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1.1 General

Concrete technology has made tremendous strides in the past decade. Concrete

is now no longer a material consisting of cement, aggregates, water and admixtures

but it is an engineered material with several new constituents performing satisfactorily

under different conditions. Concrete today can be tailor made for specific applications

and contain different materials. The development of specifying a concrete according

to its performance requirements rather than the constituents and ingredients has

opened innumerable opportunities for producers and users to design concrete to suit to

their specific requirements. One of the spectacular advances made in the field of

Civil Engineering is the production of high performance materials.

Development of modern civil engineering causes an urgent need to develop

higher performance engineering materials possessing high strength, toughness, energy

absorption and durability. Fiber reinforced concrete (FRC) is one of the conventional

engineering materials used in several structural applications in order to enhance the

structural resistance/performance under different loading combinations. It also

increases speed of construction and may even eliminate the need for conventional

reinforcement. High or ultrahigh strength concrete with very high compressive

strength values remains basically a brittle material. The inclusion of adequate fibers

improves tensile strength and provides ductility.

Since the 1980’s, the design and construction of structural members demand

more and more high performance materials. High performance construction materials

provide far greater strength, ductility, durability, and resistance to external elements

than traditional construction materials, and can significantly increase the longevity of

structures in the built environment and can also reduce maintenance costs for these

structures considerably. These most significant high performance construction

materials include high performance concrete, high performance steel, fiber reinforced

cement composites, FRP composites, etc. Slurry infiltrated fibrous concrete

(SIFCON) is one of the high performance material.

As the fibre concentration is increased along with fibre aspect ratio

(length/diameter), it becomes difficult to mix and place these materials. In practice it

has been found that the amount of fibre must be kept fewer than 2% volume and

aspect ratio must be kept under 100. This situation places bounds on the

improvements in the engineering properties of concrete (flexural strength, flexural

toughness index, impact resistance and fatigue resistance) that can be gained through

the use of steel fibres. In 1978, Lankard began an investigation to incorporate larger

amounts of steel fibres in steel fibre reinforced cement based composites. The result

of this investigation led to the development of new cement composite called “Slurry

Infiltrated Fibre Concrete (SIFCON)” in which steel fibres up to 20% by volume

could be used.

1.2 About SIFCON

1.2.1 Introduction

Initially steel fibers were mostly used as a substitute for secondary

reinforcement or for crack control in less critical parts of the construction. Today steel

fibers are widely used as the main and unique reinforcing for industrial floor slabs,

shotcrete and prefabricated concrete products. They are also considered for structural

purposes in reinforcement of slabs on piles, full replacement of the standard


reinforcing cage for tunnel segments, concrete cellars, foundation slabs and shear

reinforcement in prestressed elements.

Slurry Infiltrated Fiber Concrete (SIFCON) is one of the recently developed

construction material that can be considered as a special type of high performance

fiber reinforced concrete (HPFRC) with higher fiber content. In 1979 a new material,

slurry-infiltrated fiber concrete (SIFCON), was introduced by Dr. David Lankard of

the Lankard Materials Laboratory (LML) in Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Lankard had done

some pioneer work in the development of the material, as well as some applications

using the material in the paving and metal fabrication industries. SIFCON possessed

the characteristics of both high strength as well as ductility.

SIFCON can be rightly thought of as pre- placed fibre concrete, analogous to

pre- placed aggregate concrete. In FRC the fibres are mixed along with the other

ingredients but the placement of steel fibres in a form or mould is the initial step in

the preparation of SIFCON. Fibre placement can be accomplished by hand or through

the use of commercial fibre dispersing units. Light external vibration is applied during

the fibre placement operation. Once the fibres are in place, fine grained cement based

slurry is poured on to the packed fibre bed with subsequent infiltration of the slurry

added by external vibration. High range water reducing admixtures are used to

provide suitable slurry viscosity while maintaining a low water cement ratio. Once the

slurry infiltration is completed, the method of curing of SIFCON is the same as for

any concrete material.

The matrix fineness must be designed so as to properly infiltrate the fiber

network formed in the mould. Otherwise large pores may form leading to substantial

reduction in the mechanical properties. Additives such as high range admixtures such

as super plasticizer are used for improving the flowing characteristics of SIFCON.

1.2.2 Advantages

In general, SIFCON is very ductile and particularly well suited for structures

which require higher ductility.

 SIFCON possess excellent durability, energy absorption capacity,

impact and abrasion resistance and toughness.

 Modulus of elasticity (E) values for SIFCON specimens is higher when

compared with plain concrete.

 SIFCON exhibits high ductility.

 The balling problem of steel fibers with increase in fiber volume in

SFRC can be resolved by SIFCON, because of its fiber alignment.

 Deflection for SIFCON will be very less compared to conventional

concrete structural components.

Since properties like ductility, crack resistance and penetration and impact

resistance are found to be very high for SIFCON when compared to other materials,

SIFCON should be considered as an efficient alternative construction material only

for those applications where concrete or conventional SFRC cannot perform as may

be expected/required by the user or in situations where such unique properties as high

strength and ductility are required. SIFCON is best suited for application in the

following areas:

 Pavement rehabilitation and precast concrete products

 Overlays, bridge decks and protective revetments

 Seismic and explosive-resistant structures

 Security concrete applications (safety vaults, strong rooms etc)

 Refractory applications (soak-pit covers, furnace lintels, saddle piers)


 Military applications such as anti-missile hangers, under-ground


 Sea-protective works

 Primary nuclear containment shielding

 Aerospace launching platforms

 Repair, rehabilitation and strengthening of structures

 Rapid air-field repair work

 Concrete mega-structures like offshore and long-span structures, solar

towers etc

1.3 Need of the present study

SIFCON is similar to FRC in that it has discrete interlocking fibre that lends

significant tensile properties to the composite. In SIFCON, the fibres are preplaced

inside the forms and rich cement slurry is poured into the moulds. Its ability to resist

cracking and spalling in many loading situations is far superior to conventional fiber

reinforced concrete and to conventionally reinforced cement concrete. All the

research in U.S.A and Europe is focused on SIFCON produced with high tensile

strength steel fibres. However, for greater applications in India and other developing

countries, it is essential to investigate the feasibility of producing different SIFCON

structural elements with locally available low tensile strength steel wire fibres and

understanding their behaviour.

Even though, SIFCON is a recent construction material, it has found

applications in the areas of pavements repairs, repair of bridge structures, safe vaults

and defense structures due to its excellent energy absorption capacities.


It is observed from the review that very little research is carried out to study

the behavior of SIFCON slab elements using analytical methods. With this view, an

analytical investigation has been carried out using FEM software in the present work

to understand the flexural behaviour of SIFCON slab panels.

Experimental based testing has been widely used as a means to analyze

individual elements and the effects of concrete strength under loading. The use of

finite element analysis to study these SIFCON slab components will be quite

interesting. Despite its long history, the finite element method continues to be the

predominant strategy employed by engineers to conduct structural analysis. A reliable

method is needed for analyzing structures made of SIFCON, a complex but rare

ingredient in most of the structural components. As an effective alternative to

expensive experimentation, this study has been conducted to evaluate the plausibility

of finite element analysis of SIFCON slabs.

1.4 Objectives of the present Investigation

The objective of present investigation is to investigate and evaluate the use of

the finite element method for the analysis of solid SIFCON slab with and without

opening at different positions with available material properties in flexure as such

models are not available for SIFCON slabs. Accordingly, the specific objectives of

the present work are listed below.

 To conduct a feasibility study of producing SIFCON slab elements with

locally available low tensile strength steel wire fibres.

 To model Slabs with different edge conditions for 8%, 10% and 12% volume

fraction of fibre using FEA in flexure under uniform distributed load.


 To evaluate and compare the strength and stiffness properties of FE modelled

slab with that of experimental values.

 To verify the accuracy of the model with experimental values.

 Also to evaluate the total energy absorption capacity of SIFCON slabs

modeled using FEA in flexure.

 To compare the load deflection response obtained from FE analysis with

experimental values.

 To study the variation in the spread of normal stresses at the bottom surface of

the SIFCON slabs by FEA.

 To model SIFCON slab with different type and size openings for different

edge conditions in flexure under uniformly distributed load

 To validate the proposed FE solution by comparing the solid SIFCON slab

results with experimental values available in literature.

 To analyse SIFCON slabs with openings of different sizes and locations using

validated FE SIFCON models.

Thus, it is proposed to study the response of slurry infiltrated fibre concrete

slabs using finite element analysis to understand their load-deflection response under

pressure loading. A slurry infiltrated fibre concrete slab model will be developed

using FEM and the results will be compared to experimental data in this project. Slabs

with different edge conditions for 8%, 10% and 12% volume fraction of fibre will be

analysed using FEM. NISA, a general purpose Finite Element Software, will be used

for this purpose. Solid elements will be used to develop the slab model and the

accuracy of the model will be verified with experimental values. Concrete structural

components exist in buildings and bridges in different forms. Understanding the


response of these components during loading is crucial to the construction of an

efficient and safe structure. Different methods have been utilized to study the

response of structural components. Experimental based testing has been widely used

as a means to analyze individual elements and the effects of concrete strength under

loading. While this is a method that produces real life response, it is extremely time

consuming and quite costly. The use of finite element analysis to study the structural

components can be quite effective. In recent years, the use of finite element analysis

has increased due to progressing knowledge and capabilities of computer software

and hardware. It has now become the choice method to analyze concrete structural

components. The use of computer software to model these elements is much faster,

and extremely cost effective. Thus use of FEA has been the preferred method to study

the behavior of concrete. The results will be analyzed and useful conclusions will be

drawn. It is felt that this will lead to a chain of development in the field of SIFCON

and thus leads to greater applications of this material in this country.


The presentation of the investigation carried out to achieve the specific

objectives mentioned in the previous section is planned in the following manner:

Chapter 1

This chapter covers the general background to the problem, motivation for the

present work, objectives of the present study and organization of the thesis.

Chapter 2

This chapter deals with the comprehensive literature review in the area of the

present work and critical review of the literature. It covers in detail the analytical

solution for slabs using FEA. Based on this, the scope and objective of the present

study has been derived.

Chapter 3

This chapter deals in detail with the finite element techniques and constitutive

models that have been used in the analysis. The details of modeling and validation of

finite element programme used are presented in this chapter.

Chapter 4

This chapter presents the details of tests conducted on basic raw materials like

cement, fine aggregate, water and steel fibres used in the present investigation. The

experiments have been conducted as per the specifications of relevant I.S codes for

deriving properties of SIFCON.

Chapter 5

This chapter presents the FE analysis of solid two way SIFCON slabs without

openings for different edge conditions and with 8%, 10% and 12% volume fraction of

fibre. This chapter presents a complete analysis viz., load-deflection response,

stiffness, energy absorption and normal stresses at the bottom face of SIFCON slabs

for evaluating the response of SIFCON slabs under pressure loading.

Chapter 6

Chapter 6 deals with the details of the SIFCON slab flexure model using FEA

with different openings at center and deriving the load deflection response. The

details of models of slabs with different edge conditions for 8%, 10% and 12%

volume fraction of fibre have been reported in this chapter.


Chapter 7

This module deals with the details of the SIFCON slab flexure model using

FEA with different openings at corner subjected to pressure loading and derivation of

the load deflection response. The details of models developed for slabs with different

edge conditions for evaluating load deflection response and their behaviour with

different volume percentages of fibre (i.e. 8%, 10% and 12%) have been reported.

Chapter 8

This chapter deals with the details of the SIFCON slab flexure model using

FEA with different openings at different position in slab subjected to pressure loading

to evaluate the load deflection response. The details of models developed for slabs

with different edge conditions for evaluating load deflection response and their

behaviour with different volume percentages of fibre (i.e. 8%, 10% and 12%) have

been reported.

Chapter 9

This chapter outlines the overall conclusions and inferences drawn from this

investigation along with the suggestions for further investigation.

A comprehensive bibliographical list is provided at the end of the thesis with a

view to help present and future investigators working in the related areas.