Finite strain tube-squash test of concrete at high pressures and shear angles up to 70 degrees

Zdenek P. Bazant, Jang Jay H Kim, Michele Brocca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Although the existing triaxial tests and confined uniaxial-strain compression tests achieve high pressures, they cannot achieve large shear strains or deviatoric normal strains that are observed in some types of collapse of structures caused by missile impact, explosions, and earthquakes, or in explosive injection of anchors. A new type of concrete test, called the tube-squash test, that achieves, without fracturing under high pressures, enormous shear, and deviatoric strains, is developed. Tubes 76.2 and 63.5 mm (3.0 and 2.5 in.) in diameter, with wall thicknesses of 14.22 amd 12.7 mm (0.56 and 0.50 in.), made of highly ductile steel alloy, are filled with concrete. After curing, they are squashed in a high-capacity compression testing machine to 1/2 their original length, forcing the tubes to bulge. Normal and high-strength concretes at hydrostatic pressures of approximately 125 MPa (15,630 psi) are found to be remarkably ductile, capable of sustaining shear angles over 70 degrees without visually detectable cracks or voids, though significant distributed mechanical damage does take place. Tests of cores drilled out from squashed tubes show that, after such enormous deformation, the concrete still retains approximately 25 to 35% of its initial uniaxial compression strength and initial stiffness, and approximately 10 to 20% of its initial split-cylinder tensile strength. What makes the tube-squash test meaningful is the development of a relatively simple method of test results analysis that avoids solving the inverse nonlinear finite strain problem with finite elements despite high nonuniformity of the strain field. Approximate stress-strain diagrams of concrete at such large shear angles and strains are obtained by finite strain analysis of the middle cross section utilizing the measured lateral expansion, axial shortening, and bulge profile. The finite strain triaxial plastic constitutive law of the steel alloy needs to be determined first, and a method to do that is also formulated. Approximate stress-strain diagrams and internal friction angles of concrete are deduced from the test without making any hypotheses about its constitutive equation. Tests of tubes filled by hardened portland cement paste and cement mortar, as well as tubes with a snugly-fitted limestone insert, show similar ductile shear strains and residual strengths. A separate paper documents good agreement of the present simplified method with finite element analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)580-592
Number of pages13
JournalACI Materials Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1999


  • Concretes
  • Ductility
  • Strains

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • General Materials Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Finite strain tube-squash test of concrete at high pressures and shear angles up to 70 degrees'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this