Fiber reinforced polymers (FRP) have been widely used in retrofitting and strengthening of deteriorated or deficient reinforced concrete (RC) elements. A major concern about those systems is their performance under elevated temperature which limits the application of FRP for strengthening requirements. Fire protection of the strengthening FRP system can be made by applying an external coating layer of a thermal resisting material. In order to predict the fire performance of such insulated FRP-strengthened members and their efficiency, experimental investigations are required to be carried out for such elements under realistic fire conditions, which requires time and cost.
This paper presents numerical modelling of RC beams strengthened with externally bonded FRP and insulated by a fire protection layer under elevated temperature specified by standard fire tests. The nonlinear time domain transient thermal-stress finite element analysis is performed using the general purpose software ANSYS 12.1 in order to study the heat transfer mechanism and deformation within the beam for fire conditions initiating at the bottom side of the beam. The finite element model accounts for the variation in thermal and mechanical parameters of the constituent materials such as concrete, steel reinforcement bars, FRP and insulation material with temperature. Application is made on an FRP-strengthened and insulated RC T-beam which has been experimentally tested in the published literature in order to verify the adopted modelling procedure. The obtained numerical results are in good agreement with the experimental results regarding the temperature distribution across the beam and mid-span deflection. The presented procedure thus provides an economical and effective tool to investigate the effectiveness of fire insulation layers when subjected to high temperatures and to design thermal protection layers for FRP strengthening systems that satisfy fire resistance requirements specified in building codes and standards.