The engineering properties of ferrocement structure are equivalent to normal concrete, and in some applications it performs better. The tensile strength of ferrocement is a result of the volume of reinforcement used in the structure. Apart from the volume of reinforcement, the direction of its use in line with the force direction and tensile stress direction is also important. The tensile performance of the ferrocement concrete or structure can be grouped into three, namely, the pre-cracking phase, post cracking phase, and finally the post yielding phase. A ferrocement member subjected to upwards tensile stress behaves something like linear elastic material until the first crack appears. Beyond this, the member will enter the multiple cracking and eventually continuing to a point where the mesh starts to experience yielding. Once at this stage the number of cracks will continue to grow with the increase in the tensile force or stress. The specific surface area of the ferrocement member or element has been found to influence the first crack in tension, as well as the width of the cracks. The maximum stress at first crack for ferrocement matrix increases in proportion to the specific area of the element. The behavior of ferrocement element under compression is mainly depended on the mix design properties.
The well distributed and aligned reinforcement has made the ferrocement to behave like steel plates. Ferrocement is also has other outstanding properties besides its engineering properties compared with normal concrete. Ferrocement exhibits a very easy mould-ability characteristic, that it can be used to produce any desired shape of structure. Besides that due to the superior tensile behavior and water tightness, the material is widely used for lightweight construction and water-tight structure as well as for portable structures. Some of other succeful applications of ferrocement include boat, sampan, pipes, shell roofs, wind tunnel, modular housing, sandwich panel, swimming pools, permanent forms for concrete structures, and etc.
In this article and the previous article on ferrocement, I’ve put forward some information on ferrocement’s properties and applications. The major advantages of the ferrocenmt can be summarized as:
- It is offers a possibility of producing a very thin and light structures. This means it is capable of giving cost saving through the material usage. Apart from the material saving, the overall dead weight of the structure also could be reduced by employing ferrocement; thus it will result in more economical foundation design.
- It is also very suitable for pre-cast concrete industries, which results in easy and cheaper transportation.
- It is possible to reduce the dependency on skill labor. This is mainly due to the fact the ferrocement application is very simple and easy.
- In some construction activities the use of ferrocement could reduce (or eliminate in some cases) the use of formwork. The ferrocement members can act as permanent formwork.