One of the properties of concrete over other construction materials is its inherent fire-resistive characteristics. However, structural engineers have to design concrete structures for fire effects. The rise in temperature can lead to decrease in structural strength and modulus of elasticity of concrete and reinforcement. Extremely high temperature causes expansion of structural components which leads to strains and stresses. A concrete structure has to maintain its integrity and withstand live and dead loads despite the rise in temperature. The provision of appropriate fire safety measures, therefore, becomes essential for structural members.
Fire is one of the severe environmental conditions that concrete structures might be subjected to. Fire resistance is generally defined as a duration during which a concrete structure exhibits resistance with respect to temperature transmission, structural integrity, and stability. The ability of a structure to handle fire largely depends on the materials used in construction, geometry of the member, load intensity, and the exposure of fire. Traditional construction materials, such as steel, do not provide concrete buildings with sufficient fire endurance.
The inability of traditional materials to address critical structural issues such as concrete deterioration, corrosion, and lack of fire endurance encouraged researchers and engineers to come up with better solutions. The development of composite materials for civil engineering applications is clearly a great achievement. Fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) is now being widely used for strengthening and rehabilitation applications. FRP composites have gained popularity because of the numerous advantages they offer over traditional materials.
The increasing use of FRP materials for structural rehabilitation has raised concerns regarding the behavior of composite materials in fire. However, a number of studies have been conducted over the past few years, exploring the endurance of FRP-reinforced concrete systems. For example, a study was recently carried out where a comparison was made between the fire performance of a traditional RC column and that of an FRP-strengthened RC column. The research concluded that satisfactory fire resistance ratings for FRP-reinforced concrete columns can be achieved by incorporating recommended measures into the overall structural system.
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