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Seungwoo Lee, Ph.D., P.E., S.E.
December 27, 2022

Expert Tip: Moment of Inertia for Cracked Circular Concrete Section


Sometimes we need tiresome calculations, even though they are not critical nor difficult, but they are essential, and they take time if we do not have proper tools. One of these is the moment of inertia calculation for cracked, circular concrete sections. We need this calculation when we perform service stress checks for flexure and deflection checks.


f’c = 3.5 ksi, 2 in. cover, #5 spiral (d = 0.625 in.), 1% reinforcement with #11 (d = 1.410 in.) rebars


In the symmetrical reinforcement sections, each rebar location needs is not considered, and we can assume the rebars as a ring.

D1 = 72” – 2(2” + 0.625” + 1.410”/2) = 65.34”


Step1) Assume neutral axis location


Assume the neutral axis for the cracked section is located 28.226” from the circle center.

r cosα = (36”) cosα = 28.226”

α = 38.3663° = 0.6696 rad

Actually, it is more common and convenient to assume the angle α first then calculate the neutral axis location (r cosα).


Step2) Calculate compress zone concrete area



Step3) Calculate compression rebar area


r1 cosα1 = r cosα= 

α1 = 0.5277 rad = 30.234°


n = (29000 ksi)/(1820√3.5ksi) = 8.517


Step4) Calculate tension rebar area


α1 = π - 0.5277 rad = 2.614 rad = 149.8°


Step5) Check assumed neural axis location


Repeat Step 1 to Step 5 until this equation is satisfied.


Step6) Calculate the moment of inertia for the neutral axis


Compression concrete



Compression rebar



Tension rebar



Step6) Check


Moment of inertia from the rebars can be checked easily. The total number of rebars is assumed as 26 EA.



Ad2 = (1%)(1/4)π(72 in.)2(294560.4 in4) = 461 271 in4

573.8 in4 + 460 732 in4 = 461 270 in4    O.K.


Either way results in the same results (however, the closed-form is always looking neat, somewhat more professional).


The corresponding excel sheet is attached.


Download Excel Sheet












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