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By Nikola Deskovic, I Student Member, ASCE,

Thanasis C. Triantafillou,2 Member, ASCE, and Urs Meier3

ABSTRACT: The study presents the mechanics associated with the short-term ~ehavior. of glass-fiber reinforced-
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plastic (GFRP) box beams that includ~ a layer of conc.rete and a. carbon.-flber-remforced-~Iastlc lamm~te
(CFRP) in the compression and the tenstOn zone, r~spectlvely.. Thls ~nnovatlve concept results m.cost-effectlve
composite members with pseudoductile charactenstlcs and high stIffness an? strength properties. It can be
thought of as a better way of producing composite stm.ctural members. for simply suppor!~d spans, th~ough
an automated manufacturing technique such as puItmstOn. The analytical results are venfled by a senes ~f
bending tests on large-scale specimens and by the finite~el~ment te~hnique. The agreement b~tween exper~~
ments and analysis was found quite satisfactory. A prehmmary design procedure for the hybr.ld memb~rs IS
also presented, based on a comple~~ set of stiffn~s.s, stre~gth (flexural strength, web shear fmlure by eIther
crushing or buckling, lateral instablhty), and ductlhty desIgn reqUIrements.

INTRODUCTION technology linked to innovative designs to enable more ef-

ficient, reliable, and cost-effective structures to be produced,
Substantial progress has been made in the use of composites composite materials will hardly take their place in construc-
in specialized market sectors of the construction industry over tion alongside traditional materials such as concrete, steel,
the last few years, including the introduction of mass-\?ro- and wood.
duced fiber reinforced-plastic (FRP) structural members mto This paper presents how composite materials can be com-
civil engineering structures. These composite materials con- bined with a low-cost construction material, concrete. to re-
sist of continuous fibers of glass, aramid, or carbon embedded sult in new concepts for the design of lightweight, corrosion
in a polymer resin matrix such as polyester, epox.y, or vi- immune, and yet inexpensive, beams with excellent damping
nylester. In advanced composites, the fibers are onented at and fatigue properties. The short-term behavior of the .pro-
high volume fractions in the directions of significant. stress. posed system is studied in detail. This new concept lends Itself
Properties of interest to engineers offered by composItes are to low-cost prefabrication of high-performance structural ele-
high tensile strength, low weight, corrosion immunity, high
ments, with a high potential of use in both today's constr.uc-
fatigue strength, high damping, and electromagnetic neu- tion of specialized composite structures and tomorrow's bUIld-
trality (Hull 1981). An important applicatio~ of c~mposites ings and bridges formed out of modular systems.
in structural engineering involves the use of lIghtweIght com-
ponents such as framing, walkways and bridges in corros~ve
environments, chemical and water treatment plants, coolIng NEW DESIGN CONCEPT
towers and non-electromagnetic interference buildings [e.g., Consider the case of a glass fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP)
McCormick (1978), Starr (1983), Sims et al. (1987), Bakeri pultruded beam section. Thin-walled box sections are the
(1989), Bank and Mosallam (1990), Hollaway (1990), Plecnik most efficient for beams [e.g., Ashby (1991)], and are, in
et al. (1990), Head (1992), Johansen et al. (1992), and Des- fact, very commonly used in structural applications of pul-
kovic (1993)]. truded profiles. However, they suffer from some disadvan-
Manufacture of composite materials by automated pro- tages, including the following: (1) The compressive flange is
cesses can produce today high-quality components at a rel- considerably weaker than the tensile flange, because GFRP
atively low labor cost. One such process is pultrusion, in which has a compressive strength about half its tensile strength and
fibers are pulled through a heated die into which resin is because of local buckling phenomena (Banks and Rhodes
injected, and a fully cured member is produced with good 1983; Holmes and Just 1983); (2) failure is usually catastrophic
dimensional stability. Typical member cross sections made by without warning, because composite materials are linear elas-
the pultrusion process are shown in Fig. 1. Pultrusion is a tic to failure; and (3) the design is usually governed by stiffness
fast-growing process for manufacturing FRP structural mem- (because of the relatively low stiffness of GFRP), resulting
bers. A greater awareness among engineers of how the fea- in a need for excessive use of composite material to satisfy
tures of pultruded products can be translated into cost-saving certain displacement requirements. In view of this, a novel
benefits has made the method quite popular. However, until and more efficient design of composite box sections is pos-
significant further developments take place in manufacturing sible, driven by the following considerations. First, the
'Techno!. Sector ConsuhanJ, McKinsey & Co., Inc., Munich, Ger- compression stresses in the section should be carried by a
many; formerly, Grad. Res. Asst., Dept. of Civ. and Envir. Engrg., material with the highest compressive strength and stiffness
Massachusetts Inst. of Techno!., Cambridge, MA 02139. to cost ratio, and therefore the GFRP flange could be elim-
'Lect., Dept. of Civ. Engrg .. Struct. Div., Univ. of Patras. Patras inated and substituted by a layer of concrete. Second, another
26500. Greece.
'Dir. and Prof.-Ing.• Swiss Fed. Lab. for Mat. Testing and Res. (EMPA).
Dubendorf. Switzerland.
Note. Associate Editor: Steven L. McCabe. Discussion open until
December l. 1995. Separate discussions should be submitted for the
individual papers in this symposium. To extend the closing date one
month. a written request must be filed with the ASCE Manager of
Journals. The manuscript for this paper was submitted for review and
possible publication on July 9. 1993. This paper is part of the Journal of
Structural Engineering. Vo!. 121. No.7. July. 1995. ©ASCE. ISSN 0733-
9445!95/0007-1069~ 107X/$2.()() + $.25 per page. Paper No. 6524. FIG. 1. Typical Pultruded Composites Cross Sections


J. Struct. Eng., 1995, 121(7): 1069-1078

elements supporting the concrete layer are very thin and do
not affect the behavior of the section; for instance, the width
of the concrete layer is taken equal to b. Also, it is assumed
that II, 12 « d. The properties of the different materials
constituting the cross section are as follows: E, = Young's
modulus of concrete;.t: = compressive strength of concrete;
E:' = ultimate compressive strain of concrete; E" = longi-
tudinal Young's modulus of webs; E",,. = transverse Young's
(a) (b)
modulus of webs; G", = shear modulus of webs; VI. = lon-
FIG. 2. Beam Sections Made of FRP and Concrete Materials by gitudinal Poisson's ratio of webs; V,. = transverse Poisson's
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Combination ratio of webs; Tf'" = shear fracture strength of webs; E, =

Young's modulus of GFRP bottom flange; E ~ = tensile fail-
ure strain of GFRP; E 2 = Young's modulus of CFRP lami-
c nate; and Ei = tensile failure strain of CFRP.

GFRP .......... Sliffness

The flexural rigidity D of the hybrid FRP-concrete section
is given by the following:
d D = E.,.{(n,bc ' 1J2) + n,.bc[y + (c/2)]" + n,bt,(d - y)2
( I)

where n, = EJE",; n, = £,/£",; n 2 = £2b2/£"b; and y =

depth of the centroidal axis from the concrete bottom fiber
given as follows:
y = [- (1I2)n,bc 2 + n,bdl, + n 2bdl, + t".d']!
FIG. 3. Cross-Section Variables of Hybrid FRP-Concrete Beam
In thin-walled box sections under a vertical shear force,
composite material with a failure strain less than that of GFRP the shear load is primarily carried by the webs. Therefore, a
could be added to the section's tension zone, so that it will simple approximate formula for the shear rigidity Q gives the
be the first element to fail, thus giving some warning of an following:
imminent collapse (pseudoductility). Because this element
will be part of a flange, it should preferably also possess a
Q = 2G w t w d (3)
high stiffness to increase the section's rigidity. A thin layer
of externally epoxy-bonded carbon fiber reinforced plastic Failure Analysis
(CFRP) appears to be the best candidate material for this The hybrid section loaded in bending can fail in a number
purpose. Use of this material will also enhance the member's of possible ways. The webs may fracture or buckle due to
creep and fatigue behavior, given that CFRP is practically shear stresses, resulting in shear failure; one or more of the
creep-free and has an excellent response to fatigue loading. beam's elements may fail due to normal stresses, resulting in
Finally, because the proposed design involves casting of con- flexural failure; the beam may buckle laterally (lateral tor-
crete, part of the cross section should also be used as form- sional buckling); the bond at the GFRP-concrete or GFRP-
work for the wet concrete, to minimize fabrication costs. CFRP interface may fail causing debonding; and if the con-
A schematic illustration of hybrid FRP-concrete cross sec- crete layer is (unreasonably) thick, the concrete may fail in
tions for simply supported bealY's in both building and bridge (diagonal) shear.
applications is given in Fig. 2. Note that the top concrete Debonding is not examined in this study, because it is be-
layer is encased in a GFRP channel with wall thickness just lieved to be of no crucial importance. The shear strength of
equal to that required to carry the wet concrete and to transfer good epoxy adhesives is often several times higher than that
the GFRP-concrete interface shear stresses. Furthermore, a of concrete, and shear connectors can eliminate the possibility
good bond between the concrete and the GFRP can be achieved of bond failure completely; debonding at the GFRP-CFRP
by either using epoxy adhesives or providing mechanical de- interface is unlikely to occur due to the very low magnitude
formations (shear connectors) to the top GFRP surface, or, of the shear stresses (relative to the shear strength of high-
finally, by a combination of the two. A better insight into the quality epoxy adhesives) present there. If necessary, de-
short-term mechanical behavior of the proposed concept and bonding can be analyzed according to the compliance method
highlights of a design methodology for the new members are [e.g., Knott (1973) and Triantafillou and Plevris (1992)]. Con-
given in the following sections. crete shear failure in the form of diagonal cracking is not
considered here either, because it is very unlikely to occur
SHORT-TERM ANALYSIS AND DESIGN PROCEDURE for reasonably thick concrete layers (Deskovic 1993). The
other failure mechanisms are discussed next.
Simplified Short-Term Analysis
An idealization of the proposed cross section for hybrid Web Shear Fracture
FRP-concrete beam elements is shown in Fig. 3. The webs As an approximation, the maximum shear stress T",,,, in the
have a depth d and a thickness I",; the bottom GFRP flange web may be taken to be equal to 1.5 times the average shear
has a thickness I,; the concrete layer has a thickness c; the stress in the web, thus
CFRP laminate has a width b 2 and a thickness 12 ; and the
section has a width b. An assumption made here is that the T",,"x = (3/2)( Vj2t"d) (4)

J. Struct. Eng., 1995, 121(7): 1069-1078

TABLE 1 Values of 0 versus K in Web
(} K (} K y
(1 ) (2) (1 ) (2)
0 IR.6 3.0 17.6
0.2 IR.9 5.0 16.6 d-y
0.5 19.9 10.0 15.9
1.0 22.2 20.0 15.5
2.0 IS.R 40.0 15.3

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where V = section's ultimate shear strength. Shear fracture Ca)

occurs ~hen the maximum shear stress equals the in-plane
FIG. 4. Distribution at CFRP Fracture: (a) Strain; (b) Stress
fracture shear strength of the webs T~,., giving the following:
V" = (4/3)t".d-r/~, (5)

Web Shear Buckling

The average web shear buckling stress T;". can be deter-
mined theoretically as follows (Timoshenko and Gere 1961;
Holmes and Just 1983):
T nil"
for e> I (6a) GFRP flange .........IIIIIIII

(a) (b) (c)

FIG. 5. Flexural Failure of Cross Section: (a) Strain Distribution;
4KVD T H (b) Simplified Stress Distribution; (c) Exact Stress Distribution
T'm' " for e< 1 (6b)
where to the ultimate flexural capacity of the cross section are il-
lustrated in Fig. 5. The stresses in the concrete layer are
(7a,b) calculated here based on the equivalent rectangular stress
block approach [e.g., Park and Paulay (1975)]. The depth of
the neutral axis y" is established from internal force equilib-
(7c) rium as follows:

(7d) y" = [-(ad3J:be2)/(E;'E.,.) + n,bdt,

and the value of K depends on e as shown in Table I (Holmes + t".d 2]/[(a,I3J:be)/(E;'E,,) + /l,bt, + 2t".dl (II)
and Just 1983). Shear buckling occurs when the average shear
stress equals the shear buckling stress, as follows: where a, = 0.85 (for normal strength concrete). Note here
that because the concrete layer does not extend down to the
V" = 2t".d-r;". (8) neutral axis, the value for 13, should be closer to 1 than the
0.65-0.85 value used in reinforced-concrete analysis. Finally,
Flexural Failure moment equilibrium gives the flexural capacity of the cross
section, as follows:
In a well-designed hybrid FRP-concrete section, the CFRP
laminate fails first (thus giving a warning of collapse) at a M" = u,I3J:be[d + e(2 - u,)/2j + E;'E"J"y~(d
moment M 2 • The stresses are then redistributed and the sec-
tion continues to carry an increasing moment until the con- - y)3)/(c + y,.) - E;'E.,t".(d - y,,)'/3(e + y,,) (12)
crete crushes in compression when its maximum compressive
strain equals the ultimate failure strain of concrete E :'. Crush- under the constraint that the GFRP flange has not fractured
ing of concrete defines flexural collapse at a moment M" that (E, < En, that is
is higher than M 2 .
The normal strain and stress distributions corresponding (13)
to M 2 are given in Fig. 4. Assuming that the concrete is
approximately linear elastic when the CFRP laminate fails, Lateral Instability
the depth of the neutral axis is given by (2) and M 2 is cal-
culated as Although box sections have a high resistance to lateral
torsional buckling in general, limits to a section's height-to-
M, = /l,E;E"bcy[(d + c/2)/(d - y)] + /l.. E;E".be~[(d width ratio are often imposed to prevent lateral instability
and satisfy other practical design requirements. Hence, a con-
+ 2/3e)/2(d - y)] + E;E..r".y2[(d - y/3)/(d - y)] straint inequality of the form
- (1I3)E~E.J".(d - yf (9) (e + d)/b < k, (14)
under the condition that the strain in the concrete top fiber
is less than E:', that is is adopted in this study, where k, = a constant to be chosen
by the designer. Practical experience with composite material
(10) sections and thin walled hybrid sections made of other ma-
terials indicates that a number around 3 is a reasonable con-
The normal strain and stress distributions corresponding servative estimate for k I'

J. Struct. Eng., 1995, 121(7): 1069-1078

Ductility Considerations load uncertainty factors) for hybrid FRP-concrete sections is
summa:ized as follows: (1) Design the cross section for shear
~t the cross-section level, ductility can be defined as the
by solvm~ (16) and (17) for d and t",; (2) select a very low
ratio of the curvature at failure (<j>") to that at the deviation
CFRP thIckness; t2 ; (3) solve the nonlinear system of (12).
from the linear elastic response, that is when the CFRP lam-
(18), and (19) for c, b, and t ,; (4) calculate the flexural and
inate fractures (<j>*). From Figs. 4 and 5, the curvature duc-
she~r and hence the deflection at a given load; and
tility is calculated as follows:
(5) If the stIffness requirement is not met, increase d and
<1>"/<1>* = (E;'/E;)[(d - y)/(c + y,,)] (IS) possibly t2 and repeat steps 3-4 until the stiffness constraint
is satisfied.
Note that to avoid confusion with the classical definition of It must be noted that box-type sections are inherently stiff.
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ductility that involves yielding, the term pseudoductility will ~urthermore, s~paration of the stiff concrete and CFRP layers
be used instead. I~ expected to mcrease the rigidity of the cross section con-
slderably, and it is believed that the stiffness constraint will
Design Procedure :arely be .activated. The design methodology presented above
The problem under consideration here is the selection of IS better Illustrated in the following example.
!he cross section's geometric variables (d, t w , c, b, f and t 2 )
" Example
m ter~s of the given material properties, so that a given set
of desIgn requirements is satisfied at the minimum cost. A
typical set of design constraints could consist of a bending A simply supported hybrid FRP-concrete beam is to carry
mo~ent and a shear force to be carried safely by the cross
a heavy load P" = 80 kN over a span I = 3 m. The material
properties adopted here are as follows: FOI concrete, E. =
sectlo~ (s.tren~th constraints), as well as a maximum displace-
ment lImIt (stIffness constraint). Some essential concepts to- 30 GPa; ~, = 0.8; t: = 40 MPa; E~' = 0.003. For CFRP: E,
= 120 GPa; E~ = 0.008; and b 2 /b = 1. For GFRP webs, E,~
ward~ the development of an appropriate design procedure
= 17 GPa; E",r = 15 GPa; G". = 9 GPa; Vi = 0.3; V r =
are discussed next: (1) The proposed hybrid section does not
0.2; and T fw = 29 MPa. For GFRP flange, £1 = 25 GPA;
offer. a shea.r s.trength considerably higher than that of a geo-
metncally sImIlar GFRP section without the concrete and the and Ej = 0.012. They are representative of pultruded GFRP
C~R~ layers; (2) the webs are designed optimally when they
u.nidirecti~mal CFRP, and normal strength concrete. The de~
sIgn reqUIrements for three-point bending are given as fol-
fall simultaneously according to all their associated failure
modes (note here that failure mode interactions are neglected lows: M" = P"l/4 = 60 kNm; V" = P)2 = 40 kN; and the
and that all the web failure modes are sudden); (3) CFRP is allowable displacement at a load P, = O.5P" is Ll max = l!200.
From (16) and (17) we calculate d = 294 mm and t", = 3.51
an .expensive material and the primary purpose of its appli-
mm, and select d = 300 mm and f", = 3.5 mm. Furthermore,
catlo? should be to provide for a pseudoductile response in
assuming a thin CFRP laminate of t2 = 0.1 mm, (12), (18),
bendmg; (9) the ductility increases when the thickness of the
and (19) give c = 53.64 mm, b = 117.88 mm, and t , = 1.05
CFRP laminate decreases (because the CFRP fails at a lower
mm (for k , = 3 and k 2 = 0.75), which are rounded off to
load; (5) if the area fraction of CFRP used is extremely low,
c = 54 mm, b = 120 mm, and t 1 = 1.1 mm. A check of the
the CFRP laminate will fail prematurely at a low load; (6) if
stiffness requirement shows that it is satisfied. Furthermore,
the load at failure of the CFRP is a high fraction of the
neither of the inequalities, (10) and (13), is violated. The
ultimate load, and given that the jump of either the load or
design variables selected indicate that CFRP fracture occurs
the ~isplaceme~t at. CFRP failure should not be too high,
at a load of 60.9 kN, which (for a displacement control test)
warnmg ?f. an Imm.ment collapse comes too late; and (7)
suddenly drops to 56 kN, and then the load increases until
concrete IS mexpenslve and its use in the cross section should
the concrete crushes at 82.1 kN.
be maximized.
For the sake of comparison, it is assumed next that the
I.tem 2 suggests that (5)-(8) should all be satisfied, indi-
same mem~er (subje~ted to the same stiffness and strength
catmg that d and t", can be obtained in terms of the material
~eslg~ reqUlreI?ents) IS made of a box GFRP pultruded pro-
properties and the ultimate shear force as follows:
fIle WIth matenal properties as given previously. The top and
bottom flanges are assumed here to be identical. Note that
the design of GFRP beams is usually controlled by stiffness,
and the best use of material in the flanges of a box section
for a given stiffness is made when they are the same. To carry

d = J3~,
2(1 -
+ v:E,,) + 2G w l,
the shear force of 40 kN, the webs of the GFRP section are
designed identical to those of the hybrid section (d = 300
mm and t", = 3.5 mm). Furthermore, the width is taken as
pre~iously (b = 120 ~m). The remaining unknown design
for e< 1 (16b) vanab!e, the flang~ thickness t 1, is then calculated to satisfy
(17) the stiffness reqUIrement and the following strength con-
t". = 3V)4tt"d
straints: top flange crushing; top flange local buckling; and
I? addition, foregoing items 5 and 6 suggest that the bottom flange fracture. The compressive crushing strength of
deSIgner should specify a certain ratio of the moment at CFRP GFRP is taken as 60% of its tensile strength and the buckling
fracture to the ultimate moment, say stress of the top flange is calculated by the following formula
(Timoshenko and Gere 1961; Holmes and Just 1983):
Finally, from item 7 we may conclude that inequality (14)
should be used in the form of an equation, as follows: where D L , D" and H are calculated by (7a)-(7c) with VI. =
0.3;VI. = 0.1; and E"" E wr , G"" and t". substituted by E 1,
(c + d)/b = kl (19)
En = 10 GPa, G I = 8 GPa, and t l , correspondingly. Based
G.iv~n these considerations, the proposed design procedure on this approach, the flange thickness is calculated as t, =
(omlttmg here for simplicity the application of material and 10 mm, which just satisfies the stiffness requirement (and


J. Struct. Eng., 1995, 121(7): 1069-1078

TABLE 2. Relative Material Densities and Costs mm with a corner radius of 10 mm. The epoxy:hardener:
accelerator proportions in the resin were 100: 115:0.2 by weight.
Material data Concrete GFRP
(2) (3) (4)
To maximize the shear strength of the webs, the following
(1 )
steps were followed: two layers were wound first at :±:45°,
Relative density 24 16 13 achieving a thickness of about 1.5 mm; 2 mm thick prefab-
Relative cost/weight 0.1 18 160
ricated GFRP plates with fibers at ± 4SO were placed in the
webs and positioned by running one winding at a steep angle;
corresponds to overdesigning the section for bending by about and two more layers were wound at ± 45°, increasing the
30%). section wall thickness by approximately 1.5 mm. After the
Finally, based on the relative material densities and costs plates were inserted, short carbon fibers saturated with epoxy
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given in Table 2, it is concluded that the hybrid FRP-concrete resin were used to fill the small gaps along the beam corners
section is 2.6 times heavier than the GFRP section (but still where the inserted plates joined with the wound layers. An
quite light compared to a traditional concrete or steel section) average of 5 h was needed for the winding of each beam.
at an approximately 50% material-cost reduction. At the same Each GFRP plate was made in the laboratory from eight
time, the hybrid section possesses ductility characteristics that layers of 3,600 x 280 mm prepregs (epoxy-resin-impreg-
are not offered by the GFRP section. nated glass fibers where curing of the matrix has been inter-
rupted). The prepregs were bonded to each other under a
Refined Analysis pressure of 0.2 MPa and a temperature of 120°C kept constant
for 4 h, according to the vacuum bag and autoclave tech-
The procedure presented can be employed for a prelimi- niques.
nary selection of the hybrid cross-section dimensions. A re- Next, the GFRP elements were wrapped with a silicone-
fined short-term flexural failure analysis could be based on impregnated nylon mesh, which absorbed some of the excess
more realistic material constitutive laws. Concrete in com- resin, and with two layers of perforated self-adhesive tape,
pression has a parabola-type stress-strain relationship, and which allowed for resin leakage and produced a smooth sur-
multidirectional GFRP is also characterized by a nonlinear face. Four aluminum plates were pressed onto each beam's
constitutive law, in both tension and compression. With known walls to achieve a good contact between the ravings and the
analytical expressions describing the uniaxial response of the steel mandrel. Everything was then wrapped with a special
different materials, the analysis of the cross section in flexure tissue to absorb the excess resin, and the beam was packed
is a straightforward task. A computer program was written in a vacuum bag and cured in the autoclave under a pressure
for this task (Deskovic 1993), which for a given strain in the of 0.2 MPa for 3 and 9 h at 80°C and 150°C, respectively.
extreme compressive fiber of the section adjusts the depth of Following curing, all the wrapping materials were removed.
the neutral axis to maintain horizontal force equilibrium, and the mandrel was extruded using a pullout apparatus and the
subsequently calculates the internal bending moment. The beams were cut to a length of 3.2 m. The extra GFRP material
extreme fiber compressive strain is incremented until failure was saved and used later for uniaxial testing and measurement
of the cross section is reached [Fig. 5(c)]. The horizontal of fiber volume fractions. The resulting cross sections were
forces are obtained in the program through integration of the 300 mm deep and 180 mm wide, with flange and web thick-
stress profiles. which are derived from the uniaxial material nesses as shown in Table 3.
constitutive laws. Based on moment-curvature relationships Before concrete casting and CFRP bonding, the plain GFRP
and from integration along the member, the same program
also calculates flexural displacements. TABLE 3. Geometric Properties of Hybrid Beams Tested
GFRP flange GFRP web CFRP
thickness thickness area
Fabrication Beam (mm) (mm) (mm 2 )
(1 ) (2) (3) (4)
Three large-scale beams (beams 1,2, and 3) were fabricated 1 5.8 3.8 25
and tested in flexure to verify experimentally the strength, 2 4.9 3.0 20
stiffness, and ductility characteristics of the hybrid FRP-con- 3 5.2 2.9 21
crete members. Given the objective of the test program, fab-
rication of optimized cross sections was not considered to be
100 1000 nun
of crucial importance. Therefore. the members were obtained I I
by casting a concrete layer on the top of GFRP box sections
with no vertical elements to provide for concrete formwork.
The sections were subsequently reinforced with epoxy-bonded
CFRP laminates. A preliminary experimental program using
small-scale specimens fabricated from standard pultruded
GFRP profiles revealed that the desired failure sequence
:: \ ;g:1

(CFRP fracture, concrete crushing) could hardly be achieved 100 ~ 8lXlnun 200
with "off the self" profiles (Deskovic et al. 1991). Therefore. I I
it was decided to fabricate the GFRP box sections in the 2 : l-
laboratory, where a complete filament winding apparatus was
According to the filament-winding technique, continuous
r;g;: ! :~ ;g: I (b)

glass fibers in the form of roving were fed through an epoxy

resin bath. passed over a hot roller until tacky, and then
wound with a pullout force of 20 N onto a rotating mandrel
via a computer-guided transversing mechanism, at a speed of
...... Deformmetcr * Rosette - Strain gage ~ LVDT

4 m/min. The mandrel" made of welded steel plates with FIG. 6. Schematic Illustration of Test Setup: (a) Plain GFRP Mem-
internal stiffeners, had cross-section dimensions of 294 x 170 bers; (b) Hybrid Beams


J. Struct. Eng., 1995, 121(7): 1069-1078

members were tested elastically (at a maximum load of 10 local failures, the supports were made of 110 mm long and
kN and a rate of 4 kN/min) in three-point bending over a 20-mm-thick steel plates on which the beams were grouted
span of 3 m to establish their stiffness characteristics. Load using a fast-curing epoxy-mortar mix, and plywood dia-
and deflection at midspan were measured during the test with phragms were inserted at the supports and midspan and fas-
a load cell and two linear voltage differential transformers tened using an epoxy adhesive. Load and deflection at mid-
(LVDTs) attached to the two webs at midheight. Normal span were recorded with a load cell and two LVOTs as in
strains in the two member extreme fibers at a distance of 500 the tests of plain GFRP members, and both normal and shear
mm from midspan were recorded using two 200-mm-Iong dig- strains were measured at two cross sections, 200 mm and I
ital deformmeters and two 1O-mm-long strain gauges bonded m from the midspan, defined as sections I and 2, respectively.
externally to the GFRP faces. And a 0/45/90° rosette was Strain gauges were bonded externally to the GFRP bottom
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attached to the midheight of the same cross section to obtain flange, the CFRP straps, and the top concrete fiber. An ad-
data for the calculation of shear strains. All measurements ditional feature of the measuring devices in section 2 was the
were performed at l-s intervals and recorded through a com- 0/45/90° rosette on the GFRP web and a strain gauge bonded
puterized data-acquisition system, except for the deform- to the top GFRP flange and covered with a special silicone
meter readings, which were obtained at 2.5 kN load incre- layer for protection from the wet concrete environment. An-
ments. The testing apparatus is schematically illustrated in other strain gauge was bonded to the CFRP at midspan. A
Fig. 6(a). schematic illustration of the experimental setup is given in
Subsequently, in each beam a 53-mm-thick concrete layer Fig.6(b).
was cast on top of a GFRP flange. Molding was provided by The material properties were established from tests on
the flange and two vertical plywood planks, which were fas- specimens subjected to uniaxial loading. The compressive be-
tened in contact with the webs using clamps. Watertightness havior of the concrete layers in the hybrid beams was obtained
of the form was ensured by applying a silicone filter sealant. by testing five 50 x 150 mm cylinders for each beam on the
The superplasticizer:water:cement:aggregate (fine and coarse) same day that beam testing took place. GFRP testing in uni-
proportions in the concrete mix were 0.02:0.4: 1:5.57 by weight. axial tension was performed on a series of 25 x 160 mm
Type I portland cement was used and the maximum aggregate specimens cut out of the flanges and the webs at each beam's
size was 16 mm. The GFRP surface was next cleaned with ends. A total of eight coupons were tested for each beam,
acetone and a two-component epoxy adhesive was applied in and the properties of a flange or web were obtained as the
the form of an approximately 0.5-mm-thin-film. The adhesive average of two results. Testing took place by bonding 2-mm-
was left to cure for about 20 min and the concrete was then thick aluminum plates at the ends of each specimen on both
cast into the mold, vibrated, leveled with a wooden plank, sides, to facilitate anchoring. A computerized testing machine
and covered by a layer of water. After 7 days, the molds were imposed deformations at a rate of 0.2 mm/min, while a clip
removed and the beams were cured at 20°C and 70% relative gage attached to the middle of each specimen was used to
humidity for 28 days. measure strains. Finally, testing of a total of five CFRP spec-
Preliminary calculations indicated that the thickness of the imens was performed in an analogous manner.
CFRP sheet required to yield the desired pseudoductile re-
sponse should be extremely low, in the order of 0.1 mm. RESULTS AND COMPARISON OF ANALYSIS
Instead, the CFRP used here consisted of two I-mm-thick WITH EXPERIMENTS
(but only about 10 mm wide) unidirectional straps, which
Uniaxial Testing
were epoxy-bonded near the corners of the GFRP tensile
flange a few days after the completion of concrete curing. The concrete properties obtained from uniaxial testing are
The straps were made according to the pultrusion technique, summarized in Table 4. The complete stress-strain curves in
and consisted of carbon fibers at a volume fraction of 70% compression were modeled using fourth order polynomials,
combined with an epoxy matrix. A two-component adhesive with the concrete ultimate strain defined to be equal to 0.0035;
was applied to both the CFRP and GFRP surfaces after they typical results are given in Fig. 7(a). Fourth order polynomials
were cleaned with acetone. Finally, the CFRP straps were were also used to model the tensile behavior of GFRP, as
positioned and steel profiles were laid on top and fastened illustrated in Fig. 7(b). The CFRP in tension was found to
with clamps for Iii h providing an evenly distributed pressure be linear elastic to failure, with a Young's modulus of 300
of 0.05 MPa. The exact CFRP area in each beam is given in GPa and an ultimate strain as given in Table 4.
Table 3.
As described later, the first of the beams tested failed by Elastic Bending of GFRP
debonding at the GFRP-concrete interface. To overcome the
potential of bond weakness, beams 2 and 3 were subsequently The GFRP strains measured with strain gauges and de-
provided with slightly pretensioned shear connectors in the formmeters were found to be in excellent agreement and
form of steel bolts, placed in two parallel lines at 16 sections nearly identical in both tension and compression, with a dis-
along each beam with a uniform spacing of 190 mm. Holes crepancy in the order of 2%. The normal strains measured
with diameter a little larger than that of the dowels were with strain gauges were also compared with those obtained
drilled through the concrete and the top GFRP flange, and from bending theory, with the flexural rigidity calculated from
grouted with a low-viscosity epoxy resin after the dowels were (1) (modified to account for the thickness of the top GFRP
inserted and pretensioned. Although the development of op-
TABLE 4. Experimentally Obtained Material Properties
timum GFRP-concrete bond techniques was outside the scope
of this study, this particular method of increasing the bond Concrete GFRP web
strength was chosen because of convenience. Alternative so- Concrete Young's CFRP shear
lutions involving composite dowels were also tried out and strength, modulus, ultimate modulus,
tested, giving successful results (Deskovic 1993). Beam f~ (MPa) E c (GPa) strain, F; G w (GPa)
(1 ) (2) (3) (4) (5)
Testing I 46.5 41.6 (U1O'n 10.41
2 43.0 3!-i.2 0.0090 U.02
The hybrid beams were loaded in three-point bending to 3 47.0 39.7 O.OO!-iO 12.15
failure at a rate of 20 kN/min over a span of 3 m. To avoid

J. Struct. Eng., 1995, 121(7): 1069-1078

60 120 r-r-~ ....~~-----ro~~,.,--~

Z 80
;f4O :!!.
... 1
10 I~~I o~~~'----'-'-~~~~~
01020 m 40 ~
Denection at Mid·Span, 6. [mm]
0 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 0.30 0.35
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Strain [%]
160 Z 80
120 ..; (b)
;f !4O
100 ..l
20 BEAM2~
il Experiment (b)
~ 40
==1~&.,e 10 m 40 ~

------Webl Denection at Mid.Span, A [mml

--._- Web2
20 120
00 om 0.02 0.Q3 0.04 0.05 0.06 100
Strain [.] Z
:!!. 80
FIG. 7. Typical Uniaxial Stress-Strain Relationships: (a) Concrete
in Compression; (b) GFRP in Tension
40 - - Experiment
BEAM 3 - - - AJ''lIysis

TABLE 5. Experimental and Analytical Strains and Deflections for 20 --- .• FEM
Plain GFRP Members (P = 10 kN)
GFRP Extreme Fiber Strain (%) Midspan Deflection (mm) 10 20 30 40 SO 60
Denection at Mid.Span, A [mm]
Top strain Bottom
Beam Analysis gauge strain gauge Analysis Experiment FIG. 8. Load-versus-Mldspan Deflection: (a) Beam 1; (b) Beam 2;
(1 ) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (c) Beam 3
I O.lOtll 0.1006 0.1014 8.33 8.50
2 0.0512 0.0495 0.0499 8.23 8.36
3 tl.053l 0.0546 tl.0542 8.92 9.07

CFRP Fracture

flange) using the stiffness values corresponding to the linear

portion of the uniaxial test results. The maximum error in
this case was about 2-3% (Table 5), indicating that coupon
testing is a reliable method of obtaining data for predicting
the elastic response of the GFRP beams. The web shear mod-
ulus measured from the rosettes and beam theory is also
summarized in Table 4. Finally, the experimentally obtained
mid-span deflections (taken as the average of the two LVDT
readings which were nearly identical) were compared with 80 r-r-~....~~-.r-r-~..-~--.-,~=....,
the analytical predictions using beam theory (accounting for
shear deformations), and the maximum error was found to
be about 2%; the comparison is given in Table 5 for a load
p = to kN. In summary, it was concluded that the test pro- :1140
gram employed to characterize the properties of the GFRP ~E (b)

elements gave reliable results. 20 BEAM 2

Flexural Testing of Hybrid Beams 0.005 0.01 oms 0-02 0.025
Extreme Bottom Flange Strain [-)
The load-versus-midspan deflection, the moment-versus-
extreme tensile strain at midspan and the moment-versus-
concrete top fiber strain at section 1 for the three hybrid e:z 80
beams tested are given in Figs. 8-10. Beam 1, which had no :!!.
shear connectors, failed by CFRP fracture followed by GFRP- :li1
concrete interface debonding. An investigation of the inter-
face using infrared spectroscopy identified remainders of the
silicone impregnated nylon mesh and the adhesive from the :li1
self-adhesive tape, which apparently contributed to bond fail- 0
ure. On the other hand, Beams 2 and 3 failed in a pseudo-
0 0.005 om oms 0.02 0.025 0.03
Extreme Bottom Flange Strain [-)
ductile mode, as expected. Photographs illustrating a typical
CFRP fracture at midspan followed by concrete crushing at FIG. 9. Midspan Moment-versus-Extreme Tensile Strain: (a) Beam
a higher load are given in Fig. 11. CFRP failure occurred so 1; (b) Beam 2; (c) Beam 3


J. Struct. Eng., 1995, 121(7): 1069-1078

CFRP Fracture


~_ - - -
...... ,.
Concrete Crushing
/. ,~-- ~~~S~

E 6
/. '- - - Experiment, Sectioo 1
BEAM 1 - - - Analysis, Section 1

~2O - - - - - FEM, Section 1

••••• Analysis, ~d-Span

o 0.0005 0.001 0.0015 0.002 0.0025 0.003 0.0035 0.004
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Concrete Top Fiber Strain [-l

Concrete Crushing

- - Experiment, Section 1
- - - Analysis, Section 1
- - - - - FEM, Section 1
••••• Analysis, Mid-Span

0.0005 0.001 0.0015 0.002 0.0025 0.003 0.0035 0.004

Concrete Top Fiber Strain [·l

e 80

~ 60

~ 40 - - Experiment, Section 1
E BEAM 3 - - - Analysis, Section 1 FIG. 11. (a) CFRP Fracture at Midspan; (b) Concrete Crushing
~ 20 - - - - - FEM, SectIon 1
••••• Analysis, Mid-Span

FIG. 10. Moment-versus-Concrete Top Fiber Strain at Section 1:

(a) Beam 1; (b) Beam 2; (c) Beam 3

suddenly that the laminate debonded almost completely from

the bottom flange, which remained unharmed. The response
of the three beams tested was also predicted analytically using
the refined method described earlier, and the results are plot- (b)
ted in Figs. 8-10. The agreement between experiments and
FIG. 12. Finite-Element Modeling of Hybrid Beams Tested: (a)
analysis is quite satisfactory. Structure Analyzed; (b) Discretization

Finite-Element Analysis
respectively. The finite-element results, plotted in Figs. 8-
The flexural response of the three beams was also modeled 10, were found in good agreement with both the analytical
based on the finite-element method accounting for material and the experimental results.
nonlinearities. The GFRP and CFRP were discretized using
four-node bilinear thick-shell elements with orthotropic ma- CONCLUSIONS
terial properties, while the concrete layer was discretized us-
ing eight-node isoparametric brick elements. Thick-shell ele- Combination of different fiber reinforced-plastic materials
ments with linear-elastic properties were also employed to with concrete appears to be a feasible way of producing ef-
model the plywood diaphragms. Due to symmetry, only one ficient and cost-effective hybrid members. These members
quarter of each beam was analyzed, with prescribed boundary possess many desirable mechanical behavior characteristics,
conditions along the two symmetry planes (Fig. 12). For the such as pseudoductility and high strength and stiffness, while
concrete, GFRP, and CFRP, 279, 577, and 117 elements, maintaining a low weight. The main features of the proposed
respectively, were used. Typical element sizes are shown in concept for hybrid sections can be summarized as follows: a
Fig. 12(b), while mesh refinements were done at midspan and concrete layer substitutes the GFRP compressive flange of
support to account for stress concentrations. The material traditional pulfruded box sections, thus reducing the materials
stress-strain laws were defined according to polynomial models cost and increasing the stiffness; and the bottom flange is
calibrated from the uniaxial test results. Concrete was mod- made by a combination of two composites (GFRP and CFRP),
eled as hypoelastic material with a generalized uniaxial stress- one failing in tension earlier than the other (and, possibly,
strain law, while CFRP was modeled as linear elastic to fail- in a gradual manner), serving the role of a sensor that indi-
ure. Finally, the maximum principal strain and the Mohr- cates an imminent collapse.
Coulomb (with an equivalent crushing strain equal to 0.0035) The design of simple-span hybrid FRP-concrete compo-
failure criteria were adopted for the CFRP and the concrete, nents based on short-term behavior is a relatively straight-

J. Struct. Eng., 1995, 121(7): 1069-1078

forward task once all the possible failure mechanisms have McCormick. F. C. (1978). "Lahoratory and field studies of a pedestrian
been identified and the design requirements and constraints bridge composed of glass reinforcement plastic." Transp. Res. Rec.
665. Transp. Res. Board. Washington, D.C., 99-107.
have been set up. One can either employ a nonlinear opti-
Park. R .. and Paulay. 1'. (1975). Reinforced concrete structures. John
mization algorithm to minimize a certain function (e.g., cost Wiley & Sons, New York. N.Y.
of materials) based on a certain set of constraints (e.g., stiff- Plecnik, J. M., Azar, W .. and Kabbara, B. (1990). "Composite appli-
ness, strength), or follow the simple design methodology pre- cations in highway bridges." Pmc., First Mat. Engrg. Congo '90. ASCE,
sented here to select the cross-section dimensions. A detailed New York. N.Y., 9R6-995.
analysis of flexural response can then be conducted using a Sims. G. 0 .. Johnson. A. F., and Hill. R. D. (1987). "Mechanical and
computer program that accounts for realistic material con- structural properties of a GRP pultruded section." Composite Struct.,
stitutive laws. The experimental results obtained here as weII 8: 173-187.
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as finite-element solutions confirmed the analysis and em- Starr, 1'. F. (1983). "Structural applications for pultruded profiles."
phasized the important role of bond at the GFRP-concrete Composite Strucl. 2: Proc., 2nd Int. Conf. on Composite Struct.• 193-
interface; the ideal bond should be provided by the combi- 213.
Timoshenko. S. P., and Gere. J. M. (1961). Theory of elastic stahility.
nation of adhesives and mechanical connectors. McGraw-Hili Book Co .. New York, N.Y.
The proposed concept for hybrid FRP-concrete elements Triantafillou,1'. c.. and Plevris, N. (1992). "Strengthening of RC heams
can be thought of as a better way of designing composite with epoxy-honded fihre-composite matcrials." Mat. and Struct.. Vol.
profiles using materials by combination and placed exactly 25.201-211.
where they perform best. Optimum combination of materials
in structural design is increasingly becoming a necessity as APPENDIX II. NOTATION
well as an indispensible part of the structural engineer's re-
sponse to the pressure for more durable and lightweight pre- The following symbols are used in this paper:
manufactured components.
The study presented here focused on the short-term be- b width of cross section;
havior of hybrid FRP-concrete members. The companion pa- b2 width of CFRP laminate;
per will address, both analytically and experimentally, long- c depth of concrete layer;
term phenomena including creep (and shrinkage of concrete) D flexural rigidity;
and fatigue (Deskovic et al. 1995). d depth of webs;
E, Young's modulus of concrete;
EH' longitudinal Young's modulus of webs;
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS E"'T transverse Young's modulus of webs;
The Swi" Federal Lahoratories for Materials Testing and Research E, Young's modulus of GFRP flange;
(EMPAj provided financial support for this study. E'T transverse Young's modulus of GFRP flange;
E2 Young's modulus of CFRP laminate;
APPENDIX I. REFERENCES t: compressive strength of concrete;
GH' shear modulus of webs;
Ashhy. M. F. (1991). "Materials and shape." Acta Metall. Mat .. United G, shear modulus of GFRP flange;
Kingdom. 39(0), 1025-1039. K constant;
Bakeri. P. A. (l9X9). "Analysis and design of polymer composite bridge k, cross section aspect ratio constant;
decks," MS thesis, Dept. of Civ. Engrg.. Massachusetts Inst. of Teeh- k2 ratio of moment at CFRP fracture to ultimate
nol.. Camhridge. Mass. moment;
Bank, L. C, and Mosallam. A. S. (1990). "Structural performance of
I span length;
a fiher reinforced plastic pultruded frame." Proc., 8th Struct. Congo
M bending moment;
'YO. ASCE, New York. N.Y., 509-510.
Banks. W. M., and Rhodes. J. (l9X3). 'The instahility of composite
M" ultimate bending moment;
channel sections." Composite Struct. 2: Proc., 2nd Int. Conf on M2 bending moment at failure of CFRP;
Composite Struct., Can. Soc. for Civ. Engrg .. Montreal. Canada. 443- n, concrete-web modular ratio;
452. n, flange-web modular ratio;
Deskovic, N. (1993). "Innovative design of FRP composite memhers n, CFRP-web modular ratio;
comhined with concrete." PhD thesis. Dept. of Civ. and Envir. Engrg.. P load;
Mas,achusetts Inst. of Technol.. Cambridge. Mass. P, service load;
Deskovic. N., Triantafillou. 1'. C, and Meier. U. (1991). "Innovative P" ultimate load;
design of FRP compositc memhers comhined with concrete." Res. Q shear rigidity;
Rep. RYI-22, Dept. of Civ. Engrg .. Massachusetts Inst. of Technol.. tH' thickness of webs;
Camhridge. Mass. t, thickness of GFRP flange;
Deskovic. N.. Triantafillou, T. c.. and Meier, U. (1995). "Innovative t2 thickness of CFRP flange;
design of FRP comhined with concrete: Long-term hehavior." J. Struct. U, displacement in x;
Engrg.. ASCE. 127(7). 1079-IOX9. Up displacement in y;
Head. P. R. (1992). "Design methods and hridge forms for the cost tl. displacement in z;
effective use of advanced composites in hridges." Proc., 1st Int. Conf. V" ultimate shear force;
on Adv. Composite Mat. in Bridges and Struct., Can. Soc. for Civ.
y depth of elastic neutral axis from top of GFRP
Engrg .. Montreal. Canada. 15-30.
Hollaway. L.. cd. (1990). Polymers and polymer composites in construc-
tion. 1'. Telford, London, England.
y" depth of neutral axis at failure from top of GFRP
Holmes, M.. and Just. D. J, (19R3). GRP in structural engineeri'lg. Ap- section;
plied Science Puhlishers Ltd .. London. England. (x, concrete rectangular stress block factor;
Hull. D. (19Xl). An introduction to composite materials. Cambridge Uni- 13, concrete rectangular stress block factor;
versity Press. Camhridge. England. <i midspan deflection;
Johansen. G. E .• Wilson. R .. Pope. D. A., Goss, G .. Ritchie, P.. and <i max maximum allowable displacement;
Mellen, J. (1992). "Spanning 'devil's poor with a prestressed cable! E~~ ultimate compressive strain of concrete;
FRP tuhe structural system." Proc., 1st Int. Conf on Adv. Composite EI strain in bottom GFRP flange;
Mat. in Bridges and Strucl.. Sherhrooke. Canada. 435-444. E~ tensile failure strain of GFRP;
Knott. J. F. (1973). Fundamentals of fracture mechanics. Butterworths. E~ tensile failure strain of CFRP;
London, England. ll" x-z rotation;


J. Struct. Eng., 1995, 121(7): 1069-1078

y-z rotation; Trw web shear fracture strength;
longitudinal Poisson's ratio; 'T max maximum web shear stress;
transverse Poisson's ratio; q," ultimate curvature; and
GFRP flange buckling strength; q,* curvature at CFRP fracture.
web shear buckling strength;
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J. Struct. Eng., 1995, 121(7): 1069-1078