Experimental analysis of load capacity in beams with steel fiber reinforcement on the compression face

Abstract The use of steel fibers in the concrete is mainly aimed at increasing the post-peak toughness, due to the adhesion of the fibers to the cementitious matrix. However, there are several typologies of steel fibers, and the main differences are in the form (relation between length and diameter), fiber geometry, and the characterization between macrofibers and microfibers, which generally serve to reduce macrocracking and microcracking, respectively. In this context, this work evaluated the use of microfibers (20 kg/m³ or volume equal to 0.26% (Vf) of concrete volume), macrofibers (20 kg/m³ or Vf = 0.26%) and hybridization (10 kg/m³) + macrofibers (10 kg/m³) inserted in a high strength concrete (fc = 80 MPa). Two types of steel fibers were used: macrofibers with a diameter of 0.75 mm and a length of 60 mm (a form factor of 80); and microfibers with a diameter of 200 μm and a length of 13 mm (a form factor of 65). The fibers were used in concrete to act as a reinforcement on the compression face of reinforced beams (12×20×160cm), and the mechanical characteristics of the concretes were analyzed: (i) flexural strength in prismatic specimens (10×10×35 cm), (ii) compressive strength in cylindrical specimens (20×Ø10 cm) and (iii) modulus of elasticity in cylindrical specimens (20×Ø10 cm). Analysis of the results showed that compressive strength increased by approximately 8% for all the compositions with fibers compared with concrete without fibers. Similar behavior was verified for the modulus of elasticity. In the prismatic specimens (10×10×35 cm) an increase in toughness was observed, with the macrofibers performing better. In beams measuring 12×20×160 cm, an increase in bearing capacity was verified regarding cracking time and plastic rotation, with the best result also obtained using macrofibers. Overall, it can be concluded that the application of reinforcement with steel fibers in the compression face of beams was efficient, even though it did not present a significant increase in compressive strength, a fact that could be correlated with the reduced volume of fibers used.