Reinforced Concrete (1849)

The invention of reinforced concrete in the 19th century revolutionized the construction industry, architecture, and urbanism.

Concrete reinfored with metal mesh.

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The innovator

Ernest L. Ransome

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Ernest L. Ransome was an English-born engineer and one of the first innovators of reinforced concrete techniques, discovered by François Coignet, who was the first to use reinforced iron concrete as a technique for the construction of building structures. With the knowledge of reinforced concrete developed over the past 50 years, Ransome has innovated almost all the styles and techniques of the previously known inventors of reinforced concrete. Ransome’s key innovation was to twist the reinforcing steel bar to improve adhesion with concrete.

Reinforced Concrete Features

Reinforced Concrete is a composite material in which steel is embedded in such a way that the two materials act together in resistant forces.

The 15 story Ingalls Building in Cincinnati became the world’s first reinforced concrete skyscraper in 1903.

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Reinforcing steel—rods, bars, or mesh—absorbs tensile, shear, and sometimes compressive stresses in a concrete structure.

Plain concrete does not easily withstand tensile and shear stresses caused by wind, earthquakes, vibrations, or other forces and is therefore unsuitable for most structural applications.

In reinforced concrete, the tensile strength of steel and the compressive strength of concrete work together to allow the element to withstand these stresses over considerable spans.


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