Reinforced concrete and its properties

With around 100 million cubic meters per year, reinforced concrete is the most commonly used building material in Germany. This is mainly due to its excellent properties. What makes reinforced concrete so popular as a building material is revealed in this article.

Properties of steel and concrete

Concrete is a very cheap building material which consists of predominantly natural raw materials and is very cheap to produce. It can be optimized for virtually any application with different additives and additives.

In the liquid state, it is almost infinitely malleable, in the cured state extremely pressure-resistant, dimensionally stable and durable. It is resistant to the weather and can even be used underwater. But its biggest plus is its almost unlimited durability and durability.

The only real drawback of concrete, namely the low tensile strength, is compensated for in steel reinforced concrete. It increases the tensile strength of concrete and, at the same time, in turn increases the already very high compressive strength of the concrete. As a composite, steel and concrete together offer all the features one would expect from a "universal building material".

How reinforced concrete works

The concrete is reinforced in the case of reinforced concrete by so-called reinforcements made of steel inside. The reinforcement is installed in such a way that occurring tensile forces on the component are absorbed by the steel reinforcements inside.

Attachment of the reinforcement is relatively simple as the concrete is simply poured or pumped over the reinforcing steel until it is covered and completely enclosed in the concrete. After curing, the reinforced concrete is fully loadable.

Possible damage to the reinforced concrete

The biggest problem with reinforced concrete is the corrosion of the steel parts, which serve as a reinforcement or as a spacer between the individual reinforcing bars. If the normally alkaline environment in the interior of the concrete, which normally has a pH of 12-14 to a pH below 10, the steel rods inside are no longer protected against corrosion.

Corroded reinforcing steel corrodes chemical processes that partially convert the concrete inside into chemical products that have a larger volume than the starting materials. This leads to the occurrence of stresses in the interior of the concrete. One speaks of the so-called carbonation or of a "driving attack" on the concrete from the inside.

This problem with reinforced concrete is the biggest disadvantage and the most frequent cause of damage in reinforced concrete. It can be largely avoided, however, with some circumspection.

Video Board: Reinforced Concrete RC#1 (Introduction)