Fracture and Size Effect of PFRC Specimens Simulated by Using a Trilinear Softening Diagram: A Predictive Approach

Materials (Basel). 2021 Jul 7;14(14):3795. doi: 10.3390/ma14143795.


The size effect on plain concrete specimens is well known and can be correctly captured when performing numerical simulations by using a well characterised softening function. Nevertheless, in the case of polyolefin-fibre-reinforced concrete (PFRC), this is not directly applicable, since using only diagram cannot capture the material behaviour on elements with different sizes due to dependence of the orientation factor of the fibres with the size of the specimen. In previous works, the use of a trilinear softening diagram proved to be very convenient for reproducing fracture of polyolefin-fibre-reinforced concrete elements, but only if it is previously adapted for each specimen size. In this work, a predictive methodology is used to reproduce fracture of polyolefin-fibre-reinforced concrete specimens of different sizes under three-point bending. Fracture is reproduced by means of a well-known embedded cohesive model, with a trilinear softening function that is defined specifically for each specimen size. The fundamental points of these softening functions are defined a priori by using empirical expressions proposed in past works, based on an extensive experimental background. Therefore, the numerical results are obtained in a predictive manner and then compared with a previous experimental campaign in which PFRC notched specimens of different sizes were tested with a three-point bending test setup, showing that this approach properly captures the size effect, although some values of the fundamental points in the trilinear diagram could be defined more accurately.

Keywords: cohesive model; polyolefin-fibre-reinforced concrete; size effect; trilinear softening function.