foundation system of burj al arab

Fiber reinforced concrete

Historical perspective:  The concept of using fibers as reinforcement is not new. Fibers have been used as reinforcement since ancient times. Historically, horsehair was used in mortar and straw in mud bricks. In the early 1900s, asbestos fibers were used in concrete, and in the 1950s the concept of composite materials came into being and fiber reinforced concrete was one of the topics of interest. There was a need to find a replacement for the asbestos used in concrete and other building materials once the health risks associated with the substance were discovered. By the 1960s, steel, glass (GFRC), and synthetic fibers such as polypropylene fibers were used in concrete, and research into new fiber reinforced concretes continues today.

Effect of fibers in concrete:   Fibers are usually used in concrete to control plastic shrinkage cracking and drying shrinkage cracking. They also lower the permeability of concrete and thus reduce bleeding of water. Some types of fibers produce greater impact, abrasion and shatter resistance in concrete. Generally fibers do not increase the flexural strength of concrete, so it can not replace moment resisting or structural steel reinforcement. Some fibers reduce the strength of concrete. The amount of fibres added to a concrete mix is measured as a percentage of the total volume of the composite (concrete and fibres) termed volume fraction (Vf). Vf typically ranges from 0.1 to 3%. Aspect ratio (l/d) is calculated by dividing fibre length (l) by its diameter (d). Fibres with a non-circular cross section use an equivalent diameter for the calculation of aspect ratio. If the modulus of elasticity of the fibre is higher than the matrix (concrete or mortar binder), they help to carry the load by increasing the tensile strength of the material. Increase in the aspect ratio of the fibre usually segments the flexural strength and toughness of the matrix. However, fibres which are too long tend to "ball" in the mix and create workability problems.

Some recent research indicated that using fibers in concrete has limited effect on the impact resistance of concrete materials. This finding is very important since traditionally people think the ductility increases when concrete reinforced with fibers. The results also pointed out that the micro fibers is better in impact resistance compared with the longer fibers.

The High Speed 1 tunnel linings incorporated concrete containing 1 kg/m of polypropylene fibres, of diameter 18 & 32 m, giving the benefits noted below.

  1. Polypropylene fibres can:
  2. Improve mix cohesion, improving pumpability over long distances
  3. Improve freeze-thaw resistance
  4. Improve resistance to explosive spalling in case of a severe fire
  5. Improve impact resistance
  6. Increase resistance to plastic
  7. Some developments in fiber reinforced concrete
The newly developed FRC named Engineered Cementitious Composite (ECC) is 500 times more resistant to cracking and 40 percent lighter than traditional concrete.[citation needed] ECC can sustain strain-hardening up to several percent strain, resulting in a material ductility of at least two orders of magnitude higher when compared to normal concrete or standard fiber reinforced concrete. ECC also has unique cracking behavior. When loaded to beyond the elastic range, ECC maintains crack width to below 100 m, even when deformed to several percent tensile strains.

Recent studies performed on a high-performance fiber-reinforced concrete in a bridge deck found that adding fibers provided residual strength and controlled cracking. There were fewer and narrower cracks in the FRC even though the FRC had more shrinkage than the control. Residual strength is directly proportional to the fiber content.

A new kind of natural fiber reinforced concrete (NFRC) made of cellulose fibers processed from genetically modified slash pine trees is giving good results[citation needed]. The cellulose fibers are longer and greater in diameter than other timber sources. Some studies were performed using waste carpet fibers in concrete as an environmentally friendly use of recycled carpet waste. A carpet typically consists of two layers of backing (usually fabric from polypropylene tape yarns), joined by CaCO3 filled styrene-butadiene latex rubber (SBR), and face fibers (majority being nylon 6 and nylon 66 textured yarns). Such nylon and polypropylene fibers can be used for concrete reinforcement.


  1. Thanks for sharing!

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