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Construction: Special stainless reinforcement steel for structural designs

Opening possibilities for aesthetics and impeccable fair faced concrete.

Since the beginning of the 1950ies, fair faced concrete has become a stylistic element. With a focus on the honest, visible use of materials fair faced concrete has become a synonym for a raw, yet sensual architecture. Following the visions of architects for the realization of residential buildings, concert halls, stadiums or parks place extremely high demands on the construction industry: they have to be long-lasting, safe and flawlessly beautiful. With the use of the optimal reinforcement steel, building contractors’ wishes and architects’ creative visions can become reality.

How to avoid corrosion risk and achieving durability

There is virtually no limit to design and structural possibilities, when reinforced concrete is used. In the past, however, there was one big but: Because the cement stone reacts with the CO2 in the air, causing the pH-value of the concrete pore water to decrease, the corrosion protection of the normal reinforcement is lost over time and thus begins to corrode. The resulting corrosion products initially cause cracks (possibly accompanied by rust plumes) and later concrete spalling, and finally, reduces the bearing capacity. Usual relatively high concrete coverings usually require large-sized and thus heavy components

The solution: Finding the balance between durability and aesthetics

Today, with the use of reinforcement steel with a higher corrosion resistance, slender constructions or applications with a greater risk for cracking, have become possible. Thanks to the higher corrosion resistance of the steel, exceedingly thick concrete coverage has become obsolete. The minimal concrete cover not only has advantages from an aesthetic point of view, but also means that less concrete and thus less construction weight is required, which reduces transport and handling costs.

When is the use of stainless steel recommended?

When is the use of stainless steel recommended?Using stainless steel reinforcement makes sense, when the structures face one or several of the following challenges:
  • Reduced reinforcement cover
  • Danger of corrosion due to crack formation
  • Difficult execution or fluctuating execution quality
  • Targeted long lifespan

Ideal applications for stainless rebar

In order for residential structures to be aesthetically attractive while remaining economically sensible, deciding precisely where and which type of stainless steel to use is crucial. The principal applications for stainless steel in residential structures are:

  • Precast concrete components
  • Sandwich panels
  • Architectural concrete

How to merge high static requirements and light architectural design

Architectural and structural design should not be limited by the properties of the materials used. In reality some constructions, such as heavy duty columns or wide stretched ceilings, have to withstand great high static forces. This normally calls for thicker constructions, leading to a lesser space utilization or even making certain constructions impossible.

The solution for Switzerland: Using higher strength reinforcement

With the use of higher strength steel, such as the Top700, which is only available in Switzerland, streamlined designs and slimmer constructions become possible. Thanks to the yield strength of more than 700N/mm2 the percentage of steel in concrete can be reduced and very high strength can be guaranteed – right up to earthquake-proof structures. While no special concrete properties are required, using higher strength reinforcement steel allows the reduction of steel used by up to 40%. Resulting in lower steel need and lesser transport. The environment says thank you.

Stainless reinforcing steel for infralight concrete

Infralight concrete is a constructive high-performance lightweight concrete that combines load transfer and thermal insulation in one material. Due to its low thermal conductivity and good compressive strength, multi-story buildings with monolithic wall structures can be constructed, which meet the current strict energy requirements without an additional insulation layer. The single-shell fair-faced concrete construction method allows for robust, less complex and durable structures that simultaneously have a high design potential and can thus contribute to building culture.

Architect: KPT Architekten,
Images: Mattias Richter,

Infralight concrete is a microstructure-tight lightweight concrete, but compared to normal concrete it is diffusion-open, which has a good effect on the indoor climate, but also has a negative effect on the danger of steel corrosion due to the penetration of CO2 from the air (carbonation-induced corrosion). The rapidly progressing carbonation of the concrete in infralight concrete leads to a decrease in the protective alkalinity of the concrete and ultimately to the loss of the passive layer of the conventionally unalloyed reinforcing steel. To avoid the high risk of corrosion specific to the building material, Top12 can be used in the outer layer of the wall or ceiling reinforcement.

In alkaline as well as in carbonated concrete, stainless steels such as Top12 are present in a passive state and do not experience surface corrosion phenomena due to carbonation. In addition, even in fully carbonated concrete, Top12 has a chloride tolerance of 0.9 M%/z, which is more than a normal steel can tolerate in an alkaline environment.

Relevant downloads


Top12 and Top700 Application brochure

Technical datasheets

Top12 Technical data sheet
Top700 Technical data sheet


Top12 Technical approval coils
Top12 Technical approval bars
Certificate of conformity
Register for standard-compliant concrete steels

Stainless reinforcing steel for the construction industry

Build to last. Reduce costs.

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Head of construction steels

Christian Linden

+41 41 209 5319

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