How Reinforced Concrete Works

Concrete in itself is a rigid substance that can be brittle and has the tendency to crack or break under high pressure conditions and shear stresses caused by wind, earthquakes, and other forces.  That is why steel reinforced bars (rebar) are embedded into concrete before it sets to provide higher tensile strength and ductility to the concrete.  It is one of the things that help to prevent buildings from collapsing when subjected to seismic activity. 

Generally the concrete only needs a relatively low percentage of rebar to achieve the maximum performance required for specific construction projects.  For a typical concrete beam, about 1% of rebar is added to the concrete, while for a column, it can consist up to 6% rebar.  Since steel far exceeds the cost of concrete, it has become an economical solution for providing strength, ductility, and durability to construction.

Types of reinforced concrete include precast or cast-in-place and are used for the construction of slabs, walls, foundations, beams, and columns to name just a few.  Without reinforced concrete, many model structures that have been built today would be impossible.   According to Wikipedia, “Reinforced concrete may also be permanently stressed (in compression), so as to improve the behavior of the final structure under working loads.”  This is typically referred to as pre-tensioning and post-tensioning.     

Precision-engineered rebar is fabricated in state-of-the-art facilities that utilize the latest technologies that increase accuracy and productivity.  The best plants are outfitted with modern shear lines, benders and post-tension cable manufacturing equipment to be able to meet the most exacting specification.  The fabrication process requires highly skilled workers that are trained on up-to-date technologies that make use of building informational modeling (BIM).  Furthermore advanced field fabrication tools such as a coupler systems help with the timely completion of projects. 

Conco is a leading supplier of concrete services for the Western United States.  As one of the leading commercial concrete contractors in the San Jose area, we have been involved with large-scale projects in the area including the Mineta Airport.  Our concrete services include commercial, educational, parking and other construction development as well as public works projects and highways.


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