This thesis quantifies the flexural behavior (strength, stiffness and failure) of IsoTruss®-reinforced concrete beam-columns for use in deep foundation pile applications. Four-point bending tests were performed in the laboratory on two instrumented carbon/epoxy IsoTruss® reinforced concrete piles (IRC piles) and two instrumented steel reinforced concrete piles (SRC piles). The piles were approximately 14 ft (4.3 m) in length and 14 in (36 cm) in diameter and were loaded to failure while monitoring load, deflection, and strain data. The steel and IsoTruss®® reinforcement cages were designed to have equal flexural stiffness to permit a relative strength comparison. Moment curvature diagrams reveal that the stiffness values were indeed close, verifying the design objective. At failure, the IsoTruss®-reinforced concrete beams held nearly twice the bending moment as the steel-reinforced concrete beams [1,719 kip-in vs. 895 kip-in (194 kN-m vs.101 kN-m)], although the failure modes were quite different. The SRC piles exhibited the traditional ductile failure behavior, as expected, while the IRC piles lacked ductility. The IRC pile deflections remained linear to failure, while the SRC piles yielded significantly. At 35 kips (165 kN), the maximum load on the SRC piles, the ductility of the SRC piles was twice that of the IRC piles (0.0084 and 0.0042, respectively). Toughness measurements reveal that due to the lack of ductility in the IRC piles, the SRC piles absorbed approximately twice as much energy as the IRC piles. Further investigations are required to explain the absence of ductility in the IRC piles, since ductility has been observed in other IsoTruss®-reinforced concrete structures in flexure. Even with this low level of ductility, the IRC piles are substantially stronger than the SRC piles and provide an alternative for use in deep foundation environments. Not only is the IRC pile strong enough for the job, but the IsoTruss® reinforcement is approximately 62% lighter, more rigid, and more corrosion resistant than the steel reinforcement.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Civil and Environmental Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





IsoTruss, carbon/epoxy, composite, flexure, curvature, deflection, four point bending test, corrosion resistance, beam-column