Sunteți pe pagina 1din 11


TECH NOTE NO: TITLE: AUTHORS: 3 Fiber Reinforced Concrete for Airfield Rigid Pavements J.R. Roesler Ph: (217) 265-0218, M.C. Gaedicke Ph: (217)-265-5146, University of Illinois, Dept of Civil & Environmental Engineering 1208 NCEL, MC-250, Urbana, IL 61801 10/25/04


1. Introduction Fiber-reinforced concrete (FRC) has been used in concrete pavement successfully but there have also been some premature failures. This technical note summarizes existing literature on the use FRC for concrete pavements. Specific FRC topics that will be addressed are the potential concrete pavement applications, properties of fibrous concrete, design approaches, performance, and a cost analysis completed for a typical airfield concrete pavement runway. 2. Use of Fibers in Concrete Pavements The use of discrete fibers in concrete slabs on ground (or concrete pavement) application has been reported in the literature for over 40 years (Romualdi and Batson 1963; Romualdi and Mandel 1964; Parker 1974; Rollings 1981; Vondran 1991; PCA 1991; ACI 1997; AASHTO 2001; The Concrete Society 1994). Mindess et al. (2003) reports that 60 percent of fiber applications are for concrete slabs on ground for which they have been used as secondary reinforcement (Bentur and Mindess-1990). FRC pavements have been successfully designed and constructed with also some premature failures as reported in the literature. Overall, the failures of FRC pavement were related to insufficient thickness design especially for overlays and/or the use of large joint spacings (>30ft.). Furthermore, the early concrete paving projects used high volume fractions (1 to 2%). Hindsight has shown that the selection of certain design features (such as ultra-thin overlays with large slab sizes) when using FRC can result in early-age corner breaks, wide crack openings, and excessive joint spalling. 1

Some full-scale experimental tests have been conducted over the past two decades to measure the effects of fiber type and volume fractions on the response properties of concrete slabs on ground (Sham and Burgoyne 1986; Kukreja et al. 1987; Beckett and Humphreys 1989; Beckett 1990,1999; Tatnall and Kuitenbrouwer 1992; Falkner and Teutsch 1993). These research programs primarily focused on the effect fibers have on the toughness and ultimate load carrying capacity of concrete slabs. Studies have shown that steel fibers increase the flexural and ultimate load carrying capacity of concrete slabs and the magnitude of the increase is related to the fiber volume and aspect ratio (Sham and Burgoyne 1986; Beckett 1990; Falkner et al. 1995; Beckett et al. 1999). Beckett (1990) concluded that as the steel fiber content increased from 20 to 30 kg/m3 for an aspect ratio of 60 (fiber length divided by diameter), the increase over plain concrete first flexural crack strength of the slab went from 11 to 33 percent. Tatnall and Kuitenbrouwer (1992) concluded that the theoretical results based on Westergaard (1926) elastic analysis did not accurately predict the flexural cracking loads of slabs (based on concrete beam flexural strengths). Similarly, Roesler (1998) showed that concrete slabs under monotonic loading had an increased flexural strength over companion beam specimens by as much as 30 percent, while the calculated Westergaard stress resembled the concrete beam flexural strength. 3. Background Steel fibers offer increased toughness, abrasion and impact resistance, and allow for increased slab sizes. Synthetic fibers, such as polypropylene, have primarily been used in concrete materials to control and reduce plastic shrinkage cracking (Naaman et al. 1984; Zollo and Ilter 1986; Grzybowski and Shah 1990; Bentur and Mindess 1990; Shah et al. 1994). Steel fibers can have different geometries like with hooked ends or crimped, as can be seen on figure 1. Synthetic fibers have shown to improve impact resistance (Mindess and Vondran 1988; Berke and Dallaire 1994), offer increases in concrete toughness especially when fiber volume contents exceed 1 percent (Hughes and Fattuhi 1976; Hasaba et al. 1984; Mindess et al. 2003), and also increase water tightness of concrete structures (Bentur and Mindess 1990; Mindess et al. 2003). The main types of polymeric fiber materials being used are nylon, polypropylene, and polyethylene. The existing fibers come in a variety of shapes, aspect ratios, and packaging. Addition of synthetic structural fiber to plain concrete beams has shown similar equivalent flexural strength values to steel fiberreinforced concrete (Altoubat et al. 2004).

FIGURE 1 Photo of (a) synthetic macro fiber left, (b) hooked end steel fiber middle, and (c) crimped steel fiber right.

4. Benefits of FRC Fibers added in sufficient volume to plain concrete improve properties such as fracture toughness, ductility, and crack-width control. Fibers have been used to improve the cracking performance of concrete pavements, reduce the required slab thickness, and increase the allowable joint spacing. Rollings summarized the performance of steel fiberreinforced concrete (SFRC) pavements for airfields. He concluded that 1 to 2 percent volume fractions of steel fiber had increased the flexural strength of the concrete by 35 to 70 percent and had increased the ultimate capacity of the slab, based on full-scale trafficking tests completed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE). Results of large-scale slab tests and beam toughness tests have shown that structural synthetic and steel fibers increase the flexural capacity of plain concrete slabs. The equivalent flexural strength ratio (Re,3) obtained from flexural beam toughness tests predicted the increase in the flexural capacity of steel and synthetic fiber-reinforced concrete slabs over plain concrete slabs. Fibrous concrete with an Re,3 of 30 percent can reduce the required slab thickness on an airfield rigid pavement by 17 percent (Altoubat et al. 2004) Roesler et al. (2003) analyzed the flexural resistance of beams and large-scale slabs on ground using different type of fibers and concluded that discrete fibers contribute to the flexural strength of concrete slabs beyond what is predicted by beam tests. The slabs flexural strengths were 1.8 to 2.2 times greater than the beam flexural strengths for the fiber-reinforced concrete and 1.4 times greater for the plain concrete. The flexural cracking load of the fiber-reinforced slabs was 25 to 55 percent higher than the plain concrete slab. The addition of synthetic fibers at 4.4 kg/m3 and hooked end steel fibers at 27.3 kg/m3 increased the flexural cracking load relative to plain concrete slabs by 30 percent. The crimped steel fibers at 39 kg/m3 showed the greatest increase to the flexural strength (55%), which was primarily attributed to its higher concrete flexural strength. Monotonic load testing on FRC with synthetic fibers (Roesler, 2004b) showed that the addition of synthetic fibers significantly modified the failure behavior of plain concrete

slabs. Synthetic fibers at 0.32 and 0.48 percent volume fraction increased the flexural cracking load of concrete slabs under center load by 25 and 32 percent, respectively compared to a plain concrete slab. Similarly, synthetic fibers at 0.48 percent volume fraction increased the flexural cracking load of plain concrete slab under edge loading by 28 percent. Recent applications of FRC to slab on ground and concrete pavement has targeted fiber contents of less than 0.5 percent by volume for economical and constructability reasons. Experimental testing of slabs on ground (SOG) has shown considerable improvement in the flexural and ultimate cracking load of the FRC slabs over the plain concrete slabs (917). The improvement in the ultimate load capacity of the FRC slabs on ground has led to a new design procedure in the United Kingdom that uses yield line analysis to calculate the required slab thickness. Roesler et al. (2004a) also concluded that the ultimate load carrying capacity of the plain concrete slab was improved significantly with the addition of discrete fibers. The fiber type (material, aspect ratio, and fiber geometry) and fiber content were the most significant factor in the ultimate load capacity of the concrete slab. Fibers helped keep the slab in contact with the subgrade after flexural cracking was reached enabling a better distribution of load. The steel fibers showed the greatest improvement in ultimate load capacity followed by the synthetic fibers. The collapse load of a plain concrete slab under center loading was increased 20 and 34 percent with the addition of 0.32 and 0.48 percent by volume of synthetic fibers, respectively (Roesler, 2004b). The collapse load of the plain concrete slab under edge loading was also increased by 32 percent with the addition of 0.48 percent of synthetic fibers. The equivalent flexural strength ratio (Re,3) indicated a similar increase in the flexural and ultimate strength of the fiber reinforced concrete slabs over the plain concrete slab. An additional benefit due the use of fibers is the deflection profile (Roesler, 2004). The measured deflection profile across the concrete slabs showed that the synthetic fibers kept a larger percentage of the slab in contact with the subgrade throughout the testing thus resulting in higher flexural and ultimate strength values. Embedded strain gages further verified that the load carrying capacity of the fiber reinforced concrete slabs was distributed over a larger area before flexural cracking and thus allowed for a higher flexural and ultimate strength relative to the plain concrete slab.

250 0.35% Hooked End Steel 225 Secondary Flexural Crack Region 1st Flexural Crack Region 0.48% Synthetic Fiber 0.50% Hooked End Steel




Load (kN)

0.32% Synthetic Fiber 125 Plain




Ultimate Strength Region


0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Maximum Surface Deflection at Center Slab (mm)

FIGURE 2 Improvement of the load carrying capacity of 6 1/2 x 6 ft slabs, due the addition of Synthetic Fibers and Steel Fibers. Synthetic fibers did not increase the tensile capacity of the concrete slabs, which was consistent with findings from previously published reports. Rollings reviewed the USACOE full-scale data and derived several new fatigue algorithms for SFRC materials, which justified the use of the increased fatigue resistance of FRC over plain concrete pavements given the same stress ratio. Fiber reinforced concrete mixes with steel fibers and polymesh fibers have been successfully used in the Chicago OHare Airport and St Louis Lambert Airport, respectively. These mixes are presented in Table 1 below. Table 1. Fiber reinforced concrete mixes used on airports.
Water (lb) 262 258 Cement, Fly Ash, type I (lb) type C (lb) 588 130 535 80 Coarse aggregate (lb) 1800 1834 Fine aggregate (lb) 1100 1220 Water Reducer (oz) 29 14.2 AE Admix. (oz) --5.6 Fibers (lb) 85 3 Fibers type fr28 Airport (psi) OHare Lambert

Steel 750 Polymesh 905

5. Design Methods for FRC Pavements Engineers have traditionally implement the design enhancements offered by fibers based on previous experience. The mechanical improvement fibers impart to the concrete, such as toughness, have not been reflected in current structural design codes for concrete

pavements. Subsequently, the lack of a standard design approach has impeded wide adoption of fibers in rigid pavement applications. Current design methods for concrete pavement [e.g., FAA and PCA], adopt elastic analysis concepts based on the Westergaard stress formulation. The allowable stress in the concrete is limited by the concretes flexural strength or modulus of rupture (MOR). The effect of fibers on the concretes MOR and compressive strength is minimal at volume fractions less than one percent. Therefore, an elastic-based design of fiber reinforced concrete pavements would recommend the same slab thickness as for plain concrete. Altoubat et al. (2004) Simplified Design Method Altoubat et al. (2004) proposed a new approach to design pavements with FRC, using the equivalent flexural strength of the FRC material. The main reason for this method is that flexural strength results obtained from beam tests have not been consistent with the largescale experimental results showing considerable difference in the load carrying capacity between fibrous and plain concrete slabs. Since the MOR does not characterize the difference in strength between plain and FRC slabs, an alternative strength measure is required to demonstrate the toughness benefit of FRC over plain concrete. This method uses the equivalent flexural strength (fe,3), which was developed in Japan and can be obtained from bending of beams under third-point loading. This parameter uses the residual strength or the post-cracking strength of fiber reinforced concrete. The equivalent flexural strength is proportional to the area under the load-deflection curve up to a central beam deflection of 3 mm (for a 450 mm span) and is calculated as follows:
f e,3 = 1000TL 3bh 2


where, T is the area under the load-deflection curve (in N-m) up to a central beam deflection of 3 mm, L is the span between the supports (mm), b is the width of the beam (mm) and h is the depth of the beam (mm). The equivalent flexural strength ratio, Re,3, is defined as the ratio between the fe,3 value and the concrete MOR:

R e,3 =

f e,3 MOR



The Re,3 has been positively correlated to the increase in flexural and ultimate load capacity of the fiber-reinforced concrete SOG over plain concrete slabs. The effective modulus of rupture (MOR) is based on proportionally increasing the concrete beam MOR by the Re,3 value to account for the contribution of fibers to slab flexural capacity in existing rigid pavement design procedures.

MOR' = MOR * (1 +

Re ,3 100


This effective MOR approach allows for the benefits of fibers, which is primarily thickness reduction, to be realized in existing concrete pavement design procedures. The proposed method targets fiber reinforced concrete pavement with low volume fraction (~0.5%) in which the equivalent flexural strength ratio (Re,3) varies between 20 and 50 percent. This residual strength capacity offered by fibers can be achieved without modifying conventional concrete paving mixtures for workability and constructability. Yield-Line Analysis The TR34 design guidelines use a yield-line analysis and Re,3 to modify the ultimate moment capacity of plain concrete slabs. The increase in the flexural capacity of concrete slabs with fibers has also been linked to the beam Re,3 value. The Re,3 value depends on the fiber type, geometry, and volume fraction. 6. Cost Analysis of FRC pavement The addition of fibers can increase the structural capacity of the concrete pavement, which can be used to reduce the required slab thickness or increase the slab size. An example of the potential reduction in thickness with the use of fibers will be shown using the proposed simplified design method by Altoubat et al. (2004) coupled with the existing FAA rigid pavement design method. Without any reduction in thickness or increase in slab size there is no financial incentive to use fibers except to extend the design life. For the airfield design, a plain concrete MOR of 650 psi at 28-days will be assumed and synthetic structural fiber will be added to the mix to reduce the required thickness. A total of 0.4 percent fibers by volume are chosen in order to achieve an Re,3 of 30 percent. A composite subgrade k-value of 200 lb/in3 and a dual wheel aircraft with 3,000 annual departures and a gross weight of 200,000 lb is assumed. The FAA method requires a slab thickness for plain concrete of 16.6 in. With the effective strength approach, the design MOR becomes 845 psi (based on an Re,3 of 30%) and the required thickness is 13.8 in. The fibers have reduced the thickness requirements by 17 percent. The effective strength approach for an Re,3 of 30 percent, was successfully run for several other rigid pavement design procedures such as the PCA method for airports (40) and AASHTO, and gave approximately 15 percent thickness reduction from the plain concrete thickness requirement. Increasing the flexural strength of the concrete, e.g., reducing the water to cement ratio or increasing the cement content could have reduced the slab thickness also. However, this would lead to a system that is significantly more brittle and would result in a higher 7

propensity to cracking relative to the fiber reinforced concrete system. An alternative view is that fibers can also increase the allowable annual departures to 100,000 if the slab thickness is held constant, for the example presented above. If we consider a FRC dose of 5 lb/yd3, the cost of a typical concrete mix with MOR of 700 psi would be increased by 20% approximately. As stated before, the reduction of the depth of the slab (and therefore its volume) is 17%. From these results we can conclude that the increase of cost due the use of fibers is insignificant for this case. The other alternative is to maintain the slab depth and increase the slab size thereby reducing the sawcutting and dowelling costs. The improvement of the concrete with fibers would allow for an increase in slab size from 18.75x20 ft to 25 ft x 25ft panels, which reduces the paving lanes from 8 to 6 for a 150ft runway. Considering similar conditions as for the first case the cost of the concrete would still be increased by 20% due to the fibers. However the reduced sawcutting and number of dowels would be save 21% and 23 %, respectively on those particular items. The final cost with 25x25ft slab sizes, dowels, and fibers would increase by 11% assuming no savings in productivity when reducing the number of paving lanes from 8 to 6. If the dowels were eliminated from the FRC pavement due to the fibers ability to maintain high load transfer efficiency across the joint, the FRC pavement without dowels and 25x25ft slab size would actually achieve a cost savings of 6 percent maximum. Table 2. Effect of the use of fibers and slab size in the cost of the concrete pavement.
Type of concrete Plain FRC FRC Size of the Slabs (ft) 18.75 x 20 25 x 25 25 x 25 Conditions Relative cost of concrete pavement Normal sawcutting and dowles 1.00 Reduced sawcutting and number of 1.11 dowels Reduced sawcutting and no dowels 0.94

7. Construction Issues with FRC Several other issues with FRC, which must be considered and taken seriously by the project and construction engineers, are the batching, mixing, paving, and finishing. FRC mixes must have the fibers introduced in the mixing process at the appropriate to ensure dispersion of the fibers throughout the mix. Furthermore, sufficient mixing time must be achieved to prevent fiber balling or segregation. Finally, the concrete mix must be fluid enough to properly disperse the fibers but also allow for slip-form paving. 8. Summary Fiber reinforced concrete pavements have been used many years with success, but not without some past failures that tend to halt the use of them in the future. The advances in FRC materials, specifications, and design methods have significantly lowered the construction risk of FRC pavements. Finally, depending on the slab design criteria, the

final cost could range between from a reduction of 6% to an increase of 11%, with the addition of structural fibers. 9. References
AASHTO-AGC-ARTBA (2001). The Use of State-of-the-Practice of Fiber Reinforced Concrete. Task Force 36 Report, Subcommittee on New Highway Materials, AASHTO-AGC-ARTBA Joint Committee. ACI (1997). State-of-the-Art Report on Fiber Reinforced Concrete. ACI 544.1R-96, American Concrete Institute, Farmington Hills, MI. Altoubat, S., Roesler, J., and Rieder, K.-A. (2004), Flexural Capacity of Synthetic Fiber Reinforced Concrete Slabs on Ground Based on Beam Toughness Results, accepted to Sixth RILEM Symposium on Fiber Reinforced Concretes, Varenna-Lecco, Italy. Beckett, D.(1998) Thickness Design Methods for Concrete Industrial Ground Floors. Concrete, Vol. 32, No. 6, 1998, pp. 12-16. Beckett, D. and Humphreys, J. (1989). Comparative Tests on Plain, Fabric Reinforced and Steel Fibre Reinforced Concrete Ground Slabs. Report No. TP/B/1, Thames Polytechnic School of Civil Engineering, Dartford. Beckett, D., Van De Woestyne, T, and Callens, S. (1999). Corner and Edge Loading on Ground Floors Reinforced with Steel Fibers. Concrete, 33(3), 22-24. Beckett, D. (1990). Comparative Tests on Plain, Fabric Reinforced and Steel Fibre Reinforced Concrete Ground Slabs. Concrete, 24(3), 43-45. Beckett, D. (1995). Thickness Design of Concrete Industrial Ground Floors. Concrete, 29(4), 21-23. Bentur, A. and Mindess, S. (1990). Fibre Reinforced Cementitious Composites. Elsevier Applied Science, London. Berke, N.S. and Dallaire, M.P. (1994), The Effect of Low Addition Rates of Polypropylene Fibers on Plastic Shrinkage Cracking and Mechanical Properties of Concrete, SP-142, American Concrete Institute, eds Daniel, J.I. and Shah, S.P., pp. 19- 42. Falkner, H. and Teutsch, M. (1993). Comparative Investigations of Plain and Steel Fibre Reinforced Industrial Ground Slabs. Institut Fur Baustoffe, Massivbau und Brandschutz, Technical University of Brunswick, Germany, No. 102. Falkner, H., Huang, Z., and Teutsch, M. (1995). Comparative Study of Plain and Steel Fibre Reinforced Concrete Ground Slabs. Concrete International, 17(1), 45-51. Federal Airport Administration. (1995) Airport Pavement Design and Evaluation, Advisory. Circular 150/5320-6D, Federal Aviation Administration, Washington, DC.

Grzybowski, M. and Shah, S.P. (1990), Shrinkage Cracking of Fiber Reinforced Concrete, ACI Materials Journal, Vol. 87, No. 2, pp. 138-148. Hasaba, S., Kawamura, M., Koizumi, T., and Takemoto, K. (1984), Resistibility against Impact Load and Deformation Characteristics under Bending Load in Polymer and Hybrid (Polymer and Steel) Fiber

Reinforced Concrete, In Fiber Reinforced Concrete, ed. G.C. Hoff, ACI SP-81, American Concrete Institute, Detroit, MI, pp. 187-196. Hughes, B.P. and Fattuhi, N.I. (1976), Improving the Toughness of High Strength Cement Paste with Fibre Reinforcement, Composites, Vol. 7, pp. 185-188. Japan Society of Civil Engineers, JSCE-SF4 (1984), Methods of Tests for Flexural Strength and Flexural Toughness of Steel Fiber Reinforced Concrete, Concrete Library International, No. 3, 1984, Part III-2, pp. 58-61. Khazanovich, L. (1994). Structural Analysis of Multi-Layered Concrete Pavement Systems. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL. Kukreja, C.B. et al. (1987). Ultimate Strength of Fiber Reinforced Concrete Slabs. Proceedings, International Symposium on Fiber Reinforced Concrete, Madras, 1, 237-55.

Mindess, S., Young, J.F., and Darwin, D. (2003), Concrete, Second Edition, Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ. Mindess, S. and Vondran, G. (1988), Properties of Concrete Reinforced with Fibrillated Polypropylene Fibres under Impact Loading, Cement Concrete Research, vol. 8, pp. 109-115. Moens, J. and Nemegeer, D. (1991), Designing Fiber Reinforced Concrete Based on Toughness Characteristics, Concrete International, Vol. 13, No. 11, pp. 38-43. Naaman, A.E., Shah, S.P., Throne, J.L. (1984), Some Developments in Polypropylene Fibers for Concrete, SP-81, American Concrete Institute, ed G.C. Hoff, Detroit, MI, pp. 375-396. Parker, F. (1974). Steel Fibrous Concrete for Airport Pavement Applications. Technical Report 5-74-12, US Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, MS. Portland Cement Association. Fiber Reinforced Concrete, PCA, Skokie, IL, 1991, pp. 48. Roesler, J.R. (1998). Fatigue of Concrete Beams and Slabs. Ph.D. thesis, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL. Roesler, J.R., Lange, D., Ulreich, G. (2003). Fracture Behavior of Full-Scale, Fiber-Reinforced Concrete Slabs. Report prepared for W.R. Grace, Inc., University of Illinois, Urbana, IL. Roesler, J.R., Lange, D. A., Altoubat, S.A., K.-A. Rieder, Ulreich, G.R. (2004), Fracture of Plain and Fiber Reinforced Concrete Slabs under Monotonic Loading, accepted for publication in ASCE Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering,(MT/2003/022714). Roesler, J.R., S. A. Altoubat, D. A. Lange, K.-A. Rieder, and G. R. Ulreich.(2004).Effect of Synthetic Fibers on Structural Behavior of Concrete Slabs on Ground. Submitted for publication to ACI Materials Journal, 2004. Rollings, R. S. (1981). Corps of Engineers Design Procedures for Rigid Airfield Pavements. Proceedings, Second International Conference on Concrete Pavement Design. Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. Rollings, R.S. (1986). Field Performance of Fiber Reinforced Concrete Airfield Pavements. DOT/FAA/PM-86/26, Federal Aviation Administration, Washington, D.C, .


Romualdi, J.P. and Batson, G.B. (1963). Mechanics of Crack Arrest in Concrete. Journal Engineering Mechanics Division, ASCE, 89, 147-68. Romualdi, J.P. and Mandel, J.A. (1964). Tensile Strength of Concrete Affected by Uniformly Distributed Closely Spaced Short Lengths of Wire Reinforcement. Journal American Concrete Institute, 61, 657-71. Sham, S.H.R. and Burgoyne, C.J. (1986). Load Tests on Dramix Steel Fibre Reinforced Concrete Slabs A Report to Sir Frederick Snow and Partners, Consulting Engineers. Imperial College of Science and Technology, Department of Civil Engineering, Concrete Laboratories. Tatnall, P.C. and Kuitenbrouwer, L. (1992). Steel Fiber Reinforced Concrete in Industrial Floors. Concrete International, 14(12), 43-47. The Concrete Society (1994). Concrete Industrial Ground Floors A Guide to Their Design and Construction. Slough, Technical Report 34, 2nd Edition. Vondran, G.L. (1991). Applications of Steel Fiber Reinforced Concrete. Concrete International, 13(11), 44-49. Westergaard, H.M. (1926). Stresses in Concrete Pavements Computed by Theoretical Analysis. Public Roads, 7(2), 25-35. Westergaard, H. M. (1948). New Formulas for Stresses in Concrete Pavements of Airfields. Transactions, American Society of Civil Engineers, Vol. 113, pp. 425-439. Zollo, R.F. and Ilter, J.A. (1986), Plastic and Drying Shrinkage in Concrete Containing Collated Fibrillated Polypropylene Fibre, In Developments in Fibre Reinforced Cement and Concrete, eds. R.N. Swamy, R.L. Wagstaffe, and D.R. Oakley, Proceedings RILEM Symposium, Sheffield.