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Construction and Building Materials 24 (2010) 22852293

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Construction and Building Materials

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/conbuildmat

Deection behavior of concrete beams reinforced with PVA micro-bers

Sameer Hamoush a, Taher Abu-Lebdeh a,*, Toney Cummins b
a b

Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, NC 27411, United States Concrete and Materials Division, US Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg, MS, United States

a r t i c l e

i n f o

a b s t r a c t
This paper presents experimental and theoretical investigations on the stressstrain and loaddeection behavior of Poly Vinyl Alcohol (PVA) microber reinforced concrete composites. The actual stressstrain relationships in both compression and tension were established by performing a series of compression and tension tests on PVA micro-bers reinforced concrete specimens. The proposed deection model was developed by using the well known momentcurvature and conjugate beam methods. Comparisons with the experimental data indicated that the model can be efciently used to predict the loaddeection behavior of the microber reinforced concrete beams. Flexural results indicated that the addition of PVA micro-bers signicantly increases toughness and ductility. 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Article history: Received 27 October 2009 Received in revised form 6 March 2010 Accepted 1 April 2010 Available online 27 April 2010 Keywords: Deection Momentcurvature Stressstrain Micro-bers reinforced concrete Flexural strength Strain-softening Ductility Toughness index Loaddeection curve

1. Introduction Concrete is a brittle material that has low tensile strength and low strain capacity. In fact, many deterioration and failures in the concrete structures are due to the brittle nature of this material. However, these disadvantages may be avoided by adding micro-bers to the plain concrete. Incorporating micro-bers provides a practical means of enhancing the ductility of concrete materials. The addition of bers to a brittle concrete matrix substantially improves its tensile strength and reduces the tendency of cracking, which leads to enhanced ductility and toughness. Further, adding bers to plain concrete greatly enhance its post-peak tension-softening behavior under tensile load. The bers cross the paths of potential cracks and transmit stress between the bers and the matrix through the interfacial bond. Signicant research efforts have gone into attempts to improve the ductility of concrete materials. Li and Zhang [1] conducted a study on engineered cementitious composite (ECC), a special type of high performance ber reinforced concrete composites (HPFRCC) with extreme tensile ductility. The ultimate tensile strain capacity of the ECC material could reach 35% (which is several hundred times that of normal concrete). Li and Zhang [1] presented experimental and theoretical analyses on monotonic and fatigue perfor* Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 336 334 7737; fax: +1 336 334 7126. E-mail address: taher@ncat.edu (T. Abu-Lebdeh). 0950-0618/$ - see front matter 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2010.04.027

mance of ECC in pavement overlay system. They observed that both the load carrying ability and deformability of ECC overlay were signicantly higher than that of plain concrete overlaid systems. The ber reinforced ECC signicantly decreased the relative micro-cracking failure in pavement overlay systems and increased the fatigue life of the pavement structure under trafc type loading. Yang and Li [2] examined the rate dependence in engineered cementitious composites (ECC) and uncovered the source of the rate dependence. Their results show strong rate dependence in PVAECC tensile properties, and indicated that both rst cracking strength and ultimate tensile strength increase with increasing strain rate. Plain concrete lacks the ability to carry load in the post-peak regime. Addition of microber to plain concrete increases ductility which leads to a signicant increase in the materials toughness or consuming energy. This is due to the fact that after the brittle cement matrix fractures, additional energy must be consumed to pull the bers out of the fractured paste for the crack to continue to open. This additional energy consumption enhances toughness. Kim et al. [3] investigated the post-peak behavior of reinforced concrete beams and concluded that concrete beams exhibit a softening response that is gradually decreases with increasing displacements due to a strain softening. Read and Hegemier [4] examine the effects of strain-softening on the stress wave propagation in softening material. They found that, for incrementally linear models, strain-softening occurs when the matrix of tangent


S. Hamoush et al. / Construction and Building Materials 24 (2010) 22852293 Table 1 Properties of PVA structural micro-bers. Material Conguration Color Specic gravity Lengths Tensile strengths Chemical stability Absorption Polyvinyl alcohol Chopped ber, resin-bundled chopped monolament ber White or yellowish white 1.3 1 =4 in. (6 mm), 1/3 in. (8 mm), in. (12 mm), 3=4 in. (18 mm) 160,000 psi (1100 MPa) 203,000 psi (1400 MPa) Non-reactive Minimal

stiffness ceases to positive-denite. Yin and Zhai [5] concluded that softening curves can be obtained from the entire load-deformation curves in a tensile loading test, and a relation curve for the softening can be formed in terms of the broadness of the crack and the applied stress. Iyengar et al. [6] presented a method for computing the ultimate moment of reinforced concrete beam sections with circular spiral binder connements in compression. Vebo and Ghali [7] used analytical methods to derive the momentcurvature relationship for slab elements reinforced with top and bottom steel with load ranges up to ultimate strength. The present study performs an experimental program and theoretical analysis on the behavior of concrete reinforced with PVA micro-bers. The purpose of the testing program is to establish stressstrain and momentcurvature behavior and to establish a method to evaluate the deection of concrete beams reinforced with micro-bers. Twelve concrete cylinders and twelve concrete discs were tested in compression and tension, respectively. Eight microber reinforced concrete beams, two of which were reinforced with steel rebars, were tested in four points bending. A numerical code was also created to determine the inelastic moment curvature. The established momentcurvature plots were used to evaluate the deection a long a beam using a new mathematical method. Properties of micro-bers reinforced concrete element such as compressive strength, exural strength, load deection, rst crack toughness, strain-softening behavior, and ductility were determined. 2. Experimental investigation 2.1. Description of the experimental program To provide a better understanding of the performance of concrete reinforced with micro-bers, this research performs an experimental program with focus on the deection and stress strain behavior of the material. The specimens were mixed, cured, and tested in accordance with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards. A total of twelve 150300 mm (6 in. 12 in.) cylinders and twelve 38 150 mm (1.5 in. 6 in.) discs were tested in compression and tension, respectively. Eight microber reinforced concrete beams were tested in four points bending for exural and deection. Six beams had a dimension of 102 102 356 mm (4 in. 4 in. 14 in.) and reinforced with PVA micro-bers only, and two beams 133 140 1830 mm (51=4 in. 5 in. 72 in.) were reinforced with 2U12 and 2U16 steel rebar in addition to micro-bers. The same mix design was used for all specimens (beams, compression and tension specimens). Specimens were tested in closed-loop controlled MTS testing machine, with a 245-kN (55-kip) load cell, and displacement rate of 0.033 mm/min (0.0013 in/min). The two larger beams (133 140 1830 mm) were tested on MTS testing machine, with a 110-kip (489-kN) load cell and a linear variable displacement transducer (LVDT) monitored loading head. The loading system and LVDT were connected in a closed-loop manner. Properties such as compressive strength, static modulus, exural strength, momentcurvature, loaddeection behavior, rst crack toughness, post-crack behavior, strain-softening behavior, and ductility were determined. 2.2. Materials Specimens for compression, tension, and exural tests were made from concrete with micro-bers, concretelimestone aggregate, concretestaylite aggregate and concretegranite aggregate combinations. For the specimens that were made from concrete with micro-bers, 3% of type III cement was substituted for the

micro-bers. The concrete mix design consists of w/c ratio = 0.45 and cement-course aggregate-ne aggregate ratio of 1:2:3. Specimens were cured in a lime saturated water tank for 28 days at room temperature (23 2 C) and relative humidity of 100%. Poly Vinyl Alcohol micro-bers (Table 1) were used in this investigation. 2.3. Specimens As mentioned above, displacement-controlled tests with a displacement rate of 0.033 mm/min (0.0013 in./min) were administered for all compression, tension and exural tests. Two MTS strain gauges with 102 mm (4 in.) gage length were attached to each side of the concrete compression cylinders, and four strain gages with 38 mm (1.5 in.) gage length were attached to the tension disc specimens (two on each side). For the exural test specimens, two Linear Voltage Displacements Transducers (LVDT) were used in addition to the strain gauges that were placed at the top-center (between the load heads) and at the bottom-center of the beam as shown in Fig. 1a and b. High early strength adhesive (LOC-TITE) was applied to attach strain gauges to the concrete specimens. 3. Analytical investigation In order to analyze a reinforced concrete beam up to the failure load, it is necessary to develop a realistic relationship between moment and curvature. In the present study, a new model is introduced to develop the momentcurvature relationship and to predict the deection at any point along a beam element. This model is based on the stressstrain relationships generated for the specimens prescribed earlier. It uses a theoretical stressstrain relationship, as highlighted by Desayi and Krishman [8] and modied by the authors to include the effect of PVA micro-bers. The theoretical stressstrain equations were implemented based on the testing results of this research. Further, the momentcurvature relationship was used to characterize the non-linearity of the concrete material in the strainsoftening region. Strain-softening is considered to occur just before the ultimate failure and here where the effect of adding micro-bers becomes even more important. This is because micro-bers inuence the toughness of concrete in the post-peak region after the concrete has failed and the bers are the only mechanism left to consume additional energy. In the compression zone, the addition of micro-bers increases the ductility in the deformation phase after reaching the maximum stress, while in the tensile zone, the micro-bers bridge opening cracks and thus inuences the post-crack behavior. 3.1. Mathematical model The proposed Eqs. (1)(5) which govern the stressstrain behavior of micro-bers reinforced concrete element are function

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(a) Concrete beams reinforced with microfibers

(b) Concrete beams reinforced with microfibers plus steel rebars

Fig. 1. Flexural beam specimens. (a) Concrete beams reinforced with micro-bers. (b) Concrete beams reinforced with micro-bers plus steel rebars.

of the concrete peak stress, strains at peak stress, and the ultimate strain. The model was derived using a quadratic and linear regression for the average stressstrain values for the specimens in compression and a linear regression relationship for all tension specimens. In Tension,

r ft ec =e0 ; for 0 < ec < e0   ec e0 ; for e0 < ec < 0:0096 r ft 0:14f t 0:0096 e0

1 2

where ft peak tensile stress; e0 tensile strain at peak stress; and ec is the concrete strain at the point to be considered.

r 0:86f t 0:68f t

ec 0:0096 ; for 0:0096 < ec < etu etu 0:0096

where etu 0:0217 (maximum tensile strain) In Compression,

ec =eo r ; for 0 < ec < eo 1 ec =eo 2   e e r fc0 0:187fc0 c o ; for eo < ec < ecu ecu eo


4 5

where fc0 is the concrete compressive strength, eo strain at peak stress, ecu is the maximum compressive strain, and ec is the concrete strain at a given point. Eqs. (1)(5) were used to determine the concrete compressive and tensile forces. The model enforced force and moment equilibrium at each strain increment through an iterative approach. The ultimate strains of 0.00256 for concrete section reinforced with microber and 0.0041 for concrete reinforced with microber plus steel rebars were chosen. However, the model is capable of adopting higher values for the ultimate strain if desired. A FORTRAN program was written to execute the procedures as shown below. The program uses iterative approach and numerical integration.

1. Select concrete compressive strain in the extreme compression ber and assume neutral axis depth (see strain diagram in Fig. 2). 2. The steel tensile strains (if any) are determined by similar triangles of the strain diagram (Fig. 2). Steel tensile stresses are then determined from the stressstrain relationships of the steel rebars. 3. The tensile forces in the steel rebars (if any) are determined from the steel stress and the area of steel. 4. For the selected strain and neutral axis depth, determine concrete extreme tensile strain from the strain diagram (Fig. 2). The concrete tensile stress is then found from Eqs. (1)(3). Compressive stress is determined from Eqs. (4) and (5). 5. Concrete tensile force is determined by multiplying the tension area of the stress diagram (Fig. 2) by the width of the concretes cross-section. The centroid of the tension area represents the location of the concretes tensile force. Both, the area and its centroid were found using numerical integration. 6. The concrete compressive force is determined by multiplying the area of the compression part of the stress diagram (Fig. 2) by the width of the concretes cross-section. The centroid of the compression area represents the location of the concretes compressive force. 7. If the compressive and tensile forces are not equal, adjust the neutral axis depth and repeat steps 26. It should be noted that the calculations are lengthy and hence, the iterative approach may be used. 8. After the neutral axis depth that satises force equilibrium is found, the internal forces and neutral axis depth are then used to determine the moment (M) and curvature (U) corresponding to the selected strain (step 1). The moment (M) is the sum of the moments of the compressive and tensile forces about the neutral axis, and the curvature is calculated by dividing the selected strain value by its corresponding neutral axis depth (x). 9. Repeat steps 18 for a range of concrete compressive strain, and plot the entire stressstrain and momentcurvature curves.


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Iteration at Initial Strain Capacity of 0.0005

Iteration at Mid Strain Capacity of 0.001

Iteration at Ultimate Strain Capacity of 0.00256

Fig. 2. Iteration at 0.0005, 0.001, and ultimate strain capacity.

For illustration purpose, the strain, stress, and force distributions for concrete strain of 0.0005, 0.001, and at ultimate are shown in Fig. 2. The distributions were then used to develop a momentcurvature relationship for a typical concrete section reinforced by micro-bers and micro-bers plus rebars. Figs. 3 and 4 show the momentcurvature relationship for specimens reinforced with microber and specimens with micro-bers plus steel rebars, respectively. In order to derive a mathematical model to calculate the deection of the beam, a classical method, Conjugate Beam Method, was

adopted and shown in Fig. 5. Calculating the moment at a point on the conjugate beam, the deection (D) may be expressed as:

Di h

n X 00 iyi i1

where Di is the deection at any section along the beam, h is the length of each segment, i is the number of segments and y00 is the i curvature at each section.

S. Hamoush et al. / Construction and Building Materials 24 (2010) 22852293


Fig. 3. Proposed momentcurvature relationship for specimens. Reinforced with micro-bers.

Fig. 6. Average stressstrain of concrete under compression.

Fig. 7. Average stressstrain of concrete under tension. Fig. 4. Proposed momentcurvature relationship for specimens. Reinforced with micro-bers plus steel rebars (2 # 4 $ 2U12; 2 # 5 $ 2U16).

Fig. 5. Conjugate beam method to calculate deection.

4. Experimental results and discussion 4.1. Stressstrain relationship Compression and tension tests yielded results that were used to construct stressstrain curves for all four combinations of the concrete specimens. For each combination, the average of three cylinders in compression and the average of three discs in tension were determined and plotted as shown in Figs. 6 and 7, respectively. The stressstrain variation of plain concrete submitted to axial compression (Fig. 6) shows hardly any strain-softening response as the descending branch after the peak stress is almost vertical. Sud-

den failure occurs when the peak stress is reached in plain concrete due to increase in the brittleness. Further, adding PVA micro-bers to a plain concrete matrix has little effect on the pre-cracking behavior; it substantially enhances the post-cracking response. From the compression stressstrain relationship in Fig. 6, it is evident that specimens made from limestone as course aggregate and micro-bers as reinforcing component exhibited the ability to carry higher strain level, as well as strain-softening behavior beyond their peak stress level. Results of the peak stress (fc) and its corresponding strain (eo), ultimate strain (eu), and Youngs modulus (E) are listed in Table 2. Fig. 7 shows the indirect tensile stress-average strain relationship. The average strain values were determined from the data collected from both sides of the tested discs. Three discs of each combination were tested and the resulted averages are plotted. Results indicated that when concrete is in tension, the stressstrain relationship is linear up to the tensile strength, then dropping abruptly to failure. This indicates that cracks begin to form and even after cracking, the concrete can still resist tensile stresses in parts between adjacent cracks. On the hand, the measured tensile stressstrain relation of the microber reinforced concrete specimens show remarkable strain capacity (over 0.65%) and peak crack-bridging stress of about 3.79 MPa (550 psi). Further, the test results show that the microber reinforced concrete specimens were able to accommodate the highest strain value among all tested specimens. The high strain capacity is attributed to multiple cracking, which is represented by ne cracks perpendicular to the loading axis. However, the distribution of the multiple cracking was not great enough to cause larger strain-hardening. This is

2290 Table 2 Compression test results. Specimen Concrete + limestone Concrete + granite Concrete + staylite Concrete + limestone with micro-bers

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Peak stress(fc) MPa (psi) 52.6 (7650) 40 (5800) 33 (4800) 33 (4800)

Strain at peak stress (eo) 0.0024 0.002 0.0015 0.0021

Ultimate strain (eu) 0.0035 0.002 0.003 0.0075

Modulus of elasticity (E), GPa (psi) 31.6 31.6 24.8 59.9 (4.6 106) (4.6 106) (3.6 106) (8.7 106)

(a) Plain Concrete @ 2500 Res.

(b) PVA Microfiber Concrete @ 3500 Res.

Fig. 8. Microscope photograph of concrete fracture surface. (a) Plain concrete @ 2500 Res. (b) PVA Microber concrete @ 3500 Res.

due to the fact that strong bond of the PVA microber with the cement paste causes the ber to rupture instead of being pulled out. It is desirable to have concrete that exhibits strain-hardening behavior achieved through multiple cracking of the reinforced matrix. However, the strong bond of PVA bers to the cement paste matrix tends to limit the multiple cracking effects and hence leads to lower strain-hardening behavior. To achieve larger strain-hardening, coated PVA ber is needed. Such ber should have the balance between energy dissipation potential (i.e. enough ber bonding so that pullout energy is not trivial) and ber rupture protection (i.e. individual ber load is never greater than the nominal ber strength). This can be controlled through the amount ber coating applied to the surface. 4.2. Modes of failure All specimens that were not reinforced with micro-bers exhibited brittle failure. These failures started with microcracks in the cement-aggregate interface that then propagated as the load increased. The microber reinforced specimens, however, exhibited ductile failure. The initial cracks started in the cement matrix, but they did not propagate as fast as in the case of plain concrete specimens. This is due to the reinforcing microbers ability to limit cracking from its unique high strength bond with the cementitious materials. Microscopic analysis of concrete fracture surface (Fig. 8a) shows that microcracks exist at the aggregate-matrix interface of the plain concrete specimen even before any load has been applied to the concrete. The formation of such cracks is due primarily to the strain and stress concentrations resulting from the incompatibility of the elastic moduli of the aggregate and paste components. On the other hand, the strong bond between the bonded bers and cement paste in the micro-bers reinforced concrete specimen reduces such cracks (Fig. 8b). Fig. 9 shows the ductile failure of the specimens tested in compression and consisting of limestone aggregate and 3% micro-bers. The failure of concrete specimens tested in indirect tension is shown in Fig. 10. It was noticed that the failure in the plain concrete discs was very brittle and the failure plane was clearly visible to the naked eye (Fig. 10a). On the other hand, ductile failure was observed on the

microber reinforce concrete specimens (Fig. 10b). This ductile behavior and hence, the measured high strain capacity is due to the fact that micro-bers stretch more than concrete under loading. The composite system of concrete reinforced with microber is assumed to work as if it were un-reinforced until it reaches its rst crack strength. It is from this point that the reinforcing bers take over and hold the concrete together. Further, the uniform distribution of the micro-bers can increase the ductility of the composite. This is because, if enough micro-bers can be distributed into the cement paste to cross any growing microcrack, the additional energy must be consumed in breaking or pulling the bers, hence, leads to higher failure load and add toughness to the material. 4.3. Flexural behavior of micro-bers reinforced concrete beams The exural tests yielded results that were used to produce loaddeection curves of the concrete beams reinforced with micro-bers and concrete beams reinforced with micro-bers plus steel rebars. The loaddeection curves were plotted as shown in Figs. 1113. The test results show a noticeable increase in the post-crack energy absorption capacity or toughness (Table 3) due

Fig. 9. Failure of microber concrete specimens. Under compression.

S. Hamoush et al. / Construction and Building Materials 24 (2010) 22852293


(a) Plain Concrete Specimen

(b) Microfiber Concrete Specimen

Fig. 10. Failure of concrete specimens under tension. (a) Plain concrete specimen. (b) Microber concrete specimen.

Fig. 11. Loaddeection relationship for beam specimens reinforced with microbers.

Fig. 13. Proposed vs. experimental loaddeection curves. Fig. 12. Proposed loaddeection curve for concrete beams reinforced with microbers.

to the addition of PVA micro-bers. The contribution of the microbers is mostly apparent in the post-cracking response, represented by an increase in post-cracking ductility, due to the work associated with pullout of ber bridging a failure crack. The brittle failure of the plain concrete beams started with small cracks that propagated as the load increased to the maximum load. The micro-bers reinforced specimens, however, exhibited ductile behavior. After reaching the peak load, these specimens did not shear

apart; however, they continued to carry load to complete failure. Tension cracks initially formed on the underside of the beam in the center portion of the span. As load increases, the cracks propagate upward through the cross section, but not as fast as in the plain concrete specimens. As expected, the micro-bers reinforced beams had larger deections than would be anticipated in plain concrete beams. Mid span deections were approximately three times larger than that of plain concrete beams. Further, the exural


S. Hamoush et al. / Construction and Building Materials 24 (2010) 22852293

Table 3 Performance parameters of the microber, steel reinforcement concrete beams. Parameter First cracking strength, MPa (psi) Flexural strength (MOR), MPa (psi) Deection at peak stress, mm (in) Deection at failure, mm (in) Toughness index Beam 1 (2U16 rebars) 19.65 (2850) 31.0 (4500) 18.5 (0.73) 27.2 (1.07) 6.27 Beam 2 (2U12 rebars) 15.58 (2260) 22.51 (3265) 6.4 (0.25) 10.7 (0.42) 5.42

5. Comparison of analytical and experimental results 5.1. Validation of the proposed deection model To validate the proposed model, the material properties of the concrete beam were entered into the FORTRAN code (as described in Section 3.1) to produce the theoretical momentcurvature relationship. After the momentcurvature was plotted, the moment diagram was drawn for each load increments of 2.23 kN (500 lbs). The beam was then divided into segments to calculate the deection at the middle of the beam. The process was repeated until the peak load is reached. The loaddeection relationship was found and compared with the experimental results for the averages of all three microber specimens and all three concrete with limestone specimens as shown in Fig. 12. Also, Fig. 13 shows the comparison between the proposed and experimental loaddeection relationship for the concrete beams reinforced with micro-bers plus rebars. Considering the loaddeection curves; concrete at 3060% of the peak load contains microcracks that are initiated at isolated points where the tensile strain concentrations are the highest. At this load stage, localized cracks are initiated, but they do not propagate. In the upper half of the pre-peak portion of the loaddeection curve, the crack system multiplies and propagates. In this stage, and near the peak load, the progressive failure of concrete is primarily caused by cracks through the mortar, these cracks join bond cracks at the surface of nearby aggregate and form crack zones of internal damage. It is in this upper region where it is believed that micro-bers can contribute to the increase in the strength of the concrete. If enough micro-bers can be distributed into the cement paste to cross any growing microcrack, then additional energy must be consumed in pulling the bers. This energy causes higher failure load and add toughness to the material.

test results show that improvements in other properties such as rst cracking strength and peak load are insignicant. The effect of micro-bers combined with steel reinforcement on the exural behavior of concrete beams was investigated by testing two 133 mm 140 mm 1830 mm (51=4 in. 5 in. 72 in.) beams. The two Microber concrete beams were reinforced with 2U16 and 2U12 (2 # 5 and 2 # 4) rebar and were employed with third-point loading, displacement-controlled test. Tow Linear Voltage Displacements Transducers (LVDTs) mounted on both sides of the center of the beam were used to measure deection. The exural behavior of the reinforced concrete beams are shown in Fig. 13a and b in terms of loadmidpoint deection curves. Examining the curves, signicant ductility can be noted. The ultimate loads reached were 44 kN (9900 Ib) and 32 kN (7200 Ib), respectively. It is clear that the response is linear until the rst crack has formed at approximately 28 kN (6300 Ib) for beam 1, and 22.3 kN (5000 Ib) for beam 2. Classical reinforced concrete theory predicted tensile reinforcement yielding to commence at approximately 34.7 kN (7800 Ib) and 26.3 kN (5900 Ib) respectively, which is consistent with the change in slope of the loaddeection response. The corresponding exural strength is 31.0 Mpa (4500 psi) and 22.51 Mpa (3265 psi) respectively. The rst cracking strength, exural strength (MOR), deection at peak stress, ultimate deection at failure, and toughness index are listed in Table 3. The toughness index is evaluated by dividing the area under the loaddeection curve from rst cracking to a deection equal to twice the rst cracking deection by the area up to rst matrix cracking. 4.4. Limitations of this study Almost all research methods have limitations and this study is no exception. Although the above exural experiments provided descriptions of deection and pre- and post-crack response of microber reinforced concrete beams, the data were limited to a macroscopic behavior (response of the structural specimens, or macroscale level). Interaction between the ber and cementitious matrix (mesoscale level) are not considered in this study. However, the mesoscale descriptions of the ber/matrix interaction are needed to better understand the ber failure modes and the resulting impact on macroscopic ductility. In the literature, numerous works [915] have been published which study the bermatrix interfacial behavior and provide linkage of the microstructure to composite to structural performance level. It is generally agreed that the pull-out work of bers bridging one or several cracks provides the main source of toughness or energy absorption capacity of ber reinforced concrete composites, which translates into a softening loaddisplacement curve after reaching maximum load. Therefore, this study accepts the correlation between the energy absorption during bers pullout and toughness of the microber reinforced concrete beams. In fact, Kim et al. [15] showed that a strong correlation exists between slip hardening behavior in single ber pullout and strain-hardening behavior in tension.

6. Summary and conclusions Microber reinforced concrete is a composite material in which micro-bers are incorporated to prevent or control the tensile cracking, increase ductility, and enhance toughness in the strainsoftening region. To realize the potential of microber blends in a concrete matrix, a concrete containing polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) micro-bers was designed and the mechanical performance were evaluated. The micro-bers delayed the development of microcracks and so the composite demonstrated greater strength and crack resistance than a similar matrix of plain concrete. This is explained by differences in the failure mechanism of the specimens. Further, the stressstrain variation of plain concrete submitted to axial compression shows hardly any strain-softening response as the descending branch after peak stress is almost vertical. Adding micro-bers to a plain concrete matrix has little effect on its precracking behavior but does substantially enhance its post-cracking response, which leads to a greatly improved ductility and toughness. In the present study an attempt has been made to predict the loaddeection characteristics of concrete beams reinforced with micro-bers utilizing the strain softening effects in the stressstrain behavior. The developed model consists of two steps. The rst step is to establish a moment curvatures code for any concrete section using the actual compressive and tensile stress strain relationships. The second step is to use the moment curvature code in a mathematical model that predicts the deection at any section along the beam. The actual stressstrains relationships in both compression and tension were established by performing a series of compression and tension tests prescribed previously. To validate the proposed model, concrete beams reinforced with micro-bers only, and two concrete beams reinforced with micro-bers plus steel rebars were tested in exure. The mid span

S. Hamoush et al. / Construction and Building Materials 24 (2010) 22852293


deection, the top compression stains and the bottom tensile stains were measured. The results from the numerical model were compared with the test results show good agreement. Based on the testing program and the work performed in this paper, it appears that the addition of micro-bers to concrete enhances the ductile property of the materials and prevents the sudden brittle failure of the material. This suggests the need to update the equations that the designers are using for calculation in their structural notes. Moreover, the following conclusions may be drawn: 1. Although, the addition of micro-bers does not inuence the compressive strength of concrete, it enhances the ductile property of the materials, increases toughness, and prevents the sudden brittle failure of the material. 2. The deection of microber reinforced concrete beams has ductile behavior and also has a post-peak failure point. 3. Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) ber is very suitable ber to be used as reinforcement of the concrete materials, though the very strong bermatrix bond resulting from high chemical bonding caused the micro-bers to rupture instead of being pulled out. Larger ductility may be achieved by ber pullout rather than rupture. It is therefore, recommended to conduct experimental program using coated PVA microber with less interface bond. It is also, necessary to develop ber coating technology to control the bermatrix interfacial bonding and produce ber pullout characteristics which are designed to increase energy dissipation without causing ber rupture.

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Acknowledgment The authors would like to thank the US Army Corps of Engineers (ERDC) for funding of this research.