Research was undertaken with Loughborough University looking at the deterioration of joints and cracks in concrete industrial ground floors, known to be one of the main causes of failure for these structural elements.
The research consisted of the development of a bespoke testing rig enabling low-intensity, high cycle loading to be applied to sample concrete specimens. The testing regime provides close simulation to the damaging repetitious loading of forklift and pallet trucks passing over an in-service crack or joint within an industrial facility. Various fabric and fibre reinforcement quantities were tested to establish the effect each has on deterioration. The research identified that cracks pass through a four-stage deterioration cycle, which if carefully managed, enables timely repairs to be undertaken and prevents the onset of failure.
The research was combined with a testing regime of in-service slabs and a detailed finite element model to establish how the effect of load transfer impacts on the overall structural behaviour of the floor slab.
Download research paper : Load transfer across cracks and joints; Concrete