Fiber: Good For the Concrete Diet?

by William C. Panarese, Manager; Construction Information Services, Portland Cement Association, Skokie, IL,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1992, Vol. 62, Issue 5, Pg. 44-47

Document Type: Feature article


Fiber reinforcement of concrete has many advantages, but after thirty years of research those benefits have most often been seen in a laboratory. Some materials, such as synthetic fibers, glass and steel have seen use, mainly as floor slabs, slabs on grade and shotcrete, but questions linger about each. The volume of synthetic fibers specified is frequently too small, steel fiber reinforcement creates some fabrication problems and the poor durability of glass are all challenges the field faces. The most promising materials, aramid and carbon fibers, are still too expensive for widespread application. And while there have been commercial uses for fiber reinforcement, the lack of specific codes and recommendations use has held the field back. That is starting to change and with more specifications and test results starting to come out, the field may be poised for a golden age. The article discusses the properties of the different fibers used to reinforce concrete, their applications and some recent advances in research and testing. A table lists some of their characteristics.

Subject Headings: Fiber reinforced concrete | Fiber reinforced composites | Fabrics | Steel fibers | Concrete | Glass | Synthetic materials | Fiber reinforced polymer

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