Why we use Reinforced Concrete

By Paul Adede

Recent weather events such as deadly heat waves and devastating floods have sparked popular interest in understanding the role of global warming in driving extreme weather. While some of the effects and impacts of natural disasters caused by extreme weather can be mitigated, quite often than not, the extent of the disaster is unprecedented hence presenting a range of challenges to contain.

As scientists work to predict how climate change may affect hurricanes, droughts, floods, blizzards and other severe weather, there’s one area that’s been overlooked: constructing buildings that can withstand such conditions.

Locally the current heavy rains being experienced countrywide has seen cases of buildings and structures collapsing. I will focus on Greenpark estate which was partly affected by the bizarre deluge.

However, the focus will be on the salient feature of the Greenpark houses which is the building methods used to construct these bungalows and why they stood firm and unshaken amid the raging floodwaters.

We will begin by elaborating reinforced concrete – the building method used to construct the houses.

What is Reinforced Concrete?

Reinforced concrete is a composite material which concrete and steel are embedded in such a manner that the two materials act together in resisting forces. The wire mesh or steel bars are embedded to increase its tensile strength. The reinforcing steel—rods, bars, or mesh—absorbs the tensile, shear, and sometimes the compressive stresses in a concrete structure.

Why we use Reinforced Concrete

Strength

Reinforced concrete has a high compressive strength compared to other building materials. Due to the provided reinforcement, reinforced concrete can also withstand a good amount tensile stress. Fire and weather resistance of reinforced concrete is also remarkable.

Durability

The reinforced concrete building system is more durable than most building systems.  Reinforced concrete combines the good compressive strength of concrete with the high tensile strength of steel and has been proven to be successful in terms of structural performance and durability.

Versatile

Reinforced concrete being a fluid material in the beginning, can be economically molded into a nearly limitless range of shapes. It can be molded to any shape required, and is widely used in precast structural components. In the structure like footings, dams, piers etc. reinforced concrete is the most economically viable construction material used.

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