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Title: Early-Age Cracking Behavior of Concrete Slabs with GFRP Reinforcement
This paper reports on a combined experimental and numerical modeling investigation of cracking of concrete slabs with GFRP reinforcement. At this stage of the project, attention is given to early-age cracking driven by plastic shrinkage, preceding longer term considerations of cracking resistance over the service life of field applications. Of interest is the effectiveness of GFRP reinforcement in restricting plastic shrinkage cracking. Nine small-scale slab specimens were subjected to controlled evaporation rates. Images of crack development were acquired periodically, from which crack width estimations were made. Comparisons were made between slabs reinforced with conventional steel and those reinforced with GFRP, along with control specimens lacking reinforcement. During the period of plastic shrinkage, the time of crack initiation and subsequent crack openings do not appear to be influenced by the presence of the reinforcing bars. To understand this behavior, six early-age bond tests were conducted for both types of the bars after 1, 2, and 3 h exposure to the controlled evaporation rate. In addition, concrete strength development and time of settings were measured using penetration resistance tests on a representative mortar. The numerical modeling component of this research is based on a Voronoi cell lattice model; in this approach, the relative humidity, temperature, and displacement fields are discretized in three-dimensions, allowing for a comprehensive investigation of material behavior within the controlled environment. Based on the measured bond properties, our simulations confirm that the reinforcing bars restrict crack development, though they do not prevent it entirely.  more » « less
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