Steel is traditionally used in concrete applications, but due to steel price increases and shortages, some contractors are turning to fibre reinforced concrete as an alternative.
Writing for ForConstructionPros.com, professional engineer Michael Mahoney said businesses using fibre-reinforced concrete may find it:
“…a benefit in disguise as they can now utilize the short-term and long-term benefits of fibre-reinforced concrete.”
Fibre-reinforced concrete can be made using steel fibres, but also from a wide variety of other fibres including synthetic, glass and cellulose.
Fibre-reinforced concrete has been available for decades and is increasingly being used in pavements, bridge decks, roadways and concrete flooring. The material has many benefits – it is cost-effective and requires fewer workers to install, can improve the durability of concrete flooring, is crack resistant and requires less maintenance. As there are no steel rebars, a steel inspection is not required prior to pouring concrete. Ready-mixed concrete trucks can speedily and accurately pour the concrete wherever it is required, and fibre-reinforced concrete flooring requires minimal finishing.
This type of concrete withstands temperature extremes and is not subject to shrinkage. There are many types of environmentally friendly types of fibre-reinforced concrete whose fibres are made from recycled materials such as recycled car trims, thus preventing these materials going to landfill waste sites.
According to Mahoney, fibre-reinforced concrete will make a key contribution to the future of the construction industry. Even if steel becomes cheaper and more plentiful, many contractors may prefer to stay loyal to fibre-reinforced concrete for its many benefits.
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