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REINFORCED CONCRETE ANALYSIS AND DESIGN WITH TRUSS TOPOLOGY OPTIMIZATION

Cristopher D. Moen, PhD, PE, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA James K. Guest, PhD, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

ABSTRACT The objective of this research is to develop a computational framework to assist in the analysis and design of reinforced concrete members. The framework extends and automates the useful idea that a truss can approximate disturbed strain fields in concrete by utilizing truss topology optimization, a free-form design methodology for optimizing material distributions within a domain. The flow of forces through a cracked reinforced concrete member with general loading and support conditions are identified with the convex form of the minimum compliance (maximum stiffness) truss topology algorithm. The algorithm identifies a truss that minimizes the strain energy in the reinforcing steel, which is consistent with current design guidelines for limiting plastic deformations in reinforced concrete at an ultimate limit state. Results from a freely available open source computer program demonstrate that the truss topology optimization approach produces reinforcing layouts consistent with the principal tension stress trajectories in a member, even for complex domains such as members with holes. In some cases, force spreading cannot be explicitly captured with the truss topology formulation. Ongoing work in continuum topology optimization of reinforced concrete members is summarized, including consideration of constructability in the optimized solution.

Keywords: Reinforced concrete, Strut-and-tie model, Truss model, Topology optimization

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INTRODUCTION Reinforced concrete is a complex composite material, which to this day, is challenging researchers who are attempting to describe its behavior with mechanics-based models. In the late 1800s, Wilhem Ritter and Emil Mrsch developed a rational engineering approach to circumvent concretes complexities, where a cracked reinforced concrete beam was assumed to behave as a truss. The truss analogy, known today as a strut-and-tie model, provided a convenient visualization of the flow of forces and the specific locations of the reinforcing steel which can be used to detail a structural member. A drawback of early concrete truss models was the arbitrary nature with which they could be formulated, and the lack of scientific theory to support the practically minded idea developed by Ritter and Mrsch. The scientific support for cracked reinforced concrete truss models came several decades later with research by Marti, who established for the first time a scientific foundation for the truss model concept by relating the truss behavior to a lower bound plasticity theory 1. Marti and others concluded that optimum concrete truss models could be achieved by locating the compressive struts and tension ties coincident with the elastic stress trajectories in a member, and that higher ductility and improved structural performance at ultimate limit state could be achieved with a stiffer truss. Nonetheless, the engineering judgment required to obtain a truss model was specifically noted by Marti as a drawback of the truss design analogy, and he recommended future research on computational tools that could automate the design process. The momentum from Martis work, in combination with experimental and analytical work by Collins and Mitchell on truss models for shear and torsion 2, led to useful guidelines for truss models proposed by Jrg Schlaich and his colleagues at the University of Stuttgart 3. Schlaich states that the stiffest truss model is the one that will produce the safest loaddeformation response because limiting truss deflection prevents large plastic deformations in the concrete. Large plastic deformations are avoided by minimizing the stretching of the reinforcing steel, which correlates mathematically to minimizing the reinforcing steels total strain energy. However, Schlaich admits that selecting the optimum truss model may be difficult with this criterion, requiring engineering intuition that he blames on past failures. Recent advances in optimization algorithms, and specifically the growth of the field of topology optimization, has led to a new family of methods for identifying truss models consistent with the rules outlined by Schlaich. Truss topology optimization begins with a densely meshed design domain, referred to as a ground structure (Fig. 1). Cross-sectional areas are then optimized and members having zero or near-zero area are removed, eventually yielding an optimized topology with optimal cross-sectional areas (Figure 2b), see Ohsaki and Swan 4, and Bendse and Sigmund 5 for reviews. Following this approach, Biondini et al. 6 and Ali et al. 7 solved minimum strain energy formulations using formal mathematical programming to derive concrete truss models that were consistent with the elastic stress trajectories in a general concrete domain. Ali also demonstrated with nonlinear finite 1

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element modeling to collapse of short reinforced concrete cantilevers that ultimate strength increases as truss stiffness increases, an important conclusion that was later confirmed with experiments on other types of concrete members by Kuchma 8.

Fig. 1 Truss ground structure The objective of this research is to deliver a clear, accessible, and automated analysis framework to support the extension and proliferation of the truss model approach, which will lead to safer, more durable reinforced concrete members with higher levels of material efficiency and lower life cycle costs when compared to traditional designs. Reinforced concrete design guidelines employing truss models were introduced into European practice in 1990 9, followed by the Canadian Concrete Design Code 10, the AASHTO LRFD bridge code 11 , and finally the ACI building code 12. The methods widespread use is currently stymied though by a lack of formal mechanics-based tools for obtaining the truss shape that leads to optimal performance in service. The cornerstone of the proposed framework is a visualization tool utilizing topology optimization algorithms, allowing engineers to identify the best performing, i.e. the stiffest truss, which describes the flow of forces through a general concrete member with general loading and support conditions.

CONCRETE TRUSS MODELS WITH TOPOLOGY OPTIMIZATION MOTIVATION Consider the traditional truss model and reinforcing layout for a reinforced concrete deep beam in Fig. 2a. (Note experimental results from Nagarajan and Pillai 13 are placed behind the truss models in Fig. 2). The steel reinforcement is located near the bottom of the deep beam, which is an appropriate location at midspan, but does not provide resistance at the locations of principal tension near the supports, allowing wide diagonal cracks to develop under load. Fig. 2b shows an alternative minimum compliance truss model derived with a topology optimization algorithm. The term minimum compliance refers to the fact that the truss topology results in the smallest possible external work for a set volume of material, i.e. the topology produces the stiffest truss. The minimum compliance truss model locates the steel reinforcement to bridge the principal tension cracks, with the added bonus of reducing the volume of required steel reinforcement when compared to the traditional model. This idea, that minimum compliance truss models produce superior reinforced concrete designs, is consistent with Schlaichs design guidelines 3 and with experimental and computational results 7, 8. 2

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Fig. 2 Compare (a) traditional concrete truss model and (b) minimum compliance truss model derived with topology optimization. Black dashed lines represent compression carried by the concrete, red solid lines represent tension carried by the reinforcing steel. Experimental results provided in the background are taken from Nagarajan and Pillai 13. OPTIMIZATION THEORY The reinforced concrete analysis framework is based on topology optimization, a free-form methodology for optimizing material distribution within a design domain. The goal is to identify optimal distributions of concrete and steel for a given domain geometry and set of loads and boundary conditions by considering design optimization formulations that maximize stiffness (minimize compliance) and thereby limit plastic deformations in the concrete member. The independent design variable for the topology optimization problem is the truss element area, Ae, and the nodal displacements d are the state (dependent) design variables. A common approach to maximizing stiffness of a fixed-mass system is to minimize internal strain energy and equivalently external work. The minimum compliance problem is given for truss domains as

min e

1 1 T d K( e ) d = f T d ,d 2 2 e subject to : K( ) d = f , Ae Le V , 0 Ae e
e

(1)

where f are the nodal applied loads, L is element length for truss elements, V is the available volume of material, and the global stiffness matrix K is assembled ( A ) from element
e

stiffness matrices k :

K( e ) = A k e ( Ae ) , k e(Ae ) = Ae k e 0
e

(2)

where ke0 is the element stiffness matrix for a unit Ae. The minimum compliance formulation above is a continuous, nonconvex optimization problem. Employing the principle of minimum potential energy and assuming
3

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linear elastic behavior, the nonconvex problem can be converted into the following convex displacements-only formulation 14: min f T d + V d, (3) 1 eT e e subject to : d k d e 0 2 Le where Ae has been removed (through substitution) and the constraint reveals that is proportional to the maximum strain energy density in the structural system . This problem is one of maximizing external work while minimizing the maximum strain energy (maximum strain energy density total volume). The problem is convex as the objective function is linear and the constraints are quadratic in d, yielding a positive semi-definite Hessian matrix resembling (but not identical to) the global stiffness matrix. Convexity facilitates fast and stable convergence of the optimization algorithm and means any local minimum is a global minimum. The optimal structural response is solved with Eq. (3), given by displacement field d (and strain energy density ). The truss design that yields this response is then extracted from the optimal Lagrange multipliers associated with each of the strain energy density constraints 15. Optimality conditions guarantee that (i) design and response fields will be consistent and (ii) the optimal truss structure will be uniformly stressed, meaning truss crosssectional areas may simply be scaled to satisfy stress constraints and thereby making the choice of V arbitrary. This approach is mathematically equivalent to the minimum strain energy guidelines proposed by Schlaich. IMPLEMENTATION AND EXAMPLES A freely-available computer program written in MATLAB 16 is available for exploring minimum compliance concrete truss models with general concrete shapes, loadings, and boundary conditions, including members with holes at http://www.ce.jhu.edu/jguest/. A user inputs a general concrete domain with loadings and boundary conditions, and the optimized truss geometry (xy coordinates) and truss member forces are output for use in design. The output can be used with code-based concrete truss model programs such as CAST 17 to automate design exploration of reinforced concrete members. Examples of minimum compliance concrete truss models generated with the computer program are provided in Fig. 3 through Fig. 5. The minimum compliance model for a beam with a point load in Fig. 3 demonstrates that the truss model with the maximum elastic stiffness (minimum compliance) can be realized by placing the reinforcing steel orthogonal to the compressive stress trajectories, which is similar to the practice of providing inclined shear stirrups to bridge diagonal cracks 18. Fig. 4 demonstrates that a fanned steel reinforcing pattern is stiffer than the traditional concrete cantilever reinforcement layout, providing new ideas for reinforcement layouts that could be studied experimentally to determine their efficacy for seismic design. Reinforced concrete designs can be readily obtained with topology optimization even for complex domains, for example the deep beam 4

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with an opening in Fig. 5. The minimum compliance design in this case results in a simplified reinforcing layout when compared to the traditional design, because stirrups are not required in the confined space under the hole.

Fig. 3 Compare (a) traditional truss model to (b) a minimum compliance truss model for a simply supported beam with a point load

Fig. 4 Compare (a) traditional truss model to (b) a minimum compliance truss model for a cantilever loaded with a point load at its tip

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Fig. 5 Compare (a) traditional truss model to (b) a minimum compliance truss model for a deep beam with a hole
LOOKING AHEAD TO CONTINUUM TOPOLOGY OPTIMIZATION

RECENT WORK Several researchers are exploring the use of continuum topology optimization as a tool for reinforced concrete analysis and design. Continuum topology optimization is a freeform design algorithm capable of generating new design ideas, for example, the beam loaded with a point load in Fig. 6. Design variables are steered towards 0-1 (void-solid) distributions because the solid phase in the continuum model (e =1) indicates either localized tension or compression zones, with identification of the respective zone (and consequently location of steel) occurring as part of the post-processing. The void phase in the continuum model (e =0) indicates locations of background concrete that is not part of the force model. Liang et al. 19 implemented a heuristic plane stress topology optimization approach, commonly referred to as Evolutionary Structural Optimization (ESO), to derive concrete truss model shapes for common cases such as a deep beam and a corbel. Kwak and Noh 20 and Leu et al. 21 employ similar ESO-based algorithms. Recently a more general continuum topology optimization approach was used to guide strut-and-tie design and thereby improve solution efficiency and optimality 22. Bruggi considers 2D and 3D design problems by relying on heuristic sensitivity filtering 23 to overcome well-known numerical instabilities of checkerboard patterns and mesh dependency. Truss topology optimization will facilitate discovery of new design solutions. However, to fully realize the free-form design potential of topology optimization in reinforced concrete design, we must consider continuum topology optimization representations.

Fig. 6. Continuum topology optimization of a beam with a point load

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PRESTRESSED CONCRETE AND FORCE SPREADING The truss topology optimization approach is based on the assumption of a linear elastic constitutive equation, which in some design settings, for example prestressed concrete, may lead to invalid strut-only solutions that falsely indicate that steel reinforcement is not needed. Fig. 7 illustrates this shortcoming for a compressive point load on a column solved with truss (Fig. 7a) and continuum topology optimization (Fig. 7b). The designs indicate compression-only zones and fail to capture load spreading that will induce tensile stresses into the concrete phase as indicated by the principal stress plot (Fig. 7c). Research is underway to overcome this drawback with a continuum-truss hybrid approach governed by piecewise linear elastic material models, although for now users of topology optimization techniques should be wary of strut-only solutions.

Fig. 7 (a) truss and (b) continuum topologies produce strut only designs and do not capture the force spreading indicated by the (c) principal stresses for the plane stress model CONSTRUCTABILITY To date, constructability and feature length scale considerations have not been incorporated into continuum strut-and-tie topology optimization approaches. Controlling minimum length scale of the solid (load-carrying) phase provides a means for influencing constructability. Reducing the allowable minimum length scale improves structure stiffness but typically leads to thinner members and more complex designs 24. In reinforced concrete topologies, this means smaller diameter and more complex reinforcing steel geometries. Restricting the void (background) phase provides a means for enforcing concrete cover and tie spacing bonding constraints. It is common for topology optimized designs to contain dominant structural members, or members having undesirably large length scales in single or multiple directions. Fig. 8 displays a reinforced concrete pile cap design problem and optimized topology. In this case the entire bottom plane serves as a tension tie for the pile cap. A more desirable result for reinforced concrete design could be obtained by imposing a maximum length scale, e.g., Guest 25, on the solid phase resulting in a system of distinct tie members.

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Fig. 8 (a) pile cap design problem and (b) optimized topology (right, solid phase shown). The entire bottom plane serves as a tension tie. Alternatively, distinct tie members could be obtained by prescribing a maximum length scale for the solid phase

CONCLUSIONS

Topology optimization provides a convenient methodology for obtaining a minimum compliance concrete truss model, i.e. a truss model where the strain energy in the reinforcing steel is minimized, a generally agreed upon design guideline which is intended to minimize plastic deformation at an ultimate limit state. Experiments and nonlinear finite element modeling have confirmed that a minimum compliance concrete truss model can increase peak load and improve the load-deformation response of reinforced concrete members over traditional strut-and-tie designs. The convex form of the truss topology optimization problem is conveniently solved to find a minimum compliance truss model resulting in steel reinforcement placed in line with the principal tension elastic stress trajectories. The topology optimization can produce truss models even for complex domains, including members with holes. Users should be suspicious of strut only solutions, as force spreading cannot be readily modeled with existing truss or continuum topology optimization techniques. Research continues on improving force visualization and design tools for reinforced concrete, including the development of continuum topology optimization approaches which can accommodate constructability and concrete cover constraints. Advances in the continuum constitutive models are needed to accommodate truss models that simulate force spreading. The truss and continuum topology optimization methodologies provide a means for efficient exploration of a design space and the potential to discover new, better performing designs in reinforced concrete and other engineering materials.

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REFERENCES

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1. Marti P., "On Plastic Analysis of Reinforced Concrete, Report No. 104," Institute of Structural Engineers, ETH, 1980. 2. Collins M. P., Mitchell D., "Shear and torsion design of prestressed and non-prestressed concrete beams," Journal - Prestressed Concrete Institute, V. 25, No. 5, 1980, pp. 32-100. 3. Schlaich J., Schaefer K., Jennewein M., "Toward a consistent design of structural concrete," PCI Journal, V. 32, No. 3, 1987, pp. 74-150. 4. Ohsaki M., Swan C. C., "Topology and geometry optimization of trusses and frames," Recent Advances in Optimal Structural Design, 2002, pp. 97-123. 5. Bendse M. P., Sigmund O., "Topology Optimization: Theory, Methods, and Applications." Berlin: Springer-Verlag; 2003. 6. Biondini F., Bontempi F., Malerba P. G., "Optimal strut-and-tie models in reinforced concrete structures," Computer Assisted Mechanics and Engineering Sciences, V. 6, No. 3, 1999, pp. 279-93. 7. Ali M. A., White R. N., "Automatic generation of truss model for optimal design of reinforced concrete structures," ACI Structural Journal, V. 98, No. 4, 2001, pp. 431-42. 8. Kuchma D., Yindeesuk S., Nagle T., Hart J., Lee H. H., "Experimental validation of strutand-tie method for complex regions," ACI Structural Journal, V. 105, No. 5, 2008, pp. 57889. 9. Comit Euro-International du Bton, "CEB-FIP Model Code 1990." London: Thomas Telford Services, Ltd; 1993. 10. CSA Technical Committee A23.3, "Design of Concrete Structures CAN3-A23.3-M84." Rexdale, Ontario: Canadian Standards Association; 1984. 11. AASHTO, "AASHTO LRFD Bridge Specifications." 1st ed. ed. Washington, D.C.: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, 1st. ed.; 1994. 12. ACI Committee 318, "Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete (ACI 318-02) and Commentary (ACI 318R-02)." Farmington Hills, Michigan: American Concrete Institute; 2002. 13. Nagarajan P., Pillai T. M. M., "Analysis and design of simply supported deep beams using strut and tie method," Advances in Structural Engineering, V. 11, No. 5, 2008, pp. 4919. 14. Bendse M. P., Ben-Tal A., Zowe J., "Optimization methods for truss geometry and topology design," Structural Optimization, V. 7, 1994, pp. 141-59. 15. Guest J. K., "Design of optimal porous material structures for maximized stiffness and permeability using topology optimization and finite element methods," Ph.D. Dissertation, Princeton University, 2005. 16. Mathworks, "Matlab 7.8.0 (R2009a)," Mathworks, Inc., www.mathworks.com, 2009. 17. Tjhin T. N., Kuchma D. A., "Computer-based tools for design by strut-and-tie method: Advances and challenges," ACI Structural Journal, V. 99, No. 5, 2002, pp. 586-94. 18. MacGregor J. G., "Reinforced Concrete: Mechanics and Design." 2nd Edition ed. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc.; 1992.

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19. Liang Q. Q., Xie Y. M., Prentice Steven G., "Topology optimization of strut-and-tie models in reinforced concrete structures using an evolutionary procedure," ACI Structural Journal, V. 97, No. 2, 2000, pp. 322-30. 20. Kwak H.-G., Noh S.-H., "Determination of strut-and-tie models using evolutionary structural optimization," Engineering Structures, V. 28, No. 10, 2006, pp. 1440-9. 21. Leu L.-J., Huang C.-W., Chen C.-S., Liao Y.-P., "Strut-and-tie design methodology for three-dimensional reinforced concrete structures," Journal of Structural Engineering, V. 132, No. 6, 2006, pp. 929-38. 22. Bruggi M., "Generating strut-and-tie patterns for reinforced concrete structures using topology optimization," Computers and Structures, V. (in press), 2009. 23. Sigmund O., "On the design of compliant mechanisms using topology optimization," Mechanics of Structures and Machines, V. 25, No. 4, 1997, pp. 493-524. 24. Guest J. K., Prevost J. H., Belytschko T., "Achieving minimum length scale in topology optimization using nodal design variables and projection functions," International Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering, V. 61, No. 2, 2004, pp. 238-54. 25. Guest J. K., "Imposing maximum length scale in topology optimization," Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization, V. 37, 2009, pp. 463-73.

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