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Structural Engineering and Mechanics
  Volume 53, Number 1, January10 2015, pages 173-188

Strain and crack development in continuous reinforced concrete slabs subjected to catenary action
Dirk Gouverneur, Robby Caspeeleand Luc Taerwe

    Several structural calamities in the second half of the 20th century have shown that adequate collapse-resistance cannot be achieved by designing the individual elements of a structure without taking their interconnectivity into consideration. It has long been acknowledged that membrane behaviour of reinforced concrete structures can significantly increase the robustness of a structure and delay a complete collapse. An experimental large-scale test was conducted on a horizontally restrained, continuous reinforced concrete slab exposed to an artificial failure of the central support and subsequent loading until collapse of the specimen. Within this investigation the development of catenary action associated with the formation of large displacements was observed to increase the ultimate load capacity of the specimen significantly. The development of displacements, strains and horizontal forces within this investigation confirmed a load transfer process from an elastic bending mechanism to a tension controlled catenary mechanism. In this contribution a special focus is directed towards strain and crack development at critical sections. The results of this contribution are of particular importance when validating numerical models related to the development of catenary action in concrete slabs.
Key Words
    concrete; slabs; robustness; membrane actions; real-scale testing
Dirk Gouverneur, Robby Caspeeleand Luc Taerwe: Department of Structural Engineering, Ghent University, Technologiepark-Zwijnaarde 904, 9052 Ghent, Belgium

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