Reinforcing steel is a material used to strengthen concrete. Woven into a maze and placed inside of forms or suspended to allow the reinforcing steel to lie in the center of a poured slab, the iron rod gives added strength to the already strong cement. Commonly called by the slang name “re-bar,” reinforcing steel has a surface of raised lines and patterns to allow it to stick tightly inside of the poured concrete. Many times, the reinforcing steel is woven into a multi-layered mat to give an inner strength otherwise unobtainable to concrete or cement work.
Made of low-grade iron, reinforcing steel is not very difficult to bend. This allows iron workers to shape the long rods into horseshoe-like configurations to reinforce cement pillars. The long sections of iron rod are typically tied together with small-diameter wire and set at critical depths within the cement forms to allow the cement to flow both over and under the steel re-bar. By placing bends in the bar, it is locked into the cured cement and unable to shift position. This method of reinforcing the concrete will actually allow the concrete to bend slightly under pressure without cracking before it returns back to its original shape.