A new and stronger approach is being developed in the quest to have more concrete structures, coupled with the advent of improved composite materials. A new approach that utilizes fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) is at the centre of the ongoing advancements. The FRP method is superior to prior materials since the composite material has better mechanical properties. The FRP, therefore, finds more use in a range of structures, including masonry walls, beams, slabs and columns, among others.
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Improving and modifying reinforced concrete structures is usually very challenging for urban developers. The constantly emerging design codes, as well as natural events that lead to wearing out of reinforced concrete structures as a result of environmental exposure alters most concrete structures.
Bridges and other civil structures usually present a lot of problems when it comes to maintaining, upgrading or rehabilitating them. Making replacements of deteriorated structures is a costly exercise that requires labour and new materials. This drawback is compounded by the fact that replacing these structures disrupts people’s daily lives. Resultantly, it is advisable to do retrofitting as an upgrade option on the structures.
When choosing the method for strengthening the structures, one has to consider a number of factors. It is paramount to consider the strength needed for the structure before selecting the strengthening method. Secondly, it is important to consider the change in the stiffness of the member to be strengthened. It is also wise to consider the environmental conditions around the member to be strengthened. Finally, the complexity of the shape of the member should be used to determine the strengthening method to be used.
In light of the above considerations, external components are very handy for strengthening concrete structural members. This requires the use of FRP composite, which is bonded to the tension face. One can also use steel plates for concrete structures. There has been increasing preference for FRP composites as opposed to steel plates as systems for reinforcing concrete. This is because FRP composites have higher strength to weight ratio compared to steel.
Moreover, FRP composites can be easily handled and installed. In specific, FRP composites are flexible enough to fit into complex designs. Finally, FRP composites are preferable to steel plates since they are more resistant to environmental conditions.