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What is Reinforcing Steel (Rebar)?

On 24 May 2018 by Anna Hindley

Reinforcing steel

Reinforcing steel is a construction process used as a tension device to support concrete and masonry. Reinforcing steel, otherwise known as Rebar, requires skillful bending and binding of steel bars which are arranged in a variety of patterns to optimise bonding with the concrete.  

Rebar is often used because steel has a much higher tensile strength than concrete and masonry, it therefore strengthens and holds the components together, creating an augmented structure.

Reinforcing steel is different to structural steel – which is the kind of steel you’d imagine for a steel framed building. Structural steel has far more regulations associated with it, as it can be used for a number of purposes including steel columns, beams, plates and braces.

The important thing to remember is that the main purpose of reinforcing steel is to provide support to concrete and masonry structures, offering tensile strength where concrete and masonry lacks it.

Kinds of Reinforcing Steel

Rebar Steel is made from Carbon Steel. Typically, Carbon Steel is renowned for being strong – the more carbon content, the stronger the steel. Carbon steel is often used in reference to steel that is not stainless steel.

Plain Steel Bars

Plain steel rebars are smooth in surface and have round sections. They are easy to cut and easy to bend.

Deformed Steel Bars

HYSD (High Yield Strength Deformed) Bars have ribs, deformations and lugs on their surface to prevent slipping and to increase strength.

Advantages of Reinforcing Steel

  • Ability to be bent – after it has been manufactured, reinforcing steel can be bent on-site into different shapes for use in construction processes.

  • Robustness – Reinforcing steel is known for being robust and resilient – hence its use in building and construction to reinforce concrete and masonry.

  • Ability to be recycled – at the end of its lifespan, reinforcing steel can be easily recycled and reused.

  • Compatibility with concrete – makes up for the tensile strength that concrete lacks.

  • Availability – reinforced steel is a readily available material all over the country.

Applying Reinforcing Steel

Reinforcing Steel can come in a wide variety of shapes and patterns, and can be bent to create various different structures. However, the most common method of applying reinforcing steel is by creating long cages which form channels within the brickwork. These cages can vary depending on how many steel bars they are made up of, but they all essentially do the same job of reinforcing the structure.

We hope this brief guide to Reinforcing Steel was useful. Stay tuned for more blog posts and content about steel and its many uses!

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