Experimental and analytical assessment of ductility in lightly reinforced concrete members

K. A. Cashell, A. Y. Elghazouli, B. A. Izzuddin

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


This paper is concerned with the ultimate behaviour of lightly reinforced concrete members under extreme loading conditions. Although the consideration given to the assessment of ductility is of general relevance to various applications, it is of particular importance to conditions resembling those occurring during severe building fires. The main purpose of the investigation is to examine the failure of idealised members representing isolated strips within composite floor slabs which become lightly reinforced in a simulated fire situation due to the early loss of the steel deck. An experimental study, focusing on the failure state associated with rupture of the reinforcement in idealised concrete members, is presented. The tests enable direct assessment of the influence of a number of important parameters such as the reinforcement type, properties and ratio on the ultimate response. The results of several tests also facilitate a detailed examination of the distribution of bond stresses along the length. After describing the experimental arrangements and discussing the main test results, the paper introduces a simplified analytical model that can be used to represent the member response up to failure. The model is validated and calibrated through comparisons against the test results as well as more detailed nonlinear finite element simulations. The results and observations from this investigation offer an insight into the key factors that govern the ultimate behaviour. More importantly, the analytical model permits the development of simple expressions which capture the influence of salient parameters such as bond characteristics and reinforcement properties, for predicting the ductility of this type of member. With due consideration of the findings from other complementary experimental and analytical studies on full slab elements under ambient and elevated temperatures, this work represents a proposed basis for developing quantified failure criteria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2729-2743
Number of pages15
JournalEngineering Structures
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2010


  • Bond-slip
  • Ductility
  • Failure criteria
  • Laboratory tests
  • Lightly reinforced members
  • Nonlinear analysis
  • Reinforced concrete

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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