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
  • A. Larosche
  • P. Mazzoleni
  • P. H. Ziehl
  • F. Matta
  • E. Zappa


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 emission GFRP Non-destructive testing Reinforced concrete Size effect 


  1. 1.
    Matta F (2008) Industry/University Cooperative Research on Advanced Composite Reinforcement for Concrete: Translating Innovation into Sustainable Engineering Practice. Proc. NSF International Workshop on the Use of Fiber Reinforced Polymers for Sustainable Structures, Cairo, Egypt, May 22, CD-ROM, pp 13Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    American Concrete Institute (ACI) Committee 440 (2006) Guide for the Design and Construction of Structural Concrete Reinforced with FRP Bars—ACI 440.1R-06. ACI, Farmington Hills, MIGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Canadian Standards Association (CSA) (2006) Canadian highway bridge design code—CAN/CSA-S6-06. CSA, MississaugaGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) (2009) AASHTO LRFD bridge design guide specifications for GFRP-reinforced concrete bridge decks and traffic railings, 1st edn. AASHTO, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    American Concrete Institute (ACI) Committee 440 (2008) Specification for carbon and glass fiber-reinforced polymer bar materials for concrete reinforcement—ACI 440.6-08. ACI, Farmington Hills, MIGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    American Concrete Institute (ACI) Committee 440 (2008) Specification for construction with fiber-reinforced polymer reinforcing bars—ACI 440.5-08. ACI, Farmington Hills, MIGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Gross SP, Yost JR, Dinehart DW, Svensen E, Liu N (2003) Shear Strength of Normal and High Strength Concrete Beams Reinforced with GFRP Bars. ASCE Special Publication: Proceedings of the International Conference on High Performance Materials in Bridges and Buildings, Kona, Hawaii, pp 426–437Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Tureyen AK, Frosch RJ (2003) Concrete shear strength: another perspective. ACI Structural Journal 100(5):609–615Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Matta F, Mazzoleni P, Zappa E, Sutton A, ElBatanouny M, Larosche A, Ziehl P (2012) Shear strength of FRP reinforced concrete beams without stirrups: verification of fracture mechanics formulation. ACI Special Publication Spring Convention 2012, Dallas, TXGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Bentz EC, Massam L, Collins MP (2010) Shear strength of large concrete members with FRP reinforcement. J Compos Construct 14(6):637–646CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Matta F, El-Sayed AK, Nanni A, Benmokrane B (2012) Size Effect on Concrete Shear Strength in Beams Reinforced with FRP Bars. In press ACI Structural JournalGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ziehl P (2008) Applications of acoustic emission evaluation for civil infrastructure. SPIE Smart Structures and Materials and Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring, San Diego, p 9Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Pollock AA (1986) Classical Wave Theory in Practical AE Testing. Progress in AE III, Proceedings of the 8th International AE Symposium, Japanese Society for Nondestructive Testing, pp 708–721Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    ASTM E1316 (2006) Standard terminology for nondestructive examinations. American Standard for Testing and Materials, 1–33Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    ASTM E1067/E1067M-11 (2011) Standard practice for acoustic emission examination of Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic Resin (FRP) Tanks/Vessels. American Standard for Testing and Materials, 1–15Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Fowler T, Blessing J, Conlisk P (1989) New directions in testing. Proc. 3rd International Symposium on AE from Composite Materials, Paris, FranceGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Ono, K. (2010) Application of acoustic emission for structure diagnosis. KonferencjaNaukowa, pp. 317–341Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Golaski L, Gebski P, Ono K (2002) Diagnostics of reinforced concrete by acoustic emission. J Acoust Emi 20:83–98Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    ElBatanouny M, Mangual J, Ziehl P, and Matta F (2011) Corrosion Intensity Classification in Prestressed Concrete using Acoustic Emission Technique. Proc. American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) Fall Conference and Quality Testing Show 2011, Palm Springs, CA, October 24–28, pp 10Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Katsaga T, Sherwood EG, Collins MP, Young RP (2007) Acoustic emission imaging of shear failure in large reinforced concrete structures. Int J Fract 148(1):29–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Collins MP, Kutchma D (1999) How safe are our large, lightly reinforced concrete beams, slabs, and footings. ACI Struct J 96(4):482–490Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Bažant ZP, Yu Q, Gerstle W, Hanson J, Ju JW (2007) Justification of ACI 446 proposal for updating ACI code provisions for shear design of reinforced concrete beams. ACI Structural Journal, V. 104, No. 5, Sep.-Oct. 2007, pp 601–610Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Kani GNJ (1967) How safe are our large reinforced concrete beams. ACI J 64(3):128–141Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Fowler TJ, Blessing JA, Conlisk PJ, Swanson TL (1989) The Monpac system. Journal of Acoustic Emission. 8(3)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Tinkey BV, Fowler TJ, Klingner RE (2002) Nondestructive testing of prestressed bridge girders with distributed damage. Res Rep 1857–2:106Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Shiotani T, Yuyama S, Li ZW, Ohtsu M (2001) Application of the AE improved b-value to qualitative evaluation of fracture process in concrete materials. J Acoust Emi 19:118–132Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Ohtsu M, Okamoto T, Yuyama S (1998) Moment tensor analysis of acoustic emission for cracking mechanisms in concrete. ACI Structu J 95(2):87–95Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Ohno K, Ohtsu M (2010) Crack classification in concrete based on acoustic emission. Construct Build Mater 24:2339–2346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Ohtsu M, Ono K (1984) A generalized theory of acoustic emission and green’s functions in a half space. J Acoust Emi 3(1):124–33Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Aggelis DG (2011) Classification of crack mode in concrete by using acoustic emission parameters. Mech Res Comm 38:153–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Aggelis DG, Soulioti DV, Sapouridis N, Barkoula NM, Paipetis AS, Matikas TE (2011) Acoustic emission characterization of the fracture process of fiber reinforced concrete. Construct Build Mater 25:4126–4131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Liu Z, Ziehl P (2009) Evaluation of RC beam specimens with AE and CLT criteria. ACI Struct J 106(3):1–12Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Ziehl P, Galati N, Tumialan G, Nanni A (2008) In-situ evaluation of two rc slab systems—part II: evaluation criteria. ASCE J Perform Constr Facil 22(4):217–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Gutenberg B, Richter CF (1954) Seismicity of the earth and associated phenomena, 2nd edn. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Sammonds PR, Meredith PG, Murrel SAF, Main IG (1994) Modelling the damage evolution in rock containing pore fluid by acoustic emission. Eurock ’94, Balkerna, Rotterdam, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Cox SJD, Meredith PG (1993) Microcrack formation and material softening in rock measured by monitoring acoustic emission. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci Geomech Abstr 30(1):11–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Shiotani T, Ohtsu M, Ikeda K (2001) Detection and evaluation of AE waves due to rock deformation. Construct Build Mater 15(5–6):235–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Colombo S, Main IG, Forde MC (2003) Assessing damage of reinforced concrete beam using b-value analysis of acoustic emission signals. J Mater Civil Eng 5–6:280–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Aggelis DG, Mpalaskas AC, Ntalakas D, Matikas TE (2012) Effect of wave distortion on acoustic emission characterization of cementitious material. Construct Build Mater 35:183–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Grosse CU, Ohtsu M (2008) Acoustic emission testing. Springer, BerlinCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Society for Experimental Mechanics 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. K. ElBatanouny
    • 1
  • A. Larosche
    • 1
  • P. Mazzoleni
    • 2
  • P. H. Ziehl
    • 1
  • F. Matta
    • 1
  • E. Zappa
    • 2
  1. 1.University of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Politecnico di MilanoMilanItaly

Personalised recommendations