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Uses of synthetic fibre in concrete

Advantages & Benefits of Synthetic Fibres in Concrete Flooring & Plastering Applications

Use fibres in concrete or concreting materials

as an additive, dates back to Romans &
Egyptians period. Romans included bits of
horse hair in the construction of Roman
Colosseum which was built in 80BC and the
Egyptians used straw in their bricks for
constructions. There are other historical
places like Tipu Palace at Sriranganapatna,
where fibers were used in mortar
Drawbacks of use of Concrete in Flooring Works
Plain concrete is prone to plastic shrinkage and
settlement cracks. Usually, these floors will have
very less abrasion resistance and impact
resistance. Construction joints are often left as
weak joints after casting. All these issues leads to
periodic maintenance of floors due to less
durability and earlier wearing of top floor surface.
Drawbacks of using Plain Plastering
Plastic shrinkage cracks are often developed in
the initial stage of plastering. Segregation, High
rebound loss of mortar & High water and
moisture absorption from the atmosphere are
other issues. Thermal and drying shrinkage cracks
can be developed in the hardened surface of
plastering. It demands more maintenance in
terms of periodic waterproofing and painting of
the buildings.
Development of Fiber Reinforcement
In olden days vegetable Fibers, Straws, Jute
and Cotton, Coconut Fiber known as coir were
widely used as fibre. Later Horse hair, Sheeps
Wool replaced the demand. In current
industrial and construction practices Glass,
Polyester, Nylon, Polypropylene and Steel
fibres are used as additive in the concrete.
Comparison with Various Types of Fibers
Glass fibres are expensive, unsafe and
unprotected use causes itching is hazardous to
human health. Steel fibres are prone to
Corrosion and it increases Dead Weight of the
structure which is not favorable. Steel is also
expensive compared to other fibres. Mixing of
steel can be another problem. Nylon fibres on
the other had are Very Expensive
Working of Fibres in Concrete
Fibre holds the aggregates and prevents separation of coarse
aggregate due to vibration /gravity ensuring better bonding within
the matrix. This provides a uniform mixture of concrete and fiber
allows slow transfer of water to surface thereby reducing cracks in
the concrete.
Nowadays, synthetic fibers widely are added to concrete to reduce
plastic shrinkage cracking of reinforced and structural plain concrete
and to reduce shrinkage and temperature cracking in structural
plain concrete slabs on grade. Consideration to be given to the
volume, size and type of fibers used for mixing. These fibers are
considered as admixtures and are used in addition to any structural
reinforcement, shrinkage and temperature reinforcement and
joints. The fibers may be used in concrete over steel deck
construction. In addition to this, fibers may be used in fire resistant
construction on steel decks.
Advantages & Benefits of Using Synthetic Fibres in Plastering
Fibers reduced shrinkage cracks
Rebound loss of the mortar has been reduced to 10 % instead of 30
to 40 % without fibers in the mortar
No Dampness and leakage of plastered walls
Better finish of wall surface
Increased durability due to Increased strength of mortar and thus
longer life of constructions
Savings due to economic mix designs and more durable plastered
Compressive strength of plaster was increased by over 15-20%
Results in Cement savings up to 3%
Increase in labor productivity by over 5%
Advantages of Using Synthetic Fibres in Concrete Flooring Works
The use of fibers has improved the abrasion resistance of concrete
floors to moving loads.
No appearance of plastic shrinkage and plastic settlement cracks on
the concrete floor surface.
Service life of the floor is enhanced due to high durable concrete
produced with synthetic fibers.
Improved impact resistance of floors to point loads.
Concrete mix with fibers was cohesive with better workability.
Compressive strength of plaster was increased by over 8-10%.

Synthetic Fibers can be used in all

construction applications, different types of
fibers should be developed to address each
specific construction applications.
Construction industry should encourage new
technologies like fibers reinforcement in
construction to a larger extent for improving
the durability and serviceability of the building
and structures