FRP Witness Panel Preparation and Testing – Lessons Learned and Best Practices

As a Composite Strengthening Systems™ Field Engineer at Simpson Strong-Tie, I’ve supported many composite strengthening projects from design through construction and had hands-on experience troubleshooting issues with FRP witness panels. Through these experiences, I’ve learned a few lessons and developed some best practices worth sharing with anyone in the engineering and construction communities who may encounter similar issues.

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Strategic Alliance with Structural Technologies Brings End-to-End FRP Solutions to Concrete Strengthening and Repair Industry

Simpson Strong-Tie and Structural Technologies formed a strategic alliance for Composite Strengthening Systems (CSS) products in 2021. CSS products include fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) and fabric-reinforced cementitious matrix (FRCM) strengthening systems. Additionally, where CSS products are not a viable solution, the alliance can also offer recommendations and design for other non-CSS or conventional strengthening solutions. This alliance allows each firm to specialize in their areas of expertise: 

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Simpson Strong-Tie and Structural Technologies Offer Workshop on Seismic Strengthening Solutions for Concrete, CMU and URM

Did you know that Simpson Strong-Tie offers free education and training to the structural engineering  and building industries? On May 18, 2022, a team of Simpson engineers and technical sales reps, in conjunction with Structural Technologies, hosted a workshop in Portland on fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) and fabric-reinforced cementitious matrix (FRCM) seismic strengthening solutions for concrete, reinforced masonry and unreinforced masonry structures. The workshop educated engineers on how Composite Strengthening Systems™ (our FRP and FRCM solutions) can be used to strengthen structural concrete and masonry elements in their projects. This was our first workshop event since COVID restrictions were placed, and we were excited to host the industry again.

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Project Profile: Reinforcing Concrete Joists to Increase Load Rating

We’re excited to share another fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) project that required both flexural and shear strengthening (photo below) of reinforced concrete joists to enable the slab floors to carry more live load. The structure is in Southern California, and appears to have been built in the 1950s or 1960s when pan joist construction was common. The EOR for this project, Structural Focus, is an experienced structural engineering firm known for seismic retrofit solutions. The FRP applicator was FD Thomas Structural Specialties, a contractor with decades of FRP installation experience.

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ICC-ES Report Update for Composite Strengthening Systems™

We’re pleased to announce that our Composite Strengthening Systems (CSS) code report, ESR-3403, has been revised to recognize Simpson Strong-Tie fiber-reinforced polymers (FRP) for concrete diaphragm applications. These FRP fabrics can be used to strengthen diaphragms for in-plane shear, flexure (chords), and axial tension (collectors) to resist seismic or wind loading.

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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.

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Case Study: Shoring Up Aging Concrete Grain Silos with Fiber-Reinforced Polymer

The Simpson Strong-Tie® Composite Strengthening Systems™ was used to restore and strengthen 6 distressed cast-in-place concrete grain silos with a combination of carbon and glass FRP, meeting a tight timeline and budget.

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Case Study: Manzanita Hall

Manzanita Hall is one of three remaining buildings on the University of Nevada, Reno, campus that were constructed prior to 1900. Originally named the Girls’ Cottage, Manzanita Hall was built in 1896 and was used to house 97 women in double and single rooms. Architecturally, it a created a Victorian atmosphere and offered a spacious student lounge, complete with a grand piano and a spectacular view of Manzanita Lake.

Several years ago, the hall was deemed seismically inadequate, and the electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems were likewise found to be seriously outdated and insufficient for modern college life. These structural deficiencies necessitated its closure in 2015.

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Case Study: North Yonkers Pump Station

Simpson Strong-Tie precured carbon laminate (FRP) system was used to strengthen unreinforced concrete masonry walls to meet New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP) measures to minimize the impact of the next superstorm on critical infrastructure.

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A New Way to See Whether FRP Is Right for Your Project

Specifying our Composite Strengthening Systems™ (CSS) is unlike choosing any other product we offer. In light of the unique variables involved with selecting and using fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) solutions, we encourage you to leverage our expertise to help with your FRP strengthening designs. To get started, we first need to determine whether FRP is right for your project. The fastest way to do that is for you to fill out our FRP Design Questionnaire. Our new Excel-based questionnaire collects your project information and helps you use the existing capacity check to evaluate whether or not FRP is suitable for your project per the requirements of ACI 562-16 Section 5.5.2. After the feasibility study, the questionnaire creates input sheets specifically for your project.
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