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LEVEL: Year II Semester II



Concrete is a stone like material obtained from mixing cement sand, gravel (or some other aggregate)
and water in certain ratios (Nilson 2010, p1). The aim is to mix these materials in measured amounts to
make concrete that is easy to transport, place, compact, finish and which will set, and harden, to give a
strong and durable product. The amount of each material (ie cement, water and aggregates) affects the
properties of hardened concrete. It has four main properties or characteristics these are workability,
cohesiveness, durability and strength. . Depending on the mixture of materials used, concrete will
support, in compression, 700 or more kg/cm2 (10,000 or more lb/in2). The tensile strength of concrete
is much lower, but by using properly designed steel reinforcing, structural members can be made that
are as strong in tension as they are in compression.

Reinforced concrete is concrete in which reinforcement bars ("rebars") or fibers have been incorporated
to add flexural strength to a material that would otherwise be brittle. Nearly all concrete used in
construction is reinforced concrete. Reinforcement helps concrete resist the tensile and shear forces
acting on it and helps in controlling the amount of cracking taking place in the concrete, without
compromising the compressive strength of the concrete. As a force is applied to concrete there will be
compressive, tensile and shear forces acting on the concrete. Horizontal and/or vertical reinforcement is
used in all types of concrete structures where tensile or shear forces may crack or break the concrete.
The horizontal reinforcement helps resist tension forces where as the vertical reinforcement helps resist
shear forces

A bond forms between the steel and the concrete, and stresses can be transferred between both
components. This bond is strong and is achieved by employing the following procedures:

• Ensuring that the reinforcement is clean (free from flakey rust, dirt or grease).

• Properly compacting the concrete around the reinforcement bars.

• Reinforcing bars and mesh should be located so that there is enough room between the bars to place
and compact the concrete.

It is a fact that in the presence of moisture, concrete continues to gain strength for years; so therefore
moisture plays an important role in the curing process of concrete. After exposed surfaces of concrete
have hardened sufficiently (usually one day after pouring) to resist marring, it should be cured by
sprinkling or ponding (covering) with water. For hot weather or humid condition like the Caribbean, it
should be kept moist for at least three days. Thus, keeping the concrete moist increases its durability.