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Understanding the Weakness of Concrete (and How You Can Solve It)

When you think about concrete, certain descriptors likely come to mind, such as strong, dependable, durable, lifetime-guaranteed, foundational, and essential. Whether it’s in the context of a home, residential property, or commercial space, the material in question has its rightful place in any kind of construction project. From foundational work and wall construction to flooring sections and facade formation, concrete will never lose value or purpose because of all that it can do.

However, there’s something about it that you should know: it isn’t strong enough to stand without the necessary reinforcement.

Delving Into the Weakness of Concrete

Although most people associate concrete with construction-grade strength, it’s critical to understand that it is not without its weaknesses.

According to the mechanics of materials, concrete is relatively weak when it comes to handling stress. When we talk about stress, we’re not relating to something you feel on a Monday morning. Structural stress refers to the internal forces placed on a material, which is broken up into three primary forms:

  • Compression (pushing together)
  • Tension (pulling apart)
  • Shear (sliding along a line or plane).

Concrete is particularly good at handling one form of stress: compression. However, it isn’t particularly good at resisting tension, which means it doesn’t make an excellent structural material by itself. 

Why Concrete Fails When It Comes to Tension

As with any other material, there is an explanation behind concrete being inadequate for managing structural tension. 

Concrete, even after mixing, has an array of natural properties that cause it to falter, even if it works well when it comes to both compression and shear. There are too many sources of tension in any given structure that concrete can’t resist by itself. By nature, concrete cannot support any design on its own.

Compensating for Concrete

The process of helping concrete make up for its tension stress-related weaknesses boils down to outfitting structures with the necessary additions.

Improving concrete’s stress resistance involves adding reinforcements as a means to enhance its overall strength. By making such tweaks, you can create a composite material that uses concrete to provide resilience against compressive stress, while an added material handles tensile stress.

Among all the different options that can be used to support concrete in terms of its overall tensile strength and overall capabilities, nothing gets the job done better than deformed steel—otherwise known as reinforcing bars (rebars). With the help of Phoenix Reinforcing’s rebar solutions, for instance, you’ll be able to ensure that your structures have all the durability they need to stay as stable and dependable as possible!


As strong as concrete may seem for any kind of construction project, it is never as capable as it’s expected to be on its own. It’s best to supplement it with reinforcement to compensate for its lack of tensile strength. Once you understand this fundamental reality, you’ll be able to account better for necessary considerations that will allow you to ensure that your home, property, or commercial space stays rigid at all times! 

Phoenix Reinforcing provides reinforcing productions and cage fabrication in Queensland. Get in touch with us today!

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