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Title: Time-Dependent Behavior of Reinforced Concrete Beams under High Sustained Loads
High levels of sustained load can lead to time-dependent failure of reinforced concrete (RC) members. This in turn may lead to collapse of all or part of a building. Design errors, construction errors, and material deterioration may lead to concrete elements being subjected to high levels of sustained loads well exceeding typical service loads. Plain concrete can experience compressive failure when subjected to a high sustained stress (over 75% of its short-term strength). However, there is a lack of knowledge about the time-dependent strength and stiffness characteristics of RC members under high sustained loads. This paper presents the results of experimental testing of simply supported shear-controlled RC beams under high sustained loads. Two series of beams, consisting of 4 and 5 beams, were tested at concrete ages of 67 to 543 days to represent in-service concrete structures. The applied sustained loads ranged from 82% to 98% of the short-term capacity and lasted for 24 to 52 days. Test results indicated that high sustained load may eventually lead to failure (collapse); however, the level of load needs to be very close (~98%) to the short-term capacity. Under sustained load, all specimens experienced increased deflection with over half of the deflection increase more » occurring in the first 24 h. The sustained load increased the deflection at shear failure by 190% on average. The increase in the beam deflection may allow for load redistribution in redundant structural systems. A sharp increase in deflection due to tertiary creep occurred in a short time (~2 min) before failure, indicating little warning of the impending failure. « less
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