Reference : A multiaxial constitutive model for concrete in the fire situation including transient c...
Dissertations and theses : Doctoral thesis
Engineering, computing & technology : Civil engineering
Engineering, computing & technology : Mechanical engineering
A multiaxial constitutive model for concrete in the fire situation including transient creep and cooling down phases
Gernay, Thomas mailto [Université de Liège - ULg > Département Argenco : Secteur SE > Ingénierie du feu >]
Université de Liège, ​​Belgium
Doctorat en Sciences de l'Ingénieur
Franssen, Jean-Marc mailto
Charlier, Robert mailto
Dotreppe, Jean-Claude mailto
Collin, Frédéric mailto
Taerwe, Luc
Millard, Alain
Carol, Ignacio
[en] Concrete ; Constitutive model ; Structures in fire ; Elastoplasticity ; Damage ; Transient creep
[en] Purpose - The present thesis aims to develop an efficient and reliable multiaxial concrete model for implementation in finite elements softwares dedicated to the analysis of structures in fire. The need for proper concrete model remains a very challenging task in structural (fire) engineering because of the complexity of the concrete mechanical behavior characterization and the severe requirements for the material models raised by the development of performance-based design.
Methodology - The thesis opted for a phenomenological approach for modeling the thermo-mechanical behavior of concrete. The specifications of the model are based on the study of published experimental data of concrete samples tests and on the specific needs related to the applications in structural fire engineering. With these specifications in mind, a state of the art review of concrete models is conducted in order to choose the general theoretical framework that best fits the criteria for the development of the new model. The thesis presents the theoretical development of the model and its numerical implementation in a finite elements software. Numerical simulations of experimental tests are then performed to verify that the model satisfy the specifications.
Findings - The combination of elastoplasticity theory and damage theory allows to develop a phenomenological model suitable for concrete behavior modeling within the pragmatic and robust theoretical framework of continuum constitutive models based on smeared crack approach. The state of damage in concrete, assumed isotropic, is modeled by means of a fourth order damage tensor to capture the unilateral effect. When complex performance-based situations are considered, the effect of transient creep strain at high temperature must be taken into account by an explicit term in the strain decomposition. A generic transient creep model is therefore developed based on experimental data and the model is calibrated to yield the same results as the Eurocode implicit model in simple prescriptive situations. The concrete model comprises a limited number of parameters that can be identified by three simple tests; besides, a standard set of values to be used in predictive calculations is clearly defined for these parameters. Numerical simulations can deal with all stress states as the model is developed as fully three-dimensional. A large number of examples highlight the capabilities of the model that range from the modeling of sample tests to the modeling of large scale composite structures developing membrane action.
Limitations – Due to the assumption that damage and plasticity are driven by the same internal variables in the model, a limitation appears for capturing the concrete post-peak behavior in highly confined stress states. This assumption allows for reducing the number of parameter but it restrains the domain of applicability of the model; it is suggested to adopt a different approach if the behavior in multiaxial compression at high confinement level has to be accurately captured. Another limitation of the model is related to the localization issue, which is only partly addressed in this work by means of the regularization of the crack energy. Further works should bring a more elaborated response while considering the case of reinforced concrete structures, in which numerous cracks develop. Finally, several simplifying assumptions have been adopted to restrain the scope of the research; for instance, the phenomenon of spalling has not been considered.
Practical implications - The thesis includes implications for the development of advanced numerical tools for the simulation of concrete structures at ambient temperature and at high temperature. The use of such advanced tools in the design may lead to significant reduction in the building costs and to improved robustness of the structures.
Value – The thesis contributes to fulfil an identified need to make available proper constitutive concrete model for implementation in finite elements softwares dedicated to the analysis of structures in fire. Special care is given to the numerical robustness of the model and to the clear definition of the material parameters as the model is intended to be used by structural (fire) engineers in real applications.
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS
Researchers ; Professionals

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