CORAL GABLES, FLA. – The University of Miami, through its National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center RB2C, performed the first-ever tests of full-scale concrete columns internally reinforced with glass fiber reinforced polymer bars (GFRP). The new study demonstrates that the behavior of GFRP in reinforced concrete columns was very similar to that of the conventional steel counterpart.

"The outcomes of our study provide a compelling case to modify existing design guidelines and allow for limited use of GFRP bars in columns, particularly when corrosion resistance or electromagnetic transparency is sought," said Antonio De Luca, graduate student at the University of Miami College of Engineering.

Other important findings of this project include the following:

  • The GFRP vertical bars are not detrimental for the concrete column performance.
  • The contribution of the GFRP to the column capacity is very small, if the amount of longitudinal reinforcement is used. Therefore, the presence of the GFRP bars can be neglected in the computation of the ultimate column capacity.
  • Difference in manufacturer of the GFRP bars does not affect the performance when bars are of the same quality.
  • Use of GFRP bars as compression reinforcement may be allowed when design is for vertical loads only.

The next stage of the study is meant to demonstrate that specimen scale does not affect GFRP-RC column specimen performance; and to investigate the behavior of GFRP-RC column specimens subjected to compressive load applied with a small eccentricity.

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