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The Benefits of Adding Fiber to your Concrete Mix?

Your mother always told you to get enough fiber…she wasn’t wrong! Fiber is beneficial to your health, and believe it or not, it can prolong the life of your concrete. So, is concrete fiber the same as dietary fiber? Not even close!

Fiber-reinforced concrete is concrete that contains fibrous material which helps to maintain the structural integrity. Concrete fibers are manmade materials that are typically made from steel, glass, and organic polymers. When added to the concrete mix (usually at the plant), these fibers help to reduce the cracking that naturally occurs with concrete. Since concrete is a rigid material, it is susceptible to cracking. The goal of these fibers is to “hold” the concrete together and to “hold” the cracks together. Fibers are a part of the system to reduce or control cracking and extend the life of your concrete pavement.

Cracking of concrete can occur due to changes in temperatures. Cracks can also arise as a result of density changes from setting the concrete. Fibers will not keep cracks from forming. Instead, the fibers are designed to hold the concrete together and prevent it from falling apart. When concrete is going through the curing process, the water inside the concrete evaporates. The method of water evaporation can cause cracks in the concrete. Fibers such as polypropylene reduce cracking by protecting the concrete from stress. Steel fibers reduce cracking by intersecting cracks and stopping their growth.

Fibers assist with freeze-thaw stress concrete that is exposed. Water expands when it is frozen, and water inside concrete is susceptible to freezing. If the water freezes, it creates pressure in the pores of the concrete. Once the pressure exceeds the tensile strength of the concrete, the concrete can rupture. Prolonged freeze-thaw cycles can cause cracking, scaling, pitting, and crumbling. When fibers are added to the concrete mix, its freeze-thaw resistance will improve.

So, you can see, fibers are an important part of extending the life of your concrete, and they cost very little to add to the mix – usually less than $0.20 cents a square foot.

The pavement preservation pros recommend adding fiber to your concrete mix in order to extend the life of your pavement. With 45+ years of experience, Byrne & Jones Construction has the horsepower and expertise to help. Ready to prolong the life of your concrete? Give us a call at (314) 254-9766.