Precast Roofing
 
 
A substitute
 
Finding a substitute for the heavy roof slab has been one of the major challenges for structural engineers, mainly because of the difficulty in managing the heavy stress forces. After years of research and development, engineers came up with the filler slab as an alternative. Despite initial hesitation in accepting the new technology, the filler slab has today become popular as a practical low-cost alternative. Filler slabs are one such cost - effective roofing system which is based on the concrete portions and instead placing filler material there. The material used as a replacement includes terracotta bricks, tiles, cellular concrete blocks etc.
 
 
 
 
 
Reinforced concrete
 

Filler slab roofs are basically solid reinforced concrete slabs with partial replacement of concrete by a filler material that is cheaper and lighter. In a roof slab, the upper portion bears compressive loads whereas the lower is subjected to tensile load. While bricks or concrete absorb the compressive loads on the upper portion of the slab, tensile strength is imparted by the framework of steel rods on the lower side.

The filler slab is based on the principle that for roofs which are simply supported, the upper part of the slab is subjected to compressive forces and the lower part of the slab experience tensile forces. Concrete is very good in withstanding compressive forces and steel bears the load due to tensile forces. Thus the lower tensile region of the slab does not need any concrete except for holding the steel reinforcements together.

Therefore in a conventional RCC slab lot of concrete is wasted and it needs extra reinforcement due to added load of the concrete which can otherwise be replaced by lowcost and light weight filler materials, which will reduce the dead weight as well as the cost of the slab. (as 40% less steel is used and 30% less concrete).

 
The filler slabs also result in fewer loads getting transferred to the load-bearing walls and the foundations. The air gap in between the tiles makes it a good heat insulator and the ceiling looks attractive as well.
 
 
The mechanism
 
The filler slab is a mechanism to replace the concrete in the tension zone. The filler material, thus, is not a structural part of the slab. By reducing the quantity and weight of material, the roof become less expensive, yet retains the strength of the conventional slab. The most popular filler material is terracotta filler blocks which is placed between terracotta based pre-casted channels/beams and concrete is poured into the gap to make a filler slab. The structure requires less steel and cement and it is also a good heat insulator
 
 
Thermal insulation
 
The air pocket formed by the contours of the tiles makes an excellent thermal insulation layer. The design integrity of a filler slab involves careful planning taking into account the negative zones and reinforcement areas.
 
             
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