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Background of Research
The strengthening of reinforced concrete bridges has become a considerable issue that grabs a lot of attention. There is a huge requirement to develop cost-effective and well-organized approaches to improve, mend or reinforce the reinforced concrete bridges. The strengthening of the bridges can make them suitable for the increasing weight of design vehicles and their parts that get deteriorated due to years of operation (Hawileh, et al., 2014). The reinforced concrete bridges constructed several years ago requires regular inspections, to ensure appropriate operations of such bridges as well as to alleviate the risk of their structural failure. On the other hand, the roadways are frequently required to be widened because of increasing traffic volume and also, the bridges that do not meet the existing requirement need to be replaced. The loads applied to the bridges in Australia have been increasing at a rate of 10% in every ten years. The present bridge design load comprises of a 7 t wheel load (W7), a 44 t truck (T44), a 1.25 t/m plus a 15 t concentrated load lane loading (L44) and a 320 or 400 t heavy load platform (HLP320 and HLP400) (Heywood & Ellis, 2018). The economic impact of bridge replacement signifies direct as well as indirect costs, which becomes difficult to be quantified. The utilization of Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) composites, to enhance the flexural capacity of the components in the construction of the bridge is a method to strengthen them.
The increasing need to develop cost-effective and efficient methods for the strengthening of existing reinforced concrete bridges served as the motivational factor, to conduct research. As the traffic load and weight of loaded vehicles is increasing day by day, it has become an issue to be highlighted and to find innovative ways to resolve this problem in the form of strengthening of reinforced concrete bridges by the utilization of CFRP.