Performance of concrete panels strengthened using carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP)
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Many bridges are handling heavier loads than those expected at design, making it increasingly necessary to strengthen existing members or conduct repairs on damaged structural members. Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) materials have been broadly used to repair and strengthen reinforced concrete structures. Using CFRP materials as the strengthening material is an excellent solution because of their mechanical properties. CFRP has properties of high strength, corrosion resistance, and light weight. CFRP materials are being widely used for shear and flexural strengthening. Most studies have focused on uni-directional layout of CFRP strips in high shear regions of beams. Recent shear tests on full-scale I-girders have shown that the use of bi-directional CFRP layouts with CFRP anchors led to much higher shear strength increases than when using uni-directional layouts. The objective of the study is to determine the mechanism that governs shear strengthening of bridge girders using bi-directional CFRP and, in doing so, demonstrate the feasibility of using bi-directional CFRP for shear strengthening of large bridge I- and U-beams. Small-scale panel tests have been conducted to investigate parameters that influence the shear strength provided by bi-directional CFRP layouts. Panels were tested under compressive forces to simulate the compression struts that develop in the webs of I-beams. The applied loads generated bottle-shaped compressive struts. CFRP anchors were used to prevent early failure due to CFRP strip delamination from the panel surface. The panels, while not fully reproducing the boundary condition of girder webs, were tested ahead of full-scale girders to investigate a wide range of parameters in a cost-effective manner. The variables considered include the amount of CFRP and steel reinforcement, the inclination of CFRP fibers, and the layout and spacing of CFRP strips. The panel tests provide qualitative comparisons between the influence of the various parameters. The relative strength contributions of CFRP strips, steel stirrups, and concrete were evaluated.