Journal article

Interaction between Bond and Deviation Forces in Spalling Failures of Arch-Shaped Members without Transverse Reinforcement

This paper investigates the structural behavior of reinforced concrete (RC) arch-shaped members without transverse reinforcement subjected to bending. Such members have typical applications in tunnels, cut-and-cover structures, shells, vaults, ducts, silos, tanks, and off-shore structures. Although such members are mostly subjected to axial forces, bending moments may also develop when the shape of the structure does not perfectly match the ideal funicular shape. In this case, when the intrados reinforcement is in tension, deviation forces developed by the reinforcement increase the splitting stresses originated by bond and can lead to spalling of the reinforcement cover. Such a failure mode is particularly brittle and dangerous, leading to a sudden loss of load-carrying capacity of the structure. In this paper, a series of six tests on 400 mm (15.7 in.) thick arch-shaped beams are presented. They are aimed at investigating spalling failures before and after yielding of the tensile reinforcement. These results, as well as others taken from the literature, were compared to an analytical model accounting for the interaction between bond and deviation forces, showing a good agreement and explaining the various failure modes observed. On that basis, a practical formula for the design of such members is proposed.

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