Joint filler strips create expansion joints in concrete slabs. Concrete slabs expand and contract as the temperature changes. Without expansion joints the concrete slabs would crack from thermal stress. The fillers strips are placed periodically in the slab to create these joints. The filler strips are left in to prevent debris from building up in the cracks.
Isolation joints occur when joint filler strips are used to separate concrete structures. Alternatively joint filler strips are also used to isolate metal girders from a concrete slab. The isolation helps prevent vibrations in one part of the building from traveling to another part of the building. Isolation joints are also used in laboratories to keep experiments from being disturbed by passing traffic.
Expansion joints are used to keep two different structures from grating against each other. In urban areas where buildings abut each other, joint filler strips are used to keep the buildings from actually touching. Buildings next to each other can expand at different rates because of differing amounts of sunlight. The use of expansion joints is usually required by local regulations and insisted upon by insurance companies.
Construction joints are used to keep concrete slabs apart during construction. The concrete slab is poured and then filler strips are placed around the periphery. The filler strips prevent the other concrete slab pours from spilling over and touching the old slabs. Construction joints are used to prevent cracking, to achieve a certain look in the pavement, and when different types of concrete are used.
Control joints are artificially induced cracks in a concrete structure to prevent rampant cracking. The slab is cracked in the middle of the seam with a chisel and hammer. A joint filler strip is then used to cover the crack for aesthetic reasons and weatherization. If water pools under a concrete slab, the slab can drift on the layer of mud and warp the surface.
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