Structural strengthening with prestressed CFRP strips with gradient anchorage

Julien Michels, Jose Sena-Cruz, Christoph Czaderski, Masoud Motavalli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

89 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents the principle and the application of an innovative anchorage technique for prestressed carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) strips in structural strengthening. Additionally, large-scale static loading tests of retrofitted concrete beams are shown. The gradient anchorage, based on the adhesive's ability to undergo accelerated curing at high temperatures, consists of a purely concrete-adhesive strip connection without any mechanical devices, such as bolts or plates. In a first step, this study summarizes anchorage techniques presented in the literature and introduces the basic principles of the new method as well as the necessary components. In a second step, an application on a full-scale RC beam is explained in detail. A commercially-available CFRP strip is prestressed up to 0.6% prestrain and subsequently anchored by sequential epoxy-curing and force-releasing steps at both strip ends. Furthermore, uniaxial tensile tests on the epoxy adhesive and the CFRP strip are used for material characterization and to demonstrate the reinforcing materials' integrity after the heating process. It appeared that prestress losses during the anchoring phase are negligible. The method allows much faster installation than conventional mechanical techniques and increases durability because no permanent steel elements are necessary. The material tests indicate no damage in the reinforcing CFRP strip as well as a sufficiently fast strength development of the adhesive after accelerated curing. Static loading tests on strengthened large-scale RC beams are presented and show the efficiency of a prestressed CFRP strip with gradient anchorage as a retrofitting technique. Finally, first long-term measurements over 13 years on a prestressed strip bonded to a concrete plate revealed small prestrain losses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-661
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Composites for Construction
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Accelerated curing
  • Epoxy adhesive
  • Gradient anchorage
  • Innovative anchorage technique
  • Prestressed CFRP strips
  • Structural retrofitting

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