Experimental Mechanics

, Volume 54, Issue 1, pp 69–82

Identification of Cracking Mechanisms in Scaled FRP Reinforced Concrete Beams using Acoustic Emission


  • M. K. ElBatanouny
    • University of South Carolina
  • A. Larosche
    • University of South Carolina
  • P. Mazzoleni
    • Politecnico di Milano
    • University of South Carolina
  • F. Matta
    • University of South Carolina
  • E. Zappa
    • Politecnico di Milano

DOI: 10.1007/s11340-012-9692-3

Cite this article as:
ElBatanouny, M.K., Larosche, A., Mazzoleni, P. et al. Exp Mech (2014) 54: 69. doi:10.1007/s11340-012-9692-3


Acoustic emission was used to monitor the cracking mechanisms leading to the failure of scaled concrete beams having Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer (GFRP) longitudinal reinforcement and no shear reinforcement. Dimensional scaling included that of the effective depth of the cross section, which is a key parameter associated with the scaling of shear strength; and maximum aggregate size, which affects the shear-resisting mechanism of aggregate interlock along shear (inclined) cracks. Five GFRP reinforced concrete (RC) beams with effective depth up to 290 mm and constant shear span-to-effective depth ratio of 3.1 were load tested under four-point bending. Two types of failures were observed: flexural, due to rupture of the GFRP reinforcement in the constant moment region; and shear, due to inclined cracking in either constant shear region through the entire section depth. Acoustic emission (AE) analyses were performed to classify crack types occurring at different points in the load history. The results of this study indicate that appropriate AE parameters can be used to discriminate between developing flexural and shear cracks irrespective of scale, and provide warning of impending failure irrespective of the failure mode (flexural and shear). In addition, AE source location enabled to accurately map crack growth and identify areas of significant damage activity. These outcomes attest to the potential of AE as a viable technique for structural health monitoring and prognosis systems and techniques.


Acoustic emissionGFRPNon-destructive testingReinforced concreteSize effect

Copyright information

© Society for Experimental Mechanics 2012