• Selecting the Correct Microsynthetic or Macrosynthetic Fiber for a Given Application?

    December 17, 2009

    Q: How Does One Go About Selecting the Correct Microsynthetic or Macrosynthetic Fiber for a Given Application?

    A: First we need to look at the application and the specification for secondary reinforcement provided by the engineer. We will define the secondary reinforcement as the non-structural reinforcement or the temperature-shrinkage reinforcement. Another way to define secondary reinforcement is when the cross-sectional area of the steel specified is NOT used in the structural calculations of the concrete slab or concrete element.

    The following table provides the basic parameters for selecting the correct synthetic fiber: 


    Purpose Fiber Category Fiber Dosage


    Plastic Shrinkage Microsynthetic Fibers 0.5 – 1.0 lb/cy

    Crack Reinforcement (Typically Monofilament Polypropylene) 

    Plastic Settlement Microsynthetic Fibers 0.5 – 1.0 lb/cy

    Reinforcement (Typically Monofilament Polypropylene)

    Drying Shrinkage Microsynthetic Fibers 1.0 – 1.5 lbs/cy

    Crack Reinforcement (Typically Fibrillate Polypropylene)

    Impact Resistance, Microsynthetic Fibers 1.0 – 1.5 lbs/cy

    Surface Abrasion (Typically Fibrillated

    Resistance, Volume Polypropylene)

    Change Reduction


    Plastic Shrinkage Crack Reinforcement would be appropriate for slabs-on-grade and on elevated deck and thin precast concrete elements where the weather conditions (temperature, wind speed, and humidity) could produce plastic shrinkage cracks. The cause of plastic shrinkage cracking is the rapid loss of moisture from the surface of the concrete element.

    Plastic Settlement Crack Reinforcement reduces the cracking directly over rebars by reducing the plastic settlement of the concrete. The 3-dimensional fiber reinforcement network restricts the settlement of the coarse and fine aggregate and cement reducing the displacement of the free water in the concrete.

    Drying Shrinkage Cracking Reinforcement provides for the cracking that occurs with volume change in the hardened concrete at the moisture leaves the concrete as it ages. The three-dimensional reinforcement provided by the fibers modifies the stress distribution resulting from this volume change thus producing micro cracking versus macro cracking, which is common when WWF is used. There is also a companion reduction in the volume change.  



    Ultra-Thin Microsynthetic Fibers 3.0 lbs/cy per

    White topping (Typically Fibrillated FHWA specification Polypropylene)

    Plastic Shrinkage/ Macrosynthetic Fibers 3.0 lbs/cy Minimum

    Plastic Shrinkage/

    Drying Shrinkage


    Impact Resistance/ Macrosynthetic Fibers 3.0 lbs/cy Minimum

    Surface Abrasion


    Change Reduction

     Post-First Crack Macrosynthetic Fiber 3.0 lbs/cy Minimum

    Reinforcement (Typical range 3.0 to ASTM C1399/7.0 lbs/cy)