THE TRUTH ABOUT FIBRES: PART TWO

  The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

There are fibres, and there are fibres. Not all fibres are created equal.

If the fibre doesn’t clearly state that it complies with the stringent European Standard EN 14889-2 (and carry the CE Marking) which is the internationally recognised standard for polypropylene, macro-synthetic or steel fibres – then it should be avoided!You might be tempted to consider a cheaper, non-compliant fibre but don't' - the integrity of the concrete design may be compromised, possibly resulting in costly repair work.

Steel Fibre Versus Synthetic Fibre

Sure, steel fibre has its place, but it can be difficult to handle and it can cause injury during placing. If the fibre stands proud of the concrete surface, discolouration due to rusting will, more than likely, occur. New advances in synthetic fibre systems make them a very attractive alternative to steel fibres, or even steel mesh/rebar.

Make the right decision

Stratmore has the sole distributorship for both Fibermesh and FORTA-FERRO fibres. These fibres have been designed specifically for use in concrete – they are not a by-product of the plastic rope industry or made from recycled plastic. Nor are they made from the slightly less effective material cellulose - more about polypropylene and cellulose in another article.

FIBERMESH®

Propex Operating Company’s micro-fibre system for plastic shrinkage crack control in concrete is ideal for work that would be traditionally be un-reinforced or only reinforced with light gauge mesh (non-structural). Typically, its use would be for reinforcement situations not required to meet New Zealand Building Standards (NZBC) – footpaths, driveways, etc. They offer 3 types of fibre:

1. Fibermesh®150 e3: a mono-filament fibre of different lengths and denier in the same bag. A single, smooth strand which controls early plastic and drying shrinkage. Can be used for paths, driveways, exposed aggregate, sprayed concrete, slab on ground for parking areas, patios etc and for compliance with NZBC when used in conjunction with steel reinforcement for a superior reinforcement than steel alone.

2. Fibermesh®300 e3: this is a fibrillated polypropylene fibre of different lengths with the same qualities as Fibermesh®150 e3, but the larger denier and inter-connected fibre weave offers better crack-holding strength once the concrete has cured. Can be used for paths, driveways, exposed aggregate, sprayed concrete, slab on ground applications and in conjunction with steel reinforcement where NZBC compliance is required, as well as thin concrete overlays.

NOTE: Neither of these two fibres are a substitute for mesh under NZBC; however, where compliance is not required, they are suitable alternative reinforcing systems.

3. Fibercast®: A fibrillated fixed-length fibre specially designed for concrete and plaster mixes with smaller aggregate or sand. Available in 12 and 19mm lengths , these fibres are used in shotcrete, pre-cast concrete and sand-based mixes such as plaster.

FORTA-FERRO®

Forta Corporation provides this unique system of an extra-heavy duty macro-fibre and long, synthetic microfibre blend as a real alternative to steel reinforcement in non-structural situations.

It is the only system in the world that offers 2 different fibres in one bag:

Micro-fibres: assist in reducing plastic and drying shrinkage. Once the concrete is hardened they offer a lower level of post-crack strength.

Macro-fibres: come into their own if the concrete does crack, by offering a very high concentration and 3D distribution of fibres that will hold the concrete cracks tightly together.

FORTA-FERRO is perfect for applications where much higher crack control strength is required such as heavy-duty floors, parking areas, and slab on grade for buildings, both commercial and residential.

The Benefits Are Obvious

Easy finishing; fibres do not stand up proud or jut out of the surface

Aggregate is held in place and doesn’t slump

Longevity, durability and strength are the end results

The physical appearance of concrete doesn’t change

Versatility in use – from pavements to large slabs

Bleed water rate is reduced by about 30 minutes

No dangerous fibre jutting out of the surface

Pliability for shotcrete applications

Overall better finish; less cracking

Cannot rust

If steel is required, cost savings can be made by reducing the size or quantity of steel rebar or mesh

Considerably lighter than steel mesh, reduced transport and handling costs

The risks of injury to workers diminishes

Fire protection capabilities for tunnels etc

Fibre homogenises the concrete

Product Catalogue: 
Product Catalogue: 

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