Best Practices for Using Steel Fiber Reinforced Concrete

steel fiber reinforced concrete in Arkansas

When you need extra strength and durability for your commercial construction project, steel fiber reinforced concrete is the answer.

””Steel fiber reinforced concrete is a type of concrete containing randomly dispersed steel fibers. Un-reinforced concrete has a lower tensile strength and strain capacity than is necessary for projects subject to tremendous wear and strain. Adding steel fiber increases the toughness of your concrete and its energy absorption capacity while reducing cracking potential.

The Best Projects for Steel Fiber Reinforced Concrete

Steel fiber reinforced concrete is often used in projects requiring high-impact, flat slabs of concrete like multi-story commercial buildings or bridge deck construction. Steel fiber reinforced concrete is also used in shotcrete applications.

Because shotcrete is conveyed through a hose and projected at high velocity onto a surface, this technique is most useful for projects needing concrete in hard-to-reach areas or that have deteriorated irregularly. Common shotcrete applications that use reinforced concrete include:

  • Rock slope stabilization
  • Tunneling
  • Repairs to bridges, buildings, and interstates
  • Pools
  • Commercial roofs

Using steel fiber reinforced concrete can decrease the workability of the concrete and accelerate the curing process. This challenge can be overcome using high-range superplasticizers to help maintain the plasticity of the mix. Superplasticizers increase the slump of concrete by acting as water reducers and prolonging the curing process.

Unlike rebar or mesh reinforced concrete, which is located on a particular slab, steel fiber reinforced concrete is evenly distributed throughout the concrete mix. The primary function of the steel fibers is to prevent cracking on a micro level.

By intercepting cracks the moment they begin, steel fibers inhibit the growth of cracks. This makes reinforced concrete ideal for projects that are prone to cracking like sidewalks, industrial flooring, commercial parking lots, and interstates.

Best Practices to Follow

The steel fibers in your concrete mix will change the consistency and flow, so you will need to take a few extra steps and precautions when dealing with reinforced concrete:

  • Your reinforced concrete may appear to be stiff because the steel fibers inhibit flow, but the material will flow readily into your forms with some additional vibration. Note that you should add water to steel fiber reinforced concrete mixes carefully because reaching a water-cement ratio of 0.5 or more may increase the slump of the mix without increasing its workability.
  • Level your concrete surface with a vibrating screed or a roller screed to help embed the fibers fully into the concrete. Exposed steel fibers could cause injury or damage tires.
  • Wait an additional 10-15 minutes after the concrete has set before stepping onto the surface. Steel fibers slow the bleeding process, and waiting ensures that all excess water is cleaned from the surface.
  • Because the steel fibers decrease water retention, you will need to apply a curing compound immediately after your concrete surface has finished setting. This will keep it hydrated, which reduces cracking and evaporation that can weaken your steel fiber reinforced concrete.
  • Ensure that you are pouring your steel fiber reinforced concrete in an area that is at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Any temperature below 50 degrees will slow or stop the hydration process, which retards your cement’s strength gain. Heaters and thermal blankets are an option if you are operating in freezing temperatures, but be careful to properly ventilate. Exhaust fumes can damage your concrete.

If your next commercial construction projects needs steel fiber reinforced concrete in Arkansas, contact Razorback Concrete at 870.455.0700 for a free estimate.

free concrete calculator

*Photo by Karrock CC 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Have Any Questions?

Don’t hesitate to contact us any time!