All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Nasim Uddin

Advisory Committee Members

Ashraf Al-Hamdan

Jason Kirby

Talat Salama

Christopher Waldron

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2013

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Engineering

Abstract

Resin infusion, a method of fabricating fiber reinforced polymer (FRP), has been shown to produce a stronger FRP of more consistent quality than other methods. It is a preferred method of fabrication in industries like automotive, aerospace, and boat build-ing. In infrastructure, however, FRP is commonly applied by the hand layup method. Hand layup is known to produce FRP of questionable quality. Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (VARTM), a form of resin infusion, can be used to apply externally bonded FRP to infrastructure to increase structural ca-pacity. Based on experience and knowledge in other industries, VARTM is expected to produce a better FRP than that currently used in infrastructure. This body of work aims to facilitate the transfer of a proven technology for the benefit of this industry. Lack of knowledge about VARTM in infrastructure is an impediment to the adop-tion of an application method which could produce a better final product. This research sets out to determine VARTM's benefits or drawbacks compared to hand layup for infra-structure applications. Shear and flexural ultimate strength and ultimate strain are tested and compared to verify the assumption that VARTM can produce a better FRP. Gap analysis, including that of the American Concrete Institute (ACI) 440R, has identified FRP durability as one of the main areas where further research is needed for externally bonded FRP. This research does a thorough analysis of the performance of both VARTM and hand layup FRP durability. Temperature and humidity have been identified as the principal drivers of environmental degradation. Accelerated condition-ing protocols (ACP) for both temperature extremes are applied. Having analyzed VARTM FRP strength and durability, this research will also test a modification to improve the VARTM application process on concrete structures. Grooves sawed into concrete are believed to be able to accelerate the VARTM applica-tion time without diminishing the capacity of the final product. Both of these assump-tions are tested and verified. Having proven VARTM performance and having found a way to improve the original application process, it is hoped that this research has facilitated the implementa-tion of VARTM FRP.

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