Project OP5: Finite Element Model-based Code Calibration for Design of Steel Fibre Reinforced Recycled Aggregate Concrete Beams

Chair SupervisorCo-Supervisor
Dr. Won-Hee KangDr. Olivia Mirza

As the construction industry is rapidly growing, the importance given to sustainable construction techniques has increased, to protect the limited reserves of natural resources. In order to reduce the environmental impact of the construction industry, and to meet the increasing global demand for raw material, the significance of recycling and reusing construction waste has increased. Considering the wide applications of concrete and the large consumption of aggregates on a global scale, using recycled aggregate (RA) in concrete is a sustainable construction alternative. However, recycled aggregate concrete (RAC) does not exhibit properties required for structural applications. RAC is restricted to limited structural use, and is extensively used only in pavements, and as shotcrete in tunnels.

The objective of this research is to replace natural aggregate concrete (NAC) with RAC that incorporates steel fibres (SF). SF increases the mechanical performance of RAC and makes it suitable for structural applications. The use of steel fibre reinforced recycled aggregate concrete (SFRRAC) in structural applications is proposed to gain advantages in terms of environmental effects, production costs, and structural properties. However, structural members fabricated with new materials should be designed according to proper design equations and capacity factors determined from test-aided reliability analysis. The current international standards are applicable only to NAC and cannot be applied to SFRRAC due to change in material properties.

In this research, a design model for SFRRAC beam cross-sections under flexure is proposed. This includes the development of a new theoretical model for predicting the moment-capacities of SFRRAC beam cross-sections. This theoretical model is used along with a database of test results to calibrate capacity factors for SFRRAC cross-sections under bending. The accuracy of the calibrated capacity factors increase with increase in number of test data. Hence, numerical simulations using finite element analysis (FEA) are used to virtual expand the test database.

Sources of Funding

  • Western Sydney University – Centre for Infrastructure Engineering Postgraduate scholarship


  • Kang, W. H., Ramesh, R. B., Mirza, O., Senaratne, S., Tam, V., & Wigg, D. (2017, August). Reliability based design of RC beams with recycled aggregate and steel fibres. In Structures(Vol. 11, pp. 135-145). Elsevier.
  • Ramesh, R. B., Mirza, O., & Kang, W. H. (2017). HLRF-BFGS-based algorithm for inverse reliability analysis. Mathematical Problems in Engineering2017.