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Materials and Structures/Mat6riaux et Constructions, Vol.

30, April 1997, pp 160-166

Strengthening of concrete beams using fiber-reinforced plastics

H. Varastehpour I and P. Hamelin 2
(I) M.S Engineeb Researcherof Mechanics and Materials Laboratoriesof the University of Lyon I. (2) ProfesssorD. ing, Directorof Mechanics and Materials Laboratoriesof the University of Lyon I.



One application of composite materials in civil engineering is examined: the strengthening of a reinforced concrete beam in situ by externally-bonded fiber reinforced plastic (FRP). Studies of the mechanical properties of the interface and the rheological behaviour of composite materials are very important to design. For the experimental determination of the mechanical properties of the concrete/glue/plate interface, a new test is suggested. An iterative analytical model capable of simulating the bond-slip and the material non-linearity, based on the compatibility of deformations and the equilibrium of forces, is developed in order to predict the ultimate forces and deflections. A new equation is proposed to anticipate the maximal shear and normal stresses at the interface goal to anticipate the failure mode due to the &bonding of the plate. Finally, a series of large-scale beams strengthened with fiber reinforced plastic is tested up to failure; load-deflection curves are measured and compared with the predicted values to study the efficiency of the externally-bonded plate and to verify the theoretical method.

Nous examinons un cas d'application des" mat&iaux composites pour le g~nie civil" le renforcement par placage de tissus composites de poutres en b~ton arm~. La connaissance des propri~t& d'adh&ence b&on-composites et du comportement rh~ologique de ces mat&iaux est indispensable. Pour cela, un nouvel essai a ~t~ propos~ pour d~terminer les propri~t& m~caniques de t'interface b&on/colle/plaque. Pour dimensionner les ouvray,es, nous proposons une m&hode d'aualyse it&ative capable de simuler la non-lin~arit~ des mat&iaux et le gtissement des plaques afin d'~valuer les niveaux de portance de ces structures. Une nouvelle equation a ~t8 d&elopp& pour pr~voir la contrainte maximum de l'interface et finalement une s&ie de poutres renforc~es par placaqe de tissus composites a ~t~ test& jusqu'a rupture pour ~tudier l'efficacit~ de ta m&hode de placage et v&~'er la m&hode de calcul.

The maintenance of structures has become an increasingly serious problem, since the cost of new structures has become very expensive, and repairs may be very difficult. Bridges, tunnels, water reservoirs and thermal or nuclear power plants must be maintained in an acceptable service state. The pathological study of concrete structures shows damage to these structures because of the deterioration of materials, design errors or accidents. In the case of deterioration of the materials, concrete may be subjected to erosion, abrasion and the effect of frost, and may be destroyed by physico-chemical mechanisms such as carbonation and the phenomenon of alkaliaggregate reactions. All of these different modes of deterioration can be seen as causing debonding between cement and gravel by the propagations of cracks (loss of material properties). In general, this phenomenon is the origin of the corrosion of steel and the decrease in reinforcement performance. Design errors could be due to imperfections in calculations d e p e n d e n t u p o n an unknown force (inferior design) or an incorrect modelling of structural behaviour. Finally, damage under accidental loading may occur for structures in marine or polar environments or during the impact of a shock or an earthquake. The maintenance of these structures requires the invention of new rehabilitation techniques; in other words, the maintenance of these structures must consist in protecting them to insure good tightness and limit corrosion, in repairing them to offset the loss of stiffness and

Editorial note Prof. Patrice Hamelin is a R I L E M Senior Member.

0025-5432/97 9 RILEM

1 60


Fig.1 - Different methods for strengthening a concrete beam using an FRP plate. strength, and in strengthening them to improve the performance and the durability of the structures.


The repair of concrete beams by the external bonding of a composite plate is an effective method to protect concrete and restore a part of the stiffi~ess of the structure [1]. Composite materials, because of their high strength, high stiffness, resistance to corrosion and low weight, can be of great benefit in structures in order to minimize the weight and increase the structural performance. Also significant are their ease of forming, speed of installation, resistance to corrosion, mechanical properties, possibility of optimization (choice of reinforcement, direction), and multifunctionality (strength, watertightness, anti-corrosion). These are the principal parameters for choosing a composite material in the repair of structures. Two obstacles limit their development: the cost of these materials in comparison with traditional materials in civil engineering, and the limited knowledge concerning the

compatibility of composites with concrete and steel. In the case of repair and maintenance of structures, cost is not necessarily the limiting factor. The principle of repair consists of external bonding by woven textiles or previously-cast stratified plates, as described in Fig. 1, to strengthen the R C beam. The repair and the retrofitting of concrete structures can be achieved in situ by the REPLAI-ZK method, using carbon fiber prepreg sheets without autoclave [2]. The external bonding plate technique, by molding in situ, is preferable insofar as it allows one to retrofit pieces of complex geometry. In this investigation, we developed equipment for site use which allows us to achieve the cycles of pressure and temperature described in Fig. 2 [3]. The different steps of installing and repairing members are described as follows: - evaluation of the level of deterioration of the R.C beam - preparation of the surface (sandblast .... ) - selection of the plate (number of layers, character of fiber, textile structure,...) - placement of the woven textile and the polymerization in situ by applying a combination of temperature (heating cover) and pressure (vacuum bag).


In addition to the usual data (ultimate strength, stiffness of the plate), an important piece of data for the evaluation of the level of performance of the retrofitting is the adhesion of the FRP plate to the concrete support. For the determination of the mechanical interface properties (strength, stiffness) and the interaction between the plate and the concrete interface (perfect bond, partial bond and slip), the single-lap test specimen was used. Fig. 3 describes the experimental set-up; this test allows us to choose the best surface treatment and the most efficient glue. It is necessary to emphasize the importance of testing large specimen sizes in order to take into account the scale effect and the natural heterogeneity of the support (dimensions of aggregates, character and damage level of matrix). The fields of stress and displacement generated by the experimental Thermocoul~e( I ZS'C) Vacuum=6OOmmHg set-up were studied by numerical modelling using specific finite elements [4]. Fig. 4 shows the significantly-different behaviours obtained from various combinations of materials (glue, plate, surface treatment). It shows the bi-linMastic Concrete ear the interface, and we can notice that the rigidity of the interface is Q) dependent on the adhesive characteristics, the Glue ( I IOI/ES36D) shear strength on the mechanical properties of / \ ., o,ateea.bon | the concrete and the failure mode on the surlh 30' i 125"C Unpunched film(A50O0) ~ . . . . . . | face treatment [5]. The existence of a non600 rnm H~ Nylon material(T89) e = ~ = = = = = ~ (g) ncgligible slip indicates eithcr thc necessity of (D taking into account the analysis of the beam, Heating plaque r~"'~"~r~rl | or the necessity of anticipating the mechanical Time Drainage carpet @ connectors and modifying the technological Vacuum bag repair procedure. Fig. 2 - Plate bonding by polymerization in-situ method and external set-up.

Materials and Structures/Mat6riaux et Constructions,Vol. 30, April 1997


a) Classicalmethod This calculation technique can be used to analyse the bending behaviour of an FIkP reinforced concrete beam by employing the classical theory of RC beams. In addition to the conventional hypotheses used for reinforced concrete beams, two additional hypotheses are admitted: the adherence of the FRP plate is perfect (this means there is no relative slip between plate and concrete), and the tensile strength of concrete is negligible. The behaviour of the FP,.P plate is linearly elastic up to failure; the behaviour of steel is perfectly elasto-plastic, and the behaviour of concrete in compression is shown in Fig. 5(c) (ACI code). According to the classical hypotheses of an RC beam, a section subjected to a bending moment M distorts as indicated in Fig. 5(a). On the basis of this diagram and the stress diagram (Fig. 5(b)), it is possible to calculate the three forces in the section at each step by applying the equations of equilibrium; the position of the neutral axis is determined and this allows us to calculate the bending moment and the curvature. Then, the conjugate beam method and the numerical

Fig. 3 - Single-lap s p e c i m e n test details a n d e x p e r i m e n t a l set-up.

Fig. 4 - Interface shear stress versus shear strain for different surface treatments.



2.... oh- f',t' -

3oo(Eb - o.0o=q







0.002 0 . 0 0 3

Fig. 5 - M e c h a n i c a l b e h a v i o u r o f the section and o - e curve for c o n c r e t e in c o m p r e s s i o n .

integration enable us to calculate the relationship between the curvature and the displacement.

b) Iterative calculation method

The method developed in this study to predict the strength and stiffness of P,C beams strengthened by FRP plates is an iterative analysis technique, using a computer. Several assumptions commonly made in reinforced concrete theory are used: a) plane sections remain plane; b) no slip occurs between any longitudinal reinforcement and concrete; and c) stress-strain relationships of materials can be determined by standard tests. This iterative analysis is

Fig. 6 - Mechanical behaviour o f materials.

Varastehpour, Hamelin

Fig. 7 -

General flowchart o f the calculation


entered into the computer program, the load and the deflection are determined using strain compatibility. Initially, a top-fiber concrete strain and a neutral axis depth are assigned. The depth of the beam is divided into 200 slices, using the average strain for each shce; the compressive and tensile stresses can then be found from the concrete stress-strain curve. Multiplying this value by the area of the slice gives the compressive and tensile forces. A similar method is used to determine the two tensile forces on the reinforced steel and the external plate. The tensile force on the external plate must be corrected because of the bond-slips in each iteration by determining the shear stress at the interface. The shear stress is determined in each step of loading for two sections at a distance ~x in Fig. 8. The neutral axis is then adjusted until the sum of the compressive forces equals the sum of the tensile forces (equilibrium). When this has been attained, the moment and the curvature are determined. This calculation continues up to the maximum strength of the beam, which is determined when either the concrete crushes, the FRP fails or plate separation occurs. The deflection of the beam is found using a finite difference model (half of the beam cut into five sections).


It is obvious that in order to anticipate the &bonding of the plate, it is necessary to determine the distribution of the shear and normal stresses at the level of the interface during the loading. In this part, we suggest a new equation to derive the maximal shear stress at the plate/concrete interface on the basis of a parametric study. Based on the equilibrium of the system of internal forces and the compatibility of the strain in the transverse section, assuming a linear elastic behaviour of the materials, the average shear stress at the interface is obtained [6]:
zint = )~. V

Fig. 8 - Calculation o f interfacial shear stress.

c@able of simulating the material non-linearity including concrete cracking in tension and the associated tension stiffening, the plasticity of concrete in compression, the plasticity of the reinforcing steel, and the non-linearity due to bond-slip between plate and concrete. This model is able to predict the ultimate strength in bending, the load-deflection characteristics and failure mode due to the tensile fracture of the FBd2, the crushing of concretc in compression, or platc separation. The mechanical behaviour of the material in tension, in compression and at the interface is described by Fig. 6. The general algorithm of calculation is described in Fig. 7. First, all the dimensions of the beam (height, width, depth of steal, external plate dimensions) must be known. Also, the span and the external load points are required to determine the load-deflection relationships. The entire stress-strain relationships of the steel, the FP,2 plate, the concrete (tensile, compression) and the interface material law must also be known with precision. Once all the data have been


where V is the shear force and ~. the rigidity of the section.

)~ = (yp. Tp.rl) / It and r I - Ep/Ec


where Tp is the thickness of the plate, 11 the modular ratio and It the transformed second moment of area in terms of concrete. The shear stress calculation at the interface, according to the software, could be described at each step of the loading for two sections at a distance ax by Fig. 8. Fig. 9 indicates the evolution of shear stress at the interface as a function of XV for the two methods; the results show that there is a similar correlation between the two methods up to the point of steel plastification. Beyond this point, the gap between the two curves increases significantly. The reason for this different behaviour is clear: when steel reaches the point ofplasti-

Materials and Structures/Mat6riaux et Constructions, Vol, 30, April 1997

2.5 2.0 1.5

1.0 r

"lint = ~ 1 9~0.5 .(~..V) 1"5



0.0-~ I r

When failure occurs by debonding, this is characterised by diagonal and horizontal cracking in the concrete immediately above the glue line. This type of cracking could also be due to normal stresses at the end of the plate. For the simplified case in which interface shear stresses are constant in the anchorage zone, the force system in Fig. 7 may be replaced with an equivalent single force and couple acting through the centroid of the plate:








M x y - bp. (ra + rp/2), zint


kv Fig. 9 - Comparison of distribution of the shear stress at the interface.

fication, the FP,,P plate must carry the whole tensile load in the section. Consequently, the shear stress at the interface increases, and thus the slope of the curve changes abruptly. However, equation (1), which disregards the plastic behaviour of steel, always gives a constant slope of the curve.

where Mxy is the twisting m o m e n t per unit length, Ta the average glue line thickness and Tp the plate thickness. The normal stress at the end of the plate is the result of this twisting moment, which is dependent on the interface shear stress:
on = K. zint


In this equation, K is a parameter relating the shear stress and the normal stress at the end of the plate; it depends on the physical and mechanical properties of the glue and plate [7]. K= . tTam~)

b) Proposition o f a n e w equation
To simulate the non-linear behaviour of material in the distribution of the maximum stress at the interface, it is necessary to develop a new equation based on the results of non-linear calculations. So, we examined the effect of the different variables, such as rigidity and thickness of the plate, geometry of the section, loading mode, etc. As a consequence of this parametric study, we have introduced a factor ~, composed of the different variables which have an important influence on the distribution of shear stress at the interface. Fig. 10 shows the dispersion of the maximum normalized value (multiplied by [3) of the shear stress for various examples determined by non-linear software as a function of ~kV on a logarithmic scale. By using regression analysis, the best fit line was traced in order to determine the relationship between shear force and shear stress.

1 31(Tp'Ea] '/4


where Ea and Ep are the elastic modulus of the glue and of the FRP plate, respectively.


The interface could also crack in a direction parallel to the glue line under combined shear and normal stresses, which has been explained in the preceding section. However, when debonding, failure is governed by the Mohr-Coulomb law, which may be expressed in the form:
zmax + o..

- C





(h).7 X Tp x Ep 5.5 P Tp b p K= "q=

y p x T p rl

I ' ~ Ep Ba


1.5 / 1.5


LN( I].X. V)



Fig. 10 - Regression to evaluate the shear stress-load relationships.

where xmax is the ultimate shear strength of the interface, C the cohesion, on the stress normal to the glue line and ~ the angle of internal friction. The ranges of C and ~ are attributed to variations in surface preparation and the properties of the adhesive and concrete. In this section, to determine the cohesion parameter C, we have used the experimental set-up described in Fig. 3. This proposed single-lap specimen, which only has a shear stress field, is used in the determination of C. The specimen consists essentially of two L-shaped concrete blocks which are bonded by an FP,.P plate 2 m m thick and 140 m m wide. The distance along the glued line was kept constant at 180 mm, and the glue thickness was maintained at 2 mm. The whole assembly was subjected to a compressive loading test. The



9 8 Result of shear single-lap test

1C 9 8 Result of bending test (7x7x28)

[] Tin=5.4 MPa


[] [] D

T-m=4.2 MPa


m3 2

Fig. 11 Experimental study for the evaluated cohesion (C) and the friction

angle (@).
9 i . ! . i . ! . I . i . ! . i . i i
i I 9 i 9 i i ! , t 9 i I I i i i i I

C_./HV/H O/H C/S V/S O/S C/C V/C O/C Specimen

S1 S2 S3 e l C2 C3 H1 H2 H3 Specimen

test variables were the adhesive and the FRP types. Fig. 11 shows the variation of the shear strength for different specimens. The average value of C is suggested to equal 5.4 MPa. In the second part, in order to determine the friction angle ~), different small beams strengthened with FRP were used [8]. Each small beam had a cross-section of 70 mm x 70 mm and a total length of 280 ram. The experimental set-up consisted of a simply-supported beam subjected to two concentrated loads, symmetrical about the mid-span. The specimens were equipped with electrical strain gauges positioned on the plate. All of the specimens were loaded to failure at the same loading rate (0.2 mm/min). During the test, strains on the plate were recorded by an automatic data acquisition system. The variable parameters for the small beams were the FRP types and the type of adhesive. Using the average results of different specimens which failed by debonding, the shear stress at the interface was equal to 4.2 MPa (Fig. 11); by using equation (5) (relationship between shear and normal stresses), the average normal stress in failure was equal to 1.6 MPa. To calculate the friction angle, we used the Mohr-Coulomb equation with C = 5.4 MPa, "~= 4.2 MPa and on = 1.6 MPa. In this case, a friction angle of 33 ~ was obtained. Beginning with the Mohr-Coulomb equation that takes into account the failure criterion of the interface with the r and C values found in this investigation, the maximum shear stress could be calculated as:
"[max --

P/2 ~


2000 2300

mat mm


Fig. 12 - Geometryof the beam and test set-up. Equation (9) describes the debonding load and can predict the ultimate capacity while the average shear stress at the interface reaches 'tmax.


A total of three rectangular reinforced concrete beams were cast. Two were strengthened with FR.P plates by the polymerization in situ method (Pl, P2); one beam was used as a control specimen (P0). The beams were tested to failure in order to investigate the effectiveness of the repair and calculation method. One type of FP,.P plate was used during the tests: a unidirectional FILP with the fibers oriented solely in the longitudinal direction. It is composed of H R carbon fiber, submerged in an epoxy resin. The mechanical properties of the materials, the tcst sct-up and the plate dimensions are shown in Fig. 12. Table 1 compares the ultimate load, the curvature and the failure mode obtained experimentally with the theoretical results calculated using the non-linear software (without premature failure effect) and using the measured mechanical properties. The failure was due to the debonding of the plate at the interface. This &bonding was caused by the coupling of the diagonal and bending cracks. At the moment of debonding, the average shear stress was equal to 1.65 MPa. One may note in

5.4 1 + k. tg33 ~


To predict the ultimate capacity of an RC beam strengthened with an externally-bonded FRP plate that fails by plate separation, we can use equation (4). In the case of four-point bending (V- P/2), the separation load is obtained as: 2 Psep - 3"2x3ax ' (9)


Materials and Structures/Mat6riaux et Constructions, Vol. 30, April 1997

Table 1 - Result of experimental test

Experimental PO Ultimate load (kN) Ultimate moment {kN.m) Ultimate curvature 125 43.7 0.09 P1 193 67.5 0.023 P2 195 68.2 0.025 PO 114.6 40.1 0.081 Theoretical P1 236 82.5 0.037 P2 236 82.5 0.034

Failure m o d e

Concrete Debonding Debonding Concrete Concrete Concrete crushed crushed crushed crushed




1~ P0 P0 (The.) (Exp.) Pn (The.) P1 (Exp.) P2 (Exp.)


adherence and non-slip of the plate/concrete interface. The new single-lap test set-up introduced in this paper has proven to be reliable in measuring the parameters necessary for the characterization of the concrete/glue/ plate interface. The qualification methodology and suggested calculation method produce a satisfactory result, and it is necessary to combine all of these approaches towards a normalization phase for the tests and to codify the calculations. The computer model, in the form of a non-linear program developed in this study, appears to be a good method to predict the flexural strength, the ultimate deflection and the moment-curvature relationships. R.ecent research conducted in this laboratory has shown that the composite system could significantly modify the dynamic behaviour (vibration, impact) of a concrete structure. The energy consumption and the damping characteristics of these materials are significant in shaping new perspectives of industrial development.


0 I



0.04 Courvature






Fig. 13 - Comparison of moment-curvature relationships for different beams.

the table a significant increase in strength relative to the unplated specimens; this increase, which is 55%, accompanied a reduction in the ductility. Fig. 13 shows the curvatures in the central section as a function of the applied moment; the measured moment-curvature relationships of the beam approached the theoretical curve obtained by the non-linear software with satisfactory accuracy.

[1] Meier, U. and Kaiser, H., 'Strengtheningof structures with CFILP laminates', Proceedings of the ASCE Conference - ACM materials ill Civil Engineering Structures, 1991,224-232, [2] 'Carbon fiber reinforcedearthquakeresistantretrofitting', Mitsubishi& KaseiTechnicalDocument, Tokyo,Japon,

8, C O N C L U S I O N
The use of an FI(P plate for the retrofitting of concrete structures is particularly attractive, since an increase in rigidity and strength can be obtained quickly by the process of polymerization in situ. The efficiency of the repair process includes the criteria of anti-corrosion, impermeability and improvements in mechanical behaviour. From an economic point of view, the cost of retrofitting damaged structures by an FRP plate is justified, as long as the cost of repair remains negligible compared to the replacement of a new structure. The performance level of this technique is dependent on the properties of

[3} Hamelin, P., Varastehpour,H. and Lagarde,G., 'Le renforcement des ouvrages d'art par des armatures composites', Journ&s Europ&nnes sur des Mat&iaux Composites, Avril 1995, Paris, France. [4] Sahran-Bajbouj, A., Courtade, lL.M. and Verchery, G., 'Modeling of coherent interfaces by mixed finite element', CADCOMP 92, Newark (USA), 13-15 May 1992, in 'Computer aided design in composite material technology', Editors Advani, Blain, De Wilde, Gillespieand Griffin(Elsevier, 1992) 431-442. [5] Varastehpour, H. and Hamelin, P., 'Structuralbehaviourof reinforced concrete beams strengthened by epoxy-bonded F1LP plates', SecondInternationalSyinposiumon Non-metallic (FRP) l~,einforcementof Concrete Structures, 23 August 1995, Ghent, Belgium, 559-567. [6] Jones, lL., Swamy,R.. N., and Charif, A., 'Plate separation and anchorage of reinforced concrete beams strengthenedby epoxybonded steelplates', The Structural Engit~eer66 (5) (1988) 85-94. [17]lLoberts, T. M., 'Approximateanalysisof shear and normal stress concentrations in the adhesive layer of plated lLC beams', The Structural Engineer 67 (12) (1989) 229-233. [8J Varastehpour, H. and Hamelin, P., 'External reinforcement of concrete beam using fiber reinforced plastics', International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering Symposium, 23 August 1995, San Francisco,USA, 1229-1234.