Infoscience

Journal article

On the efficiency of flat slabs strengthening against punching using externally bonded fibre reinforced polymers

One possibility for strengthening existing flat slabs consists on gluing fibre reinforced polymers (FRPs) at the concrete surface. When applied on top of slab–column connections, this technique allows increasing the flexural stiffness and strength of the slab as well as its punching strength. Nevertheless, the higher punching strength is associated to a reduction on the deformation capacity of the slab–column connection, which can be detrimental for the overall behaviour of the structure (leading to a more brittle behaviour of the system). Design approaches for this strengthening technique are usually based on empirical formulas calibrated on the basis of the tests performed on isolated test specimens. However, some significant topics as the reduction on the deformation capacity or the influence of the whole slab (accounting for the reinforcement at mid-span) on the efficiency of the strengthening are neglected. In this paper, a critical review of this technique for strengthening against punching shear is investigated on the basis of the physical model proposed by the Critical Shear Crack Theory (CSCT). This approach allows taking into account the amount, layout and mechanical behaviour of the bonded FRP’s in a consistent manner to estimate the punching strength and deformation capacity of strengthened slabs. The approach is first used to predict the punching strength of available test data, showing a good agreement. Then, it is applied in order to investigate strengthened continuous slabs, considering moment redistribution after concrete cracking and reinforcement yielding. This latter study provides valuable information regarding the differences between the behaviour of isolated test specimens and real strengthened flat slabs. The results show that empirical formulas calibrated on isolated specimens may overestimate the actual performance of FRP’s strengthening. Finally, taking advantage of the physical model of the CSCT, the effect of the construction sequence on the punching shear strength is also evaluated, revealing the role of this issue which is also neglected in most empirical approaches

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