Fatigue strength of rebars embedded in concrete—A numerical approach

I.R.E. Luijters, Johan Maljaars (Corresponding author), Simon N.M. Wijte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of embedding in concrete on the fatigue performance of steel reinforcement bars is not evident. Some test series provided in literature demonstrate a higher fatigue resistance of embedded bars as compared to bars in air, whereas others provide a lower resistance. In addition, debate exists on the mechanisms behind the difference between tests in air and tests in concrete, if any. These mechanisms mentioned in literature are empirically based. This paper provides a numerical (finite element) study on the stress concentration factors and the stress intensity factors for the two conditions. It shows that the locations of cracks in concrete relative to the ribs on rebars and the distance between concrete cracks have little influence on the stress peaks in the rebar and hence on the fatigue performance of the rebar. Mechanical interlock or pressure of concrete against the ribs slightly contributes to the rebar stress concentrations. No significant difference should be expected in fatigue resistance between rebars in air and rebars embedded in concrete. Variations in local geometry at the root of ribs appear of more significant influence.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107713
Number of pages18
JournalEngineering Fracture Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021


  • Reinforcement bar
  • Fatigue
  • Concrete-steel bond
  • Fracture mechanics
  • Stress concentration factor
  • Stress intensity factor


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