Before rebar can be used in a typical reinforced-concrete structure, designers and contractors must carefully plan how to join long lengths of reinforcing steel. When contractors are concerned about issues such as congestion, convenience, structural integrity, and load transfer, it is often worthwhile for them to consider using mechanical connections.

Because jobsite conditions vary tremendously, manufacturers provide a wide variety of mechanical connections. Of these many mechanical splicing systems, tension-compression devices are perhaps the most versatile. Unlike either tension-only or compression-only splicing devices, tension-compression systems can transfer both compressive and tensile forces along the length of the rebar - giving designers and contractors more flexibility when they choose a splicing system.

Tension-compression systems can generally be placed in either of the following categories:

  • Systems that act as dowel bar substitutes
  • Systems that use couplers to join lengths of rebar