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Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering

ISSN 2095-2430 (Print)
ISSN 2095-2449 (Online)
CN 10-1023/X
Postal Subscription Code 80-968
2019 Impact Factor: 1.68

, Volume 15 Issue 1

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Review of recent developments in cement composites reinforced with fibers and nanomaterials
Jianzhuang XIAO, Nv HAN, Yan LI, Zhongsen ZHANG, Surendra P. SHAH
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2021, 15 (1): 1-19.
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The quest for high-performance construction materials is led by the development and application of new reinforcement materials for cement composites. Concrete reinforcement with fibers has a long history. Nowadays, many new fibers associated with high performance and possessing eco-environmental characteristics, such as basalt fibers and plant fibers, have received much attention from researchers. In addition, nanomaterials are considered as a core material in the modification of cement composites, specifically in the enhancement of the strength and durability of composites. This paper provides an overview of the recent research progress on cement composites reinforced with fibers and nanomaterials. The influences of fibers and nanomaterials on the fresh and hardened properties of cement composites are summarized. Moreover, future trends in the application of these fibers or of nanomaterial-reinforced cement composites are proposed.

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A collaborative approach for urban underground space development toward sustainable development goals: Critical dimensions and future directions
Fang-Le PENG, Yong-Kang QIAO, Soheil SABRI, Behnam ATAZADEH, Abbas RAJABIFARD
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2021, 15 (1): 20-45.
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The utilization of urban underground space (UUS) offers an effective solution to urban problems but may also negatively affect urban development. Therefore, UUS development needs better concerted guidelines to coordinate various urban systems and the multiple components of the underground world. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which should be viewed as important yardsticks for UUS development, do not explicitly mention urban underground space, although many of them are affected by both the positive and negative consequences of its development. To fill this gap, this review lays the foundations of relevant UUS concepts and uses exemplary cases to reveal that 11 out of 17 SDGs can be linked with UUS uses. These linkages also manifest that land administration, integrated planning, architectural design, and construction technology are critical dimensions for increasing the contributions of UUS to the realization of SDGs. To achieve multi-disciplinary synergies among these four critical dimensions, a collaborative approach framework based on spatial data infrastructure is required. Thus, this work provides academics and practitioners with a holistic view of sustainable UUS development.

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Fire hazard in transportation infrastructure: Review, assessment, and mitigation strategies
Venkatesh KODUR, M. Z. NASER
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2021, 15 (1): 46-60.
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This paper reviews the fire problem in critical transportation infrastructures such as bridges and tunnels. The magnitude of the fire problem is illustrated, and the recent increase in fire problems in bridges and tunnels is highlighted. Recent research undertaken to address fire problems in transportation structures is reviewed, as well as critical factors governing the performance of those structures. Furthermore, key strategies recommended for mitigating fire hazards in bridges and tunnels are presented, and their applicability to practical situations is demonstrated through a practical case study. Furthermore, research needs and emerging trends for enhancing the “state-of-the-art” in this area are discussed.

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Simulation of foamed concrete compressive strength prediction using adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system optimized by nature-inspired algorithms
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2021, 15 (1): 61-79.
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Concrete compressive strength prediction is an essential process for material design and sustainability. This study investigates several novel hybrid adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system (ANFIS) evolutionary models, i.e., ANFIS–particle swarm optimization (PSO), ANFIS–ant colony, ANFIS–differential evolution (DE), and ANFIS–genetic algorithm to predict the foamed concrete compressive strength. Several concrete properties, including cement content (C), oven dry density (O), water-to-binder ratio (W), and foamed volume (F) are used as input variables. A relevant data set is obtained from open-access published experimental investigations and used to build predictive models. The performance of the proposed predictive models is evaluated based on the mean performance (MP), which is the mean value of several statistical error indices. To optimize each predictive model and its input variables, univariate (C, O, W, and F), bivariate (C–O, C–W, C–F, O–W, O–F, and W–F), trivariate (C–O–W, C–W–F, O–W–F), and four-variate (C–O–W–F) combinations of input variables are constructed for each model. The results indicate that the best predictions obtained using the univariate, bivariate, trivariate, and four-variate models are ANFIS–DE– (O) (MP= 0.96), ANFIS–PSO– (C–O) (MP= 0.88), ANFIS–DE– (O–W–F) (MP= 0.94), and ANFIS–PSO– (C–O–W–F) (MP= 0.89), respectively. ANFIS–PSO– (C–O) yielded the best accurate prediction of compressive strength with an MP value of 0.96.

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Evaluation of liquefaction-induced lateral displacement using Bayesian belief networks
Mahmood AHMAD, Xiao-Wei TANG, Jiang-Nan QIU, Feezan AHMAD
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2021, 15 (1): 80-98.
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Liquefaction-induced lateral displacement is responsible for considerable damage to engineered structures during major earthquakes. Therefore, an accurate estimation of lateral displacement in liquefaction-prone regions is an essential task for geotechnical experts for sustainable development. This paper presents a novel probabilistic framework for evaluating liquefaction-induced lateral displacement using the Bayesian belief network (BBN) approach based on an interpretive structural modeling technique. The BBN models are trained and tested using a wide-range case-history records database. The two BBN models are proposed to predict lateral displacements for free-face and sloping ground conditions. The predictive performance results of the proposed BBN models are compared with those of frequently used multiple linear regression and genetic programming models. The results reveal that the BBN models are able to learn complex relationships between lateral displacement and its influencing factors as cause–effect relationships, with reasonable precision. This study also presents a sensitivity analysis to evaluate the impacts of input factors on the lateral displacement.

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Cement mortar with enhanced flexural strength and durability-related properties using in situ polymerized interpenetration network
Qing LIU, Renjun LIU, Qiao WANG, Rui LIANG, Zongjin LI, Guoxing SUN
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2021, 15 (1): 99-108.
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The low flexural strength and high brittleness of cementitious materials impair their service life in building structures. In this study, we developed a new polymer-modified mortar by in situ polymerization of acrylamide (AM) monomers during the cement setting, which enhanced the flexural and durable performances of mortars. The mechanical properties, micro-and-pore structures, hydrated products, interactions between cement hydrates and polyacrylamide (PAM), and durability-related properties of the mortars were investigated comprehensively. Mortars with 5% PAM exhibited the best performance in terms of flexural strength among all the mixtures. The mechanical strength of cement pastes modified by in situ polymerization of AM monomers was significantly superior to those modified by PAM. The chemical interactions between the polymer molecules and cement hydrates together with the formation of polymer films glued the cement hydrates and polymers and resulted in an interpenetrating network structure, which strengthened the flexural strength. Reductions in porosity and calcium hydroxide content and improvement in capillary water absorption were achieved with the addition of PAM. Finally, the chloride resistance was significantly enhanced with the incorporation of PAM.

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Experimental study on compaction-induced anisotropic mechanical property of rockfill material
Xiangtao ZHANG, Yizhao GAO, Yuan WANG, Yu-zhen YU, Xun SUN
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2021, 15 (1): 109-123.
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The anisotropy of rockfill materials has a significant influence on the performance of engineering structures. However, relevant research data are very limited, because of the difficulty with preparing specimens with different inclination angles using traditional methods. Furthermore, the anisotropy test of rockfill materials is complex and complicated, especially for triaxial tests, in which the major principal stress plane intersects with the compaction plane at different angles. In this study, the geometric characteristics of a typical particle fraction consisting of a specific rockfill material were statistically investigated, and the distribution characteristics of particle orientation in specimens prepared via different compaction methods were examined. For high-density rockfill materials, a set of specimen preparation devices for inclined compaction planes was developed, and a series of conventional triaxial compression tests with different principal stress direction angles were conducted. The results reveal that the principal stress direction angle has a significant effect on the modulus, shear strength, and dilatancy of the compacted rockfill materials. Analysis of the relationship between the principal stress direction angles, change in the stress state, and change in the corresponding dominant shear plane shows that the angle between the compacted surface and dominant shear plane is closely related to interlocking resistance associated with the particle orientation. In addition, different principal stress direction angles can change the extent of the particle interlocking effect, causing the specimen to exhibit different degrees of anisotropy.

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Fresh and hardened properties of high-strength concrete incorporating byproduct fine crushed aggregate as partial replacement of natural sand
Dammika P. K. WELLALA, Ashish Kumer SAHA, Prabir Kumar SARKER, Vinod RAJAYOGAN
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2021, 15 (1): 124-135.
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This paper presents the fresh and hardened properties of high-strength concrete comprising byproduct fine crushed aggregates (FCAs) sourced from the crushing of three different types of rocks, namely granophyre, basalt, and granite. The lowest void contents of the combined fine aggregates were observed when 40% to 60% of natural sand is replaced by the FCAs. By the replacement of 40% FCAs, the slump and bleeding of concrete with a water-to-cement ratio of 0.45 decreased by approximately 15% and 50%, respectively, owing to the relatively high fines content of the FCAs. The 28 d compressive strength of concrete was 50 MPa when 40% FCAs were used. The slight decrease in tensile strength from the FCAs is attributed to the flakiness of the particles. The correlations between the splitting tensile and compressive strengths of normal concrete provided in the AS 3600 and ACI 318 design standards are applicable for concrete using the FCAs as partial replacement of sand. The maximum 56 d drying shrinkage is 520 microstrains, which is significantly less than the recommended limit of 1000 microstrains by AS 3600 for concrete. Therefore, the use of these byproduct FCAs can be considered as a sustainable alternative option for the production of high-strength green concrete.

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Stability analysis and optimization of excavation method of double-arch tunnel with an extra-large span based on numerical investigation
Yiguo XUE, Huimin GONG, Fanmeng KONG, Weimin YANG, Daohong QIU, Binghua ZHOU
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2021, 15 (1): 136-146.
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The Xiamen Haicang double-arch tunnel has a maximum span of 45.73 m and a minimum burial depth of 5.8 m. A larger deformation or collapse of the tunnel is readily encountered during tunnel excavation. It is therefore necessary to select a construction approach that is suitable for double-arch tunnel projects with an extra-large span. In this study, three construction methods for double-arch tunnels with extra-large spans were numerically simulated. Subsequently, the deformation behavior and stress characteristics of the surrounding rock were obtained and compared. The results showed that the double-side-drift method with temporary vertical support achieves better adaptability in the construction of such tunnels, which can be observed from both the numerical results and in situ monitoring data. In addition, the improved temporary support plays a critical role in controlling the surrounding rock deformation. In addition, the disturbance resulting from the excavation of adjacent drifts was obvious, particularly the disturbance of the surrounding rock caused by the excavation of the middle drift. The present findings can serve as the initial guidelines for the construction of ultra-shallowly buried double-arch tunnels with extra-large spans.

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Model test and discrete element method simulation of shield tunneling face stability in transparent clay
Huayang LEI, Yajie ZHANG, Yao HU, Yingnan LIU
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2021, 15 (1): 147-166.
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The stability of the shield tunneling face is an extremely important factor affecting the safety of tunnel construction. In this study, a transparent clay with properties similar to those of Tianjin clay is prepared and a new transparent clay model test apparatus is developed to overcome the “black box” problem in the traditional model test. The stability of the shield tunneling face (failure mode, influence range, support force, and surface settlement) is investigated in transparent clay under active failure. A series of transparent clay model tests is performed to investigate the active failure mode, influence range, and support force of the shield tunneling face under different burial depth conditions, whereas particle flow code three-dimensional numerical simulations are conducted to verify the failure mode of the shield tunneling face and surface settlement along the transverse section under different burial depth conditions. The results show that the engineering characteristics of transparent clay are similar to those of soft clay in Binhai, Tianjin and satisfy visibility requirements. Two types of failure modes are obtained: the overall failure mode (cover/diameter: C/D≤1.0) and local failure mode (C/D≥2.0). The influence range of the transverse section is wider than that of the longitudinal section when C/D≥2.0. Additionally, the normalized thresholds of the relative displacement and support force ratio are 3%–6% and 0.2–0.4, respectively. Owing to the cushioning effect of the clay layer, the surface settlement is significantly reduced as the tunnel burial depth increases.

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Distributed fiber optic monitoring of a CFA pile with a central reinforcement bar bundle
Yi RUI, Nicholas de BATTISTA, Cedric KECHAVARZI, Xiaomin XU, Mei YIN
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2021, 15 (1): 167-176.
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In this paper, we present an application of distributed fiber optic sensor (DFOS) technology to measure the strain of a continuous flight auger (CFA) test pile with a central reinforcement bar bundle, during a static load test carried out in London. Being distributed in nature, DFOS gives much more information about the pile performance as compared to traditional point sensors, such as identifying cross-sectional irregularities or other anomalies. The strain profiles recorded along the depth of the piles from the DFOS were used to calculate pile deformation (contraction), shaft friction, and tip resistance under various loads. Based on this pile load test, a finite element (FE) analysis was performed using a one-dimensional nonlinear load-transfer model. Calibrated by the shaft friction and tip resistance derived from the monitored data, the FE model was able to simulate the pile and soil performance during the load testing with good accuracy. The effect of the reinforcement cage and central reinforcement bar bundle were investigated, and it was found that the addition of a reinforcement cage would reduce the pile settlement by up to 20%.

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Performance of insulated FRP-strengthened concrete flexural members under fire conditions
Pratik P. BHATT, Venkatesh K. R. KODUR, Anuj M. SHAKYA, Tarek ALKHRDAJI
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2021, 15 (1): 177-193.
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This paper presents the results of fire resistance tests on carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) strengthened concrete flexural members, i.e., T-beams and slabs. The strengthened members were protected with fire insulation and tested under the combined effects of thermal and structural loading. The variables considered in the tests include the applied load level, extent of strengthening, and thickness of the fire insulation applied to the beams and slabs. Furthermore, a previously developed numerical model was validated against the data generated from the fire tests; subsequently, it was utilized to undertake a case study. Results from fire tests and numerical studies indicate that owing to the protection provided by the fire insulation, the insulated CFRP-strengthened beams and slabs can withstand four and three hours of standard fire exposure, respectively, under service load conditions. The insulation layer impedes the temperature rise in the member; therefore, the CFRP–concrete composite action remains active for a longer duration and the steel reinforcement temperature remains below 400°C, which in turn enhances the capacity of the beams and slabs.

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An innovative model for predicting the displacement and rotation of column-tree moment connection under fire
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2021, 15 (1): 194-212.
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In this study, we carried out nonlinear finite element simulations to predict the performance of a column-tree moment connection (CTMC) under fire and static loads. We also conducted a detailed parameter study based on five input variables, including the applied temperature, number of flange bolts, number of web bolts, length of the beam, and applied static loads. The first variable is changed among seven levels, whereas the other variables are changed among three levels. Employing the Taguchi method for variables 2–5 and their levels, 9 samples were designed for the parameter study, where each sample was exposed to 7 different temperatures yielding 63 outputs. The related variables for each output are imported for the training and testing of different surrogate models. These surrogate models include a multiple linear regression (MLR), multiple Ln equation regression (MLnER), an adaptive network-based fuzzy inference system (ANFIS), and gene expression programming (GEP). 44 samples were used for training randomly while the remaining samples were employed for testing. We show that GEP outperforms MLR, MLnER, and ANFIS. The results indicate that the rotation and deflection of the CTMC depend on the temperature. In addition, the fire resistance increases with a decrease in the beam length; thus, a shorter beam can increase the fire resistance of the building. The numbers of flanges and web bolts slightly affect the rotation and displacement of the CTMCs at temperatures of above 400°C.

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Influence of core stiffness on the behavior of tall timber buildings subjected to wind loads
Zhouyan XIA, Jan-Willem G. VAN DE KUILEN, Andrea POLASTRI, Ario CECCOTTI, Minjuan HE
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2021, 15 (1): 213-226.
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This study analyzes the feasibility of the use of cross-laminated timber (CLT) as a load-bearing structural element in a 40-story building based on Chinese design requirements. The proposed design of the high-rise concrete–CLT building utilizes the core–outrigger system. Concrete is used for the central core and outriggers, and CLT is used for the rest of the structure of the building. Finite element models with different types of connections were developed using SAP2000 to analyze the lateral behavior of the building under wind action. The finite element models with rigid connections deduce the wind load distributions on individual structural elements, which determine the total number and the stiffness of fasteners of the CLT panels. Accordingly, spring links with equivalent stiffness that simulate the mechanical fasteners were employed in SAP2000. The results indicate that CLT increases the lateral flexibility of the building. A closed concrete core was substituted by two half cores to measure the requirement of the maximum lateral deflection. However, the acceleration at the building top still exceeded the limitation prescribed in Chinese Code JGJ 3–2010 owing to the lightweight of CLT and decreased stiffness of the hybrid building. To restrict this top acceleration within the limit, further approaches to increase the stiffness in the weak direction of the building are required. Methods such as the modification of the floor layout, increase in the thickness of walls, and addition of extra damping capacity should be considered and verified in the future.

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Flexural behavior of high-strength, steel-reinforced, and prestressed concrete beams
Qing JIANG, Hanqin WANG, Xun CHONG, Yulong FENG, Xianguo YE
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2021, 15 (1): 227-243.
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To study the flexural behavior of prestressed concrete beams with high-strength steel reinforcement and high-strength concrete and improve the crack width calculation method for flexural components with such reinforcement and concrete, 12 specimens were tested under static loading. The failure modes, flexural strength, ductility, and crack width of the specimens were analyzed. The results show that the failure mode of the test beams was similar to that of the beams with normal reinforced concrete. A brittle failure did not occur in the specimens. To further understand the working mechanism, the results of other experimental studies were collected and discussed. The results show that the normalized reinforcement ratio has a greater effect on the ductility than the concrete strength. The cracking- and peak-moment formulas in the code for the design of concrete (GB 50010-2010) applied to the beams were both found to be acceptable. However, the calculation results of the maximum crack width following GB 50010-2010 and EN 1992-1-1:2004 were considerably conservative. In the context of GB 50010-2010, a revised formula for the crack width is proposed with modifications to two major factors: the average crack spacing and an amplification coefficient of the maximum crack width to the average spacing. The mean value of the ratio of the maximum crack width among the 12 test results and the relative calculation results from the revised formula is 1.017, which is better than the calculation result from GB 50010-2010. Therefore, the new formula calculates the crack width more accurately in high-strength concrete and high-strength steel reinforcement members. Finally, finite element models were established using ADINA software and validated based on the test results. This study provides an important reference for the development of high-strength concrete and high-strength steel reinforcement structures.

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Application of coupled multi-body dynamics–discrete element method for optimization of particle damper for cable vibration attenuation
Danhui DAN, Qianqing WANG, Jiongxin GONG
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2021, 15 (1): 244-252.
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With the application of the particle damping technology to cable vibration attenuation, the rootless cable damper overcomes the limit in installation height of existing dampers. Damping is achieved through energy dissipation by collisions and friction. In this paper, a coupled multi-body dynamics–discrete element method is proposed to simulate the damping of the damper–cable system under a harmonic excitation. The analyses are done by combining the discrete element method in EDEM and multi-body dynamics in ADAMS. The simulation results demonstrate the damping efficiency of rootless particle damper under different excitations and reveal the influence of the design parameters on its performance, including the filling ratio, particle size, coefficient of restitution, and coefficient of friction.

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Nonlinear analysis of cable structures using the dynamic relaxation method
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2021, 15 (1): 253-274.
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The analysis of cable structures is one of the most challenging problems for civil and mechanical engineers. Because they have highly nonlinear behavior, it is difficult to find solutions to these problems. Thus far, different assumptions and methods have been proposed to solve such structures. The dynamic relaxation method (DRM) is an explicit procedure for analyzing these types of structures. To utilize this scheme, investigators have suggested various stiffness matrices for a cable element. In this study, the efficiency and suitability of six well-known proposed matrices are assessed using the DRM. To achieve this goal, 16 numerical examples and two criteria, namely, the number of iterations and the analysis time, are employed. Based on a comprehensive comparison, the methods are ranked according to the two criteria. The numerical findings clearly reveal the best techniques. Moreover, a variety of benchmark problems are suggested by the authors for future studies of cable structures.

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Influence of site conditions on seismic design parameters for foundations as determined via nonlinear site response analysis
Muhammad Tariq A. CHAUDHARY
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2021, 15 (1): 275-303.
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Site conditions, including geotechnical properties and the geological setting, influence the near-surface response of strata subjected to seismic excitation. The geotechnical parameters required for the design of foundations include mass density (ρ), damping ratio (βs), shear wave velocity (Vs), and soil shear modulus (Gs). The values of the last three parameters are sensitive to the level of nonlinear strain induced in the strata due to seismic ground motion. In this study, the effect of variations in soil properties, such as plasticity index (PI), effective stress (σ), over consolidation ratio (OCR), impedance contrast ratio (ICR) between the bedrock and the overlying strata, and depth of soil strata over bedrock (H), on seismic design parameters (βs, Vs, and Gs) was investigated for National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) site classes C and D, through 1D nonlinear seismic site response analysis. The Morris one-at-a-time (OAT) sensitivity analysis indicated that βs, Vs, and Gs were significantly influenced by variations in PI, while ICR affected βs more than it affected Vs and Gs. However, the influence of H on these parameters was less significant. It was also found that variations in soil properties influenced seismic design parameters in soil type D more significantly than in soil type C. Predictive relationships for βs, Vs, and Gs were derived based on the 1D seismic site response analysis and sensitivity analysis results. The βs, Vs, and Gs values obtained from the analysis were compared with the corresponding values in NEHRP to determine the similarities and differences between the two sets of values. The need to incorporate PI and ICR in the metrics for determining βs, Vs, and Gs for the seismic design of foundations was highlighted.

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18 articles