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Cyclic testing of steel I-beams reinforced with GFRP
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Flange and web local buckling in beam plastic hinge regions of steel moment frames can prevent beam-column connections from achieving adequate plastic rotations under earthquake-induced forces. This threat is especially valid for existing steel moment frame buildings with beams that lack adequate flange/web slenderness ratios. As the use of fiber reinforced polymers (FRP) have increased in strengthening and repair of steel members in recent years, using FRPs in stabilizing local instabilities have also attracted attention. Previous computational studies have shown that longitudinally oriented glass FRP (GFRP) strips may serve to moderately brace beam flanges against the occurrence of local buckling during plastic hinging. An experimental study was conducted at Izmir Institute of Technology investigating the effects of GFRP reinforcement on local buckling behavior of existing steel I-beams with flange slenderness ratios (FSR) exceeding the slenderness limits set forth in current seismic design specifications and modified by a bottom flange triangular welded haunch. Four European HE400AA steel beams with a depth/width ratio of 1.26 and FSR of 11.4 were cyclically loaded up to 4% rotation in a cantilever beam test set-up. Both bare beams and beams with GFRP sheets were tested in order to investigate the contribution of GFRP sheets in mitigating local flange buckling. Different configurations of GFRP sheets were considered. The tests have shown that GFRP reinforcement can moderately mitigate inelastic flange local buckling.