Risk-Taking Innovation Leads to New FRP Strengthening Application

At Simpson Strong-Tie, we’re always seeking out new opportunities for innovation while helping customers find solutions to new challenges. In fact, “relentless customer focus” and “risk-taking innovation” are two of our nine company values. These two values recently came into play with a challenge to test our Composite Strengthening Systems™ FRP products in a new application on a 17-foot-tall concrete column.

Concrete Strengthening Systems Development Manager Aniket Borwanker was on the testing team. He explains the challenge:

“Simpson Strong-Tie worked with Tipping Structural Engineers and Maffei Structural Engineers to test a full-scale concrete column strengthened with our code-listed FRP in our state-of-the-art Tye Gilb research laboratory in Stockton, California. Due to unique site conditions, many columns couldn’t be wrapped on all sides. Simpson Strong-Tie built full-scale concrete specimens to match the concrete columns onsite. FD Thomas Structural Specialties, an elite Simpson Strong-Tie–certified FRP contractor, wrapped the concrete specimen on three of its faces with FRP, and used FRP through-anchors on the fourth face. We tested multiple specimens with various FRP materials and loaded them in both directions. The columns were tested using displacement-controlled cyclic loading protocol to simulate earthquake loading. Once the testing was complete and the results analyzed, Tipping Structural Engineers approved the strengthening detail to be used on this project.”

Simpson Strong-Tie Vice President of Engineering Annie Kao was also on hand to witness the test. She explains how it was truly a team effort by Simpson Strong-Tie and our partners:

“Concrete testing is no easy feat, but the fact that we wanted to test a new application on a full-scale, 17-foot-tall specimen introduced additional challenges. Our Tye Gilb lab team really delivered. Tye Gilb lab manager Mike Wesson, Ph.D., P.E., S.E., and Advanced Research Manager Steve Pryor, P.E., S.E., led the complicated analysis and design of the test program and triple-checked to make sure that we wouldn’t break our lateral test rig due to the high loads needed! The construction of the test specimens relied heavily on the years of experience and craftsmanship of our lab technicians. It was truly an impressive specimen.”

Simpson Strong-Tie has always believed the only true strength is tested strength. That’s why our products are rigorously tested and load rated in accordance with extensive quality protocols. But we also know every construction project is different. That’s why we’re proud to support our customers’ unique and challenging projects by offering full-scale application testing. Which means whatever your design and building specs, we have the ability to create real world conditions in our university-grade labs to make sure our products will work on your project.”

To learn more about this test or discuss any FRP-related project or application, feel free to contact our engineering team at (800) 999-5099 or by visiting our website. From design services to technical support to cutting-edge software apps, we’re uncompromising in our quest to help you design the best solution for your building challenges.