Numerical modeling of the tension stiffening in reinforced concrete members via discontinuum models

Bora Pulatsu, Ece Erdogmus, Paulo B. Lourenço, José V. Lemos, Kagan Tuncay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This study presents a numerical investigation on the fracture mechanism of tension stiffening phenomenon in reinforced concrete members. A novel approach using the discrete element method (DEM) is proposed, where three-dimensional randomly generated distinct polyhedral blocks are used, representing concrete and one-dimensional truss elements are utilized, representing steel reinforcements. Thus, an explicit representation of reinforced concrete members is achieved, and the mechanical behavior of the system is solved by integrating the equations of motion for each block using the central difference algorithm. The inter-block interactions are taken into consideration at each contact point with springs and cohesive frictional elements. Once the applied modeling strategy is validated, based on previously published experimental findings, a sensitivity analysis is performed for bond stiffness, cohesion strength, and the number of truss elements. Hence, valuable inferences are made regarding discontinuum analysis of reinforced concrete members, including concrete–steel interaction and their macro behavior. The results demonstrate that the proposed phenomenological modeling strategy successfully captures the concrete–steel interaction and provides an accurate estimation of the macro behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-436
Number of pages14
JournalComputational Particle Mechanics
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Contact mechanics
  • DEM
  • Discontinuum analysis
  • Tension stiffening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Numerical Analysis
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Computational Mathematics


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