You are on page 1of 7

Engineering Fracture ~e~fiunies Vol. 35. NO. Printed in Great Britain.

l/2/3, pp. 261-268, 1990


s3.00 + 0.00

Pergamon Press pk.


tDepartment of Civil Engineering, University iWalter P. Moore & Associates, $Department of Civil Engineering, National //Department of Civil En~n~~ng, University


W. S. YIN,? ERIC C. M. SU,$ M. A. MANSUR$ and THOMAS T. C. HSUII of Houston, Houston, Texas, U.S.A., Houston, Texas, U.S.A., University of Singapore, Singapore, of Houston, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.

Abstract-Fiber-reinforced concrete is tested under biaxial compression. Test results show that the addition of steel fibers increases the strength, stiffness and ductility of concrete.


that the tensile and flexural strengths of concrete can be substantially increased by the addition of closely spaced fibers[ 11.This can be explained by the fact that concrete contains numerous flaws and microcracks[2] and the propagation of these microcracks can be arrested by the fibers. Encouraged by the evidence of improvement in tensile properties, much research has been done on the uniaxial and flexural behavior. In contrast, studies of fiber concrete in compression are less frequent because experiments show that the incorporation of fibers in concrete has very little effect on its uniaxial compressive strength[3-51. This paper, however, describes a series of biaxial compression tests on fiber concrete and demonstrates that the addition of steel fibers does have a significant beneficial effect on the strength, stiffness and ductility.



Fiber-reinforced and plain concrete plates of size 6 x 6 x 1.5 in. (15.2 x 15.2 x 3.8 cm) were subjected to biaxial compression. Four principal biaxial compression stress ratios of a,/~, = 0 (uniaxial compression), 0.2, 0.5 and 1.0 were selected. The principal stresses were expressed as 5, > 5* > 53, algebraically. The lengths of fibers studied were 3/4 and 1 in. (19 and 25 mm). The percentages of volume were 1.0 and 2.0% for l-in. (25 mm) fibers, and 1.0% for 3/4-in. (19 mm) fibers. At least two specimens were tested for each stress ratio. All specimens were loaded under the ASTM loading rate (approximately 2000 psi/min or 14 MPa/min). For uniaxial tests, specimens were loaded in the direction ~~ndicular to the direction of casting. For biaxial tests, the major stresses were loaded in the direction perpendicular to the direction of casting.
Test specimens

The concrete test specimens were made of Type III Portland cement. The mix proportion was 1: 2.16: 1.88 by weight for cement, sand and coarse aggregate, respectively. The water-cement ratio was 0.6 and the maximum size of aggregate was 3/8 in. (0.95 cm). The coarse aggregate consisted of quartz and flint, with some feldspar. The carbon steel fibers were smooth, straight-slit type, with a cross-section of 0.01 x 0.022 in. (0.25 x 0.56 mm). The average tensile strength of steel fibers was 60 ksi (414 MPa). The mixing was done in a 5 cu.-ft. (0.14 cu.-m) rotary drum mixer, while the fibers were gradually sprinkled into the drum by hand. After all the fibers were added, mixing continued for about one minute. Three 6 x 6 x 20 in. (15 x 15 x 50-cm) steel molds were used for casting, with the 20-in. (50-cm) dimension horizontal. The plate specimens were cut from the 6 x 6 x 20-in. (15 x 15 x 50-cm) concrete blocks by a precision diamond saw. The concrete blocks were stored in a water tank in the moist room at 78F
tResearch Assistant, fEngineer, @enior Lecturer, /iProfessor.
EFM 35--l,+--~



W. S. YIN et al.

(26C) and 100% relative humidity until sawing at one week before testing. After sawing, the concrete specimens were coated with two thin layers of sealant to prevent the evaporation of water. The specimens were tested at the ages between 44 and 168 days. Test fa~iiities The specimens were tested in a specially designed biaxial test machine, as shown in Fig. 1. The load was supplied by a 220-kip (978kN) capacity hydraulic actuator, mounted on top of the testing frame. This downward load passed through a load cell and a spherical bearing hinge, and was then resolved into a pair of forces by a load bifurcation mechanism. Brush-loading platens, rather than solid platens, were used to minimize the frictional confinement of the test specimens by the loading platens. These brush platens reduced the frictional stresses to about 0.33% of the applied stresses, and the load carried by the concrete was found to be 99.3% of the applied load. As such, a well-defined biaxial stress state was assured. Deformations in the three principal axes were each measured by a pair of capacitancetype transducers. Details of the test facilities and the experimental procedures were as those reported in[6].

Ultimate strength The ultimate strength data are summarized in the form of biaxial stress envelopes, as shown in Fig. 2, All the stresses are converted into 90-day strength, and then nondimensionalized by the uniaxial compressive plate strength of plain concrete, fcp, tested at the ASTM loading rate (2000 psi/min or 13.8 MPa/min). The average compressive plate strength of plain concrete (S,,) is -5460 psi (-37.6 MPa) at the age of 90 days. The average cylinder strength at 90 days is - 6100 psi (-42 MPa). Each test point in Fig. 2 is the average of two specimens. The effect of the addition of fibers is quite different in uniaxial and biaxial compressions. Fiber concrete, in general, possesses higher strength than plain concrete in biaxial compression. The increase is up to 35% for l-in. fiber length, 2% volume ratio and stress ratio of az/a3 = 0.2. In contrast, the increase of strength due to the addition of steel fibers is negligible in uniaxial compression. Figure 2 also shows that the biaxial compressive strength increases as the length of the fiber increases from 314 in. to 1 in. For the same fiber length of 1 in., the increase in volume percentage of fibers from 1 to 2% has little effect on the biaxial compressive strength.

1.8 1.8









0.8 0.8 1.0

I ~3 f OP

Fig. 2. Biaxial strength envelopes.


concrete under biaxial compression


Fig. 1. Biaxial compression test facility


W. S.

YIN et al.

(a 1 Uniaxial compression, 02


= 0


concrete under biaxial compression


(a) Uniaxial


u2 /CT~ =

(b) Biaxial

Fig. 4

02 /cl3 = I .O


concrete under biaxial compression


Failure modes

Figure 3(a and b) show pictures of typical failure patterns of fiber concrete subjected to uniaxial and biaxial compressions. It can be seen that fiber concrete, in general, possesses shear-type failure. In uniaxial compression testing, fracture occurs by the formation of multiple shear planes which make an angle of 20-40 with the cl rr3plane (Fig. 3a). Under biaxial compression, fracture occurs by the formation of a single shear plane perpendicular to the gl o3 plane, and inclined at an angle of approximately 18 with respect to the loading (azo3) plane (Fig. 3b). In contrast, failure of plain concrete occurs by tensile splitting (Fig. 4a and b). Under uniaxial compression, the formation of cracks is in the direction of loading and perpendicular to the plane of a test specimen (Fig. 4a). Under biaxial compression, fracture surface occurs along a plane parallel to the plane of the test specimen (Fig. 4b). In both types of failure, tensile splitting occurs along the fracture surface(s) perpendicular to the direction of the maximum tensile strain. Apparently, the addition of fibers effectively prevented the tensile splitting failure pattern (Fig. 4b) from happening, thus changing the failure pattern into the shear-slip type (Fig. 3b).

Figure 5 shows a typical relationship of normalized stress to total strain for fiber concrete under biaxial loadings, fq is the uniaxial plate strength of plain concrete at the age when the specimen is tested. The principal strains, 6, , cl and c3, are in the direction of the principal stresses, ol, c2 and c3, respectively. Figure 5 shows the effect of fiber content on the stress-strain relationships under biaxial loading (a2/a3 = 1.0). In the near-linear range, the addition of steel fibers increases the stiffness of concrete in the two principal compression directions (e2 and c3), as well as in the out-of-plane expanding direction, 6,. Thus, the steel fibers not only stiffen the specimen in the loaded direction, but also reinforce the specimen in the unloaded expanding direction. This observation may partially explain why the biaxial strength of fiber concrete is higher than that of plain concrete. Figure 5 also shows that the failure strains in all three directions (q, c2 and c3) do increase with increasing fiber content. In other words, the addition of fiber does increase the ductility of concrete. Incidentally, the small difference in the two principal compression strains (t2 > c3) is attributed to the anisotropy characteristics associated with the direction of casting[7,8].

Fiber -.-

Content 0% ,._,((


I 1000





I -400

Strain in Microstrain Fig. 5. Stress-strain relationships under biaxial compression.


W. S. YIN er al.

DISCUSSION The significant increase of biaxial strength, due to the addition of fibers, may be explained by the change of the stress state in the specimens. The steel fibers will reinforce the specimen in the unloaded or out-of-plane direction. This is equivalent to a certain amount of compressive force applying in the unloaded direction. In other words, a triaxial stress state is generated. Van Mier[S] has performed extensive tests on the triaxial compression of concrete. He observed that the strength of plain concrete under a stress state of cr, : a2: a) = -0.05: - 0.2 : - 1.0 is 47% higher than that under a stress state of a, : a2 : aj = 0: - 0.2 : - 1.O. That is, for a biaxial stress ratio of a,/a, = 0.2, a small out-of-plane stress of a, = -0.05 a3 would cause a very large (47%) increase of strength. By analogy, a 35% increase in biaxial compressive strength of fiber concrete reported herein (l-in. fiber length and 1% volume ratio) should be equivalent to an out-of-plane stress of only about 3.5% of the major stress, a3. This small magnitude of stress could conceivably be supplied passively by the steel fibers. CONCLUSIONS 1. The biaxial strength of fiber concrete is greater than that of plain concrete. A maximum increase of approximately 35% is achieved in the case of l-in. fiber length, 2% volume ratio, and a stress ratio of a,/a, = 0.2. For uniaxial compression, the increase of the strength, due to the steel fibers, is negligible. 2. The biaxial compression strength increases as the length of fiber increases from 3/4 in. to 1 in. For the same fiber length of 1 in. the increase in volume percentage from 1 to 2% has little effect. 3. For plain concrete subjected to biaxial and uniaxial compression, failure occurs by tensile-splitting or cleavage failure. For fiber concrete subjected to biaxial compression, failure occurs by shear. 4. Under uniaxial compression, the addition of steel fibers into plain concrete does not change the stiffness. Under biaxial compression, however, the addition of steel fibers increases the stiffness of concrete in the major principal stress direction, as well as in the direction of the principal tensile strain. REFERENCES ItI American Concrete Institute Committee 544, Report No. 544.1R-82, State-of-the-art
report on fiber reinforced concrete. Concr. Int. Des. Consrr. 4, 9-30 (1982). PI T. T. C. Hsu, F. 0. Slate, G. M. Sturman and G. Winter, Microcracking of plain concrete and the shape of the stress-strain curve. J. Am. Concr. hr. 60, 209-224 (1963). S. P. Shah and B. V. Rangan, Fiber reinforced concrete properties. J. Am. Concr. Inst. 68, 126135 (1971). ;:; G. R. Williamson, The effect of steel fiber on the compressive strength of concrete. SP-44, American Concrete Institute, Detroit, 195-207, (1974). W. F. Chen and J. L. Carson, Stress-strain properties of random wire reinforced concrete. J. Am. Concr. Inst. 68, 151
933-936. (1971).

E. C. M. Su and T. T. C. Hsu, A fatigue test machine for the biaxial compression of concrete. J. 161

Test Eval. ASTM, 16, 549-554 (1988). 171 B. P. Hughes and J. E. Ash, Anisotropy and failure criteria for concrete. Muter. Srruct. RILEM, 3, 371-374 (1970). 181 J. G. M. Van Mier, Strain-softening of concrete under multiaxial loading conditions. Ph.D. Dissertation, Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands (Nov., 1984).

(Received for publication

16 November 1988)