Understanding Rebar Metal and Steel in Utah

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Understanding Rebar Metal and Steel in Utah

understanding rebar metal steel

There are several situations during construction or contracting where steel or other strong metals will be used as support structures for concrete or other materials, and a great example here is known as rebar. Short for “reinforcing bar,” rebar is refers to metal – usually steel – that’s used to help increase the tensile strength of concrete for a variety of needs, including many of the most common construction types you see every day.

At Wasatch Steel, we’re happy to provide a wide range of steel tubing, steel sheet and numerous other steel products for all our clients’ needs throughout Utah. For those involved in a project that might require it: What is rebar, how is it made, what are its varying types, and why/where is it often used within the construction industry? Here’s a primer on everything you need to know.

Rebar Definition and Basics

As we noted above, rebar is short for either reinforcing bar or reinforcement bar. While it’s most commonly made from steel, there are other types of metal that may be used also, but the goal is the same regardless: To increase tensile strength in concrete and allow for these structures to withstand bending, torsion and shearing of loads.

Why is this necessary? Well, because concrete is known to be weak in the areas we just mentioned, at least compared to steel and other metal types. If this reinforcement was not used, these structures would at-risk of falling apart.

Rebar usually will be built so the metal component is not visible within the structure. Rather, it will be buried within the concrete. It’s usually made with ribs rather than smoothly, allowing it to avoid slippage within its structure.

How Rebar is Made

As we noted above, the most common material for rebar use is steel, which is used because of its excellent tensile properties. It’s often made from forms of recycled steel, which will be melted down using an electric arc furnace, cooled using billets, and then stored until it’s needed.

From here, billets can be reheated to an elevated temperature and fed through extrusion tools, then necked down until its proper size is reached. Finally, it will be tooled to create the proper ribbing, which we noted above is in place to prevent slippage within concrete. Then it will be sheared to the proper length, and it’s ready to go.

Types of Rebar

Here’s a primer on the varying different types of rebar you might find, both in terms of the metal used and some of the additional properties:

  • Carbon steel rebar: Perhaps the most common type of rebar out there is carbon steel rebar, which is so popular in large part because it’s both strong and affordable. It’s the foundation of many construction-related concrete pours, utilized in numerous buildings and structures all around you.
  • Stainless steel rebar: While stainless steel shows similar properties to carbon steel, and even improved qualities in a couple areas, it’s less common because of how expensive it is. However, in corrosive environments where zinc is not an option for coating, it’s often used due to its galvanization properties.
  • Galvanized rebar: In cases where corrosion is possible, the rebar will be put through several processes to apply zinc coating to the surface. The zinc will shield the steel from corrosion risks like rust and others.
  • GFRP: Short for gas fiber reinforced polymer, GFRP is a fiberglass-reinforced polymer. It has fantastic tensile strength, and is sometimes used as a good alternative to carbon steel.
  • Epoxy coated reinforced rebar: The most recent form of rebar made for corrosive environments, this type includes a different kind of corrosion protection in the form of epoxy coating.
  • European rebar: This is actually the same product as rebar found in the US, but it’s measured using different standards. Speak to our team about this if it’s a concern for you.

Specific Benefits/Qualities of Rebar

As we’ve noted above, the primary benefit of rebar is the way it supports concrete during any construction project. Concrete is naturally weaker in certain areas, but supporting it with steel or other metals that are extremely strong and durable will remedy this issue.

Here are some of the specifics:

  • Failure resistance: Contractors are well aware of failure rates in building materials, and these drop precipitously when using rebar in concrete. This is largely due to the way segments of rebar are placed both parallel and perpendicular to one another, meaning they can withstand tensile forces in several directions. In addition, the deformations we’ve mentioned on the rebar actually stop the metal from slipping out of the concrete – and to ensure this effect, in some cases rebar will be bent at the ends to anchor it in place.
  • Long-lasting: By adding tensile strength to concrete, rebar helps it last longer.
  • Support: For structural projects, the support offered by rebar tends to be superior to any other alternative that’s out there, and often for a lower cost.

Common Uses

For the reasons we’ve gone over above, rebar has extensive and extremely frequent uses within the construction and contracting world. It’s one of the single most common metals found in today’s structures, including high-rise buildings and skyscrapers, parking ramps, bridges, home and building foundations, concrete piers, and even many of the roads and driveways you drive on regularly.

To learn more about rebar and specifically rebar steel, or to learn about any of our steel services or products in Utah, speak to the staff at Wasatch Steel today.