Reinforced concrete (RC) beams under cyclic loading usually suffer from reduced aggregate interlock and eventually weakened concrete compression zone due to severe cracking and the brittle nature of compressive failure. On the other hand, the addition of steel fibers can reduce and delay cracking and increase the flexural/shear capacity and the ductility of RC beams. The influence of steel fibers on the response of RC beams with conventional steel reinforcements subjected to reversal loading by a four-point bending scheme was experimentally investigated. Three slender beams, each 2.5 m long with a rectangular cross-section, were constructed and tested for the purposes of this investigation; two beams using steel fibrous reinforced concrete and one with plain reinforced concrete as the reference specimen. Hook-ended steel fibers, each with a length-to-diameter ratio equal to 44 and two different volumetric proportions (1% and 3%), were added to the steel fiber reinforced concrete (SFRC) beams. Accompanying, compression, and splitting tests were also carried out to evaluate the compressive and tensile splitting strength of the used fibrous concrete mixtures. Test results concerning the hysteretic response based on the energy dissipation capabilities (also in terms of equivalent viscous damping), the damage indices, the cracking performance, and the failure of the examined beams were presented and discussed. Test results indicated that the SFRC beam demonstrated improved overall hysteretic response, increased absorbed energy capacities, enhanced cracking patterns, and altered failure character from concrete crushing to a ductile flexural one compared to the RC beam. The non-fibrous reference specimen demonstrated shear diagonal cracking failing in a brittle manner, whereas the SFRC beam with 1% steel fibers failed after concrete spalling with satisfactory ductility. The SFRC beam with 3% steel fibers exhibited an improved cyclic response, achieving a pronounced flexural behavior with significant ductility due to the ability of the fibers to transfer the developed tensile stresses across crack surfaces, preventing inclined shear cracks or concrete spalling. A report of an experimental database consisting of 39 beam specimens tested under cyclic loading was also presented in order to establish the effectiveness of steel fibers, examine the fiber content efficiency and clarify their role on the hysteretic response and the failure mode of RC structural members.
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