Concrete is a very hard and durable material. However, it is also a brittle material, and the larger the size the more likely it is to break or crack.
To overcome this problem, during the construction process, liquid concrete can be poured over steel bars to create a stronger structure which is more durable.
On the other hand, steel bars expand and contract with temperature changes, for this reason, the concrete should be placed ideally on slabs with expansion joints between them.
But what if you want a concrete floor without expansion joints? How do you get the same strength without using steel bars? The answer is steel fibre reinforced concrete (SFRC).
What is Steel Fibre Reinforced Concrete
With reinforced concrete, as we said before, the concrete is poured onto the steel bars, but with the SFRC short strands (usually about 4 or 5 cm in length) are added to the concrete mix in a ratio of between 25 and 100 kg per cubic meter of concrete, depending on the degree of reinforcement required. The mixture is then poured directly on site.
Steel fibers are generally recycled from other industrial activities. A popular source of steel fibre is automobile and truck scrap tires.
A disadvantage of SFRC is the probability that some fibers will protrude through the concrete surface. A solution to this is the addition of a “dry shake” treatment during the curing process.
Dry shake is a granular mixture of cement, ground aggregate, pigment, and surface hardener that is spread across the surface of the new concrete whilst curing. The concrete is then leveled to create a smooth surface.
Benefits of steel fiber reinforced concrete
The use of steel fibre reinforced concrete in flooring has several significant benefits compared to normal reinforced concrete.
- Steel fiber reinforced concrete significantly reduces the risk of cracking.
- The floor can be laid without expansion joints and is, therefore, easier to maintain and clean.
- The floor slabs can be up to 50% thinner than conventional slabs, which means that the SFRC is significantly cheaper.
How to make steel fibre reinforced concrete excellent?
The first step is to cut any steel fibers that are protruding through the concrete surface.
Then we recommend using the BECOSAN® System. This system polishes the floor and removes any micro-roughness from the surface, increasing its resistance to wear by adding the BECOSAN® Densifier. Lastly, the floor is polished and treated with BECOSAN® Sealer to make it resistant to liquids.
These are the steps for the BECOSAN® system.
There is no reason why steel fibre reinforced concrete can’t be made as attractive as any other concrete surface.