Fracture energy approach for predicting cracking of reinforced concrete tensile members

Chengsheng Ouyang*, Surendra P. Shah

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


A fracture energy approach based on nonlinear fracture mechanics is proposed to predict cracking of reinforced concrete members subjected to tension. In the proposed model, concrete is considered as a quasi-brittle material, and its cohesive nature in the fracture process was taken into account by a rising fracture resistance curve (R-curve). To predict fracture response of a reinforced concrete tensile member, the fracture energy required for crack propagating in the corresponding plain concrete member with the same dimension and material properties was first evaluated using an R-curve approach. The strain energy, the debonding energy, and the sliding energy on the debonded interface of steel bars and concrete were then calculated. By balancing these energies dissipated during cracking, cracking behavior of the reinforced concrete member can be predicted. The proposed approach shows a good agreement with experimental results reported in different studies. The influence of the size effect on cracking behavior is discussed. A closed-form solution is derived to predict the minimum reinforcement ratio for tensile members, and this minimum reinforcement ratio is shown to depend on the size of the members.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-78
Number of pages10
JournalACI Structural Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Materials Science(all)


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