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Topic 2(ii)

Concept of Prestressing

Concept of Prestressing
Prestressing the concrete is to transfer precompression

(compressive stress) to the concrete

How the prestressing force transmitted to concrete can be
explained by concept of prestressing

Degree of Prestressing
This classification introduced depend on the level of prestress

introduced in the structural element to nullify the stress due

to external load.
Fully prestressed : all cracking should be avoided restricted
by no tensile stress allowed under service load, the whole
section in permanent state of compression
Limited prestressing : tensile stresses do not exceed the
cracking stresses of concrete
Partial prestressing : combination of tensioned and
untensioned steel. Represent form of construction which is
intermediate between reinforced and prestressed concrete

Concept of Prestressing


Concept of



Stress Concept
The concept that considering prestressing force transmitted to

concrete as initial internal stress to counteract the internal stress

developed due to external loads is known as stress concept
The combination of the effect of external loads and prestressing
are studied together as equivalent stresses and compared with
permissible levels of stresses in the material
The procedures of this concept can be divided into two stages:
stress at transfer/stage 1 and stress at service/stage 2
For stage 1, the stresses across cross section due to self weight and
prestressing are taken into account
For stage 2, the stresses caused by prestressing, dead and live loads
and other external loads are calculated together through the depth
of cross section
The stresses should be within the permissible limits

Permissible stress

Stresses at transfer

Axial stress

Stress due to
eccentricity of
prestressing force

Stress due to dead load

Stresses at transfer
Stress at top fibre :
(Allowable tensile stress
at transfer, Clause 4.3.5

Stress at bottom fibre :

(Allowable compressive
stress at transfer)

Stresses at service

Axial stress

Stress due to
eccentricity of
prestressing force

Stress due to
dead load

Stress due to
external load

Stresses at service
Stress at top fibre :
(Allowable compressive
stress at service, Clause
4.3.4 BS8110)

Stress at bottom fibre :

(Allowable tensile stress
at service)

Stress concept
In stress concept, we used theory of bending throughout the

analysis where:
- it is assumed that plane sections remain plane before or
after the moments are applied
- the top and the bottom fibre of the structural elements are
subjected to maximum stresses
The permissible/allowable streses under compression and
tension in the materials concrete and steel do have a major
role to play in analysis and design of prestressed concrete
structure based on stress concept

Example 1
A simply supported prestressed concrete beam of cross section
400mm x 600mm has a span of 10m. It is subjected to an
uniformly distributed load of 30kN/m in addition to its selfweight and is prestressed with a force of 1740kN with a
prestressing able of parabolic profile. The cable is anchored at
the center of gravity of the cross section at support and has an
eccentricity of 160mm below NA at the mid span cross section.
Analyze the beam for the effects of prestressing and the loads at
mid cross section using the philosophy of stress concept.

Span of the beam = 10 m
Cross section = 400mm x 600mm
External load = 30 kN/m
Unit weight of concrete = 24 kN/m3
Prestressing force = 1740 kN
Cable profile = parabolic
Eccentricity of mid cross-section = 160mm (below NA)
Eccentricity at support section = 0 mm

Properties of section
Area of cross section, A = 0.4 x 0.6 = 0.24 m2
Moment of inertia, I =
Modulus of section, Zt = Zb =

Selfweight of the beam, w/m = 24kN/m3 x 0.24m2 = 5.76kN/m

Calculate stress due to axial load, moment from
eccentricity of prestress force, bending moment from
selfweight and external load

Axial force, P = 1740 kN
Moment due to eccentricity of prestressing force = P x e

Pe = 1740 kN x 0.16 m = 278.4 kNm

Bending moment due to :
selfweight = wl2/8 = 5.76 x 102/8 = 72 kNm
external load = 30 x 102/8 = 375 kNm
All causes and effects are converted to stresses in stress concept
for further evaluation.

At transfer

Axial stress

Stress due to
eccentricity of
prestressing force

Stresses at top fibre :

Stresses at bottom fibre :

Stress due to dead load

At service

Axial stress

Stress due to
eccentricity of
prestressing force

Stress at top fibre :

Stress at bottom fibre :

Stress due to
dead load

Stress due to
external load

Force Concept
In this approach the structural element is considered as if it is

a reinforced concrete element

The total prestressing force is taken tensile force and the
stresses generated in concrete will produced compression
force of an equal value. The forces are collinear to keep the
element in equilibrium if only prestressing force is
Hence, the structural element at any cross-section will be
subjected to tensile force in the prestressing element and a
compressive force in the concrete which is the resultant force
of all compressive stresses acting on that cross-section

Force Concept
If any additional load (say dead load) is considered, the tensile force in

prestress element will be modified and the center of compression will

also be shifted.
For a case of positive sagging bending moment applied on the structure
due to external loads the tensile force in the prestressed steel element is
marginally increased and the compressive force which is the resultant
stresses caused by the prestressing and by the loading will be shifted
upwards from the line of action of tension.
The tensile force or the compressive force multiplied by the shift
between these two forces will be the external moment.
This concept is used to design the structures and to get the moment
resisting capacity of the cross section
Since the capacity of the section is decided based on the total tension
and compression it carries, this approach is called the force approach

Analyze the beam in Example 1 using force concept.

In force concept all causes and effects are considered as forces
for evaluation.
Bending moment at mid span due to :
a) Selfweight = 72 kNm (top comp, bottom tension)
b) External load = 375 (top comp, bottom tension)
Total bending moment = 447 kNm
Prestressing force
= 1470 kN

When the prestressing force of 1740 kN (tensile) in the cables alone is

acting, the stresses generated in concrete will lead to a resultant
compression of equal value (1740 kN) and the compression also acts at
the same level of prestressing force. The forces are collinear.
Stage 1/at transfer
When selfweight starts acting (which is immediately after prestress)
there will be a small increase in the tensile forc in the cables. But this is
The total tensile force in the cable = 1740 kN
Total compressive force = 1740 kN (to keep the section in equilibrium)
But the resultant compression will act at a different level, so that the
compression and the tension will form a couple to resist dead load
bending moment

Dead load bending moment = 72 kNm

Distance between the tensile force (cable position) and the
center of resultant compression, a
a = M/P = 72/1740 = 0.04138 m
Distance of compression from the NA of cross section
= 0.16 0.04138 m = 118.6 mm

a = 41.38mm

The resultant compression will act at 118.6mm from NA only for

a given stress distribution.
The stress distribution can be evaluated as detailed below :
Stress at top =
Stress at the bottom = 7250 + 8599.95 = 15849.95 N/mm2

Stage II/ at service

When the external load also starts acting the resultant (final)
bending moment shall be resisted by the total compression and
total tension with a lever arm.
Total tension = 1740 kN
Total moment to be resisted = dead load + bending moment
due to other loads
= 72 + 375 = 447 kNm
Lever arm required, a = M/P = 447/1740 = 0.2569 m
Resultant center of compression will be located at 256.9mm
from the center of tension cable position

Hence position of compression will be located at 256.9mm from the center of

tension cable position.
Hence position of center of compression from center of NA
= 256.9 -160 = - 96.9mm (upward)
This resultant compression (1740kN) will act at 96.9mm above NA only for one
particular stress distribution across the section.
The stress distribution is evaluated as follows
Stress at top =
Stress at bottom =

The stresses are the same as we obtained in the stress concept.

Load balancing concept

Opposite type of loads in structural element (opposite in nature to

the external loads)

If the external loads cause a sagging curvature in the beam, any load
which introduces the hogging curvature on to the beam, equal and
opposite in nature to that caused by external loads is also called
prestressing and this method of prestressing is recognized as load
balancing concept.
The external loads are treated only as loads and not converted as
stress on the structure
Prestressing also converted as equivalent load and this equivalent load
must counteract or balance the external loads
The load balancing concept is used for analysis of indeterminate
prestressed concrete structures and complicated analysis where the
effect of prestressing cannot easily depicted

For example the parabolic profile of prestressing cable with

prestressing force, P can be considered equivalent to the
upward force of

Example 3
Analyze the prestressed concrete beam described in Example 1
using load balancing concept.
In this concept all the causes and the effects will be considered
as loads and the member will be analyzed
Total downward load = 30 + 5.76 = 35.76 kN/m
The equivalent upward uniformly distributed load provided by
prestress =
Net downward on the beam = 35.76 22.272 = 13.488 kN/m

The bending moment caused by resultant downward force at

center section

Stresses at mid span caused by this moment

(Compression at top, tension
at bottom)

Stresses at mid span caused by pretensioning force that acting at

the centroid of the section

Hence net stresses :

At top fibre = stress due to prestress + stress due to downward

At bottom fibre
The stresses are the same as obtained in stress concept and
force concept at service