Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP) Stay-in-Place (SIP) participating formwork for new construction

  • Xian Gai

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


The concept of stay-in-place (SIP) structural formwork has the potential to simplify and accelerate the construction process to a great extent. Fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) SIP structural formwork offers further potential benefits over existing formwork systems in terms of ease and speed of construction, improved site safety and reduced long-term maintenance in corrosive environments. However, it is not without its limitations, including primarily the possibility of a lack of ductility, which is a key concern regarding the use of FRP structural formwork in practice.This thesis presents the findings of an experimental and analytical investigation into a novel FRP SIP structural formwork system for a concrete slab with a particular emphasis on its ability to achieve a ductile behaviour. The proposed composite system consists of a moulded glass fibre-reinforced polymer (GFRP) grating adhesively bonded to square pultruded GFRP box sections. The grating is subsequently filled with concrete to form a concrete-FRP composite floor slab. Holes cut into the top flange of the box sections allow concrete studs to form at the grating/box-section interface. During casting, GFRP dowels are inserted into the holes to further mechanically connect the grating and box sections.An initial experimental investigation into using GFRP grating as confinement for concrete showed that a significant increase in ultimate strength and strain capacity could be achieved compared to unconfined concrete. This enhanced strain capacity in compression allows greater use of the FRP capacity in tension when used in a floor slab system. Further experimental investigation into developing ductility at the grating/box-section interface showed that the proposed shear connection exhibited elastic-‘plastic’ behaviour. This indicated the feasibility of achieving ductility through progressive and controlled longitudinal shear failure. Following these component tests on the concrete-filled grating and the shear connectors, a total of six (300 x 150 x 3000) mm slab specimens were designed and tested under five-point bending. It was found that the behaviour of all specimens was ductile in nature, demonstrating that the proposed progressive longitudinal shear failure was effective. A three-stage analytical model was developed to predict the load at which the onset of longitudinal shear failure occurred, the stiffness achieved during the post elastic behaviour and, finally, the deflection at which ultimate failure occurred. Close agreement was found between experimental results and the theory.
Date of Award1 Mar 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorMark Evernden (Supervisor)


  • GFRP dowels
  • moulded GFRP grating
  • ductility
  • FRP
  • stay-in-place
  • participating formwork
  • pultruded GFRP box section

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