A practical finite element modeling strategy to capture cracking and crushing behavior of reinforced concrete structures
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2021

Nonlinear finite element (FE) analysis of reinforced concrete (RC) structures is characterized by numerous modeling options and input parameters. To accurately model the nonlinear RC behavior involving concrete cracking in tension and crushing in compression, practitioners make different choices regarding the critical modeling issues, e.g., defining the concrete constitutive relations, assigning the bond between the concrete and the steel reinforcement, and solving problems related to convergence difficulties and mesh sensitivities. Thus, it is imperative to review the common modeling choices critically and develop a robust modeling strategy with consistency, reliability, and comparability. This paper proposes a modeling strategy and practical recommendations for the nonlinear FE analysis of RC structures based on parametric studies of critical modeling choices. The proposed modeling strategy aims at providing reliable predictions of flexural responses of RC members with a focus on concrete cracking behavior and crushing failure, which serve as the foundation for more complex modeling cases, e.g., RC beams bonded with fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) laminates. Additionally, herein, the implementation procedure for the proposed modeling strategy is comprehensively described with a focus on the critical modeling issues for RC structures. The proposed strategy is demonstrated through FE analyses of RC beams tested in four-point bending—one RC beam as reference and one beam externally bonded with a carbon-FRP (CFRP) laminate in its soffit. The simulated results agree well with experimental measurements regarding load-deformation relationship, cracking, flexural failure due to concrete crushing, and CFRP debonding initiated by intermediate cracks. The modeling strategy and recommendations presented herein are applicable to the nonlinear FE analysis of RC structures in general.

flexural behavior

viscoplastic regularization



crack band

mesh sensitivity

finite element analysis

strain localization

post-peak softening

reinforced concrete


Alexandre Mathern


Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Konstruktionsteknik

Jincheng Yang

Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Konstruktionsteknik


19961944 (eISSN)

Vol. 14 3 1-26 506

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