Journal article

Post-tensioned girders with low amounts of shear reinforcement: Shear strength and influence of flanges

Assessing the strength of existing structures has become a major issue for structural engineers. Such analyses are often performed after changes of use of the structure or due to new design codes requirements. This is particularly relevant with respect to the shear strength of post-tensioned concrete bridges. Such structures were often designed in the past with fairly low amounts of shear reinforcement and do not comply with current code requirements in terms of amount of transverse reinforcement or shear strength. However, it should be noted that codes of practice cover the design of a wide range of cases and sometimes neglect some load-carrying actions or may be too conservative for assessing others. Therefore, the use of more refined models may potentially increase the predicted shear resistance and avoid unnecessary strengthening of existing structures. In this paper, an investigation on the behaviour of post-tensioned beams with low amounts of shear reinforcement and flanges is presented. First, the results of an experimental programme on twelve reinforced concrete beams (10.0 m long, 0.78 m high) failing in shear are described. The test series is used to analyse the most significant parameters influencing the shear strength and the failure modes. Its results are compared to a number of design codes showing different levels of accuracy. The test results are finally compared to the results of analyses based on elastic–plastic stress fields. This technique shows excellent results when compared to the test results and allows investigating on the role of the various shear-carrying actions, of the prestressing level and on the transverse reinforcement amount with respect to the various potential failure modes.

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