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What is Reinforced Concrete

What is Reinforced Concrete


The marriage between concrete and steel has lasted long.  The first structures we know of in which stone and iron were used together were built by the ancient Greeks.  Over the years, the stone was replaced by concrete and iron by steel. The reasons for the union between steel and concrete are simple.  Concrete is strong in compression but weak in tension.  In contrast, steel bars are strong in tension.  If we put steel bars into concrete, we get a composite that can handle both compression and tension.  And we can use this composite to make elements of almost any shape we can imagine without the need for melting and handling molten material at high temperature.  We shape concrete by casting it into molds soon after we mix its ingredients –stone, sand, water and cement– while the mix is still a fluid.  The operation is relatively simple.  In addition, the composite is lighter and, in many instances, cheaper than steel.  Putting concrete and steel together, we gain the best of both materials.

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