A Sustainable Approach to Fibre Reinforced Concrete Use


The present trend in concrete technology is to increase its strength and durability of concrete and

at a much lower cost. Sustainable engineering is steadily being incorporated into the Kenyan

construction industry. This will result in higher quality structures and infrastructure at a much

lower cost while maintaining an eco-friendly approach to construction.

Since concrete is a brittle material, reinforcement with fibres of different kinds has shown to

improve the mechanical properties of plain concrete. The fibres used in this report included sisal

fibres, which were obtained from natural sources, steel fibres were extracted from used tyres and

glass-reinforced plastic (fibreglass) having a composition of glass (non-pollutant) and plastic

which could easily be obtained from recycled plastic.

The aim of this research was to investigate the use of the above mentioned fibres as

reinforcement in concrete, to determine their mix proportions, method of mixing, handling and

placing techniques. Tests were done to determine the change in properties of fresh concrete upon

addition of varying percentages of the fibres. Compression and tensile tests were done to

determine the mechanical properties of the fibre-reinforced concrete. The experimental

investigations were done on cylinders and cubes with 0%, 1%, 2% and 3% fibre content by

weight of cement.

By testing the cubes and cylinders, we found out how both the tensile and compressive strengths

were affected. It was determined that the steel fibres were the most effective in enhancing both

the compressive and tensile strength of concrete. Sisal showed poor results with only very slight

increment in both compressive and tensile strength. Fibre glass showed promising results with

intermediate values between the steel and sisal fibres.

A common problem experienced during the experiments was the balling up of fibres, especially

the sisal and fibreglass. More research needs to be carried out on coming up with technique or

admixtures that could reduce balling up and deterioration of fibres in the concrete mix.


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