Some Mooted Questions in Reinforced Concrete Design
by Edward Godfrey
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Specialists in arch construction state that when the centering is struck, every arch increases in span by settlement. Is this one fact not enough to make the elastic theory a nullity, for that theory assumes immovable abutments?

Professor Howe made some recent tests on checking up the elastic behavior of arches. He reports[X] that "a very slight change at the support does seriously affect the values of H and M." The arch tested was of 20-ft. span, and built between two heavy stone walls out of all proportion to the magnitude of the arch, as measured by comparison with an ordinary arch and its abutment. To make the arch fixed ended, a large heavily reinforced head was firmly bolted to the stone wall. Practical fixed endedness could be attained, of course, by means such as these, but the value of such tests is only theoretical.

Mr. Mensch says:

"The elastic theory was fully proved for arches by the remarkable tests, made in 1897 by the Austrian Society of Engineers and Architects, on full-sized arches of 70-ft. span, and the observed deflections and lateral deformations agreed exactly with the figured deformation."

The writer does not know of the tests made in 1897, but reference is often made to some tests reported in 1896. These tests are everywhere quoted as the unanswerable argument for the elastic theory. Let us examine a few features of those tests, and see something of the strength of the claim. In the first place, as to the exact agreement between the calculated and the observed deformations, this exact agreement was retroactive. The average modulus of elasticity, as found by specimen tests of the concrete, did not agree at all with the value which it was necessary to use in the arch calculations in order to make the deflections come out right.

As found by tests on blocks, the average modulus was about 2,700,000; the "practical" value, as determined from analysis of a plain concrete arch, was 1,430,000, a little matter of nearly 100 per cent. Mansfield Merriman, M. Am. Soc. C. E., gives a digest of these famous Austrian tests.[Y] There were no fixed ended arches among them. There was a long plain concrete arch and a long Monier arch. Professor Merriman says, "The beton Monier arch is not discussed theoretically, and, indeed, this would be a difficult task on account of the different materials combined." And these are the tests which the Engineering Profession points to whenever the elastic theory is questioned as to its applicability to reinforced concrete arches. These are the tests that "fully prove" the elastic theory for arches. These are the tests on the basis of which fixed ended reinforced concrete arches are confidently designed. Because a plain concrete bow between solid abutments deflected in an elastic curve, reinforced concrete arches between settling abutments are designed with fixed ends. The theorist has departed about as far as possible from his premise in this case. On an exceedingly slender thread he has hung an elaborate and important theory of design, with assumptions which can never be realized outside of the schoolroom or the designer's office. The most serious feature of such theories is not merely the approximate and erroneous results which they give, but the extreme confidence and faith in their certainty which they beget in their users, enabling them to cut down factors of safety with no regard whatever for the enormous factor of ignorance which is an essential accompaniment to the theory itself.

Mr. Mensch says, "The elastic theory enables one to calculate arches much more quickly than any graphical or guess method yet proposed." The method given by the writer[Z] enables one to calculate an arch in about the time it would take to work out a few of the many coefficients necessary in the involved method of the elastic theory. It is not a graphic method, but it is safe and sound, and it does not assume conditions which have absolutely no existence.

Mr. Mensch says that the writer brings up some erratic column tests and seems to have no confidence in reinforced concrete columns. In relation to this matter Sanford E. Thompson, M. Am. Soc. C. E., in a paper recently read before the National Association of Cement Users, takes the same sets of tests referred to in the paper, and attempts to show that longitudinal reinforcement adds much strength to a concrete column. Mr. Thompson goes about it by means of averages. It is not safe to average tests where the differences in individual tests are so great that those of one class overlap those of the other. He includes the writer's "erratic" tests and some others which are "erratic" the other way. It is manifestly impossible for him to prove that longitudinal rods add any strength to a concrete column if, on one pair of columns, identically made as far as practicable, the plain concrete column is stronger than that with longitudinal rods in it, unless the weak column is defective. It is just as manifest that it is shown by this and other tests that the supposedly reinforced concrete column may be weaker.

The averaging of results to show that longitudinal rods add strength, in the case of the tests reported by Mr. Withey, includes a square plain concrete column which naturally would show less compressive strength in concrete than a round column, because of the spalling off at the corners. This weak test on a square column is one of the slender props on which is based the conclusion that longitudinal rods add to the strength of a concrete column; but the weakness of the square concrete column is due to the inherent weakness of brittle material in compression when there are sharp corners which may spall off.

Mr. Worcester says that several of the writer's indictments hit at practices which were discarded long ago, but from the attitude of their defenders this does not seem to be true. There are benders to make sharp bends in rods, and there are builders who say that they must be bent sharply in order to simplify the work of fitting and measuring them.

There are examples in engineering periodicals and books, too numerous to mention, where no anchorage of any kind is provided for bent-up rods, except what grip they get in the concrete. If they reached beyond their point of usefulness for this grip, it would be all right, but very often they do not.

Mr. Worcester says: "It is not necessary that a stirrup at one point should carry all the vertical tension, as this vertical tension is distributed by the concrete." The writer will concede that the stirrups need not carry all the vertical shear, for, in a properly reinforced beam, the concrete can take part of it. The shear reinforcement, however, should carry all the shear apportioned to it after deducting that part which the concrete is capable of carrying, and it should carry it without putting the concrete in shear again. The stirrups at one point should carry all the vertical tension from the portion of shear assumed to be taken by the stirrups; otherwise the concrete will be compelled to carry more than its share of the shear.

Mr. Worcester states that cracks are just as likely to occur from stress in curved-up and anchored rods as in vertical reinforcement. The fact that the vertical stretching out of a beam from the top to the bottom, under its load, is exceedingly minute, has been mentioned. A curved-up bar, anchored over the support and lying near the bottom of the beam at mid-span, partakes of the elongation of the tension side of the beam and crosses the section of greatest diagonal tension in the most advantageous manner. There is, therefore, a great deal of difference in the way in which these two elements of construction act.

Mr. Worcester prefers the "customary method" of determining the width of beams—so that the maximum horizontal shearing stress will not be excessive—to that suggested by the writer. He gives as a reason for this the fact that rods are bent up out of the bottom of a beam, and that not all of them run to the end. The "customary method" must be described in literature for private circulation. Mention has been made of a method which makes the width of beam sufficient to insert the steel. Considerations of the horizontal shear in a T-beam, and of the capacity of the concrete to grip the steel, are conspicuous by their absence in the analyses of beams. If a reinforcing rod is curved up and anchored over the support, the concrete is relieved of the shear, both horizontal and vertical, incident to the stress in that rod. If a reinforcing rod is bent up anywhere, and not carried to the support, and not anchored over it, as is customary, the shear is all taken by the concrete; and there is just the same shear in the concrete as though the rods were straight.

For proper grip a straight rod should have a diameter of not more than one two-hundredth of the span. For economy of material, it should not be much smaller in diameter than this. With this balance in a beam, assuming shear equal to bond, the rods should be spaced a distance apart, equal to their perimeters. This is a rational and simple rule, and its use would go a long way toward the adoption of standards.

Mr. Worcester is not logical in his criticism of the writer's method of reinforcing a chimney. It is not necessary to assume that the concrete is not stressed, in the imaginary plain concrete chimney, beyond that which plain concrete could take in tension. The assumption of an imaginary plain concrete chimney and determinations of tensile stresses in the concrete are merely simplified methods of finding the tensile stress. The steel can take just as much tensile stress if its amount is determined in this way as it can if any other method is used. The shifting of the neutral axis, to which Mr. Worcester refers, is another of the fancy assumptions which cannot be realized because of initial and unknown stresses in the concrete and steel.

Mr. Russell states that the writer scarcely touched on top reinforcement in beams. This would come in the class of longitudinal rods in columns, unless the reinforcement were stiff members. Mr. Russell's remarks, to the effect that columns and short deep beams, doubly reinforced, should be designed as framed structures, point to the conclusion that structural beams and columns, protected with concrete, should be used in such cases. If the ruling motive of designers were uniformly to use what is most appropriate in each particular location and not to carry out some system, this is just what would be done in many cases; but some minds are so constructed that they take pleasure in such boasts as this: "There is not a pound of structural steel in that building." A broad-minded engineer will use reinforced concrete where it is most appropriate, and structural steel or cast iron where these are most appropriate, instead of using his clients' funds to carry out some cherished ideas.

Mr. Wright appreciates the writer's idea, for the paper was not intended to criticize something which is "good enough" or which "answers the purpose," but to systematize or standardize reinforced concrete and put it on a basis of rational analysis and common sense, such a basis as structural designing has been or is being placed on, by a careful weeding out of all that is irrational, senseless, and weak.

Mr. Chapman says that the practical engineer has never used such methods of construction as those which the writer condemns. The methods are common enough; whether or not those who use them are practical engineers is beside the question.

As to the ability of the end connection of a stringer carrying flange stress or bending moments, it is not uncommon to see brackets carrying considerable overhanging loads with no better connection. Even wide sidewalks of bridges sometimes have tension connections on rivet heads. While this is not to be commended, it is a demonstration of the ability to take bending which might be relied on, if structural design were on as loose a basis as reinforced concrete.

Mr. Chapman assumes that stirrups are anchored at each end, and Fig. 3 shows a small hook to effect this anchorage. He does not show how vertical stirrups can relieve a beam of the shear between two of these stirrups.

The criticism the writer would make of Figs. 5 and 6, is that there is not enough concrete in the stem of the T to grip the amount of steel used, and the steel must be gripped in that stem, because it does not run to the support or beyond it for anchorage. Steel members in a bridge may be designed in violation of many of the requirements of specifications, such as the maximum spacing of rivets, size of lattice bars, etc.; the bridge will not necessarily fail or show weakness as soon as it is put into service, but it is faulty and weak just the same.

Mr. Chapman says: "The practical engineer does not find * * * that the negative moment is double the positive moment, because he considers the live load either on one span only, or on alternate spans." It is just in such methods that the "practical engineer" is inconsistent. If he is going to consider the beams as continuous, he should find the full continuous beam moment and provide for it. It is just this disposition to take an advantage wherever one can be taken, without giving proper consideration to the disadvantage entailed, which is condemned in the paper. The "practical engineer" will reduce his bending moment in the beam by a large fraction, because of continuity, but he will not reinforce over the supports for full continuity. Reinforcement for full continuity was not recommended, but it was intimated that this is the only consistent method, if advantage is taken of continuity in reducing the principal bending moment.

Mr. Chapman says that an arch should not be used where the abutments are unstable. Unstable is a relative and indefinite word. If he means that abutments for arches should never be on anything but rock, even such a foundation is only quite stable when the abutment has a vertical rock face to take horizontal thrusts. If arches could be built only under such conditions, few of them would be built. Some settlement is to be expected in almost any soil, and because of horizontal thrusts there is also a tendency for arch abutments to rotate. It is this tendency which opens up cracks in spandrels of arches, and makes the assumption of a fixed tangent at the springing line, commonly made by the elastic theorist, absolute foolishness.

Mr. Beyer has developed a novel explanation of the way stirrups act, but it is one which is scarcely likely to meet with more serious consideration than the steel girder to which he refers, which has neither web plate nor diagonals, but only verticals connecting the top and bottom flanges. This style of girder has been considered by American engineers rather as a curiosity, if not a monstrosity. If vertical stirrups acted to reinforce little vertical cantilevers, there would have to be a large number of them, so that each little segment of the beam would be insured reinforcement.

The writer is utterly at a loss to know what Professor Ostrup means by his first few paragraphs. He says that in the first point two designs are mentioned and a third condemned. The second design, whatever it is, he lays at the writer's door in these words: "The author's second design is an invention of his own, which the Profession at large is invited to adopt." In the first point sharp bends in reinforcing rods are condemned and curves recommended. Absolutely nothing is said of "a reinforced concrete beam arranged in the shape of a rod, with separate concrete blocks placed on top of it without being connected."

In reply to Professor Ostrup, it should be stated that the purpose of the paper is not to belittle the importance of the adhesion or grip of concrete on steel, but to point out that the wonderful things this grip is supposed to do, as exhibited by current design, will not stand the test of analysis.

Professor Ostrup has shown a new phase of the stress in shear rods. He says they are in bending between the centers of compressive resultants. We have been told in books and reports that these rods are in stress of some kind, which is measured by the sectional area of the rod. No hint has been given of designing stirrups for bending. If these rods are not in shear, as stated by Professor Ostrup, how can they be in bending in any such fashion as that indicated in Fig. 12?

Professor Ostrup's analysis, by which he attempts to justify stirrups and to show that vertical stirrups are preferable, merely treats of local distribution of stress from short rods into concrete. Apparently, it would work the same if the stirrups merely touched the tension rod. His analysis ignores the vital question of what possible aid the stirrup can be in relieving the concrete between stirrups of the shear of the beam.

The juggling of bending moments in beams is not compensating. The following is a concrete example. Some beams of a span of about 20 ft., were framed into double girders at the columns. The beams were calculated as partly continuous, though they were separated at their ends by about 1-1/2 or 2 ft., the space between the girders. The beams had 1-1/8-in. tension rods in the bottom. At the supports a short 1/4-in. rod was used near the top of the beam for continuity. Does this need any comment? It was not the work of a novice or of an inexperienced builder.

Professor Ostrup's remarks about the shifting of the neutral axis of a beam and of the pressure line of an arch are based on theory which is grounded in impossible assumptions. The materials dealt with do not justify these assumptions or the hair-splitting theory based thereon. His platitudes about the danger of misplacing reinforcement in an arch are hardly warranted. If the depth and reinforcement of an arch ring are added to, as the inelastic, hinge-end theory would dictate, as against the elastic theory, it will strengthen the arch just as surely as it would strengthen a plate girder to thicken the web and flange angles.

The writer's complaint is not that the theories of reinforced concrete are not fully developed. They are developed too highly, developed out of all comparison with the materials dealt with. It is just because reinforced concrete structures are being built in increasing numbers that it behooves engineers to inject some rationality (not high-strung theory) into their designs, and drop the idea that "whatever is is right."

Mr. Porter has much to say about U-bars. He states that they are useful in holding the tension bars in place and in tying the slab to the stem of a T-beam. These are legitimate functions for little loose rods; but why call them shear rods and make believe that they take the shear of a beam? As to stirrups acting as dowel pins, the writer has already referred to this subject. Answering a query by Mr. Porter, it may be stated that what would counteract the horizontal cleaving force in a beam is one or more rods curved up to the upper part of the beam and anchored at the support or run into the next span. Strangely enough, Mr. Porter commends this very thing, as advocated in the paper. The excellent results shown by the test referred to by him can well be contrasted with some of the writer's tests. This floor was designed for 250 lb. per sq. ft. When that load was placed on it, the deflection was more than 1 in. in a span of 20 ft. No rods were curved up and run over the supports. It was a stirrup job.

Mr. Porter intimates that the correct reinforced concrete column may be on lines of concrete mixed with nails or wires. There is no doubt but that such concrete would be strong in compression for the reason that it is strong in tension, but a column needs some unifying element which is continuous. A reinforced column needs longitudinal rods, but their office is to take tension; they should not be considered as taking compression.

Mr. Goodrich makes this startling remark: "It is a well-known fact that the bottom chords in queen-post trusses are useless, as far as resistance to tension is concerned." The writer cannot think that he means by this that, for example, a purlin made up of a 3 by 2-in. angle and a 5/8-in. hog-rod would be just as good with the rod omitted. If queen-post trusses are useless, some hundreds of thousands of hog-rods in freight cars could be dispensed with.

Mr. Goodrich misunderstands the reference to the "only rational and only efficient design possible." The statement is that a design which would be adopted, if slabs were suspended on rods, is the only rational and the only efficient design possible. If the counterfort of a retaining wall were a bracket on the upper side of a horizontal slab projecting out from a vertical wall, and all were above ground, the horizontal slab being heavily loaded, it is doubtful whether any engineer would think of using any other scheme than diagonal rods running from slab to wall and anchored into each. This is exactly the condition in this shape of retaining wall, except that it is underground.

Mr. Goodrich says that the writer's reasoning as to the sixth point is almost wholly facetious and that concrete is very strong in pure shear. The joke, however, is on the experimenters who have reported concrete very strong in shear. They have failed to point out that, in every case where great strength in shear is manifested, the concrete is confined laterally or under heavy compression normal to the sheared plane. Stirrups do not confine concrete in a direction normal to the sheared plane, and they do not increase the compression. A large number of stirrups laid in herring-bone fashion would confine the concrete across diagonal planes, but such a design would be wasteful, and the common method of spacing the stirrups would not suggest their office in this capacity.

As to the writer's statements regarding the tests in Bulletin No. 29 of the University of Illinois being misleading, he quotes from that bulletin as follows:

"Until the concrete web has failed in diagonal tension and diagonal cracks have formed there must be little vertical deformation at the plane of the stirrups, so little that not much stress can have developed in the stirrups." * * * "It is evident, then, that until the concrete web fails in diagonal tension little stress is taken by the stirrups." * * * "It seems evident from the tests that the stirrups did not take much stress until after the formation of diagonal cracks." * * * "It seems evident that there is very little elongation in stirrups until the first diagonal crack forms, and hence that up to this point the concrete takes practically all the diagonal tension." * * * "Stirrups do not come into action, at least not to any great extent, until the diagonal crack has formed."

In view of these quotations, the misleading part of the reference to the tests and their conclusion is not so evident.

The practical tests on beams with suspension rods in them, referred to by Mr. Porter, show entirely different results from those mentioned by Mr. Goodrich as being made by Moersch. Tests on beams of this sort, which are available in America, seem to show excellent results.

Mr. Goodrich is somewhat unjust in attributing failures to designs which are practically in accordance with the suggestions under Point Seven. In Point Seven the juggling of bending moments is condemned—it is condemnation of methods of calculating. Point Seven recommends reinforcing a beam for its simple beam moment. This is the greatest bending it could possibly receive, and it is inconceivable that failure could be due to this suggestion. Point Seven recommends a reasonable reinforcement over the support. This is a matter for the judgment of the designer or a rule in specifications. Failure could scarcely be attributed to this. It is the writer's practice to use reinforcement equal to one-half of the main reinforcement of the beam across the support; it is also his practice to curve up a part of the beam reinforcement and run it into the next span in all beams needing reinforcement for shear; but the paper was not intended to be a treatise on, nor yet a general discussion of, reinforced concrete design.

Mr. Goodrich characterizes the writer's method of calculating reinforced concrete chimneys as crude. It is not any more crude than concrete. The ultra-theoretic methods are just about as appropriate as calculations of the area of a circle to hundredths of a square inch from a paced-off diameter. The same may be said of deflection calculations.

Mr. Goodrich has also appreciated the writer's spirit in presenting this paper. Attention to details of construction has placed structural steel designing on the high plane on which it stands. Reinforced concrete needs the same careful working out of details before it can claim the same recognition. It also needs some simplification of formulas. Witness the intricate column formulas for steelwork which have been buried, and even now some of the complex beam formulas for reinforced concrete have passed away.

Major Sewell, in his discussion of the first point, seems to object solely to the angle of the bent-up portion of the rod. This angle could have been much less, without affecting the essence of the writer's remarks. Of course, the resultant, b, would have been less, but this would not create a queen-post at the sharp bend of the bar. Major Sewell says that he "does not remember ever to have seen just the type of construction shown in Fig. 1, either used or recommended." This type of beam might be called a standard. It is almost the insignia of a reinforced concrete expert. A little farther on Major Sewell says that four beams tested at the University of Illinois were about as nearly like Fig. 1 as anything he has ever seen in actual practice. He is the only one who has yet accused the writer of inventing this beam.

If Major Sewell's statement that he has never seen the second point exemplified simply means that he has never seen an example of the bar bent up at the identical angle given in the paper, his criticism has not much weight.

Major Sewell's comment on the retaining wall begs the question. Specific references to examples have been given in which the rods of a counterfort are not anchored into the slabs that they hold by tension, save by a few inches of embedment; an analysis has also been cited in which the counterfort is considered as a beam, and ties in the great weight of the slab with a few "shear rods," ignoring the anchorage of either horizontal, vertical, or diagonal rods. It is not enough that books state that rods in tension need anchorage. They should not show examples of rods that are in pure tension and state that they are merely thrown in for shear. Transverse rods from the stem to the flange of a T-beam, tie the whole together; they prevent cracking, and thereby allow the shearing strength of the concrete to act. It is not necessary to count the rods in shear.

Major Sewell's comparison of a stirrup system and a riveted truss is not logical. The verticals and diagonals of a riveted truss have gusset plates which connect symmetrically with the top chord. One line of rivets or a pin in the center line of the top chord could be used as a connection, and this connection would be complete. To distribute rivets above and below the center line of the top chord does not alter the essential fact that the connection of the web members is complete at the center of the top chord. The case of stirrups is quite different. Above the centroid of compression there is nothing but a trifling amount of embedment of the stirrup. If 1/2-in. stirrups were used in an 18-in. beam, assuming that 30 diameters were enough for anchorage, the centroid of compression would be, say, 3 in. below the top of the beam, the middle point of the stirrup's anchorage would be about 8 in., and the point of full anchorage would be about 16 in. The neutral axis would come somewhere between. These are not unusual proportions. Analogy with a riveted truss fails; even the anchorage above the neutral axis is far from realization.

Major Sewell refers to shallow bridge stringers and the possibility of failure at connections by continuity or deflection. Structural engineers take care of this, not by reinforcement for continuity but by ample provision for the full bending moment in the stringer and by ample depth. Provision for both the full bending moment and the ample depth reduces the possibilities of deflection at the floor-beams.

Major Sewell seems also to have assumed that the paper was a general discussion on reinforced concrete design. The idea in pointing out that a column having longitudinal rods in it may be weaker than a plain concrete column was not to exalt the plain concrete column but to degrade the other. A plain concrete column of any slenderness would manifestly be a gross error. If it can be shown that one having only longitudinal rods may be as bad, or worse, instead of being greatly strengthened by these rods, a large amount of life and property may be saved.

A partial reply to Mr. Thompson's discussion will be found in the writer's response to Mr. Mensch. The fault with Mr. Thompson's conclusions lies in the error of basing them on averages. Average results of one class are of little meaning or value when there is a wide variation between the extremes. In the tests of both the concrete-steel and the plain concrete which Mr. Thompson averages there are wide variations. In the tests made at the University of Illinois there is a difference of almost 100% between the minimum and maximum results in both concrete-steel and plain concrete columns.

Average results, for a comparison between two classes, can mean little when there is a large overlap in the individual results, unless there is a large number of tests. In the seventeen tests made at the University of Illinois, which Mr. Thompson averages, the overlap is so great that the maximum of the plain columns is nearly 50% greater than the minimum of the concrete-steel columns.

If the two lowest tests in plain concrete and the two highest in concrete-steel had not been made, the average would be in favor of the plain concrete by nearly as much as Mr. Thompson's average now favors the concrete-steel columns. Further, if these four tests be eliminated, only three of the concrete-steel columns are higher than the plain concrete. So much for the value of averages and the conclusions drawn therefrom.

It is idle to draw any conclusions from such juggling of figures, except that the addition of longitudinal steel rods is altogether problematical. It may lessen the compressive strength of a concrete column. Slender rods in such a column cannot be said to reinforce it, for the reason that careful tests have been recorded in which columns of concrete-steel were weaker than those of plain concrete.

In the averages of the Minneapolis tests Mr. Thompson has compared the results on two plain concrete columns with the average of tests on an indiscriminate lot of hooped and banded columns. This method of boosting the average shows anything but "critical examination" on his part.

Mr. Thompson, on the subject of Mr. Withey's tests, compares plain concrete of square cross-section with concrete-steel of octagonal section. As stated before, this is not a proper comparison. In a fragile material like concrete the corners spall off under a compressive load, and the square section will not show up as well as an octagonal or round one.

Mr. Thompson's contention, regarding the Minneapolis tests, that the concrete outside of the hoops should not be considered, is ridiculous. If longitudinal rods reinforce a concrete column, why is it necessary to imagine that a large part of the concrete must be assumed to be non-existent in order to make this reinforcement manifest? An imaginary core could be assumed in a plain concrete column and any desired results could be obtained. Furthermore, a properly hooped column does not enter into this discussion, as the proposition is that slender longitudinal rods do not reinforce a concrete column; if hoops are recognized, the column does not come under this proposition.

Further, the proposition in the writer's fifteenth point does not say that the steel takes no part of the compression of a column. Mr. Thompson's laborious explanation of the fact that the steel receives a share of the load is needless. There is no doubt that the steel receives a share of the load—in fact, too great a share. This is the secret of the weakness of a concrete column containing slender rods. The concrete shrinks, the steel is put under initial compression, the load comes more heavily on the steel rods than on the concrete, and thus produces a most absurd element of construction—a column of slender steel rods held laterally by a weak material—concrete. This is the secret of nearly all the great wrecks in reinforced concrete: A building in Philadelphia, a reservoir in Madrid, a factory in Rochester, a hotel in California. All these had columns with longitudinal rods; all were extensive failures—probably the worst on record; not one of them could possibly have failed as it did if the columns had been strong and tough. Why use a microscope and search through carefully arranged averages of tests on nursery columns, with exact central loading, to find some advantage in columns of this class, when actual experience is publishing in bold type the tremendously important fact that these columns are utterly untrustworthy?

It is refreshing to note that not one of the writer's critics attempts to defend the quoted ultimate strength of a reinforced concrete column. Even Mr. Thompson acknowledges that it is not right. All of which, in view of the high authority with whom it originated, and the wide use it has been put to by the use of the scissors, would indicate that at last there is some sign of movement toward sound engineering in reinforced concrete.

In conclusion it might be pointed out that this discussion has brought out strong commendation for each of the sixteen indictments. It has also brought out vigorous defense of each of them. This fact alone would seem to justify its title. A paper in a similar strain, made up of indictments against common practices in structural steel design, published in Engineering News some years ago, did not bring out a single response. While practice in structural steel may often be faulty, methods of analysis are well understood, and are accepted with little question.


[Footnote E: Transactions, Am. Soc. C. E., Vol. LXVI, p. 431.]

[Footnote F: Loc. cit., p. 448.]

[Footnote G: Engineering News, Dec. 3d, 1908.]

[Footnote H: Journal of the Western Society of Engineers, 1905.]

[Footnote I: Tests made for C.A.P. Turner, by Mason D. Pratt, M. Am. Soc. C. E.]

[Footnote J: Transactions, Am. Soc. C. E., Vol. LVI, p. 343.]

[Footnote K: Bulletin No. 28, University of Illinois.]

[Footnote L: Bulletin No. 12, University of Illinois, Table VI, page 27.]

[Footnote M: Professeur de Stabilite a l'Universite de Louvain.]

[Footnote N: A translation of Professor Vierendeel's theory may be found in Beton und Eisen, Vols. X, XI, and XII, 1907.]

[Footnote O: Cement, March, 1910, p. 343; and Concrete Engineering, May, 1910, p. 113.]

[Footnote P: The correct figures from the Bulletin are 1,577 lb.]

[Footnote Q: Engineering News, January 7th, 1909, p. 20.]

[Footnote R: For fuller treatment, see the writer's discussion in Transactions, Am. Soc. C. E., Vol. LXI, p. 46.]

[Footnote S: See "Tests of Metals," U.S.A., 1905, p. 344.]

[Footnote T: The Engineering Record, August 17th, 1907.]

[Footnote U: "The Design of Walls, Bins and Elevators."]

[Footnote V: Engineering News, September 28th, 1905.]

[Footnote W: The Engineering Record, June 26th, 1909.]

[Footnote X: Railroad Age Gazette, March 26th, 1909.]

[Footnote Y: Engineering News, April 9th, 1896.]

[Footnote Z: "Structural Engineering: Concrete."]


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