Synthesis and Characterization of the Mechanical Properties of a New Polymer and Fiber-Reinforced Cementitious Slab Material for Bridges
This paper presents the experimental determination of the mechanical and structural properties of a bridge slab constructed with Fiber Reinforced Polymers (FRP), specifically vinyl ester resin reinforced with E-glass fibers (E-glass). The fibers were used in the form of a two-dimensional stitched fabric (NCF) and, for the first time, a three-dimensional braid. The slab is constructed by bonding beams with a triangular cross-section and two flat plates that form the top and bottom surfaces of the panel. The material was first characterized at the level of coupon-sized specimens, where its physical and mechanical properties were determined. The structural properties of the beams were determined by bending tests where a three-potentiometer arrangement was used to simultaneously measure vertical and lateral deflections and rotation, including the use of a gravity load simulator. Finally, the flexural properties of the panel were determined by testing four prototypes of the five-cell wide slabs. High variability was found in the 3-D braided reinforced material, but this was used to reinforce the beams in the final prototype. The prototypes supported 5.5 times the design load, so it was concluded that the design of these systems is dominated by deflection limit and not by resistance capacity. It was recommended that design methodologies be developed where design models are calibrated with experimental data and material variability values using reliability methodologies.