Elastomeric bearings are used in both housing and industrial construction to support reinforced concrete components subject to bending stress. Elastomeric bearings are used as reinforced or unreinforced bearings, sliding bearings or thermal separation in pre-cast or in-situ concrete construction.
In concrete and reinforced concrete construction, the dead and live loads on roofs, beams and ceilings are transferred to the components below, such as columns, walls and brackets, via fixed and floating bearings. Besides pressure forces, elastomeric bearings also need to absorb slab angular deflections and horizontal movements such as those caused by concrete shrinkage or temperature-related expansion. These factors are incorporated into the structural analysis of components. Sliding or shear deformation bearings must be used, the choice depending on the application, and the bearing itself may be either in a point- or strip-shaped format. It is important to ensure that elements are positioned within the stirrup reinforcement of the adjacent structural members to prevent the outer edges of the concrete from spalling. Compact or steel-reinforced structural bearings are used, the choice depending on the pressure force; profiling may also be necessary – to compensate for uneven surfaces or prevent severe bulging in the bearing under high stress loads, for example. To guarantee components fulfil their function, greater care is required during installation when using sliding bearings for in-situ concrete applications. Construction bearings can bear full stress loads immediately after installation and remain in position for a building’s entire service life since elastomeric bearings last as long as the structures themselves, if not longer.

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