Fracture size effect: Review of evidence for concrete structures

Zdenĕk P. Bažant, Joško Ožbolt, Rolf Eligehausen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The paper reviews experimental evidence on the size effect caused by energy release due to fracture growth during brittle failures of concrete structures. The experimental evidence has by now become quite extensive. The size effect is verified for diagonal shear failure and torsional failure of longitudinally reinforced beams without stirrups, punching shear failure of slabs, pull-out failures of deformed bars and of headed anchors, failure of short and slender tied columns, double-punch compression failure and for part of the range also the splitting failure of concrete cylinders in the Brazilian test. Although much of this experimental evidence has been obtained with smaller laboratory specimens and concrete of reduced aggregate size, some significant evidence now also exists for normal-size structures made with normal-size aggregate. There is also extensive and multifaceted theoretical support. A nonloca] finite element code based on the microplane model is shown to be capable of correctly simulating the existing experimental data on the size effect. More experimental data for large structures with normal-size aggregate are needed to strengthen the existing verification and improve the calibration of the theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2377-2398
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Structural Engineering (United States)
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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