Double-punch test for evaluating the performance of steel fiber-reinforced concrete
The objective of this study is to develop test protocols for comparing the effectiveness of fiber-reinforced concrete (FRC) mixtures with high-performance steel fibers. Steel fibers can be added to fresh concrete to increase the tensile strength, ductility, and durability of concrete structures. In order to quantify steel fiber-reinforced concrete (SFRC) mixtures for field applications, a material test capable of predicting the performance of SFRC for field loading conditions is required. However, current test methods used to evaluate the structural properties of FRC (such as residual strength and toughness) are widely regarded as inadequate; a simple, accurate, and consistent test method is needed. It was determined that the Double-Punch Test (DPT), originally introduced by Chen in 1970 for plain concrete, could be extended to fiber-reinforced concrete to satisfy this industry need. In the DPT, a concrete cylinder is placed vertically between the loading platens of the test machine and compressed by two steel punches located concentrically on the top and bottom surfaces of the cylinder. It is hypothesized that the Double-Punch Test is capable of comparing future fiber-reinforcement design options for use in structural applications, and is suitable for evaluating FRC in general. The DPT Research and Testing Program was administered to produce sufficient within-laboratory data to make conclusions and recommendations regarding the simplicity, reliability, and reproducibility of the DPT for evaluating the performance of SFRC. Several variables (including fiber manufacturer, fiber content, and testing equipment) were evaluated to verify the relevance of the DPT for FRC. In this thesis, the results of 120 Double-Punch Tests are summarized and protocols for its effective application to fiber-reinforced concrete are recommended. Also, fundamental data is provided that indicates the DPT could be standardized by national and international agencies, such as the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM), as a method to evaluate the mechanical behavior of FRC. This project is sponsored by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) through TxDOT Project 6348, "Controlling Cracking in Prestressed Concrete Panels and Optimizing Bridge Deck Reinforcing Steel," which is aimed at improving bridge deck construction through developments in design details, durability, and quality control procedures.