Fibre mesh vs wire mesh concrete

When it comes to constructing durable and resilient concrete structures, choosing the right reinforcement method is crucial. Traditionally, wire mesh has been the go-to option for reinforcing concrete. However, in recent years, fibre mesh has gained popularity as a viable alternative. Choosing between the two options may be a difficult task. Hence, it is best to understand these options well and choose wisely.

What is Wire Mesh Concrete?

Wire mesh concrete involves embedding a mesh made of steel wires within the concrete mixture. The mesh typically consists of interconnected wire grids or sheets, which provide additional tensile strength to the concrete. This reinforcement method has been used for decades and is known for its ability to control cracking.

What is Fibre Mesh Concrete

Fibre mesh concrete, on the other hand, incorporates tiny, discrete fibres made of synthetic, glass, or steel materials that act as micro-reinforcements throughout the concrete, enhancing its strength and durability. Fibre mesh is evenly mixed into the wet concrete before pouring it onto the floor. In general, two types of fibre mesh offer protection to concrete, namely microfibre and macrofibre. Microfibre is a very thin mesh that prevents the concrete from cracking when wet, while macrofibre ensures minimum cracking in dried concrete.

How Are They Different?

Wire mesh is the traditional method to add to the concrete’s flexural strength, making it ideal for flooring applications. At first, a large sheet of wire mesh is placed in the section where the slab will be constructed. This mesh is kept in place with the help of spacers and wire ties, and then fresh concrete is poured onto and around the mesh. Poker vibrators are used to consolidate and compact it. In comparison to wire mesh, fibre mesh is relatively new. It involves the addition of various fibres to the fresh concrete while mixing. This fibre-mixed concrete is poured and consolidated at the desired area, similarly to traditional concrete.

Working with wire mesh can be a challenging and labour-intensive process. The large metallic mesh sheets are delivered to the construction site in stacks or rolls, occupying considerable space in often confined areas. Unloading the mesh can be cumbersome as the material becomes intertwined and requires significant effort to loosen. After untangling, the mesh must be cut to the desired size and manually transported to the pouring location. Spacers and wire ties are used to secure the mesh in position during placement. However, even with these precautions, the wire mesh may shift when fresh concrete is poured and consolidated, compromising the tensile strength of the final product. This cumbersome nature of working with wire mesh adds to the frustrations and challenges faced during concrete reinforcement.

On the other hand, fibre mesh doesn’t demand any space on-site and isn’t labour-intensive. A worker can add fibres to fresh concrete at the back of the ready-mix truck. Fibre mesh is available at set weights in water-soluble bags, and the mix design mentions the number of bags required per truck. Fibres must be mixed at maximum speed for a considerable time for best results.

Often made of plain steel, traditional wire mesh is susceptible to corrosion over time. While stainless steel is occasionally used as an alternative, it is only partially immune to rusting under certain conditions. The corrosion of metal reinforcement can lead to spalling, resulting in weakened concrete structures posing a safety risk to occupants. In contrast, synthetic fibres offer superior corrosion resistance. Their inherent resistance to corrosion means that concrete reinforced with synthetic fibres would outlast traditional wire mesh reinforcement, particularly in areas prone to corrosion.

The cost of fibre-reinforced concrete is similar to wire mesh reinforced concrete. However, fibre reinforcement offers significant cost savings throughout the project due to reduced labour and time spent on-site.

If you are looking for a trustworthy supplier of fibre mesh, speak to our team at Economix. We are suppliers of premixed concrete, building, and garden supplies, ideal for commercial and residential projects. Call us on (03) 9361 1311 or contact us online to talk with our team of experts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Microfibres are tiny, thin fibres used as a form of reinforcement in concrete. They are added to the concrete mixture during the mixing process to enhance the properties and performance of the resulting concrete. Microfibres are generally shorter and finer than other fibre types used in concrete reinforcement. The small size of microfibres allows for better dispersion and distribution within the concrete matrix. Adding them to the concrete mixtures helps to prevent hairline cracks that may occur due to excessive bleeding or drying shrinkage. Once the concrete dries, it grips onto these fibres, and when cracks run into these fibres, they get halted.

Microfibres are larger and longer synthetic fibres used as a form of reinforcement in concrete. When added to concrete, microfibres improve the mechanical properties and performance of the material. They are primarily used to enhance concrete structures’ crack control and post-cracking behaviour. Microfibres also improve the toughness and impact resistance of concrete. They absorb and disperse energy, improving the concrete’s ability to withstand impact loads and preventing brittle failure. The dosage and type of microfibres used in concrete may vary per the specific project requirements and the desired performance characteristics.

When deciding between wire mesh and fibre mesh for reinforced concrete, several factors should be taken into consideration:

  • Project Requirements: Evaluate the specific requirements of your project, including load-bearing capacity, the intended use of the structure, and environmental conditions. Different projects may have different reinforcement needs; understanding these requirements is essential in making the right choice.
  • Crack Control: Consider the level of crack control needed for the concrete. Fibre mesh, which can distribute stress and reduce crack width, is generally more effective in controlling cracks than wire mesh.

  • Impact Resistance: If the concrete structure is subjected to heavy impact loads, such as in industrial or high-traffic areas, fibre mesh reinforcement can provide better impact resistance than wire mesh.

  • Cost Considerations: Evaluate the cost of materials and potential savings in labour and construction time. Compare the overall project budget with the desired performance and long-term benefits to make an informed decision.

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