The strengthening of reinforced concrete structures with laminates of fibre reinforced polymeric (FRP) matrix has received considerable attention, although there still is lack of information on the more adequate modelling of the interface between FRP composites and concrete. An experimental programme is described and was designed to: (i) characterise glass FRP-to-concrete interface by shear tests; (ii) analyse reinforced concrete T-beams with external GFRP plates. Double shear tests were carried out based on 15 cm cubes with GFRP bonded to two opposite faces. The concrete T-beams were 3.0 m long and 0.28 m high and were loaded till rupture in 4-point bending tests. The external reinforcement system showed great strength increment in relation to the non retrofitted T-beam, confirming to be an effective approach to the flexural strengthening of RC beams. The computational analysis was based on a three dimensional smeared crack model. In total, 22 computational analyses were made. Models with and without interface FE associated with Mohr–Coulomb failure criterion for the FRP-to-concrete interface were defined and different strength types of concrete were considered. The rigid interface does not predict the rupture of the T-beam with precision; however, the results obtained for low concrete strengths revealed that rigid interfaces can be assumed when conjugated with the fixed crack approach. Consequently, a slightly stiffer response of the beam is obtained. The maximum bond stresses obtained from Finite Element Analysis (FEA) revealed that the models with rigid interfaces developed lower bond stresses due to the lack of relative displacements between both materials. The effects of assuming either fixed or rotated crack approaches were also compared. The rotated crack conjugated to a fine mesh in the vicinity of the GFRP-to-concrete stress led to a very good estimation of the bond stresses along the interface. The prediction of the T-beam rupture was also estimated with better results when the rotated crack was used in the model. In general, the FEA predicted with very good results the de-bonding of the GFRP-to-concrete interface of T-beams externally bonded with GFRP composites.
- Glass fiber reinforced polymers (GFRP)
- Flexural strengthening
- Mohr–Coulomb criterion
- FE analysis