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Lacking in fibre?


The failure of column head, put forward as the possible cause of failure at Paris airport, highlights that carbon fibre reinforcement for strengthening and repairing 'all ills' in structures is not the right approach.

Carbon fibres are only effective if they are subjected to tensile forces in the direction of the fibres. 'Bandages' are of course very weak in the normal plane.

As a result of the 80mm cyclic deflection anticipated at the crown of the curved roof structure, the column supports at the heads would be subjected to enormous horizontal shear force. This requires a restraining arrangement, for example well anchored bolt and plate connections, at the top of the columns to resist the horizontal shear.

But if the edge beams were designed to transfer the forces through torsional resistance then the edge beams should be well restrained from rotating at the column heads.

Either way, the wrapping of CFRP bandage would have done little to prevent the consequences.

Dr NK Subedi (F), reader, division of civil engineering, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 4HN

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