Flexural Behaviour of Concrete Reinforced With Basalt Fibre Reinforcement Bars

An Experimental and Numerical Research

More Info


The emergence of innovative construction materials is dawning a new era of ambition within the civil engineering community. Among these innovative materials, Basalt Fibre Reinforced Polymer (BFRP) has recently surfaced with promising potential as a reinforcing material in concrete. Currently, in the Dutch concrete construction industry, the choice for reinforcement steel has remained unchanged for the past decades. However, the increasing availability of innovative alternatives could help the transition to a more sustainable concrete industry. Although BFRP has promising potential for application in concrete structures, the global application has not been established yet. One of the reasons for this limited research into the structural behaviour of concrete structures reinforced with BFRP-bars. Furthermore, the limited development of codes specifically designed for concrete reinforced with BFRP-bars and the modest availability compared to reinforcement steel also play into the unknowns about the material.

BFRP-bars contain certain qualities that reinforcement steel does not. One of the most prominent is resistance against corrosion due to environmental influences on concrete structures. This eliminates the requirement for the concrete cover to protect the reinforcement from corrosion. Hence, the concrete cover only serves its purpose to ensure effective bond action between the reinforcement bars and the concrete. This inherent quality of BFRP-bars eases the crack width control requirements in the codes for the design of structures reinforced with BFRP-bars to a range of 0.5 mm to 0.7 mm. Although this is a significant increase in comparison to the Eurocode for concrete structures (0.2 mm to 0.4 mm), the properties of BFRP-bars cause larger crack width development.

The aim of the experiment is to investigate the flexural behaviour of concrete beams reinforced with BFRP-bars as tensile reinforcement. The flexural behaviour of concrete structures reinforced with BFRP-bars is studied both experimentally and numerically. The research program contains 6 beams differing in reinforcement material, concrete covers, reinforcement ratio and bar diameters. To investigate the effects of the concrete cover, 2 beams are designed with concrete covers of 31 mm and 11 mm containing 3 BFRP-bars with a diameter of 8 mm in
the tension zone. To compare the behaviour of these beams, 2 identical beams with reinforcement steel are designed. To determine the effects of the reinforcement bar diameter, 1 beam is designed with 2 bars with a diameter of 10 mm. The reinforcement ratio in beams remains approximately equal, hence the only changing parameter is the bar diameter. The effects reinforcement ratio is investigated by a beam designed with 2 bars with a diameter of 8 mm. By keeping the bar diameter and the concrete cover the same, the reinforcement ratio is the only changing parameter for this beam. By subjecting the beams to a 4-point bending test, a fully developed crack pattern can be established over a certain length. By using digital image correlation (DIC), the flexural behaviour is monitored and analysed. This includes both crack width development and overall pattern forming. The results are verified with linear variable differential transformers (LVDT‘s) and a laser measuring vertical displacements. This procedure is devised to evaluate the stiffness behaviour of the beams as well as the cracking behaviours. In addition, the experimental program includes a series of direct tensile tests with reinforcement bars to determine the stress-strain behaviour of the reinforcement bars themselves...