Use of Carbon Fiber Materials to Provide Alternate Load Paths in RC Structures Vulnerable to Progressive Collapse, CMS proposal 0324592

PI: Jirsa, University of Texas

The objective of this proposal is to develop techniques for using Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) sheets to provide alternate load paths in structures vulnerable to failure by progressive collapse under extreme loads. Recent events have demonstrated the vulnerability of many structures to both natural phenomena and terrorist acts. The failure of buildings in earthquakes or by bombing has shown the profession the importance of confinement, continuity, and capacity. The high strength to weight ratio of carbon fiber materials make them ideal candidates for modifying the performance of reinforced concrete members or structures with inadequate shear, flexure, or tension capacity, poor confinement, or poor detailing of reinforcement. The purpose of this proposal is to demonstrate the efficacy of using CFRP materials to develop alternate load paths to (1) carry forces in the event that critical elements of a structure are severely damaged or removed, or (2) augment the capacity of a structure by providing independent additional load paths. The development of techniques based on the use of CFRP materials for modifying the performance of existing structures under extreme loadings will provide structural engineers with an option for .hardening. those structures that has heretofore not been available.

Intellectual Merit The project will create knowledge in an area that is new to the profession and essential to understanding the performance of structures vulnerable to progressive collapse. There is very little experimental evidence available to guide the research and design community in evaluating and rehabilitating systems where such vulnerabilities exist. The manner in which a structure survives the damage that occurs as a result of terrorist attacks or other extreme loading events has not been extensively studied. Although there is considerable information regarding seismic assessment and rehabilitation of structures, The damage produced by terrorist attacks or other extreme loading is quite different and is likely to affect only a relatively small portion of the structure but may imperil the entire system if progressive collapse occurs.

Broader Impacts o By involving practicing engineers in the project, the data will be transferred to practice rapidly. The emphasis will be to transfer information to groups working on homeland security issues and groups developing progressive collapse evaluation and mitigation guidelines and policy.FEMA, NIST, GSA, Structural Engineering Associations in various states. o In selecting graduate and undergraduate students for the research team, special efforts will be made to secure students from underrepresented groups and from area high-schools. The graduate and undergraduate student bodies in Civil Engineering at the University of Texas have large fractions of women and Hispanic students available to participate in the project. o The findings from the research will be utilized in a graduate course on evaluation and rehabilitation of existing reinforced concrete structures under extreme loadings. It will include consideration of structures for vulnerable to progressive collapse.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI)
Application #
Program Officer
Mahendra P. Singh
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Texas Austin
United States
Zip Code