Experimental investigation of surface crack initiation, propagation and tension stiffening in self-compacting steel–fibre-reinforced concrete


To investigate crack initiation and propagation in reinforced, self-compacting, steel–fibre-reinforced concrete (SCSFRC) members, tie elements were tested in tension. Strain and surface crack formation were monitored with an optical strain measurement system based on digital image correlation. In addition, to capture the softening behaviour (σw) of the material, uni-axial tension testing was performed on SCSFRC cylinders. The results show that, with the optical strain measurement system, it was possible to detect different cracking modes and to follow the crack growth. It was especially of interest to recognize that high fibre amounts tend to change a sudden opening of a crack (as in non-fibrous concrete) into a more stable procedure. It was found that, for a given crack width, the SCSFRC specimens exhibited a noticeably higher tension stiffening than the specimens without fibres. Moreover, at a given load, the crack widths decreased by as much as 65% for the SCSFRC specimens with a nominal fibre content of 1%. For the uni-axial tension tests the results showed that with higher fibre content, for this type of fibre and concrete, both the peak stress and the residual tensile stress were increased. Additionally, it was noted for both specimen types that the scatter in fibre distribution decreased with increasing fibre content.

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Correspondence to Anette Jansson.

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Jansson, A., Flansbjer, M., Löfgren, I. et al. Experimental investigation of surface crack initiation, propagation and tension stiffening in self-compacting steel–fibre-reinforced concrete. Mater Struct 45, 1127–1143 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1617/s11527-012-9821-6

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  • Crack width
  • Crack spacing
  • Fibre-reinforced concrete
  • Optical strain measurement
  • Self-compacting concrete
  • Uni-axial tension test