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September 7, 2021

UVic Civil Engineering students take a crack at solving concrete’s sustainability problem.

University of Victoria. Steel Fiber Reinforced Concrete Project – Spring and Summer 2021

Concrete and other cementitious materials are widely employed in structural engineering all over the world. However, due to their low tensile strength and low strain capacity at fracture, concrete is vulnerable to cracking, and the inherent brittleness may cause unexpected damage in the hardened state.

Adding fibers to concrete will solve these defects and further provides a practical means to improve the mechanical performance of concrete, such as increased toughness and ductility, improved fatigue and impact resistance, and reduced creep, shrinkage cracking, and permeability, as well as marked enhancement in post-cracking behavior.

The design and performance of a Steel Fiber Reinforced Concrete (SFRC) project developed at the University of Victoria by UVic students proved to mitigate the propagation of cracks. All concrete specimens where Steel Fiber was added also had increased post-crack load-carrying capacity.

After the performance of several non-destructive and destructive tests, it was proved that the specimens containing SFRC had a higher tensile strength and flexural toughness, which was 1.5 times higher compared to the results of the test performed on the concrete with no steel fiber reinforcement. The results obtained will result in more durability, and therefore a longer service life of a concrete structure.

The SFRC can be applied in a wide range of construction applications.

Some of the applications of SFRC:

  • Pavements
  • Sidewalks
  • Rock slope stabilization
  • Construction of precast products
  • Concrete pipes

The use of fibers in concrete can reduce the total energy consumption of a construction project and will contribute to sustainable building practices.

The graphics below show the results of increasing tensile strength and flexural toughness by adding steel fiber to concrete.

This project was performed by Civil Engineering students (undergraduate and graduate) at the University of Victoria: Blaise Eze Jared Barrow Jarod Rossander Perla Rodulfo

Supervisor: Dr. Rishi Gupta, P.Eng

The above-mentioned team expects that this project will add to knowledge and practices in local concrete construction projects by adding options for concrete reinforcements. Innovative construction methods and materials can add to more sustainable practices by reducing the amount of regular Portland cement used, and by using materials that can reduce the carbon footprint of certain projects.

There are opportunities for using these methods and materials for repair work as well as used in new construction. The team is looking forward to sharing more research and ideas to add to the concrete construction options here on Vancouver Island and beyond.

For more information on this project, please contact Perla Rodulfo at or 250-220-1783