This work focuses on the mechanical characterization of the inorganic matrix used for Fiber-Reinforced Cementitious Matrix (FRCM) composites, nowadays widely used to retrofit existing reinforced concrete and masonry structures. While several works in technical literature investigate the experimental behavior of the whole FRCM composite, few information are available on the mechanical characterization of the mortar, which contains polymers and synthetic fibers in its admixture. However, the knowledge of its behavior in tension, especially after crack formation, is an important feature for the calibration of constitutive models to be adopted in the study of structural elements strengthened with FRCM. To this aim, an experimental program was performed on mortar specimens characterized by different shapes and dimensions, tested under direct tension or three-point-bending. From the performed tests, it was possible to characterize inorganic matrix behavior both in the uncracked stage, through the determination of the elastic parameters (elastic modulus and Poisson’s coefficient), and in the cracked stage. The use of digital image correlation (DIC) technique also allowed the study of the evolution of crack propagation in the specimens. Lastly, a correlation factor between axial and flexural tensile strength is proposed, for both design and numerical modelling purposes.
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