Polymers2014, 6(7), 2065-2081; doi:10.3390/polym6072065 - published online 23 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This paper discusses the long-term behavior of a series of highly-loaded, spun concrete pole specimens prestressed with carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) tendons, which were subjected to outdoor four-point bending creep tests since 1996 in the frame of collaboration with the Swiss precast concrete producer, SACAC (Società Anonima Cementi Armati Centrifugati). The 2 m span cylindrical beams studied are models for lighting poles produced for the last 10 years and sold on the European market. Five thin-walled pole specimens were investigated (diameter: 100 mm; wall-thickness: 25–27 mm). All specimens were produced in a pretensioning and spinning technique and were prestressed by pultruded CFRP tendons. Initially, two reference pole specimens were tested in quasi-static four-point bending to determine the short-term failure moment and to model the short-term flexural behavior. Then, three pole specimens were loaded to different bending creep moments: while the lowest loaded specimen was initially uncracked, the second specimen was loaded with 50% of the short-term bending failure moment and exhibited cracking immediately after load introduction. The highest loaded pole specimen sustained a bending moment of 72% of the short-term bending failure moment for 16.5 years before failing in July 2013, due to the bond failure of the tendons, which led to local crushing of the high-performance spun concrete (HPSC). Besides this, long-term monitoring of the creep tests has shown a limited time- and temperature-dependent increase of the deflections over the years, mainly due to the creep of the concrete. A concrete creep-based model allowed for the calculation of the long-term bending curvatures with reasonable accuracy. Furthermore, the pole specimens showed crack patterns that were stable over time and minimal slippage of the tendons with respect to the pole’s end-faces for the two lower load levels. The latter proves the successful and durable anchorage of these novel CFRP prestressing tendons in thin-walled, precast concrete members under realistic long-term service loads.
Polymers2014, 6(7), 2051-2064; doi:10.3390/polym6072051 - published online 18 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This work deals with the development of a mechanics-based shear model for reinforced concrete (RC) elements strengthened in shear with fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) and a design/assessment procedure capable of predicting the failure sequence of resisting elements: the yielding of existing transverse steel ties and the debonding of FRP sheets/strips, while checking the corresponding compressive stress in concrete. The research aims at the definition of an accurate capacity equation, consistent with the requirement of the pseudo-ductile shear behavior of structural elements, that is, transverse steel ties yield before FRP debonding and concrete crushing. For the purpose of validating the proposed model, an extended parametric study and a comparison against experimental results have been conducted: it is proven that the common accepted rule of assuming the shear capacity of RC members strengthened in shear with FRP as the sum of the maximum contribution of both FRP and stirrups can lead to an unsafe overestimation of the shear capacity. This issue has been pointed out by some authors, when comparing experimental shear capacity values with the theoretical ones, but without giving a convincing explanation of that. In this sense, the proposed model represents also a valid instrument to better understand the mechanical behavior of FRP-RC beams in shear and to calculate their actual shear capacity.
Polymers2014, 6(7), 2037-2050; doi:10.3390/polym6072037 - published online 14 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This article reports about nanocomposites, which refractive index is tuned by adding TiO2 nanoparticles. We compare in situ/ex situ preparation of nanocomposites. Preparation procedure is described, properties of nanocomposites are compared, and especially we examine the applicability of two-photon polymerization (2PP) of synthesized nanocomposites. All prepared samples exhibit suitable optical transparency at specific laser wavelengths. Three-dimensional structures were generated by means of two-photon polymerization effect induced by a femtosecond laser.
Polymers2014, 6(7), 2018-2036; doi:10.3390/polym6072018 - published online 14 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Thin casein films for food packaging applications reportedly possess good strength and low oxygen permeability, but low elasticity and high sensitivity to moisture. Modifying the films to target specific behaviors depending on environmental conditions can enable a variety of commercial applications for casein-based films. The mechanical properties of solvent-cast (15% solids) calcium-caseinate/glycerol films (CaCas:Gly ratio of 3:1) were characterized as a function of processing and environmental conditions, including film thickness, solution formulation and ambient humidity (from 22% to 70% relative humidity (RH) at ~20 °C). At constant RH, the elongation at break (EAB) had a strong positive dependence on the film thickness. When RH increased, the tensile strength (TS) and modulus (E) decreased approximately linearly, while EAB increased. From 0.05% to 1% (w/w) of citric pectin (CP) was then incorporated into CaCas/Gly films following seven different formulations (mixing sequences), to alter the protein network and to evaluate the effects of CP on the tensile properties of CaCas/Gly/CP films. At constant film thickness and ~60% RH, the addition of 0.1% or 1.0% CP to the films considerably increased or decreased EAB, TS and E in different directions and to different extents, depending on the formulation, while optical micrographs also showed vastly differing network configurations, suggesting complex formulation- and stoichiometry-dependent casein-pectin interactions within the dried films. Depending on the desired film properties and utilization conditions, pectin may be a useful addition to casein film formulations for food packaging applications.
Polymers2014, 6(7), 1999-2017; doi:10.3390/polym6071999 - published online 10 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Polyelectrolytes in dilute solutions (0.01 mmol/L) adsorb in a two-dimensional lamellar phase to oppositely charged lipid monolayers at the air/water interface. The interchain separation is monitored by Grazing Incidence X-ray Diffraction. On monolayer compression, the interchain separation decreases to a factor of two. To investigate the influence of the electrostatic interaction, either the line charge density of the polymer is reduced (a statistic copolymer with 90% and 50% charged monomers) or mixtures between charged and uncharged lipids are used (dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC)/ dioctadecyldimethylammonium bromide (DODAB)) On decrease of the surface charge density, the interchain separation increases, while on decrease of the linear charge density, the interchain separation decreases. The ratio between charged monomers and charged lipid molecules is fairly constant; it decreases up to 30% when the lipids are in the fluid phase. With decreasing surface charge or linear charge density, the correlation length of the lamellar order decreases.
Polymers2014, 6(7), 1972-1998; doi:10.3390/polym6071972 - published online 10 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This work reports the outcomes of an extensive experimental campaign on the retrofitting of masonry walls by means of carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) sheets, carried out at University of Applied Sciences (UAS) Fribourg. In the first stage, static-cyclic shear tests were conducted on the masonry walls, followed by a second stage of tensile tests on alternative configurations of mechanical anchorage so as to assess the effects on the structural response and to identify the associated limits. In the static-cyclic shear tests, it was found that the resistance of masonry walls retrofitted with CFRP sheets was improved by up to 70%, and the deformability was improved by up to 10% in comparison to the un-retrofitted specimens. The experimental tests conducted on alternate configurations of mechanical anchorages indicate that the tested materials and configurations rely heavily on details. The sensitivity of CFRP sheets to edges, non-uniformities on any adherend, and bonding defects can cause premature CFRP failure and, hence, pose problems for the efficient design of a retrofitting scheme. As indicated by the results of this investigation, effective anchorage can be achieved when eccentric loading of the mechanical anchorage is avoided and a smooth bonding surface is guaranteed.