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Road transportation is undoubtedly the lifeline of the nation and its development is a crucial concern. The traditional bituminous pavements and their needs for continuous maintenance and rehabilitation operations points towards the scope for cement concrete pavements. There are several advantages of cement concrete pavements over bituminous pavements. This paper explains on POLYMER FIBRE REINFORCED CONCRETE PAVEMENTS, which is a recent advancement in the field of reinforced concrete pavement design. PFRC pavements prove to be more efficient than conventional RC pavements, in several aspects, which are explained in this paper. The design procedure and paving operations of PFRC are also discussed in detail. A detailed case study of Polyester fiber waste as fiber reinforcement is included and the results of the study are interpreted. The paper also includes a brief comparison of PFRC pavements with conventional concrete pavement. The merits and demerits of PFRC pavements are also discussed. The applications of PFRC in the various construction projects in kerala are also discussed in brief.
In a developing country such as India, road networks form the arteries of the nation. A pavement is the layered structure on which vehicles travel. It serves two purposes, namely, to provide a comfortable and durable surface for vehicles, and to reduce stresses on underlying soils. In India, the traditional system of bituminous pavements is widely used.
Locally available cement concrete is a better substitute to bitumen which is the by product in distillation of imported petroleum crude. It is a known fact that petroleum and its by-products are dooming day by day. Whenever we think of a road construction in India it is taken for granted that it would be a bituminous pavement and there are very rare chances for thinking of an alternative like concrete pavements. Within two to three decades bituminous pavement would be a history and thus the need for an alternative is very essential. The perfect solution would be POLYMER FIBER REINFORCED CONCRETE PAVEMENTS, as it satisfies two of the much demanded requirements of pavement material in India, economy and reduced pollution. It also has several other advantages like longer life, low maintenance cost, fuel efficiency, good riding quality, increased load carrying capacity and impermeability to water over flexible pavements.
Fiber reinforced concrete pavements are more efficient than ordinary cement concrete pavement. FRC is defined as composite material consisting of concrete reinforced with discrete randomly but uniformly dispersed short length fibers. The fibers may be of steel, polymer or natural materials. FRC is considered to be a material of improved properties and not as reinforced cement concrete whereas reinforcement is provided for local strengthening of concrete in tension region. Fibers generally used in cement concrete pavements are steel fibers and organic polymer fibers such as polyester or polypropylene.
This is an environment friendly approach in the field of pavement construction as almost all sorts of polymer waste can be recycled and used as a reinforcing admixture in the concrete pavements. As waste polymers which are produced in large quantities are non bio degradable they can cause immense environmental issues. Instead of disposing it we can efficiently make use of its properties in the pavement construction.
Concrete is well known as a brittle material when subjected to normal stresses and impact loading, especially, with its tensile strength being just one tenth of its compressive strength. It is only common knowledge that, concrete members are reinforced with continuous reinforcing bars to withstand tensile stresses, to compensate for the lack of ductility and is also adopted to overcome high potential tensile stresses and shear stresses at critical location in a concrete member.
Even though the addition of steel reinforcement significantly increases the strength of the concrete, the development of micro-cracks must be controlled to produce concrete with homogenous tensile properties. The introduction of fibers was brought into consideration, as a solution to develop concrete with enhanced flexural and tensile strength, which is a new form of binder that could combine Portland cement in bonding with cement matrices.
Fibers are generally discontinuous, randomly distributed through out the cement matrices. Referring to the American Concrete Institute (ACI) committee 544 , in fiber reinforced concrete there are four categories namely
1. SFRC - Steel Fiber Reinforced Concrete
2. GFRC - Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete
3. SNFRC - Synthetic Fiber Reinforced Concrete
4. NFRC - Natural Fiber Reinforced Concrete
Fiber Reinforced concrete can be defined as a composite material consisting of mixtures of cement, mortar or concrete with discontinuous, discrete, uniformly dispersed suitable fibers. Continuous meshes, woven fabrics and long wires or rods are not considered to be discrete fibers.
Fiber reinforced concrete (FRC) is concrete containing fibrous material which increases its structural integrity. It contains short discrete fibers that are uniformly distributed and randomly oriented. Fibers may generally be classified into two: organic and inorganic. Inorganic fibers include steel fibers and glass fibers, whereas organic fibers include natural fibers like coconut, sisal, wood, bamboo, jute, sugarcane, etc and synthetic fibers based on acrylic, carbon, polypropylene, polyethylene, nylon, Aramid, and polyester. Within these different fibers the character of fiber reinforced concrete changes with varying concretes, fiber materials, geometries, distribution, orientation and densities.
Fibers are usually used in concrete to control plastic shrinkage cracking and drying shrinkage cracking. They also lower the permeability of concrete and thus reduce bleeding of water. Some types of fibers produce greater impact, abrasion and shatter resistance in concrete.
The amount of fibers added to a concrete mix is measured as a percentage of the total volume of the composite (concrete and fibers) termed volume fraction (Vf). Vf typically ranges from 0.1 to 3%. Aspect ratio (l/d) is calculated by dividing fiber length (l) by its diameter (d). Fibers with a non-circular cross section use an equivalent diameter for the calculation of aspect ratio. If the modulus of elasticity of the fiber is higher than the matrix (concrete or mortar binder), they help to carry the load by increasing the tensile strength of the material. Fibers which are too long tend to ball in the mix and create workability problems
Fiber Reinforced Concrete
FRC is defined as a composite material consisting of concrete reinforced with discrete randomly but uniformly dispersed short length fibers.
Fibers are generally discontinuous, randomly distributed through out the cement matrices.
Enhances flexural and tensile strength of the concrete.
Fibers may generally be classified into two: organic and inorganic.
Contd. .
Volume fraction measure of fiber in concrete.
Typically ranges from 0.1 to 3%.
Aspect ratio - fiber length (l) divided by its diameter (d).
Main categories of F.R.C.
SFRC - Steel Fiber Reinforced Concrete.
GFRC - Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete.
SNFRC - Synthetic Fiber Reinforced Concrete.
NFRC - Natural Fiber Reinforced Concrete.
It comes under the category of Synthetic FRC.
Mainly preferred due to its cost effectiveness and zero corrosion risk.
This method has been recognized and approved by BIS, IRC and various national bodies.
Why PFRC for pavements?
Crack arresters-restricting the development of cracks .
Enhanced flexural strength and tensile strength of concrete.
Improved early resistance to plastic shrinkage cracking.
Improved durability and reduced surface water permeability of concrete.
Reduces the risk of plastic settlement cracking over rebar.
Cont. .
It enables easier and smoother finishing.
Reduced bleeding of water to surface during concrete placement.
Improves the homogeneity of the concrete matrix.
Reduced water absorption.
Greater impact resistance.
The two components of PFRC
Concrete Mix
The code IRC: 44-2008 For cement concrete mix designs for pavements with fibers.
In presence of fly ash cement savings upto 35%.
Flexural strength- 40 MPa at 28 days.
2) Polymer fibers
Recron 3S, Polypropylene, Forta ferro, Forta econo net.
Recycled polymer waste from plastic, carpet industry, textile industry, disposed tires.
Size 12mm long and 0.045 mm diameter.
Mixed at the rate of 900gms/m3 of concrete.
Various polymers used in PFRC

1) Use of microfilm or antifriction layer of 125 micron in between PFRC and DLC layers.
2) The DLC layer is to be swept clean before applying microfilm .
3) Film is nailed to the DLC layer without wrinkles and holes.
4) Concreting work in hot weather should be carried out in early or later hours.
5) The laying temperature of concrete should always be below 35 degree Celsius.
Membrane curing is used.
Texture-cum-curing machine performs the task.
The resin based curing compound is used at the rate of 300 ml per square meter of the slab area.
After about 1.5 hours moist Hessian cloth is spread, covered with curing compound spray.
Water curing by keeping the Hessian moist by sprinkling water is ensured for 3 days.
Completed PFRC pavement
Insert performed neoprene sealant to protect joint groove from dirt .
Test are to be conducted on fine and coarse stone aggregates, water, cement, granular sub base, DLC etc as per standards and specification published by Indian roads congress.
No vehicular traffic until the completion of 28 days of curing, sealing of joints and completion of paved shoulder construction.
The tests resulted in the following inferences:
1. The polyester FRC in thicknesses of 100mm or more can be used.
2. The use of polyester fibers increases the abrasion resistance of concrete by 25%.
3. The polyester fibers are resistant to the strong alkaline conditions in concrete.
4.There is no decrease in long term compressive strength or UPV of PFRC.
5. The results of this study promote effective disposal of these non bio-degradable synthetic fibers.
Advantages of PFRC
PFRC roads are highly impermeable to water.
Implementation of sensors in roads will be easier.
Environmental load of PFRC pavement was found to be significantly lower.
Maintenance activities are reduced.
Impermeable and more durable, skid resistant pavement.
Cont. .
Fibers reduce plastic shrinkage and substance cracking.
Improved abrasion resistance and impact resistance.
Ductile and flexural toughness of concrete.
Cement saving up to 10%
Improve durability of concrete
Disadvantages of PFRC
Fibers which are too long tend to ball in the mix and create workability problems.
The use of PFRC, being a relatively new technology poses a threat of a high initial cost of construction.
In case the road breaks, the whole concrete slab needs to be replaced.
Slab On Grade.
Structural Concrete.
Water retaining Structures.
Water proofing in rooftops, sunken toilets, etc.
Kerala based projects using PFRC
CIAL Airports: Turning Pad Concrete, New Arrival Bldg, Cargo storage complex.
ICTT Vallarpadam: Jetty Construction 8000 cubic mtr slab/Simplex infra.
Cochin Port Trust: Mattancherry Warf, NCB, UTL etc.
MES: GE Air Force Tvm Projects, DGMAPs Projects Cochin
Southern Railway: Platforms at Quilon, Kochuveli, etc.
Harbour Engineering Dept: Vipin Jetty wearing coat.
PFRC can be used advantageously over normal concrete pavement.
PFRC requires specific design considerations and construction procedures to obtain optimum performance.
Reduction in maintenance and rehabilitation operations, makes PFRC cheaper than flexible pavement by 30-35%.
Promote effective disposal of non bio-degradable synthetic fibers.
A new hope to developing and globalizing the quality and reshaping the face of the True Indian Roads .
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