Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Fibre wrapped buildings for extra strength

The structural degradation of concrete structures is a widespread problem, not only confined to seismic areas, which can be addressed with reinforcements. A considerable number of buildings and bridges are now undergoing the process of being repaired or retrofitted with external fibre reinforced composites.
Fibre wrapped buildings for extra strength
The effect of earthquakes on concrete structures is evident, but the effect of time is also an important parameter affecting the structural degradation of reinforced concrete. The introduction of fibre reinforced composites (FRC) materials as a reinforcing and main structural element is gaining ground thanks to its properties and cost. The civil engineering industry together with research organizations such as, the ELSA laboratory, are performing large-scale tests to validate designs with short introduction periods.

As a result, the ELSA laboratory of the Joint Research Centre-ISIS, has developed a repair technique to improve the confinement of rectangular, degraded reinforced concrete columns, adapting the use of preformed FRC jacketing shells. These shells are wrapped around the degraded column and the interface cavity is filled, under pressure, with a cement grout, providing an active lateral confining force to the column. The bond and adhesion properties of FRC materials externally applied to concrete have been studied together with the effect of jacket geometry, fibre orientation and material selection (carbon, aramid and glass). Results have shown a strength increase by a factor of three.

In order to industrialize the cement pressure-grouting application phase, a commercially viable, low cost, diaphragm would have to be designed to substitute the present, pressure cavity, system. Current research is targeting FRC materials for use as inherent structural members in new designs. Such research projects include MEGAWIND, where a wind turbine tower is developed and SAFEFLOOR, where a light floor slab is developed to replace concrete.
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