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Technology has changed every facet of our lives, including how we reinforce concrete.
Fibers have been used to reinforce materials for ages beginning with the Romans who first introduced horse hair in concrete in the Roman Coliseum. In the desert Southwestern United States, Indians used straw in making adobe mud bricks. Since then extensive research has been done with different materials, configurations and lengths. Fiber reinforcement has been used in concrete slabs for the past 35 plus years.
Currently the American Concrete Institute in 360-10 "Slab on Ground" recognizes fiber reinforcement as an alternate to wire mesh or rebar as a means of controlling shrinkage and temperature cracking. Since 2003 the Steel Deck Institute has allowed steel fibers and in 2006 macro synthetic fibers as an alternate to wire mesh.
Unlike wire mesh or rebar, concrete fibers provide three dimensional reinforcement that is always positioned properly. Additionally, fibers eliminate the need to "install" the reinforcement thus saving time on a construction schedule while improving jobsite safety. Fibers also increase toughness, ductility, and abrasion resistance while reducing cracking.