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Reinforced concrete (RC) Vs Pre-stressed Concrete (PC)

RC combines concrete and steel bars by simply putting them together and letting
them act together as they may wish. Whereas, PC combines high strength concrete
with high strength steel in an active manner. This is achieved by tensioning the steel
and holding it against the concrete.
PC design is more suitable for structures of long spans and those carrying heavy
PC structures are more slender and more adaptable to artistic treatment.
PC structures yield more clearance where it is needed. They do not crack under
working loads.
PC elements are more adaptable to pre-casting because of the light weight.
The resistance to corrosion is better than that of RC for the same amount of cover,
owing to the non-existing of cracks and high quality of concrete used for PC.
Regarding fire resistance, high tensile steel more sensible to high temperatures.
From an economical point of view, for PC smaller quantity of materials, both steel
and concrete, are required to carry the same load, since the materials are of higher
The reduced weight of the member will help in economizing the section.
In pre-cast member, a reduction of weight saves handling and transportation costs.
In contrast, the stronger materials (PC) will have a higher unit cost.
For PC, more auxiliary materials are required for pre-stressing such as end
anchorages, conduits and grouts.
Comparing with RC, PC need more complicated formwork, as non-rectangular
shapes are often necessary for PC.
More labor is required to place a unit weight of steel in PC.
More attention to design is involved and more supervision is necessary for PC

Difference between Pre-tensioning Vs Post-tensioning

1. Tendons are tensioned before the placing
of concrete.

1. Tendons are tensioned after the placing of

2. Pre-stress transferred to the concrete

after it was set.

2. Pre-stressing performed against the

hardened concrete.

3. Tendons are temporarily anchored

against some abutments when tensioning.

3. Tendons are anchored against concrete

immediately after pre-stressing.

4. Straight wire is usually used.

4. Curved and bent wire is usually used.

5. In general, pre-tensioning is carried out in

a factory.

5. Post-tensioning may be carried out in a

factory but is more suitable for site work.