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Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer (GFRP)

Specications & Denitions

GFRP is now a viable option in the replacement of reinforcing steel for bridge
decks. GFRP oers a more durable option to traditional epoxy coated steel
because GFRP will not rust or corrode, is 75% lighter in weight, and has superior
fatigue resistance in reinforced concrete applications. GFRP performs dierently
than steel, therefore GFRP-reinforced concrete bridge decks and railings have
their own design provision under the AASHTO LRFD design guide, AASHTO
LFRD Bridge Design Guide Specications for GFRP-Reinforced Concrete
Bridge Decks and Trac Railings. ACI 440 also addresses specic design issues
and material specications when designing GFRP-Reinforced concrete members.
The suggested modications and improvements to the current material
specications will only prove to give the designer and owner more allowable
margins of safety and a better quality end product that will perform to a higher
level due to improvements in the material properties.

Additive: A material added to another material to improve the properties of the
latter or to improved the manufacturing process.
Bar: a non-prestressed FRP element with nominally rectangular or circular crosssection, used to reinforce a concrete component. The bar can be an independent
bar or part of a grid. May be deformed, sand coated, or use other methods to
achieve minimum bond strength requirements
Cure: the process of causing an irreversible change in the properties of a
thermosetting resin by chemical reaction
Durability: the capability of a component, product, or structure to maintain its
function for at least a specied period of time with appropriate maintenance
Resin: Epoxy Backboned vinyl ester resin
Glass: Specically, E-CR glass (boron free)
Fiber reinforced polymer (GFRP): a ber reinforced composite with a polymeric
matrix and continuous ber reinforcement of glass
Fiber Volume Fraction: the ratio of the volume of bers to the volume of ber
reinforced composite. Min 70% by weight.
Filler: an inert material added to the matrix to reduce the volume of polymer
without signicantly changing the properties of the GFRP
Glass Transition Temperature (Tg): the midpoint of the temperature range over
which an amorphous material changes from a brittle and vitreous state to a
plastic state, or visa versa
Manufacturer: a person, or persons, representing the organization that
manufactures GFRP

Manufacturing: a process that includes the following methods

a. placing and arranging bers and ber forms
b. introducing the matrix into and around the bers
c. activating the resin to produce a cured GFRP bar
Mechanical Properties: properties of a material related to the interaction
between stresses and strains
Primary Fiber: a ber material added to the matrix that signicantly controls the
mechanical properties of the GFRP. In this case E-CR glass
Production Lot: product manufactured from the same nominal raw materials
under the same conditions. Typically, a production lot should begin and end
every time a new set-up is made on the production line and/or each time the
production lot number of any raw materials has changed
Pultrusion: the process of manufacturing GFRP s by drawing resin-impregnated
bers through a die
Quality Control Tests: a test, or series of tests, conducted by the manufacturer,
or an agent of the manufacturer, to demonstrate the properties and the degree of
uniformity to the requirements.
Tensile Strength: the strength of the GFRP bar when stressed in a pulling fashion
Void Content: the ratio of the volume of voids to the total volume of the GFRP

Referenced Documents
ASTM D570 - Standard Test Method for Water Absorption of Plastics
ASTM D578-00 - Standard Specication for Glass Fiber Strands
ASTM E1356-03 - Standard Test Method for Assignment of Glass Transition
Temperature by DSC.
ASTM E1640-04 - Standard Test Method for Assignment of Glass Transition
Temperature by DMTA.
ASTM D7205 - Standard Test Method for Tensile Properties of FRP Matrix
Composite Bars
ASTM B769-94 - Standard Test Method of Shear Testing of Aluminum Alloys
ACI 440.3R - Guide to Test Methods of FRP Reinforcing or Strengthening
Concrete Structures
AASHTO LRFD: GFRP-1 - AASHTO LFRD Bridge Design Guide Specications for
GFRP-Reinforced Concrete Bridge Decks and Trac Railings
ACI 440.6-08 - Specication for Carbon and Glass Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Bar
Materials for Concrete Reinforcement
CSA S807-10 - Canadian Specication for Fiber Reinforced Polymers
ODOT Millport Slough Bridge Deck Material and Construction Specication Matthew Stucker, PE ODOT.

Material Specication
***This specication is specic to Glass Fiber and is not inclusive of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Bars***

Fibers: Use bers in the form of unidirectional rovings of given size and weight
with ber sizings and coupling agents that are compatible with the resin system
used to impregnate them. The glass ber shall conform to ASTM D578-00 (E-CR
glass/boron free). Product shall be a minimum of 70% by weight of glass.
Matrix Resins: Use commercial grades of epoxy back boned vinyl ester resin.
The base polymer in the resin system shall not contain any polyester. Blending of
vinyl ester and epoxy resins shall be permitted. Polyester based resin shall not be
permitted in the manufacturing process of the bar.
Fillers: Inorganic llers and secondary bers may be used, but their quantity
shall not exceed 20% by weight of the base polymer resin specied. Commercial
grade additives and process aids such as release agents, low prole shrink
additives, initiators, promoters, hardeners, catalysts, pigments, re-retardants,
and ultra violet inhibitors are permitted and depend on the process method. If
used, limit shrink additives to less than 20% by weight or the polymer resin.
Veils: Commercial grade inorganic or organic non-woven surfacing mats or veils
are permitted.

Process: The manufacturer shall produced FRP bars using variations of the
pultrusion process.
Production Changes: If a production change is made to the constituent materials
(e.g., resin, ber type, additive, and/or ller) or manufacturing process (e.g.,
pultrusion, vacuum molding, and hand lay-up) of an GFRP, new qualication tests
shall be done for that product.

Documentation: The manufacturer shall document the process used for internal
quality control and report the date of production and production lot size.

Physical Properties
Fiber Content: The ber content shall be sucient if the guaranteed tensile
strength, tensile modulus, shear stress, and compression strength requirements
are satised according to their respective ASTM test methods. Fiber content shall
be a minimum 70% by weight.
Glass Transition Temperature:
Resin Matrix: The glass transition temperature (Tg ) of the resin shall not be less
than 212F. The glass transition temperature of the resin does not represent a
service level maximum temperature, but a quality assurance tool used by the
manufacturer. The resin matrix shall be tested according to the Dierential
Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) method as described in ASTM E1356-03.
Rod: The glass transition temperature of the cured rod shall be measured by a
Dynamic Mechanical Thermal Analyzer (DMTA) on a coupon cut from the
fully cured bar using ASTM 1640-04 Test Method E.
The results should be supplied on the manufacturers test certicate supplied with
each order.
Bar Sizes: Only GFRP bars of solid round shape are allowed. The size of GFRP
bars shall be consistent with typical standard sizes of steel reinforcing bars.
Mechanical and Durability Properties

Bar Sizes


#3 - #8

20 - 40 foot

Tensile Strength: The only property of GFRP which varies according to each bar
diameter. This fact must be taken into consideration during the design phase.
Testing shall be in accordance to ASTM D7205. The minimum recommended
values are on the following table:
Tensile Modulus: Tensile modulus of elasticity shall be determined for product
certication. The nominal tensile modulus of elasticity shall average 7000 ksi
according to ASTM D7205.

Bar Size

Minimum Strength (ksi)







Transverse Shear: Transverse shear is determined for product certication and

shall be tested according to ASTM B769-94. The minimum shear for all bars shall
be 30 ksi in single shear and 60 ksi in double shear.
Moisture Absorption: Moisture absorption tests shall be determined for the
purpose of product certication (the nominal value) in accordance with ASTM
D570 section 7.7. The maximum value of this test shall be 0.1%.
Bond Strength: Bond strength shall be determined for the purpose of product
certication. The guaranteed bond strength for all bars must be at least 2.25 ksi.
The manufacturer is to disclose the test method used for testing bond strength. A
suggested test method is ACI 440.3R test method B3.

Ultimate Tensile Strain: The ultimate tensile strain shall be calculated by

dividing the guaranteed tensile strength by the nominal tensile modulus of
elasticity. The nominal values obtained by this procedure should at least be 1.4%.

Purchasing, Handling, and Storage

Performance Testing Requirements: To gain acceptance onto DOT s approved
products list for GFRP, manufacturers must provide certication of its bars for
tensile strength, glass transition temperature, bond strength, tensile modulus,
short beam shear strength, and compressive strength. The testing methods must
meet the ASTM standards and performance results specied under Minimum
Performance Criteria for GFRP Bars .
Order Lists and Bending Diagram Requirements: GFRP bars cannot be bent in
the eld. They are bent to specication at the manufacturing facility. Before
ordering material, submit approved drawings and specications to manufacturer
for quotation. This should include: bar size, length, bent shape and radius of
bends, and quantities in linear feet.
Factory Formed Bends for GFRP: If the plans require bent GFRP bars, the bends
shall be incorporated during bar manufacture. Field bending or straightening of
GFRP bars is not permitted.
Certicate of Compliance: Furnish a Test Results Certicate and Quality
Compliance Certicate for each size of GFRP used on the project. Provide four,
(4) foot long quality assurance samples of each size GFRP bar from each lot
(continuous production run) of material manufactured. Quality assurance samples
will be tested for compliance to the requirements specied as: short beam shear
test and glass transition (Tg).
Quality of Work and Finish: GFRP bars and grids shall be uniform in diameter/
size and free of defects that would be injurious to the mechanical and durability
properties. Defects include: exposed bers, cracks, kinks, and surface pitting.
Slight discoloration over time is typical and is not cause for concern.

Field Fabrication: No eld fabrication is permitted except tying of GFRP

reinforcing bars, eld cutting in accordance with the design or placement
drawings, or both. Field cut GFRP reinforcement only when specically permitted
using high speed grinding cutter, ne blade saw, diamond blade, or masonry
blade. When GFRP bars are cut in the eld, shear cutting is not permitted. All
surface damage due to cutting shall be inspected by the Engineer and repaired or
Handling: GFRP bars can be handled similar to their steel counterparts. If lifting
long sections use two or three pickup points. Minor scratches and chipping are
allowed and do not aect performance. More than .04 of an inch of chipping
should be repaired or replaced. When more than 2% of the surface area of the
bar is excessively chipped or cracked it must be replaced or lap spliced into
another GFRP bar.
Placing and Fastening: Place all reinforcement within the tolerances
recommended in the CRSI Manual of Standard Practice unless otherwise
specied. Hold reinforcement rmly during the placing and setting of the
concrete. If GFRP reinforcement is not adequately supported or tied to resist
settlement, oating upward, or movement in any direction during concrete
placement, concrete placement shall be halted until corrective measures are
Ties and Supports: Keep reinforcement properly positioned during placement of
concrete according to the following:
a. use appropriate ties (plastic or wire) to support the top mat of deck
b. When pre-cast mortar blocks are used provide blocks that have cast-in wires
c. Provide nylon or plastic wire ties (zips)
d. Place all reinforcement in designated position and securely hold in position
while placing and consolidating concrete
e. Wire bars together with ties at all intersections for both top and bottom mats
f. Do not use pebbles, pieces of broken glass, stone or brick, metal pipe or
wooden blocks as bar supports or to separate layers of bars
g. Concrete coverage shall be indicated in the plans

h. Provide the same surface clearances for splices that is shown or specied for
the reinforcement
Lap Splices: Lap splice is the only approved method to tie bars together to make
a continuous bar. Mechanical splices are not allowed unless the manufacture can
prove that 100% of the tensile stress of the bar is developed outside of the
mechanical coupler by ASTM D7205/D. Lap length for tension shall be 12 inches
or 1.3 times the development length of the bar, whichever is greater. Bars spliced
by non contact lap splices in exural members shall not be spaced farther apart
transversally than one-fth the required lap splice length or 6 inches.
Accessories: All accessories for use with the GFRP bars such as tie wires, bar
chairs, supports or clips can be either steel or plastic variances or other tie
Incorporating GFRP and Steel: If the plans oer the option to incorporate steel
bent pieces into GFRP straight bars, lap splicing is permitted and steel
reinforcement can be bent on the job site. If epoxy coated steel is used it must be
retouched with appropriate epoxy paint after bending. For splicing other types of
steel reinforcement such as stainless steel, stainless steel cladding, or ASTM 1035
steel, consult the bid documents or engineer responsible for the design.
Storage of GFRP Bars: Store reinforcement above the surface of the ground on
platforms, skids, pallets, or other supports as close as possible to the point of
placement. If stored outdoors for more than two (2) months, the GFRP bars shall
be covered with a tarp or other protective cover. Protective cover must be at least
opaque in color.
GFRP Reinforcement Through Expansion Joints: Do not continue GFRP
reinforcement or other embedded GFRP items bonded to concrete through
expansion joints. GFRP dowels that extend through a joint or waterstop shall be
un-bonded or bonded to only one side of a joint or waterstop.