Nonlinear analysis of flat slab-column connections to optimize the use of HPFRC under monotonic vertical loading

Rafael Sanabria Díaz, Brisid Isufi, Leandro Mouta Trautwein, António Pinho Ramos

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Numerous studies have shown that incorporating fibers in concrete can improve its mechanical properties, including tensile strength and toughness. Due to these outstanding properties, the use of fiber-reinforced concrete (FRC) composites has been investigated for applications in structural members subjected to shear, in which brittle failure mode may occur. An example of this type of application is the use of high/ultrahigh-performance fiber-reinforced concrete (HPFRC/UHPFRC) in flat slab-column connections as an alternative to shear reinforcement. The experimental results revealed that the use of advanced concrete materials led to an increase in the punching shear and deformation capacities. Despite these advantages, the use of HPFRC/UHPFRC in practical design is somehow limited by the lack of guidelines in codes for this type of new material. Furthermore, the study of constitutive models for nonlinear finite element analysis is also necessary. In this regard, this article addresses the simulation of two-way slabs with HPFRC, subjected to concentrated monotonic vertical loading, tested in a previous experimental study, where the HPFRC was used only in a limited slab region around the column, and the rest of the slab was cast with normal strength concrete. The numerical models were developed in the commercial finite element software DIANA. The concrete nonlinear behavior was modeled by a total strain-based constitutive model, in which the HPFRC softening is represented by a tensile stress-crack width (σ − w) relationship. The validity of the numerical model is checked by the comparison with the experimental results and a punching shear mechanical model, leading to the formulation of a closed-form equation. Finally, a parametric study was conducted to extrapolate the results obtained in the experimental campaign and to optimize the use of HPFRC to obtain a more economical and sustainable solution.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalStructural Concrete
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2022


  • fiber-reinforced concrete
  • flat slab
  • FRC
  • high performance fiber-reinforced concrete
  • nonlinear finite element analysis
  • punching shear


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