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Received: 31 March 2016 Revised: 29 June 2016 Accepted: 12 July 2016

DOI 10.1002/suco.201600062


Slenderness limits for deflection control: A new formulation

for flexural reinforced concrete elements
Alejandro Pérez Caldentey1,2 | Javier Mendoza Cembranos3 | Hugo Corres Peiretti1

Mecánica de los Medios Continuos y Teoría de
Estructuras, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid The first step in the design of a structure is the definition of the geometry. This
Escuela Tecnica Superior de Ingenieros de process includes the definition of the depth of slabs and beams. The depth of a
Caminos Canales y Puertos, Madrid, Spain
flexural member is often determined by control of deflections, which can only be
Research and Development, Fhecor Ingenieros
checked in detail at an advanced stage of the project. In order to optimize the
Consultores, Madrid, Spain
design process, it is therefore very important to choose well the span-to-depth ratio
Civil Works, FHECOR Consulting Engineers,
Madrid, Spain at the beginning. In order to achieve this task in an easy manner, a lower limit to
the slenderness of the beams in terms of span divided by the effective depth is
proposed in most major codes. However, current proposals are rather coarse and
Alejandro Pérez Caldentey, Mecánica de los
are not necessarily on the safe side. In this paper, a new formulation for the slen-
Medios Continuos y Teoría de Estructuras,
derness limits, based on the physics of the problem, is presented. This formulation
Universidad Politecnica de Madrid Escuela
includes the effect of the composition of the load (live load to total load ratio) as
Tecnica Superior de Ingenieros de Caminos
well as the possibility of using different limits to maximum deflection and consid-
Canales y Puertos, Barquillo 23 2º, Madrid
ering different, more general, support conditions. It is therefore more complete
28004, Spain.
and has a larger application field than current proposals.
Email: apc@fhecor.es


deflection control, flexural members, serviceability, slenderness limits

1 | INTRODUCTION However, calculation of deflections in reinforced con-

crete beams is not an easy task due to the complex material
The first step in the design of a structure is the definition of behavior (cracking, tension stiffening, time-dependent
the geometry. This process includes the definition of the effects, etc.) and the dependence of the results on the con-
depths of slabs and beams. The depth of a flexural member struction sequence and time of application of loads. Many
is often determined by control of deflections, which can complex models have been developed to this end, as for
only be checked in detail at an advanced stage of the proj- instance those of Marí et al,1 Ghali et al,2 or more recently
ect. In order to optimize the design process, it is therefore Ulm et al.3 The effect of shear deformations on deflections
very important to choose the span-to-depth ratio well at the has been studied by Debernardi et al,4 leading to the conclu-
beginning. This is usually performed on the basis of experi- sion that this effect is only important for very stocky ele-
ence with similar structures. However, these criteria are ments and therefore negligible for common flexural
coarse, because the allowable depth actually depends on members and will not be considered here.
many parameters such as steel ratios, live load to total load Owing to the complexity of these calculations, there has
ratio, loading history, rheological parameters, and so on. In been a search for simplified methods. One of the better
order to maximize available space on one hand and promote known methods was developed by Branson5 and incorpo-
sustainability by reducing concrete consumption, design rated into the ACI-318 code6 and also the Spanish Stan-
should be aimed at maximizing the slenderness of flexural dards (EH-887 through EHE-0810). Branson’s method has
members while ensuring deflections, which do not impair been questioned by Gilbert8 and also by Bischoff and Scan-
the function of the structure. lon9 for low reinforcement ratios. The last have provided an

118 © 2017 fib. International Federation for Structural Concrete wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/suco Structural Concrete. 2017;18:118–127.

alternative formulation including also FRP reinforcement. of EN 1992-1-1. The lack of a physical basis for these
Other simplified methods were developed in Europe and expressions results in the impossibility of extrapolating to
synthesized in the 1985 CEB Manual on cracking and other situations (e.g., other live load to dead load ratios) and
deformations.12 These methods form the basis for the for- makes the adjustment to new or different rheological mod-
mulation adopted by Eurocode 211 and more recently by els, for example, very difficult.
Model Code 2010.13 Recently other simplified methods In this paper, a new formulation for the slenderness lim-
have been proposed, such as that of Marí et al.14 its based on the physics of the problem is presented. This
An alternative to complex calculation methods and the formulation includes the effect of the composition of the
application of simplified methods is the avoidance of calcula- load (live load to total load ratio) as well as the possibility
tion by providing a lower limit to the slenderness of the of using different limits of maximum deflection and a gen-
beams in terms of span divided by the effective depth. This eralization of factor K accounting for different support
concept of slenderness limit was already introduced, in a very conditions.
crude form, in CP 110-1 (1972)15 and incorporated into the Before introducing the new expression for the slender-
first Model Code (1978)16 and has also been studied by ness limits, more general and physical, a brief summary on
Rangan.17 This procedure is very popular with designers as it how the slenderness limits are determined by the general
allows fixing of the depth of flexural members from the method will first be given.
beginning and the omission of deflection verifications. For
this reason, it has been maintained in all major concrete
codes, including, of course, Eurocode 2. However, the deter- 2 | HOW SLENDERNESS LIMITS
mination of such slenderness limits necessarily involves a A R E D E T E R M IN E D
great deal of simplification and assumptions which have not
always been made explicit. In some cases, the values included The topic of how slenderness limits are determined is fully
in codes may be optimistic, resulting in excessive values of covered in Reference 19. However, a small reminder is in
deflections. This discussion is already apparent in the paper order. Figure 1 shows a flowchart that summarizes the pro-
by Gardner,18 which makes a comparison of values or the cedure which can be followed to obtain the slenderness
slenderness limits provided by different codes and authors. limit for a given reinforcement ratio. First, a simply sup-
With the exception of Eurocode 2, slenderness limits are ported beam is considered. Values are assumed for the rein-
given in table form and can only cover a very limited num- forcement ratio, for which the slenderness ratio is to be
ber of design situations. When the current version of Euro- determined, ρ, and an effective cross section depth, d, as
code 2 (EN 1992-1-1:2004) was drafted, a new formulation well as a value for the tensile strength of the reinforcement,
was included which permitted taking into account the rein- fyd. The section is assumed to be rectangular of arbitrary
forcement ratio as a continuous variable and the strength of width b. With the cross section data, the ultimate bending
concrete. This was already a step forward with respect to moment MRd, which the section can resist for the given ρ
the previous code formulations. However, this formulation, and d values can be determined. Assuming a trial value of
whose bases are detailed in Reference 19 did not take into the span, l, the ultimate factored load, qRd, can be obtained
account one very important variable, the live load to total by equilibrium conditions.
load ratio, which was fixed at a typical value. Moreover, the In order to continue the process, some values must be
formulations given were only a mathematical fitting of the assumed for the ratio between dead load and total load
curves computed using the general method in section 7.4.3 (qDL/qTOT), and between superimposed dead load and total

FIGURE 1 Flow diagram of general procedure for determining slenderness limits.


load (qSDL/qTOT). The ratio between live load and total load parameter, instead of two, considering only the ratio between
(qLL/qTOT) follows from qDL + qSDL + qLL = qTOT. If the the live load and total load: qLL/qTOT.
values of two of these ratios are fixed, it is possible to deter-
mine the values of each individual load. Once this is done,
the calculation of the deflection can be carried out with any 3 | S IM P L I F I E D F O R M U L A T I O N
valid method, which considers both instantaneous and time-
dependent effects. For the derivation of the current EN 1992- The deflection of a simply supported beam can be expressed
1-1 formulation, this was done for the quasi-permanent load as shown in Equation (1). This deflection should be limited
combination assuming a quasi-permanent combination factor to a maximum value given by the ratio l/a.
ψ 2 = 0.3, and assuming the following load ratios: 5 qqp l4 S e l2 l
f= + εcs αe ≤ ; ð1Þ
qDL =qTOT = 0:36 384 Ec, eff Ie Ie 8 a

qSDL =qTOT = 0:24 where qqp is the quasi-permanent load, l is the span of the
beam, and Ec,eff is the effective modulus of elasticity which
qLL =qTOT = 0:40 can be determined from Equation (2) as follows:
Furthermore, as explained in Reference 19 the deflection Ec, eff = ; ð2Þ
was determined assuming a certain load history, in which dead 1 + φmean
load was applied at 10 days, the superimposed dead load at where φmean is a mean value of the creep coefficient. If it is
60 days, and the quasi-permanent live load at 365 days. As assumed that the dead load (qDL) is applied at age t0, the
pointed out in Reference 20, this procedure does not take into superimposed dead load (qSDL) is applied at age t1, and the
account the early application of the characteristic load which quasi-permanent live load (ψ 2 × qLL) is applied at age t2,
can happen during building stages when the scaffolding is φmean can be estimated from Equation (3).
removed from the lower floors to build upper floors. Early char-
φð ∞ , t0 ÞqDL + φð ∞ ,t1 ÞqSDL + φð ∞ ,t2 Þψ 2 qLL
acteristic load application increases deflections, especially for φmean = ;
qDL + qSDL + ψ 2 qLL
low reinforcement ratios, due to reduction in tension-stiffening
effects. The premises for the drafting of EN 1992-1-1 (values of ð3Þ
load ratios, no consideration of characteristic load application) where Ie is the equivalent moment of inertia to allow for
were adopted in order to avoid providing more strict slenderness cracking and tension-stiffening effects. This variable will be
ratios than were given by ENV 1992-1-1 or Model Code expressed as the product of an adjustment function depend-
1990.21 In this paper, however, given that the live load to total ing on the mechanical reinforcement ratio kI and the inertia
load ratio is treated as an important explicit parameter, this of the gross concrete cross section (Ig): Ie = kIIg; kI consid-
assumption is not necessary. For this reason, the slenderness ers both the difference between the long-term homogenized
curves have been recalculated assuming that the full characteris- cross section and the gross concrete section and cracking
tic load is applied—for a short time period—when the scaffold- and tension stiffening effects. kI will be obtained by fitting
ing is removed, that is, at the time the dead load is applied, so the simplified expression to the curves calculated by com-
that the sections are fully cracked from the beginning. plete analysis according to section 7.4.3 of EN 1992-1-1
Regarding the nonlinear analysis that was implemented (see paragraph 2); εcs is the shrinkage strain; αe is the long-
for the iterative procedure, full details are given in the Back- term modular ratio of steel with respect to reinforcement
ground Document to paragraph 7.4 of EN1992-1-1,19 which
αe = EEc,seff ; and Se is the equivalent first-order moment of the
is available on-line at https://www.researchgate.net/profile/
reinforcement with respect to the center of gravity of the
1_CHAPTER_7_-_SERVICEABILITY_LIMIT_STATES_-_ cross section, which should allow for cracking and tension-
DEFLECTIONS_Background_to_the_EN_1992-1-1_formula stiffening effects. As with the equivalent moment of inertia,
tion/links/548c913e0cf214269f1e95b0.pdf. The procedure this variable will be the product of an adjustment function
consists of the application of the ζ-method in its full gener- depending on the geometrical reinforcement ratio kS and the
ality by integrating curvatures and considering the load first-order moment of the reinforcement with respect to the
history. center of gravity of the gross concrete cross section (Sg):
Given the fact that the influence of load history (in terms of Se = kSSg. kS considers both the difference between the cen-
the times of application of dead load, superimposed dead load, ter of gravity of the gross cross section and that of the
and quasi-permanent live load—not in terms of early application cracked cross section as well as tension stiffening effects. kS
of the characteristic load) was found to be moderate on the will be obtained by fitting the simplified expression to the
values of the slenderness ratio in Reference 19 it is proposed to curved calculated by complete analysis according to
take into account the load distribution by using a single section 7.4.3 of EN 1992-1-1 (see paragraph 2).

Assuming there is no axial force, the quasi-permanent qDL + qSDL + ψ 2 qLL

qqp = qRd
load can be expressed in terms of the reinforcement ratio. γ G ðqDL + qSDL Þ + γ Q qLL
Given a tensile reinforcement area, As, if the mechanical qLL
reinforcement ratio, ω = Asfyd/(bdfcd) is less than 0.5, the 1 − ð1 −ψ 2 Þ
tension steel will yield before the section reaches its ulti- =   qLL qRd = kDL qRd : ð8Þ
γ G + γ Q −γ G
mate bending moment MRd. From equilibrium of axial qTOT
forces, the depth of the neutral axis, x, can be determined kDL
from Equation (4) as follows:
By substituting Equations (7) and (8) in Equation (1),
As fyd and substituting Ie by kIIg and Se by kSSg, the slenderness
As fyd = fcd b × 0:8x ! x = : ð4Þ
0:8fcd b limit can be expressed as in Equation (9):
The ultimate bending moment, which can be expressed
5 8bd 2 kDL fcd f ðω, ω0 Þl4 kS Sg l2 l
in terms of the ultimate load acting on the simply supported f= 2
+ εcs αe ≤ !
384 Ec, eff kI Ig l k I Ig 8 a
beam, can also be determined as a function of the mechani-
2 3
cal reinforcement ratio from equilibrium of bending forces,
l 1 Ec, eff kI Ig6 1 7
and expressed in nondimensional terms as in Equation (5): ≤ 4 5
d a bd 3 5 ε k S
kDL fcd f ðω, ω0 Þ + Es
cs S g
MRd qRd l2 As fyd  x 48 8 bd 2
= = 1 −0:4  3
bd 2 fcd bd2 fcd 8 bd fcd d
Ig 1 h Sg
! 3
fyd As fyd bd 12 d bd 2
=ρ 1− 0:5 = ωð1 −0:5ωÞ: ð5Þ    
fcd bd fcd As h A0 h
|{z} |ffl{zffl} = 2 d− + s2 − ðh −d Þ
ω ω bd 2 bd 2
In case the mechanical reinforcement ratio is greater h h
than 0.5, then compression reinforcement is necessary to = ρ 1− + ρ0 −1
2d 2d
achieve yielding of the tensile reinforcement at failure (other  3
design criteria requiring more ductility can also be adopted). l Ec, eff kI h

In this case, the ultimate bending moment, and the neces- d 12a d
sary, mechanical compression reinforcement (ω0 = A0 sfyd/ 2 3
(bdfcd)) ratio can be expressed as in Equation (6): 6 1 7
4    7
A0s fyd As fyd 5 εcs h h
As fyd = 0:5fcd bd + A0s fyd ! = −0:5 ! ω = 0:5 + ω0 kDL fcd f ðω,ω0 Þ + Es kS ρ 1 − + ρ0 −1
bdfcd bdfcd 48 8 2d 2d
MRd qRd l2 0:5fcd bd
= 2 = ðd −0:4 × 0:625dÞ This formulation directly accounts for the deflection limit by
bd fcd bd fcd 8 bd 2 fcd
the total deflection through parameter a. The most common
A0s fyd MRd qRd l2 0 h value for parameter a is 250, but other values could be used
+ 2 ðd − ðh −d ÞÞ! 2 = 2 = 0:375 + ω 2 − : depending on the sensitivity of the structure to deflections.
bd fcd bd fcd bd fcd 8 d
At this point, the problem becomes a problem of obtain-
ing values for kI and kS, which allow the expression of
Equation (5) or (6) can be used to express the ultimate Equation (9) to closely model the values obtained from
load qRd as a function of the mechanical reinforcement application of the general model.
ratios of the section: kS has been fitted to a mean value for concrete strengths
 2 classes C30, C60, and C100 (Figure 2) using an estimation of Se
qRd d
= 8fcd ωð1 −0:5ωÞ
determined by interpolating between cracked and uncracked
b |fflfflfflfflfflfflfflffl{zfflfflfflfflfflfflfflffl} l
f ðω, ω0 Þ states, using the parameter ζ defined in section 7.4.3 of EN
or 1992-1-1. The results are not very sensitive to this parameter and
    2 this approach is sufficient. The resulting expression is given in
qRd 0 h d
= 8fcd 0:375 + ω 2− Equation (10). As can be seen, a distinction is made between
b d l
|fflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflffl{zfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflffl} reinforcement ratios, for which the section will crack under the
f ðω, ω0 Þ
 2 characteristic combination of actions, and situations for which it
qRd 0 d will not. The factor 1.05 in the expression for ρcr takes into
! ; = 8fcd f ðω, ω Þ : ð7Þ
b l account the contribution of reinforcement to the cracking moment
Furthermore, the quasi-permanent load, qqp, can be expre- for low reinforcement ratios. ρcr is less than 0.30% for concrete
ssed in terms of the ultimate load, qRd, as shown in Equation (8): strength less than C45, which covers most common cases.

FIGURE 2 Adjustment for factor kS.

FIGURE 3 Comparison between nonlinear analysis and simplified

1; 00 if ρ ≤ ρcr formulation for C30/37 and a = 250. It is assumed that φmean = 1.9 and
kS = ,
455ρ2 − 35ρ + 1:6 if ρ > ρcr εcs = 0.37 mm/m.
2 sffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi 3
1:05 f   q h
ρcr = 41 − 1 −
γ G − γ Q −γ G
LL 5 fcd :
3 fcd qTot d fyd

kI has been fitted to allow a good approximation
between the simplified formula and the curves determined
according to the general method in section 7.4.3 of EN
1992-1-1. The resulting expressions are given in
Equation (11). The expression is broken into four zones
which correspond to physical phenomena: a first zone,
where the section will not crack under the characteristic
combination of action (ω < ωcr), a zone where tension stiff-
ening effects are significant, (ωcr < ω < ω0 = 1.5ωcr), a
zone where tension-stiffening effects are less significant and FIGURE 4 Comparison between nonlinear analysis and simplified
no compression reinforcement is needed (ω0 < ω < 0.5), formulation for C60/75 and a = 250. It is assumed that φmean = 1.4 and
εcs = 0.25 mm/m.
and finally, a zone where compression reinforcement is nec-
essary (ω > 0.5).
ω ≤ ωcr = ρcr ! kI = 1:00,
1 −kI, ω0
ωcr ≤ ω ≤ ω0 = 1:5ωcr ! kI = kI, ω0 + ðω0 − ωÞ,
ðω0 −ωcr Þ

1:5ωcr ≤ ω ≤ 0:5 ! kI = kI, ω

= ð0:045fcd + 1:30Þω−5 × 10 − 4 fcd + 0:29,

ω > 0:5 ! kI = kI, ωlim + 0:15ω0 : ð11Þ

A comparison between the simplified and the general
methods is given in Section 4.

FIGURE 5 Comparison between nonlinear analysis and simplified

formulation for C100/115 and a = 250. It is assumed that φmean = 1.1 and
4 | C O M P A R IS O N OF SI M P L I F I E D εcs = 0.09 mm/m.
METHOD considering in all cases a limit deflection equal to l/250 and
three different load distributions. It can be seen that in all
Figures 3–5 show the comparison between the formulation cases the fit of the curves is quite good. It can also be seen
of Equation (9) and the results of nonlinear analysis for con- that the load distribution is a very important parameter
crete classes C30/37, C60/75, and C100/115, respectively, which needs to be taken into account.

5 | GE NE RA LIZING FA C TOR K Taking factor K into account, the expression for slender-
ness limits due to total deflection can be expressed as:
In the EN 1992-1-1 formulation, factor K allows for support  
conditions in a very coarse way, only providing values of l Ec, eff kI h 3
K for a limited number of cases with no distinction regard- d 12a d
ing, for instance, the ratio between end span length and inte- " #
rior span length. The value of K can actually be easily  5 εcs
    : ð16Þ
48 kDL fcd f ðω, ω Þ + Es 8 kS ρ 1 − 2d + ρ 2d −1
0 h 0 h
determined for any particular case by assuming in a simpli-
fied manner that the deflection due to shrinkage is affected A more precise conversion to other support condition is
in the same way as the deflection due to loads and creep. possible by taking into account that the deflection due to a
This is a reasonable assumption because in normal cases the constant curvature (shrinkage) is proportional to the second
deflection from shrinkage is a minor part of the total deflec- power of the span, instead of the fourth power. By introdu-
tion. For this, it is sufficient to determine the deflection for cing this condition in Equation (15), a different value, Kcs,
the real support conditions by means of an elastic calcula- can be obtained to correct deflections due to shrinkage for
tion, f2[L], and then determine the deflection for the same other support conditions:
load and the same span, assuming a simply supported ele-
f2, cs ½l l* αl2 l* l l*
ment, f1[L]. a12, cs = a12, cs *2 = a12, cs * = 1:00 ! = a12, cs
The ratio between these two values is referred to as a12 f2, cs ½l  l
* αl l l l
(Equation 12). ! Kcs = d
= a12, cs :
f1 ½l
a12 = ! f1 ½l = a12 f2 ½l: ð12Þ ð17Þ
f2 ½l
In Equation (17), a12,cs is the ratio of the deflections due
The value of K can be defined as the coefficient by
to a constant curvature in a simply supported span and in the
which the slenderness limit l/d obtained for a simply sup-
structure with the same span but different support conditions,
ported beam should be multiplied in order to obtain the
f2,cs is the deflection due to a constant curvature in a structure
same deflection for other support conditions. This will occur
having support conditions different from simply supported.
for another span length, which is termed l*. This condition
From this reasoning, Equation (16) can be generalized
is expressed in Equation (13) as follows:
to the expression of Equation (18).
l l  " #
K= = : ð13Þ l Ec, eff kI h 3 1
d d ≤     :
5 kDL fcd f ðω, ω0 Þ
d 12a d
48 K + Es εcs k ρ 1 − h + ρ0 h −1
Kcs 8 S 2d 2d
The relationship between l* and l should be such that
the same ratio between deflection and span is achieved for ð18Þ
both support conditions (Equation 14).
f1 ½l
f2 ½l l*
= 1:00 ! a12 = 1:00: ð14Þ 6 | C O NC L U S IO N S
f2 ½l*  f2 ½l*  l

Eq: ð12Þ

Equation (14) can be further developed by introducing From the above considerations, the following conclusions
the condition that the deflection for distributed loading is can be drawn:
proportional to the fourth power of the span
(Equation 15). • A new expression has been proposed for a much more
general formulation of slenderness limits than those cur-
f2 ½l l* αl4 l* l3 l*
a12 = a12 = a12 = 1:00 ! rently available.
f2 ½l*  l αl*4 l l*3 l • The new expression has a clear physical basis and takes
* into account all the significant variables, which affect
pffiffiffiffiffiffi l
= 3 a12 ! K = dl = 3 a12 : ð15Þ the deflection calculations, including the live load to
d total load ratio.
Therefore, the value of K can be determined by linear • The new formulation allows the use of any deflection
elastic analysis of any structure as the cubic root of the ratio limit and any rheological model.
between the deflection of the element considering a simply • As illustrated by the example, included in the Appendix,
supported beam and that considering the actual boundary this formulation allows a significant reduction in calcula-
conditions. When carrying out this analysis, care must be tion effort, even when compared to the simplified
taken to position the live load only on the spans where its method of EN 1992-1-1. Furthermore, Equation (16) can
effect is unfavorable. be applied to obtain very general and detailed tables from

which to choose an initial value of the required depth of 16. CEB-FIP. Model Code 1978 for Concrete Structures. CEB-FIP, Lausanne; 1976.
17. Rangan BV. Control of beam deflections by allowable span-depth ratios.
flexural members, adapted to particular applications
ACI Struct J. 1982;79(5):372-377.
where limited ranges of the variables are applicable. 18. Gardner NJ. Span/Thickness limitations for deflection control. ACI Struct J.
• A proposal regarding the generalization of factor K has 2001;203(1):95-114.
19. Corres Peiretti H, Pérez Caldentey A, López Agüí JC, Erdtbauer J. PrEN
been described.
Chapter 7—Serviceability Limit States. Deflections: Supporting Document.
• All the results have been compared with nonlinear cal- The European Concrete Platform ASBL; 2003. Eurocode 2 Commentary.
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in BS 8110 and Eurocode 2. Mag Concr Res. 2009;61(6):465-476.
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fit in all cases. This good fit has been validated in the
worked example in the Appendix. AUTHOR’S BIOGRAPHIES

The method presented in this paper is a valuable tool for Alejandro Pérez Caldentey,
structural optimization and should promote maximization of corresponding author
useful spaces as well as more sustainable structures. Head of R&D Department at FHECOR
Consulting Engineers,
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ISBN: 978-2-88394-105-2; 978-2-88394-106-9.
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concrete flexural members. Eng Struct. 2010;32(3):829-842. doi:10.1016/j.
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Design, Materials and Workmanship. BSI, London; 1972.


In order to illustrate the method and compare the results and work involved in using the proposed formulation for slender-
ness limits against actually calculating the deflection using the method from section 7.4.3 of EN 1992-1-1 , an example will
be fully worked. For this, a simply supported beam having a span of 7.75 m, corresponding to a solid slab, and composed of
C25 concrete and 500 MPa steel, is considered. The superimposed dead load is 1 kN/m2 and the live load is 7 kN/m2. It will
be assumed that 30% of the live load is quasi-permanent. A first rough estimate of the depth can be obtained by using a table
based on Equation (16), or directly from Figure 3, which is close enough to this case, for lightly reinforced simply supported
structures, which would provide a value of l/d of about 20, so that the effective depth would be around 0.40 m.
Independent of how the problem is solved, it is necessary to predimension the reinforcement and to estimate the rheologi-
cal parameters.
With the estimated value of the depth, the section can be predimensioned in order to determine the steel ratio necessary
for Ultimate Limit State (ULS):
qDL ≈0:45 × 25 = 11:25 kN=m2 ,
MEd = ð1:35 × 12:25 + 1:50 × 7:0Þ = 203:0 kNm=m,
203:0 1:15
As ≈
= 13 cm2 =m,
0:9 × 0:40 50
ρ= = 0:325%,
40 × 100
500 1:5
ω = 0:325 = 8:46%:
1:15 25
In order to show the versatility of the proposed formulation, the rheological parameters will be calculated according to
the MC 2010 instead of EN 1992-1-1, as it appears to be a more consistent model. Assuming that the dead load is applied at
an age of 7 days, that the superimposed dead load is applied at an age of 60 days, and that the quasi-permanent live load is
applied at 365 days, MC 2010 provides the following values, assuming a notional depth of 450 mm, a cement class of
type N, and a relative humidity of 50%:
φð ∞,7Þ = 3:04,
φð ∞,60Þ = 2:03,
φð ∞,365Þ = 1:43,
3:04 × 11:25 + 2:03 × 1 + 1:43 × 0:3 × 7
φmean = = 2:73,
11:25 + 1 + 0:3 × 7
εcs = 0:40 mm=m:

The effective modulus of elasticity (also taken from MC 2010 for consistency—see section of MC 2010) can then
be determined from the following equation:
21:5 2510+ 8 3
Ec, eff = = 8:57 GPa:
1 + 2:73


The value of the model adjustment parameters kS and kI can be determined from Equations (10) and (11).
2 vffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi

u p ffiffiffiffiffiffiffi    2 #
u 1:05 7 45 25 1:15
ρcr = 41 − t1 −
0:30 252 1:5 × 1:35− ð1:5 −1:35Þ × = 0:17; %; < ρ;
3 25 11:25 + 1 + 7 40 1:5 500

500 1:5
ωcr = ρcr = 0:17% × 26:09 = 4:52%,
1:15 25
kS = 455 × 0:00332 − 35 × 0:0033 + 1:6 = 1:49,

ω = 8:46% > ω0 = 1:5ωcr


= 1:5 × 4:52% = 6:78%!

25 25
kI = 0:045 + 1:30 0:0678 −5 × 10 − 4 + 0:29 = 0:46:
1:5 1:5
Finally, the value of kDL is determined according to Equation (8):

1 − ð1 −ψ 2 Þ qqTOT
1− ð1 −0:3Þ 19:25
kDL =   qLL = 7 = 0:53:
γ G + γ Q − γ G qTOT 1:35 + ð1:5 −1:35Þ 1925
With these values, Equation (16) can now be applied:
2 3
l 8570 × 0:46 45 66 1 7
≤  7
d 12 × 250 40 4 5 25 0:0004 45 5
0:53 × × 8:46% × ð1 − 0:5 × 8:46%Þ + 200000 1:49 × 0:325% 1 −
48 1:5 8 2 × 40
= 1:87 × = 19:5 ! d ≥ 7:75=19:5 = 0:398 ! o:k:
0:075 + 0:021

C AL C U L AT IO N AC CO R DI NG T O S E C T I ON 7 . 4 .3 O F E N 1 99 2 - 1 - 1

The problem can also be solved by assuming, in a simplified manner, that parameter α of expression (7.18) of EN 1992-1-1
is the deflection, instead of the more rigorous assumption that it is the curvature.
In order to solve the problem, the long-term mechanical properties of the uncracked (State I) and cracked (State II) cross
sections must be determined.

For the uncracked section:

bh2 1:00 × 0:452 200

+ αe As d + 13 × 10 − 4 × 0:40
xI = 2 = 2 8:57 = 0:236 m,
bh + αe As 200
1:00 × 0:45 + 13 × 10 − 4

SI = As ðd −xI Þ = 13 × 10 − 4 × ð0:40−0:236Þ = 2:13 × 10 − 4 m3 ,

1 3 h 2
II = bh + bh xI − + αe As ðd − xI Þ2
12 2
1 0:45 2 200
= 1:00 × 0:45 + 1:00 × 0:45 0:236− + 13 × 10 − 4 ð0:40 −0:236Þ2 = 8:46 × 10 − 3 m3 :
12 2 8:57

For the cracked cross section:


αe As αe As 2 2αe As d
xII = − + +
b b b
23:33 × 13 × 10 − 4 23:33 × 13 × 10 − 4 2 × 23:33 × 13 × 10 − 4 × 0:4
=− + + = 0:128 m,
1:00 1:00 1:00

SII = As ðd −xII Þ = 13 × 10 − 4 × ð0:40−0:128Þ = 3:52 × 10 − 4 m3 ,

III = bxII 3 + αe As ðd −xII Þ2
= 1:00 × 0:1283 + 23:33 × 13 × 10 − 4 ð0:40−0:128Þ2 = 2:94 × 10 − 3 m3 :

Next, factor ζ has to be determined. This factor is to be determined considering the characteristic combination of actions:

Mk = ð11:25 + 1 + 7Þ = 144:5 kNm,
p ffiffiffiffiffi II p3
ffiffiffiffiffiffiffi 8:46 × 10 − 3
Mcr = 0:30 3 fck2 × 1000 = 0:30 252 × 1000 = 101:44 kNm,
h −xI 0:45− 0:236
Mcr 101:44 2
ζ = 1 −0:5 = 1 −0:5 = 0:75:
Mk 144:5

The long-term deflection due to external loads can now be determined as follows:

5 qqp l4 5 ð11:25 + 1 + 0:3 × 7Þ × 7:754

δI, loads = = × 1000 = 9:3 mm,
384 Ec, eff II 384 8570 × 8:46
II 8:46
δII, loads = δI = 9:3 = 26:8 mm,
III 2:94
δloads = ð1 −ζ Þ × δI, loads + ζ × δII, loads = 0:25 × 9:3 + 0:75 × 26:8 = 22:4 mm:

Then, the deflections due to shrinkage can be determined as:

SI l2 2:13 × 10 − 4 7:752
δI, cs = αe εcs = 23:33 × 0:4 = 1:8 mm,
II 8 8:46 × 10 − 3 8
SII l2 3:52 × 10 − 4 7:752
δI, cs = αe εcs = 23:33 × 0:4 = 8:4 mm,
III 8 2:94 × 10 − 3 8
δcs = ð1 −ζ Þ × δI, cs + ζ × δII, cs = 0:25 × 1:8 + 0:75 × 8:4 = 6:8 mm:

The total long-term deflection would therefore be 22.4 + 6.8=29.2 mm, which corresponds to a span to deflection ratio,
l/δ, of 7,750/29.2 = 265, very close to the established limit of 250. This example therefore constitutes a validation of the pro-
posed approach.