Critical regions in ductile elements

The primary, if not the only, mode in which concrete elements can dissipate energy is in bending. Energy dissipation takes place in alternate positive and negative bending at flexural plastic hinges at member ends - although long-span beams also subjected to significant transverse loading may develop one-sided plastic hinges in positive bending at some distance from their end sections. In Section 5, dissipative zones in concrete elements are termed 'critical regions'. As used in Section 5, the term has a more conventional connotation than the term 'dissipative zone', which is used in Sections 6-8 of EN 1998-1 to denote the - rather loosely defined - part of an element or connection where energy dissipation will take place by design. In Section 5, critical regions are conventionally defined parts of primary seismic elements, up to a certain length from the end section - or in beams from the section of maximum positive (hogging) bending moment under the combination of transverse loads and the design seismic action. The length of critical regions is prescribed in Section 5, depending on the type of primary seismic element and on the Ductility Class, as are the special detailing and other rules that apply within that length. A critical region is considered at the end of a primary seismic column or beam, irrespective of whether plastic hinging is expected to take place there, or alterntively in the beams or columns connected to the joint at that particular end of the primary element.

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