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CONTENTS
Volume 3, Number 5, October 2006
 

Abstract
The free vibration of stiffened and damaged coupled shear walls is investigated using the mixed finite element method. The anisotropic damage model is adopted to describe the damage extent of the reinforced concrete shear wall element. The internal energy of a locally damaged shear wall element is derived. Polynomial shape functions established by Kwan are used to present the component of displacements vector on each point within the wall element. The principle of virtual work is employed to deduce the stiffness matrix of a damaged shear wall element. The stiffened system is reinforced by an additional stiffening beam at some level of the structure. This induces additional axial forces, and thus reduces the bending moments in the walls and the lateral deflection, and increases the natural frequencies. The effects of the damage extent and the stiffening beam on the free vibration characteristics of the structure are studied. The optimal location of the stiffening beam for increasing as far as possible the first natural frequency of vibration is presented.

Key Words
free vibration; damaged reinforced concrete structures; coupled shear wall; finite element method.

Address
Laboratoire des Materiaux et Hydrologie, Universitade Sidi Bel Abbes, BP 89 Cite Ben M\'hidi 22000 Sidi Bel Abbes, Algerie

Abstract
Experimental research revealed that the spatial dispersion of aggregate grains exerts pronounced influences on the mechanical and durability properties of concrete. Therefore, insight into this phenomenon is of paramount importance. Experimental approaches do not provide direct access to three-dimensional spacing information in concrete, however. Contrarily, simulation approaches are mostly deficient in generating packing systems of aggregate grains with sufficient density. This paper therefore employs a dynamic simulation system (with the acronym SPACE), allowing the generation of dense random packing of grains, representative for concrete aggregates. This paper studies by means of SPACE packing structures of aggregates with a Fuller type of size distribution, generally accepted as a suitable approximation for actual aggregate systems. Mean free spacing , mean nearest neighbour distance (NND) between grain centres , and the probability density function of D3 are used to characterize the spatial dispersion of aggregate grains in model concretes. Influences on these spacing parameters are studied of volume fraction and the size range of aggregate grains. The values of these descriptors are estimated by means of stereological tools, whereupon the calculation results are compared with measurements. The simulation results indicate that the size range of aggregate grains has a more pronounced influence on the spacing parameters than exerted by the volume fraction of aggregate. At relatively high volume density of aggregates, as met in the present cases, theoretical and experimental values are found quite similar. The mean free spacing is known to be independent of the actual dispersion characteristics (Underwood 1968); it is a structural parameter governed by material composition. Moreover, scatter of the mean free spacing among the serial sections of the model concrete in the simulation study is relatively small, demonstrating the sample size to be representative for composition homogeneity of aggregate grains. The distribution of observed in this study is markedly skew, indicating a concentration of relatively small values of . The estimate of the size of the representative volume element (RVE) for configuration homogeneity based on NND exceeds by one order of magnitude the estimate for structure-insensitive properties. This is in accordance with predictions of Brown (1965) for composition and configuration homogeneity (corresponding to structure-insensitive and structure-sensitive properties) of conglomerates.

Key Words
aggregates; computer-simulation; dispersion; SPACE; spacing, stereology.

Address
Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences,rnDelft University of Technology, 2628 CN, Delft, The Netherlands

Abstract
A novel formulation aiming to achieve optimal design of reinforced concrete (RC) structures is presented here. Optimal sizing and reinforcing for beam and column members in multi-bay and multi-story RC structures incorporates optimal stiffness correlation among all structural members and results in cost savings over typical-practice design solutions. A Nonlinear Programming algorithm searches for a minimum cost solution that satisfies ACI 2005 code requirements for axial and flexural loads. Material and labor costs for forming and placing concrete and steel are incorporated as a function of member size using RS Means 2005 cost data. Successful implementation demonstrates the abilities and performance of MATLAB\'s (The Mathworks, Inc.) Sequential Quadratic Programming algorithm for the design optimization of RC structures. A number of examples are presented that demonstrate the ability of this formulation to achieve optimal designs.

Key Words
sequential quadratic programming; cost savings; reinforced concrete; optimal stiffness distribution; optimal member sizing; RS means; nonlinear programming; design optimization.

Address
Colorado School of Mines, Division of Engineering, 1500 Illinois St, Golden, CO. 80401, USA

Abstract
The application of radial basis function neural networks (RBFN) to predict the ultimate torsional strength of reinforced concrete (RC) beams is explored in this study. A database on torsional failure of RC beams with rectangular section subjected to pure torsion was retrieved from past experiments in the literature; several RBFN models are sequentially built, trained and tested. Then the ultimate torsional strength of each beam is determined from the developed RBFN models. In addition, the predictions of the RBFN models are also compared with those obtained using the ACI 318 Code equations. The study shows that the RBFN models give reasonable predictions of the ultimate torsional strength of RC beams. Moreover, the results also show that the RBFN models provide better accuracy than the existing ACI 318 equations for torsion, both in terms of root-mean-square error and coefficients of determination.

Key Words
reinforced concrete beam; torsional strength; radial basis function network.

Address
Department of Civil Engineering, Cheng-Shiu University,rnNo. 840, Chengcing Road, Niaosong Township, Kaohsiung County, Taiwan, R.O.C.

Abstract
The concepts of four parameters of nominal water-cement ratio, equivalent water-cement ratio, average paste thickness, fly ash-binder ratio were introduced. It was verified that the four parameters and the mix proportion of mortar can be transformed each other. The behaviors (strength, workability, et al.) of mortar primarily determined by the mix proportion of mortar now depend on the four parameters. The prediction models of strength and workability of mortar were built based on artificial neural networks (ANNs). The calculation models of average paste thickness and equivalent water-cement ratio of mortar can be obtained by the reversal deduction of the two prediction models, respectively. A mortar mix proportion design algorithm was proposed. The proposed mortar mix proportion design algorithm is expected to reduce the number of trial and error, save cost, laborers and time.

Key Words
mortar mix proportion design; artificial neural network (ANN); nominal water-cement ratio; equivalent water-cement ratio; average paste thickness (APT); fly ash-binder ratio.

Address
College of Civil Engineering, Fuzhou University, Fuzhou, Fujian Province, 350002, China


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