Flexural Behavior of Thermoplastic Beams With and Without FRP Reinforcement

Date of Award

Fall 1997

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil & Environmental Engineering


Civil Engineering

Committee Director

Zia Razzaq

Committee Member

Isao Ishibashi

Committee Member

Duc Nguyen

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.E54 C67


This thesis presents the results of an experimental and theoretical study of the flexural behavior of thermoplastic beams with and without fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) rebars. Tests are conducted on commercially available thermoplastic beams known as Seatimber. The normal stress-strain relations of both the thermoplastic material and FRP rebars are obtained in tension and compression experimentally. These mechanical property curves are then used as part of the input for developing the theoretical moment-curvature relations using an iterative equilibrium procedure. The moment-curvature relations are in turn used for predicting the beam load-deflection curves via the central finite-difference procedure. Behavior predictions are made for a square section thermoplastic beam with and without FRP rebars and with simple supports. Full-scale experiments on these beams are conducted by a gradually increasing midspan static load until the beam load-carrying capacity is reached. Reasonable agreement between the theory and experiment is found for the thermoplastic beam without FRP rebars. For the thermoplastic beam with FRP rebars, the theory is in good agreement up to the maximum experimental load value. However, since an ideal bond between the thermoplastic material and the FRP rebars is assumed in the theory, it gives a higher beam load-capacity compared to that observed in the laboratory. It is also found that the presence of the FRP rebars results in a substantial reduction in beam deflections. The research reveals that both FRP-reinforced and unreinforced thermoplastic beams possess a high potential for civil and other engineering applications.


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