Different Types of Concrete Reinforcement

One of the stronger building material alternatives and certainly the most widely used in the industry, Sephaku Cement explore the different types of reinforced cement concrete or RCC. While cement based applications offer a durable and low maintenance building solution, concrete is not without its vulnerabilities when incorrectly installed or expose to harsh elements, moisture and freeze-thaw effects.

To counter these cons and to ensure the integrity of inhabitable structures is maintained, most civil engineering projects and certain structural concrete constructions make use of concrete reinforcements to ensure the structure’s bearing and tensile strength.

  • Bearing strength can be explained as a structure’s load bearing capacity or its ability to carry contact pressure or weight.
  • Tensile Strength is best described as concrete’s resistance to breaking under tension/bending

Fibre Reinforced Concrete

While certain concrete applications, typically those installed as non-load carrying applications need not be reinforced, others need the added strength to ensure a sound and compliant structure that is safe for use or occupation.

The added reinforcement of concrete and more specifically using fibrous materials dates as far back as prehistoric times where fibres such as straw and even horsehair were mixed with mud-like cement based material.

Much later the 20th century saw the use of fibrous materials such as steel, glass and synthetic fibres used to give rise to the various types of fibre reinforced concretes namely;

  • Glass Fibre Reinforced Concrete (GFRC)
  • Steel Fibre Reinforced Concrete (SFRC)
  • Natural Fibre Reinforced Concrete (NFRC)
  • Polypropylene Fibre Reinforced Concrete (PFRC)
  • Engineered Cementitious Composite (ECC)

Steel Concrete

Other ways that concrete can be reinforced is by embedding materials such as steel rods or reinforcing bars also known as rebar, mesh, wires and cables in the concrete application which is where the term Steel Concrete comes from. In doing so the instalment or structure resists both tension and compression whereby the concrete offers a compressive strength and the steel produces tensile strength. Rebar is made of steel strands tightly twisted to form a rope-like structure which helps to keep it secured in the cured concrete. Further to this, steel is often a preferred material of choice to use when reinforcing concrete as a result of its propensity to expand and contract much to the same degree to that of concrete when exposed to both hot and cold conditions.

Pre-stressed Concrete

While reinforced concrete offers one of the most durable building solutions in construction, pre-stressed concrete delivers an even more effective reinforced concrete option and an effective solution to prevent concrete from cracking or becoming brittle under pressure. Placing reinforced concrete under pre-stress is done by applying compressive stress on the concrete before its put to its intended use, when pre-stressed concrete is eventually exposed to an external load, the pre-stress or compressive pressure applied to the concrete counteracts the loadbearing pressure on the reinforced concrete fitting offering an extremely durable and robust solution.

From fibre reinforced concrete or steel concrete reinforcements to pre-stressed or pre-tensioned concrete, reinforced concrete is used on a number of engineering projects both large and small. Employed in almost all large-scale civil engineering projects including bridges and sports stadiums, as well as water based projects such as dams and piers, reinforced concrete is also put to use in domestic applications such as foundations, columns, lintels and loadbearing walls, platforms and balconies.