carbon fiber, durability, fatigue, CFRP, composite, long-term


About 77,600 bridges throughout the United States in the Federal Highway Association (FHWA) bridge database are listed as structurally deficient. This has created a need to either replace or strengthen bridges quickly and efficiently. Due to high costs for total replacement of deficient bridges, strengthening of existing bridges is a more economical alternative. A technique that has been developing over the past two decades is the strengthening of bridges using carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) sheets. The CFRP sheets are attached to the bottom of the bridge girders using structural adhesives so that the CFRP becomes an integral part of the bridge and carries a portion of the flexural loading. The CFRP sheets allow for an increase in the capacity of the bridge with minimal increase in the weight of the structure due to CFRP having a low density. Because the CFRP is expected to be an integral component and carry some of the long-term loading it is important to understand the long-term durability of the composite section. This thesis is part of a larger project, in which the long-term durability of the CFRP composite on concrete beams is investigated experimentally. The CFRP strengthened beams are exposed to fatigue testing and thermal-humidity cycling followed by failure testing. The testing scheme for this experiment allows for the investigation of the individual effects of fatigue and thermal-humidity loading as well as to explore the effects from combined fatigue and thermal-humidity loading. The investigation of the combined effects is a unique aspect of this experiment that has not been performed in prior studies. Results indicate that a polyurethane-based adhesive could provide a more durable bond for the CFRP-concrete interface than possible with epoxy-based adhesives.


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Graduation Date



Mackie, Kevin


Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Degree Program

Civil Engineering








Release Date

May 2009

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)