The strengthening of reinforced concrete structures by means of externally bonded fibre reinforced polymers (FRPs) is now routinely considered and applied in the retrofit or strengthening of structures. FRP composites have received a considerable attention from civil engineers in recent years due to the high strength-weight and stiffness/weight ratios when compared to other materials. However, when FRP composites are bonded to a concrete surface, there is a persistent potential problem that the FRP plates may debond prematurely from the concrete. This is a very important issue for the engineers who have to focus on the computational modelling of this phenomenon. Some studies can be found in literature on computational modelling. However, there is very little information about the best modelling of the interface between FRP composites and concrete and this work is intended to help bridge this gap. The computational analysis presented here is based on three-dimensional software which assumes the smeared crack model, and the interface finite elements (FEs) used have a rupture criteria based on the Mohr-Coulomb criterion with tension cut-off. The definition of these FEs was based on double shear tests that were performed specifically for this purpose and they have shown that the debonding phenomenon can be predicted with some accuracy. In total, 10 double shear models were studied and the results were compared with the 21 experimental tests performed. The double shear tests consisted of applying loads to 2 layered GFRP laminates bonded to a 150 mm concrete cube with a bonded area of 150 × 80 mm (length × width). Double shear models with and without a gap interface were considered in order to emphasize the importance of modelling the GFRP-to-concrete interface with interface finite elements. The effect of the concrete strength on the interface performance was also considered. An externally bonded reinforcement (EBR) concrete T-beam strengthened with 2 GFRP layers is presented to illustrate the application of the method. The wet lay-up technique was used for the external reinforcement of a reinforced concrete T-beam and then tested under a four point bending test until rupture. The results are reported and differences between the numerical and the experimental results are discussed.
- Mohr-Coulomb criterion
- FE analysis