Stainless Steel Reinforcement Queensland Australia

Frequently Asked Questions

Will it be more expensive to use stainless steel reinforcing in place of carbon steel reinforcing or galvanised reinforcing in my structure?

Only if life cycle costs are not factored in. There are predictive models available that can help assess areas at risk of early deterioration. The true value from using stainless steel reinforcing in these areas may take several years. Traditional carbon steel reinforcing will corrode over time, especially in the presence of chlorides and carbonation. So will galvanised. This deterioration will cause spalling which will need to be repaired and sometimes the structure may require demolition, this will be expensive. Stainless steel members will not expand and rust as mild steel and reports are suggesting your stainless steel reinforcing should last 300 years plus, even in a high chloride environment. Additionally, when compared with the total contract costs, usually the outlay on stainless steel reinforcing in the known critical areas is only a small percentage.

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What are life-cycle costs (LCC)?

These are all of the costs involved for the total duration of the design life of your structure, not just initial costs. Life cycle Costing enables potential long term benefits to be accessed against short term expenditure Eg. Material costs + Installation costs are your Initial costs, however life cycle costing also recognises and factors in inspection costs, maintenance costs (multiplied by frequency), repair costs, lost production costs and disruption costs. It also includes estimated inflation costs (on material and labour) so an idea of what your future outlay to preserve/repair/rebuild your asset will be. These are the true costs associated with the lifespan of your structure.

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What is spalling?

Spalling (often referred to as concrete cancer) is essentially a result of traditional carbon steel reinforcing within a concrete section rusting. Due to the porous nature of concrete, chlorides can permeate and seep through to cause corrosion. The rusted steel expands up to seven times its original size causing the concrete surround to delaminate, crack and bulge out. This action can drastically reduce the strength of the structural member as well as being a major eye-sore to the public. The spalling concrete should be repaired as soon as possible, before the steel bars corrode further and damage larger areas hence the term 'concrete cancer'.

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Other methods are available that can delay the onset of concrete cancer/spalling, like cathodic protection, special coatings and special concrete blends. Why should I use stainless steel reinforcing?

Stainless steel reinforcing will prevent concrete cancer, not just delay it. Painting your concrete with special coatings will require constant inspections and regular reapplications. Cathodic protection will also need to be checked regularly to ensure the system is working and power supply may be difficult to connect to in remote areas. Special concrete blends can and often do crack and open up pathways for corrosion directly to the reinforcing. Only stainless steel reinforcing will give you piece of mind that will assist in achieving 300 year plus design life of your concrete structure, virtually maintenance free.

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Why is dedicated stainless equipment so important?

When carbon steel filings get embedded in the chromium oxide layer of any stainless steel, this passive layer (that is usually self healing) is unable to repair itself due to the lack of oxygen available when this fragment starts to rust. This area will begin to pit and the rust will eat deeper and deeper into your stainless steel. Lyndons/Durinox equipment has never been used to process carbon steel.

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Hot dipped galvanised reinforcing has been suggested as an alternative to stainless steel reinforcing; will it prevent concrete cancer in my structure?

No, It will only delay the onset. It may outlast ordinary mild steel however it will never give the same corrosion free protection that stainless steel will provide. Just how much protection galvanising can offer is arguable considering - concrete is a high PH environment and zinc does not perform well at certain PH levels.

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Why are there different grades of stainless steel reinforcing and which one is best for my application?

Studies on the different grades of stainless and their performance in the high PH of concrete is ongoing. Initial results suggest that even the cheaper grades of stainless steel will perform as well as some of the more well known grades when complimented by the high PH of nature in concrete. Lyndons/Durinox stocks Austenitic grade 316 due to its non-magnetic properties and its industry acceptance by specifiers. 316 has a higher percentage of nickel compared to the duplex grades (LDX2101, 2304 and 2205) which can mean the pricing can be higher and more volatile. The duplex grades are helping bring down the initial outlay costs and keep pricing more stable whilst offering the same durability as 316. In short, if Lyndons/Durinox can keep the price of stainless steel reinforcing down, then it will be more attractive to asset owners that are restricted by budget constraints or who are not willing to factor in life cycle cost benefits. As tax payers and citizens, we at Lyndons/Durinox would prefer to see less money outlaid every year to maintain, repair and rebuild concrete structures when this money could be better used elsewhere within the community.

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