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Structural Engineering and Mechanics
  Volume 58, Number 5, June10 2016, pages 799-823

Numerical simulation of reinforced concrete nuclear containment under extreme loads
Jorge Luis Palomino Tamayo and Armando Miguel Awruch

    A finite element model for the non-linear dynamic analysis of a reinforced concrete (RC) containment shell of a nuclear power plant subjected to extreme loads such as impact and earthquake is presented in this work. The impact is modeled by using an uncoupled approach in which a load function is applied at the impact zone. The earthquake load is modeled by prescribing ground accelerations at the base of the structure. The nuclear containment is discretized spatially by using 20-node brick finite elements. The concrete in compression is modeled by using a modified Drücker-Prager elasto-plastic constitutive law where strain rate effects are considered. Cracking of concrete is modeled by using a smeared cracking approach where the tension-stiffening effect is included via a strain-softening rule. A model based on fracture mechanics, using the concept of constant fracture energy release, is used to relate the strain softening effect to the element size in order to guaranty mesh independency in the numerical prediction. The reinforcing bars are represented by incorporated membrane elements with a von Mises elasto-plastic law. Two benchmarks are used to verify the numerical implementation of the present model. Results are presented graphically in terms of displacement histories and cracking patterns. Finally, the influence of the shear transfer model used for cracked concrete as well as the effect due to a base slab incorporation in the numerical modeling are analyzed.
Key Words
    reinforced concrete structures (RC); finite element method (FEM); impact and seismic loads
Jorge Luis Palomino Tamayo: Center of Applied Mechanics and Computational (CEMACOM), Engineering School of Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Av. Osvaldo Aranha 99-3o Floor, 90035-190, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
Armando Miguel Awruch: Department of Civil Engineering, Engineering School Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Av. Osvaldo Aranha 99-3o Floor, 90035-190, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil

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