Carbon Fiber Reinforcement of Masonry Wall for New 7 Eleven

by Jim Houlette on January 27, 2011

The project was an existing building on Colfax Avenue in Denver that was to be converted to a new 7 Eleven.  To make the project work, the existing building had to be reinforced to support the new loads and last another 100 years or more. The solution was carbon fiber reinforcement.

In this process thin sheets of carbon fiber are adhered to the clean surface of the masonry to provide a high tension capacity.  Reinforced piers and rows of masonry are created and designed to support the applied forces.  Since the carbon fiber sheets are so thin there is no reduction in usable space and they are easily hidden behind the wall finishes.

Carbon fiber reinforcement can also be used to reinforce failing residential foundation walls, wrap spalling concrete columns and strengthen existing structures to accommodate higher loads for change in occupancies.  We recently reviewed an existing parking garage to see if carbon fiber reinforcement could be used to support a proposed new restaurant on the upper deck.  It was feasible, but due to the sloping floor, I believe the owner determined it wasn’t practicable.

EVstudio provided engineering support for Pinnacle Structural Services the contractor hired to place the carbon fiber reinforcement.  Pinnacle is one of a very few (if not the only contractor in Colorado) contractors that knows how to use this new technology.

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