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WWII Allowable Structural and Reinforcing Steel Stresses

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Title: WWII Allowable Structural and Reinforcing Steel Stresses

I'm pretty long in the tooth but didn't study structural engineering until just after the war. I am aware that the allowable structural steel stress was increased for structures built during the war but am not sure about reinforcing steel. I seem to remember that the allowable increase for structural shapes was about 25%.

I'm currently looking at modifying a building built in 1945 and am finding that the footing reinforcing steel is rather severely overstressed. The drawings call for deformed structural grade reinforcing steel which I believe would be 40 ksi yield with an allowable tensile stress of 18 ksi according to the codes of the period. I'm also assuming that the structural steel is the old A7, 33 ksi yield.

The drawings call for 13-3/8 bars each way in a 7 ft square footing which results in a steel ratio of only 0.0015, lower I think than even codes at that time permitted. It also seems rather odd to use No 3 bars in a footing but perhaps wartime shortages resulted in all sorts of unusual choices. It's also possible that the draftsman used 3/8 when he meant to use 5/8.

I intend to call for field investigation but, in the meantime, I was wondering if any old timers (or better informed engineers of any age) could enlighten me on the wartime design criteria.

Thanks for any help.

Frank Hartzell
Jacobs Engineering

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