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RE: Externally Bonded FRP Systems for Strengthening ConcreteStructures

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-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Crocker [mailto:pcrocker(--nospam--at)reidmidd.com] 
Sent: Friday, June 03, 2005 12:39 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: RE: Externally Bonded FRP Systems for Strengthening
ConcreteStructures

I have been told that the concern is not only debonding due to some
material or substrate problem, but also due to fire, vandalism,
accidents, neglect, and abuse.

-----/Original Message-----

This is somewhat true--although it is quite possible to fireproof the
application to achieve an acceptable fire rating. Also, most of the
locations where I have had this done aren't really accessible to
"vandalism and abuse," since it is covered up by so much of the building
envelope or interior finishes.

And accidents are of lesser probability. That leaves "neglect" which is
really what they're focusing on in current research (after all, how many
building owners "maintain" the building structure unless something 'goes
wrong'?)

I really think that ignorance of the technology leads even many
engineers to dismiss it. We had one "well known" firm in Houston object
to it because "everyone knows that it deteriorates under UV radiation in
only five years or so," a bit of "knowledge" that didn't square with
documented facts.

We structural engineers are surprisingly averse to learning and
understanding new ways of doing things (The first LRFD edition was
published almost twenty years ago, but the argument's still going on?
Please). I've run into a few (such as the guys at Walter P. Moore) who
are very familiar with it, and specify it quite frequently, but most
structural engineers don't know a thing about FRP strengthening, and
don't want to know. They console themselves with repeating the bromides
about "vandalism and fire," etc.

Yes, these things are of concern, but no more so than for any building
structural element or system. We reflect these adverse probabilities in
our calculations and proceed from there. That said, I am careful not to
rely on the notion that it is the answer to all problems of diminished
structural capacity. The limitations need to be observed.

But they will probably become at least marginally less stringent as time
goes on, and more is learned about the behavior of these composite
systems. That's the way it always works with new construction
technologies.

This is an elegant solution in those situations where it works. And it's
fascinating to get it to work.


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