One of the major disadvantages of conventional fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) strengthening techniques is the premature debonding of the FRP, leading to an underutilization of the materials. The externally bonded reinforcement on grooves (EBROG) method, which has been proven successful in postponing debonding in several structural applications, is examined in this study for the first time for realistic conditions in flat slabs. To this end, two different layouts of the strengthening solution are tested under concentric monotonic loading: one representing roof-level slab-column connections in which carbon FRP (CFRP) sheets are laid on top of the joint region (cross layout); and another one representing intermediate floors, in which the aforementioned layout is not possible due to the presence of the column (grid layout). For each layout, two FRP bonding techniques are used: conventional externally bonded reinforcement (EBR) and EBROG. Another specimen, without FRP strengthening, is used as a reference. It is shown that the EBROG technique is effective in postponing debonding for both layouts. Compared to the specimens in which EBR was used, the load capacity was increased in case of EBROG by 36% when FRP sheets were bonded on top of the joint (cross layout) and by 15% when sheets were attached outside the joint region (grid layout). Debonding strains are shown to be significantly higher in the case of EBROG compared to EBR. The experimentally observed debonding strains were compared with code provisions and predictions of models from the literature. A simple calculation method giving reasonably good results for the load capacity of the FRP-strengthened specimens is presented.
- Concentric loading
- Flat slab