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What is Fiber Reinforced Concrete?

Fiber Reinforced Concrete (FRC) is a robust blend that incorporates fibrous materials to enhance structural integrity. By dispersing tiny fibers throughout the concrete mix, it gains improved resistance to cracking, enhanced durability, and superior toughness. This innovation in construction material science offers a leap in building resilience. Curious about how FRC is revolutionizing modern architecture? Let's delve deeper.
Lou Paun
Lou Paun

Conventional fiber reinforced concrete, sometimes called FRC, is concrete that has been strengthened by adding shreds of other materials to the wet mix. Concrete is quite brittle; it has very good compressive strength but comparatively little tensile strength, which makes it likely to crack under many conditions. This leads to further damage. Concrete that is reinforced is less likely to crack than standard concrete.

Using fibers to reinforce other materials is not a new idea. In fact, it has been practiced for thousands of years, with straw mixed into mud bricks and horsehair included in mortar. In the early years of the 20th century, asbestos fibers were added to concrete. By the 1960s a variety of materials, such as polypropylene, glass, and steel fibers, were used.

Working concrete can ensure that it's strong and even.
Working concrete can ensure that it's strong and even.

Current research suggests that microfibers, rather than long fibers, best increase tensile strength. Adding these fibers causes relatively little improvement in impact resistance, however. Polypropylene fibers reduce damage from freeze-thaw cycles and reduce the chances of spalling or explosion if there is a fire. Cellulose fibers from genetically modified pine trees have also shown promise in testing.

Microfibers are mixed with concrete to provide stability for building foundations.
Microfibers are mixed with concrete to provide stability for building foundations.

Glass fiber reinforced concrete, which contains alkali-resistant glass fibers, is especially resistant to ordinary deterioration caused by environmental conditions. It is also an ecologically friendly material because the glass fibers are made from natural materials and take comparatively little energy to produce.

This form of concrete is commonly used at ground level for things like pavements and floors. It can also be used in foundations, pillars, precast forms, and beams, especially in combination with traditional reinforcements like rebar or steel mesh.

Fiber reinforced concrete is made by mixing shreds of other materials into the wet concrete prior to pouring.
Fiber reinforced concrete is made by mixing shreds of other materials into the wet concrete prior to pouring.

The most recent research in fiber reinforced concrete has been in the development of engineered cement composites (ECC). These composites are flexible, both because of the fiber included and because of the materials that make up the concrete itself. The University of Michigan introduced a formula in 2005 that weighs 40% less than regular concrete and is 500 times less subject to cracking. It has been used for construction in Japan, Korea, Switzerland, Australia, and the U.S.

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Discussion Comments

anon324285

Is there a reason "driveways" is not mentioned among the list of flat work fiber-filled concrete can be used for?

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    • Working concrete can ensure that it's strong and even.
      By: Lilyana Vynogradova
      Working concrete can ensure that it's strong and even.
    • Microfibers are mixed with concrete to provide stability for building foundations.
      By: wittybear
      Microfibers are mixed with concrete to provide stability for building foundations.
    • Fiber reinforced concrete is made by mixing shreds of other materials into the wet concrete prior to pouring.
      By: Kadmy
      Fiber reinforced concrete is made by mixing shreds of other materials into the wet concrete prior to pouring.
    • Mortar may be reinforced with fibers to give it added strength.
      By: stoonn
      Mortar may be reinforced with fibers to give it added strength.
    • Fiber reinforcement may be used in conjunction with traditional rebar.
      By: podsolnykh
      Fiber reinforcement may be used in conjunction with traditional rebar.