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trowel with cement placed on top of concrete brocks

One of the most widely used construction materials on the planet, concrete is defined by its various properties, most notably its workability and strength. In previous articles, we’ve discussed the importance of tensile and compressive strength when defining the characteristics of concrete. Compressive strength refers to the ability of the material to withstand loads that tend to compress it (i.e decrease its size), whilst tensile strength refers to the ability to withstand cracking when it is pulled apart. So, what does shear strength refer to and why is it so important?

The shear strength of concrete is defined as its ability to resist forces that cause the material’s inner structure to slide against itself. This can be measured either horizontally or vertically by seeing if a force causes the object’s layers to slide in a horizontal or vertical direction. If the force is greater than the shear strength of the concrete, then it will separate into sliding parts. 

This is similar to compressive strength, however the main difference is that compressive forces generally act axially, whereas shear forces act laterally e.g like the tyres of a vehicle putting force onto the road.

Why Is Shear Strength Important?

Alongside compressive and tensile strength, the shear strength of concrete is essential for ensuring that the material is durable and resistant to a certain level of force. These factors play a big role in defining the quality of the structure as well as its longevity. In mechanical and structural engineering, the shear strength of concrete plays an essential role in ensuring that components such as beams, columns and bolts are all designed safely. These components can also be reinforced in order to increase their shear strength, such as using stirrups in reinforced concrete beams.

What Factors Influence The Shear Strength Of Concrete?

The shear strength of a concrete structure can be assessed by the following factors:

  • Grade of concrete.
  • Percentage of tension steel
  • Size and spacing of Stirrups
  • Cranked bars (if any)
  • Corrosion
  • Size of the cross-sectional area

The shear strength of a structure can be heavily influenced by corrosion, as this is a damaging process that reduces the thickness of the metal components. If these components are thinned due to corrosion, the cross-sectional area can be reduced, which in turn can reduce the shear strength.

As you can imagine, it’s essential that concrete meets certain strength requirements, including shear tensile, and compressive strength measurements. As an ISO 9001:2015 certified company, all the concrete products that we make at Al Manaratain are continuously checked by our quality control laboratory technicians at each stage of the production process. Our two fully computerised concrete batching plants enable us to manufacture our ready-mix concrete to suit the individual requirements of different customers, and the properties that they require for their construction project. To hear more about our services, or to request a quote, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.