Recent developments in the field of fiber reinforced composites (FRCs) have resulted in the development of highly efficient construction materials. They have been successfully used in a variety of industries such as aerospace, automobile and ship building The FRCs are unaffected by electro-mechanical deterioration and can resist corrosive effects of acids, alkalis, salts and similar aggregates under a wide range of temperatures. FRCs thus hold a very distinct advantage over steel plates as an external reinforcing device. Moreover, FRCs are available in the form of laminas and different thickness and orientation can be given to different layers to tailor its strength according to specific requirements.
The difficulties encountered in using steel plates as reinforcement lead us to the use of fiber reinforced composite materials as post-reinforcements. Due to their high specific strength (strength/weight ratio) the composite reinforcements are very light and easy to handle. The composite materials are available as unidirectional fibers of a huge length. Therefore, joints in the reinforcement can be avoided very easily. Moreover, the corrosion of the reinforcements can be avoided completely. Research work is gaining momentum on the application of composite materials as post-reinforcement (Nanni et al., 1995). The potential use of fiber reinforced composites in civil structures is manifold.
• Plates -at a face to improve the tension capacity.
• Bars -as reinforcement in beams and slabs replacing the steel bars.
• Cables -as tendons and post tension members in suspension and bridge girders.
• Wraps -around concrete members to confine concrete and improve the compressive strength.