Evo-Crete withstands impact cracks

Friday, 25 January, 2013

The technology of Evo-Crete is defying the generally accepted notion that a crack spells the end for the usefulness of a concrete slab.

Evo-Crete is ultra-lightweight fibre reinforced concrete that is three times lighter than standard concrete. It is a lightweight alternative with suitable strength-to-weight properties over standard heavy pre-cast concrete products.

When the blend of Evo-Fibre polyolefin fibre reinforcing is added to a concrete mix it provides improved abrasion resistance, as well as increased flexural and compressive strength.

As Evo-Fibre is distributed evenly throughout the concrete mix, the three-dimensional reinforcement matrix provides durability and product stability. It helps prevent cracking in the first instance (pre-crack reinforcement) and offers good post-crack reinforcement.

Traditionally pre-cast concrete products contain no industrially designed reinforcing. Where steel mesh reinforcing is added a two-dimensional reinforcement plane is formed, meaning that a crack must find the mesh before the reinforcing starts working (post-crack reinforcing).

It is important to identify that there are two main types of cracking when it comes to pre-cast concrete products.

The first is often termed “plastic shrinkage cracking” and is simply a very minor hairline crack which may occur during curing as the product shrinks due to water evaporating and therefore the product loses mass while in a somewhat solid state. Plastic shrinkage cracking is superficial in nature and does not impact product performance.

Then we have the most easily recognised form of cracking: impact related. Whereas plastic shrinkage cracking tends to be somewhat controlled and isolated to certain areas of the pre-cast concrete product, impact-related cracking is easily recognised as running completely across the surface or through the entire product.

When people see an impact crack in a standard pre-cast concrete slab they are right in assuming that the product is not fit for use. If the product is not already in pieces it won’t be long before the crack becomes unstable and the product fails.

On the other hand, a crack in an Evo-Crete product is tightly bound by the aforementioned three-dimensional reinforcement matrix that will prevent further cracking. If the product is exposed to an unexpected impact, for example a violent bump while in the back of a plumber’s ute on the way to a job site, the product will stay in one piece. A similar impact to a traditional concrete slab would render it useless and in pieces.

Evo-Crete is not completely immune to cracking and the product must still be treated with the same respect as a concrete slab; however, it is better equipped to prevent and manage cracking. This simply means that the tradesperson no longer needs to dispose of every slab damaged in transit, as it will maintain a level of structural integrity that will reduce costs through reduced breakages.

Due to the cellular structure of Evo-Crete, should a crack eventuate post-installation due to unstable earth or other uncontrollable event, it can sustain flexural tension and bend in a controlled cracking mechanism maintaining equipment stability, whereas the standard concrete counterpart would leave the equipment supported dangerously unstable.

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