For millennia, fibers in concrete and other masonry were used to strengthen and reinforce the material. Use of natural fibers like horse hair and straw fell out of favor with the introduction of reinforced steel and wire mesh. But today the development of super-strong synthetic fibers has made the use of fiber-reinforced concrete more widespread.
The newer fibers are proving to be stronger than ever and can be superior to steel in certain applications.
A Web of Strength
Because the fibers are spread throughout the concrete they construct a matrix that is less likely to crack. It makes fiber-reinforced concrete a choice for sidewalks, driveways or any concrete slab.
The short fibers are mixed in with the concrete. Once poured, the fibers in the concrete fall in many different orientations overlapping one another on both the vertical and horizontal planes. When a micro-crack occurs in the concrete, the fibers hold tight, stopping the crack from expanding. The result is fewer larger fractures to the concrete, which in the past would expose steel reinforcement to the elements and lead to faster deterioration.
Emerging technology is making the fibers even stronger with some applications approved for concrete walls and even bridge decks.
Steel Still Supreme
Steel-reinforced concrete is still the choice for support columns and other critical support structures in buildings and bridges. The strength that steel provides and the forces it can absorb cannot be matched by fiber.
Steel-reinforced concrete has been around for more than 100 years and has helped build modern cities with reliable infrastructure on roads and a multitude of drainage options. Del Zotto Products has been an innovator in the precast, concrete forms industry for decades.
Del Zotto can help you make your own precast concrete products. We custom make your forms and offer training in their use. Contact us for information about our products.