Why do we use concrete? How was it discovered? Why does it need reinforcement? All reasonable questions we will attempt to answer in the following article, sharing a few industry secrets.
What we know from history
Concrete has been around for centuries. The earliest concrete-like mixture was developed by the Egyptians to strengthen structure in 3000 BC. The ingredients recorded to create this first version of concrete material were lime, chalk or oyster shells, and gypsum. This type of mix was used for a long time before the introduction of a newer type, in 1824, by Portland cement. This last mixture included limestone, and burned and ground clay – which is the predominant cement agent we have come to know today in concrete production.
Pros and Cons
Concrete has allowed us to create the most amazing structures of the world, but, like anything in life, it has a few limitations. On the positive side, concrete has brought us many benefits including:
- The introduction of precast concrete allowing for faster installation thanks to its reusable form
- Long-lasting structures (relatively, compared to other materials that serve the same purpose)
- Flexibility in being manipulated due to its liquid-like nature before it hardens
- Resistance to combustible hazards
Concrete is at the core of our entire society and civilization, providing humans with security, shelter, structure, and refined environments. What about the cons? You may be wondering.
When it comes to concrete, there are a few things that can be concerning:
- It has low ductility – once it hardens, it will remain that way forever
- It has low tensile strength compared to other building materials
- It has a lower strength-to-weight ratio which makes it more exposed to cracks and breaks
These limitations have created a need for concrete reinforcement when being used as a structural material.
As the industry evolved, it was clear that concrete, on its own, would not be strong enough to withstand tension, harsh environments, and other types of situations that cause a lot of stress on the structure. This is why reinforced concrete was introduced. While the first material that started being used for concrete reinforcement was steel, we have developed a more durable solution that we, at SFTec, proudly bring to the market: our own FRP bars, the SFT-Bar®. FRP has proven to be a preferred material compared to steel for concrete reinforcement thanks to its natural properties including: resistance to corrosion, resistance to chemical changes and electricity, its lighter weight and ease of installation, but above all, its long-lasting shelf life, that requires a lower maintenance and replacements.
Concrete and FRP bars go hand-in-hand, and at SFTec, we do our best to make it more accessible to the market. Wherever you are, whatever concrete structure you are working on, give us a call, and we will happily provide you with the building materials you need to create the structure of your dreams.
This article was inspired by the following references: