In bridge columns, why are stirrups be placed around the vertical reinforcement?

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In uniaxial compression test of concrete, upon reaching the ultimate load failure of concrete occurs where major cracks line up in the vertical direction and the concrete cube would be split up. The development of vertical cracks involves the expansion of concrete in lateral directions. In case the concrete is confined in lateral directions, it was observed that the formation of vertical cracks would be hindered as indicated in past experiments. As a result, the concrete strength is increased with also a rise in failure strain.

The above theory is often used in the design of bridge columns. Steel stirrups are installed at around the vertical main reinforcement. Other than the function of shear reinforcement, it helps to avoid the lateral deformation of interior concrete core so that the strength of concrete column is increased.

This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.

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