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Franois Coignet was a French industrialist of the nineteenth century, a pioneer in the development of structural,
prefabricated and reinforced concrete.[1] Coignet was the first to use iron-reinforced concrete as a technique for
constructing building structures.[2] In 1853 Coignet built the first iron reinforced concrete structure, a four story house
at 72 rue Charles Michels in the suburbs of Paris.[2] Coignet's descriptions of reinforcing concrete suggests that he did
not do it for means of adding strength to the concrete but for keeping walls in monolithic construction from
overturning.[3] In 1854, English builder William B. Wilkinson reinforced the concrete roof and floors in the two-storey
house he was constructing. His positioning of the reinforcement demonstrated that, unlike his predecessors, he had
knowledge of tensile stresses.[4][5][6]
Joseph Monier, a French gardener and known to be one of the principal inventors of reinforced concrete, was granted
a patent for reinforced flowerpots by means of mixing a wire mesh to a mortar shell. In 1877, Monier was granted
another patent for a more advanced technique of reinforcing concrete columns and girders with iron rods placed in a
grid pattern. Though Monier undoubtedly knew reinforcing concrete would improve its inner cohesion, it is less known
if he even knew how much reinforcing actually improved concrete's tensile strength.[7]
Before 1877 the use of concrete construction, though dating back to the Roman Empire and reintroduced in the mid
to late 1800s, was not yet a proven scientific technology. American New Yorker Thaddeus Hyatt published a report
titled An Account of Some Experiments with Portland-Cement-Concrete Combined with Iron as a Building Material,
with Reference to Economy of Metal in Construction and for Security against Fire in the Making of Roofs, Floors, and
Walking Surfaceswhere he stated his experiments on the behavior of reinforced concrete. His work played a major
role in the evolution of concrete construction as a proven and studied science. Without Hyatt's work, more dangerous
trial and error methods would have largely been depended on for the advancement in the technology.[3][8]
G. A. Wayss was a German civil engineer and a pioneer of the iron and steel concrete construction. In 1879 Wayss
bought the German rights to Monier's patents and in 1884 started the first commercial use for reinforced concrete in
his firm Wayss & Freytag. Up until the 1890s Wayss and his firm greatly contributed to the advancement of Monier's
system of reinforcing and established it as a well-developed scientific technology.[9]
Ernest L. Ransome was an English-born engineer and early innovator of the reinforced concrete techniques in the
end of the 19th century. With the knowledge of reinforced concrete developed during the previous 50 years,
Ransome innovated nearly all styles and techniques of the previous known inventors of reinforced concrete.
Ransome's key innovation was to twist the reinforcing steel bar improving bonding with the concrete.[10] Gaining
increasing fame from his concrete constructed buildings Ransome was able to build two of the first reinforced
concrete bridges in North America.[11] One of the first concrete buildings constructed in the United States, was a
private home, designed by William Ward in 1871. The home was designed to be fireproof for his wife. One of the first
skyscrapers made with reinforced concrete was the 16-storey Ingalls Building in Cincinnati, constructed in 1904.[12]

Advantages of Concrete

Concrete possesses a high compressive strength and is not

subjected to corrosive and weathering effects.
Concrete can be easily handled and moulded into any shape.
Concrete can even be sprayed in and filled into fine cracks for
repairs by Gunting process.
In reinforced cement concrete (R.C.C), concrete and steel form a
very good combination because the co-efficients of expansion of
concrete and steel are nearly equal.
Construction of all types of structures is possible by reinforcing
the concrete with steel. Even earthquake-resistant structures can
be constructed.
Cinder concrete can be used as a sound proofing material.
Where strength is not a main requirement, but fire-resistance,
insulation and light weight are major considerations, light weight
concrete is advantageous.
The concrete can be pumped and hence it can be laid in difficult
positions also.
Form work can be used a number of times for similar jobs which
results in economy.
Concrete is economical in the long run as compared to other
engineering materials.

Frequent repairs are not needed for concrete structures and the
concrete gains strength with age.

Disadvantages of Concrete
Beside being an ideal construction material, it does have following
o Concrete has low tensile strength and hence cracks easily.
Therefore, concrete is to be reinforced with mild steel bars,
high tensile steel bars or mesh.
o Concrete expands and contracts with the changes in
temperature. Hence expansion joints are to be provided to
avoid the formation of cracks due to thermal movements.
o Fresh concrete shrinks on drying. It also expands and
contracts with wetting and drying. Provision of contraction
joints is to be made to avoid the formation of cracks due to
drying shrinkage and moisture movements.
o Concrete is not entirely impervious to moisture and contains
and contains soluble salts which may cause efflorescence.
This requires special care at the joints.
o Concrete prepared by using ordinary Portland cement
disintegrates by the action of Alkalies, Sulphates, etc.
Special type of cements are to be used under such

o Concrete is heavy in weight and requires large quantity of

steel in the construction as the self load is greater.
Creep develops in concrete under sustained loads and this factor
is to taken care of while designing dams and pre-stressed
concrete structures.

Technical and Material Differences Between Reinforced Concrete Structures

and Steel Construction Composite Structures ..
Steel Structures:
The quality of steel construction components are always under control. They are produced in factory conditions according to the
standards in proper sizes and proportions.
As it is a homogeneous and isotrope material it reacts as expected . In static calculations the margin of errors are very low.
The use of small sections of steel profiles avoids big coloumns. By this way this system increases the building areas and provides
large spaces.
Very lightweight structures can be built.
Any type of design can be realized at low costs.
This system can be built fast under any kind of weather conditions lowering labor costs.
Skilled work required. This minimizes the implementation defaults.
The system also provides significant advantage against the major eathquake loads .
For any reason whatsoever damaged structural steel elements by can easily be replaced. This process is fast, easy and with low
This system allows for dismantling and reinstalling.
When the construction is completed , the steel construction components carry full loaded capacity.
The products can be controlled at every stage
Concrete Structures:
The quality of the concrete shows deterioration when there are implementation defaults.
Since concrete is not as homogeneous and isotrop as steel, the static calculations depends on acceptances. The margin of error is
a lot more and this causes additional high costs.
Big sections are required even in minimum conditions, so there occurs a lot of lost space.

Since skilled work is not required, the implementation defaults occur.

It is rough and expensive to control the concrete after pouring it.
To strengthen any construction component damaged by any reason is a hard and expensive operation, and this operation causes
architecture problems.
In wide open areas the size of the sections are bigger and this has a higher cost. Aso the big sections limit different types of design
Because of their high burdens the base costs are high and constructions periods are long.
Due to the foundation-ground interaction, concrete is disadvantaged for the earthquakes.
The construction periods are long. Concrete does not allow to work at any kind of weather condition. For this reason the result is
more costly and timely.
In concrete buildings strengthening is hard.
It is impossible to dismantle a concrete building.


The cement concrete possesses the following important properties:

It possesses a high compressive strength.


It is a corrosion resistance material and atmospheric agent has no appreciable

effect on it.


It hardens with age the process of hardening continues for a long time after the
concrete has attained sufficient strength. It is this property of cement concrete
which gives it a distinct place among building materials.


It is more economical than steel.


It binds rapidly with steel and as it is weak in tension, the steel reinforcement is
placed in cement concrete at suitable places to take up the tensile stresses. This is
termed as the reinforced cement concrete or simply as R.C.C.


Under the following two conditions, it has a tendency to shrink:


There is initial shrinkage of cement concrete which is mainly due to the

loss of water through forms, absorption by surfaces of forms etc.


The shrinkage of cement concrete occurs as it hardens. This tendency of

cement concrete can be minimized by proper curing of concrete.


It has a tendency to be porous. This is due to the presence of voids which are
formed during and after its placing. The two precautions necessary to avoid this
tendency are as follows:


There should be proper grading and consolidating of the aggregates.


The minimum water-cement ratio should be adopted.


It forms a hard surface, capable of resisting abrasion.


It should be remembered that apart from other materials, the concrete comes to
the site in the form of raw materials only. Its final strength and quality depend
entirely on local conditions and persons handling it. However the materials which
concrete is composed may be subjected to rigid specifications.