One of the best, most durable building materials has been around since the ancient Roman Empire. They used concrete for buildings and roads. It is hard to improve on a product that has withstood the test of time…for over two thousand years! The Hollingsworth Companies is never one to shy away from a challenge. We have been working to improve one of the most proven construction materials.
Concrete is made from materials custom mixed for each installation. There are three primary components: aggregates, water, and cement. When combined in the correct proportions, concrete is created that solidifies by a chemical reaction. As the chemical reaction proceeds, the mixture changes from a thick flowable liquid into a very hard and dense solid. The resulting solid is very strong at resisting compression. To make a building component that is strong in all categories, concrete is reinforced with steel. When properly combined, the two materials work hand-in-glove to provide ideal qualities for an industrial floor.
What is the best way to bring the strengths of these two materials together? Traditionally in a concrete industrial floor, steel mats are placed on the subgrade, lifted off the ground with blocks designed to keep it at the right level in the finished slab. In theory, this would be a great way to combine steel and concrete; and, it has been the industry standard for decades. The problem is when the real world meets the theoretical case. During the process of placing the heavy liquid concrete with finishers walking on the mats as the concrete is spread and leveled, the steel is frequently pushed out of position. It has been recognized as enough of a problem that many industrial developers have decided to skip the steel and just use an extra couple inches of concrete.
Eliminating the steel completely removes all the benefits of having the steel. At the Hollingsworth Companies, we have chosen to keep the steel and homogeneously mix it into the concrete. By using Helix brand micro-rebar added to the concrete mix, the steel is evenly distributed throughout the concrete and delivers the benefits of steel reinforcing in all directions. We tested the same concrete with and without the Helix micro-rebar, and it showed a significant increase in strength. The plain concrete tested at a 7-day compressive strength of 3,440 psi. With the Helix added the same test resulted in an increase in compressive strength to 4,271 psi. That is 24% increased strength.
With this innovative mini-rebar approach, we get consistent results that are repeatable from job to job. Steel is priced by the pound, so it cost the same whether it comes in mats or mini-rebar. The homogeneous mixed in variety also saves labor and at the same time ensures that the steel ends up where it needs to be. This innovation is now incorporated into every new Hollingsworth Companies industrial building.