Over the past two decades fibres reinforced polymers (FRP) have been successfully used in civil engineering structures, due to the advantages they present over traditional materials, such as high strength-to-weight ratio, corrosion resistance and easy installation. In this context, FRP reinforcing bars have emerged as an alternative to steel for concrete structures as they are noncorrosive and nonconductible. However, the use of these materials has been limited mainly to bridges and exterior structural members, where fire endurance is not a primary design concern. In fact, there are several uncertainties and well-founded concerns about their fire performance, since the material properties of FRPs and their adherence to concrete are severely deteriorated at relatively low temperatures (65-120 ºC). Several international scientific organizations have unanimously recognized the behaviour of FRP materials under elevated temperatures and fire as one of the most critical research needs.
ITR is presently supporting a three-year research project (FireComposite – funded by Fundação da Ciência e Tecnologia) that is being developed at Instituto Superior Técnico – Universidade de Lisboa. This project aims at understanding the fire behaviour of concrete structures reinforced with FRP bars, to develop fire design guidelines and ultimately to enable extending the structural use of FRPs in buildings. ITR is advising this research and providing the insulation materials needed to perform the fire resistance tests at Instituto Superior Técnico.