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South Dakota Department of Transportation
Request for Research Proposal

Project SD2013-07

TITLE: Fiber Reinforced Concrete for Structure Components

Problem Description:Traditional concrete structures experience cracking and spalling, corrosion of imbedded reinforcement, failure under severe loading, and lack of durability. Transportation departments are challenged to extend the service life of portland cement concrete (PCC) structural components such as columns, bridge decks, and abutments in light of budget constraints. Technological advancements in fiber reinforced concrete (FRC) offer possible solutions to many problems. Fibers have been used in concrete to control plastic shrinkage cracking and drying shrinkage cracking. Some types of fibers (micro fibers) are designed to produce greater impact, abrasion and shatter resistance in concrete. There is some evidence that fibers increase the flexural strength and ductility (ability to deform under tensile stress) of concrete, thereby enhancing moment resisting of structural steel reinforcement. The improved material properties of FRC tend to enhance the flexural and shear behavior of structures making it an attractive material for numerous highway infrastructure component applications such as support beams, slabs-on-grade, bridge decks, and elevated metal composite slabs. Fibers come in many varieties. Micro-synthetic or larger (macro) fibers are manufactured from polypropylene, polyethylene, polyester, nylon and other synthetic materials such as carbon, aramid and other acrylics. Depending on fiber type and application, dosage rates may range from 0.03 to 0.2% by volume of concrete (0.5 to 3.0 lb/y3). Engineers find it challenging to interpret performance claims by manufacturers based on unstandardized testing procedures and what seem to be high fiber dosage recommendations. The sheer volume of relevant FRC literature, research and case studies is overwhelming, spanning a period of more than 45 years. Moreover, it has been nearly 20 years since SDDOT has delved into the topic. Many of the fiber materials used in SDDOT projects have been phased out or discontinued, and many more new products have been developed. What little guidance that is available on the proper specification and use of FRC comes from the American Concrete Institute (ACI)) and is generic in nature. Research is needed to investigate recent product development, evaluate fiber products currently on the market, and generate guidance for use, testing, and potential application of FRC.
Urgency:   For lack of guidance, SDDOT may be sacrificing improved durability and performance as implementation lags technological developments in the area of fiber reinforced concrete structural components. Urgency is moderate, as further delay will only compound this situation.

Literature Summary:   By the 1960s, steel, glass fiber reinforced concrete and synthetic fibers such as polypropylene fibers were being used in concrete in response to shortcomings of conventional concrete such as brittle failure under excessive loading, excessive cracking, and issues with durability. For more than 25 years, FHWA and AASHTO have supported research to demonstrate the benefits of fiber reinforced concrete in bridge construction and repair. Many projects have been funded through FHWA's Innovative Bridge Research and Construction and Innovative Bridge Research and Deployment programs. An extensive number of independent, ongoing research projects speak to the potential of fiber reinforcement to improve the durability and physical properties of concrete. In 1994 a SDDOT research project (SD1994-04) was initiated to study the use of 3M’s Polyolefin Fibers in several applications, including a bridge deck overlay for the structure at Exit 212 over I-90. The study indicated that the overlay performed favorably. Because of the fibers’ ability to enhance the concrete’s structural properties, the Department decided to include them in the deck overlay concrete for two severely deteriorated bridge decks at Exit 32 on I-90. Study SD1997-11 of the overlays, which were constructed in 1997, recommended that fiber concrete overlays be considered not only on badly deteriorated bridge decks, but on a case by case basis for all bridges. The literature also identifies new materials with potential to improve structural performance. High-performance fiber-reinforced cementitious composites (HPFRCCs) possess the unique ability to flex and self-strengthen before fracturing, a behavior similar to that exhibited by most metals under tensile or bending stresses. Composed of fine aggregate, superplasticizer, polymeric or metallic fibers, cement, and water, this particular class of concrete was developed with the goal of solving the structural problems inherent in typical concrete. It is 500 times more resistant to cracking and 40 percent lighter than traditional concrete and sustains strain-hardening, resulting in a material ductility of at least two orders of magnitude higher than normal concrete. Proposed uses for HPFRCCs include bridge decks, concrete pipes, pavements, structures subjected to seismic and non-seismic loads, and other applications where a lightweight, strong, and durable building material is desired. Though HPFRCCs have been tested extensively in the lab and employed in a few commercial building projects, long term performance is not well established. Studies suggest that another material, Engineered Cementitious Composite (ECC), also called bendable concrete, could potentially last twice as long as regular concrete and substantially reduce costs, but more research is needed to verify claims.

Are Research results already available? True  
If so, how can SDDOT use these results? There is a real need to assess and condense the extensive body of knowledge (especially recent developments) into clear and concise guidance for structural design and FRC specifications.

In summary, is research needed? True  
Explain: Research is needed to assemble and synthesize the existing body of knowledge into a more current, concise, and understandable FRC state of practice in South Dakota and across the nation. A guide will enable transportation officials in South Dakota to save costs through more efficient structural design, provide better levels of service, improve safety, and conserve resources.

Implementation:  

Funds Available:   $0.00

Contract Period:   18 months

SDDOT Involvement:   SDDOT’s Offices of Bridge Design, Materials and Surfacing, and Operations Support will ensure that staff are available for interviews, generate a list of prior FRC project sites, and provide requested supporting documents to researchers.

General Information:  The Office of Research of the South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) solicits proposals from colleges, universities, research institutes, foundations, engineering or other consultants, federal/state/local agencies or others who possess extensive, demonstrated capability and experience in the subject area.

Proposal Deadline:  Proposals are due at the following address by 5:00 pm on 04/30/2015:
South Dakota Department of Transportation
Office of Research Room 164
700 East Broadway Avenue
Pierre, South Dakota  57501-2586

Proposers will be notified of the results of the selection in writing no later than 12/02/2013.

Anticipated Start Date:   12/02/2013

The proposal deadline is firm. Extensions will not be granted. 8 copies of the proposal must be submitted.

Project Management:   John Foster has responsibility for management of this project, and can be reached at 605-773-6234.

Research Objectives:
1  Identify and describe prevailing and best practices for design and construction of fiber reinforced concrete structural components in South Dakota and nationally.
2  Assess potential application, performance, costs, benefits, drawbacks, and constructability of fiber reinforced concrete structural components.
3  Develop guidance for design, material selection, construction, testing, and application of fiber reinforced concrete structures in South Dakota.

Research Tasks:
1  Meet with the project technical panel to review project scope and work plan.
2  Review and summarize existing literature pertaining to prevailing and best practices in structural applications of fiber reinforced concrete regionally and nationally—including design, materials selection, construction, and laboratory and field testing.
3  Interview SDDOT personnel to assess performance of previous FRC structural projects and describe current FRC specifications and practices in South Dakota.
4  Prepare a draft interview guide and a list of candidates for interviews of state transportation agencies with experience and expertise in structural applications of FRC.
5  Meet with the project’s technical panel to present findings of tasks 2 & 3 and to secure approval of the draft interview guide and list of interview candidates.
6  6) in structural applications of FRC to assess agency specifications, practices, and experience with cost and performance.
7  Prepare a laboratory testing plan to verify material properties, determine optimal fiber dosage, and assess the performance of a select list of candidate fibers with high potential for success based on evidence of superior performance in structural applications
8  Meet with the project’s technical panel to review results of agency interviews and the proposed testing plan.
9  Develop concise but comprehensive guidance for design, materials selection, construction, and laboratory and field testing of FRC for structural applications.
10  Prepare a final report and executive summary of the research methodology, findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
11  Make an executive presentation to the SDDOT Research Review Board.

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