Many models to determine the shear capacity of shear reinforced beams are based on the truss analogy. Various proposals have been formulated in recent years, all of which differ with regard to the limits of strut inclination. Remarkably, those limits do not depend on the type of concrete, which could be expected to be critical for the shear friction capacity of the cracks, which is supposed to be a major influencing factor with regard to the limit of strut rotation. Tests on beams with I-shaped cross sections have been carried out on beams made of normal, lightweight, and high-strength concrete. The experimental results are compared, in Part I of this paper, with those obtained by analytical models and, in Part II, with those obtained by nonlinear finite element programs tailored to this specific application. The result is that the type of concrete does not lead to significant changes in strut rotation capacity, so that the strut rotation limit values have general validity. The level of approximation approach, as presented in the Fédération Internationale du Béton/International Federation for Structural Concrete (fib) Model Code of Concrete Structures 2010 is justified: more sophisticated calculation models lead indeed to more accuracy in the determination of the shear capacity.
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