Concrete and steel go together like bread and butter, and have done for many years. Without steel, the concrete would not withstand the tensile load, and would crack. Steel reinforcement has evolved, along with concrete, and modern steel reinforcement, or rebar as it is known, is an integral part of any concrete structure.
The early days saw thick steel rods, which were both heavy and awkward to work with. The rebar is connected together to form a solid framework, which gives the structure added strength, and by wiring to prevent movement, a large number of reinforcement rods can be woven together, giving support for load-bearing pillars and archways. In the past few years, a new method called fabric reinforcement has enabled cost-effective solutions, as it saves on steel and labour costs. Mesh and fibre reinforcement can control cracks in concrete, as the tensile strength is greatly improved, and with a range of mesh sizes, the optimum solution is always at hand.
This has not taken the place of rebar, as it doesn’t have the strength of the steel reinforcement bars, yet if the mesh is used in conjunction with rebar, it is a more cost-effective way to support the concrete, and as a result, less steel is required, which saves money.
This is where mesh solutions come into their own, and in such situations, rebar can be replaced by a mesh reinforcement, which is much lighter, and reduces the stress on the overall structure. Secondary reinforcement does not require such high levels of tensile strength, and mesh is more than adequate as a support.
Both steel and concrete have similar thermal expansion properties, which is why they are so compatible. Ribbing on the steel rods helps adhesion, but in the case of major forces, as in an earthquake or structural failure, the steel can be ripped from the concrete. This is why the steel mesh is firmly fixed to all other available steel reinforcement, creating a framework that can withstand severe loads.
Steel rebar is connected together, and there are certain methods used, depending on a variety of situations. A combination of bends and hooks provide structural support, and modern solutions mean you can buy the steel mesh to pre-set sizes and shapes, which saves both time and money. Once a section of steel mesh reinforcement is in place, it must be secured to the rest of the structure, before the concrete is applied.
The carbon steel of today provides ideal support for concrete, and this means thinner rods can be used, saving money without compromising structural integrity. If you require fabric reinforcement, there are online suppliers who can not only deliver, they can customise the framework, saving time and money for the builder.
Ready mixed concrete is widely available, and once the steel reinforcement is in place, and has been securely fixed, the concrete can be poured and levelled. The combination of steel and concrete will always be a valuable union for the construction industry, as it gives the vital strength and durability for modern structures.