AbstractIn recent years, there has been a growing demand for a lightweight, dependable, and cost-effective construction material with low maintenance requirements and high corrosion resistance to replace steel communication towers. This paper reports on an examination of glass fiber–reinforced polymer (GFRP) as an unconventional material for the fabrication of a GFRP lightweight communication guyed tower. The study included extensive experimental testing as well as numerical modeling of a 9-m GFRP guyed communication tower. Extensive material testing was conducted to define the material properties required for modeling the guyed tower. Furthermore, the study involved the fabrication of a unique adjustable collapsible multiuse device to form the prismatic tower cells required for the tower’s fabrication. The newly designed collapsible mandrel fabricated individual cells using fiberglass matting and a hand lay-up method. The 9-m tower had a uniform constant cross section of three identical cells bonded together to form an equilateral triangle with sides of 500 mm. The tower was tested under static loading conditions using a whiffle-tree arrangement to simulate uniformly distributed wind loading. Under static loading conditions, a comprehensive experimental strain and deflection study was conducted and three critical regions on the tower were thoroughly evaluated. To simulate the structural behavior of the tower, a nonlinear finite-element model was created. The results for the finite-element model were validated by comparing them with experimental results. The structural performance of the GFRP guyed tower was accurately predicted by the finite-element model.

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