Rebar Isn’t All That It’s Cracked up to Be - Exploring the Leading Alternative in Concrete Reinforcement - Helix Steel - Banner

Rebar Isn’t All That It’s Cracked up to Be: Exploring the Leading Alternative in Concrete Reinforcement

Concrete cracks have always been a part of a builder’s life, and unfortunately appear far too often. There’s now an alternative concrete reinforcement proven to resist cracks better than anything else.

The challenges of building structures to meet the world’s demands are more extraordinary than ever before. Having to deal with changing building codes, various trade groups, construction logistics, budgeting and remaining on schedule can be frustrating to say the least – especially being forced to use antiquated concrete reinforcement, until today. 

There’s a one-inch (25-mm) twisted piece of steel that can be mixed directly with your concrete to save you time, increase profits and reduce the number of cracks. It’s called Helix® Micro Rebar, and can replace up to 100% of the rebar in your concrete. 

Why Does Concrete Crack and What Can Be Done?

There are many reasons why cracks form in concrete: water evaporation, concrete expansion, temperature cycles, improper ground preparation, overweight loads and concrete drying too quickly.

Since rebar is unable to stop cracks until after they already start, a growing number of engineers, general contractors, ICF builders and developers are seeking out alternatives, and Helix® Micro Rebar has become the innovative concrete reinforcement that is proven to do far more to stop concrete cracks before they start.

The twist steel design provides a strong bond prior to cracking. After a crack develops, the product is designed to untwist, resulting in stable pullout behavior to 70% of its embedded length. Helix® Micro Rebar delivers higher ratings and lasts longer at reducing cracks than rebar. It can increase concrete fatigue resistance by up to 300% and flexural strength by up to 33%.

PropertyRebar & MeshPlastic FiberHook EndedHelix® Micro Rebar
Increases Stress at First CrackDecreases
Increases Strain at First CrackDecreases
Increases Post-Crack Stress
Increases Pre-Crack Toughness
High Elongation
Provides Stable Pullout From Untwisting Mechanism
Code Approved – ICC-ES Evaluation Report
Approved for Temperature and Shrinkage
Approved for Structural Applications

Infrastructure Put to the Test

When you think of infrastructure cracks, overpasses often come to mind. With their exposed structural elements and heavy-load requirements, cracks can often be seen in many of North America’s aging concrete spans.

Forward-thinking contractors are offering ways to reduce infrastructure replacement costs by building smarter, with concrete that has longer lifespans and lower lifecycle costs. 

In the case of a bridge deck replacement in Kansas City, Missouri, the client had a decision to make: replace the overpass or rethink what is possible. After speaking with Helix Steel’s experts about the engineering behind the product, the contractor knew that they could save not only time, but also the major structural components, by simply changing their concrete reinforcement.

“By adding Helix® Micro Rebar™ reinforcement to the concrete mix, we have been able to deliver a bridge deck overlay that is less susceptible to deterioration and cracking,” says Jason Stastny, Phillips Hardy. 

Innovating their thinking helped to reduce cracks through the highly versatile concrete reinforcement: +1132% in shear strength, +142% in durability, +800% in toughness and +42% in modulus of rupture.

Take a Load Off Your Slab

In another case, developer Ashley Capital needed to greatly expand its warehousing capacity and find a solution that could take the weight of hundreds of fully loaded transport trucks driving and parking on a 1.1 million square-foot concrete slab. Placing traditional steel reinforcement across this massive area would also require a crew of workers and several weeks of time.

Ashley Capital chose the alternative to rebar that has a long history of successfully being used in concrete slabs, saving time, preventing cracks and improving the durability of the concrete for decades to come. The owners were thrilled with their Helix® Micro Rebar choice for the slab, which still shows no signs of cracks.

Don’t Let Cracks Ruin Your Life (or Your Structures)

Don’t ever think you can solve your concrete’s crack problem with rusty rebar. Speak with the experts at Helix Steel to discuss how you can reap the benefits of Helix® Micro Rebar for structures ranging from warehouse slabs to precast products to tunnels. Learn more and contact Helix Steel.