Wire Ropes and CFRP Strips to Provide the Masonry Walls with Out-of-Plane Strengthening
The present paper deals with an improvement of the strengthening technique consisting in the combined use of straps—made of stainless steel ribbons—and CFRP strips, to increase the out-of-plane strength of masonry walls. The straps of both the previous and the new combined technique pass from one face to the opposite face of the masonry wall through some holes made along the thickness, giving rise to a three-dimensional net of loop-shaped straps, closed on themselves. The new
... ves. The new technique replaces the stainless steel ribbons with steel wire ropes, which form closed loops around the masonry units and the CFRP strips as in the previous technique. A turnbuckle for each steel wire rope allows the closure of the loops and provides the desired pre-tension to the straps. The mechanical coupling—given by the frictional forces—between the straps and the CFRP strips placed on the two faces of the masonry wall gives rise to an I-beam behavior of the facing CFRP strips, which begin to resist the load as if they were the two flanges of the same I-beam. Even the previous combined technique exploits the ideal I-beam mechanism, but the greater stiffness of the steel wire ropes compared to the stiffness of the steel ribbons makes the constraint between the facing CFRP strips stiffer. This gives the reinforced structural element greater stiffness and delamination load. In particular, the experimental results show that the maximum load achievable with the second combined technique is much greater than the maximum load provided by the CFRP strips. Even the ultimate displacement turns out to be increased, allowing us to state that the second combined technique improves both strength and ductility. Since the CFRP strips of the combined technique run along the vertical direction of the wall, the ideal I-beam mechanism is particularly useful to counteract the hammering actions provided by the floors on the perimeter walls, during an earthquake. Lastly, after the building went out of service, the box-type behavior offered by the three-dimensional net of straps prevents the building from collapsing, acting as a device for safeguarding life.