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inch of concrete to preserve them from damage by rust or fire. In the Cottancin system the concrete is replaced by bricks pierced with holes through which the vertical rods are threaded; the horizontal tie-rods are also used, but these do not merely cross the vertical ones, but are woven in and out of them.

EB1911 Concrete Fig. 5.—Steel and Concrete Pile.jpg
Fig. 5.—Steel and Concrete Pile (Williams System).
EB1911 Concrete Fig. 6.jpg
Fig. 6.
EB1911 Concrete Fig. 7.jpg
Fig. 7.

Columns have generally to bear a heavier weight than walls, and have to be correspondingly stronger. They have usually been made square with a vertical steel rod at each corner. To prevent these rods from spreading apart they must be tied together at frequent intervals. In some systems this is done by loops of stout wire connecting each rod to its neighbour, and placed one above the other about every 10 in. up the column (figs. 3 and 4). In other systems a stout wire is wound continuously in a spiral form round the four rods. Modern investigation goes to prove that the latter is theoretically the more economical way of using the steel, as the spiral binding wire acts like the binding of a wire gun, and prevents the concrete which it encloses from bursting even under very great loads.


EB1911 Concrete Fig. 8.jpg
Fig. 8.
EB1911 Concrete Fig. 9.jpg
Fig. 9.
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Fig. 10.
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Fig. 11.

That steel concrete can be used for piles is perhaps the most astonishing feature in this invention. The fact that a comparatively brittle material like concrete can be subjected not only to heavy loads but also to the jar and vibration from the blows of a heavy pile ram makes it appear as if its nature and properties had been changed by the steel reinforcement. In a sense this is undoubtedly the case. A. G. Considère’s experiments have shown that concrete when reinforced is capable of being stretched, without fracture, about twenty times as much as plain concrete. Most of the piles driven in Great Britain have been made on the Hennebique system with four or six longitudinal steel rods tied together by stirrups or loops at frequent intervals. Piles made on the Williams system have a steel rolled joist of I section buried in the heart of the pile, and round it a series of steel wire hoops at regular intervals (fig. 5). Whatever system is used, care must be taken not to batter the head of the pile to pieces with the heavy ram. To prevent this an iron “helmet” containing a lining of sawdust is fitted over the head of the pile. The sawdust adapts itself to the rough shape of the concrete, and deadens the blow to some extent.


EB1911 Concrete Fig. 12.jpg
Fig. 12.
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Fig. 13.
EB1911 Concrete Fig. 14.—Stirrup (Hennebique System).jpg
Fig. 14.—Stirrup (Hennebique System).
EB1911 Concrete Fig. 15.jpg
Fig. 15.

But it is in the design of steel concrete beams that the greatest ingenuity has been shown, and almost every patentee of a “system” has some new device for arranging the steel reinforcement to the best advantage. Concrete by itself, though strong in compression, can offer but little resistance to tensile and shearing stresses, and as these stresses always occur in beams the problem arises how best to arrange the steel so as to assist the concrete in bearing them. To meet tensile stresses the steel is nearly always inserted in the form of bars running along the beam. Figs. 6 to 9 show how they are arranged for different loading. In each case the object is to place the bars as nearly as possible where the tensile stresses occur. In cases where all the stresses are heavy, that portion of the beam which is under compression is similarly reinforced, though with smaller bars (figs. 10 and 11). But as these tension and compression bars are generally placed near the under and upper surface of the beam they are of little use in helping to resist the shearing stresses which are greatest at its neutral axis. (See Bridges.) These shearing stresses in a heavily loaded beam would cause it to split horizontally at or near the centre. To prevent this many ingenious devices have been introduced. (1) Perhaps one of the most efficient is a diagonal bracing of steel wire passing to and fro between the upper and lower bars and firmly secured to each by lapping or otherwise (fig. 12); this device is used in the Coignet and other French systems. (2) In the Hennebique system (which has found great favour in England) vertical bands or “stirrups,” as they are generally called, of hoop steel are used (fig. 13). They are of U shape, and passing round the tension bars extend to the top of the beam (figs. 14 and 3). They are exceedingly thin, but being buried in concrete no danger of their perishing from rust is to be feared. (3) In the Boussiron system a similar stirrup is used, but instead of being vertical the two parts are spread so that each is slightly inclined. (4) In the Coularon system, the stirrups are inclined as in fig. 15, and consist of rods, the ends of which are hooked over the tension and compression bars. (5) In the Kahn system the stirrups are similarly arranged, but instead of being merely secured to the tension bar, they form an integral part of it like branches on a stem, the bar being rolled to a special section to admit of this. (6) In many systems such as the “expanded metal” system, the tension and compression rods together with the stirrups are all abandoned in favour of a single rolled steel joist of I section, buried in concrete (see fig. 16). Probably the weight of steel used in this way is excessive, but the joists are cheap, readily procurable and easy to handle.

Floor slabs may be regarded as wide and shallow beams, and the remarks made about the stresses in the one apply to the other also; accordingly, the various devices which are used for strengthening beams recur in the slabs. But in a thin slab, with its comparatively small span and light load, the concrete is generally strong enough to bear the shearing stresses unaided, and the reinforcement is devoted to assisting it where the tensile stresses occur. For this purpose many designers simply