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Currently, there is no code provision for the design of prestressed deep beams. The Canadian
code [Canadian Standards Association (CSA) 1994] may be one of the few codes that
recommend using strut-and-tie models for deep beams. However, the code does not give clear
guidelines on how to apply the method to the design of prestressed deep beams. Several strut
and tie models are available for reinforced deep beams (Marti 1985; Rogowsky and
MacGregor 1986; Schlaich and Schafer 1991). Alshegeir and Ramirez established detailed
strut-and-tie models for three pretensioned deep beams and the analysis of internal forces in
struts and ties were carried out by a computer programme other than a visible formula, which
was apparently inconvenient for design. However, only very few models are applicable to
both pretensioned and posttensioned deep beams. Furthermore, the effect of web
reinforcement, which has moderate effect on the ultimate shear strength of deep beams, is
normally ignored.

Tan et al. developed a direct STM for simply supported prestressed concrete deep
beams and brought forward a relevant formula. Instead of defining the stress limits
empirically for the STM components, as was done by the Alshegeir and Ramirez, they
utilized a linear failure criterion modified from the MohrCoulomb theory to take into
account concrete softening effect directly, which seemed more convenient and theoretical.
However, the model predictions are to some extent conservative due to the actual convex
nature of concrete material in the biaxial tension-compression stress state being approximated
by such a simple linear relationship. Besides, in determination of the stress distribution factor,
k, only the force equilibrium was satisfied, while the moment equilibrium was neglected.

Guo-Lin Wang and Shao-Ping Meng proposed a modified strut and tie model (MSTM)
for simply supported prestressed concrete deep beams. The effects of prestressing are
represented by equivalent external loads which are built in the model explicitly. The stress
distribution factor, k is determined from the consideration of both force and moment
equilibrium. A formula for the shear strength prediction is also derived based on the
KupferGerstle biaxial tensioncompression criterion accounting for the concrete softening

This seminar discuss the direct strut and tie model analysis by Tan et al. and modified
strut and tie model (MSTM) by Guo-Lin Wang and Shao-Ping Meng. In both methods
formula for shear strength prediction is derived and compared. And also, the influence of
factor k on model prediction is quantitatively studied.


2.1 Modeling Prestressed Deep Beams

Tan et al. modelled the strut and tie model of simply supported partially prestressed deep
beam as shown in Fig.(1)

Fig 1. Proposed strut and tie model

From the equilibrium of forces at the bottom nodal zone of the strut,

= sin (2.1)

= tan (2.2)

where, = compressive force in the diagonal strut; T = tensile force in the horizontal tie;

Vn = nominal shear strength; = inclined angle of the diagonal strut.

2 = (compressive) (2.3)

where, = cross sectional area of thediagonal strutat bottom nodal zone

= ( + sin ) (2.4)

where, = depth of the bottom nodal zone; = width of the support bearing plates;

b = thickness of the web

Fig. 2 Determination of tensile stress f1 at bottom nodal zone

For a deep beam without prestressing force (Tong 1997)

1 = (Tensile) (2.5)


= cross-sectional area of the deep beam;

= average tensile stress across the diagonal strut due to the component of T

in the principal tensile direction of the bottom nodal zone, (Fig. 2).

k = factor taking account of the non-uniformity of the stress distribution of .

For a triangular stress block as shown in Fig. 2, k = 2, which can be derived by

equating S to the force represented by the triangular stress block in Fig. 2. From previous
studies (Zeng and Tan 1999), it is found that a k-value of 2 yields the best agreement with
test results for non-prestressed deep beams.

For a prestressed deep beam, the principal tensile stress f1 will be reduced due to the
presence of prestressing force Fpe.

( + )
1 = - * (tensile if positive) (2.6)
sin sin


d = effective depth of the beam (Fig. 1)

dp = vertical distance from the beam top to the intersection of the curved prestressed
tendon with the diagonal strut (Fig. 1)

= angle between the prestressed tendon and the horizontal axis at the intersection
with the diagonal strut (Fig. 1)

Fpe = effective prestressing force after both immediate and long-term losses have

( + ) = component of the effective prestressing force Fpe in the f1 direction

To take account of the position of the prestressed tendon, a reduction factor dp/d is
applied to the second term. Thus, the further away the prestressing tendon is from the beam
soffit, the less effective it is to reduce the tensile force at the bottom nodal zone.

Considering the softening effect of the tensile stress, Tan et al. proposed a new
failure criterion at the bottom nodal zone as a linear interaction relationship between f1
and f2 , modified from the Mohr-Coulomb theory (Cook and Young 1985)

1 2
+ =1 (2.7)


f1 and f2 = respective principal tensile and compressive stresses at the nodal zone, and
they represent the actual stress state

= cylinder compressive strength and it represents the maximum compressive

capacity in the f2 direction

= tensile strength contribution of both reinforcement and concrete, and it represents

the maximum tensile capacity in the f1 direction

In Eq. (2.6), the magnitude of the second term may be greater than the first term, in
which case f1 becomes compressive. Consequently, Eq. (2.7) is not applicable as the bottom
nodal zone experiences a biaxial compression-compression stress state. Although there is
additional lateral confinement available at the bottom nodal zone, Tan et al. suggest that the
compressive stress f2 along the diagonal strut should not exceed . Thus

f2 (2.8)

For pretensioned and bonded posttensioned deep beams, is given by

2 2 ( + ) 2( )( + )
= + * + * + (2.9)
sin sin sin

where, As and Aw = respective total areas of nonprestressed longitudinal and web


fy and fyw = respective yield strengths of nonprestressed longitudinal and web reinforcement

Fpu and Fpe = respective ultimate strength of prestressing strand and effective prestressing

= Tensile strength of concrete given by 0.5fck (SI)

The first term in Eq. (2.9) represents the tensile capacity of nonprestressed
longitudinal steel reinforcement.
The second term in Eq. (2.9) represents the tensile capacity of inclined web
reinforcement at an angle to the horizontal axis in Fig. (1).
The third term represents the additional reserve capacity of the prestressed tendon.
The final term represents the tensile contribution from concrete.

Tan et al. suggested that the residual strength ( ) in the prestressed tendon
should not be relied on in the case of unbonded posttensioned deep beams, that is
2 2 ( + )
= + * + (2.10)
sin sin

From Eqs. (2.1) (2.3), (2.6), and (2.7), the following expression can be derived for the
nominal shear strength Vn
2( + )
V = sin 2 1 (2.11)

If the bottom nodal zone is subjected to the biaxial compression-compression stress state, the
following equation can be derived from Eq. (2.8)

= sin s (2.12)


2 2
tan = (2.13)

lc = depth of the top nodal zone and can be computed from, = (2.14)
The steps for determining the shear strength Vn directly is summarized as follows:

Step 1. Determine from Eq. (2.13), assuming lc = la, where la = 2(h - d).

Step.2. Determine ft from Eq. (2.8) for pretensioned or bonded posttensioned deep
beams, or from Eq. (2.10) for unbonded posttensioned deep beams.

Step 3. Determine Vn from Eq. (2.11).

Step 4. Check the maximum limit of Vn from Eq. (2.12).

2.2 Worked Example

The shear strength of a girder is to be determined based on Eqs. (2.11) and (2.12). The
properties of the beam are,

Fig. 3 Cross section of I girder

Geometry: a = 1050 mm, d = 1245 mm, h = 1425 mm, bw = 150 mm,

lb = 200 mm, Ac = 411675 mm2

Concrete strength, = 40.65 N/mm2

Longitudinal reinforcement, Asfy = 1644 kN

Horizontal and vertical web reinforcement, Ahfh = 56.2 kN, Avfv = 56.2 kN

Average depth is used, i.e., dh = dv = 0.5d = 622 mm

In addition, = and = 90-

Prestressing force: Straight prestressing tendons are provided at dp = d = 1245 mm Fig. (3),
Fpu = 3064 kN, Fpe = 1921 kN

Step 1: Determine from Eq. (2.13) assuming lc = la

la = 2(h - d) = 2(1425 - 1245) = 360 mm
tan = (1425 - 360)/1050 = 1.01
sin = 0.711, cos = 0.704, and sin 2 = 1.0

Step 2: Determine ft from Eq. (2.8)

2 X 1644 X 0.711
First term = X 1000 = 4.04 N/mm2
411675 0.711

Second term= ( 2411675

56.2 0.711
X 0.5 +
2 X 56.2 X 0.704
411675 0.711
X 0.5) X 1000 = 0.14N/mm2

2 X (30641921)X 0.711 1245

Third term = X X 1000 = 2.81 N/mm2
411675 0.711 1245
ct term = 0.540.65 = 3.19 N /mm2

ft = 10.81N/mm2

Step 3: Determine Vn from Eq. (2.11)

= 150 X (360 X 0.704 + 200 X 0.711) = 59346 mm2

2Fpe sin(s +p ) dp 2 X 1921 X 0.711 1245

= x x 1000 = 0.464
ft Ac sin s d 10.18 X 411675 0.711 1245

Vn = 1 1 1000 = 1782 kN
10.18 X 411675 40.65 X 59346 X 0.711

Step 4: Check the maximum limit of Vn using Eq. (2.12)

Vn = 59346 X 40.65 X 0.711 1000 = 1715 kN < 1782 kN

2Vn = 3430 kN


3.1 Prestressing Forces As External Loads

It is well known that a prestressed concrete member can be treated as a reinforced concrete
member by virtue of the equivalent loading concept, which enables a simpler and more
efficient design. For the member with parabola tendons as shown in (Fig. 4), the effects of
effective prestressing can be represented by equivalent external loads which consist of the
effective prestressing force, Fpe and the equivalent uniformly distributed load, qeq. Since the
equivalent external loads are self-equilibrating in the vertical direction, the sum of the vertical
component of Fpe at both beam ends, 2Fpe sin p, can be balanced by the sum of the equivalent
uniformly distributed load, qeq L, which means no influence of the both terms on the nominal
shear strength, Vn, where L is the beam length and p is the angle of the prestressing tendon
to the horizontal axis at the anchoring point (Fig. 4). Therefore, only the horizontal
component, Fpecosp, would affect the shear strength and thus need to be considered in the
model, while the tendons with a residual strength of (Fpu Fpe) are taken as passive
reinforcement, where Fpu is the ultimate strength of the tendons. Similarly, the same
conclusion can be drawn for beams with other tendon profiles.

Fig.4 Equivalent loads of prestressing effects

3.2 Modeling Prestressed Concrete Deep Beams

According to the stress results of elastic finite element analysis and the minimum strain
energy principle, a MSTM for simply supported prestressed concrete deep beams under two
point symmetrical top loading is given in Fig. (5), which consists of the upper nodal zone A,
the bottom nodal zone B, the primary strut AB, the secondary struts AC and BC, the concrete
horizontal strut and the tension tie.

Fig.5 Modified strut-and-tie model for prestressed concrete deep beams.

Apparently, the model cannot bear any additional loads once the primary strut AB
crushes regardless of whether or not the secondary strut AC and/or BC would be in effect.
Therefore, failure of the strut AB is identified as the ultimate limit state of the model, while
secondary struts are treated as force-transferring components. In order to obtain a higher
capacity, however, premature failure, such as the slippage of the tendons, should be
prevented to make sure the secondary struts work until the failure of the model.

From the equilibrium of forces at the nodal zone C (Fig.5),

= 1 + 2

2 = 1 (3.1)


1 = ; 2 = (3.2)
sin(+ ) sin(+ )

where, = arctan and = arctan are the angles between the secondary struts and
the horizontal axis, respectively

1 and 2 are the forces in the secondary struts AC and BC, respectively

hp = vertical distance from the beam top to the anchoring point of prestressing tendon

h0 = effective depth of the beam

a = shear span measured between the concentrated load and the support centre

e = distance from the support centre to the beam end (Fig.5)

3.3 Consideration Of Concrete Softening Effect

The softening effect exists in concrete under a state of biaxial tensioncompression, that is,
the presence of the transverse tensile strain leads to a deterioration of the compressive
strength. Linear interactive failure criteria, such as modified MohrCoulomb theory

(1 + 2

= 1), are utilized to account for the softening effect directly. Kupfer and Gerstle

proposed the biaxial tension-compression criterion through successful experiments, and it is

in better agreement with the experimental results than the modified MohrCoulomb theory
(Fig. 6). Thus, the BC segment of the relationship Eq. (3.3) is utilized in this research since
the tensile stress is great enough in the ultimate limit state.
+ 0.8 2 = 1 (3.3)

Fig. 6 Failure criteria of concrete in the state of biaxial tensioncompression

3.4 Derivation Of Shear Strength

From the equilibrium of forces at the nodal zone B and Eq. (3.2),
= = sin m (3.4)

= 2 = tan (3.5)

sin(+ )
where, m = ,n=
sin(+) sin(+)

Fc and T are the forces in the primary strut and bottom tension tie respectively

= inclined angle of the primary strut

From Eq. (3.4), the principal compressive stress, f2, in the direction of the primary strut at the
bottom nodal zone B (Fig. 4) can be computed by Eq. (2.3).

Fig.7 Assumed stress distribution due to bar i

The principal tensile stress, f1 can be computed from Eq.(2.5)

1 = = kp (3.6)

where, p is the average equivalent tensile stress across the primary strut and k and are the
stress distribution factors at the respective bottom and top nodal zones.

According to the force equilibrium, Tan et al. proposed = 0 and k = 2 by equating

Tsins to the force represented by the triangular stress block. It is noteworthy that the moment
equilibrium was neglected. In this study, however, both moment and force equilibrium are
satisfied, and the stress distribution is also assumed to be linear along the primary strut for
simplicity, since it is difficult to be determined mechanically. As shown in Fig. (7),
considering one reinforcing bar that inclines at an angle wi from horizontal and has a vertical
distance hwi from the beam top to the intersection of the bar with the primary strut, from both
force equilibrium in the f1 direction and moment equilibrium about the node A between the
tensile force Fwisin(wi + s ) of the steel bar and the assumed stress distribution, and k
can be obtained

= 4 - 6

=6 2 (3.7)

A similar method was utilized for non-prestressed concrete deep beams by Zhang and
Tan, which fit well with test results. Obviously, k = 4 for the case of bottom longitudinal
reinforcement. As for web reinforcement, which is commonly uniformly distributed, as
assumed in this research, it is noteworthy that the rectangular stress block will be induced
along the primary strut, that is, k = 1 can be obtained without any stress distribution
assumption. Thus, no further discussion is needed for web reinforcement. Consequently, in
the following derivation the notation k is only included in the terms about bottom
longitudinal reinforcement.

In a similar fashion as Eq. (3.6), the combined tensile capacity, ft , at the bottom nodal
zone B (Fig. 7) can be expressed as below:

( + ) ( )( +1 )
= + + + (3.8)
sin sin sin

= 6 2 , factor accounting for the non-uniformity of stress distribution due to

the prestressing tendon at the bottom nodal zone

1 = vertical distance from the beam top to the interaction of the curved prestressing
tendon with the primary strut (Fig.5)

1 = angle between the prestressing tendon and the horizontal axis at the interaction
with the primary strut (Fig.5)

= actual prestressing force in the tendon at ultimate

2/3 2/3
= 0.23 = 0.27 (3.9)

where, = concrete compressive strength of the cube

= 0.8

At the ultimate state, concrete within the primary strut may crack with different
degrees and thus it is difficult to determine the actual concrete contribution. Although many
equations for predicting the tensile strength of cracked reinforced concrete have been
proposed, they are still being disputed due to their empirically defined and thus may not be
suitable for some special conditions. For conservatism, the term fct can be made equal to
zero. But in this research, the full concrete tensile strength, as expressed by Eq. (3.9), is
utilized, since it is commonly given in codes and predictions obtained with it are in better
agreement with test results. Besides, it is noteworthy that the reduction of concrete tensile
strength has been taken into account to some extent by adopting KupferGerstle biaxial
tension-compression criterion.

For the common cases of vertical or horizontal web reinforcement, the second term in
2 2
Eq. (3.8) reduces to or , respectively , are respective total

areas of vertical and horizontal web reinforcement within the spear span. When Eq. (3.8) is
applied to the case of unbonded prestressed concrete deep beams, the authors suggest that the
residual strength (Fps Fpe) in the prestressing tendon should not be relied on due to the fact
that the increase in prestressing force is very small because the strain caused by additional
loading is distributed along the full length of the tendon.

From Eqs. (3.3) - (3.5), (3.6) and (3.8), the following equation can be derived for Vn:
( + ) 0.8
1+ +
V = sin 2 0.8 (3.10)
2 sin

If Fpe is great enough that f1 becomes compressive, that is, the bottom nodal zone B
is subjected to a biaxial compressioncompression stress state, Eq. (3.10) is not applicable.
Although there is additional lateral confinement available at the nodal zone, the authors
suggest that the following expression should be fulfilled for the compressive stress f2 ,


= ( + ) sin s (3.11)

Besides, from the equilibrium of forces at the nodal zone A (Fig.5),

= 1 + (3.12)

Substituting for Fc1 and Fc from Eqs. (3.2) and (3.4) respectively, the depth of the nodal zone
A, lc , can be derived:
= (3.13)

( )
where, q = and can be computed by

2 2
tan = (3.14)

From above all, the steps for determining the nominal shear strength, Vn , can be
summarized as follows:

Step 1. Determine s from Eq. (3.14), assuming lc = la, where la = 2(h h0).

Step 2. Determine ft from Eq. (3.8).

Step 3. Calculate Vn from Eqs. (3.10) and (3.11), respectively, and take the smaller value.

3.5 Parametric Study

To demonstrate how the stress distribution factor, k and the stress in the tendon at ultimate,
fps, influence the value of Vn quantitatively, parametric studies are carried out. Details of deep
beams used for the study is shown in the Table.1

Table.1 Properties of deep beams used for parametric study

Beam L h bw h0 a lb
(m) (mm) (mm) (mm) (mm) (mm)
PB1 3 1105 320 943 1300 120
PB2 3 1035 300 941 1300 200
PB3 3 1035 300 940 1150 200
PB4 3 1035 300 940 1450 200

Beam Vexp
(MPa) (MPa) (kN) (kN) (kN) (kN) (kN) (kN)

PB1 32.8 3.1 327 163 281 1891 945 2900

PB2 32.8 3.1 157 163 216 1350 675 2500
PB3 26.2 2.7 157 163 216 1350 675 2175
PB4 26.2 2.7 157 163 158 1080 540 1575

3.5.1 Effect of factor k on shear strength Vn

The factor k was determined according to both force and moment equilibrium based on the
linear stress distribution assumption. However, the actual tensile distribution along the
primary strut is highly nonlinear. The influence of k on the model prediction of Vn can be
expressed by Vn /Vn,k=4, where Vn,k=4 represents the shear strength obtained using the MSTM
with k = 4. As shown in Fig. (8), the model predictions decrease with an increase in k, and
have a tendency towards convergence. For 2 k 4, the predictions are greater than Vn,k=4 . It
seems not to be safe if k = 2 is taken. While 4 < k 10, the predictions are smaller than
Vn,k=4, only about 15% less even when k is equal to 10 corresponding to the case of high
nonlinearity. Thus it can be concluded that the values of k derived from the linear stress
distribution assumption are sufficiently accurate for the model predictions.

Fig. 8 Effect of factor k on shear strength Vn

3.5.2 Sensitivity of shear strength Vn to fps

In the derivation of Vn, the ultimate stress, fps, in the prestressing tendon was assumed equal
to ultimate strength, fpu, and effective prestressing stress, fpe, for bonded and unbonded
tendons, respectively. However, on the occurrence of shear failure, fps is generally smaller
than fpu for bonded tendons and somewhat greater than fpe for unbonded tendons. Thus, it is
necessary to study the sensitivity of Vn to the value of fps. The curve of Vn /Vn,fpu versus fps is
plotted in Fig. (9), where Vn,fpu represents the beam shear strength when fps is equal to fpu . It
is shown that the Vn /Vn,fpu increases with increasing fps and has an approximately linear
relationship with a mean slope of about 0.016%. Therefore, the value of fps has an
insignificant effect upon Vn, and thus it is sufficiently accurate that fpu and fpe are
approximately utilized to predict the shear strength of bonded and unbonded prestressed
concrete deep beams, respectively. As for the case of the value of fpu unknown, the yield
strength, fpy, can be adopted instead since it is more commonly given in codes.

Fig. 9 Sensitivity of shear strength Vn to fps


Both models have underestimated the predicted shear strength Vn to a certain extent, which
can also be interpreted by the reasons below. The first one may be that both linear tension-
compression criterions adopted in the respective models came from the tests of plain concrete
other than those of reinforced concrete, which would probably lead to lower Vn values since
the beams are generally reinforced. The second possible one is that the formulae for
prediction were derived for the bottom nodal zone which suffers the most unfavorable stress
combination (that is, the greatest compressive and tensile stresses simultaneously). The
formulae might also provide conservative values, however, due to that the failure might not
be initiated at the nodal zone since additional lateral confinement is commonly available
there. The same explanation is suitable for the omittance of the component force of bottom
reinforcement, Tcoss, in the direction of the primary strut when computing f2, that is, the
third reason, which may also be responsible for the underestimation more or less. Besides,
for a deep beam with a very small a/h0 ratio, the component will be insignificant, as coss
approaches zero. On the other hand, if the a/h0 ratio is relatively high, the deep beam is likely
to fail due to excessive tensile stress in the f1 direction, in which case failure is governed by
the first term in Eq. (3.3) and thus the f0 term has little influence on Vn. Therefore, it is
justifiable to neglect the component. In sum, all the reasons above would probably result in
conservative predicted strengths; from the results obtained, however, they do not have a
significant influence on the model predictions.

The experimental results, Vexp, versus predicted shear strengths, Vpred, are plotted in
Fig.(10a), and (10b) for both models, where Vpred = 2Vn. The average and coefficient of
variation (C.O.V.) of the shear strength ratios, Vexp/Vpred, have also been reported. It is shown
that both the model predictions are accurate, consistent and conservative; however, the
MSTM yields somewhat better agreement with the test results than the Tan-STM in
terms of accuracy and consistency. It suggests that both the linear failure criterion and k
value adopted are reasonable. It can also be concluded that the MSTM has a wide application
in the shear strength prediction of prestressed concrete deep beams, since the beams used for
verification had a broad range of design parameters.

Fig. 10 Shear strength predictions by (a) MSTM; (b) Tan-STM


Both the models simultaneously account for two primary modes of failure, diagonal splitting
of struts and crushing of struts or nodal zones. These analysis methods where evaluated using
both pretensioned and post tensioned deep beams with different geometrical properties,
prestressing and web reinforcement configurations. The results showed that both model
predictions are accurate, consistent and conservative; however, the MSTM yields somewhat
better agreement with the test results than the Tan-STM in terms of accuracy and

The equivalent loading method utilised in MSTM to consider the effects of

prestressing enables prestressed concrete members to be treated as nonprestressed concrete
members, which makes the proposed model consistent for both prestressed and
nonprestressed concrete deep beams. Both force and moment equilibriums are satisfied for
the stress distribution factor k in MSTM method. In the derivation of shear strength, several
assumptions or substitutions were adopted, that is, the linear stress distribution assumption
for the factor k, the utilization of full concrete tensile strength, the replacement of fps by fpu
and fpe, and the adoption of the web width when modelling I-beams. They indeed simplify the
model to some extent and do not lose significant accuracy, just as the results indicated.
However, to obtain more accurate results, further improvements may be made, such as the
determination of actual values of fps through experiment and the development of preferable
models, especially for I-beams.


1) Tan K. H, Tong K and Tang C. Y, 2001, Direct strut-and-tie model for prestressed
deep beams, Journal of structural engineering, September, 1075-1084.

2) Guo-Lin.Wang, Shao-Ping Meng, 2008, Modified strut-and-tie model for prestressed

concrete deep beams, Engineering Structures 30, 3489-3496.

3) Alshegeir. A, Ramirez. J.A., 1992, Strut-tie approach in pretensioned deep beams,

ACI Structural Journal Volume 89, Issue 3, May, 296-304.

4) Kupfer H, Gerstle KH, 1999, Behaviour of concrete under biaxial stress. Proc
ASCE J Eng Mech Div 1973, (EM4), 85366.

5) Zhang N, Tan K.H, 2007, Direct strut-and-tie model for single span and continuous
deep beams, Journal of structural engineering, 29(11), 29873001

6) Ramirez. J. A, 1994, Strut-tie design of pretensioned concrete members. ACI

Struct. J., 91-S55, 572578.