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The University of Southampton

Research project: Bespoke fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) reinforcement for concrete structures

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FRP as a sustainable construction material The construction industry consumes more resources taken from the Earth (up to 50%) than any other industry. The construction, operation and subsequent demolition of all built facilities account for 40–45% of the global energy use. Fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) materials are light weight and have proven to provide longer lifespans than traditional construction materials, such as concrete, steel, and timber. Owing to these inherent characteristics, FRP is a sustainable construction material. It is anticipated that FRP structures have less environmental impact than those made from conventional constructional materials.

FRP as reinforcement in concrete

Interest in fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) internal reinforcement in concrete is mostly focused on their use as a way to mitigate corrosion seen in conventional steel-reinforced concrete structures. Nonmagnetic properties of FRPs also make them useful for facilities for MRI medical equipment, airport runways, electronics laboratories, etc. FRP internal reinforcements have mostly been used in the form of reinforcement bars. However, the use of FRPs as a direct substitute for steel bar reinforcement in concrete using the same design principles means the designs are often expensive and inefficient. We developed novel innovative forms of combined flexural and shear FRP reinforcement systems. We exploited the flexible nature of FRP fabrics (prior to curing with resins) to form efficient 2D/3D reinforcement systems whilst achieving the mechanical properties to match the design requirements.

FRP bars
Fig 1
Concrete beams
Fig 2

Fig. 1 FRP bars similar to conventional steel reinforcement bars

Fig. 2 Novel forms of combined flexural and shear reinforcement systems for concrete beams

Fig 3
Fig 4

Fig. 3 In contrast to the FRP internal reinforcement systems investigated in the literature, the new reinforcement ensured ductility in the beams

Fig. 4 Load-midspan deflection relationship of concrete beams reinforced with a combined flexural and shear reinforcement made from CFRP fabric (note the ductility before the final failure)

Benefits to structural engineering

  • The results of this project would provide knowledge and confidence to use efficient concrete structural forms; the consequent changes the designers would make will help to reduce the carbon footprint.
  • The work could also lead to new multi-disciplinary research in the fields of architectural and structural engineering.
  • The construction industry may be able to explore the application of new concrete structures in marine/offshore and other critical environments where the conventional reinforced concrete structures require frequent monitoring and maintenance.

Research collaborator

Dr Alan Bloodworth, University of Warwick

Dr Wei Sun, Lanzhou University

Funding sources

The Institution of Civil Engineers

Marie Skłodowska–Curie Actions of EU H2020 (project name: TLIINCSEFFR, Grant ID: 793224 - CORDIS website )

Relevant publications

Sun, W. & Achintha, M. (2019). Exploitation of FRP Fabric Reinforcement. In S. Taylor (Ed.), Proceedings of the 14th International Symposium on Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Reinforcement for Concrete Structures [104] Queens University Belfast.

Achintha, M, Alami, F, Harry, S and Bloodworth, A (2016) Towards Innovative FRP Fabric Reinforcement in Concrete Beams: Concrete–CFRP Bond. Magazine of Concrete Research (Under review).

Achintha, M, Alami, F, and Bloodworth, A (2015). An CFRP fabrics as internal reinforcement in concrete beams. 7th Int. Conf. on Advanced Composites in Construction , Cambridge, UK, 9-11 September.

Further information

Please contact Dr Mithila Achintha (E-mail: or 02380 59 2924)

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