Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering

FRP expert system

At a glance

Funding body: University of Bath studentship with ORS award
Principal investigator: Tim Ibell
Co-investigator: Antony Darby
Researcher: Kunal Kansara
Dates: 2009-2012


Construction makes up a major fraction of many nations’ GDP and strengthening of existing concrete infrastructure can make up over 50 % all construction activities and hence is a major challenge for engineers and authorities.

Use of externally bonded Fibre Reinforced Polymers (EB-FRP) for strengthening has been in practice since the late 1980’s and has proved to be a superior and sustainable option when compared to other traditional methods of strengthening. However, there are some major hurdles to be resolved towards bringing EB-FRP to the mainstream civil engineering practice.

First, the existing design criteria are unable to weave design-specifications as truly useable and practical design assistance, which makes practical handling of the strengthening exercise difficult.

Secondly, the extent to which the strengthening influences service-life-performance over time is not specified by the design criteria. This makes it difficult for clients to justify the strengthening costs and selection of a particular set of materials on service-life-performance basis.

The proposed research aims to develop a holistic strengthening design process for concrete structures through integrating a range of issues that arise out of typical strengthening exercises. The holistic design process will be developed as an interactive expert system, aimed to act as automated strengthening design guidance. This will provide a dual purpose tool for design as well as for the management of existing concrete structures.

Suitable artificial intelligence procedures for efficient and optimal utilisation of existing information will be employed. The expert system will support three important international strengthening guidelines: ACI440, TR55 and FIB14.