American Society of Civil Engineers

Retrofitting Precast Bridge Beams with Carbon Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Strips for Shear Capacity

by Stephan A. Durham, M.ASCE, (Assistant Professor, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Univ. of Colorado Denver, Denver, CO 80217.), Ernest Heymsfield, P.E., M.ASCE, (Associate Professor, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701.), and Jessie X. Jones, (Planning and Research Engineer, Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Dept., Little Rock, AR 72203.)

Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities, Vol. 23, No. 4, July/August 2009, pp. 219-226, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: Advancements in fiber-reinforced polymers (FRPs) have made this an attractive material for rehabilitation and strengthening of bridge superstructures. FRP has primarily been used with the intention of increasing the bending strength of bridge members. However, this paper investigates the use of externally placed FRP strips to increase shear capacity of short-span, 5.7 m (19 ft), precast concrete channel beam bridges. A statewide survey revealed that as many as 389 bridges in the state of Arkansas are comprised of these members. Notably, beams within these bridges were designed under provisions that did not require shear reinforcement. In this research, four sections were retrofitted using carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) strips and load tested to failure to measure the repair effectiveness. The performance of the retrofitted sections far exceeded that of unretrofitted sections. It was concluded that the addition of the CFRP repair increased the deflection ductility at least 123%. In addition, beams retrofitted with the CFRP strips experienced at least 26% more deflection after the initiation of a shear crack; therefore reducing the risk of a catastrophic failure.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Fiber reinforced polymer
Precast concrete
Shear strength