Economic Evaluation of High-Strength Materials in Stocky Reinforced Concrete Shear Walls

Steven M. Barbachyn, Robert D. Devine, Ashley P. Thrall, Yahya C. Kurama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Previous numerical research has shown that high-strength steel reinforcing bars (rebar) combined with high-strength concrete can increase the lateral strength of stocky (i.e., low height-to-length aspect ratio) reinforced concrete (RC) walls in noncontainment safety-related nuclear structures as well as nonnuclear building structures. However, there is currently no quantitative information on the cost-effectiveness of using high-strength materials in stocky RC shear walls. Specifically, high-strength materials can lower the total rebar volume and simplify the rebar cage construction. Furthermore, reduced rebar congestion can allow for better field inspection and easier concrete placement, potentially accelerating construction schedules and reducing construction costs. This paper addresses the current knowledge gap by conducting a parametric numerical investigation on the total rebar weight and construction cost for stocky RC shear walls. The study focuses on walls typical of noncontainment nuclear structures, but also includes results relevant for nonnuclear building structures. Ultimately, the results demonstrate the economic benefits of high-strength materials for stocky walls in nuclear structures and may provide an impetus to positively affect policy decisions pertaining to nuclear power in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04017074
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Society of Civil Engineers.


  • Construction costs
  • Construction materials and methods
  • Finite-element modeling
  • High-strength concrete
  • High-strength reinforcing steel
  • Reinforced concrete stocky shear walls
  • Safety-related nuclear structures


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