The construction workers were here today to put the rebars in the garage foundation. I’ve heard of rebars, and I even know what they do, but I didn’t know what the difference between a bar and a rebar is, so I did a bit of research.
You probably already know, but the bar in “rebar” is a bar, as in a rod rather than as in a tavern (though in the case of a tavern, I suppose you could still re-bar, as in bar-hopping and re-bar-hopping). The “re” part in rebar is short for “reinforcing” or “reinforcement.” Aha! So a rebar is simply a reinforcing bar. That part I get. The explanation for why a rebar is necessary is what strains my brain.
The forces of compression and tension always work together within an object. The force of compression squeezes things together, while the force of tension pulls things apart. Concrete has a high compression strength, but it has weak tension. (Apparently, concrete can stand up to compression, as when a building is built on a concrete foundation, but it can’t stand up to forces of tension, which is why the walls of my old garage kept sliding apart and cracking the floor. Even though the foundation was shallow, the garage might have held up if rebars had been used in the construction. Or so I understand.)
Although I have never specifically heard of the forces of compression and tension (or if I had heard, I’ve long forgotten) and don’t really understand how they work, I am familiar with the concept of opposing universal forces. Yin and yang, which is the ultimate example of forces that work together to make a whole. The nuclear force, which keeps nucleons in the atom’s nucleus together at the same time it keeps them apart to prevent an implosion. The push and pull of orbits that keep the solar system and galaxy in order. The give and take of relationships.
It’s not really important to understand the concept of rebars as long as the workers do, and as long as the work passes inspection, which it did. So, next step — concrete!
Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator