Performance of fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) wrapped reinforced concrete elements in a corrosive environment
Corrosion presents one of the greatest threats to the durability of reinforced concrete structures, yet it is also one of the least understood components of the design process for most engineers. The nation's infrastructure is rapidly deteriorating due to years of abuse and fatigue. Therefore, several economic and reliable solutions have been developed to repair the existing damage and extend the design life of structures at risk of corrosion. One popular method for protecting concrete structures from corrosion is the use of fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) composite wraps. The premise is a simple one: placing an impermeable barrier around the surface of the concrete should prevent harmful substances such as chlorides from entering and corroding the imbedded reinforcing steel. However, little is known about the long-term effectiveness in preventing corrosion in reinforced concrete structures. The FRP wrap may in fact prevent the chlorides from passing through the concrete, however, the same principle might cause chlorides to be trapped beneath the surface and accelerate corrosion. In this study, the long-term behavior of laboratory specimens exposed to an aggressive chloride-rich environment were examined. This project was designed to develop a greater understanding of the long-term effects of FRP wrapping in preventing corrosion in reinforced concrete structures. Although TxDOT project 0_1774 involves both rectangular and cylindrical specimens, the focus of this thesis is on the specific impact of FRP wraps on partially wrapped versus unwrapped columns. The specimens included in this study are comprised of a wide range of construction parameters. However, despite the multitude of varying mix designs a noticeable trend has emerged as a result of this research.