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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.

References

[1] Nordin H. Strengthening structures with externally prestressed tendons.

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