Materials and Structures

, 52:16 | Cite as

Size effect on fracture properties of concrete after sustained loading

  • Hua Rong
  • Wei DongEmail author
  • Xue Zhang
  • Binsheng Zhang
Original Paper


To investigate the size effect on the fracture properties of concrete after sustained loading, concrete beams with three heights of 100 mm, 200 mm and 300 mm were first subjected to 30% peak load over 115 days. Thereafter, they were moved out from the loading frames and tested under standard static three-point bending (TPB) loading until failure. The initial fracture toughness, unstable fracture toughness, fracture energy and evolution of the fracture process zone were then derived based on the experimental results, and the size effect on these fracture properties of concrete after sustained loading were evaluated. The experimental results indicated that compared with the specimens under the static TPB tests without pre-sustained loading, the cracking initiation resistance for the concrete after sustained loading increased, resulting in the increase of the initial cracking load and initial fracture toughness. In particular, the tendency was more significant for the larger size specimens. By contrast, the effects of sustained loading on the unstable fracture toughness, fracture energy, critical crack length and FPZ evolution could be neglected. Furthermore, the size effects on the fracture characteristics, including the fracture energy, and the FPZ evolution were obvious for the concrete specimens both under static loading and after sustained loading.


Concrete beam Three-point bending Sustained loading Fracture toughness Fracture energy Size effect 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the National Natural Science Foundation of China under the grants NSFC 51878117, NSFC 51421064 and NSFC 51708565, the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of China under the Grant DUT17LK06, and the National Basic Research Program of China (The 973 Program) under the Grant 2015CB057703.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© RILEM 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hua Rong
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wei Dong
    • 1
    Email author
  • Xue Zhang
    • 1
  • Binsheng Zhang
    • 3
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Coastal and Offshore EngineeringDalian University of TechnologyDalianPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.National Test Centre of Quality and Safety Supervision for Industrial Buildings and Structures, Central Research Institute of Building and ConstructionMCCBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Department of Civil Engineering and Environmental Management, School of Computing, Engineering and Built EnvironmentGlasgow Caledonian UniversityGlasgowUK

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