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Strengthening of timber beams using externally-bonded sprayed fibre reinforced polymers Talukdar, Sudip

Abstract

The use of Fibre Reinforced Polymers (FRP) has grown in popularity in the construction industry. FRP has proven useful in the retrofit of various types of structural elements. It may be used for the strengthening of beams, the seismic upgrade of walls panels, as well as the jacketing of columns to provide confinement. There exist several methods of FRP application for the case of structural retrofits. These include the application of pre-prepared FRP mats, or application of FRP via the wet lay-up process. However, a new technique developed at the University of British Columbia allows for the application of FRP in the form of a spray. Externally bonded Sprayed FRP (SFRP) is known to increase strength and energy absorption capacity of a retrofitted member as well as, or better than, FRP sheets. However, tests have primarily been carried out on concrete members only. An area of interest, into which not much research has been conducted, is the application of SFRP to timber. Timber bridges are extensively used in many parts of the world. Often due to remoteness and practical constraints, it is impossible to apply FRP sheets to retrofit these bridges. SFRP would be a much easier method of FRP application. This study looked at the application of SFRP to Douglas Fir (D.Fir) Beam specimens subjected to 3-Point Flexural Loading only. The specimens were treated with either a water based (Borocol) or oil borne (Creosote) antifungal preservative prior to being sprayed with FRP. Different combinations of adhesives/bonding agents including Hydroxymethylated Resorcinol and Polymeric Isocyanates were used to try to develop a strong bond. When considering using only chemical adhesives to obtain a proper bond between the two constituents of the composite, use of HMR is recommended for timber which is untreated or has been treated with a water borne preservative such as Borocol, while a pMDI adhesive such as AtPrime 2 is recommended for timber treated with an oil borne preservative such as Creosote. For Non Creosoted beams, adhesives did not generate as significant of a strength gain. For Creosoted beams, adhesives may be sufficient to generate significant strength gain when SFRP is applied to a beam. Considering that most structures in use would probably have been treated with a preservative similar to Creosote, in practice, AtPrime 2 or some other some sort of pMDI would probably be the adhesive of choice. Based on the results of the study, it is possible to say that the application of SFRP to retrofit/rehabilitate timber structures shows considerable promise. If a decent bond is achieved between the composite constituents, it is possible to substantially increase the ultimate flexural strength of the member, as well as drastically increase its ductility and energy absorption capacity. It is recommended that further tests be carried out using different types of loading schemes, geometrical configurations of SFRP, other types of anchorage, and development of a proper analytical model before the method is adopted for widespread use.

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