Impact resistance of Ultra High Performance Fibre Reinforced Concrete (UHPFRC)
The main aim of the project was to determine the static properties of UHPFRC needed to develop constitutive relationships that need be used in finite element analysis for modelling purposes. The second aim was to determine the behaviour of UHPFRC under impact loading and show that its behaviour under this type of loading could be modelled using a finite element analysis package called ABAQUS.
In order to achieve the aim of the project, the following were investigated: (1) Optimization of mix proportions for UHPFRC resulted in a compressive strength of more than 160 MPa, (2) Constitutive relationships that were experimentally determined in direct tension, (3) UHPFRC prisms of different size were tested in flexure, (4) The impact behaviour of UHPFRC plates was investigated and perforation of the plate was the dominant failure mode, i.e. these did not fail in flexure. A drop hammer test rig and appropriate supporting rig for the UHPFRC plates were fabricated as shown in the picture, (5) military tests of plates hit with rocket propelled grenade (RPG) confirmed that the perforation was the dominant failure mode, (6) Results from the experimental work were used as input parameters in Finite Element modelling and this was shown to accurately predict the behaviour of UHPFRC under static and impact loading.
Ultra High Performance Fibre Reinforced Concrete (UHPFRC) has been developed which has enhanced homogeneity, enhanced microstructure, and enhanced ductility. The inclusion of fibres improves tensile strength, and also makes it possible to obtain the required level of ductility. The compressive strengths of UHPFRCs without application of pressure before and during setting are likely to be between 170 to 230 MPa depending on the post-set heat treatment (20 to 900C). UHPFRC appears to be a promising new material not only because of its enhanced ductility but also because the mixing and casting procedures are no different to existing procedures for normal and high strength concretes. UHPFRC has, however, a substantial increase in cost over and above that of conventional and even High-Performance Concrete and it is therefore appropriate to identify applications which fully utilize UHPFRC’s mechanical properties and performance characteristics. Research therefore needs to be conducted to develop and commercialize types of precast products which utilize many of the enhanced properties of UHPFRC. One such application is for blast and impact resistant structures something that has been investigated at Queen’s University Belfast in collaboration with other institutions.
- Prof Marios Soutsos (School of Natural and Built Environment (NBE), QUB)
- Prof Jian-Fei Chen (Southern University of Science and Technology)
- Dr Desmond Robinson (SNBE)
- Mr Yuanye He (SNBE)
- Dr Esmaeel Esmaeeli (Brunel University London)
- Prof Jason Ralph (Liverpool University)
- Niall Moroney (Liverpool University)
- Dr Demetris Nicolaides (Frederick University)
- Dr Stephanie Barnett (University of Portsmouth)
- Dr Antonios Kanellopoulos (University of Hertfordshire)
Impact of Research
Planners, architects and engineers are involved in every aspect of the built environment, from airports to hospitals, from motorways to railways, from factories to leisure centres, from houses to offices, etc. They are responsible for providing a safe environment for people to live and work. Abnormal loading on infrastructure is becoming more and more important and this has been highlighted by such terrorist attacks as those on the Twin Towers (the World Trade Center), the Alfred P. Murrah office building and the Khobar Towers. While it would be unreasonable to expect a structure to withstand extremes of accidental loading as may be caused by collision, explosion or similar, it is important that the resulting damage should not be disproportionate to the cause. It follows therefore that a major structural collapse must not be allowed to be caused by a relatively minor mishap which may have a reasonably high probability of happening in the anticipated lifetime of the structure.
Major grants and funding
Millard, S. G., Soutsos, M. N., Schleyer, G., Mines, R. A. W., and Tyas, A. “Impact and Blast Resistance of Ultra High Performance Fibre Reinforced Concrete (UHPFRC),” EPSRC Grant Ref. No. : EP/D041201/1, April 2006 – March 2009.
Nicolaides, D., Christou, P., Petrou, M., Ioannou, I., Soutsos, M. N., Schleyer, G., Ralph, J., Hadjigeorgiou, K., Zachariou, G., “Mix Design, Mechanical Properties and Impact Resistance of Ultra High Performance Fibre Reinforced Cementitious Composites (UHPFRCCs),” Research Promotion Foundation – Framework Programme for Research.
Technological Development and Innovation 2009-10, Euros: 180,000, Sept 2012 – Sept 2014.
Soutsos, M.; Robinson, D.; Chen, J.; and Rafeet, A., “Numerical modelling of UHPFRC beams under impact load,” Proceedings of the conference on: Concrete for the Modern Age - Developments in materials and process, Military Technological College, Sultanate of Oman, 20-22 November 2017, p. 82 -89.
Soutsos, M.; Robinson, D., and Chen, J.F., “Development of impact resistant UHPFRC,” Proceedings of the 3rd International Symposium on Ultra-High Performance Fibre-Reinforced Concrete (UHPFRC 2017), Montpellier, France, pp. 281 – 290.
He Y., Esmaeeli E., Soutsos M.N. (Sept. 2021) Application of 3D Digital Image Correlation to Capture the Impact Behaviour of UHPFRC Plate. In: Serna P., Llano-Torre A., Martí-Vargas J.R., Navarro-Gregori J. (eds) Fibre Reinforced Concrete: Improvements and Innovations II. BEFIB 2021. RILEM Bookseries, vol 36. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-83719-8_79
He, Y., E. Esmaeeli, and M. Soutsos (August 2020), "Effect of casting method and test setup on flexural characterization of UHPFRC", Civil Engineering Research in Ireland (CERI2020), Cork Institute of Technology, Cork, Ireland.
Nicolaides, D., Kanellopoulos, A., Petrou, M., Savva, P. and Mina, A. Development of a new Ultra High Performance Fibre Reinforced Cementitious Composite (UHPFRCC) for impact and blast protection of structures. Journal of Construction and Building Materials, 95, 2015, pp. 667-674.
Nicolaides, D., Kanellopoulos, A. and Petrou, M. Experimental field investigation of impact and blast load resistance of Ultra High Performance Fibre Reinforced Cementitious Composites (UHPFRCCs). Journal of Construction and Building Materials, 95, 2015, pp. 566-574.
Nicolaides, D., Kanellopoulos, A., Petrou, M. and Soutsos, M. Mix Design, Mechanical Properties and Impact Resistance of UHPFRCCs. Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Concrete Repair, Rehabilitation and Retrofitting, Cape Town, South Africa, September, 2012.
Mao, L., & Barnett, S. J. (2017). Investigation of toughness of ultra high performance fibre reinforced concrete (UHPFRC) beam under impact loading. International Journal of Impact Engineering, 99(1), 26-38.
Mao, L., Barnett, S. J., Tyas, A., Warren, J., Schleyer, G. K., & Zaini, S. S. (2015). Response of small scale ultra high performance fibre reinforced concrete slabs to blast loading. Construction & Building Materials, 93(9), 822-830.
Barnett, S. J., Millard, S. G., Tyas, A., & Schleyer, G. K. (2010). Blast tests of ultra high performance fibre reinforced concrete panels. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Construction Materials, 163(3), 127-129.
Frederick University, Department of Civil Engineering, 7 Yianni Frederickou Street, Pallouriotissa, 1036 Nicosia, Cyprus.
Electrical Engineering and Electronics, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3BX.
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, Hampshire PO1 2UP.
School of Physics, Engineering & Computer Science, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield AL10 9AB.
Sustainable Development Goals
This project aims to address the following SDGs:
Goal 9 - Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
This will be achieved by providing an impact resistant rainscreen façade for buildings.
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Keywords associated with the Research
Ultra high performance fibre reinforced concrete, impact loading, abnormal loading, accidental loading, numerical modelling, drop hammer test rig.
Contact Details / Social Media
Professor of Structures/Materials
School of Natural and Built Environment
David Keir Building
Belfast BT9 5AG
Tel: +44 (0)28 9097 4023
Fax: +44 (0)28 9097 4278