The History of Concrete Reinforcement

Reinforced concrete is now standard in the construction industry after decades of rapid growth and technological advances.

history of reinforced concrete””As with many other construction procedures, the processes and technology used to create reinforced concrete have evolved drastically over the past several decades. While the history of concrete itself may be long, reinforced concrete is relatively new and has changed the construction industry in the last 50 years. Along with the industry as a whole, we at Razorback Concrete have embraced reinforcement technology over the years and utilize often in our projects. This product has enumerable benefits in a variety of practical applications, all which have been realized through game-changing moments in history.

19th Century: The Origins of Concrete Reinforcement

During the mid-to-late 19th century, various individuals in the United States and Europe had begun to study and test the durability of concrete and ways to improve it. Jean-Louis Lambot is generally credited with popularizing the practice of reinforced concrete in France in the 1860s and 1870s. Before that, W.B. Wilkinson was developing fire-resistant concrete floors reinforced with wire ropes. Meanwhile, R.B. Stevenson was obtaining a patent in 1865 for a process he designed by embedding rods within concrete flooring.

1962: Reinforced Concrete in Metropolitan Architecture

In 1962, the two towers of Marina City in downtown Chicago became the first skyscrapers to utilize reinforced concrete during construction. Reinforced concrete then became the standard for skyscraper construction, as the price of steel decreased and labor costs increased.

1984: Introduction to Post Reinforcement

The initial reinforcement of concrete bridges and pathways may deteriorate over time. That was the problem facing the Kansas Department of Transportation in 1984: dangerous cracks were developing in many of their two-girder (or beam) reinforced concrete bridges. The solution required a leap forward in concrete reinforcement techniques. The result was the birth of post reinforcement, a prevention-and-cure approach that repairs girder damage and bolsters their durability. This process of sealing cracks and installing secondary rebar helps to increase capacity and re-stabilize structures.

1996: Synthetic Fiber Reinforcement

With advances in materials science came the idea of adding small amounts of synthetic fibers to conventional concrete mixtures in low-volume dosage rates. The practice further improves the strength and longevity of concrete. Organizations developed general guidelines for batching, placement, and finishing of fiber-reinforced concrete.

2001: A Leap Forward with New Materials

The turn of the new millennium brought with it new standards for concrete reinforcement. The new wave of materials included stainless-clad steel, multi-phased martensitic formable steel (or MMFX steel), and fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) bars. These materials provided a leap forward in durability, workability, and longevity over other materials.

2006: Expansion of Fiber Reinforcement

By this point in history, nearly all concrete contains some form of steel reinforcement. Construction experts recognize the potential of synthetic fiber reinforcement in various settings. This includes foundational and structural projects in range of commercial uses, including those aimed at being environmentally-friendly. The process of fiber reinforcement offers significant savings in labor and overhead compared to other reinforcement processes. The industry continues to embrace reinforcement, which is steadily growing and seeing widespread use.

Concrete reinforcement will no doubt continue to evolve as concrete technology continues to improve. To utilize reinforced concrete in your next construction venture, contact Razorback Concrete at 870-455-0700. Learn how we use the latest technology to promise the best concrete product for your project.

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