The maximum fracture load of a notched concrete beam has been related to the local fracture energy at the cohesive crack tip region analytically in this paper, and then the correlation between the size effects on the maximum fracture loads and the RILEM specific fracture energy is established. Two extreme conditions have been established, namely zero crack-tip bridging with zero local fracture energy and maximum crack-tip bridging with the maximum size-independent fracture energy. It is concluded that the local fracture energy at the crack tip region indeed varies with the initial crack length and the size of specimen. The tri-linear model for the local fracture energy distribution is confirmed by using the proposed simple analytical solution. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.