Most people are familiar with reinforcing steel bars, commonly called “rebar”. It is used in bridges, buildings, skyscrapers, homes, warehouses, and foundations to increase the strength of a concrete structure.
Rebar is used in concrete to provide additional strength, as concrete is weak in tension, while steel is strong in both tension and compression. Steel and concrete have similar coefficients of thermal expansion, so a concrete structural member reinforced with steel will experience minimal stress as the temperature changes.
Steel is the product of choice thanks to specific advantages over other materials:
- Ability to be bent – Reinforcing steel can be bent after being manufactured. This simplifies the construction and provides for rapid delivery of fabricated materials.
- Robustness – Reinforcing steel is robust and able to withstand rigors of construction.
- Ability to be recycled – Reinforcing steel is able to be readily recycled at the end of the structure design life.
- Compatibility with concrete – Reinforcing steel does not need to be tied directly to the formwork and does not float in concrete.
- Availability – Reinforcing steel is available in every region of the country. Due to the number and distribution of plants, the United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Design (LEED®) program and other sustainability credits are available.