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1950 West 8th AVE HIALEAH, FL. 33010, USA TEL: (305)-863-3409 FAX: (305)-863-3349 WWW.PTESTRAND.COM


PTE Unbonded Post-Tensioned Floor System

Post-Tensioning in North America Post-tensioned floor systems with unbonded tendons were first used in the U.S.A. in the late 1950s. Use of unbonded tendons in floor system has been rapidly increasing. From 1965 through 2008, more than three million tons of bonded and unbonded posttensioned tendons were produced and used in concrete structures comprising of residential, Fig.1 An ongoing Project with Un-bonded PT Floor System commercial and parking structures that were constructed in North America totaling roughly about three billion sq. ft of building area, of which about 73% of the tendons produced were used in unbonded PT system. In the past 40 years 100% of the post-tensioned buildings in USA have been built using UNBONDED PT floor system. These buildings are in use for decades without any significant maintenance issues. There are many advantages of using unbonded mono-strand post-tensioned prestressed concrete slabs. The foremost reason why the owners choose unbonded post-tensioned floor system over conventional reinforced floors is due to the economic advantage.

Unbonded Post-Tension System The unbonded post-tension (PT) system consists of two main components; the highstrength low-lax prestressing strand and the anchorage system that are assembled at the ends of each tendon. The unbonded single strands are coated with corrosion inhibiting grease coat and extruded in a seamless
Fig.2 Un-bonded PT Strand

continuous plastic sheathing. The anchorage system consists of ductile steel cast anchor and heat-treated and machined steel wedge with tooth to grip the strands to form a permanent mechanical connection. In the US post-tensioned buildings and parking garages are typically (a) constructed with seven-wire, 0.5-in. diameter (12.7 mm) with a typical strength of 270 ksi (1860 MPa) (b) unbonded single strand tendons. In the unbonded post-tensioning system, form work are erected first, the PT tendons are laid as per the design requirements with appropriate profiles. (c) The concrete is placed in the form work and is allowed to cure for few days, Fig.3 Components of Un-bonded mono-strand PT such that the concrete attain sufficient Floor System compressive strength for example (a) anchors (b) wedges (c) pocket formers 3000 psi. The cables are then stretched that is pulled or stressed to the pre-determined elongation/pressure, with stressing equipment and anchored producing a highly pre-compressed structure. Unlike bonded system, there is no heavy equipment required. Similarly, since there is no duct present, there is no need to grout, eliminating a time consuming, stringent quality assurance and supervision required grouting process.

Hydraulic pump

Tendon profile support

4 3 2

Fig.4 Construction sequence of Un-bonded mono-strand PT Floor System (1) form work in place, rabar and PT cables laid with anchors and pocket formers (2) concrete poured, cured, pocket-former removed (3) wedges inserted and set (4) cable stressed at stressing end (a cut-section is shown for clarity) (5) elongations verified, tails cut and pocket patched.

The prestressing force is transferred to the structure through the anchorage system assembly fitted at the ends of the strands. The tendon, in combination with nonprestressed reinforcement and the concrete, forms the complete structural system. Some of the cost-saving advantages of the system include up to 40% reduction of concrete and 75% reduction of reinforcement steel, reduced foundation loading, and smaller foundation foot prints, reduced member sizes producing lower building profile and height, continuous framing with less construction joints and great structural integrity, crack free waterproof slabs with long spans and reduced number of columns and deflection and camber control coupled with quicker removal of farm work. Any shape, like curved facades, arches and complicated slab edge layouts can be formed with unbonded PT system without any difficulty.

PTE Strand Co Inc. PTE Strand Co Inc. a PTI certified plant is one of the oldest and largest design and supplier of fabricated unbonded post-tensioning materials and services in the United States. PTE Strand provides post-tension system packages which include complete post-tension floor framing design and detailed input on alternative framing schemes, budget pricing, including up-to-date information on costs and scheduling and complete project detailing services for mild steel reinforcing and post-tension, production of shop drawings for installation, fabrication, delivery of post-tension cables and accessories, and field technical assistance. PTE Strands well experienced engineering team study and understand the project requirements and if required, can provide practical and economical design alternatives in compliance with ACI, PTI, ASCE, IBC and appropriate code requirements. PTE Strand team comprises of multi-lingual professionals, capable of providing personal attention and customized service. PTE Strand has several teams of time-tested and well experienced field technicians which frequently visits active projects in order to guide as well provide quality service. PTE Strand seeks to redesign conventional reinforced concrete structures as well bonded PT floor system into unbonded post-tension structures to demonstrate the value and strength of post-tensioning. Settings where posttensioning can be used include elevated structural slabs and beams, slabs-ongrade, mat foundations, transfer girders, parking garages and barrier cables among others. PTE Strand has its own in-house engineering department with well trained, experienced, innovative and motivated engineers. The department is equipped

with latest FE 3D modeling software to model and analyze any complex geometry. PTE Strand fabrication plant is equipped with most advanced, error less and highly efficient, the state-of-the-art fully automated cutting lines and has more capacity than anybody in the Southeastern United States. Some of the unbonded PT projects PTE Strand has worked on recently include a 1.8 million sq. ft. parking garage at Raleigh-Durham International Air-port in Raleigh, N.C.; the 1.2 million sq. ft. Jade Residences in the Brickell section of Miami; the 1.2 million sq. ft. Brickell Plaza also in Miami; and the 850,000 sq. ft. Peninsula Towers I and II condominiums in Aventura, FL. and many major projects have been completed in USA as well as in Central and South American countries, with unbonded post-tensioning in buildings of various end uses.

PTE is committed to growth by achieving total customer satisfaction and trust in a competitive environment, providing timely and peerless posttension expertise and service through superior planning, engineering, manufacturing and site assistance.

Advantageous of using Unbonded PT System over Bonded PT System To further emphasis the advantages of using unbonded system over bonded post-tensioning a brief narrative is given below on various aspects, for example, corrosion protection, structural efficiency, and speed of construction. Corrosion Protection A major concern with reinforced concrete construction is rusting of steel. A conventional reinforced concrete structure is more prone to corrosion than a prestressed concrete structure, due to the presence of precompression through the prestressing steel that virtually eliminates cracks. However the prestressing steel is till could subject to corrosion if corrosion mechanism is present. To protect the prestressing steel from
Fig.5 PT Cables are cut to length and fabricated with dead end anchors, color coded for easy installation and ready for shipment

corrosion, the cables are provided with protective system. The corrosion protection to bonded PT cable is provided by the cable duct and the grout filled within the annuls of duct after stressing. Unbonded tendons have corrosion inhibiting PT coating and the extruded seamless plastic sheathing. Unlike bonded system, the corrosion protection to the PT cable is available from the instant the cable is fabricated at the plant. They are protected against corrosion even during construction by their grease coating and continuous seamless plastic sheathing. While the bonded tendons are exposed to environment until field grouting and inadvertent trapped water and air pockets at high and low points on profiled tendons and especially at anchors during grouting operation, aid corrosion. The corrosion protection of unbonded tendon is carried out in the shop and complete for the entire length of the tendon and present from the beginning. Achieving proper corrosion protection in a bonded post-tensioning requires more stringent specifications and knowledgeable contractors and inspectors. Grouting can be mishandled and tendons can be poorly, partially or never grouted. Grouts should be of good quality. Grout containing chlorides cause severe wire and sheath corrosion. Ill-conceived details, poor execution or damaged corrosion protection can cause corrosion of field grouted bonded posttensioning system. For a period of time (from 1992 1996), U.K. Department of Transport imposed a ban on use of bonded tendons in new construction prompted by concerns over potential corrosion problems with grouted tendons and the difficulty of detecting them. There are no easy way of inspecting a grouted post tensioned tendons and proving the integrity of the prestressing steel. In contrast, the unbonded tendon system can be easily inspected and if a problem is found in any tendon then those particular tendons can be replaced and the prestressing force restored with simple repair procedures. In reactor containment vessels, unbonded PT system is preferred due to the fact that the tendons can be constantly monitored for any potential problem and replaced, if necessary. In a bonded system, cables that are hit and broken during electrical, mechanical or plumbing installation may be left un-noticed and un-repaired. Where as, it will show up when a cable is hit and broken, in a unbonded system, and the broken cable can be repaired or replaced restoring the design prestressing force. Apart from the corrosion protection to the PT strand, unbonded PT system can have additional corrosion protection system at anchor zones as well. A fully encapsulated and electrically isolated tendon system is available for a highly aggressive environment. There are other anchorage systems available that are void less and totally isolated. The fully encapsulated unbonded PT system uses a plastic sheath and plastic-coated anchorage and a plastic grease cap to cover the exposed tail of the tendon.

The grease coating not only provides protection against corrosion, but also reduces friction when the tendon is stressed. Compared with the bonded system, unbonded PT system has very low losses of prestressing force due to friction, which translate into less number of cable required to achieve the final effective force and hence savings in material cost. High friction losses significantly reduce the effective post-tensioning force available along the length of the cable.

Structural Efficiency Since the unbonded PT system uses single strands, unlike bonded system where group of strands are used in single duct, the unbonded tendons are smaller in diameter, and lighter in weight to handle and more flexible to lay to the required layout, and can be placed with maximum eccentricity, since there is no conduit or duct is required and can make maximum use of the concrete slab depth, especially in thinner floor slabs, leading to effective use of high strength materials (both concrete and PT cables), resulting in shallow, more attractive light weight structures. Small blockouts, pipe penetration can be provided wherever required by individually adjusting the unbonded tendons on the field, since no bigger diameter cable duct is involved as in the case of bonded tendons. Nonorthogonal support layout demand the PT cable to follow vigorous curves to trace the column supports. Unbonded PT Fig.6 Installation of Unbonded PT Cables is in progress reinforcing system is flexible to easily meet such an architecturally complex projects. Thinner slabs produce a decreased dead load and possible reduction in foundation costs, decreased floor-to-floor height, resulting in an overall shorter building, thus, exterior skin, vertical piping, conduit costs, and savings in energy and can squeeze in an extra floor. Effective use of full depth of the floor slab leads to longer economical spans. Longer spans reduce number of columns to support and produce larger clear carpet area available for use. Whereas, in the bonded system, larger diameter ducts are required to house the cables, which mean, the effective depth on concrete is not fully utilized and it is very significant in case of thinner floor slabs. In order to achieve the same design force, the slab may require additional

thickness, resulting in heavier slab and subsequent additional material, labor cost and time associated with it. Use of unbonded tendon is particularly advantageous for thinner building slabs. Unlike heavier slabs and beams in which relatively fewer large tendons can be used, building slabs require large number of smaller tendons. PT slab system has its inherent advantage of control on deflections due to the compressive force available through the strands. This compressive force virtually eliminates the cracks and produces a watertight construction. PT slab system is a low cost, fire resistant construction. Unbonded post-tension system can connect precast elements to produce large or long span structures. Wide flexibility in design variations, stage prestressing is available. A transfer slab or transfer beam to support floating columns can be designed with unbonded PT system. The PT cables can be stressed in stages depending on the load balancing requirement. If the floor system is very large and requires several pours, then Fig.7 Concreting is in progress the unbonded system is not only a viable solution but also provides the structural continuity through the continuity of the cables through the construction joints. Prestressing can be carried-out in field construction of large structures. It eliminates the cost of transporting precast structural elements. In case of bonded tendons, since the tendons are bonded to the surrounding concrete, the elongations at cracks are local. This results in a higher strain and corresponding higher stress increase, whereby the total strength of the total steel is utilized locally. The unbonded tendons instead elongate uniformly between anchors through the entire length of the cable involving several spans in a continuous slab. Hence, the strain and the corresponding stress increase at failure are limited, often leaving total stress below yielding even with extensive cracking. Model tests carried out in Switzerland and the US as well as accidents on buildings with construction in progress, have shown that the unbonded PT tendons do not respond to localized areas of overloading, and hence, PT slabs

exhibit good structural redundancy and toughness. Catenary capability of post-tensioned structure with unbonded tendons to survive localized catastrophic loadings without progressive collapse of the entire floor or roof.

Speed of Construction The speed of construction is much faster with unbonded tendons which can be placed quickly and easily and no grouting operation required, thus eliminating the cost associated with material, labor and time; whereas large number of grouting operation would be required if bonded tendons areused in slabs which involve additional trade, supervision, labor cost and time. Since unbonded system does not require grouting and hence, no protruding vent pipes that are in the way hindering the concrete finishing. Whereas, some of the bonded system uses a grout vents for each tendon that extend through the concrete from the duct usually through the top surface of concrete slab or beam. Such grout vents are a tremendous hindrance for the concrete finishing. In the bonded system, the grout vents provide easy access to corrosive elements to seep through. It is physically difficult to achieve a perfect injection of grout along the entire length if the cable has a profile. High points as well as areas where cable is in Fig.5 Stressing unbonded mono-strand PT tendons is easy contact with the duct are with simple equipment- No heavy equipments are required. critical points. In a bonded tendon, due to water separation (grout bleed), air tends to be trapped at high and low points on profiled tendons during grouting. Insufficient injection of grout can frequently occur at high points, which is where the cables are close to areas where aggressive environments are present. Even a fully grouted cable can develop severe damage if the deterioration mechanisms are present, for example, a leaky cable duct might lead to corrosion.

Fire Resistance PTI (2006) # 18.2.1 states that the strength of the post-tensioning steel decreases as temperature increases. At about 800F its strength is reduced to about half its room temperature strength. Stress relaxation of post-tensioning steel increases as temperature increases. According to PTI # 18.2.2 building codes may require that floors in a given building qualify for a 2-hour fire resistance rating. The IBC (2006) Table 720.1(1), does not distinguish between bonded and unbonded post-tensioned tendons. Considering this fact, continuous floor slabs in a 2 hr rated building requires a concrete cover of in the interior spans and 1 in the end spans. Contrary to the code, the Industrial perception is that bonded floor system is considered as restrained even at the end span. Hence, the argument that bonded post-tensioned beams are advantageous over unbonded posted tensioned slab for fire resistance is based on the false premises.

General Concerns Large openings that are required after the slab is built can be incorporated without much difficulty. When an unbonded PT structure needs to be demolished, it can be demolished safely and economically. Unbonded PT tendons can be destressed before attempting repair work and can be restored to full design force.

Conclusion To summarize, in North America, about 73% of the tendons produced were used in unbonded PT system. The buildings constructed using unbonded PT system, are in use for many decades without any significant maintenance issues. Some of the cost-saving advantages of the system include up to 40% reduction of concrete and 75% reduction of reinforcement steel compared to conventional reinforced concrete structures. PTE Strand Co Inc. a PTI certified plant is one of the oldest and largest design and supplier of fabricated unbonded posttensioning materials and services in the United States serving North, Central and South America. PTE Strand seeks to redesign conventional reinforced concrete structures and bonded PT system into unbonded post-tension structures to demonstrate the economy, value and strength of unbonded post-tensioning system. A brief narrative is presented to demonstrate the advantages of using unbonded system over bonded post-tensioning on various aspects, for example, corrosion protection, structural efficiency, and speed of construction.