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FRPRCS-8 University of Patras, Patras, Greece, July 16-18, 2007



Paulo FRANÇA António COSTA

Department of Civil Engineering, Instituto Superior Técnico University, Portugal

Keywords: beams, behaviour, CFRP, laminates, prestress, strengthening.


The use of the carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) laminates in the strengthening of reinforced
concrete (RC) structures has become current due to the significant research on this field in the recent
years. Prestressing this material increases the performance of this strengthening technique since it is
possible to make better use of the material high strength capacity and it enables the reduction of the
cracking and deformation in the structure elements. However research must be done to evaluate its
behaviour on RC structures. Other scientific research works have been done in the field of
strengthening RC structures with prestressed CFRP sheets, for instance, by Wight [1] and [2],
El-Hacha [3] and Piyong [4].
This paper presents part of a larger work with the major objective of testing, analysing and
evaluating the behaviour of flexural strengthened beams with prestressed CFRP laminates. A
technique of strengthening RC slabs with prestressed CFRP laminates [5] was tested on six T cross-
section large-scale simple supported RC beams. Two steel reinforcement ratios, the existence of an
initial damage in the beam before strengthening and the influence of positioning the anchor plates
before or after the supports were the different parameters considered in these beams. In this paper,
the test results of one strengthened beam and the respective reference beam are presented. Test
results of RC slabs strengthened with this technique [5] can be found in Suter [6].
To simulate the behaviour of the beams, a non-linear numerical model was used and validated by
the experimental results. The numerical model was also used to evaluate the ability of a two span
beam strengthened with prestressed CFRP laminates to redistribute the moments.


The CFRP laminates prestressing system used has two 400 x 220 x 8 mm3 steel anchor plates on
top of each end of the laminate, fixed to the concrete by 8 metallic bolts (yellow plates in Fig 4, Fig 5
and Fig 6). The purpose of these plates is to allow the setting of the prestressing equipment during the
prestressing stage. In this solution the laminates need to be bonded on both sides of the beam instead
on the bottom where they would be more effective. The reasons for this are the reduced beam width,
which is not enough to fix the anchor plates, and the need to avoid cutting the bottom steel
reinforcement bars when drilling to fix the metallic bolts. The lower distance between the compression
zone of the beam and the tensile force in the laminates is compensated by the use of two laminates
(one on each side of the beam) instead of just one on the bottom.
One of the major difficulties of prestressing fibre reinforced polymer of any kind is how to clamp it
during the process of prestressing. This system uses metallic clamps (Fig. 1) to hold the CFRP
laminate by friction during the prestressing.
The first step is to prepare the concrete surface (Fig. 2) in the future location of the laminates and
anchor plates areas by smoothing it and removing all the grease and dust to improve the bond
capacity between the laminate and the concrete. Then the drilling for the anchor plates bolts is done.
All the equipment and material must be prepared before mixing the two components of the resin
because about one hour later, which is enough time to complete all prestressing process, the resin
starts to harden and no prestress should be applied. The resin is applied on the concrete surface, on
the laminate and on the anchor plates. Then the laminate is set into its position on the beam (Fig. 3)
along with the two anchor plates on top of it at each end of the CFRP. Four small screws on each
corner of the anchor plates prevent any compression force on the laminate. Therefore the resin is
solely responsible for transferring the prestress force to the reinforced concrete structure after the
prestressing system is deactivated. However, during the prestressing phase, the anchor plates are

FRPRCS-8 University of Patras, Patras, Greece, July 16-18, 2007

responsible for transferring the prestress force to the structure, through the 8 metallic bolts, since the
resin is yet unable to do so.

Fig. 1 Metallic clamp. Fig. 4 Passive clamp set.

Fig. 2 Concrete surface preparation. Fig. 5 Jacking end set.

Fig. 3 Setting the laminate. Fig. 6 Strengthened beam.

The passive clamp is set to transfer the force directly to its anchor plate (Fig. 4). On the other end,
6 bolts fix the hydraulic jack on top of the active anchor plate and the clamp is set so that the prestress
force is applied directly to it from the hydraulic jack piston (Fig. 5). The prestress is applied and the
system is deactivated 24 hours later, which is the necessary time to give the resin enough strength to
hold the prestress force and transfer it to the structure. The strengthened beam is presented in Fig 6.


3.1 Tests
Two 6.7 m long reinforced concrete beam specimens weighing 3 tons each were tested with 6.0 m
span length. One beam was not strengthened and it was used as a reference beam, and the other
was strengthened with prestressed CFRP laminates as shown in Fig. 7. The T cross-section had a
0.2 x 0.5 m2 web and a 1.0 x 0.1 m2 compression flange. Two 25 mm diameter and two 20 mm
diameter bars provided a 16.1 cm2 tensile reinforcement, which gives a 1.6% reinforcement ratio. All
longitudinal bars had a 2 cm concrete cover. In order to avoid the shear failure mode, a shear
reinforcement of 8 mm diameter closed stirrups with 10 cm spacing was used.

FRPRCS-8 University of Patras, Patras, Greece, July 16-18, 2007

The 6.0 m span beam was used to test the case with the anchor plates positioned before the
supports. In this case, the plates need to be at least 0.7 m away from the supports to provide enough
space for the hydraulic jack to work, supposing that perpendicular beams exist at the supports.

2Ø6 2Ø10 2Ø6


CFRP laminate

0,50 2 CFRP 80x1.2 mm2
0,35 0,70 4,60 0,70 0,35
0,145 2Ø25+2Ø20

(Dimensions in [m]) 0,40 0,20 0,40

Fig. 7 Reinforced concrete beam strengthened with prestressed CFRP laminate.

The compressive strength of the concrete was 39.2 MPa, which was the average value of three
concrete cubic specimens crushed on the beams tests days. According to EC2 [7], the corresponding
value for a cylindrical specimen is 80 %, which gives 31.4 MPa. The reinforcement steel had a yield
strength of 534.8 MPa in the 25 mm diameter bars and 485.8 MPa in the 20 mm diameter bars, which
results in the tension bars average yield strength of 515.7 MPa. The CFRP laminate with an area of
80 x 1.2 mm2 had a Young modulus of 170.5 GPa and a tension strength of 3016.0 MPa, which
corresponds to a failure strain of 17.7 ‰. These values were obtained from pure tension tests on four
CFRP laminate specimens. Finally, the resin used had a Young modulus of 8 GPa and a bending
tensile strength of 30 MPa.
All beams were subjected to a four-point loading and the instrumentation used is presented in
Fig. 8. Two load cells were used to measure the applied loads, P1 and P2, positioned at thirds of the
total span. The load structure used in the tests applies its self-weight of 10 kN to the specimen which
corresponds to a load of 5 kN applied on each load point at the beginning of the test. Three linear
variable displacements transducers (LVDTs) monitored the displacements at mid-span (d3) and below
each applied load point, P1 (d1) and P2 (d2). The strains along the tension bars length were
monitored by seven strain gauges (Ss1 – Ss7). Additionally, on the strengthened beam, five strain
gauges (Sf1 – Sf5) were glued on each CFRP laminate (side A and B). During the prestress, besides
the oil pressure indicator in the prestressing device, only two strain gauges on each laminate
registered the prestress level since it was not possible to introduce any load cell.

(Dimensions in [m])
P1 P2

Sf-1 (A) and (B) Sf-2 (A) and (B) Sf-3 (A) and (B) Sf-4 (A) and (B) Sf-5 (A) and (B)

Ss-1 Ss-7
Ss-2 Ss-3 Ss-4 Ss-5 Ss-6

d1 d3 d2

Fig. 8 Strengthened beam instrumentation.

The desired prestressing force was the one corresponding to a CFRP 6 ‰ strain due, in part, to a
hydraulic jack limitation. The final average strain applied to each laminate was 6.1 ‰, which
corresponds to a tension of 1040 MPa and a 99.8 kN prestress force. The strain gauges on the
laminates kept monitoring the strains until the following day, when the system was deactivated, but no
significant change was observed.

3.2 Discussion of tests results

The load versus mid-span deflection curves for the two tested beams are shown in Fig. 9. The
load value presented in the results refers to the average value of the two loading points P1 and P2.
The reference beam had a very ductile failure mode for a maximum load of 188.2 kN. All three
strain gauges, in the tension steel reinforcement bars between load point P1 and P2, registered values

FRPRCS-8 University of Patras, Patras, Greece, July 16-18, 2007

of Ss-3 = 8.1 ‰, Ss-4 = 3.4 ‰ and Ss-5 = 3.9 ‰, higher than the yield strain of the steel
reinforcement. Due to the high plastic deformation capacity of this material, the cracks on the beam
started to reach the compression flange. To avoid a brittle and dangerous failure mode, due to
possible concrete crunching, the test was ended at a mid-span deflection of 93.7 mm.




Average Load (kN)


Strengthened with prestressed CFRP





0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Mid-span Deflection (mm)

Fig. 9 Load versus mid-span deflection curves of the tested beams.

The failure load on the strengthened beam was 253.1 kN, which corresponds to an increase of
35 % on the maximum load capacity. This is a considerable increase since these RC beams had a
high steel reinforcement ratio (1.6 %). It is important to notice that this maximum load value was
reached after a typical yielding stage with some significant post yielding stiffness. This ductile
behaviour is not usual in RC structures strengthened with CFRP laminates and therefore it is an
important advantage of this solution. Again, all three strain gauges, in the tension steel reinforcement
bars between load point P1 and P2, registered values higher than the yield strain of the steel
reinforcement. The strain values were Ss-3 = 10.2 ‰, Ss-4 = 4.7 ‰ and Ss-5 = 12.8 ‰.

Fig. 10 CFRP laminate failure on side B. Fig. 12 CFRP laminate failure on side A.

Fig. 11 One end of the CFRP laminate slipped Fig. 13 Laminate peeling-off at failure.
under the anchor plate on side B.

A much better crack behaviour is evident in the strengthened beam. The first crack appears for a
load around 45 kN, a value three times higher than the 15 kN cracking load registered in the reference
beam. Also the average crack width (wm) was smaller in the strengthened beam. Three cracks, one at
mid-span and two below loading points P1 and P2, were monitored during the tests of both beams and
their average values were determined. A value of wm = 0.03 mm was obtained in the reference beam
for a 25 kN load, whereas the same cracking width was obtained in the strengthened beam for a

FRPRCS-8 University of Patras, Patras, Greece, July 16-18, 2007

47 kN load. For a 120 kN load, the average crack width was 0.20 mm in the reference beam and
0.13 mm in the strengthened one.
Total unloading was made several times during both tests as shown in Fig. 9. The residual
displacement obtained in the strengthened beam was always lower than in the reference beam for the
same unloading value. This proves a typical behaviour, in prestressed structures, which is a better
deformation recovery capacity.
The ultimate strength of the reference beam was limited by yielding of the flexural steel
reinforcement whereas on the strengthened beam the laminates peeling off from the concrete surface
limited it. At failure instant both laminates lost their bonding to the concrete surface between the
anchor plates. Additionally, on side B (Fig. 10), one end of the CFRP laminate slipped under its anchor
plate (Fig. 11), resulting in the complete loss of tension in the laminate. On side A (Fig. 12), no slip
occurred under any anchor plate, which means that the laminate kept under tension after the beam’s
failure, only supported by the resin under the anchor plates.
The monitored strains, during loading, in both laminates are presented in Fig. 14 for side A and in
Fig. 15 for side B. After failure, the strain gauges on side B registered negative values that correspond
to the loss of prestress due to the slipping of the laminate under the anchor plate. These values are
similar to the strain after prestressing, but not equal because of the effect of the resin and concrete
that remain glued to the laminate.




Average Load (kN)




105 Sf-1 (A)

Sf-2 (A)
Sf-3 (A)
65 Sf-4 (A)
Sf-5 (A)


0 500 1 000 1 500 2 000 2 500 3 000 3 500 4 000 4 500 5 000 5 500 6 000 6 500 7 000 7 500
CFRP Strains (x10-6)

Fig. 14 Load versus strain in the CFRP laminate on side A during loading.





Average Load (kN)



Sf-1 (B)
105 Sf-2 (B)
Sf-3 (B)
Sf-4 (B)
65 Sf-5 (B)


-6 000 -5 000 -4 000 -3 000 -2 000 -1 000 0 1 000 2 000 3 000 4 000 5 000 6 000
CFRP Strains (x10-6)

Fig. 15 Load versus strain in the CFRP laminate on side B during loading.

The maximum strain increase monitored on each laminate was obtained in the mid-span strain
gauge (Sf-3). On side A the value was 6.4 ‰ and on side B it was 5.9 ‰. All three central strain
gauges (Sf-2, Sf-3 and Sf-4) registered the highest strain values as expected.
The other two strain gauges on the laminates next to the anchor plates (Sf-1 and Sf-5) only
registered high strain values after reaching the load value of 246.6 kN, which is 2.6 % less than the
failure load of 253.1 kN. This means that the anchor plates are not very relevant to increase the failure
load. However, these plates are important to increase the ductility behaviour of the strengthened beam
since they delay the laminates peeling-off. In fact, the anchor plates are the only reason for the
laminates to keep bonded to the concrete surface for loads higher than 246.6 kN, enabling the

FRPRCS-8 University of Patras, Patras, Greece, July 16-18, 2007

monitored high increase of the laminates strains near the plates. When the load is increased from
246.6 kN to 253.1 kN, the mid-span displacement (d3) changes from 69.5 mm to 88.9 mm
corresponding to an increase of 21.8 %. This increase is 36.9 % of the total mid-span displacement
after the yielding load of 218.2 kN (d3 = 36.3 mm), which represents an important percentage of the
ductility behaviour of the strengthened beam.
Adding the mid-span laminates strains increase at failure load with the strains at the prestressing
stage, the final values are 12.5 ‰ on side A and 12.0 ‰ on side B, which corresponds to tensions of
2131 MPa and 2046 MPa respectively.


A finite element (FE) non-linear program (ATENA [8]), for simulating the real behaviour of
reinforced concrete structures, was used to model the behaviour of the tested beams and the
behaviour of a strengthened two span beam.
In this FE program the tensile behaviour of concrete is modelled by non-linear fracture mechanics
combined with the crack band method [9], in which the smeared crack concept is adopted. The rotated
crack model was used, instead of the fixed crack model, since better results were obtained when
comparing the behaviour of the tested beams with the numerical model.
A 2D model for each beam was used. The concrete beam was modelled by 2D macro elements,
the stirrups by smeared reinforcement within the 2D macro elements, and the reinforcement bars and
laminates by bar reinforcement elements. To avoid localized numerical errors due to point loads, steel
plates modelled by 2D macro elements were considered in the four loading points of the beams.
Since it is not possible to simulate the correct interface behaviour between CFRP laminates and
the concrete surface with the used FE program, a perfect connection between these two materials
was considered. Therefore the failure criterion in the analyses was the average maximum laminates
strain of 12.3 ‰ obtained in the tests.

4.1 Tested beams

Two different meshes, one coarser than the other, were used to test their influence on the results.
Since no relevant difference was observed, the coarser mesh, presented in Fig. 16, was used.

Fig. 16 2D finite element model of the tested strengthened RC beam.

It is important to validate the numerical model by establishing a comparison between its results
and the laboratory test results. The real and theoretical curves representing load – mid-span deflection
behaviour are shown in Fig. 17. A summary of the most relevant real and theoretical results is given in
Table 1. Despite a few differences, there is a good agreement between the real and the theoretical
curves, which means that it is possible to use this numerical model to extrapolate for other cases.




Average Load (kN)


Strengthened with prestressed CFRP - FE model
Strengthened with prestressed CFRP - Real
105 Reference - FE model

Reference - Real




0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Mid-span Deflection (mm)

Fig. 17 Real and theoretical load versus mid-span deflection of the tested beams.

FRPRCS-8 University of Patras, Patras, Greece, July 16-18, 2007

Table 1 Real and theoretical relevant loads.

Cracking load [kN] Yielding load [kN] Ultimate load [kN]

Beam Real Theoretical Error [%] Real Theoretical Error [%] Real Theoretical Error [%]
Unstrengthened 12,0 21,3 77,5% 180,0 181,4 0,8% 188,2 188,5 0,1%
S. with prestressed CFRP 44,3 48,0 8,4% 218,2 226,6 3,8% 253,1 251,5 -0,6%

Some of the differences between the real and the theoretical values may be due to the high
heterogeneous nature of the concrete, the inaccurate position of the steel reinforcement bars, and
some imperfections in the monitoring during tests. However, the difference in the mid-span deflection
for the failure load in the strengthened beam is due to the fact that the numerical model is unable to
simulate the influence of the anchor plates mentioned before.

4.2 Two span beams

This is a created example with the purpose of evaluating the influence of prestressing the CFRP
laminate in different strengthening situations and its ability to redistribute the applied moments. The
results are compared to a similar strengthened solution but without the prestress.
A two 6.0 m span simple supported beam subjected to a uniform applied load is considered. The
reinforced concrete beam designed for the applied load is the reference beam for the comparison of
two different designs of CFRP flexural strengthening solutions with and without prestress. These last
two are only strengthened in the positive moment and no initial damage is considered. The reference
beam is designed according to an elastic analysis while the two strengthened beams are designed
according to a redistribution of the moments.
The beam has a T cross-section with 0,5 m high, 0,3 m web width and a flange of 1,0 m x 0,1 m.
The design model takes advantage of the beam symmetry and therefore only the first span is
considered. The symmetry axis is simulated by boundary conditions with constrained horizontal
displacements as presented in Fig. 18.



0,40 0,50 Ø8//0.10

(Dimensions in [m]) 0,35 0,30 0,35

Fig. 18 Design model of a two 6.0 m span simple supported RC beam and its cross-section detailing.

The design uniform applied load for the reference beam is pEd = 20 kN/m which results in a
maximum negative bending moment of MEd- = 90 kNm and a maximum positive bending moment of
MEd+ = 50.6 kNm.
The considered materials are a concrete C20/25 and a steel reinforcement with a characteristic
yielding strength value of 400 MPa. The corresponding design values of the concrete compressive
strength and the steel reinforcement yielding strength are fcd = 13.3 MPa and fyd = 348 MPa according
to EC2 [7].
The T cross-section detailing adopted for the reference beam is presented in Fig. 18. The
longitudinal steel reinforcement bars are the needed for the design bending moments whereas the
stirrups cross-section area is higher than the needed since in this example it is not desired a shear
failure in the strengthened solutions.
The same CFRP laminate of the tested beams is used in both strengthened cases of this example.
The strengthening system with prestressed CFRP laminates described in this paper is considered for
the strengthened case with prestressed CFRP laminates. As mentioned before, with this prestressing
system it is not possible to position the laminate in the bottom of the beam. The solution is to position
the laminates on both sides as presented in Fig. 19. However, for the case with no prestress, the
laminates are positioned in the bottom of the beam because it is possible and it is more efficient. The
CFRP strengthening solution with no prestress (No PS) is presented in Fig. 20.

FRPRCS-8 University of Patras, Patras, Greece, July 16-18, 2007


CFRP laminates 0,10

(Dimensions in [m])
0,145 Ø8//0.10
2 CFRP 80 x 1.2 mm²

0,50 4,50 1,00 0,145 3Ø12

0,35 0,30 0,35

Fig. 19 Strengthening solution with prestressed CFRP (PS).


CFRP laminates 0,10

(Dimensions in [m])

2 CFRP 80 x 1.2 mm²

0,50 4,50 1,00 3Ø12
6,00 0,35 0,30 0,35

Fig. 20 Strengthening solution without prestressing the CFRP (No PS).

From a design point of view the considered CFRP strain limit for the laminates without the
prestress was 6.5 ‰ according to Fib-Bulletin 14 [10] and 10.0 ‰ for the prestressed laminates, which
means a material partial factor of 1.2 when compared to the tests results (12.3 ‰).
The ultimate positive moment resistances of both strengthened cross-sections are similar, as
shown in Table 2, which means that the lower depth of the CFRP in the prestressed case is
compensated by its higher strain limit. With these new resistance values, the corresponding load
increase of the two strengthened beams are also presented in Table 2.

Table 2 Load increase of the strengthened beams and the respective redistribution of the moments

Beam MRd+ (kNm) ΔMEd+ (kNm) ΔpEd (kN/m) pEd (kN/m) Redistribution
PS 153,9 108,9 24,2 44,2 54,8%
No PS 148,5 103,5 23,0 43,0 53,5%

In order to reach the moment resistance in both strengthened solutions it is needed a redistribution
of the moments higher than 50 % in the cross-section over the middle support. This is a very high
percentage but since it is to use the same laminate in both strengthened cases of this example, the
finite element model will determine the maximum possible redistribution of moments.
The FE model was defined according to the same principles describe before.
The maximum applied load on each strengthened solution, the corresponding redistribution of the
moments and its failure mode obtained in the finite element model are presented in Table 3.

Table 3 Finite element model results of the strengthened beams

pEd,max (kN/m)
Beam Prediction Obtained O / P Redistribution Failure mode
PS 44,2 45,0 1,8% 55,6% Concrete crushing at middle support
No PS 43,0 36,0 -16,3% 44,4% Concrete crushing at middle support

In both cases the failure mode was the concrete crushing at the middle support but only the
prestressed solution reached the prediction load value. The solution without the prestressed was not
able to reach the prediction load value by 16.3 %. It means that the prestressed solution was able to
redistribute a higher percentage of the moment (55.6 % against 44.4 %). Although both solutions had
the same prediction load value, due to their similar ultimate positive moment resistance, the case with
the prestressed CFRP reached a failure load 25 % higher.
This behaviour is explained by the fact that with the prestressed CFRP the plastic hinge over the
middle support is formed for a higher load. In Table 4 is presented the relevant strain results of the
cross-sections at the middle support and at the mid-span in both strengthened solutions at their
maximum applied loads. The crack width at the middle support is also presented.

FRPRCS-8 University of Patras, Patras, Greece, July 16-18, 2007

Table 4 Crack width and relevant strain results of the two strengthened solutions

pEd = 36 kN/m pEd = 45 kN/m

PS 3,8 58,4
εs (e-3)
No PS 66,7 -
Middle support PS 0,9 3,5
εc (e-3)
cross-section No PS 3,3 -
PS 0,2 3,2
w (mm)
No PS 3,6 -
Mid-span PS 6,9 9,4
εf+ (e-3)
cross-section No PS 3,8 -

At the load of 36 kN/m the strains in the tension steel reinforcement and the concrete in
compression at the middle support cross-section were much higher in the non-prestressed solution
(No PS), which were 66,7 ‰ and 3,3 ‰ respectively. These results show that the concrete is at its
strain limit and that the steel reinforcement has been subjected to a strain much higher than its
yielding strain. As a result, the crack width is much higher (3.6 mm against 0.2 mm). It is possible to
conclude that the middle support cross-section of the prestressed solution (PS) has much more
rotation capacity beyond this load value. The crack pattern and the deflection of both strengthened
solutions with the applied load of 36 kN/m is presented in Fig. 21, where it is possible to see the very
wide crack at the middle support cross-section of the No PS solution.


Fig. 21 Crack pattern and deflection of both strengthened solutions with the applied load of 36 kN/m.

The CFRP strain of the No PS solution was 3.8 ‰ at its failure load of 36 kN/m, which is much
less than its strain limit of 6.5 ‰. On the other hand, the PS solution reached the strain value of 9.4 ‰
at its failure load of 45 kN/m, which is almost its strain limit of 10 ‰. So the conclusion is that the PS
solution takes better advantage of the laminate strength capacity than the No PS solution. The
problem with the No PS solution is that it needs a high deflection of the beam in order to mobilize high
strain values in the laminate.
Another important conclusion, when comparing the PS solution with the No PS solution, is that for
the same load value the first always has a much less deflection than the second, which is a typical
behaviour of a prestressed solution. This is confirmed in Fig. 22 where the maximum deflection of all
beams is presented for the corresponding applied load. The reference beam had the same failure
mode of concrete crushing at the middle support after its tension bars reached the yielding strain. In
this model the CFRP prestress was only applied after applying the beam’s self-weight load of
5.5 kN/m. The reason for this was to avoid the beam’s lifting at the middle support when the prestress
was applied. Therefore, in both strengthened solutions the CFRP laminate was only considered after
applying the self-weight in order to have the beam strengthened in the same conditions.



pEd (kN/m)


15 Reference


-1 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29
Maximum deflection (mm)

Fig. 22 Applied load vs maximum deflection of the strengthened and reference beams.

FRPRCS-8 University of Patras, Patras, Greece, July 16-18, 2007


It is possible to strengthen RC beams with prestressed CFRP laminates for immediate and good
results at serviceability state with an easy system to assemble (24 hours are enough to deactivate).
The cracking load is delayed in the strengthened beam or it is possible to close some or all cracks in a
cracked RC beam. This crack control, which cannot be accomplished by nonprestressed laminates, is
very important since not only it limits deflection but also improves the durability of the structure
(deterioration is also related to the cracks width). A deflection reduction in the strengthened beam is
possible due to the prestress.
However, the advantages of prestressing the laminates, compared with a nonprestressed
application, are not only at serviceability state but also at ultimate state since it is possible to reach
higher strains on the laminates resulting in a higher increase of the ultimate strength. In the tested
case it reached at least strain values of 12.0 ‰ in the laminates. By reaching these strain values, the
high strength capability of CFRP laminates is better used.
The anchor plates proved to be important in increasing the ductility behaviour of the strengthened
beams since they delay the laminates peeling-off.
Before the tests, the position of the laminates on the sides of the beams raised the question about
their ability to keep bonded to the concrete surface during the beams deformation due to the strain
variation within the laminate height. However, no problems of premature peeling-off were observed, at
least until satisfactory high strains were reached on the CFRP laminates.
The numerical model predicted with good accuracy the experimental behaviour not only of the
reference beam but also of the strengthened beam with prestressed CFRP laminates.
After this validation, the FE model was used to simulate the behaviour of a two span beam
strengthened with CFRP. Comparisons were established between the cases with and without the
prestress. This example confirmed the conclusions mentioned before and additionally showed that the
prestress case also increased the ability of the strengthened RC beam to redistribute the moments by
delaying the formation of the plastic hinge.


The authors wish to acknowledge the support of the S&P Company for the equipment and
strengthening material used in this work. The assistance from the Degussa and Stap companies as
well as the construction of the beams by the Secil-PreBetão Company is gratefully acknowledged.


[1] Wight, R. G., Green, M. F. and Erki, M-A., “Prestressed FRP sheets for poststrengthening
reinforced concrete beams”, Journal of composites for construction, 5, 4, 2001, pp. 214-220.
[2] Wight, R. G. and Erki, M-A., “Prestressed CFRP sheets for strengthening two-way slabs”,
International Conference Composites in Construction, Cosenza, Italy, 2003, pp. 433-438.
[3] El-Hacha, R., Wight, R. G. and Green, M. F., “Innovative System for Prestressing Fiber-
Reinforced Polymer Sheets”, ACI Structural Journal, 100, 3, 2003, pp. 305-313.
[4] Piyong, Y., Silva, P. F. and Nanni, A., “Flexural Strengthening of Concrete Slabs by a Three-
stage Prestressing FRP System Enhanced with the Presence of GFRP Anchor Spikes”,
International Conference Composites in Construction, Cosenza, Italy, 2003, pp. 239-244.
[5] S&P Clever Reinforcement Company Prestressing System.
[6] Suter, R. and Jungo, D., “S&P Prestressing System FRP – Summary of Test Results”, Product
Report, Brunnen, 2000.
[7] Eurocode 2, “Design of Concrete Structures – Part 1: General Rules and Rules for Building”,
December, 2004.
[8] ATENA 2D: Computer Program for Non-linear Finite Element Analysis of Reinforced Concrete
Structures. Version Cervenka Consulting, 2002.
[9] ATENA Program Documentation. Cervenka Consulting, Prague, Czech Republic, 2002.
[10] Fib - Bulletin 14, “Externally bonded FRP reinforcement for RC structures”, 2001.