Steel reinforcing mesh was utilized in construction for a long time. Today, steel bars are no longer the only option for reinforcing concrete slabs. Poly fiber has been a perfect replacement and gives an ideal reinforcement on the basis of its compatibility with concrete. To make a perfect decision, you need to understand the pros and cons of choosing poly fiber to construct concrete slabs.
The concrete crack might become big enough, such that it can be noticed from a distance. While all concrete could have micro-cracks, few appear at an early age, when the concrete is subjected to tensile stress from the drying shrinkage or thermal contraction. The embedded steel needs to be very close to the source of the microcrack to stop its growth. Here is where the poly fibers become helpful since they provide the dense distribution required to catch tiny cracks. Nevertheless, one reason builders are switching to poly fibers for concrete reinforcement is holding micro-cracks from growing.
Three Dimensional Reinforcing
Poly fibers feature an improved flexural strength and boast three-dimensional reinforcing properties. Apart from this, poly fibers feature abrasion resistance, providing resistance to micro and macro cracking. The ability to resist abrasion refers to that the material has decreased the equipment wear, enhancing the concrete slab’s life. Hence, poly fiber increases the build-up thickness compared to steel, and primarily when applied on slabs. Builders have explored that fiber improvises the hardness of the concrete surface against severe forces such as earthquakes.
Bending Resistance and Tensile Equivalent to Steel Reinforcement
The poly fibers have been designed to provide a high level of tensile, while the bending resistance is equivalent to that of the conventional steel reinforcing mesh. Thus, the material increases the overall durability and holds an excellent fatigue resistance, which is uncommon with traditional materials. Hence, fiber could reinforce concrete against impact forces, increasing the hardened concrete slab’s toughness characteristic. Essentially, the material increases the hardness of the surface of concrete against material loss resulting from frequent movements of loads.
Hence, concrete could be an excellent replacement for the steel bar when building concrete slabs. The material decreases the overall cost of the structure because it is cheaper as compared to steel. Moreover, the maintenance cost has been decreased since fiber can stop micro cracks.
While poly fibers provide multiple advantages, there are disadvantages of utilizing the material while constructing concrete slabs. Ideally, poly fibers do not float on the surface of a properly finished slab. Furthermore, rain damage might expose fibers and aggregate, which is not a good case. Hence, poly fibers are capable of substituting the steel reinforcement mesh in all structural elements. Nevertheless, each segment presents a point where the fiber might not replace.
An essential element in any construction is ensuring durability and the longevity of the structure. Therefore, the choice of materials is a crucial factor. Prior to using poly fiber as a substitute for a steel bar, you must consult your structural engineer.