Application of Reinforcing Techniques With Polymer Grids for Masonry Buildings
de Ramiro Sofronie
This report deals with the application of polymer grids, as a method for reinforcement of masonry buildings against earthquakes action. The report is one of a series of reports issued in the frame of the activities of the Networking Project CASCADE, under the European Community Fifth Framework Programme. Using polymer grids in the mitigation of seismic effects on structures has been recently proposed a result of a number of studies and experiments carried out under international Projects involving Research Institutes, Testing Laboratories, Producers and Constructors. This report is an extensive collection of the main results of this experience and a review of such attainments. The soul of the report is two-folded. There is certainly a research soul, which clearly reflects the passion of the Author (Prof. Sofronie) to the treated subject. It is oriented to the scientific world, mainly interested in the studies carried out, in the theoretical approach and in the relevant experimental verifications. The innovative spirit, which accompanied, before, the implementation and, after, the endorsement of the Design Eurocodes, gave great impetus to the European Earthquake Engineering, resulting in new technologies and new construction processes. Technologies and construction processes, in turn, needed demanding laboratory tests and verifications on components and full-scale models. In this sense the research largely benefited from the availability in Europe of Large Testing Facilities (shaking tables and reaction walls), whose operators are networked in the mentioned Project CASCADE. The scientific approach is well summarised in the report, as well as its technological outlet (Chapters 2 and 5). Along with the research soul, a technical/operative soul, is, perhaps, more remarkably detectable in this report, mainly addressed to the Industry world. Improving European Industry competitiveness is, as well known, a paramount care of the Commission, in funding and sustaining the research. This is also the main goal of Task 3 of CASCADE, which had in charge the issuing of this and the other Industry Reports. The orientation toward the Industry (mainly Grid Producers and Construction Industry) is here reflected in the special attention of the report to the practical issues, deriving from the application of the reinforcement technology. So, operative procedures and example of utilisation are extensively debated (Chapter 4) and illustrated (Chapter 5) with actual examples; costs evaluations of the new solutions in comparison with the traditional ones are largely reported (Chapter 3). An entire section (Chapter 6) is devoted to tools (manual and computing examples), useful for designers and practitioners. Finally (Chapter 3), attention is paid to the issue of the applicable normative. One of the prior aims of CASCADE Network, in a vision of the enhancement of the quality of Industry products and, again, of its competitiveness, was that of providing, through the issuing of the reports, useful tools for suitably addressing the products qualification approach through the experiments. It is a matter of the fact that, especially for innovative solutions, standards stating technical requirements and rules for a really comparative qualification process, which could establish the fulfilment of the products to those requirements, are often missing. This is precisely the case of polymer grids and, indeed, providing comprehensive instruments to Standardisation Organisms to fill the lack is, in our opinion, one of the most remarkable merits of this report. Polymer grids Producers, who actively collaborated in developing and partially funding the reported researches, will certainly draw out benefits from the document, from the technical viewpoint, since they will find justification and orientation to their solutions, and from the economical viewpoint, as the document will favour the dissemination of the results of the research and their exploitation by the Construction Industry.