Mechanics-based modeling of strength distribution of concrete structures: Problems and progress

Jia Liang Le, Zdenêk P. Bazant

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


This paper reviews a recently developed finite weakest link model of strength of concrete structures, which fail under controlled load at macro-crack initiation from one representative volume element (RVE). The probability distribution of RVE strength is derived from the well-established transition rate theory and a hierarchical multi-scale transition model. The model predicts that the strength distribution of concrete structures depends on the structure size and geometry, transiting from a predominantly Gaussian distribution to a Weibull distribution as the structure size increases. It is shown that the present model agrees well with the strength histograms of Portland cement mortar measured by Weibull, which consistently deviate from the classical Weibull distribution. The importance of size effect for the reliability analysis of large concrete structures is then demonstrated through the analysis of the failure of the Malpsset Dam. Both the present model and the available experimental data invalidate the three-parameter Weibull distribution for concrete structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-115
Number of pages23
JournalAmerican Concrete Institute, ACI Special Publication
Issue numberSP 300
StatePublished - 2015
EventFracture Mechanics Applications in Concrete at the ACI Spring 2012 Convention - Dallas, United States
Duration: Mar 18 2012Mar 22 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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