This paper presents a study on the shear capacity and behavior of reinforced concrete link beams designed for the Burj Dubai Tower, which is the tallest building in the world and will be ready for occupancy in 2009. Several thousand reinforced concrete link beams were used in this structure to interconnect structural walls; in some cases, the factored shear forces in these link beams were up to three times the traditional nominal ACI shear force strength limit. This study presents an examination of the factors that control the design and behavior of heavily loaded reinforced concrete link beams. Nonlinear finite element analysis methods were used to validate and inform the design of the reinforced concrete link beams for Burj Dubai and to examine if the ACI nominal sectional shear force limit is appropriate for this type of member. The results illustrate the undue conservatism of the ACI design provisions and the role of nonlinear analyses in design.
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