Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil Engineering

First Advisor's Name

David Garber

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Atorod Azizinamini

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Irtishad Ahmad

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Arindam Gan Chowdhury

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Ton-Lo Wang

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


deep beams, strut-and-tie method, node behavior, failure mode, strut strength

Date of Defense



The strut-and-tie method (STM) is a simple and conservative method for designing concrete structures, especially deep beams. This method expresses complicated stress patterns as a simple truss or kinematic model made up of compression elements (struts), tension elements (ties), and the joints between elements (nodes). STM is based on lowerbound plasticity theorem, so using it properly will lead to a conservative design. Although the concepts of STM have been around in concrete design since the late 19th century, STM was first introduced in AASHTO LRFD in 1994 and ACI 318-02 in 2002. ACI 318 defines two different types of struts (prismatic and bottle-shaped) based on whether compression stress can spread transversely along the length of the strut. Recent work has brought into question whether these two types of struts do exist and whether current design provisions conservatively estimate failure loads for all members. The performance of struts and nodes were investigated experimentally by testing six fullscale concrete deep beams. The specimens had two different shapes (rectangular and trusslike), two different shear span-to-depth ratio (1 and 1.6), and three different types of development (externally unbonded bars, internally bonded hooked bars, and internally bonded bars with welded external plates). All the specimens were supported vertically and vii tested under a three-point load setup. Based on the results, the truss-like specimen failed at higher loads than rectangular specimens with the same shear span-to-depth ratio. According to these results and recent debate in the literature, bottle-shaped struts are not weaker than prismatic struts because of their shape. They are weaker due to shear failure where struts cross a diagonal tension field. Therefore, the structures should be separately checked for shear strength when they are designed with STM. In this dissertation, the development of the design equation for shear strength of discontinuity regions was introduced, and the procedure is under consideration for adoption in ACI 318-19. This research was expanded numerically by studying the effect of development type and length, strut type, and strut angle on the behavior of concrete deep beams. The crack patterns and load-displacement curves, which were obtained from experimental tests, were used to validate numerical models. The strength of concrete deep beams was assessed by modeling thirty-five specimens in a nonlinear finite element software. According to the results, development length and development types influenced the presence of tensile stress in the support nodes. Additionally, the effect of the tensile stresses from reinforcement development and diagonal tension were not additive in rectangular specimens.






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