Let's Find Out the Anchorage Length, Which is the Basis of Rebar Placement

July 5, 2024
Let's Find Out the Anchorage Length, Which is the Basis of Rebar Placement

The Whole New MIDAS Site Banner


A. Introduction

I started my design career at a small startup company. One of the advantages of the startup company is the limited number of staff, so I was able to learn the basic details of design from my team leader.

He didn't always give me the answers but asked me questions and pushed me to find the answers. One of those questions I still remember today is:

" Place the top reinforcement in the bottom slab of a box section."


what is the correct answer

What is the correct answer?


I immediately thought of CASE 1 and 2 and replied that it should be placed as CASE 1. After hearing my answer, the leader said, "Then explain why it can't be CASE 2."

I couldn't think of a reason why it shouldn't be CASE 2 right away, so I said I didn't know.

Then the leader gave me the following answer.


"Reinforcement is a member that is placed under tension, and imagine that the top reinforcement is under tension. In case 2, the bearing stress is generated inward where the reinforcement is bent. This would be incorrect placement because this stress could destroy the concrete cover."


Reinforcement placement is one of the most important factors that allow reinforced concrete structures to function properly.

Therefore, we need to understand and know exactly how the forces flow when placing the reinforcement so that we can design the structure appropriately.

In other words, an engineer needs to be able to place the rebar properly before they can determine the strength of reinforced concrete mathematically.


B. What is the development length?

When considering the placement of reinforcement, the "development length" is a critical part of the design.

In ACI, it is called "Development Length" and in Eurocode, it is called "Anchorage Length".

Let's take a look at the basic concepts of development length, and how they are calculated.


B.1 Development Length

The length of reinforcement that must be embedded in the concrete to prevent it from being separated from the concrete under force is called the development length.


Figure 1. What is the development length Figure 1. What is the development length?


To express this mathematically, the force F can be expressed as the cross-sectional area and stress of the reinforcement.





As = cross-sectional area of the reinforcement

σs = stress in the reinforcement

Φ = diameter of the reinforcement

The force resisted by the development length is called R, which is expressed as the area of the rebar and the bond strength of the concrete.




Asuf = perimeter area of the reinforcement

σb = concrete bond strength

Since F = R, the anchorage length, lb, can be expressed as




B.2 Bond strength

Let's understand the concept of bond strength.

In general, the anchorage of reinforcement is referred as to deformed steel. There are several types of forces that the deformed steel resists in the concrete, but the main one is the load acting on the RIB, which is expressed as follows.


Figure 2. Force on the reinforcement and RIB
Figure 2. Force on the reinforcement and RIB

This can be represented in terms of concrete as follows


Figure 3. Force acting on the concrete by the RIB of a deformed rebar
Figure 3. Force acting on the concrete by the RIB of a deformed rebar

The force acting on each rib can be resolved into two forces, as shown in the figure below.


Figure 4. The forces acting on the rib
Figure 4. The forces acting on the rib

These forces dissipate radially around the perimeter of the reinforcement, causing cracks in the concrete.


Figure 5. Crack formation in concrete

Figure 5. Crack formation in concrete


These forces in the form of radials show different crack shapes depending on the position of the reinforcement about the surrounding reinforcement subjected to the same force, as shown below.


Figure 6. Crack pattern depending on the reinforcement
Figure 6. Crack pattern depending on the reinforcement

Therefore, it can be understood that the bond strength affects the tensile strength of the concrete, the spacing of the rebar, and the thickness of the cover.


C. Design Criteria

C.1 Development length consideration in design criteria


  • EN1992-1-1:2004 (KDS 24 14 00)

  • ACI 318M-19 (KDS 14 20 00)


C.1-1 Anchorage length of EN1992-1-1:2004

Clauses 8.4.2 through 8.4.4 of EN1991-1-1 indicate that the anchorage length is calculated using the following three equations.



If the above expression is combined into a single equation, it is expressed as follows.




a1,a2,a3,a4,a5 : Coefficients

φ: diameter of the reinforcement

σsd: Design stress of the reinforcement

fctd: Design tensile strength of the concrete

η1: Coefficient according to bonding condition

η2: Coefficient according to reinforcement diameter


C.1-2 Development length of ACI 318M-19

In ACI 318, the development length is based on the following equation.





ψt,ψe,ψs,ψg : Coefficients
db: Diameter of the reinforcement
CB: Distance between the center of the reinforcement and the concrete surface closest to it and half of the reinforcement center spacing, whichever is less.
Ktr : Contribution of confining reinforcement
fy: Design tensile strength of reinforcement
f’c : Design compressive strength of concrete


Content visible until here


You can check more of these details in the download file.

C.2 Comparison

C.2-1 Location of reinforcement

C.2-2 Diameter of reinforcement bars

C.2-3 Reinforcement Surface

C.2-4 Grade of Reinforcing Steel

C.2-5 Types of reinforcement

C.2-6 Rebar spacing, cover thickness, and transverse reinforcement

C.2-7 Strength of Concrete and Reinforcement

C.3 Comparison of Development Lengths

D. Development Length in Design Practice

MIDAS Newsletter

Thank you, See you soon!
About the Author
Jay.J | Structural Engineer | MIDAS IT HQ

I executed bridge (rail, road) projects over ten years as a structural engineer. I mainly did overseas projects in Kuwait, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, the U.K., etc. You know what? I've never been to the places on a business trip, even after completing construction. I have experienced national design-build projects twice and have done almost every shape of bridge project except wire bridges.


Continuing Full Contents.

Fill out the below form to download the Full Contents.