Shear behavior of reinforced concrete bridge pile cap girders strengthened with carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) strips and CFRP anchors




Shekarchi, William Asad

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Externally bonded CFRP strips are ideal for rehabilitating existing members due to their high tensile strength-to-weight ratio, relatively low cost, formability, and expedited installation times. However, without proper anchorage, CFRP strips debond from the concrete surface before the strength of the CFRP can be mobilized. Consequently, CFRP spike anchors are used to delay debonding and develop the fracture strength of the CFRP strips. Previous research conducted on large-scale T-beams have shown that uni-directional (vertical) and bi-directional (vertical and horizontal) applications of CFRP strips and anchors increased the cracking load and ultimate shear capacity of members with transverse steel reinforcement, thin webs, and span-to-depth ratios above three (i.e., sectional behavior). However, the ability of the CFRP to strengthen wide-webbed members remained unknown. The objective of this research was to investigate the feasibility of strengthening wide-webbed reinforced concrete pile cap girders in shear using CFRP strips and CFRP anchors and to develop comprehensive design and detailing recommendations for CFRP shear strengthening. An experimental test program, consisting of nine tests, was created to investigate:

  1. the effects of loading conditions,
  2. retrofitting uncracked and cracked sections,
  3. placing anchors in tension zones, and
  4. uni- and bi-directional CFRP layouts on the shear performance of 32-in. deep by 32-in. wide reinforced concrete pile cap girders. The test results indicated that the uni-directional CFRP layouts were able to increase the shear capacity by as much as 56% while the bi-directional layouts increased the cracking shear load by as much as 22%. Anchored CFRP layouts were found to be as efficient as fully wrapped layouts despite anchors being placed in tension zones. Moreover, at the onset of the loss of shear strength, the measured lower bound average CFRP fracture strain was 0.007, which is significantly larger than the permitted effective strain in current ACI 440.2R-08 design guidelines (i.e., 0.004). A database of test results from relevant CFRP strengthened specimens was collected, in addition to using the pile cap girder experimental results, to develop a rational design approach and detailing recommendations for CFRP shear strengthening.


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