Investigation of carbon fiber composite cables (CFCC) in prestressed concrete piles.
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Investigation of carbon fiber composite cables (CFCC) in prestressed concrete piles.

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      The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) commonly uses prestressed concrete piles in

      bridge foundations. These piles are prestressed with steel strands that, when installed in aggressive or

      marine environments, are subject to corrosion and therefore rapid degradation. Many solutions may

      address this issue, but they are not long-term. Hence, it would be desirable to use advanced materials

      that do not corrode. The goal of this research was to assess the suitability of using carbon fiber

      composite cables (CFCC), which do not corrode, in lieu of conventional steel prestressing strands.

      Five (5) 24-in. square prestressed concrete piles, three (3) 40-ft long and two (2) 100-ft long,

      were cast using 0.6-in. diameter CFCC strands produced by Tokyo Rope Manufacturing Company. A

      special anchoring system was used because CFCC strands cannot be conventionally gripped using

      wedges and a jack. The techniques employed to prestress these strands were documented, as well as the

      unique aspects involved in constructing and precasting CFCC-prestressed piles. During strand

      detensioning, stresses were monitored in the concrete at the piles' ends to determine the transfer length

      of CFCC strands, as a means of evaluating their bond characteristics.

      Development length tests and flexural tests were performed on two (2) of the 40-ft piles at the

      FDOT Marcus H. Ansley Structures Research Center to further assess the performance of the CFCC

      strands. Lastly, the two (2) 100-ft piles were driven at a bridge construction site, adjacent to standard

      steel-prestressed concrete piles. During driving operations, the behavior of the piles was monitored

      using embedded data collectors and a Pile Driving Analyzer®.

      The precasting efforts and test results show that the performance of piles prestressed with CFCC

      strands is comparable to those prestressed with steel. Using CFCC strands in prestressed concrete piles

      for bridge foundations, particularly in harsh environments, could potentially result in bridges that

      require less maintenance and have longer lifespans.

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