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PRINCIPLE Using high tensile strength steel alloys producing permanent precompression in areas subjected to Tension.

A portion of tensile stress is counteracted thereby reducing the cross-sectional area of the steel reinforcement .
METHODS :a) Pretensioning b)Post-tensioning

PRETENSIONING :- Placing of concrete around reinforcing tendons that have been stressed to the desired degree. POST-TENSIONING :- Reinforcing tendons are stretched by jacks whilst keeping them in serted in voids left pre-hand during curing of concrete. These spaces are then pumped full of grout to bond steel tightly to the concrete.


Post-tensioning- is a method of reinforcing (strengthening) concrete or other materials with highstrength steel strands called tendons. Post-tensioning allows construction that would otherwise be impossible due to either site constraints or architectural requirements. Requires specialized knowledge and expertise to fabricate, assemble and install.

After adequate curing of concrete, reinforcing tendons (placed in side the voids of the structure) are tensioned/stretched by jacks on the sides & grouts filled with appropriate mix.
Applications a) Structural members beams, bridge-deck panels, Roof Slabs, Concrete Silos Etc.



Concrete is very strong in compression but weak in tension,\ This deflection will cause the bottom of the beam to elongate slightly & cause cracking. Steel reinforcing bars (rebar) are typically embedded in the concrete as tensile reinforcement to limit the crack widths. Rebar is what is called passive reinforcement however; it does not carry any force until the concrete has already deflected enough to crack. Post-tensioning tendons, on the other hand, are considered active reinforcing. Because it is prestressed, the steel is effective as reinforcement even though the concrete may not be cracked . Post-tensioned structures can be designed to have minimal deflection and cracking, even under full load.

Post Tensioned Structure


Post-tensioning allows longer clear spans, thinner slabs, fewer beams and more slender, dramatic elements. Thinner slabs mean less concrete is required. It means a lower overall building height for the same floor-to-floor height. Post-tensioning can thus allow a significant reduction in building weight versus a conventional concrete building with the same number of floors reducing the foundation load and can be a major advantage in seismic areas. A lower building height can also translate to considerable savings in mechanical systems and faade costs. Another advantage of post-tensioning is that beams and slabs can be continuous, i.e. a single beam can run continuously from one end of the building to the other.

This innovative form is result of post tensioning.

Bridge decks

Reduces occurrence of cracks .

Freezing & thawing durability is higher than non prestressed concrete.

Post-tensioning is the system of choice for parking structures

since it allows a high degree of flexibility in the column layout,

span lengths and ramp configurations.

In areas where there are expansive clays or soils with low bearing capacity, post-tensioned slabs-on-ground and mat foundations reduce problems with cracking and differential settlement. Post-tensioning allows bridges to be built to very demanding geometry requirements, including complex curves, and significant grade changes.

Post-tensioning also allows extremely long span bridges to be constructed without the use of temporary intermediate supports. This minimizes the impact on the environment

and avoids disruption to water or road traffic below.

In stadiums, post-tensioning allows long clear spans and very creative architecture. \ Post-tensioning can also be used to produce virtually crack-free concrete for water-tanks. The high tensile strength & precision of placement gives maximum efficiency in size & weight of structural members. Applications of various prestressed techniques enable quick assembly of standard units such as bridge members,building frames, bridge decks providing cost-time savings.


In slab-on-ground construction, unbonded tendons are typically prefabricated at a plant and delivered to the construction site, ready to install. The tendons are laid out in the forms in accordance with installation drawings that . After the concrete is placed and has reached its required

strength, usually between 3000 and 3500 psi (pounds per

square inch), the tendons are stressed and anchored.

The tendons, like rubber bands, want to return to their original length but are prevented from doing so by the anchorages. The fact the tendons are kept in a permanently stressed (elongated) state causes a compressive force to act on the concrete.

The compression that results from the post-tensioning counteracts the tensile forces created by subsequent applied loading (cars, people, the weight of the beam itself when the shoring is removed).

This significantly increases the load-carrying capacity of the concrete. Since post-tensioned concrete is cast in place at the job site, there is almost no limit to the shapes that can be formed.

Limitations of Prestressing The limitations of prestressed concrete are few and really depend only upon the imagination of the designer and the terms of his brief. The only real limitation where prestressing is a possible solution may be the cost of providing moulds for runs of limited quantity of small numbers of non-standard units.

Method of post-tensioning Wedges tensioned by




Prestressed concrete, invented by Eugene Frevssinet in 1928 is a method for overcoming concretes natural weakness in tension . It can be used to produce beams , floors or bridges with a longer span than is practical with ordinary reinforced concrete. It can be accomplished in three ways: pretensioned concrete, and bonded or unbonded.

Pre-tensioned concrete

Pre-tensioned concrete is cast around already tensioned tendons. This method produces a good bond between the tendon and concrete, which both protects the tendon from corrosion and allows for direct transfer of tension. The cured concrete adheres and bonds to the bars and when the tension is released it is transferred to the concrete as compression by static friction. However, it requires stout anchoring points between which the tendon is to be stretched and the tendons are usually in a straight line. Thus, most pretensioned concrete elements are prefabricated in a factory and must be transported to the construction site, which limits their size. Pre-tensioned elements may be balcony elements, lintels , floor slabs, beams or foundation piles.

Bonded post-tensioned concrete

Bonded post-tensioned concrete is the descriptive term for a method of applying compression after pouring concrete and the curing process (in situ).
The concrete is cast around a plastic, steel or aluminium curved duct, to follow the area where otherwise tension would occur in the concrete element.

A set of tendons are fished through the duct and the concrete is poured. Once the concrete has hardened, the tendons are tensioned by hydraulic jacks.
When the tendons have stretched sufficiently, according to the design specifications they are wedged in position and maintain tension after the jacks are removed, transferring pressure to the concrete. The duct is then grouted to protect the tendons from corrosion. This method is commonly used to create monolithic slabs for house construction in locations where expansive soils create problems for the typical perimeter foundation. All stresses from seasonal expansion and contraction of the underlying soil are taken into the entire tensioned slab, which supports the building without significant flexure. Post-stressing is also used in the construction of various bridges. The advantages of this system over unbonded post-tensioning are


Large reduction in traditional reinforcement

requirements as tendons cannot destress in accidents. Tendons can be easily 'weaved' allowing a more efficient design approach. Higher ultimate strength due to bond generated between the strand and concrete. No long term issues with maintaining the integrity of the anchor/dead end.

Unbonded post-tensioned concrete

Unbonded post-tensioned concrete differs

from bonded post-tensioning by providing each individual cable permanent freedom of movement relative to the concrete. To achieve this, each individual tendon is coated with a grease (generally lithium based) and covered by a plastic sheathing formed in an extrusion process. The transfer of tension to the concrete is achieved by the steel cable acting against steel anchors in the perimeter of the slab. The main disadvantage over bonded posttensioning is the fact that a cable can destress itself and burst out of the slab if damaged (such as during repair on the slab). The advantages of this system over bonded post-tensioning are:

External Prestressing

This refers to the case where prestressing tendons are placed outside the concrete section and the prestressing force is transferred to a structural member through end anchorages or deviators. Advantages of external prestressing include the possibility of monitoring and replacing tendons, ease in concreting and hence better concrete quality and the use of narrower webs. External prestressing is being increasingly used in the construction of new bridges and is a primary method for the strengthening and rehabilitation of existing structures. At NUS, a three-year project on the application of external prestressing in structural strengthening has been completed, and this has resulted in design charts being developed for such applications. Works were also carried out on the use of fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) reinforcement as external tendons in both simply supported and continuous beams.

Fallingwater is comprised of a series of concrete cantilever trays 30-ft. above a waterfall. Previous efforts failed to permanently address excessive deflections of the cantilever and repair the cracks. After a thorough design review, the owner and engineer selected an external post-tensioning solution for its durability, aesthetics and structural unobtrusiveness. Construction plans called for strengthening of three support girders spanning in the north-south direction with multistrand post-tensioning tendons consisting of multiple 0.5 diameter strands. Thirteen strand tendons were placed on each side of two girders. One 10-strand tendon was placed on the western side of the third girder (access on the eastern side of this girder was not available). Eight monostrand tendons, 0.6 diameter, were slated for the east-west direction. The monostrand tendons were stressed in the east-west direction and then the multistrand tendons were stressed in the north-south direction and grouted with a high quality, low-bleed cementitious grout mixture. VSLs scope of work also included welding steel cover plates, attaching structural steel channels, injecting epoxy grout, doweling reinforced cast in place concrete blocks and the installation of near surface mounted carbon fiber rods. Challenged with maintaining Fallingwaters original setting, furnishings and artwork, the project was successfully completed in six months.

The lower and upper terraces cantilever over the stream below. The temporary structural steel shoring was placed beneath the main level terrace.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater Mill Run, Pennsylvania

Cline Avenue Bridge Gary, Indiana

The Cline Avenue Bridge (SR 912) is a predominately cast-in-place post-tensioned structure located in Gary, Indiana. The bridge mainline is over 6,000 LF, has two adjacent segments nearly 35 feet wide each, and contains four connecting ramps. An inspection and analysis team was assembled to perform a thorough investigation of the bridge. The team concentrated on the existing post-tensioning system and interior and exterior concrete cracks. The engineer retained VSL to assist with the inspection of the tendons.
VSL approached the Cline Avenue project with a guideline that outlines a statistically sound method of sampling the tendons. A statistical sample pool (which consisted of the mainline structure and the ramps) was defined by referencing the American National Standard Institutes (ANSI) guideline Sampling Procedures and Tables for Inspection by Attributes as published by the American Society for Quality Control (1993). The probable void locations throughout the structures mainline segments and ramps were initially identified by VSL to appropriately distribute the sampling population. Such areas consisted of high points, areas approaching and leaving the high points, and couplers. Using non-destructive Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and field layout drawings, VSL located existing post-tensioning tendons. Once the layout was performed, specific tendons throughout the bridge and ramp structures were sampled by drilling into the duct and exposing the tendon for visual inspection. The use of a borescope allowed for detailed visual inspection of the tendon and also captured video footage to share with the owner and the engineer. After review of each inspection, VSL placed epoxy in the borescope hole to protect the tendons from air and moisture intrusion. When voids were encountered, the project team observed and documented the condition of the strand based on the PCI Journal guideline, Evaluation of Degree of Rusting on Prestressed Concrete Strand. VSL used vacuum grouting technology to fill the void, thereby protecting the previously exposed strand. The tendon inspection data was analyzed with other findings (such as crack survey findings) to determine what type of rehabilitation was required. VSLs goal to establish a statistically sound sample of physically inspected tendons that provided valid data as to the current state of the existing PT system was accomplished

Grouting of void using VSLs specialized vacuum grouting equipment

85th Street Bridge Valley Center, Kansas

The 85th Street North Bridge is a seven span post-tensioned haunched slab bridge with a typical span of 26 meters for the middle five spans, and 20 meters at the ends. This 170 meter long bridge accommodates two lanes of traffic reaching over the Wichita Valley Center Floodway. VSL post-tensioning systems utilized for this project include 5-19 longitudinal tendons as well as 6-4 transverse tendons. Post-tensioned haunched slab bridges are noted for ease of construction. Once the geometry of the bridge falsework has been obtained, prefabricated spacer frames are set into place. The spacer frames serve as templates for profiling the longitudinal post-tensioning tendons and aid in the placement of the remaining conventional reinforcement. Transverse tendons maintain mid-depth placement along the geometry of the haunched slab and provide the minimum precompression over the length of the structure. The fi nished product has several advantages over conventionally reinforced concrete. Dead loads are balanced by the use of longitudinal post-tensioning reducing the sustained loading and associated creep. Corrosion resistance is increased due to the encapsulation of the posttensioning reinforcement. Through the use of transverse post-tensioning, added compression improves the longevity of the structure by adding resistance to de-icing methods such as salt and magnesium chloride. Post-tensioned haunched slab bridges allow for a larger span to depth ratio than that of conventionally reinforced haunched slab bridges. The labor and material savings on mild reinforcement is Overlooking the 85th Street Bridge prior to concrete placement another clear advantage to using post-tensioning for this application.

Colorado Convention Center Expansion Denver, Colorado

The Colorado Convention Center Expansion project is a 1.4 million square foot expansion of the existing facility. This was a multi-level project, which included a 1,000-car attached parking garage.
The garage above the street was constructed using precast tees and columns with a cast-inplace topping slab. In order to maintain regular spacing for the columns in the precast section of the garage and still maintain an unobstructed path for the road and light rail, large post-tensioned transfer girders were required to support several of the columns above. The transfer girders allowed for the placement of columns required for the precast design despite the restricted column locations at the street level.

Post-tensioning the transfer girders resulted in smaller dimensions than a conventional reinforced concrete design, an important factor given the girders are over 7 feet high and up to 7 feet wide and a larger section would not fit within the space constraints of the building. The girders could not be stressed until after the precast garage was fully erected and the topping slab poured on the truck dock. Temporary columns were placed under the girders to support the load until stressing.
The effective post-tensioning force required for the beams ranged from 2176 to 5457 kips. A multistrand bonded system was installed

The Seward Silo project

involved the post-tensioning of three interconnected ash silos that are part of the Seward Re-Powering Project in Seward, Pennsylvania. The overall project involved the construction of a new, state-of-the-art 208 MW power plant designed to burn low-grade coal that can not be burned in ordinary coal plants. This is a design-build project with Drake-Fluor Daniel as the owner/construction manager until the completed plant is turned over to Reliant Energy, the ultimate owner. T.E. Ibberson Company was contracted to build three 187-6 tall, interconnected, in-line silos; two 82-4 diameter fly ash silos and one 64-8 diameter bed ash silo. The silos were built using the slip-form method of construction and are believed to be the first interconnected silos in the world built using post-tensioning as the primary circumferential reinforcement. VSLs work was performed from November 2003 through February 2004, during the second coldest winter on record locally. Significant snowfall and subzero temperatures made progress challenging, yet with a strong focus on safety, both cold-related and otherwise, the job was completed with no incidents. The job required close coordination between the various trades working in close proximity and constant communication between parties working above and below VSLs work locations to phase the work to avoid having personnel under an active work zone. The strand installation, stressing and grouting operations were completed successfully, with cold-weather grouting made possible through a variety of heating methods.

Seward Silo


Bicycle wheel as we know it today - each is associated with an application of prestressing to a structural system.

The first and most obvious is the tensioned spokes - the rider's weight is carried from the forks to the ground not by hanging off the top spokes, but by reducing the pretension in the lower spokes - only a couple of spokes are carrying the load at any one time.
The second is the pneumatic tyre, where the compressive load is carried to the ground by reducing the tension in the sidewall. The air pressure in the tyre does not change when the load is applied. The final prestressing system is the tyre cord, which is shorter than the perimeter of the rim. The cord is thus in tension, holding the tyre on the rim, which enables the pretension in the sidewalls to be reacted