Finite element modelling of FRP-strengthened RC beam-column connections with ANSYS

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Journal Article
Computers and Concrete, 2013, 11 (1), pp. 1 - 20
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There is an abundance of research on the strengthening of reinforced concrete (RC) structural elements such as beams, columns and slabs with fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) composites. Less research by comparison has been conducted on the strengthening of RC beam-column connections and the majority of such research has been predominantly experimental to date. Few existing experimental studies have reported extensive instrumentation of test specimens which in turn makes understanding the behavior of the connections and especially the contributions made by the FRP difficult to ascertain. In addition, there has been even more limited research on the analytical and numerical modelling of FRP-strengthened connections. In this paper, detailed descriptions of key strategies to model FRP-strengthened RC connections with finite elements are provided. An extensively instrumented and comprehensively documented set of experiments on FRP-strengthened connections is firstly presented and finite element models are then constructed using ANSYS. The study shows that the finite element approach is able to capture the overall behavior of the test specimens including the failure mode as well as the behavior of the FRP which will most importantly lead to a detailed understanding of the FRP and the future development of rational analytical models. The finite element models are, however, unable to model the stiffness of the connections with accuracy in the ultimate load range of response.
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