Flexural Fatigue Performance of CFRP Prestressed Concrete Poles
Carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) prestressed concrete poles offer a durable, light-weight alternative to conventional steel-reinforced or prestressed concrete poles. In particular, the corrosion resistance of the CFRP tendons can result in lower maintenance costs and a reduction in the required concrete cover. For lighting poles used in pedestrian or low-trafficked areas, wind loading represents a dominant load case. The wind acts as a transient force and can blow from any direction. It is therefore of interest to investigate how CFRP prestressed lighting poles perform under repeated cyclic loads and/or load reversals. Experiments were carried out on pole sections tested horizontally. These included a static control test and a conventional fatigue test where a cyclic load was applied in a downwards direction for 2 million cycles. Three further fatigue tests where the load direction changed, either after a defined number of cycles or within a load cycle, were also conducted. It was found that all the poles performed adequately for 1-2 million cycles of loading and that the majority of any deflection increases occurred within the first 50,000 cycles. It is believed that repeated cyclic loading may have increased the tendon debonding at the crack locations. Localised debonding potentially relieves the stress in the outermost tendon layer which delays the onset of failure and allows the inner tendon layers to take up further stress thus leading to a higher load carrying capacity. Loading orientation reversal from a downwards to an upwards direction within a loading cycle did not result in a greater stiffness degradation when compared to the other fatigue tests. The initial findings suggest that in-service cyclic loading and load reversals will not be detrimental to the performance of CFRP prestressed concrete poles.