CIVL 415


Course Title and Number

CE 255: Reinforced Concrete Design

Catalog Description

The analysis and design of reinforced concrete structural elements by the strength design method.  Laboratory includes experiments on concrete, concrete structural elements, and a design project.  3.0 Hours discussion, 3.0 Hours laboratory.


Prerequisites: CE 102, CE 153, and CE 250.
By topic:

  • Elementary statistics.
  • Analysis of plane stress and plane strain.
  • Elastic and plastic stresses and deflection of idealized beams.
  • Theory of Columns.
  • Torsion of open and closed sections.
  • Tension, compression and flexural testing.
  • Aggregate properties.

Textbook and Other Required Material

Nilson & Winter, Design of Concrete Structures, 13th edition.
Design and Control of Concrete Mixtures, 13th edition, Portland Cement Association, 1998.
CE 255 Laboratory Exercises, Maurice Mow.

Course Objectives

The objectives of the course are to:

  • Provide students with an understanding of the behavior of reinforced concrete structures
  • Develop characteristics of a variety of reinforced concrete structural component types
  • Introduce analytical tools for mathematical modeling of structural elements and systems
  • Apply basic concepts of structural design including deign strength envelopes
  • Provide a solid foundation for subsequent study of more advanced topics
  • Review and reinforce fundamental skills in mathematics, science and engineering statics, strength of materials, structural mechanics, materials testing lab and soil mechanics
  • Provide a understanding of concrete as a construction material
  • Provide laboratory experience with cement, concrete aggregates, and concrete properties
  • Provide students with a team based capstone design experience for the structures portion of the CE curriculum
  • Prepare students for successful completion of the professional FE examination
Topics Covered
  • History, materials, specified strength, and load factors for reinforced concrete.
  • Flexural strength and design reinforcement concrete beams and T-beams.
  • Shear and torsional strength of reinforced concrete.  Beams, and shear [diagonal tension] reinforcement.  Shear wall and deep beams.
  • Flexural and anchorage bond strength and development of reinforcement.  Moment capacity diagrams.
  • Deflection and serviceability requirements for reinforced concrete structures
  • Design of short members under combined flexural and axial loads.
  • Columns under biaxial flexural loads.
  • Design of long members under combined flexural and axial loads by the moment magnifier method.

Computer Usage

First laboratory- Structural Analysis for Concrete Design requires students to model a continuous span on a structural program they've been introduced to in CE 153 (Structural Mechanics).  The exercise requires application of influence lines on an indeterminate beam for maximizing reinforced concrete design parameters (positive and negative bending moments, shear, and inflection points).  Laboratory Design Project requires students to model a basic structural system for given gravity loading.  The computations include use of influence lines for maximizing design parameters.  The structure is then designed, constructed and tested as a part of the comprehensive design project.


Students completing the course will be able to:

  • Perform stress analysis of basic reinforced concrete structural components with a variety of compositions under a multitude of loading conditions
  • Analyze basic structural systems under a multitude of loading conditions, both statically determinate and indeterminate
  • Apply principles of linear-elastic and elasto-plastic behavior and recognize the significance of ductile versus brittle behavior to structural components and systems
  • Understand the properties of and lab test relating to reinforcing steel and concrete and its components
  • Develop a lab experiment to test a physical system
  • Undertake the design of reinforced concrete structural components by simultaneously incorporating multiple design constraints and specifications

Class/Laboratory Schedule

One hundred fifty minutes a week lecture, one hundred seventy minutes laboratory

Laboratory projects:

  • Structural analysis for reinforced concrete beam design. (1 lab)
  • Properties of steel reinforcing activity which involves a discussion of the properties and manufacturing of steel reinforcing and a lab activity to determine the stress strain characteristics of steel reinforcing.
  • Specific gravity and absorption capacity of a coarse and find aggregate. (1 lab)
  • Trial mix design by absolute volume. (1 lab)
  • Factors affecting tensile strength of neat cement. (parts of 3 labs)
  • Water/cement ratio effect on the compressive strength of concrete cylinders. (parts of 3 labs)
  • Air entrained concrete. (parts of 3 labs)
  • Ultimate strength of an under and an over reinforced concrete beam in flexure, shear, and bond. (parts of 3 labs)
  • Modulus of rupture, compressometer, split cylinder tests. (1 lab)
  • Comprehensive reinforced concrete design project:
    • Introduction to design project. (1 lab)
    • Structural model and computation of strength envelops by computer program. (1 lab)
    • Concrete mix and structures geometric design for shear and flexure. (1 lab)
    • Construction and bond and anchorage design. (1 lab)
    • Structure testing. (1 lab)

Contribution of Course to Meet the Professional Component

Engineering Sciences
Engineering Design

Relationship of Course to Program Objectives

The course supports the achievement of the following ABET program outcomes and objectives (reference Engineering Criteria 2000, Criterion 3).

  • Ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering
  • Ability to design and conduct experiments and analyze and interpret data
  • Ability to design a component to meet desired needs
  • Ability to identify, formulate and evaluate engineering problems
  • Ability to communicate effectively
  • Ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice

The course supports the achievement of the following CE program objectives.

  • Provide a broad-based education in engineering sciences and design.
  • Provide a rigorous, well-balanced, comprehensive and contemporary curriculum stressing fundamentals common to many fields of civil engineering.
  • Develop skills of written communication and critical thinking which are important to a successful professional life.
  • Daily homework assignments, discussed daily in class for self-evaluation and collected approximately weekly for numerical grading and written feedback
  • Two 1-hour midterm exams and one 2-hour comprehensive final exam
  • Occasional unannounced quizzes
  • Occasional in-class cooperative/interactive problem assignments

Prepared by

Joel Arthur