Department of

Civil and Environmental Engineering



Kavanagh Lecture - Abstract

April 7, 2005

Use of Strain-Hardening Fiber Reinforced Concrete in Earthquake-Resistant Design: Example of Shear Wall Coupling Beams


James K. Wight
Professor of Civil Engineering
University of Michigan


The concept of using steel, glass or other man-made fibers to enhance the tensile properties of concrete has been under investigation for the last fifty years. Considerable advances have been made in understanding the material properties for fiber reinforced concrete (FRC), but so far only a limited number of structural applications have been developed for FRC. This paper will discuss potential structural applications for normal FRC, and then introduce the potential to use a high performance fiber reinforced concrete (HPFRC) in the design of earthquake-resistant concrete elements. The term “high performance” refers to a tension strain-hardening property in the fiber reinforced concrete. The strain-hardening property in tension makes this an excellent material for shear-critical elements that will be subjected to load reversals during earthquake loading. The major application to be discussed will be the use of HPFRC in coupling beams for shear walls. Current designs call for the use of diagonal reinforcement with heavy transverse reinforcement around the diagonal bars. The use of HPFRC can lead to significant reductions in the required amount of reinforcement in coupling beams, while retaining all the required ductility and energy dissipation properties. A summary of experimental results will be presented.