IIT Hyderabad Researchers develop Innovative Hybrid FRP Strengthening Solution for Civil Infra like existing bridges and buildings

IIT Hyderabad Researchers develop Innovative Hybrid FRP Strengthening Solution for Civil Infra like existing bridges and buildings

The civil infrastructure industry is under constant pressure to upgrade the existing structures, which have deteriorated because of aging and corrosion issues. Recently survey shows that several bridges and several offshore structures are at the end of their life and require immediate structural strengthening. Also, another survey indicates that a significant number of  Indian railway bridges need immediate strengthening. It is worth mentioning that most of the structures requiring strengthening are under service, which complicates the strengthening process. Also, the structures’ present status and capacity are unpredictable, complicating the optimistic strengthening design. In the recent past, the civil engineering industry has gradually accepted FRP (fiber-reinforced polymer) composites to repair and rehabilitate concrete structures. FRP strengthening has numerous advantages over conventional strengthening methods such as concrete and steel jacketing due to its lesser weight to strength ratio, corrosive resistance, easy installation, and higher durability. However, there are no Indian standards (IS) available for FRP strengthening. 

The selection of the particular type of FRP material, its orientation, and place of application will be essential for effective utilization and improving efficiency under different loading scenarios. Prof S Suriya Prakash’s CASTCON Lab at the IITH has developed the innovative hybrid FRP strengthening technique for improving strength and ductility under different loading combinations. Also, most of the previous research work has focused on circular and non-circular columns of small size.  However, the size of columns in the buildings and bridges are different with various shapes and slenderness ratios. Understanding the effect of hybrid FRP strengthening of columns in a real case scenario is essential. The present research focuses on understanding the size, shape, and slenderness effect on the hybrid FRP strengthening. The outcomes of this study lead to the development of Indian standards (IS) on guidelines for FRP strengthening.

Congratulating the research team on this innovative hybrid FRP strengthening solution, Prof B Murty, Director, IITH, added, “The preservation and extension of service life of the existing civil infrastructure are essential for fueling our country’s economic growth. At the same time, this innovation developed by Prof Suriya and his team leads to optimum utilization of the strengthening materials. It is cost-effective for increasing the longevity of civil infrastructure. This has once again demonstrated IITH’s zeal to contribute to serving society at large, through Inventing and Innovating in Technology for Humanity (IITH). ” 

Proudly presenting their Hybrid FRP strengthening technique, Prof Suriya & Mr Malleswara Rao, PhD Scholar, Department of Civil Engineering, IITH, said, “The hybrid FRP strengthening technique is a very efficient solution to improve the strength and ductility for the real scale structural elements of bridges and buildings. We have extensively carried out experiments to understand the size, shape, and slenderness effect on the behavior of hybrid FRP strengthened elements for various loading scenarios. We are currently developing efficient analytical models for developing the design guidelines that practicing engineers could readily use.”

In this research area, Prof S Suriya Prakash and his team published more than 25+ research papers in reputed international journals and are currently developing Indian Standards on FRP composites for structural strengthening. Additionally, Prof S Suriya Prakash and his team extensively worked on various industry-relevant research work.  Using locally available materials, they include using FRP rebars, developing lightweight precast panels, and Ultra-High-Performance Concrete (UHPC).  They also try to understand the behavior of concrete elements under static and blast loading using the Split-Hopkinson Pressure Bar (SPHB).