Rebar Coupler vs Lapping

Rebar couplers are used to connect reinforcement bars of various grades and diameters. They eliminate the use of lapping. Rebar couplers can join rebars with full tension capacity.

The ends of steel bars to be joined are provided with threads, and a coupler is used to join rebars end-to-end, which transfers the loads on the rebar across the connection. They are more efficient than lap splices because they do not depend on the concrete for load transfer. 

Lap splicing is not always desirable and practical. Sometimes, the use of lap splices is not possible due to already congested reinforcement in certain sections of the structure, or it may have been discouraged by the building code. To minimize the disadvantages of lap splicing, rebar couplers are used in modern construction.

rebar coupler VS Lapping

Rebar coupler offer builders the following advantages:

1) Improved structural integrity
Rebar coupler maintain load path continuity of the reinforcement, independent of the condition or existence of the concrete. To use splices in tensile regions, they must be able to develop the full strength of the rebar and not create a weak point. Therefore the performance of the system is assured throughout the strain-hardening region where plastic deformations occur. In seismic applications, rebar coupler maintain structural integrity when bars are stressed beyond yield, allowing the predictable formation of plastic hinges.

2) No reliance on concrete for load transfer
In coastal regions, rebar corrosion can produce concrete delamination and spalling. Since lap splices transfer load through the surrounding concrete, when the concrete is gone, the lap splice in effect has failed. Rebar coupler do not rely on the concrete for load transfer and therefore maintain the structural integrity.

3) Elimination of lap splice calculations
Rebar coupler does away with the tedious calculations needed to determine proper lap lengths and the potential calculation errors.

4) Reduced rebar congestion
The problem of reinforcement congestion becomes very challenging for ductile seismic detailing. Providing a rebar coupler will resolve the issue as further congestion at rebar joints will be avoided. When the structural members are heavily reinforced, the use of rebar couplers can lead to a significant reduction in reinforcement congestion.

5) Reduced material costs
Because rebar coupler do not overlap, less rebar is used, reducing some of the material costs. This cost savings can be particularly significant for jobs requiring expensive epoxy- coated or galvanized bars, since building codes require up to 50% longer splice laps for these bars than for standard rebars.

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