Designing and detailing transverse reinforcement to control bar buckling in rectangular RC walls
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Bar buckling in RC structures is a commonly-observed failure mode that adversely affects their deformation capacity. To restrict bar buckling in ductile RC walls, design codes only emphasises on restricting the spacing of transverse reinforcement and does not recognise the importance of the effective stiffness of the ties (which is a combination of the tie leg axial stiffness and spacing) to restrict bar buckling. Therefore, in this paper the design requirements for anti-buckling transverse reinforcement are summarised, and improvements to the current design methodology for anti-buckling transverse reinforcement are proposed. To ensure that the transverse reinforcement detailing in plastic hinge regions is adequate to restrict bar buckling to single tie spacing and the compressive stress deterioration in bars due to buckling is controlled, refinements to the current detailing procedures are proposed. The buckling restraining ability of transverse reinforcement depends on the axial stiffness of the tie legs, while the compressive stress reduction in reinforcing bars due to buckling depends on their unsupported length (in bare bar tests) or buckling length that can include multiple tie spacing (inside RC members). Therefore, restrictions on both the axial stiffness of the tie legs and spacing of transverse reinforcement along the longitudinal reinforcing bars are proposed. The effective axial stiffness of tie legs is controlled by ensuring that the length of the tie legs in the direction of potential buckling is well below the critical length evaluated using a mechanics-based approach. Additionally, compressive stress degradation in reinforcing bars is controlled by limiting the ratio of the transverse reinforcement spacing and the longitudinal bar diameter such that any reduction of compressive stress carried by the longitudinal bars due to buckling at the limiting curvature recommended by New Zealand Concrete Standard is within an acceptable range. Furthermore, recommendations to avoid buckling of unrestrained reinforcing bars in the boundary zone and the wall web are proposed. Using the proposed design methodology, buckling of longitudinal reinforcing bars in ductile RC walls can be delayed and the detrimental effects of buckling on the lateral response of walls can be controlled until the design drift or curvature demands are met.