Assessment of the torsional behaviour of hollow core slabs


  • Ana Isabel Sarkis Fernandez University of Canterbury
  • Timothy J Sullivan University of Canterbury
  • Emanuele Brunesi Eucentre
  • Roberto Nascimbene University School for Advanced Studies (IUSS)



There are many applications in buildings in which precast pre-stressed hollow-core (HC) slabs are subjected to shear, torsion, or combined shear and torsion. Nonetheless, extruded HC units contain no transverse reinforcement, being inherently vulnerable to brittle failure modes due to shear and torsional actions. In previous work by the authors, a finite element (FE) modelling approach for HC units failing in shear was developed and validated against experimental test data. This paper aims to extend the applicability of the proposed FE approach to help improve the understanding of the torsional behavior of HC units. For this purpose, the developed model is further validated against experimental data available in the literature and then used to predict the torsional capacity of New Zealand-specific 200 mm deep HC units. Results suggest that the FE model is capable of predicting the capacity of HC slabs with and without eccentricity of the applied vertical load. Finally, the numerical results are used to evaluate the performance of available simplified analysis approaches for assessing the torsional capacity of HC units, which are found to be non-conservative if used with expected material properties.

Author Biographies

Timothy J Sullivan, University of Canterbury

Professor in the Civil and Natural Resources Engineering Department at the University of Canterbury.

Emanuele Brunesi, Eucentre

Structural/seismic engineer at the European Centre for Training and Research in Earthquake Engineering – Eucentre.

Roberto Nascimbene, University School for Advanced Studies (IUSS)

Associate Professor at University School for Advanced Studies (IUSS) in Pavia, Italy.


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How to Cite

Sarkis Fernandez, A. I., Sullivan, T. J., Brunesi, E., & Nascimbene, R. (2023). Assessment of the torsional behaviour of hollow core slabs. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 56(2), 104–114.