Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Engineering Science


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Dr. Tim Newson


The promotion of steel fibre reinforced concrete (SFRC) as a construction material for tunnel linings has prompted a number of researchers to focus on methods of evaluating their flexural strength and stiffness. This thesis presents the results of an experimental and numerical investigation of the flexural behaviour of full-scale steel fibre reinforced concrete tunnel lining segments. A series of a three-point flexure tests were performed to evaluate the maximum load carrying capacity, the load-deformation behaviour and crack propagation characteristics of these segments. The material properties of the steel fibre reinforced concrete were also studied, using both destructive and non-destructive methods. Element compression and tension tests were conducted to characterize the compressive and tensile strength properties of the SFRC. Additionally, computed tomographic scanning was conducted to analyse and estimate the density fraction and fibre orientation of the fibres in SFRC cores. Three-dimensional finite element analyses were conducted to calibrate a concrete damage plasticity constitutive model and provide better understanding of the segment flexural behaviour. The experimental program indicated that the variation in structural performance of the segments was likely due to an inhomogeneity of fibre distribution and orientation. Modifying the numerical model to account for these variations resulted in a more accurate analysis. Furthermore, from the numerical finite element analysis it was found that the non-linear elasto-plastic concrete damage plasticity model in the crack zone of the beam was mesh dependent. Parametric analyses also revealed that the model was particularly sensitive to small changes to the tensile material property input parameters.