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Two-Way Slabs: Behavior, Analysis, and Design

Two-way slabs are a form of construction unique to reinforced concrete among the
major structural materials. It is an efficient, economical, and widely used structural
system. In practice, two-way slabs take various forms. For relatively light loads, as
experienced in apartments or similar buildings, flat plates are used.
In 1914, J. R. Nichols [13-2] used statics to compute the total moment in a slab panel. This
analysis forms the basis of slab design in the current ACI Code. Nichols analysis suggested that
the then current slab designs underestimated the moments by 30 to 50 percent. The emotions
expressed by the reviewers appear to be proportional to the amount of under-design in their
favorite slab design system. Although Nichols analysis is correct and generally was accepted as
being correct by the mid-1920s, it was not until 1971 that the ACI Code fully recognized it and
required flat slabs to be designed for 100 percent of the moments predicted from statics.
Minimum Thickness of Two-Way Slabs(ACI code SI unit ft and in)
Minimum thicknesses that generally are sufficient to limit slab deflections to acceptable values.
The minimum slab depending about
1. Beams in the interior and exterior(edges beam for af>0.8)
Slabs without Beams between Interior Columns
2. Exterior panels or interior panels
3. Shear requirement for


Beam-to-Slab Stiffness Ratio

Design only a single panel empirical formulas.
Limitations on the Use of the Direct-Design Method (ACI)
1. There must be a minimum of three continuous spans in each direction. Thus, a nine-
panel structure (3 by 3) is the smallest that can be considered. If there are fewer than
three pan-els, the interior negative moments from the direct-design method tend to be
too small.

2. Rectangular panels must have a long-span/short-span ratio that is not greater than 2.
One-way action predominates as the span ratio reaches and exceeds 2.

3. Successive span lengths in each direction shall not differ by more than one-third of the
longer span. This limit is imposed so that certain standard reinforcement cut-off details
can be used.
4. Columns may be offset from the basic rectangular grid of the building by up to 0.1 times
the span parallel to the offset. In a building laid out in this way, the actual column
locations are used in determining the spans of the slab to be used in calculating the
design moments.

5. All loads must be due to gravity only and uniformly distributed over an entire panel. The
direct-design method cannot be used for unbraced, laterally loaded frames, foundation
mats, or prestressed slabs.

6. The service (un factored) live load shall not exceed two times the service dead load.
Strip or checkerboard loadings with large ratios of live load to dead load may lead to
moments larger than those assumed in this method of analysis.

7. For a panel with beams between supports on all sides, the relative stiffness of the
beams in the two perpendicular directions given by shall not be less than 0.2 or greater
than 5. The term was defined in the prior section, and are the spans in the two
Distribution of Moments within PanelsSlabs without Beams between All
Statically Moment Mo
If the computed negative moments on two sides of an interior support are
different, the negative-moment section of the slab is designed for the larger of
the two.
Definition of Column Strips and Middle Strips
The column strips in both directions extend one-fourth of the smaller span, each
way from the column line.
Distribution of Moments between Column Strips and Middle Strips
L1=smaller dimension of the panel
L2=the largest of the panel
Example: Calculation of Moments in an Interior Panel of a Flat Plate using direct
analysis method (margrail).
The slab 5.5 in thickness and live load of 50 psi super imposed load for partitions,
the column and the slab have the same strength of concrete. Calculation of
Moments in an Interior Panel of a Flat Plate in the short direction of the panels.

1. Determine the factor load : if there is the live load reduction factored
according to the code and the load combination of the gravity load.
Pd=1.3Dl(slf wt+ super dead load) +1.6LL
2. Determine the load distribution along the short dirction of the panal
Compute l& Ln and divide the slab into column and middle strips
2.1. Determine the statically load (Mo)
L= the shorter direction of the panel

Ln= c/c distance of the column strip

Pd=factored load

2.2. Distributed the statically load in to the positive and negative moment:
depending up on the
Beams in all supported
Edge beams in the unsupported
Restrained and un restrained

2.3. Divide the moments between the column and middle strips3
From the table above according to the factors and divide the column strip and middle strip according to
the smallest panel length. The moments in each strip have been divided by the width of that strip.

2.3.1. Negative moments

o Column-strip negative moment
o Middle-strip negative moment
2.3.2. Positive moments
o Column-strip positive moment
o Middle-strip positive moment
3. Compute the moments in the long span of the slab