Critical shear displacement theory: on the way to extending the scope of shear design and assessment for members without shear reinforcement

Yuguang Yang*, Joop den Uijl, Joost Walraven

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a new theory for the shear capacity of reinforced concrete members without shear reinforcement. While recognizing that there are multiple failure mechanisms, the theory attributes the opening of a critical flexural shear crack as the lower bound of the shear capacity. It proposes that the shear displacement of an existing flexural crack can be used as the criterion for the unstable opening of the critical flexural shear crack. Based on the theory, the paper presents a simplified shear evaluation model. Compared with the current shear provisions in the design codes, the model is characterized by good accuracy and a solid physical background. It demonstrates a great flexibility for dealing with complex design conditions. As an example, the paper discusses the possibility of extending the theory to the shear resistance of higher-strength concrete. The suggested method provides a more logical and fluent transition from normal- to high-strength concrete and shows good agreement with experimental observations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)790-798
Number of pages9
JournalStructural Concrete
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • critical shear displacement
  • reinforced concrete beams
  • shear capacity
  • without shear reinforcement

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