Fibers are typically added to shotcrete linings for canals, channels, and other water structures in lieu of conventional reinforcing, such as welded wire reinforcement (WWR). For your “large amount of concrete via the shotcreting process,” we assume that you are using the wet-mix shotcrete process.

Temperature/shrinkage reinforcement is typically placed in thin sections governed by the structural concrete provisions of ACI 318 at a rate of 0.15 to 0.18%. Please be aware that if the lining is intended to be liquid-tight and has movement joints spaced at greater than 40 ft (12 m) apart, a reinforcement ratio of at least 0.50% is recommended by ACI 350 for concrete liquid-containing structures. Assuming that the section does not need to be liquid-tight and using the ACI 318 requirements, let’s consider the tensile capacity of a conventionally reinforced section and provide an equal or greater tensile capacity with fibers. Assuming a 3 in. (75 mm) thick lining with an assumed 28-day compressive strength of 4000 psi (28 MPa), using a WWR of 6 x 6 x W2.9/W2.9 in this section provides a percentage of steel of 0.161% and a tensile capacity of 3770 lb/ft (5610 kg/m). (Asfy = 0.058 in.2/ft [0.12 mm] x 65,000 psi [448 MPa] = 3770 lb/ft [5610 kg/m].)

Then, we assume that the direct tensile strength is 75% of the flexural strength (modulus of rupture [MOR]). For 3770 lb/ft (5610 kg/m) in a section 3 x 12 in. (75 x 300 mm), we have 3770/(12 × 3) = 105 psi (0.72 MPa). Then, we need an average residual strength (ARS) (ASTM C1399) of 105/0.75 = 139.6 psi (0.963 MPa) = 140 psi (0.965 MPa).

Using a macrosynthetic fiber, one can achieve these results using 4 to 5 lb/yd3 (2.4 to 3.0 kg/m3) in wet-process shotcrete. Fiber manufacturers will provide exact dosages to meet the ARS requirements.

Using steel fibers, approximately 43 lb/yd3 (25.5 kg/m3) will provide an equivalent area of steel to the WWR of 6 x 6 x W2.9/W2.9 in a 3 in. (75 mm) thick concrete section. Using steel fibers, however, may require a flash coat to cover the fibers that will protrude and rust over time. The corrosion of the fibers will only reach a carbonation depth of 0.05 to 0.10 in. (1 to 2 mm) but may result in staining the lining.

These calculations assume a thickness and strength. You must adjust for your conditions.