How simple can nonlinear finite element modelling be for structural concrete?
This paper discusses on the required level of simplicity for suitable modelling of structural concrete. Traditional equilibrium-based approaches (as strut-and-tie models) are too coarse in some cases, as they account for the cracking state of concrete in a sometimes excessively simplified manner. The alternative of complex nonlinear numerical modelling is also not always satisfactory for design as the number of parameters required, their definition and the sensitivity of the structural response to them is complex and requires a high level of experience. Contrary to these approaches, this paper introduces the elastic plastic stress field method. This method is grounded on the theory of plasticity but allows considering deformation compatibility. The results are consistent both in terms of the strength and deformation field of the member. It also has the advantage of requiring only two physical material properties (modulus of elasticity and plastic strength) which can be easily determined by designers.