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www.elsevier.com/locate/engstruct

Roberto D. Rios, Jorge D. Riera

Civil Engineering Department, PPGEC, School of Engineering, UFRGS, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil

Abstract

The mechanical properties of engineering materials are routinely determined by testing. In practice, the dimensions of structural

elements are often much larger than those of the samples that, for technical or economic reasons, can be subjected to laboratory

testing. Consequently, testing is usually conducted on reduced scale models or material samples. At the same time, available the-

ories of material behavior that predict size or strain rate eﬀects are receiving increasing attention in the technical literature. How-

ever, ﬁnite element models or similar representations, used for engineering predictions of the strength or loading capacity of large

structures, rarely consider the inﬂuence of scale.

The so-called discrete element method (DEM), in which a solid is replaced by a three-dimensional lattice of one-dimensional

elements linking lumped nodal masses, has been extensively used to determine the dynamic response of concrete structures sub-

jected to loads that produce fracture and fragmentation. In this paper, it is shown how the two major causes of size eﬀects,

namely the non-homogeneous character of the materials and the occurrence of fracture, can be incorporated in the analysis, in

order to improve the prediction capability of the method. The latter is validated by numerically analyzing geometrically similar

reinforced concrete beams, tested to rupture by Leonhart and Walter (1965). Those tests were later reproduced by Ramallo et al.

(1993). Both the non-homogeneous character of concrete and steel were taken into account in the DEM, by assuming that the

initial modulus and speciﬁc fracture energy are random ﬁelds in three-dimensional space. The constitutive criteria for the lattice

elements, employed earlier by the authors to account for the energy dissipated by fracture, is adopted in the paper, with improve-

ments in the consideration of the cross-correlation between relevant variables. As additional evidence of the reliability of the

approach, the discrete numerical model was also used to numerically simulate experimental results due to Vliet et al. (2000),

aimed at quantifying the inﬂuence of sample size on the tensile strength of concrete.

# 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

purposes, had already been of concern for Leonardo

In classical theories of solid mechanics it is assumed da Vinci [1] and is at the center of current debates on

that material properties, such as the tensile or com- the modeling of rupture in solids [2]. Nevertheless, the

pressive strengths, exist and are not scale dependent. In explicit consideration of size is still far from being com-

engineering practice such properties, measured on stan- mon practice in structural design.

dard samples of the material, are usually assumed An important contribution to the understanding of

applicable to structural elements whose size greatly dif- physical aspects of the problem was presented by

fers from those of the test samples. There are few Griﬀth [3] who, in establishing the fundaments of frac-

exceptions to this contention such as, for instance, ture mechanics, unveiled one of the relevant features of

some recent code recommendations for the evaluation the phenomenon of rupture in solids. Following an

of the ultimate shear of concrete beams. The deﬁ- entirely diﬀerent line of reasoning, Weibull [4]

explained the commonly observed reduction of the fail-

Corresponding author. Fax: +55 (51) 3316 3999.

ure stress of structural elements with size, as a conse-

E-mail addresses: riera@cpgec.ufrgs.br (J.D. Riera), rrios@ppgec. quence of the random distribution of the local material

ufrs.br (R.D. Rios). properties. Weibull’s approach is clearly not valid for

0141-0296/$ - see front matter # 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

doi:10.1016/j.engstruct.2004.03.012

1116 R.D. Rios, J.D. Riera / Engineering Structures 26 (2004) 1115–1125

fragile materials, in which well-deﬁned cracks occur, or discussions of size and strain rate eﬀects on the mech-

in materials that present localized damaged zones. anical properties of solids, from a continuum standpoint,

These include many engineering materials such as con- was recently presented by Morquio [15]. Morquio and

crete, mortars, asphalt mixtures or rocks. Within this Riera [16,17], also furnish experimental evidence for

group, cement concrete has possibly been the most the tensile strength of mild steel.

widely used material in the last century and has in As anticipated above, an alternative model [12,25],

consequence attracted considerable attention. In this based on the representation of solids as a three-dimen-

connection, relevant studies, such as those due to sional lattice of uniaxial elements, has been successfully

Kaplan [5], date back to the second half of last cen- used in the last two decades for purposes of dynamic

tury. Between 1976 and 1978, Hilleborg et al. [6], analysis of structures subjected to fracturing and frag-

inspired in the concept of softening and in the process mentation, phenomena that are typical of the failure

of plastic fracture, proposed the ﬁctitious crack model, stage of reinforced concrete structures. Iturrioz and

which had a decisive inﬂuence in further developments, Riera [18–20], Rios [21], Rios and Riera [22] used the

while Bažant [7] introduced the cracked band model to model in conjunction with explicit numerical inte-

explain size eﬀects in concrete. Afterwards, Bažant gration of the equations of motion. In addition to its

[13,14] derived simple expressions to account for the simplicity and ﬂexibility, this approach permits the sim-

inﬂuence of size on the nominal failure strength of fra- ultaneous consideration of causes (a) and (b) of size

gile materials, such as concrete subjected to static load- eﬀects, indicated before, and may be reliably used for

ings. prediction purposes. This paper describes the basic fea-

A quite diﬀerent approach to the so-called size eﬀect tures of the method, as well as its validation in connec-

was proposed by Carpinteri et al. [8–11], justiﬁed by tion with the quantiﬁcation of size eﬀects, by the

the apparently fractal properties of ﬁssures in several numerical determination of the response of reinforced

materials. Carpinteri suggests that the diﬀerence concrete beams of various sizes tested in Germany and

between the fractal characteristics of cracks and micro- Argentina and, in addition, of unreinforced specimens

cracks at diﬀerent observation scales constitutes the of various sizes subjected to tension, tested in Holland.

main cause of size eﬀects in concrete, notion that is It is shown that the inﬂuence of scale, as well as the

strongly questioned by Bažant [7,13]. inherent variability of the experimental results, are cor-

In summary, three basic phenomena have been poin- rectly accounted for, thus validating the approach for

ted out as responsible for size eﬀects in the mechanical the numerical analysis of concrete structures liable to

properties of engineering material: (a) the random dis- experience such eﬀects.

tribution of local material properties (Weibull

approach), (b) the energy necessary to form the new

surfaces that bound cracks, in linear elastic fracture 2. The discrete element model of solids (DEM)

mechanics (LEFM) or other related theories, including

damage and fracture band models, (c) the theory of The approach is based on the representation of a

fractals. Models that incorporate more than one basic solid by an arrangement of elements able to carry only

cause of size eﬀects have already been discussed in the axial loads. The cubic arrangement shown in Fig. 1,

technical literature [14]. The objective of this paper is consists of a cell with eight nodes at its corners plus a

to describe the methodology necessary to consider the central node. Nayfeh and Hefzy [23] determined the

causes responsible for size eﬀects in a discrete, numeri- properties of an equivalent orthotropic elastic con-

cal formulation that has proved both powerful and tinuum, in order to model panels made of large num-

eﬃcient for determining the response of concrete struc- bers of small interconnected bars, widely employed in

tures to short-time dynamic loading. Consideration of the aeronautical industry. Thus, plate or shell ﬁnite

the inﬂuence of scale is considered an essential feature elements (FEM) for orthotropic materials could be

of methods of analysis used to predict the strength, i.e. used with considerable reduction in the size of the

the failure loads, of large size structures, such as resulting FE models. The discrete elements represen-

nuclear power plants containment buildings and other tation of the orthotropic continuum was adopted by

containment structures, dams or bridges. The preceding the authors to solve structural dynamics problems by

discussion aims at bringing the issue, which is not part means of explicit direct numerical integration of the

of current engineering practice, into proper focus. equations of motion, assuming the mass lumped at the

It must be mentioned at this point that most pre- nodes. Each node has three degrees of freedom, corre-

vious developments in this area were based on the sponding to the nodal displacements in the three

basic assumptions of Continuum Mechanics, or aimed orthogonal coordinate directions. For a cubic arrange-

at applications of methods of analysis founded on ment, the lengths

pﬃﬃﬃ of longitudinal and diagonal elements

those assumptions, as for instance, ﬁnite (FEM) or are Lo and 3=2 Lo , respectively. The equivalence

boundary element (BEM) methods. A comprehensive between the orthotropic elastic solid with the ortho-

R.D. Rios, J.D. Riera / Engineering Structures 26 (2004) 1115–1125 1117

Fig. 1. Cubic arrangements of discrete elements: (a) cubic cell, (b) and (c) structural models.

longitudinal elements of the discrete elements model

was veriﬁed by Hayashi [24], through extensive numeri-

cal experimentation. The equations that relate the

properties of the elements with the elastic constants of

an isotropic medium are:

9v

d¼

ð48vÞ

L2 ð9 þ 8dÞ

EAn ¼ o E ð1Þ

Fig. 2. Bi-linear constitutive law for fragile material.

2 ð9 þ 12dÞ

2An

EAd ¼ pﬃﬃﬃ

3 elasticity, as well as in elastic instability problems, was

in which E and v denote Young’s modulus and Pois- veriﬁed by Hayashi [24]. More recently, Rocha [26] and

son’s coeﬃcient, respectively, while An and Ad rep- Rocha and Riera [27] extended the method to the

resent the areas of normal and diagonal elements, as analysis of fracture and/or non-linear material beha-

shown in Fig. 1a. It is important to point out that for vior in reinforced concrete structures and also for soil–

v ¼ 0:25, the discrete model predictions exactly cement admixtures. In those references, as well as in

coincide with the isotropic continuum formulation, the present paper, the relation between stress and strain

while for other values of v small errors appear in the in the material was assumed bi-linear, as indicated in

shear terms, which may nevertheless be neglected. In Fig. 2. The limit strain er is determined to satisfy the

addition, note that the extreme cases, v ¼ 0 and condition that, upon rupture of the element, once the

v ¼ 0:5, for which the model cannot be used, are not strain reaches the value er, a given amount of energy is

physically feasible. The resulting equations of motion liberated. This energy equals the product of the frac-

may be written in the well-known form: tured area Af, which depends on the correlation length

Lc of the process, and the speciﬁc fracture energy Gf,

€ þ C~

Mx F r ðtÞ ~

x_ þ ~ PðtÞ ¼ 0 ð2Þ

which is in turn a material property. The previously

in which x represents the vector of generalized nodal mentioned criterion for evaluating the energy dissi-

displacements, M the diagonal mass matrix; C the pated is based on the assumption that just one fracture

damping matrix, ~ F r ðtÞ the vector of internal forces act- can occur between two adjacent nodes, which is gener-

ing on the nodal masses and ~ PðtÞ the vector of external ally the case for small lengths Lc in static or pseudo-

forces. The explicit central ﬁnite diﬀerences scheme is static problems.1 Another important feature of the

used to integrate Eq. (2) in the time domain. Since the

nodal coordinates are altered at every time step, large 1

The material parameters are not independent on the mesh size.

displacements can be considered in a natural and In high velocity impact problems, for example, higher values of the

eﬃcient manner. The convergence of solutions speciﬁc fracture energy have to be used to account for the occurrence

obtained with discrete element method (DEM) in linear of multiple cracks between nodes.

1118 R.D. Rios, J.D. Riera / Engineering Structures 26 (2004) 1115–1125

such as E and Gf, are not constant throughout the struc- Material properties in numerical models

ture, but random ﬁelds. The characteristics of these ran- Property

dom ﬁelds are part of the so-called constitutive criteria E (Ec) (MPa) 2:5 10

of the material and inﬂuence its response under load. fck (MPa) 38

This work uses the spectral representation method for ftk (MPa) 3.80

the simulation of three-dimensional homogeneous E (Gf) (N m) 120.0

stochastic ﬁelds [34], which provides one value of the fsy (MPa) 495.0

CV(Gf) (%) 35

simulated variable at each point in a previously dis- CV(Ec) (%) 35

cretized ﬁeld. It is necessary to specify the stochastic q (Kg/m3) 2500

characteristics of the ﬁeld to be simulated, such as the m 0.20

power spectral density function Sf or the autocorrela- Lo (m) 0.02667

tion function Rf. The latter was herein assumed to be E( ) and CV denote expected value and coeﬃcient of variation,

an exponential function of distance, with a single para- respectively).

meter, the correlation length Lc. Although this is an

area of ongoing research, the speciﬁcation of each rel-

evant ﬁeld spectral content by means of a single para- points, as shown in Fig. 3. At points of load appli-

meter, its correlation length, seems to be suﬃcient for cation and at the supports, scaled steel plates were

engineering purposes. One of the authors determined ﬁxed with cement mortar to the beams, to distribute

the correlation length for the compressive strength of the loads and reactions.

concrete in bored piles, which was found to be equal to Ramallo et al. [28] introduced minor alterations in

2.5 times the maximum aggregate size. This may be the tests set-up, which are described below:

considered as indicative of the correlation lengths for

the ﬁelds that characterize E and Gf, for concrete, 1. To maintain the steel percentage constant, while

which are usually assumed to vary between two or using commercially available diameters, three

three times the maximum aggregate size. Various instead of two rebars were used in some of the

examples of the DEM used to model concrete and rein- models.

forced concrete structures may be found in [19–22]. 2. Concrete compressive strength was determined on

cylindrical rather than cubic specimens.

3. Loads were applied in ﬁve to seven increments, ver-

3. Experimental assessment of size eﬀect in ifying at each stage the degree of cracking. The evol-

reinforced concrete beams and discrete element ution of the applied loads with time is shown in

modeling of tested beams Fig. 4.

4. An electronic measuring system was used, which

One of the most valuable sets of data on the inﬂu- allowed a detailed monitoring of the response, not

ence of scale on the strength of reinforced concrete possible in the Sttuttgart tests.

structures is due to Leonhart et al. [28], who tested in

Sttuttgart four scaled models of a beam. Afterwards, The models used in the DEM simulations had the

Ramallo et al. [29–31] reproduced the Sttuttgart tests dimensions and reinforcement reported by Ramallo

in a carefully conducted experimental program. Herein, et al. [29–31]. In order to reproduce the laboratory

the DEM is used to numerically reproduce the experi- equipment, which was relatively stiﬀ, time-dependent

mental results mentioned above, which furnish impor- displacements were speciﬁed at the load application

tant evidence on size eﬀects in concrete. For such points, in accordance with the velocity of the hydraulic

purpose, the tests of Leonhart and Walther Series D system.

beams were simulated. Dimensions and material Table 1 indicates the parameters for the simulation

properties are indicated in Table 1. of the mechanical properties in the numerical studies,

The tested beams had full geometrical similarity, as well as the element sizes. The number of elements

with constant reinforcement ratio. Thus, the rebar dia- employed in the numerical simulation are presented in

meters were proportional to the exterior beam dimen- Table 2.

sions. The beams slenderness was l=h ¼ 100=15 ¼ 6:7. The reinforcement used by Ramallo et al. [29–31]

All dimensions kept the ratios D1:D2:D3:D4 equal to was simulated in the numerical models in detail. Note

1:2:3:4, respectively. Conformed and straight steel that there were slight diﬀerences in the reinforcement

rebars were used (Bst IIIb) with no shear reinforcement distribution between the Leonhart and Ramallo beams.

or stirrups. The diameters were 6, 12, 18 and 24 mm, Since Refs. [28–32] do not include information on the

respectively, which results in 1.62% steel ratio for all rate of loading, it was assumed that the points of

beams. Loads were applied symmetrically at two load application displaced with a constant velocity of

R.D. Rios, J.D. Riera / Engineering Structures 26 (2004) 1115–1125 1119

Fig. 4. Evolution of loads with time for the numerical models of beams D1 to D4.

1120 R.D. Rios, J.D. Riera / Engineering Structures 26 (2004) 1115–1125

Number of elements employed in numerical DEM models recorded (See Figs. 9–12). This suggests that the

Model M N L method of loading—applied loads or applied displace-

D1 28 3 4

ments—may in some structures result in perceptible

D2 55 5 7 diﬀerences in the experimentally determined load

D3 82 7 10 capacity.

D4 109 9 13

0.015 m/s, which should not perceptibly alter the

elements subjected to tension

response in relation to the velocities actually used in

the tests, but results in a signiﬁcant reduction of the Experimental studies of the size eﬀect typically

computational eﬀort. The time step in the explicit involve bodies subjected to homogeneous, uniaxial

numerical integration scheme was 4:9 106 s, which stress ﬁelds, in order to avoid the presence of other

assured numerical stability. potentially relevant factors, such as stress gradients. In

The predicted cracking patterns and deformations order to achieve this objective, Vliet et al. [33]

are shown in Figs. 5–8 for models D1, D2, D3, and employed samples with the form of a bone, which

D4, respectively. In these ﬁgures, elements that remain result in an approximately uniform tensile stress in its

linearly elastic and damaged elements are represented central region, where rupture occurs, thus avoiding the

in black and gray, respectively. Broken (failed) ele- inﬂuence of the grips that ﬁx the samples to the testing

ments were removed from the graphs. machine. In this section, the samples tested by Vliet

The dimensions of the beams tested in Sttuttgart and et al. [33] will be modeled using the DEM as further

Tucumán, as well as the experimental results, are sum- evidence of the reliability and robustness of the

marized in Table 5. The numerical predictions resulting approach. The testing samples were built with concrete

from the simulations with the DEM models are pre- with a maximum aggregate size of 8 mm and character-

sented in Table 6. The ultimate load (Pu) for each case istic cubic compressive strength equal to 50 MPa. The

is given in column 12, while column 13 indicates the thickness of all samples herein reported was 100 mm,

corresponding shear forces (Vu). The ultimate shear corresponding to the ﬁve larger samples tested by Vliet

stress, calculated by means of Eq. (3) is presented in et al. [33]. The length of the discrete elements in the

column 14, while the peak compressive stress in con- numerical analysis was Lo ¼ 0:02 m. The dimensions of

crete, deﬁned by Eq. (4) is presented in column 17 of the samples are indicated in Fig. 13. Vliet et al. [33]

Tables 3 and 4. performed four tests for each model size, in order to

assess the variability of the experimental results, which

Vu

s0 ¼ ð3Þ contain extremely relevant information. In this numeri-

0:85 b h cal study, the outcome of ﬁve or six simulations for

Msu each model size are reported. In the simulation analy-

rsu ¼ ð4Þ

b h2 sis, the testing conditions were reproduced as closely as

It is interesting to mention that a parallel numerical possible, including prescribed displacements of the

analysis was conducted to simulate the tests described hydraulic system of load application, with constant

above for applied loads, assumed to be linear functions rate throughout the tests. In this connection, it is

of time, rather than under the velocity controlled con- important to point out that the experimental displace-

ditions assumed above. Negligible diﬀerences in the ment rate was 0.028 lm/s, until displacements of the

values of the computed ultimate loads for the various order of 200–300 lm were reached. Such low velocity

beams were observed, but signiﬁcant changes in the would require an excessively long processing time,

Fig. 5. Crack patterns in model D1: (a) before peak load is reached and (b) at time when peak.

R.D. Rios, J.D. Riera / Engineering Structures 26 (2004) 1115–1125 1121

further reduced down to 0.048 mm/s, rate at which the

response appeared to the independent of the loading

rate and hence representative of the quasi-static experi-

mental conditions. The mechanical properties used in

the simulation of concrete are given in Table 5.

Fig. 14 presents the failure pattern for one simula-

tion of case D. The undamaged elements are repre-

sented in black, elements within the softening region in

gray and fractured elements eliminated from the graph.

Fig. 6. Crack patterns in model D2: (a) below the maximum load,

Note that on account of the shape selected in the

(b) at the time of failure and, (c) ﬁnal conﬁguration, after failure. experimental program, rupture occurs in the central

region of the model, fact that renders the numerical

modeling of the entire testing sample unnecessary.

which with an integration step Dt ¼ 3:0 106 s was The mean value of the failure stress obtained in the

not economically feasible for the available hardware. simulation study are presented in Table 6 and Fig. 15,

Fig. 7. Crack patterns in model D3: (a) below the maximum load, (b) at the time of failure and, (c) ﬁnal conﬁguration, after failure.

Fig. 8. Crack patterns in model D4: (a) below the maximum load, (b) ﬁnal conﬁguration, after failure.

Table 3

Dimensions, loads and stresses measured in beams tested in Stuttgart and Tucumán

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Laboratory Beam L av h b As l (%) fc M/Vh Pc Failure

(mm) (mm) (mm) (mm) (mm2) (MPa) (kN)

Pu (kN) Vu s0 Msu reu rsu Mean

(kN) (MPa) (kN m) (MPa) (MPa) (MPa)

Stuttgart, D1/1 520 210 70 50 2U6 1.71 38.0 3 5.33 14.9 7.4 2.48 1.56 434 6.34

Germany D1/2 520 210 70 50 2U6 1.71 38.0 3 4.48 14.7 7.3 2.44 1.54 428 6.28 6.31

D2/1 1040 420 140 100 2U12 1.66 38.2 3 12.0 43.2 21.6 1.82 9.1 323 4.65

D2/2 1040 420 140 100 2U12 1.66 38.2 3 11.2 47.4 23.7 1.99 9.9 352 5.05 4.85

D3/1 1560 630 210 150 2U18 1.62 39.4 3 24.0 94.6 47.3 1.77 29.8 319 4.50

D3/2 1560 630 210 150 2U18 1.62 39.4 3 22.0 90.8 43.7 1.63 27.5 294 4.16 4.33

D4/1 2080 840 280 200 2U24 1.67 36.1 3 36.9 151 75.5 1.59 63.4 278 4.04

D4/2 2080 840 280 200 2U24 1.67 36.1 3 31.0 141 72.7 1.53 61.0 268 3.89 3.96

Tucumán, D1/1 520 210 70 50 2U6 1.60 37.3 3 4.67 13.8 6.9 2.3 1.45 435 5.92 –

Argentina D2/1 1040 420 140 100 2U12 1.61 37.3 3 11.4 52.5 26.3 2.21 11.0 409 5.61 –

D3/1 1560 630 210 150 2U16 1.63 37.3 3 22.9 93.1 46.6 1.74 29.4 320 4.44 –

1U12

D4/1 2080 840 280 200 3U20 1.68 37.3 3 38.0 147.5 73.8 1.55 62.0 277 3.95 –

1122 R.D. Rios, J.D. Riera / Engineering Structures 26 (2004) 1115–1125

Table 4

Data for simulation analysis and computed response

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Beam L av h b As l (%) fc M/Vh Pc Failure

(mm) (mm) (mm) (mm) (mm2) (MPa) (kN)

Pu Vu s0 Msu reu rsu Mean

(kN) (kN) (MPa) (kN m) (MPa) (MPa) (MPa)

Simulation D1/1 520 210 70 50 2U6 1.60 37.3 3 6.87 13.8 6.9 2.31 1.45 – 5.06 –

D2/1 1040 420 140 100 2U12 1.61 37.3 3 8.16 51.5 25.75 2.16 10.81 – 5.51 –

D3/1 1560 630 210 150 2U16 1.63 37.3 3 25.0 91.6 45.8 1.71 28.85 – 4.36 –

D4/1 2080 840 280 200 3U20 1.68 37.3 3 34.9 145.5 72.75 1.53 61.11 – 3.87 –

Fig. 9. Crack patterns in model D1: (a) below the maximum load, (b) at the time of failure and, (c) ﬁnal conﬁguration, after failure.

Fig. 10. Crack patterns in model D2: (a) below the maximum load, (b) at the time of failure and, (c) ﬁnal conﬁguration, after failure.

which include the experimental values reported by van model representation is capable of quantifying size

Vliet et al. [33]. It may be seen that the agreement is eﬀects due to the combined inﬂuence of materials het-

excellent, not only in terms of expected values but also erogeneity and fracture. Fig. 16 shows the reduction of

in terms of inherent variability. This global agreement the ultimate stress in concrete with a reference dimen-

conﬁrms that the present approach may be reliably sion of the model (h, for example). Exponential

used to predict the inﬂuence of size eﬀects on the regression models for the experimental and theoretical

response of plain or reinforced concrete structures sub- results are also indicated in the ﬁgure. The regression

jected to arbitrary loading conditions. coeﬃcients are almost identical. Similar information in

connection with the shear stress at failure is presented

5. Comments on the predictions of size eﬀects on in Fig. 17, while Fig. 18 shows the evolution of the

structural response ultimate load with the reference length h, for both the

tested and simulated structures. Similar behavior is

The results presented in the last two sections clearly observed in plain concrete or in mortar subjected to

show that the numerical analysis with the discrete tensile stresses, as shown in Fig. 15. The correlation

R.D. Rios, J.D. Riera / Engineering Structures 26 (2004) 1115–1125 1123

Fig. 11. Cracking patterns for model D3 under applied loading: (a) before reaching the ultimate load, (b) and (c) rupture conﬁgurations.

Fig. 12. Cracking patterns for model D4 under applied loading: (a) before reaching the ultimate load, (b) rupture conﬁgurations.

Table 5

evidence due to Vliet et al. [33] is also excellent, both in Mechanical properties of concrete in numerical analysis

terms of expected value and standard deviation.

Property

It is germane to recall at this point that the model of

reinforced concrete structures employed in the analysis fck (MPa) 45

ftk (MPa) 4.5

does not account for bond failure of the steel rebars, or E(Ec) (N/m2) 3:5 10

for the inﬂuence of their bending stiﬀness, as for E(Gf) (N/m) 100.00

example, in the so-called dowel action. Moreover, slid- q (kg/m3) 2400

ing with friction along pre-existing fractures, which m 0.18

CV(Gf) 0.30

plays an important role in the unloading branch of the CV(Ec) 0.30

apparent stress–strain curve of concrete in the uniaxial Lo (m) 0.02

compression test, is expected to be characterized by a Rf 1.15

diﬀerent size eﬀect law. None of these eﬀects is con- (E( ) and CV denote expected value and coeﬃcient of variation,

sidered relevant in the examples presented. respectively).

1124 R.D. Rios, J.D. Riera / Engineering Structures 26 (2004) 1115–1125

Table 6

Comparison of numerical simulation with experimental results: mean

and S.D. (in brackets)

DEM

DEM van Vliet [33]

B 2.83 (0.180) 2.97 (0.180) 17.0 (1.810)

C 2.78 (0.150) 2.75 (0.210) 33.3 (4.200)

D 2.31 (0.035) 2.30 (0.090) 55.5 (0.900)

E 2.16 (0.130) 2.07 (0.120) 104.0 (6.207)

F 1.88 (0.091) 1.86 (0.160) 179.0 (8.710)

Fig. 16. Relation between the ultimate compressive stress and the

size of the model.

Fig. 17. Relation between the ultimate shear stress and the size of

the model.

Fig. 18. Relation between the ultimate load and the size of the

model.

6. Conclusions

accounted for in the numerical determination of the

static or dynamic response of structures if (a) the het-

erogeneous nature of the materials involved and (b) the

energy dissipated by fracture, are correctly modeled.

The discrete element approach (DEM) presents for

Fig. 15. Relation between nominal failure stress and size of element. such purposes distinct advantages, shared by other

R.D. Rios, J.D. Riera / Engineering Structures 26 (2004) 1115–1125 1125

numerical methods, in relation to Continuum Mech- [16] Morquio A, Riera JD. Size and strain rate eﬀects in the mechan-

anics formulations, in its simplicity and facility of com- ical properties of materials. SMiRT 17. Transactions of the 17th

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from the task of establishing the characteristic lengths [17] Morquio A, Riera JD. Size and strain rate eﬀects in steel struc-

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shells subjected to impulsive loading, 179. Amsterdam: Nuclear

structures, as for instance, reinforced concrete, or for Engineering and Design; 1998, p. 135–44.

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