.61 1.57
16 22.86 1.43

Now we have b = 15 inches: 1.5 < d/b <2.0

h is about equal to d + db/2 + ds + cover = 23.61” + 0.5” + 0.375 + 1.5” = 25.98”

We will round this up to h = 26”.

Now, d = h – db/2 – ds – cover = 26” – 0.5” – 0.375” – 1.5” = 23.625”

Check the beam weight

Beam weight = (15 in)(26 in)(150 #/ft3)(ft2/144 in2) = 406.25 #/ft, close enough

Select the reinforcement steel

As=ρbd = 0.0107(15 in)(23.625 in) = 3.79 in2

Refer to the table on page 7.

area d spacing
(in²) (in) (in)
3 - #10 3.80 23.490 3.72 OK>db
4 - #9 4.00 23.561 2.25 OK>db
5 - #8 3.93 23.625 1.56 OK>db
7 - #7 4.21 23.688 0.85 NG<1"
9 - #6 3.98 23.750 0.56 NG<1"

d = h – db/2 –ds – cover = 24.125 – db/2

s = (11.25 – ndb) / (n-1)

Check solution

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Use more steel, use 4 - #9 with an area of 4.00 in2 and d = 23.56 inches.

Now our beam has a b = 15 in, an h = 26 in and 4 - #9 bars.

Calculate Vu

Stirrups are needed if:

Vu at d and R, the required distance we need stirrups

Note: Since the beam is symmetrically loaded, we will look at one half of the beam
(length, l=84 inches). The other half will be a mirror image of this half.

Note: Since stirrups are required, we need them up to 0.5φVc = 16,763 #

Determine the area of steel (As) for d/2=23.56/2=11.78 in

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Since the largest is 0.147 in2, we would need #3 stirrups. The area of 2 - #3
stirrups is 0.22 in2. Since this is U-shaped stirrup, a cross-section would cut
through 2 bars.

Calculate Vs at d and s, the spacing

The first stirrup goes 2” from the support. We go at a spacing of s until we get to d.
We go five times at a 5” spacing. That gets us to 27” which is beyond d.

Calculate Vu @27”, Vs @27” and s

Now we are at 33 inches along the beam.

Calculate Vu @33”, Vs @33” and s

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Now we are at 40 inches along the beam.

Calculate Vu @40”, Vs @40” and s

Now we are at 51 inches along the beam. We go another d/2 or 11 inches to 62


inches along the beam. We go another 11 inches to 73 inches which is beyond R of
70.49 inches.

Summary

It goes like this on the drawing: 1@2”, 5@5”, 1@6”, 1@7”, 3@11” = 73 in

Shear and moment diagram

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I always like to check my answers. I did this in Excel and it looked like this:

fy= 60000 psi


fc'= 4000 psi
b= 15 in
d= 23.56 in
l= 84 in

V u= 104,212 #
φV c= 33,526 #
0.5φV c= 16,763 #
V u @d= 74,983 # need stirrups
R= 70 in
V s @d= 55,275 # 89404 #
d/2= 11 in
A s= 0.130 in²
A s= 0.147 in² #3 @ 0.22 in²
s= 5
2 2 s/2= 2
5 7
5 12
5 17
5 22 Vu @ Vs @ s
5 27 70,715 49,585 6
6 33 63,272 39,660 7
7 40 54,587 28,081 11 =d/2
11 51
11 62
11 73

1@2, 5@5, 1@6, 1@7, 3@11 = 73 in

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Conclusion

We have designed rectangular singularly reinforced concrete beams that only had
tension steel and stirrups. The beam was subjected to shear and flexure only. There
are other types of beams. These are beyond the scope of this course. Some
rectangular beams are doubly reinforced. These beams have tension steel in the
bottom, compression steel in the top and shear reinforcement (usually stirrups). We
have doubly reinforced beams when the load is so great that the concrete cannot
carry the compressive forces so we have to add steel to help with the compressive
forces. Another type of beam is a T-beam. A T-beam is a beam that is part of a
slab. The slab is on top and the beam projects below the slab. The T–beam is
usually singularly reinforced, with tension steel in the bottom and shear
reinforcement though it could be doubly reinforced. Beams could have axial loads in
addition to the flexural loads. Beams could be subjected to torsion and shear
forces. We could have deep beams where the clear span is equal to or less than
four times the overall member depth. We could have pre-stressed concrete beams.
That is structural concrete in which internal stresses have been introduced to
reduce potential tensile stresses in concrete resulting from the loads.

We should consider development length. The development length is the embedment


length required to develop the design strength of the reinforcement at a critical
section. In example 2, we needed 4 - #10 bars in the center of the beam but not at
each end. We would only need 2 - #10 bars on each end. By determining the
development length, we could determine the length of the center two bars. This
would save on the cost of the steel.

You can design singularly reinforced concrete beams by:

Trial and error, assume b, d and solve for a


Equations
o

Design aid table on page 8, which is based on the above equations

I prefer to use the design aid table and I prefer to use Excel.

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