NEW YORK The
Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute (CRSI) and the Charles
Pankow Foundation are setting the groundwork for a sea change
in the domestic rebar industry as producers take a hard look at
making higher grades of rebar a larger part of their product
The non-profit Charles
Pankow Foundation is funding two studies on the applications of
high-strength rebar by the University of Washington and Wiss,
Janney, Elstner Associates Inc. that are due to be completed
this week. CRSI also is preparing to host an educational
session on increasing use of the product in the United States
at next months American Concrete Institute (ACI)
convention in Phoenix.
theres a market out there for high-strength rebar, and
its only within the last two years that the industry is
beginning to realize and utilize the benefits with using
high-strength steel," Tom Russo, chief executive officer of
Irvine, Calif.-based MMFX Technologies Corp., which licenses
high-strength rebar to third-party producers, said.
The product accounted
for 2.62 percent of total rebar production at major U.S. rebar
mills in 2012. In 2010, Grade 75 and Grade 80 rebar made up
1.68 percent of domestic output, according to data collected by
the CRSI from such producers as Nucor Corp., Charlotte, N.C.;
Gerdau Long Steel North America, Tampa, Fla.; and Commercial
Metals Co., Irving, Texas.
Current building codes
dont support the use of high-strength rebar, and it will
take extensive research before change occurs, Charles Pankow
Foundation executive director Mark Perniconi said.
"A lot of research
needs to be done to support the use of high-strength rebar for
building applications. Its the research needed to support
a global code change for higher-strength steel," he said.
The last major change
in rebar usage occurred in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when
much of the industry shifted from Grade 40 rebar to Grade 60,
the grade most commonly used today. The ACI guidelines, the
authoritative industry building standards, havent been
changed in more than 40 years.
"The same thing
happened when the industry went from Grade 40 to Grade 60,"
Perniconi said. "What were looking at now is to go from
Grade 60 to Grade 80 or a little higher."
ACIs codes will require millions of dollars of research,
There are practicality
issues involved in the fabrication of higher-strength, less
ductile grades, and one purpose of future studies will be to
determine if high-strength rebar is economical to use, CRSI
president and chief executive officer Robert Risser said.
engineering," Russo said. "You can have between 25 and 30
percent of cost saving in multiple areas, including labor for
on-site fabrication, reduction in tonnage and improved pouring
efficiency. ... Its ultimately up to the owner to decide
if they want to use a higher-cost material to offset their