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Computers and Concrete
  Volume 22, Number 3, September 2018 , pages 337-353

Behaviour of steel-fibre-reinforced concrete beams under high-rate loading
Pegah Behinaein, Demetrios M. Cotsovos and Ali A. Abbas

    The present study focuses on examining the structural behaviour of steel-fibre-reinforced concrete (SFRC) beams under high rates of loading largely associated with impact problems. Fibres are added to the concrete mix to enhance ductility and energy absorption, which is important for impact-resistant design. A simple, yet practical non-linear finite-element analysis (NLFEA) model was used in the present study. Experimental static and impact tests were also carried out on beams spanning 1.3 meter with weights dropped from heights of 1.5 m and 2.5 m, respectively. The numerical model realistically describes the fullybrittle tensile behaviour of plain concrete as well as the contribution of steel fibres to the post-cracking response (the latter was allowed for by conveniently adjusting the constitutive relations for plain concrete, mainly in uniaxial tension). Suitable material relations (describing compression, tension and shear) were selected for SFRC and incorporated into ABAQUS software Brittle Cracking concrete model. A more complex model (i.e., the Damaged Plasticity concrete model in ABAQUS) was also considered and it was found that the seemingly simple (but fundamental) Brittle Cracking model yielded reliable results. Published data obtained from drop-weight experimental tests on RC and SFRC beams indicates that there is an increase in the maximum load recorded (compared to the corresponding static one) and a reduction in the portion of the beam span reacting to the impact load. However, there is considerable scatter and the specimens were often tested to complete destruction and thus yielding post-failure characteristics of little design value and making it difficult to pinpoint the actual load-carrying capacity and identify the associated true ultimate limit state (ULS). To address this, dynamic NLFEA was employed and the impact load applied was reduced gradually and applied in pulses to pinpoint the actual failure point. Different case studies were considered covering impact loading responses at both the material and structural levels as well as comparisons between RC and SFRC specimens. Steel fibres were found to increase the load-carrying capacity and deformability by offering better control over the cracking process concrete undergoes and allowing the impact energy to be absorbed more effectively compared to conventional RC members. This is useful for impact-resistant design of SFRC beams.
Key Words
    steel fibres; concrete; finite elements; nonlinear analysis; impact loading; cracking; loading rate
Pegah Behinaein and Demetrios M. Cotsovos: Institute of Infrastructure and Environment, School of the Built Environment, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh EH14 4AS, UK
Ali A. Abbas: School of Architecture, Computing and Engineering, University of East London, London E16 2RD, UK

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