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Steel fibre reinforced concrete for prestressed hollow core slabs

Publication Date
  • Ta 630 Structural Engineering (General)
  • Design


An investigation of prestressed concrete containing steel fibres as secondary reinforcement to improve performance in shear, flexure and bond is reported. Emphasis is placed on the use of steel fibres in prestresssed extruded hollow core slabs, since these common precast elements have intrinsic difficulty in incorporating traditional secondary reinforcement due to their unique shape and manufacturing method. Two separate studies were carried out. The first study involved laboratory investigations into the bond between fibre reinforced concrete (FRC) and the prestressing strand, and the shear behaviour of laboratory-cast prestressed fibre reinforced concrete (PFRC) beams. The second part involved the factory production of fibre reinforced hollow core slabs in co-operation with a local manufacturer. The fibre reinforced hollow core slabs were subjected to conventional full-width shear tests, concentrated load shear tests, and to transverse flexure. For all laboratory cast elements, cubes, cylinders and prisms were cast to investigate compressive, tensile and flexural properties, respectively. Two types of steel fibre were investigated: hooked-end steel fibres at fibre volume fractions (Vf) of 0.5%, 1.0% and 1.5%; and amorphous metal fibres at Vf‘s of 0.28% and 0.56%. The trial production of fibre reinforced hollow core slabs necessitated the investigation of the effect of steel fibres on the extrusion manufacturing process. It was shown that fibre reinforced hollow core slabs could be adequately compacted with only slight increases in mixing water. Fibres were found to distribute randomly throughout the cross-section. However, the rotation of the augers affected the orientation of fibres, with fibres tending to align vertically in the web. It was shown that the addition of steel fibres to prestressed concrete has a negative effect on the bond between matrix and tendon, leading to longer transfer lengths. The effect of the increase in transfer length was to reduce cracking shear strengths by 4%. Shear tests showed that the incorporation of steel fibres could increase shear strength by as much as 45% for Vf = 1.5%. This increase in shear strength, known as the fibre contribution, was shown to be due to fibres bridging across the crack and an increased compressive resistance due to fibres arresting the propagation of cracks into the compressive zone. A semi-empirical equation for shear strength of PFRC elements is developed. It is given in two forms, one compatible with the present equations for prestressed concrete given in BS 8110 and Eurocode 2, and a second form compatible with that advocated for fibres in reinforced concrete. The equation makes use of equivalent flexural strength which is recognised as the most useful material property for design of FRC. The equation was found to give good correlation with the shear strength of single web beams cast both in the laboratory and under factory conditions. However, a overall strength reduction factor is required for full-width hollow core slabs to account for uneven load distribution and inconsistent web widths. This is consistent with tests on plain hollow core slabs found in the literature.

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