reinforced concrete

In by Mark Goodman

A combination of steel and concrete using the best properties of both. The steel consists of rebar from 3/8-inch to 2-1/4 inches in diameter and is placed before the concrete is poured.

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
reinforced concrete (noun)
concrete in which metal (as steel) is embedded so that the two materials act together in resisting forces
reinforced concrete (Wikipedia)
The novel shape of the Philips Pavilion in Brussels was allowed by reinforced concrete.

Reinforced concrete (RC) (also called reinforced cement concrete or RCC) is a composite material in which concrete's relatively low tensile strength and ductility are counteracted by the inclusion of reinforcement having higher tensile strength or ductility. The reinforcement is usually, though not necessarily, steel reinforcing bars (rebar) and is usually embedded passively in the concrete before the concrete sets. Reinforcing schemes are generally designed to resist tensile stresses in particular regions of the concrete that might cause unacceptable cracking and/or structural failure. Modern reinforced concrete can contain varied reinforcing materials made of steel, polymers or alternate composite material in conjunction with rebar or not. Reinforced concrete may also be permanently stressed (concrete in compression, reinforcement in tension), so as to improve the behaviour of the final structure under working loads. In the United States, the most common methods of doing this are known as pre-tensioning and post-tensioning.

For a strong, ductile and durable construction the reinforcement needs to have the following properties at least:

  • High relative strength
  • High toleration of tensile strain
  • Good bond to the concrete, irrespective of pH, moisture, and similar factors
  • Thermal compatibility, not causing unacceptable stresses in response to changing temperatures.
  • Durability in the concrete environment, irrespective of corrosion or sustained stress for example.
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