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A v i Mor, 1 Weston T. Hester, 1 and Ben C.

Gerwick 1

Fatigue of Submerged Concrete under Low-Cycle, High-Magnitude Loads

REFERENCE: Mor, A., Hester, W. T., and Gerwick, B. C., "Fatigue of Submerged Concrete under Low-Cycle, High-Magnitude Loads," Journal of Testing and Evaluation, JTEVA, Vol. 17, No. 3, May 1989, pp. 157-166. ABSTRACT: A procedure for testing submerged, reinforced concrete beams subjected to reversible fatigue loading is presented. The procedure focused on the use of simplified systemsfor reversibleloading and effective submersion of the concrete. These systems helped to reduce substantially the cost associated with fatigue testing of reinforced concrete beams. Degradation of the beam was measured continuously by analyzing deflection without halting the cyclic loading. Extensive tests on accompanyingspecimensand post-failure tests were performed. The program also utilized a computerized, highly automatic system for test control, data acquisition, and analysis of data. KEY WORDS: bond, concrete, data acquisition, fatigue, reinforced concrete, submerged concrete, testing Nomenclature HCP LVDT LWA NWA LWSF NWSF Hardened Cement Paste Linear Variable Differential (or Displacement) Transdueer Light Weight Aggregate Normal Weight Aggregate Light Weight aggregate concrete with Silica Fume Normal Weight aggregate concrete with Silica Fume

Introduction Fatigue failure occurs when a concrete structure fails after being exposed to a large number of stress cycles. These stresses may be lower than stresses for which the structure was designed, and failure may be sudden and catastrophic. Fatigue failure of concrete is a problem which many designers tend to ignore, since sound design practice will usually compensate for fatigue loading. However, under severe cyclic loading conditions fatigue may become the limiting factor in design. Extensive work has been done by other researchers on fatigue performance of unreinforced low and moderate strength concrete subjected to high-cycle loading, such as that experienced by machine bases and railroad ties. Limited research has been done on large reinforced/prestressed concrete specimens, high-strength concretes, and submerged concrete. UnManuscript received 3/4/88; accepted for publication 11/18/88. L Doctor of Engineering, AssociateProfessor, and Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720. Dr. Mot is currently with AMMB, 9217 Alcott St., Los Angeles, CA 90035.
1989 by the American Society for Testing and Materials

fortunately, the lack of a well established test procedure for evaluating fatigue makes it difficult to correlate or extend these published test results. It is now particularly critical to develop a consistent approach for measuring and assessing fatigue capability, because it is possible and attractive to design and use concretes with compressive strength substantially greater than that previously considered in earlier fatigue tests and envisioned in current codes. Concrete marine structures using these high-strength concretes are being designed and built, and some are already in use and exposed to severe environments. Concretes with compressive strength exceeding 69 MPa (10 000 psi) are being used for many applications; in some specialized areas (mainly high-rise buildings) strengths of up to 138 MPa (20 000 psi) have been specified and used. The use of these special concretes in the marine environment raises new questions about their ability to resist cyclic loading, since it is difficult to extrapolate previously published data to these conditions. Concrete marine structures, including piers and offshore drilling platforms, are increasingly using these special concretes as a basic building material; therefore more detailed design criteria are needed. Structures exposed to ocean waves will experience a large number of high-frequency, reversible, low-to-medium magnitude loading cycles during their lifetime. They will also experience a relatively small number of very high-magnitude excitations caused by extreme storms or collisions. Thus a typical structure may see 2 108 loading cycles of relatively low magnitude (up to 50% of ultimate strength) to a few thousands loading cycles of high magnitude (over 65% of ultimate strength). These low-cycle, high-magnitude fully reversible loads may cause cracking and increasingly severe degradation, especially when these cycles are in the tensile cracking range. Lightweight Aggregate (LWA) would be the material of choice for most floating marine structures, even if the only benefit would be the reduced weight. Other superior properties of LWA concrete make it highly desirable for use under marine conditions. These properties include excellent durability, reduced microcracking due to the compatibility of its components, and high thermal strain capacity. In this paper the authors describe in detail in apparatus that may be used to test reinforced/prestressed concrete, in air or submerged, under fully reversible loading. The apparatus is simple to construct and operate. The test results fully document the fatigue performance and can be compared with other previously published data. The authors tested high-strength reinforced concrete beams under low-cycle, high-magnitude reversible cyclic loading. Half of the
0090-3973/89/0005-0157502.50 157

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beams were tested submerged, and the other half were tested in air. Accompanying unreinforced specimens were tested for all major properties of the concrete; those that affected the fatigue life were identified. A model for fatigue of reinforced concrete has been developed. A comprehensive description of the test program, materials, and results may be found in the published report []. The main results of that program were: 1. Fatigue life of high-strength Lightweight Aggregate (LWA) concrete was similar to or better than the fatigue life of Normal Weight Aggregate (NWA) concrete of similar strength. 2. Submersion of high strength (dense) concrete in water did not shorten its fatigue life. 3. The addition of silica fume to LWA concrete increased its fatigue life by 60 to 80% compared to LWA and NWA concrete of similar strength. The same effect was not evident in NWA concrete. 4. The variations in fatigue life do not appear to be attributable to variations in compressive strength, tensile strength, flexural strength, modulus of elasticity, or density. 5. The addition of silica fume to LWA concrete improved its bond with the bars by up to 100% at a slip of 0.25 mm (0.01 in.). These results agree with data published by Robins and Austin [2]. 6. The fatigue life of high-strength reinforced concrete appears to be a function of the bond between the concrete and reinforcing steel. Based on the test results from this program and others, a material model for fatigue degradation and failure of reinforced concrete was defined. The model is summarized below:

four-point (third-point) loading, with application of cyclic loads until failure. Fatigue capacity is measured as the number of cycles to failure under different stress levels. Test methods differ by type and size of specimen, magnitude and rate of loading, mechanical controls, and analytical procedures. The principal difficulties with correlating and extrapolating the fatigue performance of large specimens include: 1. Even at the rapid rate of 10 cycles per second (cps) a specimen may require more than 107 cycles (or 270 h) of loading, but this accelerated rate of loading is not representative of the low cycle loading experienced by the structure. Sparks [3] and Hatano and Watanabe [4] found that higher frequencies increased the apparent fatigue capacity of concrete tested in air. Arthur et al. [5] found no frequency effect in air, but fatigue capacity was enhanced under lower frequencies in submerged concrete. Waagaard [6] found no clear connection between fatigue capacity and load frequencies in the range 0.2 to 3 Hz for submerged concrete. Obviously, the effect is complex and not very well understood; thus tests should be performed at the expected frequencies. 2. Most researchers maintain the desired maximum stresses by loading the specimens to a predetermined deflection. However, specimens degrade over time and make it difficult to maintain a consistent loading with deflection control techniques. The result is a progressive decrease in applied load as the specimen loses stiffness. It also results in a varying load when the new stroke (deflection) value is determined by trial and error. 3. The cumulative number of cycles to the specimen's collapse under a given load is the commonly accepted standard measure for fatigue capacity. With existing test procedures most researchers interrupt the cyclic loading periodically to assess the specimen's condition. This assessment can take the form of measured deflection under a static load, or one of the nondestructive sonic methods. However, any interruption (rest period) has an influence on specimen's performance [7]. Therefore it is desirable to measure deterioration without having to stop cycling. 4. It may be difficult to correlate the results of pure compression or pure tension with the more severe situation of reversible loading. 5. The possibility that fatigue life of submerged concrete is different from the fatigue life of air-dry concrete created the need to test submerged specimens. Initial tests were conducted in big tanks of water (Waagaard [8], Roper et al. [9]) and showed that submerged concrete exhibited shorter fatigue life. Further tests in a pressure chamber confirmed that depth (water pressure) was not a factor (Waagaard [8], Paterson [0]). Tests by Cornelissen [11] showed that saturation of plain concrete was sufficient to reduce its fatigue life. 6. Testing of submerged concrete required that large tanks were used to submerge both specimen and loading frame, resulting in an extremely complex and expensive setup. 7. Fatigue testing of large specimens is expensive and long term. The large spread of the results of a limited number of tests makes it difficult to analyze the data using statistical methods.

Step /--Newly cast concrete contains various small voids dispersed throughout the material, with some local void concentrations under aggregates and reinforcing bars due to bleeding. Step 2--Limited cyclic loading of the concrete in its elastic zone induces stress relaxation, possible reduction in void sizes, and temporary enhancement of strength properties. Step 3--Continued cyclic loading below the ultimate strength of the reinforced concrete element causes microcracks to form and propagate, gradually converging into structural cracks. Step 4--Where a structural crack intersects a reinforcing bar all stresses are transferred to the steel at that point, relaxing the stresses in the concrete in the direct vicinity. The stresses are carried across the crack by the steel and transferred to the concrete through the bond between concrete and steel adjacent to the crack. Step 5--Continued cyclic loading causes gradual degradation of the bond between the concrete and the reinforcing bar as microcracks form and propagate in the interface. The process forces the steel bar to carry larger portions of the stresses as the bond deteriorates, and the concrete relaxes away from the bar. On the concrete's surface this step is recognized by the formation of a fanshaped area of fine cracks, indicating debonding next to the major structural crack. Step 6--The steel reinforcing bar fails suddenly in fatigue when it reaches its fatigue capacity after the loss of bond causes a major portion of the load to transfer to the steel, resulting in complete loss of load carrying capacity at that location.

The authors developed an apparatus and test procedure for loading a standardized specimen with a low-cycle, reversible fatigue loading. Limitations of previously described procedures were minimized by a number of technologies, including: 1. Specimens were cycled at a rate of 1 Hz, or one complete

Several methods have been used in testing the fatigue capacity of concrete. Flexural elements are usually tested by loading beams in

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compression and tension cycle per second. This number, very close to actual wave frequency, was used in some recent tests (Waagaard [6], Muguruma [2]). 2. Specimens were tested under load control (e.g., the automatic hydraulic controller used feed-back from a load-cell to apply a constant maximum load). No corrections were required once a load level was established. 3. Gradual degradation of the specimen was evaluated by measuring deflection of the specimen under load without stopping the cycling; thus unnecessary rest-periods were eliminated. 4. Fully reversible loading was imposed on symmetrically reinforced concrete beams. 5. A flexible water-jacket was used to simulate fully submerged conditions. 6. Two identical specimens were tested for each test condition. Two specimens may not qualify as a statistical sample, but under the existing constraints they were used to provide a reasonably good indication of trends, and to alert us to errors when the results for the two specimens disagreed substantially. In this program both concrete composition and environmental parameters were systematically changed and monitored, so as to evaluate the effects of each parameter on the overall behavior. The compressive strength of the concrete was kept constant for all specimens by the use of admixtures, several aggregates, and manipulating the water/cement ratio. The total amount of cementitious materials in each mix was kept similar, since it was felt that the effect of quality and quantity of HCP was very important. Extensive post-failure evaluation of the concrete in the beams was done with non-destructive sonic tests, compressive strength tests of extracted cubes, and microscopic evaluation of cracking.

two weeks before testing, all specimens that were to be tested submerged were immersed in a seawater-filled tank to ensure complete saturation.
Loading Configuration

The concrete beams were loaded reversibly in flexure under a third-point loading (ASTM C 78; sometimes referred to as "fourpoint" loading) (Fig. 2). The 2440 mm (8 ft) concrete beams were tested over a 1830 mm (6 ft) span, so that a length of 305 mm (1 ft) on each side was not subjected to any load during the test and supplied additional control data for concrete strength. Figure 3 shows a top view of the testing bay with all the components of the testing set-up.
Support Frame

Fatigue Testing Procedures


Four types of specimens were used: five main reinforced concrete beams (Fig. 1), twelve 74 by 74 by 245 mm (3 by 3 by 20 in.) unreinforced concrete beams, fifteen standard 74 by 147 mm (3 by 6 in.) cylinders, and six standard 147 by 147 by 147 mm (6 by 6 by 6 in.) cubes for the pull-out test. All molds for the specimens were filled halfway and consolidated by vibration, then filled to the top with the same type of vibration. Initial finish was done with wooden trowels, subsequent finish with steel trowels. All specimens were stripped after 48 h and stored in a fog room for 60 days. At that time they were moved into the main testing area and allowed to air-dry in its controlled environment. At least

The support frame was designed to restrain the concrete beam in the vertical direction at the supports to allow for reversible loading, without restraining beam movement in the horizontal direction. Two wide flange steel beams were attached with stressing bars into the floor of the test bay and used for end supports to the concrete beams. At the end supports, steel rollers were stressed against the beam from top and bottom, and locked in place by the apparatus shown in Figs. 4a and 4b (Section A-A). Small steel plates were used to spread the load at the line of contact between the roller and the concrete surface. The plates were placed on the concrete and leveled with Hydrostone (high-strength gypsum) to achieve a smooth transfer of stresses to the concrete. Neglecting to ensure smooth transfer of loads would result in stress concentration and premature failure with cracks initiating at that point. The slender, high-strength bolts were hand-tightened with wrenches, and their flexibility allowed them to bend with the beam and keep loads vertical. The rollers were centered on the supports with the help of roller guides, which were welded to the supports perpendicular to the concrete beam, leaving a space that was 3 mm (1/8 in.) wider than the rollers. The rollers were not prevented from rolling with the movement of the beam as it was cycled, but remained centered on the support.




#3 Reinforcing rebars

#9~tirnln~(~ Rin

Load [
S ............

......... J

8 7~ [ ~


FIG. l--Detail of reinforced concrete beams used in fatigue tests {1 in. = 25.4 mm).

1 ft


2 ft"

2 ft 8 fl

2 fl

1 ft


FIG. 2--Concrete beams were loaded in flexure under the "Third Point" loading configuration (ASTM C 78) (l f t = 0.305 m).

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Steel Columns stressed to the Floor

Load Transfer

Bolts tying actuator to loading frame

Concrete Beam

Tie-down beam



Support frame Measuring frame

Rods stressing oolumns to floor

Loading frame D

FIG. 3--Testing bay (top view oJ"test setup).

Loading Frame
The loading frame was designed with the following goals in mind: The concrete beam should not be restrained by the loading frame. The hydraulic actuator (ram) should be free to align itself to compensate for small irregular movements during the test. These movements can introduce large stresses if allowed to develop. The equipment and specimens must be centered in order to eliminate undesirable secondary stresses. At the center loading points, stainless steel rollers were stressed against the concrete beam from top and bottom. The two frames were welded to a square steel beam, shown in Figs. 4a and 4b (Section C-C), and through it attached to the loading ram with highstrength steel bolts through a second load transfer beam (Section B-B). The design included two load transfer beams to be able to test more than one concrete beam at a time. Later it was decided that this configuration would be too difficult to control, and the second steel beam was left as a stiffener. The hydraulic actuator (ram) was suspended from a steel beam, centered over the concrete specimen (Fig. 5). The steel beam was bolted to two steel columns which were attached with stressing bars

to the floor of the testing bay. Both ends of the hydraulic ram were free to pivot around a universal ball joint, resulting in a free hanging vertical position. These joints were helpful in eliminating undesirable stresses which can develop when the concrete beam deflects against a stiff ram.

Deflection Measuring Frame

The deflection measuring frame was designed with the following goals in mind: The measuring frame should be separate from the loading frame, so as to isolate it from vibrations and deflections of that frame. The frame should accommodate enough gages to supplement any that fail during testing without having to stop the cycling. It should be possible to measure deflections continuously, even when the beam is submerged. The frame consisted of two pairs of steel columns independently attached with stressing bars to the floor of the testing bay, and a light steel bridge between them (Fig. 5). The steel bridge could be moved freely to cover any point of the concrete beam and could be locked securely in place. This configuration ensured that no inter-

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Serve-controlled Hydraulic Actuator A load-transfer steel beams tie-down beam

Concrete Beam Roller guides

610 mm (2tl) m,',n, 610 mm (2 ft) 1830 mm (6 h) .', 610 mm (2 I1)





/915 mm (3ft)

Section B-B

4a--Longitudinal section through testing setup.


Servo-controlled Hydraulic Actuator

Load transfer beams




~th bolt



Concrete beam Roller guides

Stainless Steel Roller

Section C-C

~ing rod beam to floor

Section A-A

4b--Sections through end-support and loading point of testing setup.

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Section D-D

FIG. S--Section of testing setup including measuring frame and loading frame.
action existed between the loading frame and the measuring frame. Three linear potentiometers (elongation gages) with a total measurable travel of ___75 m m (3 in.) were secured to the bridge with small clamps. Steel wire was used to connect the gages to the concrete beam, measuring up to S0 m m (2 in.) deflections during the test. The use of three gages, including two backups, proved to be a safe practice since occasionally steel wires or springs snapped in fatigue or the gage failed. It was easy to refer from one gage to the other and to compare deterioration of different beams even when one gage was lost.

H 50000Ibf ydraulicActuato~l

Hydraulic System
A 22 MPa (3200 psi) high-capacity system supplied the hydraulic pressure for the test. An MTS controller was used to control the hydraulic system. Testing was done under load control for all fatigue tests. Static tests were done under stroke control. The controller had a function generator and responded to feedback from a load cell and L V D T (for stroke control) which are part of the actuator assembly (Fig. 6). The ability to use the load control facility built into the controller simplified the test and, save for occasional checks to ensure that the system was stable, no corrections were required as the beam softened and deflected. The high capacity valves allowed the smooth cycling at a rate of one complete cycle per second (fully reversible), with total travel that could exceed 50 m m (2 in.).

r t [ Deflections from . _ uppo . [~ LinearPotentiometers "

MTS Controller
cr-r-n Iq-lqq

Stroke i n p u t Force controlsignals Force input m


Amplifiersfor Deflections

~1 ,~


Strok~ iopol


and Plotso~ ~

acquisitionand ~ [L reduct,onprograms~

(IBM AT.... ing d a t a ~ ' - Keithly- DAS500 "~ I

High-speed | DataAcquisition J

I input

FIG. 6--Schematic layout of controls and data acquisition systems in beam test (1 lbf = 4.448 N).

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Immersion Frame and Jacket


A special flexible jacket was designed to allow a test of a concrete beam immersed in water (Fig. 7). The special setup consisted of a flexible watertight fabric, two specially designed clamps which were used to seal the jacket against the concrete beam, and a wooden pedestal with supporting frame. The fabric was cut to fit the beam, and the concrete was cleaned with a wire brush around the line of contact. A line of caulking compound was applied to the concrete beam at its point of contact with the fabric and clamps. The fabric was stretched carefully at the line of contact to prevent any creases that might serve as points of leakage. A foam window sealer (pro-glued on one side) was applied to the inside of the aluminum clamp before it was locked on the fabric and the concrete. Each fabric jacket was used only twice before it was discarded. The combination of sealing methods worked well when applied properly, resulting in a very low-cost alternative to submerging concrete for fatigue testing. The wooden pedestal with supporting frame was designed to support the jacket after it was filled with water. The jacket's weight at that point could reach more then 90 kg (200 lb). To prevent the additional load of the water from being imposed on the beam, the frame and its fabric jacket were supported independently, with enough clearance to permit unrestricted movement of the beam.

tests were done under load control, the stroke data were used for limit control only as safety mechanism, so as to stop the hydraulic system when the deflection exceeded a predetermined value. This feedback proved to be extremely valuable on several occasions when the beam failed and the controller (under load control) tried to push the remains of the beam through the floor. The limit control stopped the hydraulic action before any damage occurred. All these safeguards were developed during a trial testing period in which seven beams were tested and destroyed. Deflection of the concrete beam was measured by three linear potentiometers suspended from the measuring bridge above the concrete beam. Each potentiometer read the deflection from a steel dowel that was epoxied in a hole drilled 13 mm (0.5 in.) into the concrete cover (Fig. 8). The holes were kept shallow to minimize damage to the concrete. Three dowels were used because one or more might be dislodged once the concrete started to crack; thus backups were considered essential. The deflection data were fed directly into the data acquisition system. Weldable strain gages were applied to the bars in one set of concrete specimens. The data supplied by these gages were read into the data acquisition system, but proved to be too limited to give any conclusive information. The use of more than one gage per rebar was physically difficult (on #3 bars) and very expensive. However,

Data Acquisition
Five gages were used for all the specimens, three of which measured deflection of the beam, the other two measuring load and stroke of the actuator (Fig. 6). Loads were read from the hydraulic actuator. These were used by the controller to control the actuator and by the data acquisition system to determine the load at any time. A limit control was set up to prevent the system from applying extreme loads. This preset limit was used very successfully while starting the hydraulics with the concrete beam already attached to the actuator. Hydraulic systems are not stable when started and, even when set for low loads, may occasionally introduce large loads on startup. Without a limit control to prevent these loads from reaching the concrete beam, the beam might have been cracked or even destroyed on start-up. The stroke of the hydraulic actuator was also read from the built-in LVDT and monitored by the controller. Since the fatigue
Wires leadingto Linear Potentiometers
Load Load


Short bolts epoxied to the concrete
I _ Load 24 in Load


FIG. 8--Deflection of the concrete beam was measured f r o m three points (I in. : 25.4 ram).

Concrete I ~ 8ea,~, l ~ x

\ Fabric

r I

Section D-D

FIG. 7--Immersion jacket and f r a m e were used to simulate submerged conditions.

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in the future it may prove desirable to measure strain and stresses at the rebar level in order to evaluate the bond. A high-speed data acquisition system (Keithly DAS 500) was used to collect the data from all gages. The data were immediately reduced and analyzed on a microcomputer using programs developed at the University of California, Berkeley. Every 10 min (600 cycles) the system scanned all channels 100 times at a rate of 90 scans per second. This rate covered a full loading cycle (at 1 Hz). The raw data were then reduced and the extreme load and deflection values for that cycle were automatically extracted by another program. This method allowed the peak values of loads and deflections to be obtained without stopping the cycling. The extreme values were printed and appended to a file for saving and backup. These extreme values were used later to plot the fatigue behavior as deflection versus number of cycles (Fig. 9). In addition, the crack development was drawn on the beam's surface with multicolored pens and traced on tracing paper after the failure. This was done only for beams that were tested in air. For beams tested in water it was not possible to draw the cracks during the test and all cracks were traced after the failure (Fig. 10).

/ \
beam~ 24 / /



~t~ 610ram J~ 305mm.--





FIG. lO--The crack pattern was traced on the beams during the test, and later copied. The heavy lines mark the failure crack.

Determination of Static Load Capacity

Static load capacity, a basic property of the beams, was used in determining the load to be used for fatigue testing. It was decided initially to cycle the beams to maximum loads, which are 80% of the yield load of the beam under static loading. At that level the beam is still in its elastic range, but the load is large enough to qualify as high-magnitude loading. For the static loading the beam was locked into its loading frame in the same way as that used for the fatigue tests. The load was increased slowly for about 15 min until the beam failed or deflection at midspan exceeded 50 mm (2 in.). Data were collected at a rate of one reading per second and were used later for plotting of load versus deflection. The yield point was defined as the point at which the slope of the line

changed from the linear (Fig. 11). In all beams with concrete compressive strength of 62 to 69 MPa (9000 to 10 000 psi), that yield point was close to 3400 kg (7500 lb). A value of 2720 kg (6000 lb) (80% of 3400 kg [7500 lb]) was calculated and used for the subsequent fatigue loading. From each batch of concrete (five beams total) one beam was tested in static loading.

Fatigue Tests
Fatigue tests were conducted on uncracked beams at a constant basic frequency of at 1 Hz. The maximum and minimum loads were changed twice during the test (Fig. 12). The test was started at about 64% of the yield load as determined in the static test, and the beam was cycled under that load for 1 h (3600 cycles), initiating

Deflection [inch] 0.18





3600 7200 I

0.16 0.14 0.12 0.10 0.08 :,'"'~






,o=-o3 ~t


[] ._........ [] v



6000 12000 18000 24000 30000 36000 42000 48000 54000 60000 66000

Cycles, N

,o- submerged NWSF

o- air-dry NWSF

B- submerged LWSF

,D. air-dry LWSF

] ]

NWSF - Normalweight concrete with Silica fume ; LWSF - Lightweight concrete with Silica Fume. 1 inch = 25.4 ram.

FIG. 9--Deflection at center of reinforced concrete beam versus number of load cycles. Loads

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Load (kilO)
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0

yield point




.'8 ;

Deflection (inches)

1:2 114

FIG. I 1--Deflection at center of reinforced beam under static loading (1 in. = 25.4 mm; 1 kip = 4.448 k N = 454 kgD. The yield point was def i n e d as the point at which the slope of the line changed f r o m the linear (Beam 5).

rated in the actuator supplied load feedback to the controller, which corrected any drift from the desired load. One difficulty involved in using load control is that the controller presents its data as a percentage-of-capacity value and expects input in the same method. That required a trial-and-error approach, where the load was increased in small increments toward the desired value, and a computer was used to convert the input of the gages into load and deflection values instantly. Once the desired load value was achieved, the controller was set and the load maintained automatically throughout the test. Since the specimens were tested under reversible loading, it was also necessary to achieve a balance between the pull and push portions of the cycle. Using stroke control would have made that type of loading nearly impossible, since it would require adjusting the stroke to the changing rigidity of the specimen in both directions simultaneously.
Post-Failure Tests

% of Yield Load

+67. +64-

-64 -67

,11111111 ,,llllllll@l Iit ,

! 3

I T-1 ! "f



Stresses in the beam were not uniform (Fig. 2), and it was expected that a variation in concrete deterioration would be evident in different sections. Tests by others [13-15] indicated that partial cyclic loading (small number of cycles) could enhance temporarily the strength of concrete without affecting the overall fatigue performance. The present authors checked the effect of loading under lower stresses for the full number of cycles by extracting a nonreinforced concrete beam segments from four of the reinforced beams after their fatigue failure. Extraction was done with a slow-action, oil-cooled diamond saw which limited damage to the concrete. By comparing the density, pulse velocity, and compressive strength of small concrete cubes cut from that beam, it was possible to trace the degree of degradation of the concrete under different stress levels (Fig. 13). Microscopic investigation of slices taken along the beam revealed the effect of stress level on the crack development in the concrete, around aggregates, and next to the bars.

Time [hours]
FIG. 12--Specimens were cycled up to 64% o f yield load in the first hour (3600 cycles), up to 67% in the second hour, and up to 8 0 % f o r the remainder of the test.

Pulse Velocity

Pulse Velocityof sections extractedfrom Beams

I J'!-most of the cracks. After 1 h, the load was raised to 67% for another hour, then it was raised to its maximum value of 80% of yield load for the duration of the test. Our principal reason for starting at a lower load level was to watch and monitor the crack development in the beam as it moved from lower to higher stresses. Another practical reason was the concern about initial instability in hydraulic systems which could cause the load to exceed the given maximum level under load control. This problem was resolved by the effective use of limit switches, but the loading sequence was still adopted. All fatigue tests required at least two days to complete and, except for the overnight break in testing, there were no stops exceeding 1 min. After an overnight break of 16 h, the tests resumed at the maximum level and continued until the beam failed. This procedure kept the effect of rest period uniform for all the tests.
Load Control

, !

13500 13000 0

8 10




Beam Section
-o B04 NW-2a o " B14 LW-2a

B33 L W S F - 2 b

Test Beam Shear Mo m- ;nt
ft/sec. = 0 3 0 4 8 m/see.

_S L----_--------

Fatigue tests were performed under load control using an MTS controller with a built-in function generator. A load cell incorpo-

FIG. 13--Ultrasonic pulse velocity readings were taken f r o m unreinforced cubes extracted f r o m the concrete beam after failure. The drawing shows the effect of changing m o m e n t (M) and shear (S) on the pulse velocity in the concrete.

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Accompanying Specimens Tests

Standard concrete cylinders were tested for compressive strength at 7, 14, 28, and 56 days and at the time of fatigue testing (ASTM C 39). At that time the modulus of elasticity was also measured on 75 by 150 m m (3 by 6 in.) cylinders in accordance with A S T M C 469. With a stiff testing machine under stroke control, the specimens were loaded slowly to failure. By keeping the maximum load (and stresses) in the testing machine to no more than 40% of its rated capacity, it was possible to prevent the explosive type of failure associated with failure of high-strength concrete and to obtain complete stress-strain curves which included the descending portion of the curve (Fig. 14). The ability to perform these tests on brittle nonuniform material like concrete is new, and extensive effort is being put into analyzing the parameters associated with the complete curve and their relation to design considerations. Unreinforced concrete beams were failed under flexure loading, and the modulus of rupture was determined.

5. Since load level and rate have a substantial effect on results of fatigue testing, it is necessary to define a standard which will allow comparison of results from different programs. The values used in this program are recommended for comparison between different materials or specimens. For design purposes it may be necessary to test under various load levels.

This work is a result of research sponsored in part by NOAA, National Sea Grant College Program, Department of Commerce, under Grant NA85AA-D-SG140, Project R / O E - 1 , through the California Sea Grant College Program, and in part by the California State Resources Agency. The U.S. Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute for governmental purposes.

[1] Mor, A., "Fatigue Behavior of High-Strength Concrete under Marine Conditions," Doctoral thesis, University of California at Berkeley, Nov. 1987. [2] Robins, P. J. and Austin, S. A., "Bond of Light-Weight Aggregate Concrete Incorporating Condensed Silica Fume," Fly-Ash, Silica Fume, Slag, and Natural Pozzolans in Concrete, SP-91, ACI, Detroit, 1986, pp. 941-958. [3] Sparks, P. R., "The Influence of Rate of Loading and Material Variability on the Fatigue Characteristics of Concrete," Fatigue of Concrete Structures, SP-75, ACI, Detroit, 1982, pp. 331-342. [4] Hatano, T. and Watanabe, H., "Fatigue Failure of Concrete under Periodic Compressive Load," Transactions ofJSCE, Vol. 3, Part 1, 1971, pp. 106-107. [5] Arthur, P. D., Carl, J. C., and Hodgkiess, T., "Fatigue of Reinforced Concrete in Seawater," Concrete (London), Vol. 13, No. 5, May 1979, pp. 26-30. [61 Waagaard, K., "Fatigue Strength of Offshore Concrete Structures," COSMAR Report PP2-1, April 1981, 66 pp. [7] Kesler, C. E., "Stanton Walker Lecture--Fatigue and Fracture of Concrete," National Sand and Gravel Association, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Nov. 1970, 19 pp. [8] Waagaard, K., "Fatigue Strength Evaluation of Offshore Concrete Structures," Fatigue of Concrete Structures, SP-7S, ACI, Detroit, 1982, pp. 373-397. [9] Roper, H. and Hetherington, G. B., "Fatigue of Reinforced Concrete Beams in Air, Chloride Solution, and Sea Water," Fatigue of Concrete Structures. SP-7S, ACI, Detroit, 1982, pp. 307-330. [10] Paterson, W. S., "Fatigue of Reinforced Concrete in Sea Water, Performance of Concrete in Marine Environment," SP-65, ACI, Detroit, 1980, pp. 419-435. [1l] Cornelissen, H. A. W., "Fatigue Failure of Concrete in Tension," Heron, Vol. 29, No. 4, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands, 1984, 68 pp. [12] Muguruma, H. and Watanabe, F., "On the Low-Cycle Compressive Fatigue Behavior of Concrete under Submerged Condition," in Proceedings, 26th Japan Congress on Materials Research, March 1984, pp. 219-224. [13] Awad, M. E. and Hilsdorf, H. K., "Strength and Deformation Characteristics of Plain Concrete Subjected to High Repeated and Sustained Loads," Fatigue of Concrete, SP-41, ACI, Detroit, 1974, pp. 1-14. [14] Holmen, J. O., "Fatigue of Concrete by Constant and Variable Amplitude Loading," Bulletin No. 79-1, Division of Concrete Structures, The Norwegian Institute of Technology, The University of Trondhelm, Norway, Nov. 1979, 218 pp. [5] Bennett, E. W. and Muir, S. E. St. J., "Some Fatigue Tests of HighStrength Concrete in Axial Compression," Magazine of Concrete Research, Vol. 19, No. 59, June 1967, pp. 113-117.

Results and Conclusions

The purpose of this paper was to present detailed information on a procedure for testing low-cycle, high-magnitude fatigue of reinforced concrete. The success of these tests resulted in the following conclusions: 1. Fully reversible cyclic loading of concrete beams can be performed efficiently under load feedback control. 2. Degradation of specimens can be evaluated by measuring deflections under load during the cyclic loading, without interrupting the test. 3. Submerged conditions can be simulated inexpensively by using a flexible water jacket. 4. When cycling at the load levels used in this test, and at a low rate of 1 Hz, it is possible to complete one fatigue test in a week and a complete program in an acceptably short period.

Stress, ksi


8. 6.

4 2
0 , ,



. 0 0 2 003

. 0 0 4 . 0 0 5 . 0 0 6 . 0 0 7 .00S .009 Strain [in/in]

FIG. 14--Stress-strain curves of accompanying concrete cylinders (Lightweight Aggregate concrete) (1 ksi = 6.895 MPa; 1 in. = 25.4 ram).

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