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Treball Fi de Mster

Mster en Enginyeria Civil


ETSECCPB

CONCRETE BEAMS REINFORCED WITH


CFRP LAMINATES

Catalin Andrei Neagoe

Director
Llus Gil Espert

Departament
Resistncia de Materials i Estructures a l'Enginyeria (RMEE)

Febrer 2011

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Resumen
La tesis parte de la necesidad de identificar los mtodos, materiales y tcnicas que
pueden contribuir al refuerzo de las estructuras de hormign armado. El uso de polimeros
reforzados con fibra (FRP) es una forma muy efectiva para reparar y reforzar las estructuras
que se han vuelto estructuralmente inseguras a lo largo de su vida. Los laminados de CFRP
son nuevos materiales compuestos de carbon que se conectan externamente a vigas de
hormign. Estos materiales de alta resistencia mejoran el comportamiento de flexin de las
vigas. El objetivo principal de la investigacin, que se describe en la tesis, es el anlisis del
comportamiento de la respuesta de vigas de hormign armado raforzado con laminados de
CFRP. Esto implic un estudio experimental que se llev a cabo en el Laboratorio para la
Innovacin Tcnica en Estructuras y Materiales (LITEM) del Departamento de Resistencia de
Materiales y Estructuras en Ingeniera de la Universidad Politcnica de Catalua. Durante los
experimentos, los siguientes aspectos fueron evaluados y registrados en relacin con la
respuesta de las vigas ensayadas: anlisis de carga-desplazamiento, el comportamiento de
deformacin, distribucin de la tensin, los perfiles de desplazamiento, los modos de falla y
los patrones de fisuracin. Para alcanzar estos objetivos, se utilizaron cinco vigas de hormign
armado con diferente configuracin de ensayos (una de control, dos vigas con un laminado de
CFRP y otras dos vigas con un par de laminados). Observaciones finales han confirmado la
eficacia del sistema de refuerzo compuesto. Tambin nos dimos cuenta de que los resultados
eran cercanos a los valores tericos, en la mayora de los aspectos.

Palabras clave:
Refuerzo; materiales compuestos; CFRP, laminados, comportamiento a la flexin,
vigas de hormign armado.

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Abstract

The thesis starts from the need to identify methods, materials and techniques that can
contribute to the strengthening of the reinforced concrete structures. Fiber reinforced polymer
(FRP) application is a very effective way to repair and strengthen structures that have become
structurally inefficient over their life span. CFRP laminates are new carbon-based composite
materials that attach externally to concrete beams. These high strength materials improve the
bending behavior of beams. The main objective of the research, described in the thesis, is the
analysis of the response behavior of retrofitted reinforced concrete beams with CFRP
laminates. This implied an experimental study, which took place in the Laboratory for
Technical Innovation in Structures and Materials (LITEM) of the Department of Strength of
Materials and Structural Engineering of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. During the
the experiments, the following aspects were evaluated and recorded regarding the response of
the tested beams: load-displacement analysis, deformation behavior, stress distribution,
displacement profiles, failure modes and crack patterns. In order to attain these goals, we used
five reinforced concrete beams, differently prepared for the test (one control beam, two beams
with one CFRP laminate attached and another two beams with a pair of the same laminates).
Final observations have confirmed the efficiency of the composite strengthening system. Also
we noticed that the results were close to the theoretical values, in most of the aspects.

Keywords:
Strengthening; composite materials; CFRP; laminates; flexural behavior; reinforced
concrete beams.

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Acknowledgments

I would like to express my best regards to all the people involved in realizing this
project.
My most grateful appreciation goes to the director of my master thesis project, Prof.
Dr. Eng. Lluis Gil Espert for his knowledgeable insight and motivating words, and for the
idea of making this project come true.
I also feel so lucky to have had eng. Juan Jos Cruz as my co-advisor.
I would also like to thank Prof. Dr. Eng. Rodica Vierescu, for the professional
consulting.
Teachers, staff and fellow UPC Marco Antonio Prez, Ernest Bernard, Francesc
Puigvert, Snia Segura and Vincent Andreu for the attention given to me whenever I needed
help and their collaboration in the field of experimentation.
Laboratory for Technological Innovation in Structures and Materials (LITEM), to
UPC for putting at my disposal equipment and facilities to deal with all the experiments. I
would like to thank the BASF Chemical Company for supplying the research material.
To my family and my friends for their encouragement to go forward in some difficult
times.
To all of you, thank you!

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Index

INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................................. 9
1.1

Objectives .......................................................................................................................................... 10

1.2

Hypotheses ........................................................................................................................................ 10

1.3

Motivation / Justification .................................................................................................................. 11

1.4

Methodology ..................................................................................................................................... 12

1.5

Structure and contents of the thesis .................................................................................................. 14

PART I. THEORETICAL APPROACH .......................................................................................... 15


GENERAL ASPECTS REGARDING FRP STRENGTHENING SYSTEMS ............................... 16
2.1.

Preliminary discussion ....................................................................................................................... 16

2.2.

Concepts and historical background .................................................................................................. 18

2.3.

FRP strengthening materials .............................................................................................................. 21

STATE OF THE ART REVIEW ...................................................................................................... 32


3.1.

Experimental studies regarding the FRP strengthening of existing structural members ..................... 32

3.2.

Overview of the main EB FRP codes ................................................................................................... 39

3.3.

Theoretical analysis and design of a FRP strengthened RC member................................................... 45

PART II. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH ..................................................................................... 54


EXPERIMENTAL METHODOLOGY ............................................................................................. 55
4.1.

Experimental work ............................................................................................................................ 55

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4.2.

Composite strengthening materials ................................................................................................... 61

4.3.

Test setup and instrumentation ......................................................................................................... 65

4.4.

Processing experimental data ............................................................................................................ 72

RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS ....................................................................................................... 73


5.1.

Load Deflection analysis.................................................................................................................. 73

5.2.

Moment- curvature relationship (deformation behavior ) ................................................................. 80

5.3.

Interface stress distribution ............................................................................................................... 84

5.4.

Displacement analysis ....................................................................................................................... 90

5.5.

Failure modes and crack patterns ...................................................................................................... 92

CONCLUSIONS AND FUTURE LINES OF INVESTIGATION ................................................100


6.1.

Conclusions...................................................................................................................................... 100

6.2.

Future lines of investigation ............................................................................................................ 102

REFERENCES ..................................................................................................................................104
ANNEX. TECHNICAL GLOSSARY ...............................................................................................110

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Index of figures

Figure 1. Schematic representation of a unidirectional FRP plate. ....................................................... 21


Figure 2. Uniaxial tension stress-strain diagrams for different unidirectional FRPs and steel. CFRP =
carbon FRP, AFRP = aramid FRP, GFRP = glass FRP (Source: fib 2001).................................................. 25
Figure 3. Relative ROM (rough order of magnitude) raw material costs (Source: Advanced Composites
Inc. 2003) ............................................................................................................................................... 25
Figure 4. Tensile modulus (stiffness) of typical fibers and metals (Source: Composite Tek, 2003). ..... 26
Figure 5. Tensile strength of typical fibers and metals (Source: Composite Tek, 2003). ...................... 26
Figure 6. Load versus deflection curves for both control and strengthened beams. ........................... 34
Figure 7. Delamination of the reinforcement level (Source: ACI Committee 440, 2002). .................... 35
Figure 8. Visual representation of failure modes bye different categories.. ........................................ 46
Figure 9. Load-deflection behavior of a typical RC beam...................................................................... 50
Figure 10. Typical load-deflection curves of strengthened reinforced concrete beams. ..................... 52
Figure 11. Detail of the reinforcement of the test beams. ................................................................... 56
Figure 12. The reinforced concrete beams before testing. ................................................................... 56
Figure 13. Details of the retrofitted beams. .......................................................................................... 57
Figure 14. Mechanical surface treatment of the beams. ...................................................................... 58
Figure 15. Primer application for beam with two laminates attached. ................................................ 58
Figure 16. Applying epoxy adhesive on the bottom of the test beams. ............................................... 59
Figure 17. Loading schemes for the experimental work. ...................................................................... 60
Figure 18. CFRP laminates attached to the test beams. ....................................................................... 61
Figure 19. Primer components, before mixing...................................................................................... 63
Figure 20. The two components that make the epoxy adhesive .......................................................... 64
Figure 21. Control beam C-01. Instrumentation scheme. ..................................................................... 66
Figure 22. Retrofitted beam B-01. Instrumentation scheme. ............................................................... 66
Figure 23. Retrofitted beam B-02. Instrumentation scheme. ............................................................... 67
Figure 24. Retrofitted beam B-03. Instrumentation scheme. ............................................................... 67
Figure 25. Retrofitted beam B-04. Instrumentation scheme. ............................................................... 68
Figure 26. Silicon carbide paper used to abrase the surface of the FRPs. ............................................ 68
Figure 27. Positioning the local axes for the strain gauges. .................................................................. 68
Figure 28. Materials needed for cleaning the FRP surface and for bonding the strain gauges. ........... 69
Figure 29. Strain gauge for tension zone. Applied on FRP exterior surface. ......................................... 69
Figure 30. Strain gauge for the compression zone. Applied on concrete face. .................................... 69
Figure 31. Strain gauges with terminals placed on the flexural cracks of the test beams. ................... 70
Figure 32. MTS hydraulic actuator ........................................................................................................ 71
Figure 33. HBM MGCplus data acquisitioning system. ......................................................................... 71
Figure 34. MTS FlexTest SE Servohydraulic controller. ......................................................................... 71

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Figure 35. Test setup of a typical beam. ............................................................................................... 72


Figure 36. Typical behavior of RC control beam C-01. .......................................................................... 74
Figure 37. Response of B-01 strengthened beam ................................................................................. 74
Figure 38. Response of B-02 strengthened beam. ................................................................................ 75
Figure 39. Response of B-03 strengthened beam. ................................................................................ 76
Figure 40. Response of B-04 strenghtened beam. ................................................................................ 77
Figure 41. Comparative view of the response behavior of all the tested beams. ................................ 79
Figure 42. Deformation behavior of B-01 strenghtened beam. ............................................................ 80
Figure 43. Deformation behavior of B-02 strengthened beam. ............................................................ 81
Figure 44. Deformation behavior of B-03 strengthened beam. ............................................................ 82
Figure 45. Deformation behavior of B-04 strengthened beam. ............................................................ 82
Figure 46. Comparison in terms of moment-curvature relationships between CFRP strengthened
beams. ................................................................................................................................................... 83
Figure 47. Debonding patterns on the middle of the CFRP strips, after failure. ................................... 85
Figure 48. Debonding patterns on the end of the CFRP strips, after failure. ........................................ 85
Figure 49. Experimental CFRP strain profile of the B-01 beam. ............................................................ 86
Figure 50. Experimental CFRP strain profile of the B-02 beam. ............................................................ 87
Figure 51. Experimental CFRP strain profile of the B-03 beam. ............................................................ 88
Figure 52. Experimental CFRP strain profile of the B-04 beam. ............................................................ 88
Figure 53. Displacement variation at different loads for beam C-01. ................................................... 90
Figure 54. Displacement variation at diferent loads for beam B-01. .................................................... 90
Figure 55. Displacement variation at different loads for beam B-02. ................................................... 91
Figure 56. Displacement variation at different loads for beam B-03. ................................................... 91
Figure 57. Displacement variation at different loads for beam B-04. ................................................... 92
Figure 58. Mid-span debonding of FRP initiated by a flexural crack. .................................................... 93
Figure 59. Delamination caused by excessive shear deformation. ....................................................... 93
Figure 60. Schematic representation of a crack pattern development. ............................................... 95
Figure 61. Cracked bottom face of the control beam. .......................................................................... 96
Figure 62. Flexural cracks developed in the control beam. .................................................................. 96
Figure 63. Detail of the bottom surface after failure. ........................................................................... 96
Figure 64. Interfacial debonding. Failure in the concrete layer. Close-up of the mid-span bottom face
of the beam. .......................................................................................................................................... 96
Figure 65. Tensile rebars exposed by the FRP failure. .......................................................................... 97
Figure 66. Failure in the concrete cover initiated by shear deformations towards the beams end. ... 97
Figure 67. Detail of the concrete face after failure. .............................................................................. 98
Figure 68. Debonding of the CFRP laminate. ........................................................................................ 98
Figure 69. Detail of the CFRP plate, after failure. Pieces of concrete are still attached to it. ............... 99
Figure 70. Debonding of the FRP laminate. Flexural cracks in the concrete weaken the interfacial
bond between concrete and the plate .................................................................................................. 99

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CHAPTER I

Introduction
Reinforced concrete structures often have to face modification and improvement of
their performance during their service life. The main contributing factors are change in their
use, new design standards, deterioration due to corrosion in the steel caused by exposure to an
aggressive environment and accident events such as earthquakes.
In such circumstances, there are two possible solutions: replacement or retrofitting.
Full structure replacement might have determinate disadvantages such as high costs for
material and labor, a stronger environmental impact and inconvenience due to interruption of
the function of the structure e.g. traffic problems. When possible, it is often better to repair or
upgrade the structure by retrofitting.
In the last decade, the development of strong epoxy glue has led to a technique, which
has great potential in the field of upgrading structures. Basically, the technique involves
attaching steel plates or fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) plates to the surface of the concrete.
The plates then act compositely with the concrete and help to carry the loads.
FRP can be convenient compared to steel for a number of reasons. These materials
have higher ultimate strength and lower density than steel. The installation is easier and
temporary support until the adhesive gains its strength is not required due to the low weight.
They can be formed on site into complicated shapes and can be easily cut to length on site.
This work is a study of the behavior of concrete beams retrofitted with carbon FRP
(CFRP)
.

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1.1 Objectives

The main objective of this thesis is the study of the behavior of reinforced concrete
beams strengthened with CFRP laminates. The overall aim of the paper is to investigate and
improve the understanding of the behavior of reinforced concrete beams retrofitted with
CFRP.
The specific objectives of this study are:

Load-displacement analysis

Deformation Behavior

Interface stress distribution

Displacement analysis

Failure modes and crack patterns

The axiomatical idea behind the study is that retrofitting structural beams with FRP
materials will improve the overall behavior under flexural loading.

1.2 Hypotheses

We assume that:

The number of CFRP plates, attached to the tested beams, has a major
influence on the efficiency and final results of the response behavior.

The loading scheme has an important influence on the response behavior of


the tested beams.

Experimental results are close to values obtained in the design guides, and
other experimental works.

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1.3 Motivation / Justification

The choice for the present subject of thesis was made taking into consideration three
reason categories: theoretical, practical and personal reasons.

Theoretical reason
I opted for this theme because of the increased need to strengthen concrete structures.
Various motivations lead to the increased demand for strengthening, Due to the aging of
infrastructure and the need for upgrading to meet more stringent design requirements,
structural repair and strengthening have received considerable emphasis over the past two
decades throughout the world.
At the same time, seismic retrofit has become at least equally important, especially in
earthquake-prone areas.

Practical reason
I chose this subject because, besides the well-recognized advantages that the FRP
strengthening systems possess, there are also some important doubts about using this system.
Bearing in mind that the FRPs are relatively new materials and not so widely used there is a
need to develop further the knowledge about the behavior of the retrofitted concrete members.
Another practical reason was the fact that this composite system is not sufficiently
verified in on real-size beams.
Other than this, the available standards and design codes have a dynamically evolution.
Their contents have been known to change also, because of new investigations.
In Romania, the initiatives regarding the study and development of FRP materials have
started later than in other countries this subject being really new and modern. Furthermore,
laboratory research experiments are made on small-scale models (specimens) because of the
financial costs required.
In our country, there is an important number of buildings that are in a very bad
structural condition (especially historical monuments) so there is the necessity of
strengthening their structure. This is why authorities started to focus on finding and using
alternative solutions to this specific problem.

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Personal reasons
I am interested about the composite materials theme. This domain necessitates
knowledge from a broad area. Because of my personalitys nature, I like to know the
phenomena that I study in a multidisciplinary context. I am fascinated on one hand about the
form (aspect) of an object and on the other about the contents and structure of it. This fact is
proved by the fact that I am also student in the final year at the University of Architecture
Ion Mincu Bucharest. I have obtained my bachelor degree in civil engineering at the
Technical University of Civil Engineering of Bucharest.

1.4 Methodology

For the current research, it was necessary to accomplish the following steps:

Discussions about the necessity and purpose of the project with the director of
the thesis. Arrangements about the place where the research will take place
(LITEM).

Preliminary information regarding literature in this domain and general aspects


of the experimental work to come.

Consulting the specific literature, standards and codes regarding the


strengthening of RC beams with externally bonded FRPs.

Acquaintance with the activities to be performed in the laboratory: used


material, test setup, equipment, trials, laboratory staff.

My project was done in accordance with the developing PhD. Thesis of Eng.
Juan Jos Cruz. Besides the necessary tests for my research I took part in other
experiments regarding his PhD. thesis subject.

Establishing the specific aims of the experimental study and the accompanying
methodology.

Choosing five beams for the required tests. One of the beams is used as a
control beam. Two will have one laminate attached, and the other two a pair of
CFRP laminates. These four beams had been preloaded 3 months before I
arrived.

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Designing the test setup. Specifying the different loading schemes for each
beam.

Establishing which data results will be recorded and by which equipment.

Acquiring the necessary research material (CFRP laminates, epoxy primer and
adhesives, strain gauges, etc.).

Painting and marking the beams for the experiments.

Preparing the surfaces and applying the epoxy primer on the specimens.

Cutting the necessary length and applying the CFRP laminates with epoxy
adhesive on the tension face of the four precracked beams. The resin is left to
cure for one week.

Preparing the test beams for instrumentation. Putting the strain gauges on the
top and bottom of the retrofitted beams.

Preparing the test setup (actuator and supports). Moving one beam at a time, on
the final position for testing. Putting the rest of the necessary sensors into
position.

Connecting the equipment to a data acquisitioning system.

Running the test and recording all the available data by means of sensors,
photos and cameras.

Running the same test procedures with the other beams.

Processing and analyzing the experimental data.

Evaluation of the results.

Writing of the thesis.

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1.5 Structure and contents of the thesis

This paper is organized in two distinct parts: a theoretical part and an experimental
part.
Chapter I presents the general aspects regarding this study: objectives, hypotheses,
motivation, methodology and the current title.
Part I is divided in two chapters:
Chapter II General aspects regarding FRP strengthening systems presents the
main reasons why the system appeared; concepts and definitions used in this field; a historical
background view regarding the use and developing of the FRP system; a short presentation on
the characteristics of the composite materials used.
Chapter III State of the art review highlights the present knowledge in the
strengthening with externally bonded FRPs. A discussion is made upon different experimental
programs carried away by different researchers using these systems, across the world. An
overview of the main design codes in this domain is made, together with some comparative
remarks. The last part of this chapter is occupied by a short presentation of a theoretical
analysis and design of a FRP strengthened RC member.
Part II has an experimental approach. It is divided into three chapters:
Chapter IV Experimental methodology comprises of the description of the
experimental work that has been done in the laboratory (design and testing of the specimens);
and description of the characteristics of the composite materials used in retrofitting the beams.
Special attention is drawn on the test setup and instrumentation of the specimens. Finally a
few words about processing the experimental data are being written.
Chapter V Results and discussions this chapter reflects the response behaviors of
the tested beams taking into account different variables. The beams results are being analyzed
on the next topics: load-deflection analysis, moment curvature relationship, interface stress
distribution, displacement analysis, failure modes and crack patterns. The results are being
treated both individually and together, in a comparative manner.
Chapter VI Conclusions and future lines of investigations the final chapter presents
a synthetic view of the experimental results. Some suggestions are being made about future
research issues.
References
Annex Technical glossary explains some of the technical words being used in the field of
FRP strengthening.

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PART I

Theoretical approach

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CHAPTER II

General aspects regarding FRP strengthening systems

2.1.

Preliminary discussion

Interest in the durability of buildings is a constant preoccupation for the engineering


environment. In this context the studies regarding the use of composite materials have
appeared. Of course, the genesis of these has been determined by a series of factors. Due to
the aging of infrastructure and the need for upgrading to meet more stringent design
requirements, structural repair and strengthening have received considerable emphasis over
the past two decades throughout the world. At the same time, seismic retrofit has become at
least equally important, especially in earthquake-prone areas.
The indispensable need to strengthen concrete structures is on the rise. Various
motivations lead to the increased demand for strengthening. Deterioration and aging of
concrete structures are not the only reasons for strengthening beams. Other reasons include
upgrading design standards, committing mistakes in design or construction, exposure to
unpredicted loads such as truck hits or powerful earthquakes, and changing the usage of the
structure. For example, the ever-increasing truck loads are sometimes beyond the design loads
of most bridges in North America that were built after World War II. Since then, the average
service loads were increased by 40 %. The strengthening should ideally minimize the amount
of material added to the structure to avoid increasing the dead load or decreasing the clearance
requirements.
According to Meier (1995), poststrengthening is required when structures are
subjected to loads of a greater magnitude than designed for, or in cases where design or
construction errors might put their safety or performance under question. Furthermore, local
strengthening may become necessary during building refurbishment processes, if there are
changes in the load pattern or if some of the more exposed elements were subjected to greater
deterioration than the rest of the structure.
Every structure is built with a specific life span. However, despite the safety factors,
structures tend to lose their structural integrity before serving their expected life. Many factors
are attributed to this cause, for example, excessive loading on the structure, natural calamities,
etc. Such factors weaken the structure throughout its life and in all such cases, repair and
strengthening are the primary cures. Many innovative strengthening techniques as well as
materials have been introduced in the past few years.

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Several techniques have been developed for applying flexural poststrengthening to


existing structures, with the aim of improving their serviceability or ultimate failure
performance. These techniques consist basically of the addition of an external reinforcement
layer to the tensile face of the structural member.
To remedy for insufficient capacity the structures need to be replaced or retrofitted.
Different types of strengthening materials are available in the market. Examples of these are
ferrocement, steel plates and fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) laminates. Retrofitting of
reinforced concrete (RC) structures by bonding external steel and FRP plates or sheets is an
effective method for improving structural performance under both service and ultimate load
conditions. It is both environmentally and economically preferable to repair or strengthen
structures rather than to replace them totally. With the development of structurally effective
adhesives, there have been marked increases in strengthening using steel plates and FRP
laminates.
Strengthening should minimize disruption to the structure and its usage. Bonding steel
plates might be considered as a very convenient method for strengthening indoor beams.
However, the main disadvantage of using steel plates for outdoor applications is corrosion of
steel. This corrosion is serious not because it reduces the plates strength, but because it
destroys the bonding between the plates and the epoxy. These techniques were expensive
because of the heavy equipment needed and, in most instances, did not provide a long service
life. In addition, in certain cases such as strengthening of unreinforced masonry and concrete
walls, the traditional techniques cannot be used. High-strength composite materials, used by
the aerospace industry for more than 40 years, are becoming the preferred materials for the
repairs.
The use of fiber reinforced polymers (FRP) as strengthening materials has been
gaining the interest of many researchers for the last two decades. These materials are superior
to steel when it comes to comparing the resistance to electrochemical corrosion, strength to
weight ratio, ease of handling, fatigue resistance, and availability in any length or shape. The
successful use of FRP in aerospace, sports, recreation, and automobile industries helped in
decreasing FRP cost. This decrease in cost, combined with the savings due to the elimination
of future maintenance and repair costs, makes the application of FRP economically
competitive with their steel counterparts.
The most popular uses include:

strengthening of reinforced and prestressed concrete beams for flexure;

shear strengthening of reinforced and prestressed concrete beams;

column wrapping to improve the ductility for earthquake-type loading;

strengthening of unreinforced masonry walls for in-plane and out-of-plane


loading;

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strengthening for improved blast resistance.

Philosophically, the fiber-reinforced polymer bonded to the parent structural element


acts as reinforcement. Although research has been carried out to evaluate the use of
prestressed FRP, almost all applications involve the attachment of unstressed FRP to the
parent structures using epoxy.

2.2.

Concepts and historical background

2.2.1. Definition of terms


Recent developments related to materials, methods and techniques for structural
strengthening have been enormous. One of todays state-of-the-art techniques is the use of
fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composites, which are currently viewed by structural
engineers as new and highly promising materials in the construction industry (fib 14, 2001).
Over the last decades some noncorrosive, high strength, and lightweight materials,
denominated fiber-reinforced polymers FRPs, which were initially developed for use on highperformance aircraft and vehicles, started to be applied in civil structures, in substitution of
the previously used steel plates.
FRP materials used to strengthen and repair load-bearing structural members are
popular applications of FRP composites in structural engineering. Collectively, these
applications are known as retrofitting applications, as they are used in existing structures and
not in the construction of new structures. Retrofitting applications can be classified broadly
into two types.
One type is strengthening, where the original structures strength or ductility (typically,
its displacement capacity) is increased from the loads (or displacements) for which it was
originally designed. This increase may be necessitated by the desire to make the structure
compatible with existing building codes (particularly in the case of seismic retrofitting) or
may be desired due to changes in use of the structure.
FRP retrofitting to improve the performance (load carrying and ductility) of a structure
when subjected to blast and impact loading has become of interest of late. The other type of
FRP retrofitting can be classified as repair. In this case, the FRP composite is used to retrofit
an existing and deteriorated structure to bring its load-carrying capacity or ductility back to
the loads or displacements for which it was designed (and hence is, in fact, a type of
strengthening). Repair is necessitated when the original structure has deteriorated due to
environmental effects, such as corrosion of steel reinforcing in concrete structures or when the
original structure has been damaged in service or was not constructed according to the

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original design. For example, reinforcing bars may be omitted in a beam at the time of
construction due to a design or construction error. Although these two types of applications
are similar, there are important differences that are related primarily to evaluation of the
existing structural capacity and the nature of the repair to be undertaken before FRP can be
used. In many cases, a repair design will include strengthening to add a level of safety to the
repaired structure and to account for uncertainty in the retrofit design.
FRP retrofitting has been used successfully on reinforced concrete structures,
prestressed concrete structures, timber structures, and masonry and metal structures. At this
time, code design guidance is only available for FRP retrofitting of reinforced concrete
structures, particularly as applied to strengthening.
Two primary methods are used to attach FRP composite materials to concrete
structures (and to masonry, timber, and even metallic structures) for retrofitting purposes. One
method employs premanufactured rigid6 FRP strips that are adhesively bonded to the surface
of the structural member. The other method, known as hand layup, consists of in situ forming
of the FRP composite on the surface of the structural member using flexible dry fiber fabrics
or sheets and liquid polymers.
In recent years a new variant of the premanufactured strip method called near surface
mounting (NSM) has been developed. In this method, a thin, narrow FRP strip or smalldiameter round FRP bar is inserted and then bonded adhesively into a machined groove at the
surface of the concrete member.

2.2.2. Retrospective of FRP use


The use of FRP composites for retrofitting concrete structures appears to have evolved
at approximately the same time, in the late 1980s, in Europe (particularly in Switzerland) and
in Japan. Both of these initiatives were followed very soon afterward by research and
applications in the United States and Canada. Initially, research focused on flexural
strengthening of structural members (concrete and timber). This was followed very closely by
studies on confinement of concrete columns with FRP composite fabrics and sheets, known as
wraps, to address a number of deficiencies in concrete columns, particularly in highway
bridges, subjected to lateral loads due to earthquakes.
Both of these FRP applications grew out of the experience gained with retrofitting of
reinforced concrete using steel plates or steel jackets. The use of steel plates to strengthen
reinforced concrete structural members was an accepted technology by the mid-1980s,
particularly for bridge retrofitting (Eberline et al., 1988). The use of steel jackets to retrofit
concrete columns developed into a routine practice in the United Sates following the Loma
Prieta earthquake in 1989 (Chai et al., 1991). FRP shear strengthening of concrete beams has
been studied since the early 1990s (soon after flexural strengthening) and numerous

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applications in concrete structures, particularly precast prestressed concrete T-beams, have


been undertaken.
Strengthening of concrete slabs for punching shear has been studied in recent years but
is not yet an accepted technology. FRP retrofitting has been used with bridge and building
structures to strengthen static and quasistatic loads (such as increases in dead or live load in a
bridge or building structure), and for dynamic loads (such as strengthening for improved
seismic or blast response in a bridge or building structure). FRP composites have been used
successfully for flexural strengthening of concrete beams and slabs, shear strengthening of
concrete beams, and axial strengthening and ductility enhancement of concrete columns.
Adhesively bonded precured carbon fiber-reinforced epoxy FRP strengthening strips
for flexural strengthening of concrete beams was first studied and used in Switzerland in the
late 1980s by Urs Meier and his colleagues at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Material
Testing and Research (EMPA). Activities at EMPA from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s
have been reviewed by Meier (1995). Since then, research on FRP bonding for reinforced
concrete poststrengthening has been carried out in the most important engineering research
centers all over the world, with important experimental results being reported by researchers
such as Meier 1987, Saadatmanesh and Ehsani 1990, Triantafillou and Plevris 1992, Nanni
1995, El-Mihilmy and Tedesco 2001, Teng et al. 2003, Fam and Rizkalla 2003, Anania et al.
2005, and Pham and Al-Mahaidi 2006.
An FRP strengthening strip known as Carbodur was developed at EMPA and
commercialized by Sika. These strips have been used in hundreds of building, bridge, and
chimney retrofit projects in Europe (Taerwe and Matthys, 1999).
Recently, professional organizations have developed general-purpose design guides
for use of procured (and bonded) FRP strengthening products for concrete structures, which in
time will probably replace manufacturers guides (TR 55, 2004; FIB, 2001; ACI, 2002; CSA,
2002). As opposed to the European focus, which was on strengthening for static load-carrying
capacity, the Japanese effort was driven primarily by the need to retrofit building and bridge
structures for earthquake-induced seismic loads.
Consequently, much of the research was directed toward wrapping of columns to
increase their lateral load-carrying capacity (Katsumata et al., 1988). In Japan during this time
there was also work in the area of flexural and shear strengthening of concrete beams and
slabs (Nanni, 1995). To date, Japanese FRP sheet products have been used in hundreds of
bridge and building retrofit projects in Japan. A dramatic increase in FRP retrofitting projects
in Japan was seen after the 1995 HyogokenNanbu earthquake, which devastated the city of
Kobe. Karbhari (1998) provided an extensive database of key projects completed in Japan at
that time. In addition to manually applied hand-layup systems, the Ohbayashi Corporation
pioneered the development of an automated carbon fiber winding machine for strengthening
tall chimneys. A design guide was published by the Japan Society of Civil Engineers (JSCE)
in 2001.

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Early work in the United States on FRP strengthening of concrete structures was
undertaken for the purpose of seismic retrofitting of reinforced concrete columns.
Simultaneously, a number of researchers in the United States studied flexural strengthening of
beams using hand-layup fiber sheets and fabrics of glass or carbon fibers (Saadamanesh,
1994).
More attention is paid to the applications from the 1990s, which were designed in a
routine fashion by structural engineers, as opposed to those from before the 1990s, which
were generally designed by engineers with a specialized knowledge of composites.
The state of the art of the early work, from 1980 to 1990, in the area of FRP
composites for reinforcing and retrofitting of concrete structures in the United States, Japan,
Canada, and Europe is detailed in collections of papers and reports edited by Iyer and Sen
(1991) and Nanni (1993b). In 1997, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) founded
the Journal of Composites for Construction, which today is the main international archive for
reporting on research and development in the field of FRP materials for the AEC industry. In
2003, the International Institute for FRP in Construction (IIFC) was established in Hong Kong.
To date, thousands of research studies and structural engineering projects using FRP materials
have been reported worldwide. Reviews of developments in the field from 1990 to 2000 can
be found in ACI (1996), Hollaway and Head (2001), Teng et al. (2001), Bakis et al. (2002),
Hollaway (2003), Van Den Einde et al. (2003), and Tajlsten (2004).

2.3.

FRP strengthening materials

2.3.1. Description of the composite materials


The FRP composites comprise fibers of high tensile strength within a polymer matrix.
The fibers are generally carbon or glass, in a matrix such as vinylester or epoxy. These
materials are preformed to form plates under factory conditions, generally by the pultrusion
process. For experimentation, plates may be manufactured in smaller quantities from preimpregnated fiber mats.

Figure 1. Schematic representation of a unidirectional FRP plate.

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Fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composites consist of high strength fibers embedded
in a matrix of polymer resin as shown in Figure 1. Fibers typically used in FRP are glass,
carbon and aramid. Typical values for properties of the fibers are given in Table 1. These
fibers are all linear elastic up to failure, with no significant yielding compared to steel. The
primary functions of the matrix in a composite are to transfer stress between the fibers, to
provide a barrier against the environment and to protect the surface of the fibers from
mechanical abrasion.
Table 1. Typical proprieties of fibers (Feldman 1989, Kim 1995).

Material

Elastic modulus
(GPa)

Tensile strength
(MPa)

Ultimate tensile
strain (%)

High strength
Ultra high strength
High modulus
Ultra high modulus

215-235
215-235
350-700
500-700

3500-4800
3500-6000
2100-2400
2100-2400

1.4-2.0
1.5-2.3
0.5-0.9
0.2-0.4

E
S

70
85-90

1900-3000
3500-4800

3.0-4.5
4.5-5.5

Low modulus
High modulus

70-80
115-130

3500-4100
3500-4000

4.3-5.0
2.5-3.5

Carbon

Glass

Aramid

The mechanical properties of composites are dependent on the fiber properties, matrix
properties, fiber-matrix bond properties, fiber amount and fiber orientation. A composite with
all fibers in one direction is designated as unidirectional. If the fibers are woven, or oriented
in many directions, the composite is bi- or multidirectional. Since it is mainly the fibers that
provide stiffness and strength composites are often anisotropic with high stiffness in the fiber
direction(s). In strengthening applications, unidirectional composites are predominantly used.
The approximate stiffness and strength of a unidirectional CFRP with a 65% volume fraction
of carbon fiber is given in Table 2. As a comparison the corresponding properties for steel are
also given.
Table 2.Typical proprieties of prefabricated FRP strips and comparison with steel (fib 2001).

Material
Prefabricated strips
Low modulus CFRP strips
High modulus CFRP strips
Mild steel

Elastic modulus
(GPa)
Ef

Tensile strength
(MPa)
ff

Ultimate tensile
strain (%)
fu

170
300

2800
1300

1.6
0.5

200

400

25
(yield strain = 0.2%)

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The FRP essentially acts as additional reinforcement. The major differences, as


compared to traditional reinforcing bars, are: (i) the strength of FRP is much higher; (ii) the
behavior of most FRP is linearly elastic up to failure; (iii) the load transfer from FRP to
concrete is by adhesion of epoxy as opposed to mechanical bond between bars and concrete;
and (iv) the structural elements are under stress (load) when FRP is applied and these stresses
and corresponding strains should be taken into account in the design.
Two major components of a composite are high-strength fibers and a matrix that binds
these fibers to form a composite-structural component. The fibers provide strength and
stiffness, and the matrix (resin) provides the transfer of stresses and strains between the fibers.
To obtain full composite action, the fiber surfaces should be completely coated (wetted) with
matrix. Two or more fiber types can be combined to obtain specific composite property that is
not possible to obtain using a single fiber type. For example, the modulus, strength, and
fatigue performance of glass-reinforced polymers (GRP) can be enhanced by adding carbon
fibers. Similarly, the impact energy of carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP) can be
increased by the addition of glass or aramid fibers.
The optimized performance that hybrid composite materials offer has led to their
widespread growth throughout the world (Hancox, 1981; Shan and Liao, 2002). In recent
years, hybrid composites have found uses in a number of applications such as abrasive
resistant coatings, contact lens, sensors, optically active films, membranes, and absorbents
(Cornelius and Marand, 2002).
Carbon fibers offer the highest modulus of all reinforcing fibers. Among the
advantages of carbon fibers are their exceptionally high tensile-strength-to-weight ratios as
well as high tensile-modulus-to-weight ratios. In addition, carbon fibers have high fatigue
strengths and a very low coefficient of linear thermal expansion and, in some cases, even
negative thermal expansion. This feature provides dimensional stability, which allows the
composite to achieve near zero expansion to temperatures as high as 300 C in critical
structures such as spacecraft antennae. If protected from oxidation, carbon fibers can
withstand temperatures as high as 2000 C. Above this temperature, they will thermally
decompose. Carbon fibers are chemically inert and not susceptible to corrosion or oxidation at
temperatures below 400C.
Carbon fibers possess high electrical conductivity, which is quite advantageous to the
aircraft designer who must be concerned with the ability of an aircraft to tolerate lightning
strikes. However, this characteristic poses a severe challenge to the carbon textile
manufacturer since carbon fiber debris generated during weaving may cause shorting or
electric shocks in unprotected electrical machinery. Other key disadvantages are their low
impact resistance and high cost (Amateau, 2003; Mallick, 1993).

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Adhesives are used to attach the composites to other surfaces such as concrete. The
most common adhesives are acrylics, epoxies and urethanes. Epoxies provide high bond
strength with high temperature resistance, whereas acrylics provide moderate temperature
resistance with good strength and rapid curing. Several considerations are involved in
applying adhesives effectively. Careful surface preparation such as removing the cement paste,
grinding the surface by using a disc sander, removing the dust generated by surface grinding
using an air blower and carful curing are critical to bond performance.
Epoxy resins are a broad family of materials that provide better performance as
compared to other organic resins. Aerospace applications use epoxy resins almost exclusively,
except when high temperature performance is a key factor. Epoxies generally outperform
most other resin types in terms of mechanical properties and resistance to environmental
degradation. The primary advantages of epoxy resins include:

wide range of material properties;

minimum or no volatile emissions and low shrinkage during cure;

excellent resistance to chemical degradation;

very good adhesion to a wide range of fibers and fillers.

The high cost of epoxies, long cure time, and handling difficulties are the principal
disadvantages (Mallick, 1993).
Composites for structural strengthening are available today in the form of precured
strips or uncured sheets. Precured shells meant to strengthen columns are also available, but
are not treated further in this discussion. Precured strips are typically 0.51.5 mm thick and
50200 mm wide, and made of unidirectional fibers (carbon, glass, aramid) in an epoxy
matrix.
Uncured sheets typically have a nominal thickness of less than 1 mm, are made of
unidirectional or bidirectional fibers, often called fabrics, (in the latter case) that are either
preimpregnated or in situ impregnated with resin, and are highly conformable to the surface
onto which they are bonded. Bonding is typically achieved with high-performance epoxy
adhesives.
Historically, composites were first applied as flexural strengthening materials for RC
bridges Meier 1987; Rostasy 1987 and as confining reinforcement of RC columns Fardis
and Khalili 1981; Katsumata et al. 1987. Developments since the first research efforts in the
mid-1980s have been tremendous. The range of applications has expanded to include masonry
structures, timber, and even metals. The number of applications involving composites as
strengthening/repair or retrofit materials worldwide has grown from just a few 10 years ago to
several thousand today.

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Various types of structural elements have been strengthened, including beams, slabs,
columns, shear walls, joints, chimneys, vaults, domes, and trusses.

2.3.2. Comparison of fiber properties


For comparison with steel, typical stress-strain diagrams for unidirectional composites
short-term monitoring loading are given in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Uniaxial tension stress-strain diagrams for different unidirectional FRPs and steel. CFRP = carbon FRP, AFRP =
aramid FRP, GFRP = glass FRP (Source: fib 2001).

Figure 3 presents a simple cost comparison for the most common types of fiber
reinforcements. The prices are based upon continuous tows (rovings) of each fiber type. It
shows that E-glass is the most economical type of fiber available today. In addition, the figure
illustrates that higher modulus carbon fibers are the most expensive.

Figure 3. Relative ROM (rough order of magnitude) raw material costs (Source: Advanced Composites Inc. 2003)

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Figure 4 compares the tensile modulus (stiffness) of typical fibers with that of
traditional metals used in engineering applications. The bar chart shows that ultra-highmodulus (UHM) carbon fiber has a modulus three times that of steel and standard modulus
carbon fiber has a modulus twice that of aluminum.

Figure 4. Tensile modulus (stiffness) of typical fibers and metals (Source: Composite Tek, 2003).

Consider the tensile strength of common fiber reinforcements when compared to that
of titanium, steel, and aluminum. The tensile strength of the fibers considered here far exceed
that of aluminum by as much as 400%. For the most part, carbon, Kevlar, and fiberglass
also exceed the strength of steel by as much as two times. The specific strength of all of the
fibers surpasses that of the metals by as much as ten times. Carbon, Kevlar, and fiberglass
fibers offer superior strength at a lower weight when compared to metals

Figure 5. Tensile strength of typical fibers and metals (Source: Composite Tek, 2003).

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Most of the FRP systems used nowadays consist of carbon fibers embedded in epoxy
matrix. According to Meier (2005), the question regarding which type of fiber is most suitable
for this usage is still the subject of lengthy discussions. The author emphasizes that, for bridge
repair, carbon fiber is the material best suited in most cases, because the fiber is alkaline
resistant and does not suffer stress corrosion, two very important arguments for such
applications.
Actually, there are many reasons that make carbon fibers one of the most attractive
alternatives for poststrengthening concrete structures. Considering all reinforcing fiber
materials used to produce FRPs, the carbon fibers have the highest specific modulus and
specific strength that provide a great stiffness to the system, being an ideal choice to be
applied in structures sensitive to weight and deflection. Compared with steel, carbon fibers
can be five times lighter and present a tensile strength eight to 10 times higher.
Table 3. Comparison of characteristics of FRP sheet produced from different fibers (Meier, 1995)

Nonetheless, experimental data have indicated that, in many cases, the failure of the
strengthening layer is premature, which means that it is not possible to use all the
considerable load capacity offered by these high performance fibers. Several studies are being
developed to understand and prevent the mechanisms of premature failure. Despite this
eventual shortcoming, the effectiveness of FRP systems is still quite high, given the low
specific weight, ease of application, and good mechanical behavior. Therefore, the main
barrier to a wider use of this technique is the relatively high cost of the carbon fiberreinforced polymer CFRP systems. This is inhibiting their dissemination, especially in third
world countries, which have, in most cases, to import all the components of the system.
To overcome this problem, some researchers have suggested the use of alternative
fiber-matrix combinations, incorporating less costly but still high performance fibers. This
might become an attractive proposition for situations where strength and durability
requirements are not so strict. However, it is important to ensure that these new fiber-matrix
combinations have an appropriate mechanical behavior and good compatibility with other
building materials.
Glass fibers were chosen due to their good strength and lower cost, compared with
carbon and aramid fibers, which make them potentially feasible, both technically and
economically, for applications demanding a moderate increase in load capacity. In general,

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glass fibers are white in appearance and are characterized by a high strength (1,5003,500
MPa), moderate modulus of elasticity (6575 GPa), and density = 2.52.6 gcm3, and low
thermal conductivity (1 wmK for E-Glass).
Given the reduced stiffness, they might not present an adequate rigidity for some
poststrengthening applications, such as the reinforcement of structural members of airplanes
and bridges. Another problem is that low cost glass fibers, such as E-glass, are not alkaline
resistant and might suffer premature creep failures when subjected to high sustained stress
levels. Due to this problem, the document ACI 440.2R-02, of the American Concrete Institute,
suggests that design loads for glass fiber-reinforced polymers (GFRPs) are limited to 30% of
their ultimate strength. According to Wallenberger et al. 2005, despite these limitations, glass
fibers are among the most versatile industrial materials known today and are used in the
manufacture of several structural composites and in a wide range of special-purpose products.
Aramid fibers, on the other hand, are usually yellow in appearance, have low density
(1.41.5 gcm3) and are nonconductive. Mechanically, they present higher longitudinal tensile
strength (3,4004,100 MPa) when compared to other materials, such as glass fibers, and are
known for their toughness, impact, and abrasion resistance. Moreover, aramid fibers have
good resistance to chemical degradation and are relatively inert when exposed to most
solvents, although strong acids and bases may degrade them (Callister 2004). Aramid fibers,
however, are sensitive to degradation from exposure to ultraviolet radiation and are sensitive
to creep. Overall, the economical and mechanical performance of aramid fiber-reinforced
polymers (AFRPs) can be positioned between those of glass and carbon fibers.
The selection of the most adequate fiber to create an FRP system for a specific
application must be based on considerations regarding cost, stiffness, strength, and long-term
behavior. Depending on the fiber utilized, different performances may be achieved. In order
to provide reliable information for this kind of decision making, this research program
investigates and compares the structural performance of reinforced concrete beams
poststrengthened with carbon, aramid, and glass FRP systems.

2.3.3. Advantages and disadvantages of FRP composite plate bonding


All structural problems have more than one technical solution, and final selection will
ultimately rest upon an economic evaluation of the alternatives. Enlightened clients will
ensure that this evaluation includes an estimate of the total costs that will be incurred during
the required service life, rather than selection of the scheme with the minimum initial cost.
The total costs will include future maintenance, as well as all consequential costs such as loss
of production or traffic delay costs.
The most obvious technical solution with which to compare FRP composite plate
bonding is steel plate bonding, as many of the aspects are common to both. Such a

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comparison is made below. However, FRP composite plate bonding should not be thought of
as simply an improved form of steel plate bonding. The new material offers such versatility
that new solutions will become practicable, particularly those arising from prestressing of the
plates.
The potential advantages of FRP composite plate bonding are as follows:

Strength of plates: FRP composite plates may be designed with components to


meet a particular purpose and may comprise varying proportions of different
fibers. The ultimate strength of the plates can thus be varied, but for
strengthening schemes the ultimate strength of the plates is likely to be at least
three times the ultimate strength of steel for the same cross-sectional area.

Weight of plates: the density of FRP composite plates is only 20% of the
density of steel. Thus composite plates may be less than 10% of the weight of
steel of the same ultimate strength. Apart from transport costs, the biggest
saving arising from this is during installation. Composite plates do not require
extensive jacking and support systems to move and hold in place. The
adhesives alone will support the plate until curing has taken place. In contrast,
fixing of steel plates constitutes a significant proportion of the works costs.

Transport of plates: the weight of plates is so low that a 20m long composite
plate may be carried on site by a single man. Some plates may also be bent into
a coil as small as 1.5 m diameter, and thus may be transported in a car or van
without the need for lorries or subsequent cranage facilities. The flexibility of
plates enables strengthening schemes to be completed within confined spaces.

Versatile design of systems: steel plates are limited in length by their weight
and handling difficulties. Welding in situ is not possible, because of damage to
adhesives, and expensive fixing of lap plates is therefore required. In contrast,
composite plates are of unlimited length, may be fixed in layers to suit
strengthening requirements, and are so thin that fixing in two directions may be
accommodated by varying the adhesive thickness.

Easy and reliable surface preparation: steel plates require preparation by grit
blasting, followed by careful protection until shortly before installation. In
contrast, the ROBUST project has demonstrated that composite plates may be
produced with a peel-ply protective layer that may be easily stripped off just
before the adhesive is applied.

Reduced mechanical fixing: composite plates are much thinner than steel plates
of equivalent capacity. This reduces peeling effects at the ends of the plates
and thus reduces the likelihood of a need for end fixing. The overall depth of

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the strengthening scheme is reduced, increasing headroom and improving


appearance.

Durability of strengthening system: there is the possibility of corrosion on the


bonded face of steel plates, particularly if the concrete to which they are fixed
is cracked or chloride contaminated. This could reduce the long term bond.
Composite plates do not suffer from such deterioration.

Improved fire resistance: composite plates are a low conductor of heat when
compared with steel, thus reducing the effect fire has on the underlying
adhesives. The composite itself chars rather than burns and the system thus
remains effective for a much longer period than steel plate bonding.

Reduced risk of freeze/thaw damage: there is theoretical risk of water


becoming trapped behind plate systems, although this should not occur if they
are properly installed. In practice, this has not been found to be a problem.
However, if water did become trapped in this way, the insulating properties of
the composite materials would reduce the risk of disruption of the concrete due
to freeze/thaw. Loss of bond would also be evident by tapping the composite,
but would be more difficult to detect with steel.

Maintenance of strengthening system: steel plates will require maintenance


painting and may incur traffic disruption and access costs as well as the works
costs. Composite plates will not require such maintenance, reducing the whole
life cost of this system.

Reduced construction period: many of the practical advantages described


above combine to enable composite plates to be installed in greatly reduced
time periods when compared with steel plates. As well as lower contract costs,
the traffic delay costs are minimized. Installation from mobile platforms
becomes possible and it may become practicable to confine work within such
restraints as limited railway possessions or night-time working.

Ability to prestress: the ability to prestress composites opens up a whole new


range of applications for plate bonding. The plate bonding may be used to
replace lost prestress and the shear capacity of sections will be increased by the
longitudinal stresses induced. Formation of cracks will be inhibited and the
serviceability of the structure enhanced. Strengthening of materials such as cast
iron also becomes more practicable.

The potential disadvantages of FRP composite plate bonding are as follows:

Cost of plates: fiber reinforced composite plates are more expensive than steel
plates of the equivalent load capacity. However, the difference between the two

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materials is likely to be reduced as production volumes and competition


between manufacturers increases. Comparison of total contract costs for
alternative methods of strengthening will be based on labor and access costs as
well as material costs. Open competition has already shown that FRP
composite plate bonding is the most economic solution in virtually all tested
cases, without taking into account additional advantages such as durability.

Mechanical damage: FRP composite plates are more susceptible to damage


than steel plates and could be damaged by a determined attack, such as with an
axe. In vulnerable areas with public access, the risk may be removed by
covering the plate bonding with a render coat. Fortunately, if damage should
occur to exposed FRP composite plate, such as by a high load, repairs can be
undertaken much more easily than with a steel plate. A steel plate may be
dislodged, or bond broken over a large area, which would damage bolt fixings
and necessitate complete removal and replacement. However, with FRP
composite plate bonding the damage is more likely to be localized, as the plate
is thinner and more flexible. With FRP composite, the plate may be cut out
over the damaged length, and a new plate bonded over the top with an
appropriate lap.

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CHAPTER III

State of the art review

3.1.

Experimental studies regarding the FRP strengthening of existing


structural members

Investigation of the behavior of FRP retrofitted reinforced concrete structures has in


the last decade become a very important research field. In terms of experimental application
several studies were performed to study the behavior of retrofitted beams and how various
parameters influence the behavior.
The effect of number of layers of CFRP on the behavior of a strengthened RC beam
was investigated by Toutanji et al. [3]. They tested simply supported beams with different
numbers of CFRP layers. The specimens were subjected to a four-point bending test. The
results showed that the load carrying capacity increases with an increased number of layers of
carbon fiber sheets.
Investigation of the effect of internal reinforcement ratio on the behavior of
strengthened beams has been performed by Esfahani et al. [4]. Specimens with different
internal steel ratio were strengthened in flexure by CFRP sheets. The authors reported that the
flexural strength and stiffness of the strengthened beams increased compared to the control
specimens. With a large reinforcing ratio, they also found that failure of the strengthened
beams occurred in either interfacial debonding induced by a flexural shear crack or interfacial
debonding induced by a flexural crack.
Experimental research programs into the flexural behavior of steel and FRP-plated
beams are reported by Ladner and Weder (1981), Macdonald (1978), Jones et al. (1980, 1982),
Van Gemert and Maesschalck (1983), Swamy et al. (1987), Saadatmanesh and Ehsani (1991),
Ritchie et al. (1991), Chajes et al. (1994), and Sharif et al. (1994). Theoretical aspects of the
plate-bonding technique are given by Roberts (1989), Roberts and Haji-Kazemi (1989),
Oehlers and Moran (1990), Hamoush and Ahmad (1990), Wei et al. (1991), Rostasy (1993),
Ziraba et al. (1994), and Hussain et al. (1995). Limited studies of the behavior of plated
concrete beams using finiteelement (FE) methods are given by Mays (1993), Triantafillou and
Plevris (1990), Hamoush and Ahmad (1990), and Ziraba et al. (1994).
Recent work on the use of FRP materials as a replacement for steel in plate bonding
applications was pioneered at the EMPA in Switzerland. Four point loading tests were

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initially performed on RC beams 2000 mm (Meier, 1987; Kaiser, 1989) or 7000mm (Ladner
et al., 1990) in length. Strengthening was achieved through the use of pultruded carbon
fiber/epoxy laminates up to 1.0 mm thick bonded with the same epoxy adhesives used in
earlier steel plating work (Ladner and Weder, 1981). For the 2000mm length beams, the
ultimate load was almost doubled over the unplated control beam, although these beams were
designed with a low proportion of internal steel, and hence the strength of the unplated beam
was low.
In the case of the 7000 mm length beam, strengthened with a 1.0mm CFRP laminate,
the increase in the ultimate load was about 22% (Ladner and Holtgreve, 1989). However, for
both beam lengths the ultimate deflection was considerably reduced, although it was claimed
that there was still sufficient rotation to predict impending failure.
The following modes were observed either individually or in combination in the tests
carried out at the EMPA:

sudden, explosive, tensile failure of the CFRP laminates

compressive failure in the concrete

slow, continuous peeling of the laminate during loading resulting from an


uneven concrete bond surface

sudden peeling of the laminate during loading due to relative vertical


displacement across a shear crack in the concrete

horizontal shearing of the concrete in the tensile zone

interlaminar shear within the CFRP sheet.

The CFRP plate was found to reduce the total width of cracks and produce a more
even crack distribution over the length of the beam (Meier and Kaiser, 1991). Meier et al.
(1992) recommended that in strengthening applications, the external CFRP should fail in
tension after yielding the internal steel but before failure of the concrete in the compressive
zone, since this would ensure a more ductile failure mode.
Research has demonstrated that the addition of carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP)
laminate to reinforced concrete beams can increase stiffness and maximum load of the beams.
In a study by Toutanj et al. [1] beams retrofitted with CFRP laminates showed an increased
maximum load up to 170 % as compared to control beams. Another study by Kachlakev and
McCurry [2] shows an increase of 150 % when beams were strengthened in both flexure and
shear with CFRP and glass FRP laminates respectively. Other studies have also been
conducted by David et al. [3], Shahawy et al. [4], Khalifa and Nanni [5], Shehata et al. [6],
Khalifa et al. [7] in an attempt to quantify the flexural and shear strengthening enhancements
offered by the externally bonded CFRP laminates. Ferreira et al. [8] showed that when a beam

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is strengthened with CFRP sheets the stiffness increase and the tension cracking is delayed to
higher loads, and Karunasena et al. [9] showed that an externally bonded composite, of either
CFRP or GFRP materials, improved the moment capacity of deteriorated concrete beams.
FRP used to increase the flexural strength by attaching unidirectional sheets at the
extreme tension surface. Although strength increases up to 160% have been reported in the
literature (Meier and Kaiser, 1991; Ritchie et al., 1991), ductility and serviceability
constraints limit the percentage increase to about 40%. Typical loaddeflection responses of
control and strengthened beams are shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6. Load versus deflection curves for both control and strengthened beams.

It can be seen in the figure that FRP increases both the maximum load and the stiffness,
and there is a noticeable reduction in deflection at failure. In most cases, beams strengthened
with organic polymers fail by delamination of the FRP plate. In certain cases, failure occurs
due to tension failure of the concrete cover. When this happens, the delamination occurs at the
original reinforcement (bar) level as shown in Figure 7. These failure modes limit the number
of layers (or the area of FRP) that can be applied and, hence, the strength increases.
Additional information regarding the failure modes and discussion on strength increases can
be found in the literature (Arduini and Nanni, 1997; Nakamura et al., 1996; Ross et al., 1999;
Saadatmanesh and Ehsani, 1991; Sharif et al., 1994).

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Figure 7. Delamination of the reinforcement level (Source: ACI Committee 440, 2002).

As with steel plates, the beams which had been precracked before bonding had an
equivalent performance to the other test beams, indicating the effectiveness of the plate
bonding technique for repair. The load/deflection behavior was similar for all different plate
configurations, except for those with laminates bonded to the full length of the beam, clamped
by the reaction at the supports, which resulted in an increase in strength over the other plated
beams. It was concluded that for these particular beams and plates the ultimate loading
capacity of the system appeared to have been reached, being governed by the shear capacity
of the concrete beams.
The most comprehensive study of an FRP strengthening system was undertaken in the
United Kingdom during the ROBUST project (Hollaway and Leeming 1999) in which all
aspects of materials, design, and analysis were addressed. The substance of this paper formed
part of the ROBUST Project.
The tests at Oxford Brookes University continued (Hutchinson and Rahimi, 1996),
under the ROBUST programme of research, by utilizing both glass and carbon fiber/epoxy
laminates of different thicknesses built up from prepreg tapes. Three internal steel
reinforcement ratios were examined. All beams with external reinforcement performed
significantly better than their unplated counterparts in terms of stiffness and strength. The use
of GFRP was found to provide significant ductility and reasonable strength, whilst
enhancements were greater with CFRP but at the expense of a loss of ductility. Greater
enhancements were achieved with lower steel ratios.
Garden et al. (1996) showed that the ultimate capacity of the CFRP beams falls with
reducing the widththickness b/t and beam shear span/depth ratios. Failure under low shear
span/beam depth ratios is associated with high plate strains (the value being in the region of
70% of the plate ultimate strain) and relatively high longitudinal shear stresses at the
adhesive/concrete interface, and although the concrete failed in the cover concrete area,
debonding from the concrete was not observed.

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Plate end anchorage delays failure by resisting plate separation but does not increase
stiffness until the internal reinforcement has yielded.
He et al. (1997a), at the University of Sheffield, used steel and CFRP plates with the
same axial stiffness-to-strength precracked reinforced concrete beams in which a new, but
unspecified, plate anchorage system was adopted. The basic improvement in structural
performance due to plating was verified and it was found that the CFRP plates produced a
greater improvement in ultimate load than the steel plates. The authors (He et al., 1997b)
noted that the high stress and strain potential of the CFRP will not be utilized unless the plate
is prestressed.
Bencardino et al. (1997) tested CFRP plated beams at the University of Calabria, Italy,
recording reductions in member ductility due to plating without end anchorage; the ductility
was restored when anchorage was fitted in the form of externally bonded U-shaped steel
stirrups. The method of CFRP plating was used successfully to strengthen an experimental
portal structure.
A limited programme of experimental testing has been carried out at the University of
Bologna (Arduini et al., 1994; Arduini et al., 1995) in which small scale steel fiber reinforced
concrete specimens of length 500mm or 600mm have been tested in three point bending after
being strengthened with unidirectional aramid fiber/epoxy or glass fiber/epoxy composites of
thickness between 2.05.0 mm. These small scale tests were used to demonstrate that the
load-carrying capacity of the basic unplated beam could be increased through external plating
with FRC but that different failure modes, often brittle, were involved. It was noted that
peeling and shear cracks at the plate ends were responsible for causing premature, brittle
failure.
The use of thicker FRC plates was found to increase the occurrence of peeling failure.
Ductility was increased and peeling failure delayed through the use of plates bonded to the
sides of the beams in the plate end regions; the effects were enhanced by coupling the side
and soffit plates together, in which case failure was observed to occur by diagonal shearing at
the highest attained loads.
Many research studies investigating the performance of concrete structures with
bonded external composite materials have ignored the problems associated with adhesion
aspects and appropriate surface treatments for adhesive bonding. The optimum properties of
adhesives required for plate bonding applications is not known, but recommendations by
Mays and Hutchinson (1988) are generally followed.
There is also a lack of understanding of the requirements of FRP materials for plate
bonding applications. The application of externally bonded carbon fiber-reinforced polymer
(CFRP) strips for the flexural strengthening of reinforced concrete beams is known to delay
the cracking moment and mitigate the development of cracks (FIB 2001; ACI 2002; Neubauer
and Rostsy 2001; Kotynia 1999). Experimental tests have indicated that debonding of the

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bottom strip from the concrete surface is the most common mode of failure for concrete
beams strengthened in this manner. This type of failure generally limits the strength
utilization ratio of the strip; i.e., the ratio of the strain in the FRP at failure to its ultimate
strain (Kotynia 2000; Kaminska and Kotynia 2000). Due to FRP debonding failures, the
strength utilization ratios were sometimes only 1535%, depending on the cause of debonding
(Brena et al. 2003). The debonding mechanism results in the loss of the composite action
between the concrete and FRP laminates. The local debonding initiates when high interfacial
shear and normal stresses exceed the concrete strength.
Depending on the starting point of the debonding process, the debonding modes can be
classified into two main categories (Oehlers 1992; Smith and Teng 2002a,b). The first mode
of failure occurs in the anchorage zone and is known as plate-end debonding or concrete
cover separation, while the second mode of failure occurs in the flexural shear or flexural
vicinity, and is referred to as intermediate flexural shear crack-induced debonding or
intermediate flexural crack-induced debonding.
In the work of Kaminska and Kotynia (2000), the above two debonding modes of
failure were observed. For the plate-end debonding, premature failure is due to concrete cover
separation initiated after the formation of a main crack at the plat end. The crack propagated
vertically to the tension reinforcement level, and then progressed along the steel
reinforcement until the CFRP separated. The intermediate crack debonding failure initiated in
the pure bending region close to the vertical crack, and then propagated towards one of the
supports. The maximum CFRP strains recorded at debonding failure ranged from 0.6 to 0.7%
(Kotynia and Kaminska 2003).
In order to delay the CFRP debonding, as well as to increase the efficiency of the
CFRP strip, additional U-jacket strips or sheets located in the debonding initiation region have
been proposed (Chicoine 1997; Ritchie et al. 1991; Brena et al. 2003; Brena and Macri 2004;
Kotynia 2005). Using plate-end anchorage systems can mitigate plate debonding by providing
vertical restraints against the peeling-off stresses (Brena and Macri 2004). Similar additional
systems can be used not only at the plate end, but also along the midspan FRP laminate to
delay intermediate crack debonding (Spadea et al. 1998; Brena and Macri 2004).
Flexural strengthening of RC elements using composites may be provided by epoxy
bonding the materials to portions of the elements in tension, with fibers parallel to the
principal stress direction. Well-established strengthening procedures for RC structures may be
followed, provided that special attention is paid to issues related to the linear-elastic nature of
FRP materials and the bond between the concrete and FRP.
Many studies have been carried out to analyze the various failure modes of FRP
strengthened concrete beams. ACI 440 (2002) and fib Bulletin 14 (2001) have categorized the
failure of a FRPstrengthened RC beam into two broad categories: Where the full composite
action of the beam is developed, and where the premature debonding occurs. These are further
classified into six different modes of failure.

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The failure mode where full composite action is developed includes: (1) flexural
failure with yielding of steel followed by rupture of FRP; and (2) crushing of compressive
concrete before yielding of tensile steel or yielding of tensile steel followed by concrete
crushing, with undamaged FRP. On the other hand, premature debonding leads to loss in
composite action between concrete and FRP and prevents the strengthened beam from
reaching its ultimate flexure capacity.
This is undesirable, as the beam undergoes no yielding before a brittle rupture. This
category includes the following: Concrete-cover separation, which is the most commonly
reported mode of failure (Smith and Teng 2002a; Saadatmanesh and Malek 1998; Teng et al.
2003; Ritchie et al. 1991; Nguyen et al. 2001; Tumialan et al. 1999; Buyukozturk and Hearing
1998; Pham and Al-Mahaidi 2004a). This failure is popularly described by a crack formed in
the concrete at or near the FRP plate end, propagating to the level of tension reinforcement
and then progressing horizontally, along the level of the reinforcement, resulting in separation
of the concrete cover (Garden and Hollaway 1998). Plate end interfacial debonding, where
failure occurs in the concrete layer adjacent to the concrete-to-adhesive interface. Plate end
interfacial debonding is generally believed to be a result of high interfacial shear and normal
stresses near the plate end that exceeds the strength of the weakest element, usually concrete
(Smith and Teng 2002a).
Intermediate crack-induced interfacial debonding, where failure is induced due to
propagation of a flexural crack in the concrete parallel to the bonded plate and adjacent to the
adhesive-toconcrete interface, starting from the critically stressed portions toward one of the
ends of the plate (Bizindavyi and Neale 1999). Concrete shear failure, though this is not a
debonding failure in strict terms, but is categorized here only because the full composite
action between FRP and concrete is not developed.
Thus, for clarity the premature debonding is classified as fiber delamination initiating
at the plate end; and fiber delamination initiating at the mid-span of the strengthened beam.
Also, the groups are further classified based on the method of bonding the FRP sheet/plate to
the beam wet lay-up beams; and pultruded plated beams. The results of this study are
presented based on these classifications.
The tensile force resisted by the composite plate is transferred to the beam by
interfacial shear. When this shear stress exceeds the shear strength of the interface, debonding
occurs. As mentioned earlier, this failure occurs in the concrete just above the adhesive.
Typical shear strength of concrete is high enough to transfer composite forces. However, as
the beam bends, microcracks occur in the concrete just above the adhesive (epoxy) to
compensate for the strains in the composite. Note that tensile strain capacity of concrete is
only about 0.00025, and the composite sheets can sustain more than 0.015. Most epoxies used
for adhesive can also sustain large strains and do not crack. Hence, a layer of concrete with
microcracks becomes very susceptible for interlaminar shear failure. Theories are being

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developed for the prediction of this important failure mechanism (Arduini et al., 1997; Kurtz,
2000; Malek et al., 1998).
In addition to delamination due to shear failure, peeling can occur at the termination
point of the plate due to highly concentrated peeling stresses. Even though the mechanism can
be predicted with reasonable accuracy, it is recommended to use a lower strain for the
composite at failure rather than go through extensive analysis.

3.2.

Overview of the main EB FRP codes

Due to the importance of controlling risk in matters of public safety, standards and
codes for FRP materials used in civil structures have been in development since the 1980s.
FRP materials warrant separate treatment in standards and codes on account of their lower
modulus and ductility in comparison with conventional materials such as metals. Without
standards and codes, it is unlikely that FRP materials could make inroads beyond limited
research and demonstration projects.
Standardized test methods and material identification schemes minimize uncertainty in
the performance and specification of FRP materials. Codes allow structures containing FRP
materials to be designed, built, and operated with safety and confidence. This section
describes chronologically the standard and code development activities in Japan, Canada, the
United States, and Europe. The main accomplishments of these activities, to date, pertain to
the use of FRP materials for the reinforcement of new structures and for the repair and retrofit
of existing structures.
3.2.1. Japan
Efforts to prescribe specifications for the design and construction of concrete
structures with FRP reinforcements started in Japan in the 1980s. Examples of specifications
for internal reinforcements completed by the middle of the 1990s are as follows:
1) Recommendation for Design and Construction of Concrete Structures Using
Continuous Fiber Reinforcing Materials.
2) Guideline for Structural Design of FRP-Reinforced Concrete Buildings in Japan.
3) Design Methods for Prestressed FRP-Reinforced Concrete Building Structures.
Item 1, referred to here as the recommendation, was published by the Japan Society of
Civil Engineers (JSCE) in 1997, and is intended for concrete structures other than buildings

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(Machida 1997b). The recommendation includes quality specifications and test methods for
FRP materials, as well as recommendations for design and construction with FRP materials.
The quality specifications for FRP reinforcements define the required characteristics
and properties of the reinforcements, and serve to guide the development of new
reinforcements for practical applications. Reinforcement characteristics addressed include
fiber type and reinforcement configuration. Specified properties include the volume ratio of
axial fibers, reinforcement cross-sectional area, guaranteed tensile strength, tensile modulus,
elongation, creep rupture strength, relaxation rate, and durability, among others. Most of the
specified properties are determined based on tests described in the recommendation. Further
details are also given by Uomoto et al. (1997).
The design and construction recommendations in item 1 above are based on the JSCE
Standard Specification for Design and Construction of Concrete Structures, which is for
concrete structures in general (JSCE 1986a,b). The recommendations for construction in item
1 deal with issues such as FRP constituent materials, FRP storage and handling, assembly and
placement of FRP reinforcements, precautions in concrete placing and tendon jacking, and
quality control.
Some details covered in the recommendation have also been presented elsewhere in
the literature (Machida et al. 1995; Machida 1997a; Tsuji et al. 1997).
Items 2 and 3 listed above are intended for building structures. These specifications
were developed in 1993 as the final output of the research and development project,
Effective Utilization of Advanced Composite on Construction, sponsored by the Ministry
of Construction of the Japanese government. Item 2 adopts a limit statebased design method
with specific provisions somewhat different from those of item 1. Details can be found in the
English-language publications by Sonobe et al. (1995, 1997).
After the Hyogoken-Nanbu earthquake in 1995, the use of externally bonded carbon
fiber sheets for seismic retrofitting of RC piers and columns greatly increased in Japan. Prior
to this time, the use had been mainly for repair. Aramid fiber sheets for retrofit and repair
were also developed at this time.
Standard test methods have been developed for FRP sheets by the Japan Concrete
Institute (1998). The methods include a test for tensile properties of FRP sheets and a test for
bond strength.

3.2.2. Canada
The use of FRP for civil engineering applications in Canada began in earnest in the
late 1980s when the Canadian Society for Civil Engineers created a Technical Committee on
the Use of Advanced Composite Materials in Bridges and Structures. Efforts of the committee

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were supported by the Canadian federal government, and led to the establishment of the
Network on Advanced Composite Materials in Bridges and Structures in 1992.
The network sponsored several missions in Japan, Europe, and the United States, and
documented the findings in state-of-the-art reports in this field (Mufti et al. 1991a,b). In 1995,
the Canadian federal government established the Network of Centers of Excellence on
Intelligent Sensing for Innovative Structures. One area of focus of ISIS is the use of FRP
materials for new structures and the rehabilitation of existing structures. ISIS published
several design guidelines on externally bonded and internal FRP reinforcements, participated
in several Code and Standards committees, and sponsored several national and international
conferences.
In the year 2000, Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code section 16, Fiber
Reinforced Concrete, was completed (CSA 2000). The Canadian Standards Association also
approved the code, Design and Construction of Building Components with FRP in 2002
(CSA 2002).

3.2.3. United States


The United States has had a long and continuous interest in fiber-based reinforcement
for concrete structures. Accelerated development and research activities on the use of these
materials started in the 1980s through the initiatives and vision of the National Science
Foundation and the Federal Highway Administration, who supported research at different
universities and research institutions.
In 1991, the ACI established Committee 440, FRP Reinforcement. The committee
published a state-of-the-art report on FRP reinforcement for concrete structures in 1996 (ACI
Committee 440 1996). Committee 440 recently produced two documents approved by the
Technical Activities Committee for publication. The documents are (1) Guide for the design
and construction of concrete reinforced with FRP bars (ACI Committee 440 2002); and (2)
Guide for the design and construction of externally bonded FRP systems for strengthening
concrete structures (2008).

3.2.4. Europe
Research on the use of FRP began in Europe in the 1960s. A Pan-European
collaborative research program (EUROCRETE) was established in 1993 and ended in 1997.
The program was aimed at developing FRP reinforcement for concrete, and included partners
from the United Kingdom, Switzerland, France, Norway, and The Netherlands.
The International Federation for Structural (fib) 2001 Task Group 9.3, FRP
Reinforcement for Concrete Structures, was convened in 1993 with an aim to establish

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design guidelines following the format of the Comite Euro International du Beton
Federation International de la Precontrainte (Model Code and Eurocode 2).
Task Group 9.3 is divided into subgroups on material testing and characterization, RC,
prestressed concrete, externally bonded reinforcement, and marketing and applications. The
task group consists of members representing most European universities, research institutes,
and companies involved with FRP reinforcements for concrete. Membership includes
representatives from Canada, Japan, and the United States. The task group has completed the
development of an FIB bulletin on design guidelines for externally bonded FRP reinforcement
for reinforced concrete structures (FIB 2001).
In the United Kingdom, the Institution of Structural Engineers has published an
interim guide on the design of RC structures with FRP reinforcement (Institution 1999).
Prestressing and externally bonded reinforcements are not addressed in the guide. The guide
is closely based on and refers to related British design codes (British 1985, 1990, 1997). The
approaches adopted are similar to those under development in Japan, Canada, and the United
States.
In the last decade a lot of research efforts have been carried out for understanding the
behavior of reinforced concrete beams strengthened by externally bonded FRP. The key
subject of these studies is the mechanical characterization of the FRP-to-concrete adhesive
interface. Different contributions about this topic have been summarized and compared by
Chen & Teng (2001).
Roberts (1988) provided a simplified model for evaluating interface stresses in FRP
(or even steel) strengthened beams; simplified equations for evaluating shear and normal
stresses throughout the FRP-to-concrete interface have been provided by assuming linear
elastic behavior of the adhesive interface. Moreover, Saadatmanesh et al. (1998) provided
similar relationships even obtained under simplified hypotheses for the interface behavior;
both experimental and numerical comparisons pointed out that applying simplified analytical
formulae results in a close approximation of the complex stress pattern developing throughout
the interface.
After these studies and various relevant field applications, strengthening RC beams by
Externally Bonded FRP laminates is getting more and more common and the following Code
Provisions have been issued in various countries:
fib bulletin 14 (2001) in Europe;
ACI 440 (2008) in the United States;
JSCE Recommendations (2001) in Japan.
One of the most important problems to be faced when managing FRP strengthened
beams deals with the possible premature failure due to debonding between the FRP laminate

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and concrete. Indeed, that is one of the most widely studied phenomena in the scientific
literature dealing with FRP strengthening of RC members, both under the experimental and
theoretical standpoint (Faella et al., 2002). Codes of practice take the main conclusions of
such studies to provide different recommendations for checking bond effectiveness under both
serviceability and ultimate limit state.
Before going in depth about the different methodologies provided by the various codes
for checking the safety of the FRP strengthened RC members, it is important to emphasize
that the experimental evidence demonstrates that additional failure modes can be observed for
a FRP strengthened RC beam with respect to the usual RC members in flexure. For example,
JSCE Recommendations (2001) introduce the following failure modes for the Ultimate Limit
State:

crushing of concrete after yielding of steel reinforcement;

concrete crushing;

anchorage failure of the continuous fiber sheet;

fiber-sheet-to-concrete interface failure due to the progress of flexural cracking


and shear cracking;

breakage of the continuous fiber sheet after yielding of steel reinforcement.

The first two modes deals with the flexural strength of the strengthened section and
can be checked by considering the usual hypotheses for the section behavior, mainly
consisting in assuming that plane sections remain plane after beam deformation: strain offset
can be assumed for scaling the FRP strain with respect to the one of the beam suffit due to
initial strain generally present in beam before strengthening (fib bulletin 14, 2001).
On the contrary, the last three failure modes depends on the presence of the FRP as a
strengthening element. Indeed, the last one consisting in FRP tearing is quite unlikely to occur,
especially for carbon fibers, due to the significant strength of fibers. Premature failure due to
loss of bonding is much more usual to occur instead of FRP rupture. For this reason the third
and the fourth failure modes have to be checked as ultimate limit states forFRPstrengthened
beams; the three codes listed in the introductory chapter suggest different methodologies for
checking this ULS condition.
Finally, it is interesting to underline that the presence of the externally bonded FRP
strengthening results in further checks even for at the Serviceability Limit State. However,
only the European document (fib bulletin 14, 2001) provides an explicit check for interface
stresses with the aim of controlling the long term damage.

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3.2.5. ACI 440.2 R-02 (2002)


The ACI 440 (2002) document provides a simple implicit way for verifying that
premature failures due to loss of bonding could occur neither in the anchorage zone nor
throughout all the interface length. In other words, it assumes a limited strain development in
the FRP plate when determining the ultimate bending moment of the strengthened section.
No specific controls dealing with Serviceability Limit States are provided by ACI 440
(2002), other than the ones that apply for usual reinforced concrete members (stress limitation
in service, deflection check etc.).
3.2.6. JSCE recommendations
The Japanese Code of Standards (JSCE Recommendations, 2001) introduces an
explicit methodology for checking the FRP strengthened beams against the premature failure
due to loss of bonding. A double check procedure is provided consisting in assessing that no
loss of bonding occurs neither in the anchorage zone nor along the adhesive interface. Pull out
tests and theoretical studies (Faella et al., 2002) have pointed out that the ultimate strength of
a FRP-to-concrete adhesive joint depends on the fracture energy (mainly in mode II) of
concrete and of the Youngs Modulus and thickness of the FRP plate.
3.2.7. Fib bulletin 14
fib bulletin 14 (2001) is not just a code of standard in a strict sense, but is aimed to
collect the most important contributions about verifying FRP-strengthened RC members. For
this reason, it is possible to find more than one approach for facing the problem of the safety
verification of strengthened members.
That is the case of RC beams strengthened by externally bonded FRP whose
verification of the adhesive interface against premature failure phenomena can be carried out
by means of three quite different approaches.
Beyond the great apparent difference characterizing the various approaches under the
formal standpoint, Faella et al. (2003) pointed out that a substantial equivalence could be
recognized between such methodologies by assuming suitable values for the mechanical
properties utilized in calculations.
Finally, it is important to underline that an explicit stress limitation in service is
provided by the European document based on the Roberts simplified model for evaluating
interface shear stress throughout the FRP interface with particular attention to the FRP cut-off
section.

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3.3.

Theoretical analysis and design of a FRP strengthened RC member

3.3.1. Basic assumptions for the analysis of strengthened beams


Typically, additional reinforcement is bonded to the existing structures using epoxy. A
number of investigations have been carried out in which aramid, carbon, and glass sheets
(fabrics) have been attached to the tension faces to increase the flexural strength (ACI
Committee 440, 2002). Nanni and his research team have developed a novel method of
attaching composite bars to an existing structures (Nanni and Faza, 2002). For the analysis of
strengthened beams, the following additional assumptions, in addition to the one made for
reinforced concrete, are needed:

There is a perfect bond between composite (plate or bar) and the beam, up to failure.

Linear strain distribution is valid even under large curvatures.

The behavior of the composite plate is linearly elastic up to failure.

The stresses and strains in the original beam, at the time of installation of the
composite, can be computed using cracked section elastic analysis.

For working load analysis, the composite can be considered as an additional


reinforcement.

The composite plates are thin and the center of gravity can be assumed to be located at
a distance, h, from the extreme compression fiber.

For design purposes, the FRP is assumed to act as additional reinforcement.


Depending on the dimensions of the beam, loading conditions, amount of steel reinforcement,
and the area of FRP, the possible failure modes are as follows:
1) Crushing of concrete before yielding of steel; this failure occurs because of
overreinforcement. Using American Concrete Institute (ACI) Code recommendations,
crushing of concrete can be assumed when the maximum compressive strain reaches
0.003 (ACI Committee 318, 2005).
2) Yielding of the steel in tension followed by rupture of FRP laminate; this failure
allows for the full utilization of mild steel reinforcement and provides some ductility.
Even after yielding of steel, the loaddeflection curve will have substantial positive
slope or flexural rigidity because of the contribution of the FRP reinforcement. Since
the FRP behavior is linearly elastic to under-reinforced, the failure will be brittle as
compared to typical under-reinforced RC beams.

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3) Yielding of steel in tension followed by crushing of concrete; this failure occurs when
the area of FRP is sufficient to generate more tension force than the concrete can
generate in compression after yielding of steel. In this situation, the under-reinforced
beam is transformed to an over-reinforced beam.
4) Shear/tension delamination of the concrete cover or debonding of the FRP from
concrete substrate; although models are available to estimate flexural capacities for
these failure modes, it is not recommended to design beams using this failure model
because the failure mode is very brittle. This failure mode can be prevented by
limiting the maximum stress allowed on the FRP, especially for multiple layers.
A more comprehensive description of the main categories of failure in concrete structures
retrofitted with FRP has been made by experimental observations (Figure 8), Esfahani et al.,
Ashour et al., Garden and Hollaway, Smith and Teng. The first and second type consist of
failure modes where the composite action between concrete and FRP is maintained. Typically,
in the first failure mode, the steel reinforcement yields, followed by rupture of CFRP as
shown in Figure 8(a). In the second type there is failure in the concrete. This type occurs
either due to crushing of concrete before or after yielding of tensile steel without any damage
to the FRP laminate, Figure 8(b), or due to an inclined shear crack at the end of the plate,
Figure 8(c). In the third type, the failure modes involving loss of composite action are
included.

Figure 8. Visual representation of failure modes bye different categories..

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The most recognized failure modes within this group are debonding modes. In such a
case, the external reinforcement plates no longer contribute to the beam strength, leading to a
brittle failure if no stress redistribution from the laminate to the interior steel reinforcement
occurs. Figure 8(d)-(g) show failure modes of the third type for RC beams retrofitted with
FRP. In Figure 8(d), the failure starts at the end of the plate due to the stress concentration and
ends up with debonding propagation inwards. Stresses at this location are essentially shear
stress but due to small but non-zero bending stiffness of the laminate, normal stress can arise.
For the case in Figure 8(e) the entire concrete cover is separated.
This failure mode usually results from the formation of a crack at or near the end of
the plate, due to the interfacial shear and normal stress concentrations. Once a crack occurs in
the concrete near the plate end, the crack will propagate to the level of tensile reinforcement
and extend horizontally along the bottom of the tension steel reinforcement. With increasing
external load, the horizontal crack may propagate to cause the concrete cover to separate with
the FRP plate. In Figure 8 (f) and (g) the failure is caused by crack propagation in the concrete
parallel to the bonded plate and adjacent to the adhesive to concrete interface, starting from
the critically stressed portions towards one of the ends of the plate. It is believed to be the
result of high interfacial shear and normal stresses concentrated at a crack along the beam.
Also mid span debonding may take concrete cover with it.

3.3.2. Flexural strengthening systems design


The major steps for designing the strengthening system are, according to the ACI
Committee 440 2002 Report, as follows:
1) Obtain the details of the current slab or beam. These include the compressive strength
of concrete, location and yield strength of steel and shear reinforcement.
2) Estimate the loading that will be present during the application of the strengthening
system. Every effort should be made to minimize the superimposed load that will be
present during the application of strengthening. Reduction in superimposed load
during repair increases the efficiency of the repair.
3) Choose the strengthening system. This could be carbon plate, carbon fiber sheets
applied in the field, or glass fiber sheets applied in the field.
4) Obtain the geometric and mechanical properties of the chosen fiber composite system.
This information can be obtained from the manufacturers.
5) Estimate the moment capacity of the existing beam (slab).
6) Estimate the moment capacity needed for upgraded loads.

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7) Estimate the amount of composite reinforcement needed. The strength computation


equations will provide an approximate area. This area should be converted into plate
thickness and width or number of layers and width of sheets (fabrics). This step can be
considered as preliminary design. The composite should generate sufficient additional
moment capacity to resist the extra loads. In some instances, composite reinforcement
can be provided to correct the deficiencies such as reinforcement lost to corrosion.
8) Check to ascertain that the working load moment for the upgraded loads do not exceed
the following stresses:

Maximum concrete stress c<0.45 , in which is the compressive strength of


concrete.

Maximum steel stress in tension s<0.8fy, in which fy is the yield strength of


steel.

Maximum steel stress in compression s <0.4fy.

Maximum composite stress FRP<0.33fu, in which fu is the fracture strength of


the composite. Depending on the type and exposure, the allowable composite
stresses might have to be reduced further.

9) Check for ductility requirements.


10) Check for creep-rupture and fatigue stress limits.
11) Check for deflection limits.

3.3.3. Preliminary design


An initial estimate of the composite area can be made using the following guidelines.
Once the area of composite is established, detailed analysis should be carried out to check all
the requirements at working and ultimate loads.
1) Compute the design ultimate moment, Mu, based on the upgraded loads.
2) Compute the factored nominal moment capacity, Mni, of unstrengthened cross-section.
3) The strength reduction factor, can be assumed as 0.90.
4) Assuming a failure strain of about 0.8fu for composite, and a lever arm of 0.9h,
estimate the area of composite, Af. It is assumed that the composite will be attached at
the extreme tension face and the net fiber area will be used for computations.
5) Decide on the width of the composite. Normally, the width of the beam will control
the width of the composite.

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6) Estimate the thickness of the plate or the number of layers of sheet reinforcement. The
width and number of layers can be adjusted simultaneously to obtain round numbers.
In the case of multiple layer application, it is advisable to use the same width for all
layers.

3.3.4. Final design


Once the area of composite (or fiber area) is determined, the properties of the entire
section are known for checking the various requirements. The following sequence of
calculations can be used as a guideline:
1) For the unstrengthened section, obtain the properties of uncracked section and
cracking moment. These include computation of Youngs modulus of elasticity of
concrete, Ec, depth of neutral axis of uncracked section, moment of inertia of
uncracked section, Ig, and cracking moment, Mcr.
2) Compute the properties of cracked, unstrengthen section. These include kd and Icr.
3) For the loads present at the installation of composite, compute maximum stresses in
concrete and steel, fc, fs, bi (extreme tension fiber), and maximum deflection, . Note
that for this step, the properties of the unstrengthen section should be used.
4) Compute Mn for the strengthened section. If Mn Mu, proceed further. Otherwise, revise
the area of composite and recompute Mn.
5) Check for ductility requirements.
6) Compute fc, fs, and ff for the revised loads. Note that the stresses for the difference
between the original and upgraded loads (moment) should be computed using the
properties of the strengthened section and added to the stresses obtained in Step 3.
7) If allowable stresses for worked load are satisfied, proceed to Step 8. Otherwise, revise
the area of composite and repeat Steps 4, 5, and 6, or just 6.
8) Compute the deflection and check for allowable limits.
9) Check for other strength parameters such as shear.

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3.3.5. Theoretical load-deflection behavior of a typical RC beam


The loaddeflection behavior of reinforced concrete beams can be divided into three
parts consisting of (a) precracked, (b) working load, and (c) post-yielding regions, as shown in
Figure 9.

Figure 9. Load-deflection behavior of a typical RC beam.

At the initial stages of loading, concrete resists both compression and tension forces.
When the tensile strain in the extreme fiber reaches between 0.0002 and 0.0003, the concrete
starts to crack and the flexural stiffness decreases rapidly. If the instrumentation is sensitive,
the rapid increase in deflection at the onset of cracking can be observed during the
experimental testing. This transition occurs between points 1 and 2, as shown in Figure 9.
Once the tension zone concrete cracks, its tensile force resistance becomes negligible.
The tension force due to external load is primarily carried by reinforcement. The coupling of
tension force carried by reinforcement and the compression force carried by concrete is
achieved by shear through uncracked concrete.
The region between points 2 and 4 in Figure 9 is considered the post-cracking region.
This region terminates at point 4 when reinforcement, typically mild steel, starts to yield. In
almost all cases, the working load lies in this region. In other words, part of the reinforced
concrete beam is cracked under load. The beam sections near simple supports or inflection
points in continuous beams could still be uncracked because of lower moments.
Once the steel starts to yield, the deflection increases rapidly with very little increase
in load (moment). The beam could fail by crushing of concrete or fracture of steel. In most
cases, failure occurs by crushing of concrete, because the strain capacity of steel is very high.
In some cases, the beam may not fail at maximum load. The process called strain softening

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can occur if concrete could sustain large strains because of confinement. The increase in
deflection between yielding and failure between points 4 and 6 in Figure 9 defines the
ductility of the beam. If the beam is over-reinforced or concrete fails before yielding of steel,
the ductility and the impending warning of failure becomes negligible. Therefore, most codes
of practice around the world restrict the amount of reinforcement to ascertain yielding of steel
before failure. This is achieved by limiting the reinforcement ratio to a fraction of the
balanced reinforcement ratio. At the balanced reinforcement ratio, crushing of concrete and
yielding of steel occur simultaneously.

3.3.6. Theoretical load-deflection behavior of typical strengthened RC beams


Typical loaddeflection curves for strengthened reinforced beams are shown in Figure
10. Figure 10(a) shows the loaddeflection response of a beam strengthened when no external
loads are present. This curve represents the behavior of beams made in the laboratory for
evaluation. Theoretically, it is feasible to reduce the stresses to zero in the field by using props.
However, in most, if not all cases, it is neither practical nor economical to bring the beam to
zero stress level. However, the curve in Figure 10(a) can be used for basic understanding.
The beam strengthened at zero load essentially behaves likes the reinforced concrete
beam with extra reinforcement, with the following notable differences:

The cracking load (moment) is slightly larger due to the extra force provided by the
composite.

In the post-crack, preyielding region, between points 2 and 3 in Figure 10(a), the slope
will be higher. The higher stiffness (less deflection) is a function of composite plate
cross-sectional area and modulus of elasticity of the fiber. For example, carbon plates
will provide a larger increase than glass plates. However, in the normal strengthening
range (strength increase less than 50%) the stiffness increase in not significant.

The load (moment) at which yielding of steel occurs will also increase. The increase is
a again function of composite thickness and its modulus of elasticity. Computations of
stiffness and the yield load are presented in the following sections.

The contribution of composite becomes very significant in the post yielding stage,
between points 3 and 4 of Figure 10(a). Since additional contribution of steel is zero in
the yield plateau, post-yield part of the curve is flat for a reinforced concrete beam.
The composite strengthened beam continues to provide strength increase because the
composite force contribution continues at the same level.

Since steel yields prior to failure, failure occurs by crushing of concrete or failure of
composite. Failure of composite could occur due to fracture or delamination. Both
fracture and delamination are brittle but fracture failure is typically less brittle. In

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addition, fracture can be predicted with more certainty. Therefore, between the two,
failure by fracture of composite is preferred. Even though crushing of concrete is also
sudden, this failure is preferred instead of composite failure. Due to the presence of
some form of confinement, crushing of concrete tends to be less brittle than composite
failure.

Figure 10. Typical load-deflection curves of strengthened reinforced concrete beams.

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The loaddeflection response shown in Figure 10(b) is more typical in field


applications. The composite is installed when certain external loads are present. In most cases,
the beam will be in the post-crack, preyield stage. Even if some of the loads such as live loads
are removed, the beams are still in cracked condition. The behavior is similar to the previous
case, except that the composite has more strain capacity and, hence, can achieve larger
deflections. Since composites can generate large strains compared to yield strain of steel, the
loads should be reduced as much as possible during the installation.
The influence of composite thickness is shown in Figure 10(c). Larger plate
thicknesses provide larger stiffness increase, higher load at steel yielding, higher load
postyield increase, and higher failure loads. However, as the thickness increases, failure by
delamination of the plate could become a possibility.
For design (analysis) purposes, the following three stages are of importance:
i.

The level of loading at which the plates are installed

ii.

Capacity at yielding of steel

iii.

Failure or ultimate moment.

The first one influences the next two parameters. The working load should always be
less than yield load. It is recommended that the increased level of working load controls the
strength and, hence, is a critical parameter in design. For most cases, failure load will control
the design of strengthening system.

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PART II

Experimental approach

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CHAPTER IV

Experimental methodology

4.1.

Experimental work

This project has been developed in the Laboratory for Technical Innovation in
Structures and Materials (LITEM) of the Department of Strength of Materials and Structural
Engineering of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia.
The experimental work consisted of testing, under four point loading, 5 simply
supported beams, extensively instrumented with focus on flexural behavior. One of the beams
was used as a control beam and was tested to determine its behavior, ductility and loadcarrying capacity. All beams had the same overall cross-sectional dimensions, and they also
had the same internal longitudinal reinforcement and stirrup arrangement. Two loading
schemes were used, the only difference between them being the distance among the loading
forces.
Four of the five beams were preloaded until flexural cracks appeared and then
retrofitted with CFRP. Two CFRP systems were used for strengthening, consisting of one or
two laminates being applied at the bottom face of the beams. Finally, the retrofitted beams
were loaded until failure and the results were then compared between them, against the
control beam data and with the theoretical design values specified in the ACI 440 and fib 14
standard.
4.1.1. Design and details of Test Beams
The design of the reinforced concrete (RC) beams was based on the following criteria:

Limit the beam length to around 4,5 m for practical reasons.

Obtain beam dimensions, under four-point bending, that give a shear span-todepth ratio of at least 6 while maintaining an adequate constant movement
region so that the beam can undergo sufficient bending deflection under the
load before failure.

Allow for various amounts of conventional tensile reinforcement without


creating over reinforced sections. Naturally, only under reinforced beams
require strengthening.

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All beams had the same dimensions and flexural and shear reinforcements and they
were typically 46 months old at that time. The beams had a rectangular cross section with a
200 mm width, 400 mm height, 4500 mm length and a clear span of 4000 mm. Two 12 mm
steel bars were used for flexural reinforcement at the bottom and top of each beam. Steel
stirrups of 12 mm were spaced every 200 mm for shear reinforcement. The basic concrete
beam without external reinforcement was designed to have sufficient shear strength so as to
fail in flexure.
The tested beams were designed as illustrated below in Figure 11. The used concrete
was class C35/45 and the type of the high-strength steel was B500 S.

Figure 11. Detail of the reinforcement of the test beams.

For experimental reasons all the beams were painted white and had a 10 x 5 cm grid
drawn on them.

Figure 12. The reinforced concrete beams before testing.

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4.1.2. Preloading of beams


In order to simulate damage, the beams were preloaded before retrofitting. The
preloading was done with the same setup as described in 4.3. First, the beams B-01 to B-04
were loaded until the first cracks had formed along the beam at around P=28 kN, then the load
was released. The number of flexural cracks formed was around 9 to 11.
This preload represented approx. 38% of the ultimate strength of the unplated type C
beam, resulting in some permanent flexural deformation. Maximum deflection was 2 mm.

4.1.3. Retrofitting of beams


Beam C-01 was the control beam with no external reinforcement. This beam was
designed to fail in flexure, like any normal conventional RC beam. The remaining four beams
were turned over and strengthened with single (B-01 and B-03) or double (B-02 and B-04)
CFRP laminates bonded to the tension faces as shown in Figure 13. The decision to use one or
two laminates was taken in order to compare and contrast the results between these solutions
and to better understand the influence of the FRP area on the behavior of the tested beams.

Figure 13. Details of the retrofitted beams.

The CFRP plates were all identical in size, 50 mm wide X 1,4 mm thick, and were
bonded to the tension face of the beam over a length of 3200 mm, slightly short of the

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effective span of 4000 mm. The laminates were positioned at the center of the beams width
and length as shown above.
In Table 4, the following parameters are reported: name of the beam, the
corresponding load scheme, the number and area of the FRP laminates glued on the bottom of
beam, steel percentage in tension, s=As/(bH), FRP percentage in tension, FRP=AFRP/(bH),
and equivalent reinforcement percentage, eq=s + EFRP/Es*AFRP/(bH), including steel and
FRP contributes and being EFRP and Es the Youngs modulus of steel bar and fibers,
respectively.
Table 4. Characteristics of the tested beams.

Beam
C-01
B-01
B-02
B-03
B-04

Load
scheme
I
I
I
II
II

Nr. of
laminates
1
2
1
2

FRP area
(mm2)
70
140
70
140

s * 10-2

FRP * 10-2

eq * 10-2

0.280
0.280
0.280
0.280
0.280

0.087
0.175
0.087
0.175

0.280
0.349
0.697
0.349
0.697

All beams had no external anchorages and they were bonded to the concrete with the
same adhesive after surface preparation. A more detailed procedure for applying the CFRP
laminates is described below.
4.1.4. Retrofitting procedure
Before bonding the laminates on the concrete, the surfaces were ground to remove all
contaminations and weak surface layers and to expose the aggregates. Surface preparation
generally has a much greater influence on long term bond durability than it does on initial
bond strength, so that a high standard of surface preparation is essential for promoting long
term bond performance. After this the dust and debris were removed by air blast.
The resultant concrete surface was characterized by a uniformly abraded surface with
exposed small to medium-sized pieces of aggregate (Figure 14).

Figure 14. Mechanical surface treatment of the


beams.

Figure 15. Primer application for beam with two


laminates attached.

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The next step was applying an adhesive-compatible (epoxy) primer. The primer that
comes in two components was mixed thoroughly with a drill equipped with an agitator until a
smooth homogeneous mass was obtained.
The epoxy-based primer was distributed evenly over the entire surface, with the help
of a brush, ensuring complete impregnation of porosity and cavities of the support (Figure 14).
Before proceeding with the implementation of MBrace adhesive the primer was left to cure
for one day.
The epoxy adhesive is prepared the same way as the primer, by mixing the two
components. The mixture was then applied evenly with a trowel (Figure 15) ensuring that on
the rough surfaces all gaps are covered. The epoxy adhesives thickness was maintained
constant at 2 mm throughout the length, for all of the beams.

Figure 16. Applying epoxy adhesive on the bottom of the test beams.

After uncoiling, the laminate to be installed was cut to the proper length. Surface
preparation of the composite plates was accomplished by stripping off a clean, scrubbed,
nylon peel-ply layer molded into one surface during composite fabrication. The laminates
were placed in their final position by using light finger pressure. After checking the location
and the alignment with the help of a rubber roller and a trowel the excess adhesive was
removed.

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4.1.5. Testing of beams


After 7 days curing at ambient temperature the beams were retested under four point
bending, with the loads applied at 500 mm (B-01, B-02) or 800 mm (B-01, B-03) on either
side of the mid-span (Fig. 4), until failure occurred. This load case was chosen because it
gives constant maximum moment and zero shear in the section between the loads, and
constant maximum shear force between support and load. The moment was linearly varying
between supports and load.
The tests were performed using the setup as described in section 4.3. The span
between the supports was 4000 mm and the load was applied at points dividing the length into
three parts as shown in Figure 17.

Figure 17. Loading schemes for the experimental work.

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4.2.

Composite strengthening materials

4.2.1. Carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) laminates


The selected CFRP laminates, with unidirectional fiber reinforcement, used in the
experimental program are part of the MBrace Composite Strengthening System and were
provided by BASF Company Spain.
Composite reinforcement may be used to supplement the bending strength of beams,
slabs, walls, and other flexural elements. The bending capacity of reinforced, prestressed, and
post-tensioned members can be increased by up to 70%. In these applications, the system is
installed along the length of the member similar to longitudinal steel reinforcement.

Figure 18. CFRP laminates attached to the test beams.

Typical uses for the composite system:

Upgrade load bearing capacities of concrete and masonry structures

Increase bending strength of concrete beams, slabs, and walls

Increase shear strength of concrete beams and walls

Restore capacity of concrete structures loss due to deterioration

Correct design/construction errors

Replace reinforcing steel lost to corrosion

Substitute missing reinforcing steel

Seismic Retrofit

Prevent brittle shear failures of concrete beams and walls

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Similar to bonding steel plates onto a structure, composite laminates provide


additional reinforcement that strengthens and stiffens existing structures. Unlike steel plates,
however, composite laminates are lightweight, easy to install, and will not corrode.
Depending on the application, the laminate is bonded using an epoxy resin specifically suited
for the installation. The result is an externally bonded reinforcement system that offers
outstanding long-term physical and mechanical properties.
The type of laminates used in the experimental work was MBrace LM, low elastic
modulus brought in semi-rigid formats. Carbon fibers used in the system MBrace present a
completely linear stress-strain curve up to failure, with no problems of premature rupture
under maintained load.
The laminates were made in 15 m long coils, the width of the laminates being 50 mm
and the thickness 1,4 mm. This type of laminate was chosen due to its well defined material
properties (Table 5) as opposed to using a wet lay-up system where the properties of the
laminates are more variable.

Table 5. CFRP laminate proprieties as supplied by the manufacturer.

Properties
Width
Thickness
Cross-sectional area
Density
Fiber volume
Modulus of elasticity Efrp,k
Ultimate tensile strength fu,k
Elongation at break u,k

Units
mm
mm
mm2
g/cm3
%
GPa
N/mm2
%

Values
1,4
50,0
70,0
aprox. 1,6
68
158
2200
1,5

4.2.2. Primer
For a better bonding between the adhesive and the CFRP plates an epoxy-based primer
(MBrace Resin 50) was used.
Advantages:

Excellent adhesion.

Excellent penetration due to its low viscosity.

Doesnt contain solvents.

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Figure 19. Primer components, before mixing.

Mechanical proprieties for the primer utilized in retrofitting the test beams are
described below in Table 6.
Table 6. Epoxy primer proprieties. Data supplied by the manufacturer

Properties
Mixture density (at +20 C)
Pot-life (at +25 C)
Application temperature (support
and material)
Tension tests
Tensile strength at failure
Elongation at break
Flexion tests
Tensile strength at failure
Flexion modulus

Units
g/cm3
minutes

Values
aprox. 1,1
aprox. 20

min. +5, max +30

N/mm2
%

aprox. 22,9 4
aprox. 18,2 7

N/mm2
N/mm2

doesnt break
aprox. 875

4.2.3. Adhesive
The role of the adhesive is to regulate the surface, adhere to and transfer efforts
between the support and resistant compound. The selected adhesive for the project was an
epoxy-based one. The advantages of epoxy resins over other polymers as adhesive agents for
civil engineering use can be summarized as follows (Mays and Hutchinson, 1992):

High surface activity and good wetting properties for a variety of substrates.

May be formulated to have a long open time (the time between mixing and closing of
the joint).

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High cured cohesive strength, so the joint failure may be dictated by the adherent
strength, particularly with concrete substrates.

May be toughened by the inclusion of a dispersed rubbery phase.

Minimal shrinkage on curing, reducing bondline strain and allowing the bonding of
large areas with only contact pressure.

Low creep and superior strength retention under sustained load.

Can be thixotropic for application to vertical surfaces.

Able to accommodate irregular or thick bond lines.

Formulation can be readily modified by blending with a variety of materials to achieve


desirable properties.

Other advantages include: excellent adhesion to metals and concrete; plastic and
ductile consistency.
These various modifications make epoxy adhesives relatively expensive in comparison
to other adhesives. However, the toughness, range of viscosity and curing conditions, good
handling characteristics, high adhesive strength, inertness, low shrinkage and resistance to
chemicals have meant that epoxy adhesives have found many applications in construction.

Figure 20. The two components that make the epoxy adhesive

The resin used for the bonding of CFRP was a two-part epoxy adhesive (MBrace
laminate adhesive: Concresive 1460) that consisted of components I and II. The nominal

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mechanical properties of the CFRP and epoxy as given by the manufacturer are presented in
Table 7.
Table 7. Proprieties of the epoxy-based adhesive. Data supplied by the manufacturer.

Properties
Mixture density
Pot-life
Open time
Curing time
Application temperature (support
and material)
Flexural strength (after 7 days)
Compression strength (after 7 days)
Concrete adherence
Shear strength at:
50C
60C
70C

4.3.

Units
g/cm3
minutes
minutes
minutes

Values
aprox. 1,7
aprox. 60
aprox. 30
aprox. 24

min. +10, max +30

N/mm2
N/mm2
N/mm2
N/mm2

aprox. 22,0
aprox. 45,0
> 2,5 (failure in concrete)
aprox. 35,0
aprox. 32,6
aprox. 26,1

Test setup and instrumentation

4.3.1. Installing the strain gauges


All of the beams were extensively instrumented to clearly establish their performance
characteristics. At various locations along the span, electrical strain gauges were used to
measure the strains of the CFRP plates and the extreme compression face of the concrete near
the mid-span (Table 8).
Table 8. Strain gauge distances.

Beam
B-01
B-02
B-03
B-04
Gauge
channel

0,0
0,0
0,0
0,0

7,1
0,0
14,0
0,0

1_1

1_2

Strain gauge distance relative to the center of the beam (cm)


Tension face
Compression face
28,4
47,2
64,5
85,4
156,0
0,0
28,4
47,2
8,2
35,1
56,0
86,7
156,0
0,0
35,1
56,0
27,4
38,5
57,5
77,4
156,0
0,0
14,0
38,5
15,7
36,3
48,9
63,9
92,8
156,0
0,0
15,7
36,3
1_3

1_4

1_5

1_6

1_7

1_8

2_1

2_2

2_3

The number of strain gauges on each beam was 7 or 8 on the bottom face, applied on
the FRP laminates (10 mm long) and 3 corresponding ones on the compression face (50 mm
long). They were placed on half of the beam, for symmetrical reasons, and fitted to match the
flexural cracks developed in the preloading.

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For each gauge a channel was assigned in order to send the data to the computer. The
locations of all the gauges are shown in the following figures, each one corresponding to one
of the beams.

Figure 21. Control beam C-01. Instrumentation scheme.

Figure 22. Retrofitted beam B-01. Instrumentation scheme.

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Figure 23. Retrofitted beam B-02. Instrumentation scheme.

Figure 24. Retrofitted beam B-03. Instrumentation scheme.

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Figure 25. Retrofitted beam B-04. Instrumentation scheme.

To install the strain gauges on the FRP material we had to follow the next steps:
Removing the external protection layer of the already-installed FRP laminate.

Marking the positions of the gauges.

Abrasing the surfaces with 320-grit silicon carbide paper (SCP-2) to produce a
satisfactory matte finish.

Figure 26. Silicon carbide paper used to abrase the


surface of the FRPs.

Figure 27. Positioning the local axes for the strain gauges.

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Cleaning the surface by using first water, then Micro-Measurements M-Prep


Conditioner A and Neutralizer 5A.

Figure 28. Materials needed for cleaning the FRP surface and for bonding the strain gauges.

Positioning and bonding the different strain gauges. The ones placed on the concrete
face need a proper clean surface before being applied.

Figure 29. Strain gauge for tension zone. Applied on FRP


exterior surface.

Figure 30. Strain gauge for the compression zone.


Applied on concrete face.

The strain gauges were bonded using an epoxy-based adhesive and were positioned as
stated before on the center of the flexure cracks developed in the preloading.
They were aligned so that their local axes match the axes of the tested beam.
After the tension measuring strain gauges had been placed the adhesive was left to
cure one day and then the gauges from the compression face were installed.

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Connecting an RJ45 terminal to each strain gauge so that the signal is transmitted to a
computer database.

Figure 31. Strain gauges with terminals placed on the flexural cracks of the test beams.

Testing the electrical connections with an gauge tester.

4.3.2. Testing equipment


The mid-span deflection was measured by two laser measuring devices (LA and LB)
while the deflection on both sides of the beam at 1,0 m relative to the beams ends was
measured using LVDTs placed at the level of the tensile steel rebars. Linear variable
differential transducers were employed to provide automatic recording of beam deflections by
means of a computerized data-logging system.
The tests were performed under normal conditions in the LITEM Laboratory, at
approx. 15-20 C and 60-70 % relative humidity.
The loading speed was normal, around 2 mm/min. Steel plates were used under the
loads to distribute the load over the width of the beam.

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The tests were carried out using displacement control, and the
applied loads were monitored through a high-accuracy load cell with a
load sensitivity of 0,001 kN. The testing equipment was a testing machine
of 500 kN MTS capacity jack and later we used a 250 kN one.

Table 9. MTS hydraulic actuator characteristics

Model name
244.31
244.41

Force rating (kN)


250
500

Stroke (mm)
150-250
150-250

Figure 32. MTS


hydraulic actuator

All measurements were recorded automatically at each loading increment, at a rate of


20 readings per second. The data acquisition system was connected to a computer to record
the measurements. Deflections, load, displacement, strains and time were recorded during the
test.

Figure 33. HBM MGCplus data acquisitioning system.


Figure 34. MTS FlexTest SE Servohydraulic
controller.

Crack development during the tests was monitored using a digital photo camera and a
digital video camera. Special attention was paid to any signs of premature failure. For this
purpose a high-speed camera was used to film the failure of the FRP composite strengthening
system.

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Figure 35. Test setup of a typical beam.

The photo above shows the placement and instrumentation of a beam, just before
testing. All the measuring devices are placed and connected to the data acquisitioning system.
The force from the hydraulic actuator is spread by a metal beam placed on top of the RC
beam.

4.4.

Processing experimental data

The processing of the data was done using various calculations in Microsoft Excel
spreadsheets, Matlab graphic analysis, CAD drawing software and photo editing programs.
The information was analyzed from a qualitative and quantitative perspective.
As reference documentation I used the American ACI 440.2R-02 and the European fib
bulletin no. 14 design guides for externally bonded FRP systems for strengthening RC
structures.

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CHAPTER V

Results and discussions

A large amount of data was obtained from these tests, and only those relevant to this
paper are presented here. The discussions are based on the following topics: load-deflection
analysis, displacement analysis, deformation behavior, interface stress distribution, failure
modes and crack patterns.
After a successive presentation of each of the beams results, regarding a specific topic,
an overall view of the results is made in order to compare and contrast them. In this way, we
can point out some valuable aspects about the behavior of tested beams.

5.1.

Load Deflection analysis

The current evaluation utilizes data obtained from the laser measurement system
located at the mid-span of the tested beam (displacement) and from the hydraulic actuator
(force load).
Data was registered until the mid-span deflection was greater than 40 mm. The reason
behind this decision was the fact that all testing specimens had failed well before reaching this
value.

5.5.1. Control beam C-01


The load versus mid-span deflection curve for the control beam C-01 are shown in Fig.
1. This is the typical behavior of an under-reinforced RC member.
The curve includes a linear response up to the load 27 kN. The first appearance of a
crack was noted at load 30 kN. The mid-span load deflection curve illustrates the
nonlinearities at cracking of the concrete. After 45 kN load flexural cracks formed and
widened as loading increased. The maximum load was 69,0 kN as shown in the figure. After
maximum load, the cracks did not grow in length for the remainder of the test but the flexural
cracks in the constant moment region widened as shown in 5.5.1.

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Figure 36. Typical behavior of RC control beam C-01.

The maximum displacement measured at the time the steel reinforcement started to
yield was 19,1 mm.
In the first phase of the test, the control beams stiffness is maintained. Later in the
second phase the stiffness drops significantly (the beam is cracking), while in the last stage
the mid-span deflection grows from 17 mm to 40 mm, with an increase of just 10 kN of load
force.
5.5.2. Retrofitted beam B-01

Figure 37. Response of B-01 strengthened beam

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The use of a single CFRP laminate allowed for a strength increase up to 61% greater
than that of the control beam, attaining a maximum load value of Fu= 110,8 kN. The phase
where the fissures start to grow in number and in width is just after 40 kN load.
After failure by FRP debonding, the post-debonding capacity of the tested beam B-01
was Fr= 77 kN, equal to the value reached by the control beam at the same displacement depth.
Mid-span displacement value at failure is 28 mm, 46% greater than that of the control
beam.

5.5.3. Retrofitted beam B-02

Figure 38. Response of B-02 strengthened beam.

The second retrofitted test beam B-02 had two CFRP laminates attached that helped it
to sustain a maximum value load force of 122,4 kN, 77% greater than the load capacity of the
control beam.
Displacement measured at the time of the failure indicates a deflection of 24 mm.
The graphic is somewhat bilinear meaning that the beam stays in elastic domain until
40 kN of force (similar to test beam B-01) and then changing slope until failure (flexural and
shear cracks start to appear and develop).
Failure, in the end, is determined by important shear deformations and not by flexural
cracks. The main reasons for this is the type of the loading scheme (loading forces being
closer to the ends of the beam) and the FRP reinforcement coefficient that rises the resistance
of the beam in flexure with the downside risk of incrementing the shear force.

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After failure, the post-debonding capacity of the tested beam B-02 was Fr= 71 kN,
almost equal to the value reached by the control beam at the same displacement depth.

5.5.4. Retrofitted beam B-03

Figure 39. Response of B-03 strengthened beam.

The third retrofitted test beam B-03 had one laminate attached, like beam B-01, but a
different load scheme (the forces being closer). The ultimate load force was 89,2 kN, 20%
less than the ultimate load capacity of beam B-01.
Displacement measured at the time of the failure indicates a mid-span deflection of 24
mm.
The graphic is somewhat similar to the ones before but the rigidity of the retrofitted
beam is affected because of the use of only one CFRP laminate. In this way the cracks in the
concrete diminish the stiffness of the beam which explains the changes in the slope of the
graphic line.
After failure, the post-debonding capacity of the tested beam B-03 was Fr= 64 kN, 17%
less than the value reached by the control beam at the same displacement depth.

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5.5.5. Retrofitted beam B-04

Figure 40. Response of B-04 strenghtened beam.

The last retrofitted test beam B-04 had two laminates attached, like beam B-02 and a
load scheme similar to B-03. The ultimate load force was 121,6 kN, 36% greater than the
ultimate load capacity of beam B-01.
Measuring the displacement at the time of the failure indicates a mid-span deflection
of 30 mm, 57 % bigger than the one of the control beam.
After failure by FRP interfacial debonding, the post-debonding capacity of the tested
beam B-04 was Fr= 60 kN.

5.5.6. Overall comparative view of the tested beams


It can be seen from Figure 41 and Table 10 that all beams with bonded external
reinforcement performed significantly better than the control (unplated) beams, in terms of
strength and stiffness. Clearly the strength of plated beams is influenced by the original
stiffness of the beams and by the type and amount of external reinforcement.
In turn, strength depends on the limiting stress-strain properties of the constituent
materials, the properties of the interface between the steel rebar and concrete, and the
adhesive joint between the concrete and external reinforcement.
Table 10 summarizes the outcomes of the experiments corresponding to the beam
name and loading scheme: the maximum load, Fu, the post-debonding capacity, Fr, the
increase of the bearing capacity due to laminate application, exp, the mid-span deflection,
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max, corresponding to Fu, the increase of deflection compared to the level of the control beam,
displ, and the failure mode.

Table 10. Comparison between failure loads and deflections.

Beam
B-01
B-02
B-03
B-04
C-01

Loading
scheme
I
I
II
II
I

Fu (kN)

Fr (kN)

exp (%)

max (mm)

displ (%)

Failure mode

110,8
122,4
89,2
121,6
69,0

77
71
64
60
-

61
77
29
76
-

28
24
24
30
19,1

46
26
26
57
-

FRP debonding
FRP debonding
FRP debonding
FRP debonding
Steel yielding

The experimental increase in ultimate strength was very significant: almost 80 % for
beams B-02 and B-04 they both utilize two plates of CFRP laminates, 61 % for beam B-01
and only 29 % for beam B-03.
It is very important to take into account different factors which can have a great
influence on the overall results. The increase in strength is strongly dependent on the failure
mode, RC cross sectional properties and on the loading scheme.
Post-debonding capacity is almost the same for beams B-01, B-02 around 77 kN
equal also to the strength of the control beam at the same level of deflection.
General variation of the values of the maximum displacement during failure of the
strengthened beams is around 20 to 30 mm.
The failure mode of the retrofitted beams was FRP debonding.
In Fig. 6 we will illustrate, by overlapping the previous load-deflection graphics, the
different aspects that arise from comparing the results of the strengthened beams between
them and against the control beam.
The load versus displacement curves of the poststrengthened beams show that the
measured response of the specimens varies according to the FRP number of plates applied and
to the loading scheme. The beams with the same loading scheme are colored the same.
It can be noticed that, before concrete cracks, all beams have a similar behavior to the
control beam. After cracking, poststrengthened beams show themselves to be stiffer than the
control beam. Beams B-01, B-02 and B-04 have shown similar behavior.

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Figure 41. Comparative view of the response behavior of all the tested beams.

It should be noted that if a beam would be loaded until cracking, unloaded, and then
subjected to load again, the stiffness would be somewhat lower the second time due to the
damage in the beam. This explains the reason why the control beams stiffness, until 25 kN
load, is a little bit higher than those of the retrofitted concrete beams.
As shown in the figure, the stiffness of all beams at small load is almost the same.
From a load around 35 kN cracking stage the stiffness of the control beam decreases
notably due to cracking. The decrease in stiffness is smaller for the retrofitted beams since the
CFRP prevents cracks to develop and widen.
The more the CFRP plates the stiffer the beam. This is because the more CFRP
reinforcement area you have the greater the tensile resisting force is, fact which allows the
beam to reach higher deflections and cracking loads.
The loading scheme has also an influence on the ultimate load failure. We can see a
significant increase in the value of beam B-01 compared to B-03. This can be explained by
the fact that it takes a bigger force to produce the same flexural moment as in B-03. On the
other hand B-02 and B-04 exhibit the same ultimate load at failure even though they have
different loading schemes.
One conclusion that can be made regarding the overall behavior response is that for
the same causes and in the same testing conditions, similar results are obtained which imply
similar behaviors.

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5.2.

Moment- curvature relationship (deformation behavior )

In this discussion section of the experimental results, the analysis is based on the
following variables: the flexural moment of the tested beam, which depends on the loading
scheme of the beam and on the force load applied, and the curvature values obtained by
knowing the top strain on the compressive concrete face and the bottom strain on the tension
face of the CFRP laminates.
The graphics depict the behavior of the retrofitted beams subjected to flexural
loading the data being displayed until failure occurs.

5.2.1. Retrofitted beam B-01

Figure 42. Deformation behavior of B-01 strenghtened beam.

The analysis of the moment-curvature relationship points out that the FRP reinforced
beam fails at Mu = 66,5 kNm, a 60 % increase in flexural capacity compared to that of the
control beam.
It can be pointed out that the response of beam B-01 doesnt show an important
difference between the rotational capability during the test. All though a slighter increase in
curvature variation is observed after the 50 kNm moment value has passed.
The maximum curvature value measured just before failure occurred, is 0,015 rad/mm.

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5.2.2. Retrofitted beam B-02

Figure 43. Deformation behavior of B-02 strengthened beam.

Applying two CFRP laminates instead on only one increases the ultimate moment load
to Mu = 73,4 kNm, almost 10 % increase over the response of beam B-01 and over 77%
increase over the response of the control beam C-01.
We can notice that the response of beam B-02 looks almost bilinear, making a sudden
change in slope around the value of the moment equal to 25 kNm. The beam maintains its
stiffness over the whole test until failure occurs.
The maximum curvature value, measured just before failure occurred, is 0,011 rad/mm.

5.2.3. Retrofitted beam B-03


Retrofitted beam, B-03, manifested a similar moment-curvature response to that of
beam B-01. This is due to the fact that they both had applied only one CFRP plate. The slopes
of the graphic are not so well defined like those of B-02.
A slight change in the variation of the curvature can be observed around the value of
0,002 rad/mm. The maximum curvature value, measured just before failure occurred, is 0,015
rad/mm, equal value to that obtained from beam B-01 data.

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The ultimate moment, reached by the beam before failure is Mu = 66,9 kNm. This
moment is mostly the same value as for beam B-01m, so the overall increase in strength is
just over 61 %.

Figure 44. Deformation behavior of B-03 strengthened beam.

5.2.4. Retrofitted beam B-04

Figure 45. Deformation behavior of B-04 strengthened beam.

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The analysis of the moment-curvature relationship shows that the FRP reinforced
beam fails at Mu = 91,2 kNm, an astonishing 2,2 times increase in flexural capacity compared
to that of the control beam.
The response of Beam B-04 proves an elastic behavior to the value of 23 kNm. After
this point, the curvature starts to vary faster, while the relationship stays more or less linear to
the end.
The maximum curvature value measured just before failure occurred, is 0,017 rad/mm.

5.2.5. Overall comparative view of the tested beams


The moment-curvature curve is more critical and provides better evidence of structural
rigidity than the load-deflection behavior. Admittedly, the moment-curvature and loaddeflection diagrams are related, but the effect of slippage between the CFRP laminate and the
concrete is better reflected in the former than in the latter (Figure 46).

Figure 46. Comparison in terms of moment-curvature relationships between CFRP strengthened beams.

As we can observe, at the beginning of the test beam B-01 doesnt poses the same
stiffness as the other beams, due to the fact that it had been preloaded slightly more. Anyway
the values of the moment-curvature relationship for each beam, reach the same point, around
30 knNm. After this value we notice the following fact: the beams that had attached only one
laminate (B-01 and B-03) diverge from the response behavior of the beams which had two
CFRP laminates attached. The results of this analysis are written down in Table 11.

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Table 11. Comparison of structural response of beams.

Beam

Mu (kNm)

exp (%)

B-01
B-02
B-03
B-04
C-01

66,5
73,4
66,9
91,2
41,4

60
77
61
220
-

u
(rad/mm)
0,015
0,011
0.015
0.017
-

In terms of ultimate moment capacity, beams B-01 and B-03 have a 60 % increase
over the response of the control beam. When failure by plate debonding occurred, they both
have the same curvature, 0,015 rad/mm.
In the case of the beams retrofitted with two plates, there is a different story. Beam
B-04 had an ultimate moment load 2,2 times greater than that of the control beam while B-02
had a value of only 0,77 greater. This can be explained by the fact that the type of failure
which occurred in beam B-02 was of a different kind. Because of the loading scheme used,
important the cracks developed in the shear region, causing the beam to fail by concrete cover
separation.
It can be noticed that the beams which had double the area of FRP reinforcement, had
a bigger increase in the maximum load capacity than that of the single-plated beams 37%.
All though, in terms of curvature, the difference is just over 10 %.

5.3.

Interface stress distribution

The examination of the fracture surfaces of the poststrengthened beams raised the
possibility that the debonding failure was caused by differential displacements in crack tips.
The development of a crack in the concrete substrate might produce high strain concentration
points in the FRP, inducing the tensile or shear failure of the reinforcement plate, or might
initiate a local debonding, which then progresses alongside the beam.
After failure of the tested beams, observations were made concerning the remained
patterns on the face of the CFRP strips that was in contact with the epoxide adhesive. As
shown in Figure 47, for the beams where the debonding started in the middle, initiated by
flexural cracks, there is a pattern that tells about the way the interfacial stress was transferred
during cracking of the beam.

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Figure 47. Debonding patterns on the middle of the CFRP strips, after failure.

On the other hand, after the FRP started to debond from the mid-span of the beam, the
ends of the plate do not show any patterns, sign that they were pulled suddenly off by the
energy of the failure (Figure 48).

Figure 48. Debonding patterns on the end of the CFRP strips, after failure.

In the unstrengthened beam, the stress in steel bars increases until the steel reaches its
yield point. Thereafter, a large portion of any extra stress is absorbed by large deformations in
the steel, which lowers the increase of concrete compressive strain. In strengthened beams,
tensile stresses are shared between the steel bars and the strengthening plates, so the stresses

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carried by the steel bars will be less and may not reach the yield strength of steel. Therefore,
concrete strains in the strengthened beams are higher than those in the control beam at the
same load.
The next figures show the experimental strain profiles for the bottom CFRP strip(s), in
the high-moment region and at the plates end, for the tested beams, from no load to failure.
The graphics are computed for only one half of the beam and were obtained by strain gauges
placed on the bottom FRP face, on top of the cracks induced by the preloading.
The comparison is good for the lowest load, while at levels closer to the maximum
load the experimental behavior becomes more irregular, probably due to development of
cracking, that the linear model does not simulate.
The CFRP strain behavior is similar for all of the beams, and differences between
stiffness and strength are similar to those observed in the load-deflection response.

5.3.1. Retrofitted beam B-01

Figure 49. Experimental CFRP strain profile of the B-01 beam.

The strain profile for the B-01 beam indicates that the final strain at a force equal to
110,9 kN is just over 5500 . The maximum value is recorded, as expected, in the middle
point of the beam.

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The strain grows constant until a value of the force of 80 kN. After this point the strain
increase is bigger.
Near the point load we can see a raise, and then a sudden drop until the plates end,
where the stress is at minimum. When the loads get bigger, the strain in this area goes up as
well.

5.3.2. Retrofitted beam B-02

Figure 50. Experimental CFRP strain profile of the B-02 beam.

The strain profile for the B-02 beam shows that the final strain is 3800 . The
maximum value is registered, not as expected, at 100 mm to the right of the point load. The
value is really low, bearing in mind that only 27% of the CFRPs capacity is used.
This facts can be explained because of the important shear deformations which
occurred in that area, causing the failure to happen in the concrete cover area, towards the end
of the beam.
This could be prevented by the use of an additional anchorage system applied at the
beams end, so to counteract premature failures by peeling-off.

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5.3.3. Retrofitted beam B-03

Figure 51. Experimental CFRP strain profile of the B-03 beam.

As with the case of beam B-01, the biggest tensile strain, registered on the FRP plate is
at the middle of the span. An approx. 5200 is noted. Near the point load we can see a raise,
and then a sudden drop until the plates end, where the stress is at minimum.
Until 60 kN of force, the growth is slower and then it starts to increase until the failure.
5.3.4. Retrofitted beam B-04

Figure 52. Experimental CFRP strain profile of the B-04 beam.

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Like in previous cases, the maximum registered tensile strain is at the mid-span of the
beam, registering a value of approx. 5900 . In addition, there is a slight raise in the stress
near the point of load.
After the constant moment area, the stress starts to decline towards the end of the plate.
As the load gets higher, the stresses there increase also.

5.3.5. Overall comparative view of the tested beams


The experimental ultimate moment and the corresponding CFRP strains measured at
the bottom strips in the pure bending zone are given in Table 12. This table also presents the
CFRP utilization ratios exp uFRP in the bottom CFRP sheets and laminates at debonding
failure, where u,FRP represents the ultimate tensile strain of the FRP.
The stress values, in Table 122, were determined multiplying the experimental strains,
measured by strain gauges at mid-span, by the nominal Youngs modulus of the fibers. The
stress values show that the high strength of the external reinforcement can be fully utilized
only when failure is not due to concrete or to delamination, but to FRP failure.
Table 12. Comparison between FRP strain values.

Beam
B-01
B-02
B-03
B-04

Loading
scheme
I
I
II
II

Mu (kNm)
66,5
73,4
66,9
91,2

AFRP
(mm2)
70
140
70
140

u,FRP
(m)
5527
3800
5178
5858

u,FRP
(MPa)
873
600
818
926

FRP ratio
(%)
40
27
37
42

Another thing that can be observed from the values written in the table is that the
average strain was between 5000 and 6000 , sign that could indicate that the ultimate
tensile strength developed in the CFRP plates is independent of the area of composite
reinforcement.
Beam B-02 developed a lower strain because of the different type of failure, discussed
before (concrete cover separation).
The average FRP utilization ratio was 40%. This could mean that further improvement
can be made in the design of the retrofitting system, by including anchorages at the beams
ends in order to prevent premature failures by delamination.

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5.4.

Displacement analysis

A short analysis of the deflection measured on the tested beams is made in the next
pages. The graphical analysis is made from a different point of view than before: examining
the deflection of the beam along its length, at different force loads.

Figure 53. Displacement variation at different loads for beam C-01.

Figure 54. Displacement variation at different loads for beam B-01.

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Figure 55. Displacement variation at different loads for beam B-02.

Figure 56. Displacement variation at different loads for beam B-03.

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Figure 57. Displacement variation at different loads for beam B-04.

As the load increases for the control beam, the displacements are bigger for the same
amount of load increase.
Comparing the previous graphics we notice that the retrofitted beams develop lower
displacements for higher force loads than the control beam.
The maximum values registered are between 20 and 30 mm.

5.5.

Failure modes and crack patterns

All beams experienced a brittle failure mechanism, the only type of failure being
characterized by the loss of composite action my plate debonding. plate . This failure was due
to high shear stress occurring at the interface with the CFRP plates. The properties of the
adhesive are probably important in relation to the debonding failure. A lower stiffness and
higher fracture energy will probably weaken the tendency of debonding.
The types of beam failure are summarized in
For specimens B-01, B-03 and B-04 the debonding had initiated in the pure bending
region, and then propagated towards one of the supports. The debonding plane occurred a few

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mm inside the thin concrete cover and in some places along the interface in the adjacent
adhesive layer.
For B-02 debonding occurred earlier than for the other retrofitted beams. The main
reason leading to this is the higher shear stress concentration, near the plates ends. The
debonding plane was observed inside the concrete cover along the steel reinforcement, as we
will show later.
Maintaining composite action of the strengthened beam is essential to the satisfactory
performance of the plate-bonded beams, so adequate anchorage of the CFRP plate at the ends
and at other critical sections of the beams are essential prerequisites to maintain this
composite action up to failure.
Table 133. No adhesion failures took place at the bonded interfaces. Plate detachment,
when it occurred, resulted typically in a layer of adhesive and cement paste still being
attached to the FRP surface. Failure modes fell broadly into two groups, those that initiated
within the constant moment zone (Figure 58) and those that seemed to occur within the shear
span of the beams (Figure 59). The mode of failure was found to be dependent on the amount
of external FRP reinforcement and on the designed loading scheme.

Figure 58. Mid-span debonding of FRP initiated by a flexural crack.

Figure 59. Delamination caused by excessive shear deformation.

For specimens B-01, B-03 and B-04 the debonding had initiated in the pure bending
region, and then propagated towards one of the supports. The debonding plane occurred a few
mm inside the thin concrete cover and in some places along the interface in the adjacent
adhesive layer.

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For B-02 debonding occurred earlier than for the other retrofitted beams. The main
reason leading to this is the higher shear stress concentration, near the plates ends. The
debonding plane was observed inside the concrete cover along the steel reinforcement, as we
will show later.
Maintaining composite action of the strengthened beam is essential to the satisfactory
performance of the plate-bonded beams, so adequate anchorage of the CFRP plate at the ends
and at other critical sections of the beams are essential prerequisites to maintain this
composite action up to failure.
Table 13. Failure characteristics for each beam.

Beam

Loading
scheme

No. of
CFRP
plates

Mu
(kNm)

Type of
cracks

B-01

66,5

B-02

73,4

F-S

B-03

II

66,9

B-04

II

91,2

F-S

C-01

41,4

General
failure type
Plate
debonding
Plate
debonding
Plate
debonding
Plate
debonding
Steelyielding

Specific failure type


Intermediate crack interfacial
debonding
Concrete cover separation
Intermediate crack interfacial
debonding
Intermediate crack interfacial
debonding
-

The crack propagation and the final crack patterns of the reinforced beams are greatly
different from that of the control beam. The control beam had few flexural cracks with large
width, and the retrofitted beam had many flexural cracks with smaller width. This indicates
that the propagation of cracks was confined by the CFRP laminates. In addition, the cracks in
B-02 and B-04 were fewer and had smaller width than in the other retrofitted beams.
The specimens strengthened with two CFRPs (B-02, B-04) were characterized by the
occurrence of shear and flexural cracks before debonding. However, the specimens
strengthened with a single CFRP strip were characterized by the occurrence of only flexural
cracks before debonding.
In the next pages, through the use of photography, the failure modes and crack patterns
are described for each of the tested beams.

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Figure 60. Schematic representation of a crack pattern development.

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5.5.1. Control beam C-01

Figure 62. Flexural cracks developed in the control beam.

Figure 61. Cracked bottom face of the control


beam.

The control beam C-01, developed only flexural cracks during the test. The failure
mode was by yielding of the tensile steel reinforcing.

5.5.2. Retrofitted beam B-01

Figure 64. Interfacial debonding. Failure in the concrete


layer. Close-up of the mid-span bottom face of the beam.

Figure 63. Detail of the bottom surface after failure.

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For the first retrofitted beam, B-01, the failure by intermediate crack interfacial
debonding was initiated by a flexural crack from the constant-moment region. In the photos
we can see close-ups of the bottom face of the test beam where concrete has been expelled
strongly, near cracks, by the failure.

5.5.3. Control beam B-02

Figure 66. Failure in the concrete cover initiated by


shear deformations towards the beams end.

Figure 65. Tensile rebars exposed by the FRP failure.

Beam B-02 failed by plate debonding through concrete cover separation initiated by
shear deformations near the beams end. The failure was a very brittle. We can notice in
Figure 66 where is the crack that started this mechanism. It is a typical shear fissure in the
concrete, from the point of load toward the beams end.
In Figure 65 the bottom steel bars are exposed by the failure. Some epoxy adhesive is
still attached to the beam.

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5.5.4. Control beam B-03

Figure 68. Debonding of the CFRP laminate.

Figure 67. Detail of the concrete face after failure.

Failure in beam B-03 occurred in the same way as for beam B-01, by intermediate
crack interfacial debonding.
Figure 68 shows the aftermath of the failure: the FRP plate has debonded and the
flexural cracks in the concrete beam start to grow.
In Figure 67 we can see how the superficial concrete cover, where the CFRP strip was
attached, is expelled by the brittle failure mechanism.

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5.5.5. Control beam B-04

Figure 69. Detail of the CFRP plate, after failure. Pieces of


concrete are still attached to it.

Figure 70. Debonding of the FRP laminate. Flexural cracks


in the concrete weaken the interfacial bond between
concrete and the plate

The last beam that has been tested failed like previous ones, by means of plate
debonding caused by important flexural deformations.
In Figure 70 the bottom face of the beam is exposed after the failure. One end of the
FRP plate is still attached. Flexural cracks that are present determined the way the composite
system failed.
In Figure 69 we can see that pieces of the superficial concrete layer are still attached to
the FRP laminate through the help of the adhesive.

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CHAPTER VI

Conclusions and future lines of investigation

6.1.

Conclusions

All though the use of FRP strengthening systems is a relatively new solution for the
retrofitting of reinforced concrete elements, there is an important number of studies that try to
cover almost every aspect regarding the use, characteristics and response behavior of this
systems.
From literature review, we can notice that researchers can be classified as following:
-

The ones that recognize excessively the efficiency of FRP systems and try to
establish it as an universal solution for the strengthening of concrete structures.

The ones who adopt a more realistic approach, recognizing the true advantages of
the FRP systems but at the same time showing that, certainly in some cases, the
use of such materials has disadvantages. Because of this they recommend further
studies which can research critical issues that diminish the efficiency of composite
materials (surface adhesion, durability, etc.)

Starting from the scientific results obtained in other research papers, we tried to study
the efficiency of FRP systems in strengthening RC members. The main subject of this paper is
the reinforcing of concrete beams with CFRP laminates with the objective of studying the
response behavior of elements under flexural load. The specific objectives of this study are:
load-displacement analysis; deformation behavior; interface stress distribution; displacement
analysis; failure modes and crack patterns.
In order to attain these goals, we tested five reinforced concrete beams, differently
prepared: one control beam, two beams with one CFRP laminate attached and another two
with a pair of the same CFRP laminate.
The analysis focused mainly on the ultimate behavior and allowed assessing the
strength gains provided by FRP system. Based on the specific findings of this research, the
following conclusions may be drawn:

The externally bonded CFRPs have increased the stiffness and maximum load
of the beams.

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Initial loading of a strengthened beam to a level of 50% of the corresponding


capacity of an unstrengthened beam had very little influence on the ultimate
load capacity.

The increase in strength, however, is at a sacrifice of ductility. The debonding


of the CFRP led to a sudden drop in load with the response of the beams
reverting back to that of the control specimens.

For every type of plate-bonded beam, there is a limiting point beyond which no
further increase in beam strength can be obtained. The ultimate load-carrying
capacities of plated beams depend largely on the characteristics of the cover
concrete.

The results match closely the theoretical formulations from the American and
European design codes.

The crack width and the deflection have decreased for the strengthened beams.

The efficiency of the strengthening by CFRP in flexure varied depending on


the number of CFRP plates attached.

The results showed that the main failure mode was plate debonding which
reduces the efficiency of retrofitting.

Bonding a CFRP plate as external reinforcement on the tension face of beams


without consideration of the end-anchorage, stresses resulted in significant
deficiency in deflection and rotational capability. Failure of the strengthened
beam occurred in a brittle manner, with explosive debonding of the CFRP
laminate. With such a mode of failure, the CFRP plated beam without any
external anchorage was unable to make use of the full potential of the CFRP
plate, which was clearly underused.

The strains registered in the CFRP laminates indicated that the capacity of the
composite system was not fully utilized (only 40%).

The place of failure in beams, reinforced with two laminates, was in the cover
concrete close to the point loads within the shear span of the beams. However,
with a distance increase between the forces, the locus of failure moved toward
the plate ends, thus shear and normal (peel) stresses at the plate ends increase.

Previous experiments by Garcez et al. (2004) have pointed out that the use of welldesigned additional anchorage straps delay premature failures by peeling off and might
increase the load capacity and ductility of a poststrengthened beam, because they provide
better anchorage and hinder the development of inclined cracks in the shear span.

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No construction or repair method involving structural analysis and deterioration


mechanisms can be said to be completely understood, including all of those currently in
everyday use. However, FRP composite plate bonding has been sufficiently researched to
enable the techniques to be applied confidently on site, providing care is taken.
The method of FRP composite plate bonding is here to stay and is already being
actively marketed. The number of applications worldwide is set to grow very fast. The
challenge is to ensure that these applications take full account of the current state of
knowledge. The benefits must not be put at risk by inappropriate or badly detailed
applications undertaken by the inexperienced.

6.2.

Future lines of investigation

Since debonding is such an important phenomenon when retrofitting with CFRP is


concerned, more attention should be given to the behavior of the concrete-CFRP bond. More
experimental data on the micro-level is needed to provide the information needed for further
developing the material model used for the interface. Another interesting area when it comes
to developing the model is usage of the extended finite element method (XFEM) to represent
the cracks in the concrete.
A parametric study in this work took into consideration the effect of varying the
stiffness properties and geometry of the CFRP on the type of failure and stress concentrations.
It would also be interesting to study the effect of beam stiffness properties and geometry on
the behavior of a beam, stress concentrations and type of failure.
This study showed that there is a stress concentration at the end of the plate causing
debonding failure. It would be interesting to study different approaches to avoid this
phenomenon. Examples are tapering at end of plate and external CFRP wrapping (stirrup) for
reducing the stress concentration at the end of the plate.
Previous experimental programmes have shown that the CFRP plate retrofitting
system enhances the capacity of deficient concrete beams. There are, however, many
environmental factors involved during the life span of a retrofitted structure that needs more
attention. They include seasonal temperature variation, degradation of material properties,
creep and so on. The durability of CFRP reinforced beams under these conditions should be
investigated.
From a technical standpoint, the need for specialized standards and codes for FRP
materials arises from their substantially different mechanical and physical properties in
comparison with conventional construction materials. As the discussions point out, the
development of standards and codes for the use of FRP reinforcement with concrete structures
is ongoing and is expected to continue in the next several years. Much of this activity is

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motivated by immediate, obvious needs for improved, economical materials for the repair and
retrofit of structures that are obsolete, degraded, or located in seismic zones. In other cases
such as new construction, where the need for new materials is not always clear from a shortterm economic standpoint, standards and codes will facilitate the use of FRP materials so that
additional long-term experience can be accrued. This experience may eventually lead to the
realization of promised life-cycle cost benefits of FRP materials by designers and owners of
structures.
One of the most mature applications of FRP in concrete infrastructure is its use for
structural strengthening and repair. This is largely carried out through external FRP
applications and has resulted in a number of formal guidelines, including ACI 440.2R (ACI
Committee 440 2002). External FRP was interpreted to include bonded, mechanically
anchored, post-tensioned, and near-surface-mounted FRP systems. Barriers to broader use
again focus on the lack of long-term performance data and the critical identified research
priority is to develop an understanding of time-related effects for external FRP applications.
Long-term performance relating to the effects of fatigue, creep, and relaxation, in
addition to degradation of the resin and adhesive (or bond line) systems, are specifically
identified as critical research needs. Another key area identified as requiring research focus is
the use of FRP materials for seismic retrofit applications. There is a consensus that there are
significant gaps in this area, including seismic retrofit of connection regions, concrete, and
masonry walls. Behavior of bonded FRP under conditions of large stress and/or deformation
reversals as induced by seismic loading is also identified as requiring greater research
attention.

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ANNEX

Technical Glossary
(Source: fib 2001)

Adherent A body held to another body by an adhesive.


Adhesive Substance applied to mating surfaces to bond them together by bonding. An
adhesive can be in liquid, film or paste form.
AFRP Aramid Fiber Reinforced Polymer.
AR-Glass Stands for alkali-resistant glass and refers to zirconia glass.
Aramid High-strength, high-stiffness aromatic polyamide fibers.
Bi-directional A strip or fabric with fibers oriented in two directions in the same plane.
Binder A component of an adhesive that is primarily responsible for the adhesive forces
that hold two bodies together.
Bond See adhesive.
Buckling A failure mode usually characterized by fiber deflection rather than breaking
because of compressive action.
Carbon Fiber Fiber produced by high temperature treatment of an organic precursor fiber
based on PAN (polyacrylonitrile) rayon or pitch in an inert atmosphere at temperatures above
980C. Fibers can be graphitized by removing still more of the non-carbon atoms by heat
treating above 1650C.
CFRP - Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer.
Cure To change the molecular structure and physical properties of a thermosetting resin by
chemical reaction via heat and catalysts or in combination, with or without pressure.
Debonding Local failure in the bond zone between concrete and the externally bonded
reinforcement.
Delamination Separation of layers in a laminate because of the failure of the adhesive,
either in the adhesive itself or at the interface between the adhesive and the adherent.
E-Glass Stands for electrical glass and refers to alumino-borosilicate glass most often
used in conventional polymer matrix composites.

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Epoxide Compound containing a three-member ring consisting of two carbon atoms and
one oxygen atom.
Epoxy Resin A polymer resin characterized by epoxide molecule groups.
Fabric, Non-woven A material formed from fibers or yarns without interlacing.
Fabric, Woven A material constructed of interlaced yarns, fibers or filaments.
Fiber A general term used to refer to filamentary materials. Fiber is often used
synonymously with filament.
Filaments Individual fibers of indefinite length used in tows, yarns or rovings.
Filler A relatively non-adhesive substance added to an adhesive to improve its working
properties, permanence, strength or other qualities.
FRP - Fiber Reinforced Polymer.
GFRP - Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer.
Glass Fiber Reinforcing fiber made by drawing molten glass through brushings. The
predominant reinforcement for polymer matrix composites. Known for its good strength,
processability and low cost.
Glass Transition Temperature (Tg) Approximate temperature above which increased
molecular mobility causes a material to become rubbery rather than brittle. The measured
value of Tg can vary, depending on the test method.
Glue See adhesive.
Hand Lay-up A fabrication method in which reinforcement layers are placed in a mould or
on a structure by hand, then cured to the formed shape.
Hardener Substance that reacts with the resin to promote or control curing action by taking
part in it. Also a substance added to control the degree of hardness of the resin.
Impregnate To saturate the voids of a reinforcement with a resin manually or with a
machine.
Interlaminar shear shear force acting at the interface between adjacent layers (laminae) of
a laminate.
Laminate To unite layers of material with an adhesive. Also, a product made by bonding
together two or more layers of materials.
Lay-up Placement of layers of reinforcement in a mould.

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Matrix Binder material in which reinforcing fiber is embedded. Usually a polymer but may
also be metal or a ceramic.
Open time The time interval between the spreading of the adhesive on the adherent and the
completion of the assembly of the parts for bonding.
PAN (polyacrylonitrile) Used as a base material or precursor in the manufacture of certain
carbon fibers.
Pitch A high molecular weight material that is a residue from the destructive distillation of
coal and petroleum products. Pitches are used as base materials for the manufacture of certain
high-modulus carbon fibers.
Polyester Unsaturated polyesters are manufactured by reacting glycols with either dibasic
acids or anhydrides. Polyesters are normally cured at room temperature with a monomer such
as styrene.
Polymer Large molecule formed by combining many smaller molecules or monomers in a
regular pattern.
Polymerisation Chemical reaction that links monomers together to form polymers.
Post-cure An additional elevated temperature exposure to improve mechanical properties.
Pot life Length of time in which a catalysed thermosetting resin retains sufficiently low
viscosity for processing.
Prepreg Resin-impregnated fabric or filaments in flat form that can be stored at very low
temperature for later use in moulds or hand lay-up. The resin is often partially cured to a tackfree state.
Primer A coating applied to a surface prior to the application of an adhesive to improve the
performance of the bond. The coating can be a low viscosity fluid that is typically a 10%
solution of the adhesive in an organic solvent, which can wet out the adherent surface to leave
a coating over which the adhesive can readily flow.
Pultrusion An automated, continuous process for manufacturing composite rods and
structural shapes having a constant cross section. Roving and/or tows are saturated with resin
and continuously pulled through a heated die, where the part is formed and cured. The cured
part is then cut to length. For some applications fabrics can be included into the profiles.
Putty repair mortar.
Reinforcement Key element added to matrix to provide the required properties. Ranges
from short and continuous fibers through complex textile forms.

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Resin Polymer with indefinite and often high molecular weight and a softening or melting
range that exhibits a tendency to flow when subjected to stress. As composite matrices, resins
bind together reinforcement fibers.
Roving A collection of bundles of continuous filaments either as untwisted strands or as
twisted yarns.
Sheet See fabric, non-woven.
Shelf Life Length of time in which a material can be stored and continue to meet the
specifications requirements, remaining suitable for its intended use.
Stress Corrosion Corrosion due to the effect of a corrosive environment, which is activated
in the presence of stress.
Stress Rupture The reduction of tensile strength due to sustained loading.
Strip Pre-manufactured forms made of fibers and resin. Strips are normally pultruded.
Thermoplastic A composite matrix capable of being repeatedly softened by an increase of
temperature and hardened by cooling.
Thermoset Composite matrix cured by heat and pressure or with a catalyst into an infusible
and insoluble material. Once cured a thermoset cannot be returned to the uncured state.
Thixotropy A property of adhesive systems to thin upon isothermal agitation and to thicken
upon subsequent rest. Thixotropic materials have a high static shear strength and low dynamic
shear strength at the same time. They lose their viscosity under stress.
Tow An untwisted bundle of continuous filaments, usually designated by a number
followed by K, indicating multiplication by 1000. For example, 12 K tow has 12000 filaments.
Unidirectional A strip or fabric with all fibers oriented in the same direction.
Vinyl ester A class of thermosetting resins containing esters of acrylic and/or methacrylic
acids, many of which have been made from epoxy resin. Cure is accomplished, as with
unsaturated polyesters, by co-polymerisation with other vinyl monomers, such as styrene.
Viscosity Tendency of a material to resist flow. As temperature increases, the viscosity of
most materials decreases.
Warp Yarns running lengthwise and perpendicular to the narrow edge of woven fabric.
Weft Yarns running perpendicular to the warp in a woven fabric.
Wet Lay-up Fabrication step involving application of a resin to dry reinforcement.

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