The most successful systems was that perfected by Francois

The art and science of concrete construction has a long history, dating
at least to ancient Rome. The development of reinforced concrete, on the
other hand, is relatively recent, being scarcely one hundred years old.
Numerous men and organizations in Europe and the United States have
made major contributions to the understanding and use of reinforced
concrete, and our purpose here will be to provide a quick review of some
the high spots. Jean Monier, a French gardener who knew nothing about
engineering or architecture, has long been given credit for the first
use of reinforced concrete. Monier embedded wire nets in concrete to
produce strong and durable tree and flower pots, and patented his
process in 1867. Later, in the 1870’s, Monier obtained patents on
processes for building reinforced concrete pipes, reservoirs, floors,
straight and arched beams, and bridges. During this developmental peroid
of reinforced concrete construction, numerous men introduced systems,
most of them under patent for the exclusinve benefit of their developers
and promoters. One of the most successful systems was that perfected by
Francois Hennebique in France, who developed a method of using two
series of reinforcing rods. One of the series was straight, and lay in
the lower part of the concrete. The other lay on the top and bent down
near the center of the span to lie close to the straight rods.
Hennebique also used flat iron stirrups in beams and slabs. His method,
at th esame time, called for the casting of slab, beams, and columns as a
single unit, and thus he has received credit for originating monolithic
construction. With modifications, several features of the Hennibique
system remain in use today. Between 1892 and 1899, Hennibique and the
contractors licensed to use his system completed hundreds of reinforced
concrete tuildings. Much of the experimentation and use of reinforced
concrete had been on a trial and error basis. Matthias Koenen, in
Berlin, Germany, was the first experimeter to deduce methods of
computation for load tests, publishing his analysis of his theory of
flexure on the following premises: (1) plane sections perpendicular to
the neutral axis prior to bending remain so following bending; (2)
stress is proportional to strain; (3) there is perfect bond between
concrete and steel; and (4) tension stresses in the concrete are no
considered. Koenen’s basic procedure is still generally accepted and
used today.


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