“Stiff natural or synthetic fibres in the concrete mix can significantly augment the strength of concrete,” says Bryan Perrie, chief executive officer of Cement & Concrete South Africa (CCSA).

Perrie says concrete made with Portland cement is relatively strong in compression but weak in tension, which can be overcome by the usual insertion of conventional rod reinforcement and enough stiff fibres in the mix.

Fibres improve toughness

Fibres alter the behaviour of the fibre-matrix composite after it has cracked, thereby improving its toughness. Natural and synthetic types of fibre with steel and glass versions are the most used.

Perrie says for the effective use of fibres in hardened concrete:

  • The fibres must be significantly stiffer than the matrix.
  • The fibre content must be adequate.
  • There must be a good fibre-matrix bond.
  • The fibres must have a high aspect ratio, i.e., their length must be in the correct relation to their diameter.

For more information, contact the CCSA:
Tel: +27 11 315 0300
Website: www.cemcon-sa.org.za

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