Performance based analysis of hidden beams in reinforced concrete structures
Civil Engineering Department, An-Najah National University, Nablus, Palestine.
Local and perhaps regional vernacular reinforced concrete building construction leans heavily against designing slabs with imbedded hidden beams for flooring systems in most structures including major edifices. The practice is distinctive in both framed and in shear wall structures. Hidden beams are favoured structural elements due to their many inherent features that characterize them; they save on floor height clearance; they also save on formwork, labour and material cost. Moreover, hidden beams form an acceptable aesthetic appearance that does not hinder efficient interior space partitioning. Such beams have the added advantage of clearing the way for horizontal electromechanical ductwork. However, seismic considerations, in all likelihood, are seldom seriously addressed. The mentioned structural system of shallow beams is adopted in ribbed slabs, waffle slabs and at times with solid slabs. Ribbed slabs and waffle slabs are more prone to hidden beam inclusion due to the added effective height of the concrete section. Due to the presence of a relatively high reinforcement ratio at the joints the sections at such location tend to become less ductile with unreliable contribution to spandrel force resistance. In the following study the structural influence of hidden beams within slabs is investigated. With the primary focus on a performance based analysis of such elements within a structure. This is investigated with due attention to shear wall contribution to the overall behaviour of such structures. Numerical results point in the direction that the function of hidden beams is not as adequate as desired. Therefore it is strongly believed that they are generally superfluous and maybe eliminated altogether. Conversely, shallow beams seem to render the overall seismic capacity of the structure unreliable. Since such an argument is rarely manifested within the linear analysis domain; a pushover analysis exercise is thus mandatory for behaviour prediction under strong seismic events. In such events drop beams have the edge.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2014
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