Experimental Behavior of Concrete Columns Confined by Transverse Reinforcement with Different Details

Mariateresa Guadagnuolo1, *, Alfonso Donadio2, Anna Tafuro1, Giuseppe Faella1
1 Department of Architecture and Industrial Design, University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli", Aversa (CE), Italy
2 Architecture Studio, Frattamaggiore (NA), Italy

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Creative Commons License
© 2020 Guadagnuolo et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Architecture and Industrial Design, Via San Lorenzo, Abazia di San Lorenzo, 81031 - Aversa (CE,) Italy, Tel:+39 081 5010822, E-mail:



Most of the existing reinforced concrete buildings often have columns with poor transverse reinforcement details. Models for computing the confined concrete strength were developed using experimental tests performed on specimens with transverse reinforcement typical of seismic design. The paper presents the results of an experimental program performed to investigate the effect of type, amount and pitch of transverse reinforcement on the behavior of confined concrete.


The paper is also aimed at evaluating whether the current code models are suitable for estimating the confined strength of concrete in existing buildings.


A total of 45 reinforced concrete columns with four volume ratios of transverse reinforcement were tested under axial loads. Type and pitch of transverse reinforcement typical of existing r/c buildings not designed according to seismic standards were considered. Therefore, columns reinforced by spiral and hoops with 135° or 90° hooks at the end are investigated for comparing their behavior. The confinement of spirals and hoops to core concrete is discussed as the amount of transverse and longitudinal reinforcement varies. Small increases in strength due to the concrete confinement were measured for hoop pitch of 150 mm (ranging between 2% and 7%), but also for hoops with 90° hook and pitch of 75 mm. Greater increments were obtained by spirals and hoops with 135° hook in the case of 75 mm pitch and when rhomboidal hoops or cross-ties were arranged in addition to the perimeter hoops. A comparison with some similar experimental results is also performed, achieving quite similar results. The mean experimental stress-strain curves are also analyzed.


The results show how the increase in concrete strength due to the confinement is more dependent on the transverse reinforcement pitch than the type and detail of transverse reinforcement or even less diameter of longitudinal bars. Finally, the experimental strength of confined concrete is then compared with the values provided by Eurocode 8 and the new Italian Building Code, showing that the higher the volumetric percentage of transverse reinforcement, the greater the overestimation of code models.


An overestimation of codes up to 30% is assessed, systematically lower in the case of spirals, and higher in the case of hoops with 90° hooks at the end. The results highlight the need to develop specific equations to determine the strength increase due to the concrete confinement in the case of existing buildings with poor transverse reinforcement.

Keywords: Confined concrete, Existing buildings, Hoops details, Strength increase, Eurocode model, Transverse reinforcement.