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Cole, C. and Belarbi, A.

, "Confinement Characteristics of Rectangular FRP-Jacketed RC Columns”,


Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium on Fiber Reinforced Polymer for Reinforced Concrete
Structures (FRPRCS-5), Cambridge, UK, July 16-18, 2001, pp. 823-832.

Confinement Characteristics of Rectangular


FRP-Jacketed RC Columns

CHRISTOPHER COLE
Graduate Research Assistant, University of Missouri-Rolla, Rolla, USA
ABDELDJELIL BELARBI
Associate Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Missouri-Rolla, Rolla, USA

ABSTRACT
In this study, FRP jackets were investigated for their confinement effectiveness on rectangular
RC columns. Thirteen reduced-scale short columns were tested to failure in axial
compression. Variables investigated include: the type of fibers (AFRP, CFRP or GFRP), the
thickness of the jacket, the aspect ratio of the rectangular cross section and the radii of the
corners. For square columns, GFRP jackets were observed to increase the ultimate axial
stress and strain more effectively than either AFRP or CFRP jackets. One explanation for this
observation may be that glass fibers can sustain greater tensile strains than either aramid or
carbon. Increasing the aspect ratio of the cross sections resulted in a decrease in ultimate
strength, as did increasing the sharpness of the corners.

INTRODUCTION
Over the last few years, there has been a worldwide increase in the use of composite materials
for the rehabilitation of deficient RC structures. One important application of this composite
retrofitting technology is the use of FRP jackets to provide external confinement to RC
columns when the existing internal transverse reinforcement is inadequate. Although a much
better understanding of the structural behavior of RC columns retrofitted with FRP jackets
exists now than 10 years ago, this technology remains in its developmental stages and much
research is still needed. Thus far, the main thrust of research has been aimed at characterizing
the behavior of columns with circular cross sections (Xiao and Wu 2000, Liu et al. 2000).
The results of such research have wide applicability, particularly with regard to circular
bridge piers. However, the vast majority of all columns in buildings are rectangular columns.
Therefore, their strengthening and rehabilitation need to be given attention to preserve the
integrity of building infrastructure.

Jacketed rectangular columns warrant additional research efforts apart from circular columns
because of additional complexities associated with their geometry. Circular RC columns
experience uniform confining pressure around the circumference of their cross section,
whereas for rectangular columns confining pressure is at a maximum at the corners of the
cross section and less in between (Mirmiran et al. 1998). Also, for rectangular columns, the
sharpness of the corners plays a role in the confinement effectiveness of the jacket (Picher et
al. 1996), since stress concentrations at the corners can cause premature rupture of the FRP.
In this study, the sharpness of the corners, the aspect ratio (ratio of the length of the long side
of the cross section to that of the short side) of the cross section, the type of jacket fiber and
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Cole, C. and Belarbi, A., "Confinement Characteristics of Rectangular FRP-Jacketed RC Columns”,
Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium on Fiber Reinforced Polymer for Reinforced Concrete
Structures (FRPRCS-5), Cambridge, UK, July 16-18, 2001, pp. 823-832.

the thickness of the jacket were investigated for their effect on the axial strength and axial
strain of rectangular RC columns subjected to uniform compression.

DESCRIPTION OF TESTING PROGRAM

Specimen Description
Third-scale RC columns were tested under uniaxial compression. Load was gradually applied
to the specimens in a few load-reload cycles of increasing magnitude until failure. The
approximately 21-MPa ready-mix concrete used when pouring the columns utilized 9.5 mm
gravel as the course aggregate due to the small spacing between the reinforcing steel and the
forms. All columns had rectangular cross section of 323 cm2. The cross-sectional aspect
ratios of the columns were 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0.

Each specimen had a middle test region 914 mm


305 mm long and two enlarged block-like ends with
dimensions of 610 mm x 610 mm x 305mm, as
shown in Figure 1. This configuration forced
general failure to occur in the test region and
914 mm prevented premature failure at the ends. The
enlarged ends also served to stabilize the column
during testing and simulate a slab or foundation
connection at the bottom of the specimen.

305 mm The columns were reinforced with four #4 Grade


40 longitudinal rebars, one located at each corner
of the cross section. Transverse reinforcement
610 mm consisted of 6.35 mm smooth dowel, fabricated
with 76 mm extensions on 135 degree hooks.
610 mm
Figure 1. Column Dimensions The corners of the columns were rounded with
varying degrees of sharpness. The columns,
having been chamfered during construction, were marked along their length with lines that
were parallel to and offset from the edges of the chamfered corners. The columns were then
ground so that the finished corners were an elliptical shape as shown by the dashed line in
Figure 2. All of the cross sections received a 13 mm chamfer and a 9.5 mm offset, except for
the two columns for which the corner radius was a test variable. One of these two columns
received a 6.4 mm chamfer and a 4.8 mm offset, while the other received a 19 mm chamfer
and a 14 mm offset. Corner rounding is a well-accepted procedure that is commonly used
when retrofitting rectangular RC columns. The importance of the effect of the sharpness of
the corners comes into play when one is considering the tradeoff between the expense of
grinding larger, smoother corners and the increase in jacket performance that comes from this
activity.

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Cole, C. and Belarbi, A., "Confinement Characteristics of Rectangular FRP-Jacketed RC Columns”,
Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium on Fiber Reinforced Polymer for Reinforced Concrete
Structures (FRPRCS-5), Cambridge, UK, July 16-18, 2001, pp. 823-832.

Three types of high strength fibers were used in this study, namely MBrace™ CF 130 High
Tensile Carbon Fiber, MBrace™ EG 900 E-Glass Fiber and MBrace™ AK 60 Aramid Fiber.
Their properties are shown in Table 1. To jacket the columns, the concrete surface was first
prepared by sandblasting. MBrace™ epoxy-based resins were then used in conjunction with
the above-mentioned fibers to jacket the columns. First a coat of primer was applied to ensure
a good bond between the jacket and the column. Following the primer, a coat of putty was
applied to fill surface flaws and produce a smooth surface. Finally, the fiber sheets were
saturated in resin and applied to the column. The fibers in the jackets were oriented at 90
degrees to the longitudinal axis of the columns. The layers of fibers were applied one at a
time, with each layer overlapping itself to provide for development of the full tensile strength

Offset Distance
Size of Chamfer

Chamfered Corner

Finished Corner Profile

Figure 2. View of the Cross Section of a Column at the Corner

of the fiber sheet. The carbon sheets were overlapped 102 mm, while the aramid and glass
sheets were overlapped 152 mm. No overlap was provided between adjacent sheets in the
longitudinal direction. The jacket thicknesses were varied by varying the number of sheets of
fiber applied. For columns with multiple layers, the overlapped area of each layer of fiber
was rotated 90 degrees from the overlapped area of the previous layer. Two columns were
tested without FRP strengthening to serve as benchmark tests. Table 2 gives a description of
each test specimen.

Table 1. Fiber Properties


Guaranteed Guaranteed
Load per Sheet Tensile Modulus
Fiber Type Ultimate Ultimate Strain
Width (kN/m) (GPa)
Strength (MPa) (%)
Aramid 2000 559 117 1.7
Carbon 3790 627 228 1.7
E-Glass 1520 534 72.4 2.1

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Cole, C. and Belarbi, A., "Confinement Characteristics of Rectangular FRP-Jacketed RC Columns”,
Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium on Fiber Reinforced Polymer for Reinforced Concrete
Structures (FRPRCS-5), Cambridge, UK, July 16-18, 2001, pp. 823-832.

Instrumentation and Data Acquisition

Measurement of Axial Load: The axial load was applied using a 1780 kN Baldwin testing
machine. The load was monitored using a 2220 kN load cell, located on top of the column, as
shown in Figure 3.

Measurement of Axial Strain


The axial strain measurement in the FRP was achieved using strain gages having 51 mm gage
lengths. Two strain gages were applied near the middle of the 914-mm testing region. In
addition, the axial deformation of the specimen as a whole was measured using LVDT’s and
string transducers as shown in Figure 3. The string for the string transducer was threaded
through a pulley attached near the bottom of the test region and then tied near the top of the
test region to an eyebolt screwed into the side of the column. The string transducer, having an
internal spring-loaded recoil device, kept tension on the string and sensed the shortening of
the string, which corresponded to the axial shortening of the column as it was loaded. The
gage lengths of the LVDT’s and string transducers were 380 mm and 760 mm, respectively.

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Cole, C. and Belarbi, A., "Confinement Characteristics of Rectangular FRP-Jacketed RC Columns”,
Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium on Fiber Reinforced Polymer for Reinforced Concrete Structures (FRPRCS-5), Cambridge, UK, July 16-18, 2001,
pp. 823-832.

Table 2. Specimen Characteristics


Lateral
Fiber Jacket Long. Cross-sectional Lateral
Column Name Corner* Reinf. Variable
Amount Type Reinf. Dimensions Reinf.
Spacing
6.4
No 13 mm
Ref-Rect1/1 4#4 181 mm x 181 mm mm 178 mm Bench mark
Fiber chamfer
dowel
2CFRP-Rect1/1 4#4 181 mm x 181 mm 6.4 178 mm
Cross-sectional
2CFRP-Rect3/2 2 plies CFRP 4#4 146 mm x 222 mm ** mm 178 mm
aspect ratio
2CFRP-Rect2/1 4#4 127mm x 254 mm dowel 178 mm
2CFRP-Rect1/1-6.4mm *** 6.4
2 plies CFRP 4#4 181 mm x 181 mm mm 178 mm Corner radius
2CFRP-Rect1/1-19mm **** dowel
6.4
CFRP
1CFRP-Rect1/1 1 ply CFRP 4#4 181 mm x 181 mm ** mm 178 mm
effectiveness
dowel
1GFRP-Rect1/1 1 ply 6.4
GFRP
2GFRP-Rect1/1 2 plies GFRP 4#4 181 mm x 181 mm ** mm 178 mm
effectiveness
3GFRP-Rect /1
1 3 plies dowel
1AFRP-Rect /1
1 1 ply 6.4
AFRP
2AFRP-Rect1/1 2 plies AFRP 4#4 181 mm x 181 mm ** mm 178 mm
effectiveness
3AFRP-Rect1/1 3 plies dowel
* See Figure 2 and accompanying discussion
** 13 mm chamfer rounded with 9.5 mm offsets
*** 6.4 mm chamfer rounded with 4.8 mm offsets
**** 19 mm chamfer rounded with 14 mm offsets

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Cole, C. and Belarbi, A., "Confinement Characteristics of Rectangular FRP-Jacketed RC Columns”,
Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium on Fiber Reinforced Polymer for Reinforced Concrete
Structures (FRPRCS-5), Cambridge, UK, July 16-18, 2001, pp. 823-832.

Loading Machine
Load Cell
Steel Platen

Eyebolt
LVDT String Transducer
Pulley String

Base Beams

Figure 3. Test Setup for Columns Under Uniaxial Compression

Column Designation
The columns have been given descriptive names to eliminate the need for frequent reference
to Table 2. The specimen names, as shown in the first column of Table 2, are composed of
three terms separated by hyphens. Each of these terms gives information about some aspect
of the column as described below.

The first term describes the jacket. Ref, CFRP, GFRP and AFRP denote reference
(unjacketed), carbon FRP, glass FRP and aramid FRP, respectively. The number preceding
these designations for the jacketed columns refers to the number of sheets of FRP making up
the jacket. The second term describes the shape of the column cross section. Rect refers to a
rectangular cross section. The fraction proceeding Rect refers to the aspect ratio of the
column cross section. The 6.4mm and the 19mm designations comprising the third term refer
to the size of the corner chamfer and are shown only on the specimens for which this
parameter is a variable. For the remainder of the columns the chamfer is understood to be 13
mm.

TEST RESULTS

General Behavior of Concrete Confined by FRP


As shown in Figure 4 by the upper two curves, the axial stress-axial strain curves of concrete
passively confined by FRP are essentially in two parts with a small transition zone at the initial
point of slope change. For the sake of discussion, the first portion of the curve will be referred
to as the elastic zone and the portion to the right of the transition zone as the plastic zone.

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Cole, C. and Belarbi, A., "Confinement Characteristics of Rectangular FRP-Jacketed RC Columns”,
Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium on Fiber Reinforced Polymer for Reinforced Concrete
Structures (FRPRCS-5), Cambridge, UK, July 16-18, 2001, pp. 823-832.

The slope of the elastic portion of the curve is essentially identical to that of the unconfined
concrete. The type of jacket with which the concrete is confined has little effect on this
portion of the curve, except that a stiffer jacket tends to increase the stress and strain at which
the transition zone occurs. The stress-strain curve of unconfined concrete is plotted with the
confined concrete curves for comparison (see Figure 4). The reason the confined and

Axial Stress

Well-Confined Concrete

Poorly-Confined Concrete

Unconfined Concrete

Axial Strain

Elastic Zone Plastic Zone


Transition Zone
Figure 4. Typical Shapes of Axial Stress-Axial Strain Curves
for Concrete Passively Confined by FRP

unconfined curves are very similar in the elastic zone is that concrete undergoes little
expansion under small loads and thus does not react against the restraint of the jacket to
produce confinement pressure.

The plastic zone occurs shortly after the peak strength of the unconfined concrete has been
reached. At this point, the concrete is expanding rapidly and has fully activated the jacket. In
the plastic zone, a small increase in stress causes a large (relative to the elastic zone) increase
in lateral expansion. This expansion causes two actions. First, it deteriorates the condition of
the internal structure of the concrete. Second, it causes increased confining pressure, since the
fibers in the jacket exhibit linear elastic behavior until failure. These two actions help define
the slope of the plastic portion of the curve. If the concrete is well confined, then the slope
will be positive and usually quite linear, indicating that the confining pressure is sufficient to
curb the effect of the deteriorating condition of the concrete and allow greater stress to be
applied. If the concrete is not well-confined, then the peak axial stress will be similar to that
of unconfined concrete, indicating that the confining pressure is not sufficient to overcome the
effect of the degradation of the concrete under the large strains it is experiencing. In practice,
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Cole, C. and Belarbi, A., "Confinement Characteristics of Rectangular FRP-Jacketed RC Columns”,
Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium on Fiber Reinforced Polymer for Reinforced Concrete
Structures (FRPRCS-5), Cambridge, UK, July 16-18, 2001, pp. 823-832.

if the purpose of the FRP jacket is to avoid brittle failure, then the slope of the plastic zone
need not be large, as the gain in plastic deformation will be more important than the gain in
load capacity.

General Test Observations


The columns were tested at varying ages, the youngest age being about two months and the
oldest seven months. Because the columns were not all poured from the same batch of
concrete, the axial loads sustained by the columns had to be normalized with respect to the
strength of their companion cylinders. These cylinders were allowed to cure with their
respective columns in most cases. The notable exceptions were columns Ref-Rect1/1, 2CFRP-
Rect1/1, Ref-Rect2/1, and 2CFRP-Rect2/1 for which the cylinders remained outside for 3 to 4
weeks in winter weather conditions while the columns were inside the testing lab. The least
mature concrete was about 28 days old when this separation occurred.

In all cases, the failure of the columns was the result of the rupture of the FRP jacket. The
failure of the columns with CFRP and AFRP were notably more violent than the columns
with GFRP and often even explosive. Figure 5 shows two views of column 1AFRP-Rect1/1
after failure.

Figure 5. (Left) Failure of Column 1AFRP-Rect1/1; (Right) Close-up of Failure Region

Performance of AFRP, CFRP and GFRP Jackets


The axial load versus axial deformation curves for the AFRP, CFRP and GFRP jacketed
square columns are shown in Figure 6, Figure 7 and Figure 8, respectively. The curves shown
are actually the envelope of the curves obtained during testing, since the columns were loaded
and reloaded a few times before failing them. The load sustained by the columns was
normalized by subtracting the load resisted by the longitudinal steel from the applied load and
then dividing this difference by the product of the area of concrete in the section and the
cylinder strength of the particular column.
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Cole, C. and Belarbi, A., "Confinement Characteristics of Rectangular FRP-Jacketed RC Columns”,
Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium on Fiber Reinforced Polymer for Reinforced Concrete
Structures (FRPRCS-5), Cambridge, UK, July 16-18, 2001, pp. 823-832.

In Figure 6, data were not available for the deformations of columns 2AFRP-Rect1/1 and
3AFRP-Rect1/1 in the latter loading stages. The straight dashed lines added to these curves
begin at the point where data is no longer available and extend to the known failure load. In
Figure 8 the discontinuity in the curve for column 2GFRP-Rect1/1 occurred as a result of
sudden load and deformation changes caused by some localized fiber rupture.

Figure 6, Figure 7 and Figure 8 show that for a 1-ply jacket, there is little difference in
ultimate axial strength between the three fiber types. However, for 2 and 3 plies, the glass
clearly outperforms the aramid and carbon with respect to increasing the ultimate axial
strength of the columns. This performance comes despite the fact that the glass sheets have a
slightly lower load per sheet width and the lowest modulus of elasticity of the three fiber
types. Note also that the ultimate axial strains sustained by the columns are greatest with the
glass jackets.

Effect of Corner Sharpness and Aspect Ratio on Ultimate Axial Strength


Figure 9 shows the effect of the corner sharpness on the ultimate strength of square columns
with 2-ply CFRP jackets. The method of normalization of the capacity is the same as that
described above. It can be seen that, in general, the strength of the column increases with
decreasing corner sharpness. However, increasing the corner chamfer from 6.4 mm to 13 mm
resulted in a much greater strength increase than increasing the chamfer from 13 mm to 19
mm. Figure 10 shows the effect of the aspect ratio of the cross-section on the strength of
rectangular columns with 2-ply CFRP jackets. As shown, increasing the aspect ratio
decreases the ultimate strength of the columns.

CONCLUSIONS
Uniaxial compression tests on small-scale rectangular RC columns confined with FRP jackets
have shown the following.
• GFRP jackets are more effective than CFRP or AFRP jackets at increasing the
ultimate axial strength and ultimate axial strain of square RC columns.
• An increase in the sharpness of the corners of the cross section results in a lower
ultimate strength for a CFRP-jacketed RC column.
• An increase in the aspect ratio of the cross section results in a lower ultimate strength
for a CFRP-jacketed RC column.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This project was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and a consortium of industry
partners including DuPont Advanced Fibers Systems, Master Builders, Inc., Owens Corning,
Structural Preservation Systems, Inc., Toray Carbon Fibers America, Inc., and Reichhold
Chemicals. Their support is gratefully acknowledged.

REFERENCES
1. Liu, H., Tai, N., and Chen, C. (2000). “Compression strength of concrete columns
reinforced by non-adhesive filament wound hybrid composites.” Composites - Part A:
Applied Science and Manufacturing, 31(3), 221-233.

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Cole, C. and Belarbi, A., "Confinement Characteristics of Rectangular FRP-Jacketed RC Columns”,
Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium on Fiber Reinforced Polymer for Reinforced Concrete
Structures (FRPRCS-5), Cambridge, UK, July 16-18, 2001, pp. 823-832.

2. Mirmiran, A., Shahawy, M., Samaan, M., Echary, H. E., Mastrapa, J. C., and Pico, O.
(1998). “Effect of column parameters on FRP-confined concrete.” Journal of Composites
for Construction, ASCE, 2(4), 175-185.

3. Picher, F., Rochette, P., and Labossière, P. (1996). “Confinement of concrete cylinders
with CFRP.” Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Composites in
Infrastructure, H. Saadatmanesh and M. R. Ehsani, eds., University of Arizona, Tucson,
Arizona, 829-841.

4. Xiao, Y., and Wu, H. (2000). “Compressive behavior of concrete confined by carbon fiber
composite jackets.” Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering, ASCE, 12(2), 139-146.

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Cole, C. and Belarbi, A., "Confinement Characteristics of Rectangular FRP-Jacketed RC Columns”,
Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium on Fiber Reinforced Polymer for Reinforced Concrete
Structures (FRPRCS-5), Cambridge, UK, July 16-18, 2001, pp. 823-832.

Normalized Axial Load 2.5

2
(P-Asfs)/(Acf’c)

3AFRP-Rect1/1
1.5
2AFRP-Rect1/1
1

0.5 1AFRP-Rect1/1
End of Ref-Rect1/1
0
0 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000 30000 35000
Microstrain
Figure 6. Normalized Axial Load vs. Axial Deformation (AFRP)

2.5
Normalized Axial Load

2 1CFRP-Rect1/1
(P-Asfs)/(Acf’c)

1.5

1
2CFRP-Rect1/1
0.5
Ref-Rect1/1
0
0 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000 30000 35000
Microstrain
Figure 7. Normalized Axial Load vs. Axial Deformation (CFRP)

2.5
2GFRP-Rect1/1
Normalized Axial Load

2
(P-Asfs)/(Acf’c)

1.5

1 2GFRP-Rect1/1

0.5 1GFRP-Rect1/1
Ref-Rect1/1
0
0 5000 10000 1500011 20000 25000 30000 35000
Microstrain
Figure 8. Normalized Axial Load vs. Axial Deformation (GFRP)
Cole, C. and Belarbi, A., "Confinement Characteristics of Rectangular FRP-Jacketed RC Columns”,
Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium on Fiber Reinforced Polymer for Reinforced Concrete
Structures (FRPRCS-5), Cambridge, UK, July 16-18, 2001, pp. 823-832.

1.5 Chamfer = 19 mm
Chamfer = 13 mm
1.25
Chamfer = 6.4 mm
Normalized Strength

1
(P-Asfs)/(Acf’c)

2CFRP-Rect1/1-6.4mm

2CFRP-Rect1/1-13mm

2CFRP-Rect1/1-19mm
0.75

0.5
Ref-Rect1/1

0.25

0
Decreasing Corner Sharpness
Figure 9. Effect of Corner Sharpness on Ultimate Axial Strength (2-ply
CFRP Jackets)

1.5
Aspect Ratio = 1.0
Aspect Ratio = 1.5
1.25
Aspect Ratio = 2.0
Normalized Strength

1
(P-Asfs)/(Acf’c)

0.75
2CFRP-Rect3/2

2CFRP-Rect2/1
2CFRP-Rect1/1

0.5

0.25

0
Increasing Aspect Ratio
Figure 10. Effect of Aspect Ratio on Ultimate Strength (2-ply CFRP Jackets)

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