Choosing Between Concrete or Steel for Your Project

Concrete and steel are common building materials and they both have their benefits and challenges. These are not new materials to the construction industry. However, the use of concrete predates the use of steel. Concrete is a very old building material that has prevailed over years and years.

If you are planning a construction project, you need to decide the primary building material that you are using for it. And regardless of the material, you need to select a reputable steel contractor or concreter such as SSPrime Form Sydney. You need to compare the properties and costs of the two materials as well as the appearance that you are looking for when choosing a material. Consider compressive and tensile strength of the material. Compressive strength is the capability of a material to withstand force and tensile strength refers to the resistance of the material to stretching. Compressive strength of concrete is quite high but there is the possibility of fracturing under tension. This is why reinforcement is added to the concrete. Steel reinforced concrete will have good compressive and tensile strength. Tensile strength of steel is very good but you need to make sure the structural design is carried out well when it comes to both materials.

Structures need to last a long time so durability is a main factor when it comes to choosing a material. You need to make sure that reinforced concrete and steel are adapted to the settings. Concrete is an inorganic material and therefore it is resistant to pest attacks. Also, it can withstand moisture, abrasion, seawater, chemicals and other extreme temperatures. In case of fire, concrete has high fire resistance because it will not melt or burn. But if there is moisture seeping into the concrete that comes into contact with the steel reinforcement, corrosion can occur affecting the strength of the concrete. A solution for this is the use of epoxy coated steel or composite rebar work. Structural steel needs some protection to withstand external forces and this will come in the form of powder coating, painting, use of corrosion inhibiting chemicals and sacrificial layers.

Because reinforced concrete is an inert material, it fire proof. And it has a low heat transfer rate as well. But structural steel has a poor fire resistance when compared to reinforced concrete and at high temperatures, it can lose its strength. You will need to use additional methods to bolster the fire resistance of steel by using fire resistance coatings, cooling systems, encasing the steel in concrete, sprinkler systems etc. In today’s climate, you need to think about sustainability as well. Steel is highly sustainable as it can be reused in another location and scrap metal can be used for a variety of applications.  Concrete produces gravel when it is demolished which can be used as aggregate when it comes to road construction, landscaping etc. Also, concrete is readily available so there will be no large distances between the manufacturing plant and the site which will reduce the energy for transportation.

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