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Engineering Structures 28 (2006) 19191926

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Finite element modeling of concrete beams prestressed with external tendons
Tie-jiong Lou

, Yi-qiang Xiang
Department of Civil Engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, China
Received 26 July 2005; received in revised form 6 March 2006; accepted 15 March 2006
Available online 8 May 2006
Abstract
In this study, a numerical model based on the nite element method incorporating an arc-length solution algorithm for materially and
geometrically nonlinear analysis of concrete beams prestressed with external tendons is established. The second-order effects are taken into
account. The effects of external tendons are expressed by equivalent nodal loads of the beam element and therefore analysis of externally
prestressed concrete beams can be conducted with the ordinary bonded concrete beams. The section tangent stiffness matrix is derived by the
layered approach, and then the nonlinear beam exural theory is utilized to determine the element tangent stiffness matrix. An updated normal
plane arc-length solution algorithm is used to trace the nonlinear response of the beams from zero loads up to ultimate loads. This algorithm can
deal well with the changes of response during loading, so that the possible limit points on the loaddeection response prior to the ultimate limit
state can be easily passed. Results predicted by the analysis are in good agreement with the experimental data.
c 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Externally prestressed concrete beam; Nonlinear analysis; Finite element; Arc-length algorithm
1. Introduction
In an external tendon system, the prestressing tendons
are located outside the concrete section and the prestressing
force is transferred to concrete through end anchorages and
deviators. External prestressing has been extensively used in
the new construction of various engineering structures and
is also considered one of the most efcient approaches for
strengthening of existing bridges [1,2]. Many experimental
studies on the behavior of externally prestressed members
have been conducted [310], whereas few numerical analyses
of these structures have been undertaken so far. Analysis
of beams prestressed with external tendons is much more
complicated than that of bonded concrete beams. As for
bonded concrete beams, a complete bond between steel
and its surrounding concrete is always assumed, and then
analysis can be easily performed based on the plane section
hypothesis [11]. On the other hand, for an external tendon
system, the strain compatibility between the tendons and the
surrounding concrete is no longer valid, and therefore analysis
should be based on the deformation of the whole member.
Although several numerical models have been developed in

Corresponding author.
recent years, most of these models have limitations. Harajli
et al. [12] adopted a numerical analysis based on the
incremental deformation method, which calculates the strain
change in tendons by integrating the strain of concrete at the
level of the tendons between the anchorages. The analytical
model didnt consider the concrete tension stiffening after
cracking. Wu and Lv [13] proposed a microscopic nite
element model for nonlinear full-range analysis of externally
prestressed structures, which is capable of simulating the slip
and the friction between external tendons and deviators, but
the analytical procedure was too complicated and the element
number was extremely large. El-Ariss [14] outlined a simplied
model similar to the model developed by Ariyawardena and
Ghali [15]. In this model, the externally prestressed concrete
structures were idealized as an assemblage of beam elements
and truss elements. However, the stability of the computational
results was questionable because the reference axis where the
beam elements were located was chosen arbitrarily.
In this paper, an analytical model for analysis of beams
prestressed with external tendons is developed. The model
is based on the nite element method and accounts for
deformation compatibility of the entire member, and material
and geometrical nonlinearities. The effects of external tendons
are converted into equivalent nodal loads of the beam
0141-0296/$ - see front matter c 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.engstruct.2006.03.020
1920 T.-j. Lou, Y.-q. Xiang / Engineering Structures 28 (2006) 19191926
element [16]. An arc-length solution algorithm is incorporated
into the analytical procedure to trace the response of the
beams throughout the whole loading history. This algorithm
can deal well with the changes of response such as cracking
of the concrete in tension, strain softening of the concrete in
compression and yielding of the steel, so that the possible limit
points on the loaddeection response prior to the ultimate limit
state can be easily passed.
2. Assumptions
The following assumptions are used in the current analytical
study:
(1) Plane section remains plane after bending.
(2) Perfect bond exists between the bonded steel and
surrounding concrete.
(3) The stressstrain relationship for concrete in compression
suggested by Hognestad [17] is adopted in this study. It
is composed of a parabolic ascending branch and a linear
descending branch, as shown in Fig. 1(a) and indicated by Eqs.
(1a) and (1b).
For
c

0
,
f
c
= f

c
_
2
c

0
_
2
_
. (1a)
For
0
<
c

u
,
f
c
= f

c
_
1 0.15
_

c

0

u

0
__
(1b)
where f

c
= concrete cylinder compressive strength;
0
=
concrete strain corresponding to stress f

c
; and
u
= ultimate
concrete compressive strain.
(4) The stressstrain relation for concrete in tension is assumed
to be composed of a linearly ascending branch before cracking
and a linearly descending branch after cracking up to zero
stress, as shown in Fig. 1(b). where E
c
= elastic modulus of the
concrete; f
t
=concrete tensile strength;
cr
=concrete cracking
strain corresponding to f
t
; and
tu
= ultimate concrete tensile
strain.
(5) The stressstrain relationship for prestressing steel is
expressed by the Menegotto and Pinto [18] equation as follows:
f
p
= E
p

p
_
Q +
1 Q
{1 + [
p
E
p
/(K f
py
)]
R
}
1/R
_
(2)
where E
p
= elastic modulus of the prestressing steel; f
py
=
yield stress of the prestressing steel; and K, Q and R are
empirical parameters whose values are respectively 1.0618,
0.01174 and 7.344 for the Grade 270, 7-wire strands.
(6) The stressstrain relationship for ordinary reinforcing steel
is assumed to be elastic-perfectly plastic in both tension and
compression, as shown in Fig. 2, where E
s
= elastic modulus
of the ordinary reinforcing steel; and f
y
= yield strength of the
ordinary reinforcing steel.
(7) The effects of shear and torsion deformations are neglected.
(8) The friction forces between external tendons and deviators
are neglected.
Fig. 1. Stressstrain curve of concrete: (a) compression region; (b) tension
region.
Fig. 2. Stressstrain curve of ordinary reinforcing steel.
3. Finite element formulation
A nonlinear plane beam element is utilized to develop the
analytical model for externally prestressed concrete beams.
The effects of external tendons are converted into equivalent
nodal loads of a beam element [16]. Therefore, analysis can
be performed with conventional bonded concrete structures and
the analytical process is signicantly simplied.
3.1. Displacement mode of beam element
A plane beam element with two end nodes i and j deformed
in local coordinate system (x, y), as shown in Fig. 3, is used.
Let l be element length before deformation, and u, v be x,
y displacements of any point in the element, respectively.
T.-j. Lou, Y.-q. Xiang / Engineering Structures 28 (2006) 19191926 1921
Fig. 3. Beam element before and after deformations.
Assuming u is a linear function of x, and v is a cubic function
of x:
u = A
0
+ A
1
x (3a)
v = B
0
+ B
1
x + B
2
x
2
+ B
3
x
3
(3b)
where A
0
B
3
are coefcients determined by element bound-
ary condition. Displacements u and v can be expressed in terms
of element nodal displacements using a matrix notation as:
f = Nu
e
(4)
where
f = [u, v]
T
, u
e
= [u
i
, v
i
, v

i
, u
j
, v
j
, v

j
]
T
(5)
N =
_
N
1
0 0 N
4
0 0
0 N
2
N
3
0 N
5
N
6
_
(6)
N
1
= 1
1
l
x, N
2
= 1
3
l
2
x
2
+
2
l
3
x
3
,
N
3
= x
2
l
x
2
+
1
l
2
x
3
N
4
=
1
l
x, N
5
=
3
l
2
x
2

2
l
3
x
3
, N
6
=
1
l
x
2
+
1
l
2
x
3
.
3.2. Section tangent stiffness equation
Fig. 4 shows a concrete cross section symmetrical with
respect to the y-axis, and having some arrangement of bonded
prestressing and ordinary reinforcing steel. The cross section is
divided into a number of layers. Concrete strain in each layer is
assumed to be uniformly distributed and equal to the strain at
the center of the layer.
According to section equilibrium conditions, the stress
resultants N and M can be expressed as follows
N =

i
f
ci
A
ci
+

j
( f
s j
f
cs j
)A
s j
+

k
( f
bpk
f
cbpk
)A
bpk
(7a)
M =

i
f
ci
y
ci
A
ci
+

j
( f
s j
f
cs j
)y
s j
A
s j
+

k
( f
bpk
f
cbpk
)y
bpk
A
bpk
(7b)
where f , A and y correspond to stress, area and vertical
coordinate, respectively; subscripts ci , s j and bpk correspond
Fig. 4. Bonded concrete section divided by the layered method.
to the i th concrete layer, j th ordinary reinforcing steel and kth
bonded prestressing steel, respectively; subscript cs j and cbpk
correspond to concrete at the level of j th ordinary reinforcing
steel and concrete at the level of kth bonded prestressing steel,
respectively.
Differentiating Eqs. (7a) and (7b) gives
dN =

i
d f
ci
A
ci
+

j
d( f
s j
f
cs j
)A
s j
+

k
d( f
bpk
f
cbpk
)A
bpk
=

i
E
Tci
(d
ci
)A
ci
+

j
(E
Ts j
E
Tcs j
)(d
s j
)A
s j
+

k
(E
Tbpk
E
Tcbpk
)(d
bpk
)A
bpk
(8a)
dM =

i
d f
ci
y
ci
A
ci
+

j
d( f
s j
f
cs j
)y
s j
A
s j
+

k
d( f
bpk
f
cbpk
)y
bpk
A
bpk
=

i
E
Tci
(d
ci
)y
ci
A
ci
+

j
(E
Ts j
E
Tcs j
)(d
s j
)y
s j
A
s j
+

k
(E
Tbpk
E
Tcbpk
)(d
bpk
)y
bpk
A
bpk
(8b)
where E
T
= tangent modulus of constitutive materials; and =
strain.
According to the plane section hypothesis, the strain at any
ber of the section is given by
=
O
+ y (9)
where
O
= strain at the centroid of the cross section; and =
curvature corresponding to the moment M.
Differentiating Eq. (9) yields
d = d
O
+ y d. (10)
Substituting (10) into (8) yields the section tangent stiffness
equation in a matrix notation
dH = D
T
dC or
_
dN
dM
_
=
_
d
11
d
12
d
21
d
22
_ _
d
O
d
_
(11)
1922 T.-j. Lou, Y.-q. Xiang / Engineering Structures 28 (2006) 19191926
where
H = [N, M]
T
; C = [
O
, ]
T
(12)
d
11
=

i
E
ci
A
ci
+

j
(E
s j
E
cs j
)A
s j
+

k
(E
bpk
E
cbpk
)A
bpk
(13a)
d
12
= d
21
=

i
E
ci
y
ci
A
ci
+

j
(E
s j
E
cs j
)y
s j
A
s j
+

k
(E
bpk
E
cbpk
)y
bpk
A
bpk
(13b)
d
22
=

i
E
ci
y
2
ci
A
ci
+

j
(E
s j
E
cs j
)y
2
s j
A
s j
+

k
(E
bpk
E
cbpk
)y
2
bpk
A
bpk
. (13c)
3.3. Element tangent stiffness equation
Axial strain
O
and section curvature can be expressed as
derivatives of u and v while the high-order derivative is ignored
C =
_

O

_
T
=
_
u

+ (v

)
2
/2 v

_
T
(14)
Combining Eqs. (4) and (14), the following strain-nodal
displacement transition equation can be obtained
C = (B
L
+B
N
/2)u
e
(15)
where
B
L
=
_
N

1
0 0 N

4
0 0
0 N

2
N

3
0 N

5
N

6
_
;
B
N
=
_
1 0
_
T
u
eT
J
T
J
(16)
J =
_
0 N

2
N

3
0 N

5
N

6
_
. (17)
Variational form of Eq. (15) is
C = (B
L
+B
N
)u
e
. (18)
Based on the virtual work principle, the following element force
equilibrium equation can be established
u
eT
P
e
=
_
l
0
C
T
Hdx (19)
where P
e
= element equivalent nodal loads.
Substituting Eq. (18) into Eq. (19) yields
P
e
=
_
l
0
(B
L
+B
N
)
T
Hdx. (20)
Differentiating Eq. (20) gives
dP
e
=
_
l
0
[(B
L
+B
N
)
T
dH] dx +
_
l
0
(dB
T
N
H)dx. (21)
Substituting Eqs. (11) and (18) into Eq. (21) yields the
element tangent stiffness equation as follows:
dP
e
= (K
e
L
+K
e
N
+K
e
S
) du
e
(22)
where
K
e
L
=
_
l
0
B
T
L
D
T
B
L
dx (23a)
K
e
N
=
_
l
0
(B
T
L
D
T
B
N
+B
T
N
D
T
B
L
+B
T
N
D
T
B
N
) dx (23b)
K
e
S
=
_
l
0
NJ
T
J dx. (23c)
4. Solution algorithm
An updated normal plane arc-length solution algorithm [19]
is adopted in this study to trace the nonlinear response of the
beams from zero loads until ultimate failure. This algorithm
can deal well with the changes of response such as cracking
of the concrete in tension, strain softening of the concrete in
compression and yielding of the steel, so that the possible limit
points prior to the ultimate limit state can be easily passed.
As in displacement control, the arc-length solution
procedure treats the load factor as an additional variable. In
each step, the predicted vector for the i th iteration is dened as
t
i
= (u
i
,
i
P) (24)
in which P is the specied nodal load;
i
and u
i
are
the incremental load factor and incremental displacements,
respectively, after the i th iteration.
The iterative vector between i th and (i + 1)th iterations is
dened as
n
i
= (u
i
,
i
P) (25)
where
u
i
= u
i +1
u
i
(26a)

i
=
i +1

i
. (26b)
Let the iterative vector be normal to the predicted vector:
t
T
i
n
i
= 0. (27)
Substituting Eqs. (24) and (25) into Eq. (27) yields the arc-
length constraint equation as:
u
T
i
u
i
+
i

i
P
T
P = 0. (28)
To keep the symmetric banded nature of the system stiffness
matrix, u
i
is dismembered into two parts as:
u
i
= K
1
i
(R
i
+
i
P) = u
I
+
i
u
II
(29)
where
u
I
= K
1
i
R
i
, u
II
= K
1
i
P (30)
in which K
i
is the member tangent stiffness matrix for the
(i +1)th iteration; and R
i
is the out-of-balance load immediately
after the i th iteration.
Substituting Eq. (29) into Eq. (28) gives

i
=
u
T
i
u
I
u
T
i
u
II
+
i
P
T
P
. (31)
T.-j. Lou, Y.-q. Xiang / Engineering Structures 28 (2006) 19191926 1923
Fig. 5. Element division of externally prestressed concrete beam.
The desired incremental displacements and incremental load
factor for the (i +1)th iteration can be respectively acquired by
u
i +1
= u
i
+ u
I
+
i
u
II
(32a)

i +1
=
i
+
i
. (32b)
5. Effects of external tendons
An externally prestressed concrete beam is divided into a
number of beam elements, as shown in Fig. 5. The contribution
of external tendons to the beamelement is made with equivalent
nodal loads as discussed in detail below.
For each step, the current nodal displacement increments
obtained by solving the equilibrium equation are added to
the previous total nodal displacements to obtain the current
total nodal displacements. The tendon length between the
anchorages and/or deviators is then updated in terms of the
nodal displacements at the anchorages and deviators. Denoting
by L
pc
and L
pp
the tendon length between anchorages and/or
deviators after and before updating, respectively, and by L
p0
the original tendon length between anchorages and/or deviators
before deformation, the strain increment of the tendon length
between anchorages and/or deviators can be calculated as

pc
=

L
pc

L
pp

L
p0
. (33)
The tendon strain for the current iteration is obtained as

pc
=
pp
+
pc
(34)
where
pp
= tendon strain for the previous iteration.
The tendon stress for the current iteration f
pc
can be
acquired by substituting
pc
into a constitutive stressstrain
relationship for the prestressing steel. The tensile force of
external tendons is calculated from
N
pc
= f
pc
A
p
(35)
where A
p
= tendon area.
The external tendons are divided into a number of tendon
segments corresponding to beam elements as shown in Figs. 5
and 6 in which e
i
and e
j
are the tendon eccentricities at element
nodes i and j , respectively. For externally prestressed concrete
beams, the eccentricities e
i
and e
j
change with increasing
member deformation, except at anchorages and deviators.
The location of each tendon segment determined in terms of
the current nodal displacement at anchorages and deviators,
together with nodal displacement of the beam element, are used
Fig. 6. Contribution of tendon segments to the beam element.
to update the eccentricities e
i
and e
j
, thus allowing the second-
order effects of externally prestressed concrete beams to be
considered in the analytical process.
As shown in Fig. 6, once e
i
and e
j
are determined, the
tensile force of the tendon segment, N
pc
, can be conveniently
converted into equivalent nodal forces of a beam element as
F
e
pc
=
_
N
pci
V
pci
M
pci
N
pc j
V
pc j
M
pc j
_
T
(36)
in which
N
pci
= N
pc
cos , V
pci
= N
pc
sin ,
M
pci
= e
i
N
pc
cos
(37a)
N
pc j
= N
pc
cos , V
pc j
= N
pc
sin ,
M
pc j
= e
j
N
pc
cos
(37b)
where = angle of tendon segment with the horizontal axis of
the beam element given by
tan =
e
i
e
j
l
c
(38)
where l
c
= length of beam element at current iteration.
The equivalent nodal loads applied on the beam element
caused by N
pc
is obtained from
P
e
pc
= F
e
pc
. (39)
6. Numerical example
Harajli and Khairallah [12] tested 12 simply supported beam
specimens with T-sections over a 3.0 m span, as shown in
Fig. 7. The beams were divided into four series, each containing
two externally prestressed concrete beams and one ordinary
reinforced concrete beam for comparison. Four externally
prestressed concrete beams, T2S, T2D, T4S and T4D, are used
for the analysis. Beams T2S and T2D are from the second
series, and beams T4S and T4D are from the fourth series.
No deviator is provided in beams T2S and T4S while beams
T2D and T4D have one deviator at midspan. Beams T2S and
T4S have a straight tendon prole with eccentricity equal to
84 mm along the full span and beams T2D and T4D have a
single-draped tendon prole with eccentricity equal to 84 mm
at the anchorage ends and 228.6 mm at midspan. A summary
of material parameters of these beam specimens is given in
Table 1. The material properties are as follows: E
s
= 200 GPa,
E
p
= 193 GPa,
0
= 0.002,
u
= 0.0033, f
t
= 0.1 f

c
,

tu
= 10
cr
.
The analytical model proposed in this paper is used to
conduct the nonlinear full-range analysis of the test beams.
1924 T.-j. Lou, Y.-q. Xiang / Engineering Structures 28 (2006) 19191926
Table 1
Summary of material parameters of beam specimens
Beam specimen A
s
(mm
2
) f
y
(MPa) A
p
(mm
2
) f
pe
(MPa) f
pu
(MPa) f

c
(MPa)
T2S 340 612.0 39.0 935.0 1607.0 40.1
T2D 340 615.3 39.0 931.0 1607.0 43.5
T4S 603 413.7 75.0 994.0 1986.0 41.8
T4D 603 413.7 75.0 1001.0 1986.0 38.7
Fig. 7. Externally prestressed concrete beam specimens.
Fig. 8. Comparison of analytical prediction with experimental results for
specimen T2S: (a) loaddeection response; (b) moment versus stress increase
in external tendons.
Figs. 8(a)11(a) show the comparison between the analytical
predictions and the experimental results of the entire load-
midspan deection response of the beam specimens, and
Figs. 8(b)11(b) show the comparison between the analytical
predictions and the experimental results of the entire response
Fig. 9. Comparison of analytical prediction with experimental results for
specimen T2D: (a) loaddeection response; (b) moment versus stress increase
in external tendons.
of the midspan moment versus stress increase in tendons. It can
be seen from these gures that the proposed model reproduces
the experimental loaddeection response and moment versus
stress increase in tendons from zero loads up to ultimate with
considerable agreement. It can also been seen that the curves
exhibit approximately three straight segments reecting three
different stages during the loading process. The transition from
the rst stage to the second stage is the result of the cracking
of concrete, while the transition from the second stage to the
third stage is the result of the yielding of ordinary reinforcing
steel. Due to tendons without any deviators, the reduction in
the tendon eccentricity for beams T2S and T4S is signicant
during the rapid increase of deection in the postelastic range,
leading to lower exural stiffness and load-carrying capacity
T.-j. Lou, Y.-q. Xiang / Engineering Structures 28 (2006) 19191926 1925
Fig. 10. Comparison of analytical prediction with experimental results for
specimen T4S: (a) loaddeection response; (b) moment versus stress increase
in external tendons.
than corresponding beams T2D and T4D with a deviator which
not only enlarge the initial tendon eccentricity, but minimize the
second-order effects.
7. Conclusions
A nite element model for nonlinear entire analysis of
concrete beams prestressed with external tendons is developed.
The model is based on the nonlinear beam element theory
and accounts for both material and geometrical nonlinearities.
The analysis process is simplied by replacing the effects of
external prestressing tendons with equivalent nodal loads of a
beam element. An updated normal plane arc-length solution
algorithm is incorporated into the analytical procedure to
trace the nonlinear response of the beams from zero loads
up to ultimate failure. Some externally prestressed concrete
beam specimens are analyzed and the validity of the proposed
model is veried. The analytical results demonstrate that the
loaddeection curves and moment versus stress increase
in tendons of externally prestressed concrete beams with a
certain amount of bonded ordinary reinforcing steel exhibit
approximately three-stage behavior. The second-order effects,
Fig. 11. Comparison of analytical prediction with experimental results for
specimen T4D: (a) loaddeection response; (b) moment versus stress increase
in external tendons.
associated with the eccentricity reduction of external tendons
with increase in deection, result in inferior inuence on the
exural stiffness and strength of the beams. These effects are
the most distinguished characteristic of externally prestressed
concrete beams and should be well regarded in the analysis or
design of these structures.
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Naaman A, editors. Proceedings of the international conference on
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