Nonlinear Analysis in RF-/CONCRETE
When designing reinforced concrete components according to EN 1992‑1‑1 , it is possible to use nonlinear calculation methods to determine internal forces for the ultimate limit state and the serviceability limit state. In this case, the internal forces and deformations are determined with respect to their nonlinear behaviour. The analysis of stresses and strains in cracked state usually provides the deflections, which clearly exceed the linearly determined values.
One of the previous articles explains the general methods for the calculation and modelling of downstand beams, ribs and T‑beams in cracked state. This article describes the design process of a continuous beam made of reinforced concrete. The calculation can be carried out in the add‑on modules CONCRETE and RF‑CONCRETE Members in combination with the licenses for EC2 and RF‑CONCRETE NL.
System and Loading
A continuous beam consists of a rectangular cross‑section of 20/35 cm and the concrete class C30/37.
The permanent loads and traffic loads are organised in three load cases. To determine the design combinations according to EN 1990, the automatic combinatorics for the ultimate limit state and the serviceability limit state (usual design situation) of RFEM/RSTAB are used.
Linear Calculation of Reinforcement in ULS
First, the reinforcement is determined for the ultimate limit state. The calculation is performed, taking into account the moment redistribution and reduction for the internal forces of the result combination RC1. Furthermore, the following reinforcement parameters are specified:
- Reinforcement diameter of 16 mm
- Curtailment of reinforcement for three areas
- Concrete cover of 30 mm
- Minimum reinforcement of 2 Ø 12 for the upper and bottom positions
- Secondary reinforcement for the maximum reinforcement distance of 15 cm with Ø 12
Based on these entries, the program determines a reinforcement concept according to the linear-elastic approach. In Window 3.1, it is possible to check the reinforcement, which is the basis for the nonlinear analysis.
Nonlinear Calculation of Crack Widths and Deformations in SLS
The nonlinear calculation of the serviceability limit state is performed for the load combinations LC6 to LC8 (result combinations do not allow for any clear stress‑strain relations). In the nonlinear analysis, the tension stiffening effects should be integrated. For this, the method with the modified characteristic curve for steel according to  is applied.
In addition, the creep and shrinkage effects are considered. These can be set in Window 1.3.
A physical and geometric nonlinear calculation is performed. The iteration of the strain state is done on the cross‑section plane. Based on the distribution of internal forces within the iteration cycle, new current strain‑stress states are always calculated. The convergence is achieved when the state of equilibrium is set.
As expected, the maximum deformations occur in Field 1 for the loading of LC6 (LC1 + 0.5 ⋅ LC2). The crack widths are small.
The deformation resulting from the nonlinear calculation with regard to the creep effect is significantly greater than the deformation from the pure linear elastic calculation without the creep effect. This is obvious when comparing the deformations.
The stiffness diagram shows that a large area of Field 1 is cracked in the serviceability state.
In comparison with the linear-elastic calculation of reinforced concrete components, the nonlinear stiffness and stress analysis provides deformation values that can be considerably higher when considering the crack formation. This effect can be resolved by using the nonlinear analysis methods implemented in the add‑on modules for structural analysis and design of reinforced concrete structures by Dlubal Software. It is also possible to consider the creep and shrinkage effects here.
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Figure 03 - Window '1.1 General Data' for Serviceability Limit State with Settings for Nonlinear Calculation According to 
Structural engineering software for finite element analysis (FEA) of planar and spatial structural systems consisting of plates, walls, shells, members (beams), solids and contact elements
The structural engineering software for design of frame, beam and truss structures, performing linear and nonlinear calculations of internal forces, deformations, and support reactions
Design of reinforced concrete members and surfaces (plates, walls, planar structures, shells)
Linear and nonlinear analysis of reinforced concrete members with reinforcement concept
Physical and geometrical nonlinear calculation of beam and plate structures consisting of reinforced concrete
Module Extension for RFEM
Extension of the modules for reinforced concrete design by the Eurocode 2 design