Limit analysis of reinforced concrete slabs with construction joints

Thomas Westergaard Jensen*, Peter Noe Poulsen, Linh Cao Hoang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Reinforced concrete slabs constructed of precast elements and in situ concrete are commonly used for short-span road bridges. The construction joints between the concrete cast at different stages reduce the torsional capacity and thus the load-carrying capacity of the slab. However, the present formulations for the torsional capacity, based on limit analysis, only consider monolithically cast slabs. In this paper, the load-carrying capacity of reinforced concrete slab bridges with construction joints are investigated using limit analysis of perfect plastic materials based on the lower bound theorem. New formulations for the torsional capacity of slabs with vertical construction joints and partial construction joints are presented. The load-carrying capacity of slabs is calculated using finite element limit analysis based on the lower bound theorem. For the analysis, a complete yield criteria for the bending moments and torsional moments are setup applying a layer model. The size of the layers is calculated from the moment capacities and the derived torsional capacities. Examples of limit analysis of slabs with and without construction joints are compared, which demonstrate the reduction due to the construction joints.
Original languageEnglish
Article number110062
JournalEngineering Structures
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Limit analysis
  • Layer model
  • Concrete slabs
  • FELA
  • Ultimate capacity
  • Strength-assessment
  • Construction joints

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