How does FRP differ from traditional materials for strengthening projects?
Structural strengthening projects often involve complex logistics because the work often has to be performed while structures are partially or fully occupied. Work needs to be completed with minimal disruption to occupants and operations.
Externally bonded fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) reinforcement is one method that can be employed to repair and/or increase the load carrying capacity and improve performance of existing structures. However, FRP reinforcement is different than common reinforcement materials, such as steel bars, in that they are typically applied externally to the structural members. FRP materials exhibit linear-elastic behavior and have tensile modulus and ultimate strain that are smaller than values typically encountered for steel reinforcement. These also have lower resistance to elevated heat and fire.
These differences result in a different set of design approaches, design limits, and detailing requirements to meet the standard performance requirements of building codes.
Using FRP materials can lower the cost of repairs, and provide more durable solution over traditional materials. Specifying the correct FRP material is crucial when working in an aggressive environment.