Chemistry KS3 & GCSE: How reinforced concrete works

Mark Miodownik puts the properties of reinforced concrete to the test.

He watches as a beam of concrete withstands a load of 2.5 tonnes.

Even though cracks are present in the lower portion of the beam, they stop when they reach the steel reinforcement.

Mark explains why he loves concrete and describes why so many of our modern iconic structures are made from reinforced concrete.

This clip is from Materials: How They Work.

Teacher Notes

This clip can be used as a stimulus for a practical activity investigating the strength of concrete.

Students can carry out their own investigations into the strength of concrete.

They can vary the amounts of sand, cement, aggregate, steel wire and suchlike.

They can determine their own independent, dependent and control variables and test the shapes created by loaded them with masses or squeezing them in a G-clamp.

A mould can be created from a cardboard net or a plastic cup.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching Chemistry. This topic appears in OCR, Edexcel, AQA, WJEC KS4/GCSE in England and Wales, CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 4/5 in Scotland.

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