Reinforcing Concrete Strength

Basically, steel reinforcement is the term that explains the use of steel to strengthen and reinforce concrete structures. This reinforcement uses different kinds of steel products.

These bars and wires are specifically manufactured for the construction industry and designed to work with concrete. Concrete structures are erected with the help of Steel Reinforcement Brisbane.

In another aspect, a concrete structure with steel reinforcement (steel bars and wires) is called reinforced concrete and the process is called concrete reinforcement.

The science

The science behind steel reinforcement on plain concrete does poorly when it comes to tensile strength. However, the resulting combination has excellent compressive strength.

Combining this building raw material with the tensile strength of steel bars and wires means that reinforced concrete and steel work together to contribute to the load bearing capacity of the building.

Main use

Steel reinforcement is used in bridges, buildings, skyscrapers, homes, warehouses, and foundations. The main point is to increase the strength of a concrete structure.

Rebar (full name: reinforcement bar) is used in concrete to provide additional strength, as concrete is weak in tension, while steel is strong in both tension and compression.

This reinforcement bar (rebar) is often referred to this and is typically formed from carbon steel and is used to help strengthen concrete. They also absorb any tension that may be present.


They come in with ridges that help to bind to the concrete.There are other readily available types of rebar manufactured of stainless steel. There are composite bars made of glass fiber, carbon fiber, or basalt fiber.

The carbon steel reinforcing bars may also be coated in zinc or an epoxy resin designed to resist the effects of corrosion, especially when used in saltwater environments.

Embedded steel

The resulting mix is called reinforced concrete. This is where the steel is embedded in a way that the two materials (concrete and steel) act together in resisting forces.

The reinforcing steel (rods, bars, or mesh) works to absorb the tensile, shear, and sometimes the compressive stresses in the resulting concrete structure.

This reinforcement within concrete creates a composite material where the concrete providing strength against compressive stress while the reinforcement provides strength against tensile stress.

Tension device

The reinforcing bar (rebar) becomes a tension device in reinforced concrete. The reinforced masonry works to help strengthen and aid the concrete under tenon. As it is, concrete is strong under compression, but has low tensile strength.

As an industry standard, steel is the most common material used as reinforcement. However, there are other materials that are also used like reinforced polymer (FRP).

Reinforcing material

Construction elements that are intended to carry a heavy load needs to be always reinforced. These include such elements as foundations, footings, columns and slabs.

Without reinforcement, these elements could be compromised structurally. Worse, it could even fail entirely at some point in their lifespan

To date, there are several types of steel reinforcement. Typically, the types of steel reinforcement can be categorized into hot rolled, prestressing, cold rolled, and mild reinforcing bars.

All of these steel building materials are ideal for various construction activities, providing form and function to concrete while making projects more practical.

Hot rolled deformed bars

This is the most common type of reinforcement for regular RCC structures. Hot rolling is done in the steel mills which involves giving it deformations on the surface (ribs) so that it can form bond with concrete.

The stress – strain curve shows a distinct yield point followed by a plastic stage in which strain increases without increase in stress. This is followed by a strain hardening stage. It has typical tensile yield strength of 60,000 psi.

Mild steel plain bars

These are plain steel bars and don’t have any ribs on them. These are mainly used in small projects where economy is the real concern.

As plain bars cannot bind very well with concrete, hooks have to be provided at the ends. In This type of steel has a stress – strain curve that shows a distinct yield point followed by a plastic stage in which strain increases without increase in stress.

This is followed by a strain hardening stage. The Plastic stage in Mild Steel Bars is even more pronounced than in Hot Rolled Deformed Bars. Typical tensile yield strength is 40,000 psi (pounds per square inch)

Cold worked steel reinforcement

When hot rolled steel bar undergoes process of cold working, cold worked reinforcement is produced. Cold working involves twisting or drawing the bars at room temperature.

This eliminates the Plastic Stage in the Stress-Strain curve, although it gives more control over the size and tolerances of bars. Due to removal of the plastic stage, it has a lower ductility than Hot Rolled bars.

Its use is specific to projects where low tolerances and straightness are a major concern. Its stress – strain curve does not show a distinct yield point as plastic stage is entirely eliminated.

Yield stress is the point where this line intersects the stress – strain curve. This is known as 0.2% proof stress. If yield stress is determined at 0.1% strain it is called 0.1% proof stress. Typical tensile yield strength is 60,000 psi.

Prestressing Steel

Prestressing steel is used in the form of bars or tendons which are made up of multiple strands.  However, tendons / strands are more frequently used as these can be laid in various profiles, which is a primary requirement of prestressing steel.

Prestressing strands are, in turn, made up of multiple wires (typical 2, 3 or 7 wire strands). Typical seven wire strand consists of six wires spun around the seventh wire which has a slightly larger diameter, thus forming a helical strand.

These wires are cold drawn and have very high tensile ultimate strength (typically 250,000 – 270,000 psi).

This high tensile strength makes it possible to effectively prestress concrete even after undergoing short-term and long-term losses. These are used in prestressed concrete in bridges or prestressed slabs in buildings.

Prestressing steel is also available as non-bonded strands encased in PVC sheath. It is used in post-tensioning of members. Prestressing strands are also available as Low Relaxation Strands which exhibit low relaxation losses after prestressing.

However, the design of prestressed concrete does not depend on yield stress as much as it depends on its ultimate strength which is the property of interest in this type of steel.


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