How to Model Reinforced Concrete in FEA

FEA Analysis applications has started from structural mechanics and hence civil engineering or Applied Mechanics finds the closer use of FEA.  However, modelingconcrete materials has not been easy due to the complexity involved in the material properties as well as the use of reinforcements that normally they're used with.  FEA methodology for modeling a reinforced concrete structure has been more or less similar for most of the software.

The most appropriate method to model the reinforced concrete structure is to model the concrete as solid elements and the reinforcements as link elements.  Off course you need to tie the elements with each other at proper nodes.  The good thing about this approach is: It reduces the computational resources and you can still have comparable results with those in actual physics.  Since the reinforcement members are there to take the load (or transfer the load within the structure) and usually we are not interested in simulating their failure, this methodology is beneficial to get the desired outputs in terms of simulating reinforced concrete structures.

However, one of the drawbacks of using this method is: we cannot initiate a crack by describing failure criteria for the link members. There are indirect methods of element death options in certain codes, however it is recommended that whenever we want to check the failure and apply a failure criteria for the reinforcements, we should model them with proper solid elements.

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