You are on page 1of 8

The design of fiber reinforced

composite materials for strengthening

of existing structures By Sarah Witt

MARCH 2011 ® ®
Professional Development Series

The Design of Fiber Reinforced Composite Materials

for Strengthening of Existing Structures By Sarah Witt

nfrastructure in the United States is bonded tension member. They can strengthened and allowed to cure in
aging, creating a growing need for add shear strength and flexural capac- place.
innovative, cost-effective methods ity and provide confinement or axial Once cured, the fiberwrap acts as
for both retrofit and repair of exist- tension to existing beams, slabs, walls, a tension member, with the force in
ing structures. Fiber reinforced polymers or columns. They are not designed the direction of the fibers. The most
(FRP) offer a high-strength, lightweight to be stand-alone structural members, common types of fibers are glass,
alternative to traditional methods of but to work in conjunction with the carbon, and aramid; the most common
structural upgrade. These materials, also existing structure. They have been type of saturating resin is epoxy. The
known as advanced composite materi- used as part of seismic retrofits, load design is based on the properties of
als or fiberwrap, consist of high-strength capacity increases due to change the system, incorporating both the
fibers in a polymeric matrix. The fibers of use, repair of damage caused by fibers and the matrix.
provide the strength and stiffness impact or corrosion, and construction One of the advantages of using
and the matrix provides load transfer anomalies (see Figures 1 and 2). fiberwrap for structural strengthening
between fibers as well as environmental The process — This article focuses is that it is light weight and its installa-
protection for the fibers. on externally bonded wet layup tion is low impact — small crews can
systems. These consist of dry fiber accomplish the work with a typically
Applications for externally sheets that are saturated with resin small project site footprint. This allows
bonded FRP at the project site. The “wet” fibers for unique solutions to challenges that
FRPs are designed as an externally are then placed on the member to be sometimes cannot be solved using
traditional materials. For example,
Figure 1 (left): Structure exhibits extensive corrosion caused by proximity to the ocean. slab and beam strengthening projects
Figure 2 (right): Repaired Structure. Along with extensive concrete repair, the fiberwrap can often be installed through exist-
system was designed to provide additional shear and flexural capacity. ing drop ceilings and around exist-
ing HVAC equipment, minimizing any
down time due to having to suspend
operations. Strengthening of shear
walls with fiberwrap adds minimal
dead weight to a structure, avoiding
the problems associated with transfer-
ring new loads down to the founda-
tion. The final application is usually less
than a half inch thick, so egress routes

The Professional Development Series is a unique oppor- Learning Objectives
tunity to earn continuing education credit at no cost to This article covers the design of externally bonded fiber
you by reading specially focused, sponsored articles. reinforced polymers (FRP) for strengthening of concrete
After reviewing the learning objectives below, read
elements in shear, flexure, and confinement. After review
the Professional Development Series article and complete
the quiz online at Quiz of this material, readers should understand the following:
answers will be graded automatically and, if you answer at • Appropriate applications for externally bonded FRP
least 80 percent of the questions correctly, you can imme- strengthening;
diately download a certificate of completion and will be • Basic design equations for shear, flexure, and confinement;
awarded 1.0 professional development hour (equivalent • Special considerations including fire protection; and
to 0.1 continuing education unit in most states).
• Performance specifications.
Note: It is the responsibility of the licensee to determine if
this method of continuing education meets his or her govern- Professional Development Series Sponsor
ing board(s) of registration’s requirements. Fyfe Company LLC

2 PDH Professional Development Advertising Section — Fyfe Company LLC

are not disrupted. In general, fiberwrap cannot be covered in the limited space ing (see Figure 4).
can be used to add tension capacity to here. The designer is encouraged to The area of fiberwrap
an existing structural member. consult the design references and is determined from the
During the last 20 years, the design fiberwrap engineers for more detailed following:
practices for fiberwrap have advanced information. • Afv = 2 n tf wf = area of FRP shear rein-
significantly. There are several design forcement (square inches),
codes and recommendations that Shear strengthening • n = number of layers of FRP reinforce-
are available, both within the United Fiberwrap can be used to provide ment,
States and internationally, which additional shear capacity to an exist- • tf = FRP composite material thickness
provide engineers reference informa- ing member. The shear capacity of the per layer (inches), and
tion during the design process. In the fiberwrap is added to the shear capac- • wf = width of FRP reinforcing layers
United States, the American Concrete ity of both the concrete and steel as (inches).
Institute’s (ACI) 440 Committee is follows:
active in developing a variety of docu- The depth of the reinforcement and
ments related to the use of FRP for φ Vn = φ (Vc + Vs + ψf Vf ). angle of the force is determined from
structural strengthening (ACI, 2007). the following:
In Europe, Task Group 9.3 of the In this equation, Vf is the shear • α = angle of fiber inclination (degrees)
International Federation for Structural contribution of the fiberwrap, and Vc is applicable if the FRP is installed at
Concrete (fib) published a bulletin and Vs are the concrete and steel shear an angle, and
on design guidelines for externally capacity, respectively, as calculated by • dfv = effective depth of FRP shear rein-
bonded FRP reinforcement for rein- existing building codes. This equa- forcement (inches).
forced concrete structures (fib, 2001). tion can be used for both beams and
In Canada, the Canadian Standards columns. The spacing of the fiberwrap is as
Association (CSA S806) and ISIS The following equation is used follows:
(Neale, 2001) have developed guide- to calculate nominal shear strength • sf = center-to-center spacing of FRP
lines for designing with FRP Systems. enhancement, Vf , provided by the FRP
(kip) (see Figure 3). The equations are Figure 3: Carbon fiberwrap is installed over
Design process from ACI 440.2R-08 Section 11. All fiber anchors to provide confinement and
The design of FRPs is based on formulas are for U.S. units. shear capacity to beam end.
allowable strain and modulus of the
Af v ff e (sin(α) + cos(α)) df v
composite system. The design incor- Vf = sf
porates the principles of reinforced
concrete and masonry design, with This equation is similar in principal to
the fiberwrap acting as a tension the equation used in ACI 318 to calcu-
member. The formulas below provide late the shear contribution of steel stir-
an overview of the design process for rups. Just as with steel, the equation
shear, moment, and axial load capac- for shear capacity is based on the area
ity calculations. However, each proj- of the fiberwrap, the design stress,
ect incorporates specific details that depth of the reinforcing, and the spac-

Figure 4: Variables used to calculate shear strengthening.

Professional Development Advertising Section — Fyfe Company LLC PDH 3

The Design of Fiber Reinforced Composite Materials for Strengthening of Existing Structures

shear reinforcement The κv is calculated using k1, k2 , and sion fiber to centroid of tension rein-
(inches). Le as follows: forcement (inches), and f c = concrete
The design stress k1 k2 Le compressive strength (kip).
is determined from the κv = ≤ 0.75
468εf u
modulus of elasticity and the effective Flexural strengthening
strain as follows: In this equation, k1 is a function of the Designing fiberwrap to add moment
substrate strength since this directly capacity to beams and slabs is based
• ffe = Ef εfe = effective stress in FRP (ksi). affects bond strength as follows: on a design stress of the FRP, area of
the material, and a moment arm. Once
( )
f'c 3
The design of fiberwrap is different k1 = 4000 again, the concepts are similar to rein-
from steel because it does not have forced concrete design. The following
one design stress that is used in every And k2 is a function of how the fiber- equations are from The Fyfe Company
application, such as 60 ksi for grade wrap is installed. A three-sided U-wrap Design Manual (2010). They highlight
60 steel. The design stress of the fiber- application is more effective than a the design process presented in ACI
wrap must be calculated based on the two-sided application and this is 440.2R-08 Section 10. The condensed
modulus of elasticity of FRP material accounted with this factor. Therefore, design process presented here is based
Ef (ksi). k2 is derived from one of the two on limiting the failure mode for analy-
This will vary by material and the following equations: k2 = (dfv – Le )/dfv sis to debonding of the FRP. Due to
data sheet of a specific product should for U-wrapped applications, or k2 = (dfv space constraints, equations to calcu-
be consulted for appropriate design – 2Le )/dfv for two-sided applications. late other failure modes, including FRP
values. The modulus of a carbon The final factor that is used in calcu- rupture and concrete crushing, are not
composite material is higher than the lating κv is Le , which represents an presented here.
modulus of a glass composite material. active bond length for the FRP. This Nominal flexural strength enhance-
However, the glass composite material is a function of the total force to be ment Mf provided by the compos-
has higher failure strains. All factors transferred from the FRP into the exist- ite is determined by the area of the
must be considered when choosing an ing member. This is calculated using fiberwrap, the design stress, and the
appropriate system. the number of layers n, thickness tf , moment arm as follows:
The strain that is used in design and design modulus of the fiberwrap
is the most important step for fiber- Ef , as follows: φMf = φ Af ffe (jd )
wrap design. For shear strengthening,
this is based on the substrate strength Le = In this equation, the area of the
and the geometry of the installation. (n tf Ef ) 0.58 fiberwrap is calculated as follows:
The strain is limited to ensure that the • Af = n tf wf = area of FRP flexural rein-
force can be transferred through the Once Vf has been calculated, the final forcement,
bond into the concrete member. step to determining the additional • n = number of layers of FRP rein-
ACI 440.2R-08 limits the strain shear capacity of the fiberwrap is to forcement,
based on several bond reduction coef- apply an additional reduction factor • tf = FRP composite material thickness
ficients as follows: based on the installation geometry. per layer, and
• εfe = 0.004 ≤ 0.75 εfu effective strain in The following factors are used depend- • wf = width of FRP reinforcing layers.
FRP reinforcement for fully wrapped ing upon the FRP application: ψf =
applications. These are installations 0.95 for fully wrapped applications, or The design stress, ffe , in the fiber-
where the fiberwrap completely ψf = 0.85 for U-wrapped or two-sided wrap is computed as follows:
encases the concrete member. The applications. • ffe = εfe Ef = effective stress in FRP,
most common application is column To ensure that the fiberwrap does where
wrapping. The upper bound is set not over strengthen the section and • Ef = modulus of elasticity of FRP
at 0.004 to ensure that the concrete force a failure in the compression material, and
substrate maintains aggregate inter- strut, the total shear strength provided • εfe = design strain in FRP reinforce-
lock. by the existing steel shear reinforce- ment limited by section analysis or
• εfe = κv εfu ≤ 0.004 effective strain ment and the FRP shear reinforcement debonding such that the following
in FRP reinforcement for U-wrapped is limited to the following: limits are satisfied:
or two-sided applications. These
installations do not completely wrap Vs+Vf ≤ 8 f 'c bwd f 'c
εfe ≤ 0.083 ≤ 0.9εfu
around the member, such as beam n Ef tf
strengthening where a slab blocks For this limit, bw = web width (inches),
complete confinement. d = distance from extreme compres- The moment arm for the fiberwrap

4 PDH Professional Development Advertising Section — Fyfe Company LLC

is represented by the term jd, which is concrete compressive strength, f cc. When completing
the distance from centroid of FRP to The primary fibers of the fiberwrap are a fiberwrap design,
centroid of compression zone. The jd oriented transverse to the longitudinal it is often required to
is calculated using an iterative process. axis of the column, just like the trans- design special fiber anchoring
A value for the neutral axis of the verse or spiral reinforcing steel. In no systems to meet the design goals. Fiber
strengthened section is assumed, the case are the fibers oriented along the anchors consist of rovings of fibers
strain level is calculated in each mate- axis of the column and designed to combined with a system-compatible
rial (concrete, steel, and FRP) using act in compression. epoxy. The thickness and length are
strain compatibility, and the internal Therefore, f cc is a function of the designed based on specific project
force equilibrium is checked. If the shape of the column (circular or rectan- conditions. They can be designed to
forces do not equilibrate, this process gular), the existing concrete strength, anchor the externally bonded compos-
is repeated. internal vertical steel details, and the ite sheets. This allows higher strains to
A final strength reduction factor, φ, properties of the fiberwrap. Just as be used in the design process, lead-
is calculated, based on section ductil- with shear and moment strengthen- ing to a more cost-effective installation.
ity, as one of the following values: ing, a design strain of the fiberwrap The anchors can also be designed to
• φ = 0.9 if εs ≥ 0.005, or is calculated in the design process. A connect two structural members. For
• φ = [0.65 + 0.25 (εs – 0.002)]/(0.005 confinement pressure, f1, is calculated example, the anchors can have one
– 0.002) if 0.002 ≤ εs < 0.005, or based on the design strain and modu- end bonded to a roof slab and the
• φ = 0.65 otherwise. lus of the FRP. The existing geometry other end bonded into the perimeter
of the column is used to calculate a wall or column, thereby tying the
In this case, εs = strain in tension shape factor κa . This factor is one for system together. These types of fiber
steel reinforcement at ultimate circular columns and less than one for anchor systems are project specific and
compressive concrete strain. square/rectangular columns because designed based on structural testing.
The nominal flexural enhancement it is less efficient to confine non- Installation of the fiberwrap system
provided by the fiberwrap, φMf , is circular sections. Combined, these must also consider any existing condi-
added to the existing capacity of the factors calculate the confined concrete tions that might affect easy applica-
section. This new nominal strength compressive strength as follows: tion of the material. This might be
must be larger than the design ulti- confined space requirements, work
mate moment. f cc = f c + ψf 3.3 κa f1. at extreme heights, limited access to
the surface of the structural member,
Column axial load In this case, ψf = 0.95 is used as or short access times for installation
capacity enhancement an additional reduction factor for the (see Figure 5). Specialty contractors
Fiberwrap systems can also be fiberwrap. are well trained to address these issues
designed to increase the axial load Once f cc has been calculated, the and ensure the material is properly
capacity of columns. The design uses increase in axial load capacity is calcu- installed. They will perform site visits
the tension capacity of the fiberwrap lated with the following equation for and feasibility analyses to ensure that
to confine the concrete in the column. columns with existing steel-tie rein- the best solution is pursued.
By providing additional confinement, forcement:
the apparent compressive strength of Figure 5: Fiberwrap being installed on
the concrete is increased. Thus, while φPn = 0.8 φ [0.85 f cc (Ag – Ast ) + fyAst] a chimney. Work is performed by small
still acting as a tension member, the crews from scaffolding.
FRP increases the axial load carrying All appropriate load factors and φ
capacity of the column. The fiberwrap factors from ACI 318 should be used.
also increases the displacement ductil-
ity of the member by increasing the Special considerations
strains the concrete can accommodate The current design documents
before failure. provide the designer with the general
The following design overview pres- design process. However, there are
ents some of the equations from ACI many projects that have aspects that
440.2R-08 Section 12 (ACI, 2008). require special consideration that
These are intended to provide the are not well addressed in the current
overall concepts of the design process, recommendations. This could include
not each individual calculation. unique anchoring aspects, challeng-
As mentioned above, the fiber- ing installation requirements, and fire
wrap is used to increase the confined protection.

Professional Development Advertising Section — Fyfe Company LLC PDH 5

The Design of Fiber Reinforced Composite Materials for Strengthening of Existing Structures

Once considered durability testing of the system and The performance target is coupled with
a limiting factor for large-scale structural testing for the design guidelines, such as ACI 440.2R-
FRP design, fire protec- intended application. In the United 08. Without these guidelines, each FRP
tion coatings are now States, criteria for evaluating fiberwrap engineer may design the material in a
available to provide hourly ratings to systems can be found in ICC-ES AC different manner and the end results
fiberwrap-strengthened members. 125 (2007). This standard designates will not be comparable. Specifying
These systems work by protecting the method for establishing tensile a design goal and design guidelines
not only the composite strengthen- strength and modulus values, defines ensures that all competitive bids meet
ing, but also the steel and concrete a series of durability tests required the structural requirements.
of the existing structure. By providing for a system, and provides minimum The performance of externally
fire protection to the entire structural acceptable design criteria. The designer bonded fiberwrap systems is highly
system, the member can carry higher should specify that the composite dependent on the quality of the installa-
loads through a fire event. These fire system — the fibers and matrix — has tion. As many of these applications rely
coatings have been tested at the UL demonstrated durability that is consis- upon the bond between the substrate
Laboratories per ASTM E119. If a proj- tent with the environment where it is and fiberwrap, surface preparation is
ect has a requirement for an hourly fire to be used. Testing on the fibers or critical. Without skilled contractors, this
rating to meet local building codes, matrix themselves is not representative step may be overlooked, leading to
this should be addressed in the design of the composite system. In addition inadequate force transfer between the
phase to ensure that the proper safety to material testing, large-scale testing members. An effective specification will
factors are taken into account and the of the fiberwrap strengthening system require that the installation personnel
UL-approved fire coating is specified. should be required. If the project is have documented training and refer-
for shear strengthening of a beam, the ences. ICC AC 178 (2003) and ACI
Performance specifications composite supplier should provide test- 440.2R-08 provide information on
It is important when moving ing of its system for this application or inspection and in-field material testing.
ahead with a project using fiberwrap supply an independent report (such as Once these components have been
strengthening to have a comprehensive ICC Evaluation Service Report) showing well described in the specification,
performance specification. Effective spec- that this type of use has been tested. the engineer of record may choose
ifications should include requirements After ensuring that a well-tested to require a deferred submittal. This
for well-tested materials, competitive fiberwrap material is required, the submittal would require the specialty
design procedures, skilled installation, specifications should clearly state a contractor to provide the engineer
and field quality control. Without these design goal and required guidelines of record with calculations and shop
four components, the fiberwrap may to be followed for design. The design drawings, stamped by an engineer
not perform as designed. goal is a quantified performance level familiar with fiberwrap design. This
Any strengthening system that is that the fiberwrap will be designed to allows the designer to use fiberwrap
specified should have a well-docu- achieve. This may be required kips of strengthening without having to self-
mented history of both long-term shear or kip-feet of moment capacity. perform the design.


• fib, 2001, Externally Bonded FRP Reinforcement for RC Structures, Structures (ACI 440.2R-08), American Concrete Institute,
Bulletin 14, Federation International de Beton, 130 pages. Farmington Hills, Mich., 76 pages.
• Canadian Standards Association, Design and Construction of • Fyfe Company Design Manual, 2010, Revision 9.
Building Components with Fiber-Reinforced Polymers (CSA
• ASTM International, Test Methods for Fire Tests of Building
S806), 200 pages.
Construction and Materials (E119), West Conshohocken, Pa.,
• Neale, K., 2001, Design Manual 4 – Strengthening Reinforced 33 pages.
Concrete Structures with Externally Bonded Fibre Reinforced
• ICCEvaluations Service Inc., 2007, Acceptance Criteria
Polymers, ISIS Canada, Winnipeg, MB, Canada, 209 pages.
for Concrete and Reinforced and Unreinforced Masonry
• ACI Committee 440, 2007, Report on Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Strengthening Using Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) Composite
(FRP) Reinforcement for Concrete Structures (ACI 440R-07), Systems, AC 125, Whittier, Calif., 11 pages.
American Concrete Institute, Farmington Hills, Mich., 100
• ICC Evaluation Services Inc., 2003, Interim Criteria for Inspection
and Verification of Concrete and Reinforced and Unreinforced
• ACI Committee 440, 2008, Guide for the Design and Construction Masonry Strengthening Using Fiber-Reinforced Polymer (FRP)
of Externally Bonded FRP Systems for Strengthening Concrete Composite Systems, AC178, Whittier, Calif., 7 pages.

6 PDH Professional Development Advertising Section — Fyfe Company LLC

Conclusions and practices needed to implement design guidelines,
Externally bonded FRPs are an this technology, designers can feel fiberwrap will provide a
effective strengthening method for more confident implementing its use. unique solution to many
use in the retrofit and rehabilitation With the use of well-tested materials, structural problems.
of existing structures. These fiberwrap expert installation crews, and proper
materials have been used for civil engi-
neering applications for more than 20
years and have a well-documented Sarah Witt is senior vice president of Engineering Services for Fyfe Company LLC and a member
performance record. By understand- of the ACI 440 Committee for FRP Strengthening. She can be contacted at
ing the basic engineering principles

The Design of Fiber Reinforced Composite Materials for Strengthening of Existing Structures
Go to to take the following quiz online. Quiz answers will be graded auto-
matically and, if you answer at least 80 percent of the questions correctly, you can immediately download a
certificate of completion.

1. Which of the following state- specification for fiberwrap, 8. Which of the following
ments is false about moment which of the following does prevents the use of fiberwrap
strengthening design? not need to be considered? strengthening:
a) The designer must consider the a) Clearly stated design goal a) Required hourly fire ratings
area of fiberwrap b) Well-tested fiberwrap materials b) Limited access around HVAC
b) The beam corners must have a c) Local utility provider equipment
rounded radius c) Concrete substrate
d) Experienced specialty
c) The moment arm is used in the contractors d) None of the above
d) There is more than one failure 5. Which document provides 9. The fiberwrap material is
mode that should be considered design guidelines for fiber- designed:
wrap strengthening? a) As an obelisk
2. Which of the following is an a) ACI 440.2R-08 c) ASTM D2974
advantage to using fiber re- b) As a compression member
inforced composite materials? b) ACI 222 d) ISIS 2780
c) As an externally bonded
a) Light weight tension member
6. What is a common type of
b) High strength fiber used in FRP strengthening d) To conduct electricity
c) Minimal project site footprint systems?
10. Which of the following
d) All of the above a) Bamboo c) Concrete
statements is false:
b) Carbon d) Cotton
a) Debonding of the fiberwrap is
3. Which of the following are
one failure mode to consider in
applications for externally 7. When performing a shear design.
bonded fiberwrap systems? strengthening design, the
engineer must consider: b) The design properties of the
a) Adding additional moment
fiberwrap only consider the dry
capacity to a beam a) Modulus of elasticity of FRP fibers.
b) Adding additional shear material
c) The matrix material provides
capacity to a section b) Effective depth of FRP load transfer between the
c) Providing column confinement reinforcement fibers.
d) All of the above c) Number of layers of FRP d) The design of fiberwrap is
reinforcement based on allowable strain
4. In writing a good performance d) All of the above and modulus.

Professional Development Advertising Section — Fyfe Company LLC PDH 7