Size Effect on FRP External Reinforcement and Retrofit of Concrete Structures

Abdullah Dönmez, Mohammad Rasoolinejad, Zdeněk P. Bažant*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The size effect on the strength of reinforced concrete (RC) beams flexurally strengthened by surface bonded sheets of fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) is studied. As the failure is neither ductile nor brittle, but quasibrittle, occurring after stable growth of large cracks with large damage zones, the transitional size effect governed by the energetic size effect law (SEL) must be expected, which the present analysis confirms. Owing to scarcity of size effect experimental data, finite element (FE) analysis is used. A powerful microplane damage constitutive model M7 for concrete, coupled with the crack band model to suppress spurious mesh sensitivity, is calibrated by fitting the existing test data to FRP-strengthened RC specimens of diverse types, and consequently is trusted to simulate the size effect. The analysis captures the debonding near the concrete-FRP interface starting at midspan or at the end of the FRP sheet. It also captures the debonding between adjacent concrete shear cracks, and the delamination of concrete cover. The causes of these different delamination modes are explained. Simple beam-type formulas, in which the size characteristic is not the beam depth but the length of the shear span, are proposed and validated by FE results. The use of single-lap shear tests to determine the bond strength is critically discussed. Finally, a good fit of a few existing limited test data on the size effect of FRP-strengthened specimens is demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04020056
JournalJournal of Composites for Construction
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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