Rebar (short for reinforcing bar), known when massed as reinforcing steel or reinforcement steel, is a steel bar or mesh of steel wires used as a tension device in reinforced concrete and reinforced masonry structures to strengthen and aid the concrete under tension.
Concrete is strong under compression, but has weak tensile strength. Rebar significantly increases the tensile strength of the structure. Rebar’s surface is often “deformed” with ribs, lugs or indentations to promote a better bond with the concrete and reduce the risk of slippage.
The most common type of rebar is carbon steel, typically consisting of hot-rolled round bars with deformation patterns. Other readily available types include stainless steel, and composite bars made of glass fiber, carbon fiber, or basalt fiber. The steel reinforcing bars may also be coated in an epoxy resin designed to resist the effects of corrosion mostly in saltwater environments, but also land based constructions. Bamboo has been shown to be a viable alternative to reinforcing steel in concrete construction. These alternate types tend to be more expensive or may have lesser mechanical properties and are thus more often used in specialty construction where their physical characteristics fulfill a specific performance requirement that carbon steel does not provide. Steel and concrete have similar coefficients of thermal expansion, so a concrete structural member reinforced with steel will experience minimal differential stress as the temperature changes.