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A beam due to loading is not only subjected to flexure but also the shear, torsion, etc.
According to the traditional philosophy bending moment and shear force are treated
separately, even though they coexist. The design of a beam for flexure is dealt in unit
It is well known that inadequate shear design is inherently more dangerous than the
inadequate flexural design, since shear failure shows fewer significant signs and
warnings than the flexural failure.
Hence it is necessary to properly design the beam for shear


The typical crack pattern of a beam subjected to loads is shown in Fig 1. Near the mid-
span, where bending moment is more, the tensile stresses developed are horizontal
hence the cracks developed are vertical (i.e. perpendicular to the tensile stress), in the
region where there is both bending moment and shear force the cracks starts vertically
at the bottom, but will become inclined as they approach the neutral axis due to shear
stress. These cracks are called as flexure shear cracks. Near the support where shear
force predominant the crack appear inclined at 45 , these cracks are called as web shear
crack or diagonal tension cracks. Appropriate shear reinforcement has to be provided
to prevent these cracks

Fig 1Typical crack pattern in an RC beam



The mechanism of the brittle type diagonal tensile failue of RC beam without shear
reinforcement is complex and not yet fully understood. The behavior of beams in such
a failure vary widely.

Fig 2 Shear failure

In an RC beam without shear reinforcement, there is some resistant to the shear force
due to the internal forces as shown in figure

Fig 3 Internal forces in a RC beam without shear reinforcement

Thus shear is transferred across an inclined line ABC. Which is resisted by the
following mechanisms

a. Shear resistance Vcz of the uncracked portion of concrete; (20%-30%)

b. Vertical component Vay of the interface shear (aggregate interlock) force Va;
c. Dowel force Vd in the tension reinforcement (due to dowel action) (15-25%)

Types of Shear reinforcement

There are several ways of providing the shear reinforcement are as follows:-
1. Vertical stirrups
2. Vertical stirrups with Bent-up-bars
3. Inclined Stirrups
4. Welded wire mesh(used in small lightly loaded system)
5. Spirals


6. Only Bent-up-bar
7. Steel fibres
8. Mechanically anchored bars

Out of these types the IS- 456 allows the use of only First three types only
So these three are only discussed further

1. Vertical stirrups: - The transverse reinforcement in the form of shear stirrups

will usually be vertical and taken around the outermost tension and compression
longitudinal reinforcements along the faces of the beam, as shown in Fig.5 There
are two types as follows
a. Open stirrups: - These types of stirrup arrangements shown in Fig.5, these
are not closed at the top and hence their placement at site is relatively easy
compared to the closed stirrups. However, they should be used in beams
with negligible torsional moment.
b. Closed stirrups: - Closed stirrups, which are suitable for beams with
significant torsion and in earthquake zones, are shown in Figs. The type
shown in Fig.4 is frequently adopted in India-the vertical hoop is a closed
stirrup having a 135 hook with a 6-10 diameter extension(As shown in

Fig 4 Detailing of
commonly used
stirrups Fig 5 Types of stirrups

2. Vertical stirrups with Bent-up-bars:- The following are some of the

disadvantages of bent-up bars: -
a. They are widely spaced and are few in number. Hence, a crack may not be
intercepted by more than one bar, thus resulting in wider cracks than those in
beams with stirrups.
b. When some of the bars at a section are bent up, the remaining flexural bars
are subjected to higher stresses, resulting in wider flexural cracks.
c. Concrete at the bends may be subjected to splitting forces, resulting in possible
d. They do not confine the concrete in the shear region.
e. Reduction of flexural steel due to bent-up bars may result in the shifting of the
neutral axis upwards, causing wider cracks in the tension zone.
f. They are less efficient in tying the compression flange and web together.


Due to these reasons and also the fact that bent-up bars do not contribute to the
reversal of shear force (as may occur during earthquakes), Clause 6.3.4 of IS 13920
discourages the use of bent-up bars in earthquake zones (SP: 24-1983).
However, Clause 40.4 of IS 456 recommends bent-up bars and stirrups together,
by specifying that the design capacity of the bent-up bars should not exceed half
that of total shear reinforcement. Most designers prefer to design vertical stirrups
to take up all the shear requirements and bent-up bars, if any, to provide
additional safety against diagonal tension failure.

3. Inclined stirrups: - Inclined stirrups are similar to vertical stirrups, except

that they are placed at an angle of about 45 to the longitudinal axis of the beam.
Their behavior is similar to the bent-up bars. However, they have the following
advantages over the bent-up bars:
a. They can be closely spaced, and hence the cracks may be intercepted by more
than one bar, resulting in less wider cracks than those in beams with bent-up
b. They confine the concrete in the shear region.
c. They are efficient as vertical stirrups in tying the compression flange and web

Moreover, as they are nearly perpendicular to the cracks, they are more efficient
than all other shear reinforcements (see Fig 6 Types of Shear reinforcement).
However, they are difficult to fabricate and construct.

Fig 6 Types of Shear reinforcement


The inclusion of shear reinforcement such as stirrups does fundamentally change the
previously described mechanism of shear resistance. The presence of stirrups
contributes to the strength of shear mechanisms in the following ways
I. They carry part of the shear.
II. They improve the contribution of the dowel action. The stirrup can effectively
support a longitudinal bar that is being crossed by a flexural shear crack close to a
III. They limit the opening of diagonal cracks within the elastic range, thus enhancing
and aiding the shear transfer by aggregate interlock.
IV. When stirrups are closely spaced, they provide confinement to the core concrete,
thus increasing the compression strength of concrete, which will be helpful in the
locations affected by the arch action.
V. They prevent the breakdown of bond when splitting cracks develop in the
anchorage zones because of the dowel and anchorage forces.

Nominal Shear Stress

The nominal shear stress in beams of uniform depth shall be obtained by the
following equation:


v= Nominal shear stress,
Vu = Ultimate design load,
b= width of beam,
d=Effective depth.

Design shear strength of concrete without Shear

Shear strength of concrete varies with grade of the concrete and the percentage of
It is denoted by c.
c can be obtained directly from IS-456: 2000, table no 19(pg no 73).

Minimum shear reinforcement

When v < c,
i.e. when shear stress on a member is less than the shear strength of concrete, then
minimum reinforcement shall be provided in accordance with clause no
Which states that, Minimum shear reinforcement in the form of stirrups shall be
provided such that:



Asv =total cross-sectional area of stirrup legs effective in shear,
Sv = stirrup spacing along the length of the member,
b = breadth of the beam or breadth of the web of flanged beam, and
fy = characteristic strength of the stirrup reinforcement in N/mm* which shall not be
taken greater than 415 N/mm.

Maximum shear strength of concrete

Under no circumstances, even with shear reinforcement, shall the nominal shear
stress in beams, v exceed c max, given in IS-456: 2000, table no 20(pg no 73).

Design of Shear Reinforcement

When v exceeds c, given in Table 19, shear reinforcement shall be provided in any of
the following forms:
a) Vertical stirrups,
b) Bent-up bars along with stirrups, and
c) Inclined stirrups.

Design procedure
I. Determine the maximum factored shear force Vu at the critical sections of the
II. Determine the nominal shear force (v),using


III. Find the percentage of steel(main reinforcement),using

pt = percentage of main reinforcement,
Ast=Area of main steel (longitudinal reinforcement),
b= breadth of the beam or breadth of the web of flanged beam,
d= effective depth of the beam.

IV. Find the shear strength of the concrete (c), from the IS 456:2000 table no
19,as per the grade of the concrete and the percentage of steel ( if the value of
the percentage of steel is not exactly present interpolation is to be done).
V. Compare v and c
a. If v < c


Minimum shear reinforcement is provided.
b. If v > c
Then the design for shear reinforcement is required.
VI. Design shear force
Vus= Vu - c *b*d
VII. Spacing for stirrups
Assume the diameter of the shear reinforcement (d) as 6mm or 8mm and two
legged stirrups

Check for spacing
i. Calculated in step VII.
ii. = 0.4
iii. Sv=0.75*d
iv. Sv=300mm

Least of the above spacing is provided

VIII. Detailed drawing.