Arching or Compressive Membrane Action in Reinforced Concrete Slabs

    Research output: Other contribution


    Arching or compressive membrane action (CMA) in reinforced concrete slabs occurs as a result of the great difference between the tensile and compressive strength of concrete. Cracking of the concrete causes a migration of the neutral axis which is accompanied by in-plane expansion of the slab at its boundaries. If this natural tendency to expand is restrained, the development of arching action enhances the strength of the slab. The term arching action is normally used to describe the arching phenomenon in one-way spanning slabs and compressive membrane action is normally used to describe the arching phenomenon in two-
    way spanning slabs. This encyclopedic article presents the background to the discovery of the phenomenon of arching action and presents a factual history of the approaches to the treatment of arching action in the United Kingdom and North American bridge deck design codes. The article summarises the theoretical methodology used in the United Kingdom Design Manual for Roads and Bridges, BD81/02, which was based on the work by Kirkpatrick, Rankin & Long at Queen's University Belfast.
    Original languageEnglish
    Media of outputinternet
    Number of pages0
    Publication statusPublished - 02 Mar 2013



    • Arching action, compressive membrane action, reinforced concrete slabs, structural engineering

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