Concrete is a very hard and and very durable material. However, it is also brittle and the larger the piece the more likely it is to break or snap.
To compensate for this the liquid concrete is poured over steel rods to make the resultant structure stronger and longer lasting.
However, the steel rods will expand and contract with changes in temperature so the concrete is laid in slabs with expansion joints between them.
But what do you do if you want a concrete floor without expansion joints? How do you get the same strength without using rebar? The answer is Steel Fibre Reinforced Concrete (SFRC).
What is Steel Fibre Reinforced Concrete
With Rebar Reinforced Concrete, as we said, the concrete is poured over the steel rods but with SFRC short strands(usually around 4 or 5cm in length) are added to the concrete mix at a rate of between 25kg and 100kg per cubic metre of concrete depending on the degree of reinforcement required. The mix is then poured directly in-situ.
Usually the steel fibres are recycled from other industrial uses. One popular source of steel fibre are scrap car and truck tyres.
One draw back of SFRC is the likelihood of some fibres sticking out through the surface of the concrete. One solution for concrete floors is the addition of a “dry shake” treatment during curing.
The dry shake is a granular mix of cement, ground aggregate, pigment and surface hardener which is spread across the surface of the new concrete during curing. The concrete is then power trowelled to produce a smooth surface.
The benefits of Steel Fibre Reinforced Concrete
There are a number of significant benefits that arise from the use of Steel fibre reinforced concrete over normal rebar reinforced concrete in concrete flooring.
- With Steel fibre reinforced concrete there is a significantly reduced risk of cracking.
- The floor can be laid without expansion joints and, therefore, is more easily maintained and cleaned.
- The floor can up up to 50% thinner than conventional flooring meaning that SFRC is significantly cheaper.
How to make a Steel Reinforced Concrete beautiful
The first step is to cut off and steel fibres protruding through the surface of the concrete.
Then we recommend the use of the BECOSAN® System. Here the the floor is ground to remove any micro roughness from the surface. The floor is then made resistant to wear through the addition of BECOSAN® Densifier. Finally, the floor is polished and treated with BECOSAN® Sealant to make it resistant to liquid spillage.
These are the steps of the BECOSAN@ system.
There is no reason why Steel Fibre Reinforced Concrete cannot be made as attractive as any other concrete surface.