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ACI guidelines for Reinforced Concrete

Some of the guidelines by ACI (American Concrete Institute) are given below to
help in design of reinforced concrete beams.

Spacing of Reinforcement

1. Minimum clear spacing between parallel bars in a layer should be equal to

diameter of the bar but not less than 1 inch.

2. Where parallel reinforcement is placed in two or more layers, bars in the

upper layers shall be place directly above the bars in the bottom layers with
clear spacing between the layers not leass than 1 in.

3. Maximum spacing of reinforcement bars closest to the tension face shall not
exceed the following;

s = 15 (40,000/fs ) - 2.5 cc

or s = 12(40,000/fs )

where cc is the least distance from surface of reinforcement to the tension face,
and fs is the calculated stress in reinforcement closest to the tension face.

The table given below is showing minimum beam width required for a reinforced
concrete rectangular section as per ACI guidelines
#14 and #18 are rarely used for beams. This table is based on the assumption
that maximum aggregate size does not exceed three-fourth of the clear space
between bars, and the #3 bars are used as stirrup.

The diameter of different bar sizes are given in brackets; #3(0.375in), #4 (0.5 in.),
#5 (0.625 in.), #6 (0.750), #7 (0.875), #8 (1.00 in.), #9 (1.128 in.), #10 (1.270 in.)
#11 (1.410 in.), #14 (1.693 in.), #18 (2.257 in.)

Minimum amount of reinforcement in a beam should be maximum of the


As,min = 3(f 'c )0.5 bd / fy

or As,min = 200 bd / fy

the values of f 'c and fy are taken in psi (pound per square inch), and the
concrete used should not have f 'c less than 2500 psi.

Commonly used concrete has f 'c ranging from 3000 psi to 6000 psi, and steel
with fy of 40000 psi, 50000 psi or 60000 psi.

Minimum cover requirement:

In case of concrete not exposed to weather or in conctact with ground the

cover for re-bar shall not be less than the following

for #14 and # 18 bars- 1.5 in. cover

for #11 and smaller bars- 0.75 in. cover

In case of concrete exposed to earth or weather;

#6 through #18 bars- 2 in. cover

#5 and smaller- 1.5 in. cover

In case of cast against and permanently exposed to earth, a cover of 3 in.

should be provided.


- The lowest load-bearing part of a building, typically below ground level is

called footing
Types of Footing

There are three main types of foundation

Strip footing
Raft/Mat footing
Isolated/Pad footing


A continuous strip of concrete under a continuous wall carrying a uniformly

distributed load

Footing spread (150mm on each side) is usually provided:

I. To facilitate bricklayer a working space for building the lower courses

of walls
II. To provide stability to the load-bearing walls before it is tie down by
floors and roof
III. To provide working space for the hand excavation operation in deeper
trench excavation

Use in a situation where the load bearing

capacity of the soil is low

(e.g. soft clay silt, made ground)

Site which may be subjected to unequal

settlement (mining areas), or where the
subsoil is not uniform in character


Use in a situation where there is a

danger of the foundation failing as a
beam in the longitudinal direction

Deep Strip Footing

A deep strip footing is a narrow footing which is used

for normal soil and normal loads and is made 0.9m

In a deep, narrow trench

Excavation by hand is not possible

Brickwork cannot be built up from the bottom

Excavation by mechanical means is possible


A stepped strip foundation is often used on a sloping

site where the steps allow the foundation to follow
the slope without too much excavation, when
compared with excavations and retaining walls.


Raft footing is a continuous footing that supports an entire structure, such as a

floor also known as foundation mat.

Best suited in the following conditions:

Column loads are extremely

heavy, thus requiring large

Columns are closely spaced in

both directions and if pad
footings are used, it would
overlap and may almost cover
the whole building area

Ground bearing capacity is low,

such as in compressible soft

Types of Raft/Mat Footing

Solid Slab Raft-flat concrete slabs have uniform thickness over whole raft
area, with pedestals or without pedestals
Beam and Slab Raft Footing-beam and slab rafts are alternatives to the
solid slab raft and are used where poor soils are encountered, have

Cellular/Framed Raft Footing-these type of foundations are used on soft

compressible subsoil such as soft clay or pit.


Pad footing is the support used at a

point load such as columns or framed
structures. They may be circular,
square or rectangular and consist of a
block or slab of the thickness.

The pad footing may be

stepped if they are required to
spread the load from a heavy
column. The pads are usually
shallow but deep ones can be
found depending on the structure.

Isolated or independent slab of concrete foundation to support concrete

columns or steel pillars, detached brick or masonry piers

The pier or column bearing on the centre point of the slab

Variation of pad footings:

Combined Footings used where the bearing areas of closely spaced

columns overlapped

Cantilever Footings designed to accommodate eccentric loads


It is a vertical member which is primarily subjected to axial compression in

which major deformation is shortening.

i. Classification on the Basis of Shape:

Square section.

Rectangular section.

Circular section.



Fig.1 Classification on the Basis of Shape

ii. Classification on the Basis of Reinforcement:
Tied Columns:
These columns have the bars braced or tied at close intervals by
close loops called ties.
Spiral Columns:
These columns have the bars and the core concrete wrapped with
a closely
spaced helix.

Composite Columns:
These columns consists of a structural steel or cast iron column
encased in
concrete reinforced with both longitudinal and transverse reinforcements.

Pipe Columns or Concrete Filled Steel Tubes:

These columns are circular, rectangular or square hollow sections
with concrete without any additional reinforcement.

Fig.2(a) Classification on the Basis of Reinforcement

Fig.2(b) Classification on the Basis of Reinforcement

iii. Classification on the Basis of Type of Loading:

Concentrically Loaded Columns:
When the resultant of the load coincides
with the centroid of the cross- section, the column
is said to be concentrically loaded column. Fig. 3
shows a concentrically loaded column.

Eccentrically Loaded Columns:

When the resultant of the load does Fig.3 Concentrically
not coincide with the centroid of the Column
cross-section, the column is said to be
eccentrically loaded column. There are two
types of eccentrically loaded columns;
1. Uni-axially eccentrically loaded columns. (Fig. 4(a))
2. Bi-axially eccentrically loaded columns. (Fig. 4(b))

Fig.4 Eccentrically Loaded Columns

Sources of Eccentricity in Columns:

Eccentricity is due to following three reasons;
1. Eccentric loading. (Fig. 5(a))
2. Initial crookedness. (Fig. 5(b))
3. Out-of-plumbness. (Fig. 5(c))
Fig.5 Sources of Eccentricity in Columns
Short Column:
In short columns there are no 2nd order effects and the failure is due
to crushing of concrete without any instability. Moment magnification
chances are very less in such columns because radius of gyration is more
and length is small.
K lu M
34 12 1
r M2

K = Effective length factor taken from alignment charts.
M1 = Magnitude of smaller end moment with sign.
M2 = Magnitude of larger end moment with sign.
= 0, for concentrically loaded columns.

= +ve, when member is bent in single curvature.

= ve, when member is bent in reverse curvature.

Slender Columns:
These columns fail due to buckling, instability
or 2nd order effect. The failure load is less than that of
a short column. As length of column increases, the
probability of failure due to buckling increases.
Longitudinal Steel:
It is that steel which is present along the length of the column.
Following are the various purposes of longitudinal reinforcement;
1. The main function of longitudinal reinforcement is to prevent creep
and shrinkage in concrete.
2. It provides resistance against lateral bending, cracking and reduction
of moment of inertia value.

3. It reduces the size of the column.

Transverse Steel:
1. It provides confinement to the inner concrete or core concrete i.e. the
concrete which is present inside the longitudinal reinforcement.
Confinement provides ductility and it also increases the strength of the

2. Transverse steel reduces the chances of buckling of longitudinal steel.

3. It holds the longitudinal steel in position during casting

4. Transverse steel provides resistance against shear.


Ties or Transverse Ties:
Lateral ties are used in the columns because of lesser construction
cost and ease of placement.

Spiral Reinforcement:
Spiral columns are used where we need more ductility i.e., in
earthquake zones. Spirals are mostly provided in circular columns. Spiral
columns sustain maximum load at excessive deformation and thus
prevent the complete collapse of the structure before the total
redistribution of moments and stresses is complete. The disadvantage of
spiral reinforcement is that it is very difficult to place in the field, so, due to
this reason its use is practically limited.


Steel always yields first because it is lesser in amount and due to pure
compression it is yielded.
cu = 0.003 (Strain at which concrete crushes)
y = 0.0015 or 0.0021 (Strain at which steel yields)
After yielding of steel, load is taken by concrete alone and the resistance
is provided by the concrete only. A stage comes when concrete crushes while
steel is already yielded (final stage).

If the bond between concrete and steel is perfect then they equally
fc fs
c = and s =
Ec Es

c = s
fc f Es
= s Modular Ratio, n
Ec Es Ec

fs = n fc
Ag = Ast + Ac
Pn = Pc + Ps
Pn = Ac fc + Ast fs
Pn = fc ( Ag Ast ) + Ast (n fc )
Pn = fc [Ag + ( n 1 )Ast ] (within elastic range, service loads)
A R.C. concentrically loaded short column has a cross-sectional area 450
x 450 mm2 and is reinforced by Grade 420, 8 # 19 bars. If at any stage, concrete
stress fc = 10 MPa ( fc = 20 MPa), what will be corresponding load carrying
capacity of the column.

fc << fc
Therefore, material is within elastic range.

Ec = 4700 f c ' = 4700 20 = 21019 MPa

E s 200000
n = 10
Ec 21019

Now using,
19 2
Pn = fc [Ag + ( n 1 )Ast ] Ast = 8 # 19 = 8 x
Pn = 10 [ (450 x 450) + ( 10 1 )2268 ] Ast = 2268 mm2
Pn = 2229.12 kN


When we go to the ultimate stage then the first thing which we have to
decide is the value of and to do that we must know whether the section of
column is tension controlled or compression controlled.

Section of concentrically loaded column is always compression

For tied columns, = 0.65
For spiral columns, = 0.70
As there is always some eccentricity in a column, some additional safety
factor is applied to factor,
Additional F.O.S. for tied columns = 0.80
Additional F.O.S. for spiral columns = 0.85

Therefore, total resistance factor for tied and spiral columns are;
For tied columns = 0.80 x 0.65
For spiral columns = 0.85 x 0.70


Bar Splices

In general reinforcing bars are stocked by suppliers in lengths of 60 ft for bars

from No. 5 to No. 18,

and in 20 to 40 ft lengths for smaller bar sizes. For this reason, and because it is
often more convenient to work

with shorter bar lengths, it is frequently necessary to splice bars in the field.
Should try to:

Stagger splices;

Avoid splicing at points of maximum stress.

Lab Splices in Tension (ACI 12.14)

Splices for No. 11 bars and smaller are usually made simply by lapping the bars
in a sufficient distance

to transfer stress by bond from one bar to the other. The lapped bars are usually
placed in contact and lightly

wired so that they stay in position as the concrete is poured.

ACI Lap splices should not be used for bars larger than No. 11 bars.

Required lap for tension splices, may be stated in terms of development in

tension ld. Find ldb according to code, use the modification factors (reduction
for excess reinforcement should not be applied because that factor is already
accounted for in the splice specification).

Two classes of lap splices are specified by the ACI Code. The minimum length
ls not less than 12 inches is:

Class A: ls = 1.0 ld

Class B: ls = 1.3 ld ACI Sect. (12.15)

The the work sheet provided in the next page of tension lab splices.

Tension Lap Splice Calculation Work Sheet

1. Tension Development Length (from Tension Development Calculation Work

Sheet except that step 8 should not be applied).

ld =

2. Lap Splice Classes (Section 12.15.1)

Class A: ls = 1.0 ld =

Class B: ls = 1.3 ld =
3a. Required Lap Splices -- other than Columns (12.15.2)


3a. Required Lap Splices Columns


Compression Splices (ACI 12.16)

Reinforcing bars in compression are spliced mainly in columns, where bars are
normally terminated just above each floor or every other floor. This is done partly
for construction convenience, to avoid handling and supporting very long
column bars, but it is also done to permit column steel area to be reduced in
steps, as loads become lighter at higher floors.

The lap length ls should be equal to at least the development length in

compression and the modifiers. ls should also satisfy the following, but not less
than 12 inches:

fy 60, 000 psi ls 0.0005

fy > 60, 000 psi ls (0.0009fy 24)db

if f c > 3,000 psi then

if f c < 3,000 psi then

fy 60, 000 psi ls 1.333 0.0005fydb

fy > 60, 000 psi ls 1.333 (0.0009fy 24)db