System ductility and redundancy of FRP structures with ductile adhesively-bonded joints

Fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composites offer several advantages in relation to traditional materials, such as high specific strength, good corrosion resistance, low thermal conductivity and rapid component installation. Despite the great potential of these materials, two major disadvantages limit their acceptance in civil engineering applications: their lack of inherent ductility and the fact that their fibrous and anisotropic character makes the joining of structural components difficult. The purposes of this research are to develop ductile structures using brittle all-FRP materials and to provide a corresponding design method assuring robustness and structural safety. The proposed concept for all-FRP structures incorporates system ductility through the use of ductile, adhesively-bonded joints and redundant (statically indeterminate) structural systems. The concept envisages adhesives with an initially elastic behavior sufficiently stiff to meet short- and long-term serviceability requirements. When serviceability and ultimate loads are exceeded, however, adhesive behavior should change and become plastic, or at least highly non-linear inelastic, with much lower stiffness. The ductile connections effect a favorable redistribution of internal and external forces in the redundant system in the same way as plastic hinges in statically indeterminate systems with ductile materials. In case of joint failure, the redundant system allows the creation of alternative load paths and redistribution of section forces preventing structural collapse. Numerical and experimental investigations of adhesively-bonded double-lap joints demonstrate that using an appropriate bilinear adhesive is more advantageous than using a traditional structural and stiff epoxy adhesive. These investigations show that ductile adhesives generate a linear axial strain distribution and consequently a constant shear stress distribution along the overlap. Numerical and analytical modelings are validated with experimental results. The numerical modeling allows evaluation of the effect of ductile adhesive behavior on joint behavior and establishment of recommendations for the selection of adhesive mechanical properties, according to serviceability and failure limit state requirements. Based on numerical modeling results, joints can also be classified according to stiffness (stiff or flexible). An analytical model, based on numerical and experimental results, is developed for predicting joint stiffness when using ductile adhesives, assuming that the adhesive deforms only and uniformly in shear and that adherends deform only in tension. The design method is developed in accordance with the new structural concept and Eurocode design philosophy. It is based on both numerical and analytical model results for adhesively-bonded double-lap joints. A case study illustrating the adhesively-bonded joint design and appropriate adhesive selection is carried out on continuous beams with adhesively-bonded joints at mid-support. Corresponding bending experiments on beams with ductile, adhesively-bonded connections demonstrate the new structural concept's feasibility and validate the proposed design method. An energy factor defined as the ultimate strength to serviceability limit state energy ratio is proposed to quantify and compare the robustness and safety of structures built from both ductile and brittle materials.

Keller, Thomas
Lausanne, EPFL
Other identifiers:
urn: urn:nbn:ch:bel-epfl-thesis3214-2

 Record created 2005-03-16, last modified 2018-03-17

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