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Fibre Reinforced Cementitious Composites such as Steel Fibre Reinforced Concrete
(SFRC), Slurry infiltrated fibre composites (SIFCON) are extensively applied in both
civilian as well as strategic sector ever since it was first developed. There is still a lot
of scope for application of fibre reinforced cementitious composites with/without
infills in strategic utilization for protection against multiple hits of short and sharp
projectiles. This can be achieved by improving the ductility and tensile strength of the
composite panels.
In recent years new fibres such as Carbon or Kevlar and low modulus man-made
polypropylene, nylon or natural (Cellulose, Sisal, Jute) fibres have been used in
various structural applications in addition to steel fibre and glass fibre.
Crack controlling ability of fibres is found to be better than reinforcement bars (Bentur
and Mindess 2007). However, since they are short in length and randomly distributed
in cementitious matrix, they may not be able to resist tensile stresses efficiently
compared to conventional reinforcements. This problem can be solved by making sure
that there is closer dispersion of fibres into the matrix.
While conventional reinforcement is used to increase load-bearing capacity of concrete
members, fibre reinforcement is effective in resisting both crack initiation and
propagation. Due to these properties, steel fibre reinforcement has been applied as thin
layers in structural components, tunnel linings, blast and impact resistant structures,
precast piles slabs and pavements etc.
In modern concrete technology, both are prudently applied together to achieve
enhanced strength as well as improved performance. Because short steel fibres
improve the ductility of cementitious composite members there is improved energy
absorption capacity. By virtue of all these mechanical properties, improved impact
resistance as well as fatigue and abrasive resistance of composite panels are possible.

Thamilselvi and Manoharan (2008) have reported that SIFCON absorbs 132% more
energy compared to conventional concrete in beam column joints in addition to
reducing congestion of reinforcement.
Teng et al. (2008) have studied the impact behaviour with volume of fibre 1 to 2 % in
the panels of size 500 x 500 x 100 mm. Both numerical and experimental results
reported to correlate well.
Rao et al. (2008) conducted experiments on two way slab for punching shear
resistance and found significant enhancement in punching shear resistance as
compared to fibre reinforced concrete (FRC) and normal reinforced cement concrete
Satioglu (2009) analysed mechanical behaviour of high performance cement based
composite slabs under impact loading. A simplified method for modelling the
behaviour of SIFCON by modifying the tensile strength of concrete was also
Yazici et al. (2010) conducted study on effect of steel fibre alignment and high volume
mineral admixture replacement on mechanical behaviour of SIFCON. It was reported
that effect of fibre orientation on fracture energy is considerably higher than that on
flexural strength.
Rao et al. (2010) have conducted impact tests using drop hammer on SIFCON slab of
size 600x600x50 mm for varying volume percentages (8-12%) of steel fibres. It was
found that the energy absorption is much better as compared to FRC and RCC slabs.

Quek et al. (2010) reported experimental study on functionally graded cementitious

panels of size 200x200 x100 mm by conducting impact tests. High velocity (300-600
m/s) impact of steel projectile having caliber radius head as 2.5, was carried out on
cementitious composite panels. Functionally graded composite panels were prepared
using ferrocement at the front and then coarse aggregate layers.
Sekar et al. (2011) studied strength characteristics of waste material as coarse
aggregate in concrete. Various wastes materials were reported to have used namely,
broken ceramic tiles, unused ceramic insulators, and broken glass pieces. Concrete
made of waste ceramic tile aggregate produced more strength in compression, split
tension and flexure. However, the compressive strength of concrete made of using
waste materials was found to have 16-26 % lesser than the conventional concrete. Few
selected recent researches on impact testing have summarized in Table 1.
It has been reported in existing literature that the SIFCON does not contain any coarse
aggregates, only fine aggregates i.e. sand and cement slurry with admixtures are used
along with the steel fibres. Due to this it gets vulnerable to the penetration of short and
sharp nosed projectiles impacting with high velocity in the range more than 600 m/sec.
This issue has been reported by Maalej (2005) and a few experiments were also
conducted on engineered cementitious composite panels where they provided a layer
of coarse aggregates below high performance fibre reinforced concrete layer and
graded from one face to other face.
However, it was observed that, though the projectile got defeated due to provision of
aggregate layer, but many considerable cracks were also appeared, which may not be
acceptable due to structural integrity aspects.

Table 1 Selected studies on impact testing on cementitious composite panels




h MPa

Size of panel,


and nose







5 deg

Luo et al.







Maalej et al.






12.6 mm

Zhang et al.






12.6 mm

Zhang et al.






12.6 mm


vf = 10




5.56 mm
7.62 mm


Based on existing literature, it can be seen that number of studies have been reported
on cementitious composite panels made of reinforced concrete, FRC, SIFCON etc.
however clear information is not found from reported literature on the design aspect of
these panel.
It is observed that experimental and computational work done related to short fibre
reinforced cementitious composite panels is still limited as compared to plain or
reinforced concrete studies. Hence, there exists a need to improve the understanding
on the impact behavior of such SFRCC engineered panels both experimentally as well
as computationally.
In this report, characteristics of fibre reinforced cementitious composite such as SFRC,
SIFCON are presented in detail. The present study focuses on the development of fibre
reinforced cementitious composite panels which provide the aesthetic look as well as
protection against short and sharp nosed projectiles.
Details of the study conducted using two different most commonly used caliber
diameters namely 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm projectiles are given in this report. The main
advantage of the developed cementitious composite panels is that they are relatively
cheaper than metal covers and do not allow fragmentation and ricochet of projectile.

Steel fibre reinforced concrete (SFRC) can, in general, produced using conventional
concrete practice, though there are obviously some important differences. The current
technology for mixing, placing and finishing SFRC is described in detail in code ACI
544.3R, which emphasizes these differences. ASTM C 1116 also provides valuable
information on the methods of specifying and manufacturing SFRC.
The basic problem is to introduce a sufficient volume of uniformly dispersed fibres to
achieve the desired improvements in mechanical behaviour, while retaining sufficient
workability in the fresh mix to permit proper mixing, placing and finishing. The
performance of the hardened concrete is enhanced more by fibres with a higher aspect
ratio, since this improves the fibrematrix bond.
On the other hand, a high aspect ratio adversely affects the workability of the fresh
mix. In general, the problems of both workability and uniform distribution increase
with increasing fibre length and volume. It was these contradictory requirements that
led to the development of the deformed fibres that are currently in use, with which
bonding is achieved largely through mechanical anchoring, which is much more
efficient than the frictional shear bond stress mechanism associated with straight
For instance, Mangat and Azari have shown that the apparent coefficient of friction is
about 0.09 for hooked end fibres, compared with only about 0.04 for straight fibres.
Nonetheless, even with modern deformed fibres in the practical range of lengths
(1260 mm), and with modern superplasticizers, only up to about 2% of fibres can be
incorporated using conventional concrete practice.

When steel fibres are introduced into a concrete mix, they generally have a detrimental
effect on the packing density of the aggregates; this effect limits the maximum fibre
contents. For plain concretes, the maximum packing density is obtained with about a
40% volume of fine aggregate.
For low fibre content mixes (< about 0.5%), it is not really necessary to change the
concrete mixture design from that used for plain concrete. However, for higher fibre
volumes, the maximum packing density can be achieved only with a higher fines
content. For instance, for 2% fibres, about a 60% fines content is required to achieve
the maximum packing density. Different fibres have different geometries, and
therefore different packing densities of their own.
It should be noted that it is not really practical or possible to use the highest fibre
contents (approaching 10%) since the fibres would interlock during mixing (Fig. 1).
One of the chief difficulties in obtaining a uniform fibre distribution is the tendency
for steel fibres to ball or clump together.
Clumping may be caused by a number of factors:

The fibres may already be clumped together before they are added to the mix;
normal mixing action will not break these clumps down.

Fibres may be added too quickly to allow them to disperse in the mixer.

Too high a volume of fibres may be added.

The mixer itself may be too worn or inefficient to disperse the fibres.

Introducing the fibres to the mixer before the other ingredients will cause them
to clump together.

Fig 1 Fines content vs.fines content for determination of optimum packing density
(Harex fibres, 32 mm long, 0.9 mm diameter), from Hoy and Bartos [source- Naaman,


Similar to any other type of concrete, the mix proportions for SFRC depend upon the
requirements for any particular project, in terms of workability, strength, durability and
so on. For relatively small fibre volumes (less than 0.5%), the conventional mix
designs used for plain concrete, based on the normal strength and durability
considerations, may be used without modification.
However, for larger fibre volumes, mix design procedures which emphasize the
workability of the SFRC should be used. A number of such procedures are available.
However, there are several considerations that are particular to SFRC.
Edgington et al. (1972) showed that for a particular fibre type, the workability of the
mix decreased as the size and quantity of the aggregate particles larger than 5 mm
increased; the presence of aggregate particles less than 5 mm in size had little effect on
the compacting properties of the mix.
They proposed an Eqn. (1) with which to estimate the critical percentage of fibres
which would just make the SFRC unworkable:

PW Ccrit=75

SGf d
SGc l

PWccrit is the critical percentage of fibres (by weight of mix);
SGf , the specific gravity of fibres;
SGc, the specific gravity of concrete matrix;
d/l, the inverse of fibre aspect ratio;
K, the Wm/(Wm + Wa) and
Wm, is the weight of mortar fraction (particle size < 5 mm);
Wa, the weight of aggregate fraction (particle size > 5 mm).


They recommended that, to permit proper compaction, the fibre content should not
exceed 0.75 PWccrit . The second factor which has a major effect on workability is the
aspect ratio (l/d) of the fibres. The workability decreases with increasing aspect ratio.
In practice, it is very difficult to achieve a uniform mix if the aspect ratio is greater
than about 100.
In general, to provide better workability, SFRC mixes contain higher cement contents
and higher ratios of fine to coarse aggregate than do ordinary concretes. Thus, the mix
design procedures that apply to conventional concrete may not be entirely applicable
to SFRC.
Commonly, both to improve workability and to reduce the quantity of cement, up to
35% of the cement may be replaced with fly ash. In addition, to improve the
workability of high fibre volume mixes, water reducing admixtures and, in particular,
super-plasticizers are often used.
Engineering of the fibre and the interface to obtain a slip hardening behaviour of the
fibre during pull-out is an additional means that has been studied and used to obtain
composites of enhanced performance. Changing the shape of the fibre is almost a
routine means taken to improve the bond in general, and to obtain a strain hardening
pull-out in particular.
This is achieved by inducing mechanical bonding (anchoring) into the system, as is
often done by changing the geometry of the fibre (e.g. hooks, crimps). Some of fibre
types are shown in Fig. 2.
When the geometry is properly adjusted, slip hardening behaviour can be obtained.
More advanced means have been recently suggested to enhance this response in the
fibres, by formation of more complex shapes, which are not linear in nature, but rather
2D and 3D dimensional.
Naaman developed the concept of twisting polygonal fibres, and optimizing this effect
by using geometries which before twisting, have a shape which is intrinsically of a
higher surface area. He defined a parameter of fibre intrinsic efficiency ratio (FIER)

which is the ratio of the bonded lateral surface area of the fibre, to its cross-section
The ratio can be calculated per unit length or total length as given by Eqn. (2):




is the perimeter;
l, the length of fibre and
A, the cross-section area of fibre.

Fig. 2 Shapes of fibres and the relative FIER values (after Naaman).
A different type of mechanical bonding was obtained by using clip and circular type
geometries. The fibre pull-out resistance could be maximized by optimizing the radius
of curvature at the edges of the clip to the length. The latter provides the mechanical
anchoring characteristics. The performance of such a fibre was shown to be better than


a corrugated one, and it provides quasi-plastic pull-out behaviour as well as increased

maximum load resistance.
Continuous reinforcement of cementitious matrices is particularly attractive for
fabrication of thin elements, where cement paste or mortar is impregnated into a
Earlier interest in this kind of reinforcement was driven by the need to develop new
thin sheet components, that could serve as replacements for asbestos cement, or
provide thin sheets with improved performance, especially with regard to toughness
(Bentur and Mindess, 2007).
New types of reinforcements were studied and developed for these purposes, and the
mechanical properties of the composites as well as production technologies were
The lay-up of several layers of mats was developed by Hannant and Zonsveld (1978)
and Hannant (2004). With sufficiently high fibre content, flexural strengths in the
range of 2040 MPa can be achieved. This method has been used to produce flat and
corrugated sheets (Keer and Thorne (1985); Baroonian et al., 1986).
A comparison between asbestos fibre corrugated sheets and fibrillated polypropylene
corrugated sheets (Keer and Thorne, 1985). In such products care should be taken to
place some of the oriented mats in the perpendicular direction, in order to obtain a
component in which the properties at different orientations do not differ much.
Keer (1990) has also described a production method in which thin layers of the
cementitious matrix are deposited on a moving belt, followed by laying the continuous
reinforcement onto the layers of slurry.
This technique requires the use of special dewatering and compaction devices.
Alternatively, the matrix may be sprayed onto the continuous reinforcement. A
comparison between the properties of polypropylene reinforced cement and asbestos
cement flat sheets reported that in tension, the strength of the asbestos cement is
higher, but the polypropylene composite is much tougher and possesses a much higher
strain capacity.

As a result, in flexural loading the strength of the polypropylene composite is slightly

higher than that of the asbestos cement, both for flat sheets and corrugated sheets.
However, the polypropylene composite had a lower first crack strength, or limit of
proportionality (LOP), that is, the fibres were not very effective in increasing the first
crack stress.
Ponding of water in the corrugations at the crack zone while the sheets were under
load showed some dampness at the underside but no water droplets. This was
attributed to the ability of the polypropylene to control the crack width, as well as to
some additional effect of crack healing.
Additional developments in fibrillated polypropylene composites were reported by Xu,
Hannant and co-workers (1991), who applied a fibrillated polypropylene network in
the form of layered opened nets (12 net layers), with the majority in the longitudinal
direction and the rest in transverse orientation, and impregnated them by hand, or by a
special mechanized system developed for that purpose.
Swamy and Hussin (1990) used polypropylene woven fabric to make flat and
corrugated sheets and demonstrated that deflection hardening could be obtained even
with the low modulus reinforcement at relatively low yarn contents of a few per cent.
Systems which could be produced manually or mechanically, using computercontrolled operation were developed. They could be applied for making components
such as laminates and pipes.
The concepts of filament winding were because the reinforcement can assume a more
complex geometry and properties than conventional fibres. The geometry of the fabric
can be 2D or 3D. Some geometries of 2D fabrics are presented in Fig. 3.
The terminology of textile fabrics refers to the warp and weft directions, one
representing the main yarn, and the other representing those which bind the main
yarns together in the fabric.
In a woven fabric the yarns are undulating, one over the other, and essentially the
yarns in each direction can be described as crimped. In the weft insertion knitted
fabrics the warp yarns are straight, and the weft yarns, which bind them together, can
assume different geometries, depending on the nature of the production process.


Fig. 3 Structure of fabrics: (a) weft insertion knit, (b) short weft knit and
(c) woven (plain weave (after Peled and Bentur [28])).
An example of a fabric where the warp and weft yarns are linked by stitches is
presented in Fig. 4. The geometry in 3D can assume many different complex shapes,
depending on the objective of the reinforcement.

Fig. 4 3D spacer fabric (Bentur and Mindess, 2007)



SIFCON was first developed in 1979 by Lankard Materials Laboratory, Columbus,
Ohio, USA, by incorporating large amounts of steel fibers in steel fiber reinforced
cement-based composites [Adel 2007]. SIFCON is similar to fiber reinforced concrete
in that it has a discrete fiber matrix that lends significant tensile properties to the
composite matrix.
The fiber volume fraction, Vf (volumetric percent of fibers), of traditional fiber
reinforced concrete is limited by the ability to effectively mix the fibers into the fresh
concrete. This limits the fiber volume Vf to between 1 % and 2 %, depending upon the
type of fiber used and the required workability of the mix. On the other hand, SIFCON
specimens are produced with Vf between 5 % and 30 %.
The fiber volume depends upon the fiber type, i.e. length and diameter, and the
vibration effort utilized to fill the form. Smaller or shorter fibers will pack denser than
longer fibers, and higher fiber volumes can be achieved with added vibration time.
Slurry infiltrated fiber concrete (SIFCON) is a special type of steel fiber-reinforced
cement composite. These composites are produced with fiber volume fraction values
between 5 and 30%.
In this technology, fibers are preplaced into the forms. After that, fine aggregate and
cement rich flowable slurry is poured or pumped into the forms. SIFCON has superior
mechanical properties such as compressive, tensile, shear, and flexural strengths with
extraordinary toughness values as compared to RCC and FRC.
Compressive strains over 10% without severe strength degradation have been reported
in SIFCON specimens (Naaman et al. 1992). Superior toughness property indicates the
potential of using SIFCON in places where ductility demand is high like in seismic,
impact and blast resistant structures (Murakami and Zeng 1998; Wood 2000; Homrich
and Naaman 1987).
There are four main design factors that should be considered in any SIFCON based
product. These are slurry strength, fiber volume, fiber alignment, and fiber type.
The modulus of elasticity, tensile strength, and compressive strength of the hardened
slurry affect the behavior of the SIFCON composite (Naaman and Homrich 1989;
Lankard 1984).

The fiber volume depends on the fiber type and the vibration effort needed for proper
compaction. Smaller or shorter fibers may pack denser than longer fibers and higher
fiber volumes can be achieved with careful and sufficient vibration (Lankard 1984).
Fiber alignment also greatly affects the behavior of a SIFCON product as depicted in
Fig. 5. Fibers can be aligned parallel or perpendicular to the loading direction or can
be placed randomly into the mold. The ultimate strength, residual strength, ductility,
and energy absorption properties are all affected by the fiber alignment (Naaman et al.
1987; Stiel et al. 2004).
This behavior is quite different from conventional fiber-reinforced concrete. In the
case of oriented fiber placement, two different loading types were applied in uniaxial
compressive test; loading parallel to the fibers and perpendicular to the fibers.
Contrary to flexural strength and fracture energy, compressive strength of the oriented
SIFCON composites decreased in some cases (control and 50% FA incorporated
series) compared to the compressive strength of slurries itself (without fibers).
Fig. 6 shows the influence of fibre orientation on the material properties.

Fig. 5 Cylinder specimen with different orientation of fibres


a) parallel; b) perpendicular; and, c) random

Fracture modes in compressive loading as per fiber orientation
Fig. 6 Effect of loading direction on fiber orientation


There are five basic elements need to consider when fabricating SIFCON specimens:
(1) Formwork, (2) Fiber Placement, (3) Slurry placement (4) Finishing and (5) Curing
The selection of the fiber type and the slurry mix design are considered to be functions
of the design process.
The formwork for SIFCON is similar to that for conventional concrete. Both steel and
wood forms have been successfully used in the past. The design of the form follows
the same procedures for concrete using the hydrostatic pressure from the slurry.
The formwork design procedures developed by the American Concrete Institute (ACI)
attempt to consider the fact that concrete attains some internal strength due to the
bridging effect of the aggregate in the concrete and the result of the initial setting of
the cement during the time of placement.
Therefore, the pressure distribution on the form work is not necessarily hydrostatic
from top to bottom, but is limited to a maximum pressure dependent on the rate of
placement, temperature and consolidation Techniques.


Fig. 7 Standard specimen with different fiber orientations w.r.t. loading

For forms designed for SIFCON, the same procedures may be applied. The fluid
densities of SIFCON slurries are generally less than conventional concrete and have
been measured in the range of 2000 to 2300 kg/M3.
Only limited data are available on the relationship of slurry open time versus some of
the slurry design parameters such as water-to-cement ratio. No data are available for
SIFCON on the relationship of initial set of the slurry versus temperature.These
relationships will have to be identified in order to establish accurate pressure
distributions expected on SIFCON formwork.
Despite the lack of these data, it is felt that the forms for SIFCON structures can still
be designed, although somewhat conservatively. Because of the slurry placement
procedures used for SIFCON, the slurry is usually designed to remain open,

or in a fluid state, for a relatively long time. This is necessary to allow the slurry to
flow through and fully infiltrate the fiber bed.
In addition, most typical structural components are relatively short, say, 3 M or less in
height, and could probably be filled in less time than needed for the slurry to begin its
initial set.
Formwork for walls or columns should be designed for the use of external form
vibration. This is especially necessary if the slurry is designed to be poured into the
fibers from the top of the form. Generally, small pneumatic vibrators of the type used
on bulk cement hoppers, spaced about 6 ft on centers on one side of the form, have
been shown to be adequate for walls up to 8 in thick.
For thicker walls, small vibrators on both sides of the wall or larger external form
vibrators could be used. As for concrete construction, all exposed comers on SIFCON
components should be chamfered 0.5 to 0.75 in. Fabricating thin ribs, extensions, or
acute comers, which must remain undamaged during the removal of the forms, is
generally more successful with SIFCON than with conventional concrete.
However, care should be taken to provide reasonable chamfers at sharp corners.
Formwork for rustication grooves, insets and block outs should be provided with
adequate draft to facilitate removal of the forms. For components requiring step backs
or ledges, the formwork should be designed to permit complete fiber placement under
the formwork.
In general, the horizontal part of the form should be designed to be installed after the
fiber has been placed. Small holes in the horizontal form work should be provided to
allow any air trapped under the ledge to escape as the slurry rises in the form.
After the slurry reaches the level of the holes and begins to flow out, the holes can be
sealed with plugs or screws. The use of architectural form liners can also be used with
Embedded items such as threaded inserts, plates, and pipe sleeves can be installed in
SIFCON formwork using the same techniques as for conventional concrete. Care
should be taken to ensure that any fasteners penetrating the form to support the
embedded items are adequately sealed to prevent leakage of the slurry.


The quantity and location of the form vibrators are adequate to maintain relatively
uniform fiber densities and proper infiltration of the slurry. However there can be a
better method for determining the vibrator location and operation frequency; however,
detailed calculations and actual testing would be required to determine it.
The mixing and placing of the slurry was also very simple but again highly labor
intensive and slow. For faster and simpler process the use of a double tub grout mixer
and pump is advisable. This equipment provides a continuous, well-controlled
operation of slurry mixing and placement.
The major consideration for placing the steel fibers in the form is that they must be
allowed to fall freely as individual fibers into the form. This procedure allows the
fibers to interlock forming a continuous uniform mass.
If the fibers are placed in clumps, they do not interlock and lines of weakness will be
formed in the SIFCON.
In the past, the fiber placement for SIFCON has been done by hand. A handful of fiber
was taken from the container and sprinkled into the form. The placement rate using the
hand method was in the range of about 4 to 10 lb/min.
While this method and rate was suitable for the small components needed at the time,
it is probably quite inefficient for fabricating full-size structural components. For such
structures, a mechanized or automated system will be necessary if any economy is to
be realized.
One of the important aspects in the fabrication of SIFCON is fiber orientation. As
might be expected, when steel fibers are placed onto a substrate or into a mold, a
preferred fiber orientation occurs. The orientation is essentially twodimensional,
perpendicular to the gravity vector. The orientation effect is more exaggerated with
some fibers than with others.
A review of several fiber and equipment manufacturers across the country has
indicated that there are equipment and systems available today that can be directly

employed or economically adapted for placing the steel fiber in SIFCON. In general,
all the fiber placement equipment reviewed and observed can be classified as having
two basic part.
The first part is a system that takes the mass of interlocked fibers as it comes
packaged from the manufacturer and separates it into single individual fibers. The
second part is a transportation system that moves the fiber from the first system to a
location where it can fall freely into the form.
The rotating-drum system consists of a cylindrical or slightly conical steel drum (Fig.
8). The drum is mounted with its longitudinal axis ranging from about 45 deg to nearly
horizontal. A circular steel plate is mounted at the lower end of the drum. A gap,
ranging from 10 to 30 mm (0.375 to 1.25 in) in width, is provided between the edge of
the plate and the wall of the drum.

Fig. 8 Rotating drum distribution system [Schneider and Mondragon (1989)]

Inside the drum, a series of short steel rods or studs are welded to the wall. The upper
end of the drum is open. In operation, a mass of interlocked fiber, as it comes
packaged from the manufacturer, is dumped into the open end of the drum. The drum
is then rotated by a motor at about 1 to 2 rounds/sec.
As the drum turns, the steel rods catch the fiber mass and carry it around to the top
where it falls back to the bottom. This movement keeps the large fiber mass away from
the end plate and at the same time breaks up the fiber mass into individual fibers as it
falls. The individual fibers slide down the wall of the drum, through the gap between
the end plate and the wall, and fall off the end of the drum.


The fibers fall onto a transport system such as a conveyor belt or vibrating tray where
they are carried to the form. The system could be used to place fibers for thin SIFCON
slabs or pavements without a transportation system by moving the entire drum system
back and forth over the area until the correct thickness of fiber is achieved.
Figure 9 shows steel rods or studs on the rotating end plate break up the fiber mass
into individual fibers which fall out between the plate and the drum wall as before.
Examples of each of the two versions are in operation today for adding fiber to a
conventional concrete mix being prepared in a standard transit-mix truck.
Both systems are relatively simple in design and are probably fairly inexpensive to
fabricate. In addition, they are probably inexpensive to operate since operation
requires only one or two semiskilled or unskilled laborers.
Because the systems observed are designed for use in making conventional fiberreinforced concrete with a fiber volume density of 2 percent or less, their maximum
fiber-output rate is about 20to 30 kg/min.
Redesigning the system by increasing the diameter of the drum, the geometry of the
steel rods and/or the speed of rotation may help to increase the fiber-output rate.

Fig. 9 Steel rods or studs on the rotating end plate [Schneider and Mondragon

The vibrating screen system consists of a circular or rectangular steel hopper. Inside
the hopper are one or more levels of screens. The openings in each successive layer of
screens vary from large to small with the largest openings in the uppermost screen
(Fig. 10).
In operation, a mass of fibers, as it comes from the manufacturer, is dumped into the
top of the hopper, where it comes to rest on the top screen. The hopper system is then
rapidly shaken or vibrated.
This vibration causes smaller clumps of fibers to fall through the upper screen onto the
lower one. Smaller and smaller clumps of fiber continue to fall through the openings in
the successively lower screens until only individual fibers fall from the last screen.
The individual fibers fall out of the bottom of the hopper onto a transportation system
such as a conveyor belt or vibrating tray which carries them to the form. Vibrating
screens and trays are common in the manufacturing industry today.
For example, a system similar to the one described above is used to separate and
package nails and bolts. Discussions with manufacturers of vibratory equipment
indicate that almost any type of system can be designed and built to meet the needs of
the user. The hopper system described is simple to fabricate and operate, requiring
only off-the-shelf equipment. As with the rotating drum system, the vibrating system
can be operated with only one or two unskilled laborers.

Fig. 10 Fiber distribution system with vibrating screens

[Schneider and Mondragon (1989)]

One manufacturer of vibrating screens provided a simple demonstration of the

capabilities of one of several systems of vibrating screens suitable for fiber placement.
The particular equipment produced a fiber output rate of about 90 kg/min (200 lb/min),
or about 4 times higher than the output rate for the rotating drum system.
At this rate, a panel 1.2m x 2.6m x 0.15 m (4 ft by 8.5 ft by 6 in thick) could be filled
in about 4 min with a fiber having a volume density of 10 percent. By comparison, it
would require one man more than 1 hr to fill it by hand.
The major consideration for placing slurry is to ensure that all the ingredients are
thoroughly mixed and contain no lumps of cement or fly ash. Such lumps have a
tendency to block the openings in the fiber bed and restrict the infiltration of the slurry.
In the past, slurry mixing has been done in small, impeller-type mortar mixers.
The slurry was then transferred to a bucket and carried to the form where it was
poured into the fiber bed. While this method was suitable for building the small
components and test specimens needed at the time, it would be an inefficient method
for fabricating full-size SIFCON structures.
A review of the industry has indicated that there is a variety of standard common
equipment in use today which can be readily employed for mixing and placing the
SIFCON slurry. As with the placement of the steel fibers the equipment for placing the
slurry can be divided into two main components:
a system to mix the ingredients, and
a system to transfer the slurry to the form and infiltrate it through the fiber bed.
A standard grout mixer is ideal for mixing the SIFCON slurry. It includes a hopper or
tub for mixing the ingredients, and usually has a metering system to accurately
measure the water. Impeller blades or paddles rotate through the slurry to ensure
proper mixing and help to break up any lumps.
Most grout mixers are manufactured in combination with a grout pump and hose to
transfer the slurry to the form. The pump allows the slurry to be discharged into either
the top of the fiber bed (Fig. 11), or the bottom (Fig. 12).

Fig. 11 Infiltrating of slurry from top of shallow fibre bed

Fig. 12 Pumping slurry from bottom to top [Schneider and Mondragon (1989)]
4.1.6 CURING:
The curing procedures for SIFCON are the same as for conventional concrete.
Depending on the application, water spray or fogging, wet burlap, waterproof paper,
plastic sheeting or liquid membrane compounds can be used. Probably the most
practical and economical are the liquid membrane compounds. They are well
developed and in common use throughout the concrete industry.


Because of the relative newness of SIFCON, little is known about the long-term
effects of weather on the material. There is some evidence that tends to indicate that
SIFCON is highly resistant to deterioration from the weather.
Vertical Surfaces: For a formed vertical surface exposed to the elements such as a
wall or a column, some staining and rusting of those fibers exposed on the surface is to
be expected. A coating of standard concrete sealer should be applied to the exterior
surface to minimize the rusting and streaking.
Horizontal Surfaces: For horizontal surfaces exposed to the elements, an aggregate
topping should be used to cover the fibers near the surface. In addition, an application
of a standard penetrating concrete sealer should be used. If the surface is expected to
be exposed to a harsh environment, including some chemical solutions, a special slurry
mix incorporating latex modifiers should be considered.
The tensile strength of SIFCON can exceed 20 MPa, compared to the plain matrix of 7
MPa. Tension tests consisted of uniaxial tensile tests on dog bone-shaped prism
specimens as shown in Fig. 13.
The fibers were manually distributed into the molds and oriented as much as
practicable in a direction parallel to the loading axis of the test specimens. The molds
were placed on vibrating tables and subjected to vibration during fiber placement to
obtain compaction of fibers. Alignment was more effective in the narrow testing region
of the molds.


Fig. 13 Dog-bone specimen for tensile test [Gilani, A. M. (2007)]

Typical variation of the flexural strength for various fiber contents is shown in Fig.14.
The flexural strength was computed using the average maximum load of three

Flexural Strength (ksi)

specimens, and the classical bending theory equation.

Fiber content (%)


Fig. 14 Flexural strengths versus fiber contents (Balaguru and Kendzulak, 1986)
The study on variation in flexure tests shown in Fig. 14 based on mix design and fibre
content finally leads to the following observations:
a) The flexural strength of SIFCON is an order of magnitude greater than the
flexural strength of normal fiber-reinforced concrete.
b) For a constant fiber length, the flexural strength increases with the volume
fraction of fiber only up to a certain limit. After certain fiber content, the bond
strength decreases because of the lack of matrix in between the fibers, thus
reducing the flexural strength. The optimum fiber content reported to be in the
range of 8 % to 10 %, as shown in Table 2.
c) The optimum fiber volume seems to decrease with an increase in fiber length.
For the same fiber volume, longer fibers provide a slight increase in flexural
Table 2 Flexural strength of SIFCON (Balaguru and Kendzulak, 1986)
Fiber size
L/D (mm)




% of fiber volume


Flexural strength

The load-deflection behavior of a SIFCON is quite different from the load-deflection

behavior of typical FRC beams. The curves have a relatively short linear elastic
response and a considerable plateau at the peak. The beams can also sustain a high
percentage of peak loads (more than 80% of peak load) even at large deflections. Fiber
length and fiber volume fraction influence strength, however the ductility is not
affected by either of the variables.
All the specimens had 8% fiber content. It is also reported that, the use of silica fume
increases the flexural strength, and hence the toughness substantially. This increase can
be explained by the fact that the silica fume results in a much denser matrix. The
increase in the matrix density possibly provides as much improvement in bond
between the matrix and the fiber as in the compressive strength.
The predominant failure pattern is by the pulling out of the fibers when cement-tosand ratio exceeds 1:1.5. The decrease in compressive strength is more rapid than
flexural strength, the limited available results indicate that sand can be added to
cement up to a ratio of 1:1.5 (cement: sand) without adversely affecting the flexural
strength. These results are consistent with the results reported for compressive
The shear strength of FRC has been extensively studied. However, the equation for the
shear strength predictions in FRC does not give accurate results for shear strength
prediction in SIFCON. Shear tests on SIFCON have been performed with direct shear
specimens, torsion specimens, direct, double shear specimens, and specimens under
combined tension and shear.
Each of these tests was performed with various slurry strengths, fiber reinforcement
indexes (Vf L/d), and fiber types. The shear strength was computed by dividing the
max load by the area of the shear plane.
The average shear strength in this study was 30.9 MPa, compared to about 5.5 MPa for
plain concrete. In another study, the shear strength at maximum load was 2.8 MPa for
the plain slurry and 2.9 MPa for the plain concrete. The addition of 6% steel fibers by
volume to the slurry matrix increased the shear strength about 10 times, that is
28 MPa.


The bond characteristics of reinforcing bars embedded in SIFCON have also been
investigated. The SIFCON was prepared with 5% of hooked steel fibers of 50 mm long
and 0.5 mm diameter. The compressive strength of SIFCON was 61.4 MPa.

Based on the test results conducted in those studies, the following conclusions were
a) SIFCON led to a significant increase in the bond strength of deformed
reinforcing steel bars. Average bond stresses ranging from 14 to 28 MPa were
observed. This range was between 2 and 4 times that of bars embedded in plain
b) The initial bond stiffness was at least 5 times higher than that observed for plain
c) Pullout work, or dissipated bond energy, was over 20 times greater than that for
plain concrete.
d) Reinforcing bars embedded in SIFCON can resist slip up to 10 times more than
when embedded in plain concrete and still maintain the peak load.
Various aspects of cementitious composites have been investigated by researchers
across the globe in the past two decades. In the 1980s, a new construction technique
was developed to increase the volume content of steel fibres. This has led to the
development of slurry-infiltrated fibre reinforced concrete (SIFCON), in which fibre
volume could range from 4 to even 20%.
Naaman (1989), studied the tensile stress-strain properties of SIFCON. He reported
that, in addition to improved ductility, the tensile strength of SIFCON specimens could
go up to 15 to 20% of their compressive strength in contrast to 5 to 10% realized in
normal concrete.
Plain concrete is one of the conventional materials extensively used in the design of
impact resistant structures. Number of experimental and computational studies has
been reported regarding structural behaviour of the RCC members subjected to quasi30

static and dynamic loadings (including impact and blast). Concrete has advantages
such as economy, higher compressive strength compared to primitive construction
materials, and resistance to heat-temperature rise.
Unfortunately it also has disadvantages such as being semi-brittle and weak in
tension. With the advancement in construction technology, the cure for these
weaknesses has been found by the use of reinforcement steel in concrete.
Under extreme loadings due to impact and blast etc, it was realized that, effect of
these reinforcement bars are quite local instead of global. Therefore, it is understood
that for impact resistance different material characteristics are essential at different
phases of the entire impact process.
There has been a long-standing controversy regarding the relative effectiveness of
fibres and welded wire mesh in slabs, with the producers and proponents of each type
of reinforcement arguing that theirs is better than the other Zollo and Hays (1991),
Trottier, et al. (2002).
The prime function of the welded wire mesh is to hold the concrete together once it
has started to crack, and a properly designed FRC mix will also serve this function. In
fact, there appears to be little difference between SFRC slabs and welded wire mesh
reinforced slabs, in terms of strength, failure mode, crack initiation and propagation,
and load vs. deflection behaviour [Roberts-Wollmann et al. (2004)].
The caveat is that the welded wire mesh must be correctly placed, at or slightly above
the mid-height of the slab, and this is often difficult to achieve in practice.On the other
hand, Sorelli et al. (2004) found that the crack patterns did differ between the two
types of reinforcement.
The SFRC slab showed the same crack pattern as the plain concrete, while the welded
wire mesh slab led to narrower and more diffuse crackings that developed in the radial
direction. They also found that SFRC slabs were less effective for loads applied at a
corner or an edge.


Trottier et al. (2002) reported that properly placed welded wire mesh outerforms
synthetic fibres in these respects because the latter have a lower modulus of elasticity
than the steel or the concrete.

It is well known fact from various study on different approaches it is concluded that
SIFCON offers better tensile strength as well as ductility because of its enhanced
toughness due to inclusion of steel fibres.
Due to enhanced tensile strength of SIFCON, the cracks get arrested and they do not
propagate further. This keeps structural integrity of composite panels intact and hence
can sustain loads in post peak region without sudden fracture (like in concrete
Fibres do impart other properties to the concrete, in particular a reduction in plastic
shrinkage cracking. However, compared with both steel and synthetic fibres, welded
wire mesh has been reported by Voigt, et al. (2004) to reduce the maximum crack
width, even though the age at which cracking first appeared was not prolonged.
Thus, when choosing between fibres and welded wire mesh, it is necessary to define
carefully the performance that is most important in a particular application.
Indeed, for some applications like shock resistance panels, it is observed that a
combination of short fibres and welded wire mesh reinforcement will provide the best


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