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Accepted Manuscript

Development of sandwich panels combining Sisal Fiber-Cement Composites and


Fiber-Reinforced Lightweight Concrete

Cristina Frazão, Joaquim Barros, Romildo Toledo Filho, Saulo Ferreira, Delfina
Gonçalves

PII: S0958-9465(16)30750-8
DOI: 10.1016/j.cemconcomp.2017.11.008
Reference: CECO 2938

To appear in: Cement and Concrete Composites

Received Date: 21 November 2016


Revised Date: 2 October 2017
Accepted Date: 7 November 2017

Please cite this article as: C. Frazão, J. Barros, R. Toledo Filho, S. Ferreira, D. Gonçalves, Development
of sandwich panels combining Sisal Fiber-Cement Composites and Fiber-Reinforced Lightweight
Concrete, Cement and Concrete Composites (2017), doi: 10.1016/j.cemconcomp.2017.11.008.

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ACCEPTED MANUSCRIPT
DEVELOPMENT OF SANDWICH PANELS

COMBINING SISAL FIBER-CEMENT COMPOSITES

AND FIBER-REINFORCED LIGHTWEIGHT CONCRETE

Cristina Frazão1, Joaquim Barros2,

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Romildo Toledo Filho3, Saulo Ferreira4 and Delfina Gonçalves5

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ABSTRACT

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This research proposes the development of an innovative structural panels based on the use of
thin outer layers of Sisal Fiber-Cement Composites (SiFCC) together with a core layer of

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Polypropylene Fiber-Reinforced Lightweight Concrete (PFRLC).
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The influence of sisal fibers was studied in two different ways, short sisal fibers (50 mm)
randomly distributed in the matrix, and long unidirectional aligned sisal fibers (700 mm) applied
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by a cast hand layup technique. Lightweight aggregates and polypropylene fibers were used in
the concrete layer forming the panel’s core in order to reduce its density and improve its post-
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cracking tensile strength and energy absorption capacity.


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The behavior of the sandwich panels in four-point bending test is described, and the various
failure mechanisms are reported. Mechanical properties of both SiFCC and PFRLC were
obtained, which were also used in the numerical simulations. Pull-off tests were performed to
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evaluate the bond strength between the outer SiFCC layers and the core PFRLC. The results
revealed that the long sisal fibers were more effective in terms of providing to the panel higher
flexural capacity than when using short sisal fibers, long fibers ensured the development of a
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deflection hardening behavior followed by the formation of multiple cracks, while short sisal
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fibers promoted a softening response after cracking.

1
PhD Student, ISISE, Dept. of Civil Engineering, University of Minho, Campus de Azurém, Guimarães, Portugal, e-
mail: frazao_cristina@hotmail.com, webpage: http://www.isise.net.
2
Full Professor, ISISE, Dept. of Civil Engineering, University of Minho, Campus de Azurém, Guimarães, Portugal, e-
mail: barros@civil.uminho.pt, webpage: http://www.isise.net.
3
Full Professor, Dept. of Civil Engineering, COPPE, University Federal of Rio de Janeiro, Cidade Universitária, RJ,
Brazil, e-mail: toledo@coc.ufrj.br, webpage: http://www.labest.coc.ufrj.br.
4
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Civil Engineering, UFLA, University Federal of Lavras, MG, Brazil, e-mail:
saulo.ferreira@deg.ufla.br, webpage: http://www.ufla.br.
5
Civil Engineer, CiviTest Company, Jesufrei, Vila Nova de Famalicão, Portugal, e-mail:
delfinagoncalves@civitest.com, webpage: http://www.civitest.pt.

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Keywords: Sandwich panels, sisal fibers, cement composites, lightweight concrete,
polypropylene fibers, flexural behavior.

1 INTRODUCTION
The development and application of pre-fabricated concrete sandwich panels in building construction is a

growing trend within the industry, mainly, due to the structural and thermal efficiency that can be achieved

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with this technology [1]. By forming sandwich panels with outer thin, stiff and ductile concrete layers, and a

thermally-efficient core material, it is possible to obtain lightweight panels that can constitute efficient

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construction systems from the structural, thermal and acoustic point of view for both new construction and

customized rehabilitation [1].

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Environmental awareness and an increasing concern with the greenhouse effect have stimulated the

construction industry to look for sustainable materials [2].

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Vegetable fibers are gaining a significant attention as a reinforcement of composite materials, since they
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are ready available in fibrous form in the tropical and subtropical parts of the world, and can be extracted

from plant leaves at very low costs and low consumption of energy [2].
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Sisal fibers are one of the most widely used vegetable fibers [2]. They are biodegradable, renewable,

recyclable, do not present any health risk, and in their production, CO2 is used while oxygen is given back
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to the environment [2]. Sisal fibers have been used for the reinforcement of cement and polymer based

composites [2]. Cement based composites reinforced with continuous aligned sisal fibers demonstrate a
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tension-hardening with multiple cracking behavior [3] with high tolerance to fatigue loading [4] and high

energy absorption capacity under dynamic loading [5]. In humid environments, the sisal fiber cement
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composites produced with ordinary Portland cement matrices undergo an aging process during which they

may suffer a reduction in the post-cracking strength and toughness [6]. This process is a result of
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migration of hydration products (mainly Ca(OH)2) to the fiber structure [6]. To mitigate this effect a special
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matrix that has 50% of cement replaced by calcined clays has been recently developed and optimized in

order to constitute a suited medium for sisal fiber systems [7]. This matrix lowers the calcium hydroxide

production resulting in enhanced durability regarding longtime fiber reinforcement performance, and also

providing adequate rheology in the fresh state for the fiber volume fractions proposed [6]. The multiple

cracking behavior achieved is governed by interfacial bond characteristics between fiber and matrix [6].

Continuous fiber reinforced cement based composites are a new class of sustainable construction

materials with superior tensile strength and ductility [8, 9]. The enhanced strength and ductility is primarily

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governed by the composite action that exists such that the fibers bridge the matrix cracks and transfer the

loads, allowing a distributed microcrack system to develop. These composite materials are strong enough

to be used as load bearing structural members, in applications such as structural panels, impact and blast

resistance, repair and retrofit, earthquake remediation, strengthening of unreinforced masonry walls, and

beam-column connections [10].

Due to rapid development of very tall buildings, larger-sized and long-span concrete structures, lightweight

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concrete (LWC) has been used for structural purposes for many years [11]. In comparison to normal

weight concrete of a certain compressive strength, LWC is characterized by higher shrinkage, higher

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brittleness, lower shear, flexural and tensile strength, lower modulus of elasticity and lower fracture

parameters. With appropriate selection of aggregate type, it is possible to achieve structural LWC with

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compressive strength ranging from only 15 MPa up to over 100 MPa [11]. The density of LWC typically
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varies between 1400 and 2000 kg/m , while ordinary concrete is characterized by 2400 kg/m [12].

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Lightweight concrete also can be considered as a brittle material, similar to other cementitious materials
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[11], but the relatively low strength of the light aggregates poses extra concerns on the brittleness of the

LWC, mainly when shear is a dominant failure mode. Therefore, improving the brittleness of these
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materials is the key point to make them suitable as structural material with desirable physical and

mechanical properties [11]. Many researchers have proved that discrete fibers constitute an effective and
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economic reinforcement to convert cementitious material into a tough and ductile product [11].
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Furthermore, fibers form a network structure in the mixture, which can effectively restrain the segregation

of lightweight aggregates [12], and can also avoid de formation of cracks due to plastic shrinkage, mainly
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the fibers of relatively low modulus of elasticity and/or good adhesion to binder materials [13].

The influence of polypropylene fibers has been studied in different contents and fiber length to improve the

performance characteristics of the lightweight cement composites [11]. Compared to unreinforced LWC,
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polypropylene (PP) reinforced LWC with fiber content of 0.35% by cement weight and 12 mm fiber length
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caused 30.1% increase in the flexural strength and 27% increase in the splitting tensile strength [11].

Increased fiber availability in the LWC matrix, in addition to the ability of longer PP fibers to bridge the

micro cracks, are pointed out as the main reasons for the enhancement in these mechanical properties

[11]. Moreover, Polypropylene fibers are chemically inert, hydrophobic and non-conductive thermoplastic

fibers with good insulation properties, with low density and wide availability at low cost [14].

Sandwich panels typically consist of a two layer element, usually comprising of thin outer layers (skins) of

high-strength material, and a lightweight thicker core of relatively low average strength. The structural

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performance of sandwich panels depends not only on the properties of the skins, but also on those of the

core, the bonding performance between core and skins, and the geometric dimensions of the

components, in particular the thicknesses of the skins and core [15]. The thickness of the core layer

contributes for the flexural stiffness, while its shear strength is determinant for the out-of-plane shear

capacity, which is a fundamental aspect if the panel is submitted to load conditions that introduce bending

moments and out-of-plane shear forces [15].

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Thanks to their characteristic features, such as high flexural resistance and stiffness, high impact strength,

lightweight, and low thermal and acoustic conductivity, sandwich structures are being preferred over

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conventional construction solutions in various industrial applications [15]. Although large number of

research projects has been performed, the structural design of sandwich composites still presents several

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complexities. This is mainly because a reliable strength prediction requires a comprehensive

characterization of the mechanical behavior of skins and core, the damage mechanisms that develop in

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the constituent materials and in the interfaces between the layers, as well as failure criteria for attending
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local and global failure that also consider the loading conditions possible to occur in these elements [15].

Mechanical tests are necessary to investigate the material and structural behavior, and also to validate the
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calculation method for designing the components. For sandwich structures, the 4-Point-Bending test is

mainly indicated to investigate the influence of new materials and arrangements on the performance of
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sandwich panels being developed. It is also common for checking the manufacturing quality of the panel
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[16]. When a sandwich panel is subjected to bending (under the action of its own weight, wind load, snow

load, and temperature load), the external layer is loaded in compression, while the bottom layer endures
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tension, and the core assures the stress transfer between the outer layers, therefore is mainly subjected to

shear [17]. It therefore follows that one of the most important properties of a core is its shear strength and

stiffness [18].
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An innovative panel solution is presented in this paper based on the use of thin outer layers of Sisal Fiber-
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Cement Composites (SiFCC) together with a core layer of Polypropylene Fiber-Reinforced Lightweight

Concrete (PFRLC) without the use of connectors linking both type of layers. The proposed system is

intended to be cost competitive with focus on the reduction of construction time and material optimization,

as to assure a final solution that is both structurally reliable and environmentally sustainable.

The behavior of the sandwich panels in four-point bending test is assessed by experimental program, and

the various failure mechanisms observed in the tests are reported. Finite element method was employed

to give further insight on the behavior of these sandwich panels, and also to estimate the potentialities of

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these panels in real size structural applications. Materials and experimental details are described in

Section 2. The experimental results and discussion are presented in Section 3, while Section 4 is

dedicated to the numerical simulations. Finally the conclusions are provided in Section 5.

2 EXPERIMENTAL PROGRAM

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2.1 Panels arrangement and geometry

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The sandwich panels are composed of two exterior sisal fiber-cement composite laminates (SiFCC) with

15 mm of thickness and a core of lightweight concrete reinforced with polypropylene fibers (PFRLC) with

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60 mm of thickness. In terms of mechanical properties, and mainly in laminar elements under flexure, this

composite material optimizes the weight (inherently the cost) vs. the flexural strength and stiffness (tensile

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capacity of the outer layers and section modulus). Connectors linking the layers were not intended to be
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used in these panels, therefore their bond are assured by cement hydration during the almost

simultaneous curing period of these layers, with a delay corresponding to their mixing and casting time

(around 20 minutes). Some aggregate interlock is also expectable to contribute for these bond conditions.
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The adopted panels’ dimensions were 700 mm (length) x 200 mm (width) x 90 mm (total thickness). In this
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study was not intended to optimize the composite panel geometry dimensions.
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2.2 Material composition of the panels


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2.2.1 Sisal Fiber-Cement Composites (SiFCC)

The sisal fibers used in the present work were of Brazilian production, obtained with lengths ranging from
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900 to 1000 mm, and had a mean density of 900 kg/m , a Young’s modulus and a tensile strength ranging
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between 9 to 19 GPa and 347 to 577 MPa, respectively [7, 19].

Two types of sisal fiber reinforced cement composite laminates (SiFCC) were produced in this research,

one reinforced with short sisal fibers (nominal length of 50 mm and aspect ratio of 259), herein

abbreviated by the acronym SSiFCC, and the other with long sisal fibers (length of 700 mm and aspect

ratio of 3630), with the acronym of LSiFCC. These composites were reinforced with sisal fibers in a total

volume fraction of 6%.

Firstly, the sisal fibers were subjected to a treatment process, based on the procedure developed by

Claramunt et al. [20], in order to improve fiber-matrix adhesion and to minimize the water absorption that

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the untreated fibers show, which is a general common characteristic of the vegetable fibers [21, 22]. The

process consists of washing the sisal fibers in hot water (T≈80ºC) to remove surface residues, as

mucilages and waxes, provided from the extraction process. The vegetable fibers are next immersed in a

container with clean water (T≈23ºC) during 3 hours that is long enough to reach saturation. Then the fibers

are removed for drying in an oven at a temperature of 100°C. The oven is programmed to reach 100°C at

a heating rate of 1°C/minute, and this temperature is kept for 16 hours. After this period of drying, the oven

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is cooled to the temperature of 23°C at a cooling rate of 0.5ºC/minute, in order to avoid possible thermal

shock to the fibers. This entire procedure corresponds to one cycle, and was repeated five times. After five

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wet-dry cycles, the sisal fibers were divided in two parts. One part was cut with a length of 50 mm (short

fibers), and the other was cut with the length of the molds for the panel production, 700 mm (long fibers).

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The matrix was produced using as binders, the Brazilian Portland Cement CPII F-32, Metakaolin from

Metacaulim of “Brasil Industria e Comércio LTDA”, and Fly Ash from POZOFLY. According to the Brazilian

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standard [23], the Portland Cement is composed with calcareous filler (in mass: 85% < clinker < 91%; 3%
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< gypsum < 5%; 6% < filler < 10%), and presents 32 MPa of compressive strength at 28 days. In Table 1

is shown, respectively, the chemical composition and physical properties of these materials, according to
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the data provided by Ferreira [24].


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Quartz river sand was used, with maximum diameter of 840 µm and density of 2670 Kg/m . In Figure 1a
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are presented the granulometric curves of the Cement, Metakaolin, Fly Ash, and river sand.
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A matrix with a mix design in mass of 1: 0.5: 0.4 (binder: sand: water-binder ratio) was used. The binder

was constituted by 33% of Portland Cement CPII F-32, 27% of Metakaolin and 40% of Fly Ash. The use of
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such a high content of Metakaolin aims to improve the durability of the sisal fibers [25]. The presence of fly

ash aims mainly to ensure high workability that is a desirable property within the context of high

performance composites, since allows better fibers dispersion. A third generation superplasticizer (SP)
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Glenium 51 (Type PA) with 33% of solids content was used in the proportion of 0.75% of the total binder
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weight in the mixture to guarantee a good workability. The viscosity modifier additive (VMA) named
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Rheomac UW 410, was used in a dosage of 0.87 kg/m in order to avoid segregation of the mixture during

the casting.

The matrix was produced in laboratory environment at a room temperature of 21 ± 1°C using a

mechanical mixer of 20 liters capacity. The superplasticizer was diluted in the water for 30 seconds. In the

mixer, the dry components were mixed during 1 minute with the subsequent gradual addition of water+SP

with the mixer running for 2 minutes. After more 2 minutes of mixture, the mixer was stopped for 30

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seconds for removal of material retained in the mixer walls. Then the mixing procedure continued for 2

minutes, followed by the addition of VMA and, finally for a further 2 minutes.

In case of laminates reinforced with short sisal fibers (SSiFCC), at the end of matrix production, the short

sisal fibers (50 mm) were homogeneously dispersed in the matrix, adding gradually to the mixer at lowest

speed.

The laminates reinforced with long sisal fibers (LSiFCC) were manufactured using a cast hand layup

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technique. For each laminate, the corresponding 6% in volume of long sisal fibers were divided in five

layers with the same weight, and the corresponding volume of matrix for the laminate was divided in six

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parts with the same weight. Each laminate was produced by overlapping 6 layers of matrix interspersed

with one layer of fibers (5 layers in total) (Figure 3).

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2.2.2 Polypropylene Fiber Reinforced Lightweight Concrete (PFRLC)

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In the current experimental program, Polypropylene Fiber Reinforced Lightweight concrete (PFRLC)
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was produced using the Portland cement CPV-ARI and fly ash as binders. The cement used was the high

early strength ordinary Portland cement, without containing mineral admixtures and of high heat of
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hydration, with a compressive strength ≥ 53.0 MPa at 28 days, certified according to Brazilian Standard

NBR 5733 [26]. For the production of SiFCC was chosen a compound cement (CPII F-32) of moderate
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heat of hydration since it has one part of clinker replaced by calcareous filler, making it less alkaline and
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therefore less aggressive to vegetable fibers. The fly ash used was those presented in the section 2.2.1.

The chemical composition of the cement used is given in Table 1, according to the data provided by the
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manufacturer and Grabois [27].

Natural and lightweight aggregates (expanded clay) were used for the production of PFRLC. The natural
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aggregate was composed by a river sand of 4.75 mm maximum size, while lightweight aggregates were

formed by fine expanded clay (commercially designated by 0500 - maximum size of 5 mm) with
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granulometry similar to river sand, and by coarse expanded clay (commercially designated by 1506 - size

from 5 to 15 mm) with a maximum size of 12.5 mm. In Figure 1b are presented the granulometric curves

of the aggregates used.

For the reinforcement of this LWC, straight and smooth polypropylene fibers were used, with a length of

50 mm and an aspect ratio of 65.


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Table 2 presents the composition used, with dosage of each component per m .

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The matrix was produced in laboratory environment at a room temperature of 21 ± 1°C using a

mechanical mixer of 180 liters capacity. The production process was carried out according to the following

steps: a) The lightweight aggregates were mixed for approximately 1 minute in the pre-wetted mixer up to

achieve an homogeneous mixture; b) Gradual addition of 10% of the total water to saturate lightweight

aggregates during 8 to 10 minutes; c) Introduction of the cement, fly ash and river sand in the mixer; d)

Dilution of the superplasticizer in the water container and gradual addition of water+SP into the mixer; e)

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The mixing procedure continued for 8 minutes for proper homogenization and full action of the

superplasticizer; f) Slow and gradual addition of polypropylene fibers in the last 3 minutes; g) Finally, the

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mixing procedure continued for a further 5 minutes in order to enhance fiber dispersion.

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2.3 Panels manufacturing
A total of eight sandwich panels with the geometry and dimensions described in the section 2.1 were

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produced in the scope of the present research project. Four of these panels were produced with the two
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outer layers constituted by SiFCC with short sisal fibers (SSiFCC) and the remaining four panels were

produced using SiFCC with long sisal fibers (LSiFCC). The core was composed of PFRLC in all panels.
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To characterize the mechanical performance of PFRLC, cylindrical specimens of 100 mm diameter and
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200 mm height, and beams with 100 x 100 mm cross section and a length of 400 mm were produced. In
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case of SiFCC, the specimens used to characterize the mechanical properties of this material, were cut
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from the tested sandwich panels in order their properties best represent the applied material, i.e., for

taking into account the casting conditions on the fiber orientation and distribution.
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After casting all specimens (panels and specimens for material characterization), they were covered in

their molds with a polythene sheet and a damp cloth for 2 days. After this period they were removed from
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the molds and cured for 28 days in a moist chamber (90% RH).
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2.3.1 Sandwich panels with short sisal fibers (SSiFCC)

The production process of the sandwich panels, composed of two outer layers of mortar reinforced with

short sisal fibers (SSiFCC), and a core of polypropylene fiber reinforced lightweight concrete (PFRLC),

was carried out according to the following steps:


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a) Execution of the 1 outer layer (15 mm thickness) composed of SSiFCC. The mixing process was

carried out as described in section 2.2.1 (Figure 2a);

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b) Execution of the core layer (60 mm thickness) composed of PFRLC. The mixing process was carried

out as described in section 2.2.2 (Figure 2b);


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c) Execution of the 2 outer layer (15 mm thickness) composed of SSiFCC, equal to that shown in a)

(Figure 2c).

2.3.2 Sandwich panels with long sisal fibers (LSiFCC)

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The production process of the sandwich panels, composed of two outer layers reinforced with long sisal

fibers (LSiFCC), and a core of fiber reinforced lightweight concrete (PFRLC), was carried out according to

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the following steps:
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a) Execution of the 1 outer layer (15 mm thickness) composed of LSiFCC. The mixing process was

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carried out as described in section 2.2.1 (Figure 3a);

b) Execution of the core layer (60 mm thickness) composed of PFRLC. The mixing process was carried

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out as described in section 2.2.2 (Figure 3b).
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c) Execution of the 2 outer layer (15 mm thickness) composed of LSiFCC, equal to that shown in a)

(Figure 3c).
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2.4 Test Procedures


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The mechanical characterization of the produced sisal fiber reinforced cement composites was focused on
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the study of flexural and direct tensile behavior at 28 days of age. The mechanical characterization of the

produced polypropylene fiber reinforced lightweight concrete was focused on the study of compressive
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and flexural behavior at 28 days of age.

The flexural behavior of the eight sandwich panels was assessed by performing four-point bending tests.
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The bond strength between the outer SiFCC layers and the PFRLC core layer was characterized by

performing pull-off tests.


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2.4.1 Material components of the panels: Mechanical properties

2.4.1.1 SiFCC layers

The bending behavior was assessed in three prismatic specimens of SSiFCC and LSiFCC of 200 x 50 x
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10 mm dimension that were cut from the tested sandwich panels.

The Four-point bending tests were performed in displacement control in an electromechanical machine by

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imposing a deflection rate of 0.3 mm/min, and measuring the force in a load cell of 100 kN (Figure 4). The

specimens were placed on roller supports, with a span of 156 mm, and the distance between load points

was 52 mm centered on the specimen. The vertical deflection was measured using a LVDT positioned at

midspan of the beam.

The direct tensile tests were also performed in the same mechanical test machine, at a displacement rate

of 0.1 mm/min. The axial displacements were obtained from the average reading of two lateral LVDTs

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(Figures 5a and 5b).
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Five prismatic specimens of SSiFCC and LSiFCC with 200 x 50 x 10 mm dimension were used, which

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were cut from the tested sandwich panels.

To record the deformation of the specimen during loading, an apparatus was used comprising of

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aluminum brackets where two LVDTs were coupled. Steel plates were fixed to the test specimen by

screws, preventing its rotation relative to the axis of the specimen (Figures 5a and 5b). A metal profile "L"

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was used to maintain the alignment of steel plates to the specimen during the fixation of the screws
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(Figure 5c). The screws fixation was performed by applying a torque lower than 8 N.m, since a higher

torque may result in crushing of the specimen in the fixing zones. A distance of 50 mm was left between
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the fixing steel plates, where crack pattern development was monitored.
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2.4.1.2 PFRLC core material


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The uniaxial compressive strength and the modulus of elasticity of PFRLC were determined in accordance

with the requirements of NBR 5739 [28], using the cylindrical specimens. The axial compressive stress-
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strain relationship of PFRLC specimens was assessment by carrying out tests in a servo-controlled

equipment, with a maximum load carrying capacity of 1000 kN, at an axial displacement rate of 1 mm/min.

The longitudinal displacements were measured using two LVDT's mounted attached to steel rings in the
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central zone, distanced far from 100 mm (Figure 6). The modulus of elasticity was determined from the
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slope of the initial linear stage of the axial stress- strain relationship.

The flexural behavior of the PFRLC was characterized according to the recommendations of RILEM TC

162 TDF [29] and CEB-FIP MODEL CODE [30], using four notched beams of scaled dimensions of 2/3 of

the specimen proposed by these organizations. In fact the tested specimens had a cross section of 100 x
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100 mm , a length of 400 mm, while the notch executed at specimen’s midspan on one of the faces

perpendicular to the casting surface had a width of 5 mm and a depth 17 mm, resulting a net depth in the

notched plane of 83 mm (Figure 7a). The distance between the two roller supports was 333 mm.

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The three-point bending tests were performed in displacement control at a deflection rate of 0.2 mm/min.

A line load was applied along the width of the beam at the midspan (loading length of 100 mm). The

vertical deflection was measured using a LVDT positioned at midspan of the beam (Figure 7c), while a clip

gauge was installed at the front face of the specimen, perpendicular to the notch tip in order to measure

the crack mouth opening displacement (CMOD) (Figures 7a and 7b).

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2.4.2 Four-Point bending test setup and procedure

A Shimadzu UH-F 1000 kN testing machine was used to perform the four-point bending tests (Figure 8) at

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a deflection rate of 0.3 mm/min.

The panels were placed on roller supports, with a span of 600 mm, while the distance between load points

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was 100 mm centered on the specimen (Figure 8a).

The vertical deflection of the panels was monitored using four LVDTs, two located in the middle of the

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section (C and D), one in the load application point (B) and one at the distance of 150 mm from the
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support (A) (Figures 8a and 8b). The LVDTs located at midspan, were placed one on each lateral face,

measuring the displacement of the lower face (C) and the displacement of the upper face (D) (Figures 8a
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and 8b). The displacements were continuously recorded, together with the corresponding load, using a

32-bit data acquisition system taking four readings per second.


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Another LVDT (E) was installed in the middle of the bottom face in order to measure the tensile strain in
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the tensile face (Figure 8d).

To measure the strains in the external faces of the outer layers of the sandwich panel, as well as the
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curvature of the cross section coinciding with the symmetry plan of the panel, one strain gauge was glued

in the middle of each face (two strain gauges per panel) (Figures 8c e 8d).
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2.4.3 Bond characterization between PFRLC and SFCC layers

The adopted method consisted in evaluating the bond strength from the maximum direct tensile force

applied orthogonally to the layer surface (Figure 9). This force was applied through a circular metallic disc

that was glued to the external surface of the SiFCC outer layer with an epoxy resin. In the eight sandwich

panels tested in bending, 16 pull-off tests were executed to evaluate the bond strength between the outer

SiFCC layers and the core PFRLC layer (4 pull-off tests per outer layer).

The test procedure consisted in extracting two cubic samples from each panel, cut in the region supports

of the bending tests (panel area that apparently was not damaged by the bending test). The cubic

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samples were used to evaluate the bond strength, one for the upper outer layer of SiFCC, while the other

for the bottom outer layer of SiFCC (Figure 9a). In order to perform the pull-off tests, each cubic sample

was cut with a circular shape, cutting the SiFCC layer, where was evaluated the bond strength, with a

diameter of 50 mm, equal to the diameter of metallic pieces used in the tests, and cutting the remaining

specimen with a diameter of 100 mm (Figure 9b). Then it was proceeded to the fixation of the metallic disc

with an epoxy resin, being necessary to polish the layer surface before applying the epoxy and wait about

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24 hours before performing the tensile test due to the curing of the epoxy (Figure 9c).

The pull-off tests were carried out applying to the metallic disc a direct tensile load according to the test

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setup presented in the Figures 9d and 9e. After the adhesive has harden, a testing apparatus was

attached to the loading fixture and aligned, in order to apply a tensile force orthogonal to the surface to be

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tested. The frame around the specimen provided the reaction system to the applied load (Figure 9d and

9e). The pull-off tests were executed according to the recommendations of EN 1015-12 [31] by adopting a

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loading rate of 0.1 mm/min. The pull-off strength ( fu ) was defined as the tensile (pull-off) force ( Fu ) divided
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by the area of the fracture surface ( Af ).
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3 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION


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3.1 Mechanical Properties of SFCC


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3.1.1 Flexural Behavior


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Figures 10 present the average flexural stress versus mid-span deflection relationship registered in 3

specimens of SSiFCC and LSiFCC. The flexural stress, f was determined according to the following
C

equation:
AC

6M
f= (1)
bh2

Wherein, M is the bending moment; b and h are the width and the height of the specimen’s cross

section, respectively.
st
Table 3 includes the relevant obtained results, namely: flexural tensile strength at the occurrence of the 1

crack ( f1c ) and corresponding deflection ( δ 1c ); the ultimate flexural tensile strength ( fu ) and corresponding

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deflection ( δ u ); and energy absorbed up to a deflection of 8 mm ( Gf 8mm ), which represents the area under

the f − δ curve up to this deflection.

The long fibers were more effective in terms of increasing the flexural strength and the energy absorption

than the short fibers. While LSiFCC presented a pronounced deflection hardening response, the SSiFCC

had an almost pseudo-plastic flexural capacity up to a deflection of 4 mm, followed by a softening

deflection response. The LSiFCC specimens showed 4 cracks on average in the central region of 52 mm,

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with an average crack spacing of 17.25 mm and an average crack opening of 0.78 mm. While the SSiFCC

specimens showed 2 cracks on average, with an average crack spacing of 44.34 mm and an average

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crack opening of 1.19 mm.

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3.1.2 Direct Tensile behavior

Figure 11 presents the average tensile stress versus tensile strain relationship registered in 5 specimens

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of SSiFCC and LSiFCC. The tensile stress was determined dividing the tensile load applied to the
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2
specimen by the cross-sectional area of 50 x 10 mm . The tensile strain was obtained dividing the average

displacement measured by the LVDTs by the distance of 50 mm.


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st
Table 4 includes the relevant obtained results, namely: tensile strength of 1 crack ( f1c ) and

corresponding strain ( ε 1c ); the ultimate tensile strength ( fu ) and corresponding strain ( ε u ).


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The long fibers were more effective in terms of increasing the tensile strength than the short fibers. While
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LSiFCC presented a pronounced strain hardening response up to 1.5% of tensile strain, followed by a

strain softening stage due to the failure crack localization, the SSiFCC had an almost pseudo-plastic
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tensile capacity up to a tensile strain of about 0.6%, followed by a very smooth tensile softening response.

The LSiFCC specimens showed 2 cracks on average in the central region of 50 mm, with an average
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crack spacing of 34.40 mm and an average crack opening of 0.35 mm. While the SSiFCC specimens
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showed 1 crack on average, with an average crack opening of 0.51 mm.

3.2 Mechanical Properties of PFRLC

3.2.1 Compressive behavior

Figure 12a presents the average stress-strain response registered in 6 specimens of PFRLC. The

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average value obtained for the compressive strength of PFRLC was 45.13 MPa with a coefficient of

variation of 7.04%. The average value obtained for the modulus of elasticity of PFRLC was 22.67 GPa

with a coefficient of variation of 9.67%.

3.2.2 Flexural behavior

Figures 12b and 12c present the average force/flexural-stress versus deflection and force/flexural-stress

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versus CMOD responses registered in 4 notched beams of PFRLC.

Analyzing the curves obtained in PFRLC beams, it is verified that just after the peak load, an abrupt load

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decay has occurred in all the PFRLC specimens, since the PP fibers do not have adhesive and

mechanical anchorage reinforcement mechanisms capable of sustaining the energy released at peak

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load. After some slippage on the fibers, their frictional reinforcement mechanism started being efficiently

mobilized, and a pseudo-hardening response has occurred up to about 4.0 mm, at which a CMOD close

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to 2.5 mm was registered.
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In general, a single macro-crack was developed in these specimens above the notch, and the failure

mode was due to fiber-pullout.


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To evaluate the performance of PFRLC, in particular the contribution of the fibers for the post-crack

residual strength of the specimens, some parameters indicators of bending behavior were determined,
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namely:

• The Limit of Proportionality, fL , which is the flexural stress corresponding to the highest load, FL ,
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recorded up to a deflection of 0.05 mm (RILEM TC 162-TDF [29]);


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• Two equivalent flexural tensile strengths, feq,2 and feq,3 (RILEM TC 162-TDF [29]);

• Four residual flexural tensile strength parameters, fR,i , corresponding with CMOD1 = 0.5 mm, CMOD2
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= 1.5 mm, CMOD3 = 2.5 mm, CMOD4 = 3.5 mm (CEB-FIP MODEL CODE [30]).
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According to RILEM TC 162 TDF [29], the parameters feq,2 and feq,3 are related to the material energy

absorption capacity up to a deflection of δ 2 and δ 3 ( δ 2 = δ L + 0.65 mm and δ 3 = δ L + 2.65 mm, where

δ L is the deflection corresponding to FL ) provided by fiber reinforcement mechanisms (Vandewalle et al.

[32]).

According to RILEM TC 162-TDF [29] and CEB-FIP MODEL CODE [30], the Limit of Proportionality, the

equivalent and the residual flexural tensile strength parameters are obtained from the following equations:

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3FL L
fL = 2 (2)
2bhsp

3  DBZ,2  L 3  DBZ,3  L
f f

feq,2 =  ;
 2 eq,3 f =   2 (3)
2  0.50  bhsp 2  2.50  bhsp

3Fi L
fR,i = 2
2bhsp (4)

Wherein, L is the span length of the specimen; b and hsp are the width of the specimen’s cross

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section and the distance from the upper end of the notch to the surface, respectively.

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Analyzing the values presented in Table 5, it is verified that the post-cracking flexural capacity is

almost constant between CMOD of 1.5 mm and 3.5 mm, varying between 3 MPa and 3.4 MPa. The

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3
density of the developed PFRLC was 1900 kg/m , which is about 80% of the density of conventional

concrete.

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3.3 Flexural behavior of sandwich panels
The experimental program consisted in eight panel tests, four with SSiFCC and four with LSiFCC, all of
3
them with a size of 700 x 200 x 90 mm . For each panel the load vs. vertical displacement of lower panel
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face at midspan is presented in the Figures 13.


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Figure 13a shows that after crack initiation, which occurred for a very small deflection, the SSiFCC panels

developed a deflection hardening response up to an average load carrying capacity of 7.01 kN and
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deflection of 1.36 mm, followed by an almost linear deflection softening phase. At a deflection of

L/30=20 mm (L=span-length=600mm), the average residual load carrying capacity was still about
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50% of the average load carrying capacity. Figures 14a and 14b show that this type of panels failed in

bending by the formation of flexural cracks in the pure bending zone of the specimens with the fibers
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failing by pullout mechanism, having been registered an average number of cracks of 2 with an
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average crack spacing of 52.69 mm.

Figure 13b evidences that after crack initiation (at about 6.56 kN and 0.40 mm mid-span deflection)

the LSiFCC panels developed a pronounced deflection hardening stage up to an average peak load

of 18.14 kN and mid-span deflection of 10.40 mm. This stage corresponds to the formation and

propagation of several flexural cracks (see Figures 14c and 14d), having been registered an average

number of 4 cracks in the pure bending zone, with an average crack spacing of 27.14 mm at peak load

(when the crack formation stage was already stabilized). No signs of shear cracks were visible in the

PFRLC core layer, revealing the adequate shear capacity of the developed composite. Just after the

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peak load, an abrupt load decay has occurred (up to an average load of 8 kN), due to the rupture of

the fibers of the LSiFCC layer in tension. This was followed by a smooth deflection softening phase,

corresponding to the propagation of the critical flexural crack through the PFRLC core layer

(polypropylene fibers failing by pullout mechanism).

Since all LSiFCC panels failed in bending, the shear resistance of these panels was predicted

following the analytical models recommended by RILEM TC 162-TDF [29] and CEB-FIP MODEL CODE

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[30], in order to demonstrate if the shear capacity of these panels is in fact higher than the experimental

ultimate shear capacity obtained by the four-point bending tests. The longitudinal reinforcement

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considered in both analytical models was the long sisal fibers of bottom LSiFCC layer, converting the area

of sisal fibers in equivalent section of steel by the concept of homogenization, multiplying its area by the

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ratio between the modulus of elasticity of these materials, Esisal / Esteel . The uniaxial compressive strength

and the residual flexural tensile strength parameters of PFRLC, obtained by the experimental tests

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presented in 3.2.1 and 3.2.2, were used in the design equations to assess the contribution of the PP fibers
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to the shear resistance.

According to RILEM TC 162-TDF [29], the design value of the shear capacity was determined according
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with the following equation:

VRdf ,RILEM = Vcd + Vfd (5)


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Wherein, Vcd is the shear capacity of the panel reinforced with longitudinal reinforcement (long sisal fibers)
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and Vfd is the shear resistance provided by the PP fibers.

The analytical expression published by the CEB-FIP MODEL CODE [29] for the calculation of the shear
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capacity ( VRdf ,MC '10 ) is rearranged from the EC2 [33] expression by adding the term 7.5 fFtuk / fctk to the
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reinforcement ratio. To determine the value of fFtuk , the linear elastic model was followed to describe the
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post-peak behavior of the PFRLC.

The predictions of the shear capacity by the two models gives very similar results, namely,

VRdf ,RILEM = 14.41 kN ( Vcd = 5.98 kN; Vfd = 8.42 kN ) by the analytical model of RILEM TC 162-TDF [29]

and VRdf ,MC '10 = 10.13 kN by the analytical model of CEB-FIP MODEL CODE [30]. These estimations are

higher than the experimental ultimate shear capacity, VRd ,exp = 9.07 kN , confirming the flexural failure of

LSiFCC panels.

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3.4 Pull-off tests
In these tests, failure occurred along the weakest plan within the system comprised of the test fixture,

epoxy adhesive, internal fracture of the SiFCC or PFRLC (cohesive failure), and bond surface between

SiFCC and PFRLC (adhesive failure) (Figure 15a).

When failure only mobilizes adhesion between SiFCC and PFRLC, the obtained strength provides a true

indication of the bond strength. In this case, the maximum load is a direct measure of the adhesion

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between the layers. Cohesive failures indicate that the bond strength between the layers is greater than

the ultimate tensile strength obtained.

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The pull-off strength ( fu ) was obtained by dividing the maximum tensile force ( Fu ) by the area of the

fracture surface ( Af ).

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Figures 15b and 15c present, respectively, the failure modes of each specimen extracted from the panels

with short sisal fibers (SSiFCC) and with long sisal fibers (LSiFCC) (two specimens from each panel).

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The Table 6 presents the results of pull-off tests obtained with specimens from SSiFCC panels and the
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Table 7 presents the results of pull-off tests obtained with specimens from LSiFCC panels.

Analyzing the results, it was verified that in the SSiFCC/PFRLC, the failure mode in the upper layer was
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by adhesion, while in the bottom layer it was by cohesion through the PFRLC with a larger pull-off strength

in this last case. In case of LSiFCC/PFRLC, there was a clear tendency for cohesive failure through the
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LSiFCC layer.
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Considering the experimental results of the compressive strength of PFRLC and the flexural tensile

strength of PFRLC and SSiFCC, the axial tensile strengths of PFRLC and SSiFCC were determined
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according with the appropriate expressions of CEB-FIP MODEL CODE [30]. In case of SSiFCC, the

experimental results of direct tensile strength were also considered. The minimum axial tensile strength
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obtained was 2.69 MPa for PFRLC and 1.11 MPa for SSiFCC. According to this values, is it possible to

verify that the failure by cohesion in PFRLC happened due to the best conditions of mixture have assured
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a SSiFCC/PFRLC higher than the axial tensile strength of PFRLC, leading to failure by cohesion though

PFRLC. However, in the upper layer, possibly owed to exposure of this layer to shrinkage (top face) and

lower confinement effect (lower pressure on the interface by the effect of the own weight of the material

above the interface) caused the failure was through the interface.

Considering the experimental results of the axial tensile strength of LSiFCC and the axial tensile strength

of LSiFCC determined according with the appropriate expression of CEB-FIP MODEL CODE [30] using

the experimental flexural tensile strength, the minimum axial tensile strength obtained was 0.93 MPa for

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LSiFCC. According to this value, is it possible to verify that the failure by cohesion in LSiFCC happened

due to the best conditions of mixture have assured an LSiFCC/PFRLC higher than the axial tensile

strength of LSiFCC, with the addition of the difficulty in involving all sisal fibers of the LSiFCC layer near

the interface LSiFCC/PFRLC, with the consequent formation of a surface of weak material, leading to the

failure was always by cohesion, in both upper and bottom layer.

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4 PREDICTION OF THE FLEXURAL CAPACITY OF SANDWICH PANELS

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This part of the paper reports the investigation performed by the authors based on the numerical

simulation of these sandwich panels.

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To predict the flexural capacity of these two types of sandwich panels, two cross section layer models that

were implemented into DOCROS computer program were developed [34]. DOCROS is a software to

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evaluate the moment-curvature of sections of irregular shape and size, composed of different types of
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materials subjected to an axial force and variable curvature. These models assume that a plane section

remains plane after deformation and perfect bond exists between distinct materials. The section is divided

in horizontal layers, and the thickness and width of each layer is user-defined and depend on the cross
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section geometry. DOCROS can analyze sections of irregular shape and size, composed of different types
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of materials subjected to an axial force and variable curvature. Figure 16 shows the layered discretization

of the two types of cross section of SSiFCC and LSiFCC panels.


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The load applied to the section is simulated by increments of strain in a control layer defined by the user.

When the increment is applied to the control layer, the depth of the neutral axis is iterated and considered
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attained for a static equilibrium of the axial internal forces. This is done determining the strain diagram for

the correspondent iteration and evaluating the internal forces using the programmed constitutive laws and
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geometrical properties of the layers.


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DOCROS has a wide database of constitutive laws for the simulation of monotonic and cyclic behavior of

cement based materials, polymer based materials and steel bars, which are described in detail elsewhere

[35].

To obtain the moment-curvature relationship for the cross section of SSiFCC panels, the constitutive

models that characterize the behavior of SSiFCC were defined based on the tensile stress-strain diagram

of Figure 11a obtained by direct tensile tests and the average compressive stress-strain diagram of Figure

17a obtained by Ferreira [24] in compressive tests of the same material. The constitutive model that

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characterize the compressive behavior of PFRLC was defined based on the average compressive stress-

strain diagram of Figure 12a and the constitutive law that simulates the tensile behavior of PFRLC was

defined following the design approach recommended by CEB-FIP MODEL CODE [30] by using the

residual tensile strength parameters presented in Table 5. Table 8 presents the values used to simulate

the compressive behavior of the SSiFCC and PFRLC. Figure 17b represent the trilinear stress-strain

diagrams used to simulate the tensile behavior of SSiFCC and PFRLC, respectively.

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To obtain the moment-curvature relationship for the cross section of LSiFCC panels, the constitutive

models that characterize the behavior of LSiFCC were defined based on the design approach

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recommended by CEB-FIP MODEL CODE [30] to simulate the tensile behavior of the matrix and the

tensile behavior of long sisal fibers was simulated based on the average tensile strength of sisal fibers

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(462 GPa) obtained by Silva et al. [19] in tensile tests and considering an very low elasticity modulus of

7.0 GPa, justified by the indirect simulation of some waving configuration of the fibers, since a perfect

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longitudinal alignment of the fibers was not possible to assure. Table 8 presents the values used to
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simulate the compressive behavior of the matrix. Figure 17b represents the bilinear stress-strain diagram

used to simulate the tensile behavior of the matrix and the Figure 17c represents the stress-strain diagram
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used to simulate the tensile behavior up to tensile strength of the sisal fibers. For SSiFCC panels, the

constitutive laws that simulates the behavior of PFRLC were the same defined for SSiFCC panels.
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Using the moment-curvature diagrams of cross sections generated from DOCROS, the load-deflection
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relationship of SSiFCC and LSiFCC panels failing in bending was estimated until the maximum flexural

capacity using another computer program, DefDOCROS. By taking the tangential flexural stiffness from
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the moment-curvature obtained from DOCROS, and using the principles of the matrix stiffness method,

where the structure is decomposed in two nodes Euler-Bernoulli beam elements, the software

DefDOCROS determines the tangential flexural stiffness of the structure, and evaluates the nodal
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displacements and internal forces of the elements of the structure [35]. Figures 18 show the load-
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deflection response of the sandwich panels determined numerically comparing with the corresponding

ones measured experimentally. Since the present analytical approach is not capable of capturing the

structural softening phase, only the response up to the peak load is represented. The obtained good

prediction indicates that this strategy is suitable to determine the flexural capacity of the cross section of

sandwich panels failing in bending.

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5 CONCLUSIONS

An innovative structural and thermally efficient sandwich panels were developed, composed of two
3
exterior sisal fiber-cement composite laminates (SiFCC), with dimensions of 700x200x15 mm , and a core
3
of lightweight concrete reinforced with polypropylene fibers (PFRLC) with dimensions of 700x200x60 mm .

Two types of sandwich panels were produced with different type of SiFCC, one reinforced with short sisal

fibers (length of 50 mm) and other with long sisal fibers (length of 700 mm).

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The mechanical behavior of each material composing the panel layers was assessed separately.

Regarding SiFCC laminates, the long sisal fibers were more effective in terms of increasing the flexural

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and tensile strength and the energy absorption than the short sisal fibers, showing a higher number of

cracks and less crack spacing.

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The average values obtained for the compressive strength and the modulus of elasticity of PFRLC were

45.13 MPa and 22.67 GPa, respectively. In the bending tests of PFRLC beams, it was verified an abrupt

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load decay after the peak load, followed by a pseudo-hardening phase where the increase of load
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capacity and consequently in ductility is due to fiber reinforcement mechanisms.

The use of long sisal fibers as continuous reinforcement in multi layered cementitious composite laminates
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resulted in a sandwich panel exhibiting under flexural loading, a pronounced deflection hardening and

multiple cracking behavior. The high tensile strength of the long sisal fiber cement composite, together
D

with its high bond strength to the core of PFRLC resulted in a sandwich panel with adequate shear
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capacity, and higher ductility and higher ultimate flexural capacity comparing with the SiFCC laminates

reinforced with short sisal fibers, which resulted in a sandwich panel exhibiting a deflection softening

response up to a small deflection, followed by an almost linear deflection softening phase.


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Cross section layer models that includes constitutive models to simulate the relevant aspects of the

behavior of the intervening materials were capable of predicting with good accuracy the flexural capacity
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registered in the four-Point bending tests of sandwich panels.


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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The study reported in this paper is part of the activities carried out by the Authors within the International

Cooperation Project “EnCoRe - Environmentally-friendly solutions for Concrete with Recycled and Natural

components” (www.encore-fp7.unisa.it), funded by the European Union within the International Research

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th
MANUSCRIPT
Staff Exchange Scheme (IRSES) of the 7 Framework Programme (FP7-PEOPLE-2011-IRSES, n.º

295283). The first author acknowledges the research grant under this project.

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APPENDIX I – TABLES

Table 1 - Chemical composition and physical characteristics of cements CPII F-32 and CPV-ARI,
metakaolin and fly ash

Portland Cement
Chemical and physical Properties Metakaolin Fly Ash
CPII F-32 CPV-ARI

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CaO (%) 73.09 70.86 2.62 1.94

SiO2 (%) 13.64 13.10 51.20 51.58

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SO3 (%) 3.97 5.75 0.09 1.51

Al2O3 (%) 3.78 4.30 35.30 32.65

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Fe2O3 (%) - 4.28 - 5.8

K2O (%) 0.39 0.94 0.97 3.39

SrO (%)
U
0.30 0.31 - 0.03
AN
TiO2 (%) 0.30 0.25 0.41 1.30

MnO (%) 0.064 - 0.16 0.05


M

ZnO (%) 0.050 0.06 - 0.04


D

CuO (%) 0.019 0.02 - -


3
Density (kg/m ) 3180 3210 2650 2400
TE

2
Blaine specific surface (m /kg) 3810 4687 22.60 420
C EP
AC

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3
Table 2 - Composition for 1 m of PFRLC

3
Materials Mix proportions (1 m )

CPV ARI cement (kg) 350

Fly ash (kg) 300

Expanded clay AE0500 dmax=5.00 mm (kg) 150

Expanded clay AE1506 dmax=12.5 mm (kg) 100

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Coarse river sand dmax=4.75 mm (kg) 898

Water (L) 202.2

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Superplasticizer Glenium 51 (L) 8.45

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PP fiber content (% in volume) 1.75

Water binder ratio 0.31

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Table 3 - Summarized results of 4-points bending tests

Specimen f1c (MPa) δ 1c (mm) fu (MPa) δ u (mm) Gf 8mm (N/mm)


M

SSiFCC 1 5.13 0.40 5.13 0.40 2.10

SSiFCC 2 4.43 0.29 4.75 0.88 2.44


D

SSiFCC 3 4.89 0.21 4.89 0.21 2.78


TE

Average 4.82 0.30 4.92 0.50 2.44

CoV (%) 7.45 32.34 3.90 69.55 14.10


EP

LSiFCC 1 5.17 0.28 8.95 8.14 5.07

LSiFCC 2 3.55 0.75 8.34 10.71 4.85


C

LSiFCC 3 3.35 0.43 8.51 12.77 3.97


AC

Average 4.02 0.49 8.60 10.54 4.63

CoV (%) 24.83 48.48 3.66 21.98 12.62

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Table 4 - Summarized results of direct tensile tests

Specimen f1c (MPa) ε 1c (%) fu (MPa) ε u (%)

SSiFCC 1 1.60 0.206 1.60 0.206

SSiFCC 2 1.08 0.243 1.48 0.610

SSiFCC 3 0.67 0.110 1.14 0.469

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SSiFCC 4 1.52 0.221 1.52 0.221

SSiFCC 5 1.04 0.314 1.04 0.314

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Average 1.18 0.22 1.36 0.36

CoV (%) 32.23 33.63 18.37 47.48

SC
LSiFCC 1 1.58 0.419 2.95 2.098

LSiFCC 2 2.11 0.835 3.63 2.171

U
LSiFCC 3 1.63 0.424 2.82 1.667
AN
LSiFCC 4 0.80 0.378 1.94 3.139

LSiFCC 5 0.97 0.211 1.43 1.536


M

Average 1.42 0.45 2.55 2.12

CoV (%) 37.56 50.75 33.93 29.70


D
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Table 5 - Relevant results of flexural tests

fL δL feq,2 feq,3 fR,1 fR,2 fR,3 fR,4 Density


EP

Beam 3
(MPa) (mm) (MPa) (MPa) (MPa) (MPa) (MPa) (MPa) (kg/m )

1 5.09 0.019 3.10 3.27 3.03 3.33 - - 1930


C

2 4.45 0.030 2.32 3.20 2.90 3.42 3.49 3.49 1895


AC

3 4.87 0.024 3.65 3.69 3.32 3.71 3.73 - 1885

4 4.49 0.023 2.50 2.89 2.76 3.01 2.99 2.93 1895

Average 4.73 0.024 2.89 3.26 3.00 3.37 3.40 3.21 1901

CoV (%) 6.53 20.60 20.96 10.05 7.92 8.51 11.04 12.51 1.04

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Table 6 – Results of pull-off tests – SSiFCC/PFRLC

Upper layer of SSiFCC/PFRLC Bottom layer of SSiFCC/PFRLC


Af Fu fu Af Fu fu
Failure
Number 2 2 Failure mode
(mm ) (N) (MPa) mode (mm ) (N) (MPa)

1 1898.85 3754.04 1.98 Adhesion 1925.98 2802.40 1.46 Cohesion by PFRLC

2 1926.76 1592.41 0.83 Adhesion 1935.32 4147.39 2.14 Cohesion by PFRLC

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3 1920.54 3923.09 2.04 Adhesion 1918.98 4492.94 2.34 Cohesion by PFRLC

4 1884.20 2009.65 1.07 Adhesion Failure before start the test

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Average 1907.59 2819.80 1.48 1926.76 3814.24 1.98

CoV (%) 1.03 42.22 42.10 0.43 23.42 23.49

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Table 7 – Results of pull-off tests – LSiFCC/PFRLC

U
Upper layer of LSiFCC/PFRLC Bottom layer of LSiFCC/PFRLC
Af Fu fu Af Fu fu
AN
Number 2 Failure mode 2 Failure mode
(mm ) (N) (MPa) (mm ) (N) (MPa)

1 1915.88 2268.76 1.18 Cohesion by Failure before start the test


M

SiFCC
Cohesion by Cohesion by
2 1911.23 301.85 0.16 SiFCC 1918.21 2725.42 1.42
PFRLC
D

(excluded)

Cohesion by Cohesion by
TE

3 1916.65 2011.23 1.05 1909.68 2570.05 1.35


SiFCC SiFCC

4 1901.94 1195.36 0.63 Cohesion by 1909.68 2019.60 1.06 Cohesion by


SiFCC SiFCC
EP

Average 1911.49 1825.12 0.95 1912.52 2438.35 1.27

CoV (%) 0.43 30.70 30.38 0.26 15.21 15.04


C
AC

Table 8 – Values obtained from the experimental tests to simulate the compressive behavior of the
constituent materials

Properties SSiFCC PFRLC Matrix

Initial Young Modulus, Ec (GPa) 10.00 22.67 13.27

Strain at peak compressive stress, εcc 0.0020 0.0021 0.0024

Compressive strength, fcm (MPa) 18.90 45.13 15.50

Critical strain in compression, εccr 0.0035 0.0035 0.0035

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APPENDIX II – FIGURES

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(a) (b)
Figure 1 – Granulometric curves of (a) Cement CPII F-32, Metakaolin, Fly Ash, and Sand; (b) Fine
and coarse Expanded Clay, and Sand

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(a) (b) (c)


Figure 2 – Production process of the SSiFCC sandwich panels (a) 1st layer in SSiFCC; (b) 2nd layer
in PFRLC; (c) 3nd layer in SSiFCC
C EP
AC

(a) (b) (c)


st nd
Figure 3 – Production process of the LSiFCC sandwich panels (a) 1 layer in LSiFCC; (b) 2 layer in
nd
PFRLC; (c) 3 layer in LSiFCC

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(a) (b)

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Figure 4 – (a) Four-point bending test configuration; (b) Front view

U SC
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M

(b)
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(c)
AC

(a)
Figure 5 – (a) Direct tensile test configuration; (b) Front view; (c) Metal profile "L" to align the steel
plates

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(a) (b)

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Figure 6 – (a) Setup of the compressive test; (b) Front view

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(a)
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(b) (c)
Figure 7 – (a) Test setup of the bending test; (b) Front view; (c) Back view

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(a)

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(b)
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D

(c)
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C EP

(d)
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Figure 8 – Bending test configuration of the sandwich panel (a) Front view; (b) Back view; (c) Upper
face of the panel; (d) Lower face of the panel

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(a) (b) (c) (d)

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M

(d) (e)
Figure 9 – Pull-off tests: (a) (b) (c) (d) Preparation of the specimens; (d) (e) Test setup
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(a) (b)
Figure 10 – Average flexural stress - deflection relationships in: (a) SSiFCC; (b) LSiFCC

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(a) (b)

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Figure 11 – Average tensile stress - strain relationships in: (a) SSiFCC; (b) LSiFCC

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(a)
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(b) (c)
Figure 12 – (a) Average compressive stress - strain relationships in PFRLC; Average Force/Flexural

stress – Deflection (b) and CMOD (c) relationships in PFRLC

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(a) (b)

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Figure 13 – Load - deflection relationship of: (a) 4 SSiFCC panels and (a) 4 LSiFCC panels

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(a) (b)
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(c) (d)
Figure 14 – Representative failure mode of: (a) (b) SSiFCC panels; (c) (d) LSiFCC panels
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AC

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(a)

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(b)
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(c)

Figure 15 – (a) Possible modes of failure; Failure modes of the specimens extracted from panels (b)
with short sisal fibers; (c) with long sisal fibers

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(a) (b)

PT
Figure 16 – Layer discretization for the cross section of: (a) SSiFCC panels; (b) LSiFCC panels

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(a)
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(b) (c)
Figure 17 – (a) Average compressive stress - strain relationships in SSiFCC obtained by Ferreira [23];
Constitutive laws for simulating the tensile behavior of the constituent materials: (b) SSiFCC, PFRLC
and Matrix; (c) Sisal fibers

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(a) (b)

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Figure 18 – Load - deflection relationship of: (a) SSiFCC panels; (b) LSiFCC panels

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M
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C EP
AC

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