Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering (Engineering)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Antonio Nanni

Second Committee Member

Carol D. Hays

Third Committee Member

Francisco J. De Caso y Basalo

Fourth Committee Member

Leif Carlsson


The development of alternative techniques for structural rehabilitation is of critical importance to the safety and preservation of the world's civil infrastructure. Fabric-reinforced cementitious matrix (FRCM) composite systems have emerged as a sustainable repair methodology suitable for infrastructure strengthening and rehabilitation, including historical restoration. To this end, an experimental program was undertaken to investigate the tensile characterization method used to determine the material properties needed for design and to evaluate its performance in aggressive environments. Two new FRCM composite systems were selected for this research, one with polyparaphenylene benzobisoxazole (PBO) fabric reinforcement intended for the strengthening of reinforced concrete (RC) structures and one with carbon fabric reinforcement for the strengthening of masonry structures. This work aims to advance the state of FRCM testing methodology and it is presented through three studies, with an introductory chapter which gives a brief overview of composites focusing on the classification of brittle matrix composites in order to provide a contextual field within which FRCM is differentiated. The first study investigates the tensile test method used to characterize FRCM material properties, specifically the gripping mechanism and the load transfer length. The second study explores the performance of FRCM exposed to aggressive environments. And the third study evaluates and compares strain measurement methodologies based on their ability to measure axial strain of FRCM under uniaxial tensile loading, and their setup requirements. The overreaching objective is to analyze, evaluate, and propose the critical test methodology for FRCM composite characterization to obtain necessary design parameters.


FRCM; brittle composite; structural rehabilitation; tensile characterization; grip mechanism; durability; strain measurement