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The original concept of prestressed concrete was that it was crackfree under service loads. Especially when a structure is exposed to the
weather, elimination of cracks prevents corrosion. Also a crack-free
prestressed member has a greater stiffness under service loads because
its entire section is effective.
Prestressed concrete in several respects in more predictable that
ordinary reinforced concrete. It permits accommodation of both shrinkage
and creep reasonably well. High-strength concrete may be more
efficiently utilized by merely adjusting the prestress force.
Precompression of the concrete reduces the tendency for inclined
cracking, and the use of curved tendons provides a vertical component to
aid in carrying the shear. Shear strength is more consistent than in
ordinary reinforced concrete.
Other features of prestressed concrete are its high ability to absorb
energy(impact resistance), its high fatigue resistance due especially to
the low steel stress variation resulting from the high initial pretension,
and its high live load capacity arising from the ability of the prestressing
tendons to support the dead load. Use of prestressed concrete also
permits partials testing of both steel and concrete through application of
Prestressed members are crack-free under working loads and, as a
result, look better and are more watertight, thus providing better
corrosion protection for the steel. Furthermore, crack-free prestressed
members require less maintenance and last longer that cracked
reinforced concrete members. Therefore, for a large number of structures,
prestressed concrete provides the lowest first-cost solution, and when its
reduced maintenance is considered, prestressed concrete provides the
lowest overall cost for many additional cases.


Some of the disadvantages of prestressed concrete construction are

as follows: (1) the stronger materials used have a higher units cost; (2)
more complicated formwork may be necessary; (3) end anchorages and
bearing plates are often required; (4) labour cost are greater; and (5)
more conditions must be checked in design and closer control of every
phase of construction is required.
Short-span members and single-unit applications of any kind are
likely to be uneconomical in prestressed concrete. However, economy is
usually achieved when units can be standardized and the same unit
repeated many times. For many situations, the desirability of achieving a
certain advantage is sufficient to justify a higher initial cost.
Currently, prestressing need not create a crack-free structure at
service load. In fact, prestressing to various levels of stress can provide
the whole range of results, from fully prestressed, when at service load
tension does not occur, to nonprestressed. The level of prestressing can
be used the will accomplish the desired crack control or stiffness
objective. So called partial prestressing has become common in
Prestressed concrete requires the use of higher-strength concretes
and steels and the use of more complicated formwork, with resulting
higher labour costs. Other disadvantages include the following: closer
control required in manufacture, losses in the initial prestressing forces,
additional stress conditions that must be checked in design, and end
anchorages and end-bearing plates that may be required.

Reinforced Concrete Design ( Sixth Edition ) - Wang & Salmon
Design of Reinforced Concrete ( Third Edition ) - Jack C. McCormac

Terms and Terminologies in Prestessed

Tendon- A stretched element used in a concrete member of structure to
impart stress to the concrete. Generally, high-tensile steel wires, bar
cables or strands are used as tendons.
Anchorage- A device generally used to enable the tendon to impart and
maintain prestress in the concrete
Pre-tensioning- A method of prestressing in concrete in which the
tendons are tensioned before the concrete is placed. In this method, the
prestess is impart to concrete by bond between steel and concrete.
Post-tensioning- A method of prestressing concrete by tensioning the
tendons against hardened concrete. In this method, the prestress is
imparted to concrete by bearing.
Bonded Prestressed Concrete- Concrete in which prestress is imparted
to concrete through bond between the tendons and surrounding concrete.
Non-bonded Concrete- A method of construction in which the tendons
are not bonded to the surrounding concrete. The tendons may be placed
in ducts form in the concrete members or they may be placed outside the
concrete section.
Full Prestrssing- Prestessed concrete in which tensile stresses in the
concrete are entirely obviated at working loads by having sufficiently high
prestress in the members.

Partial Prestessing- The degree of prestress applied to the concrete

which tensile stress to alimited degree are permitted in concrete under
working loads.
Moderate Prestressing- In this type, no limit is imposed upon the
magnitude of the tensile stresses at working loads.
Axial Prestressing- Members in which the entire cross-section of
concrete has a uniform compressive prestress. In this type of prestressing,
the centroid, of the tendons coincides with that of the concrete section.
Eccentric Prestressing- A section which the tendons are eccentric to
the centroid, resulting in a triangular or trapezoidal compressive stress
Concordant Prestressing- Prestressing of members in which the cables
follow a concordant profile. In this case of statically indeterminate
structures, concordant prestressing does not cause any change in the
support reactions.
Non-distotional Prestressing- In this type, the combined effect of the
degree of prestress and the dead-weight stresses is such that the
deflection of the axis of the member is prevented. In this cases, the
moments due to prestress and dead-weight exaxtly balance resulting only
in an axial force in the member.
Circular Prestressing- The term refers to prestressing in round
members, such as tanks and pipes.
Transfer- The stagecorresponding to the transfer of prestress to
concrete. For pretensioned, transfer takes place at the release of
prestress from the bulkheads; for post-tensioned members, it takes place
after the completion of the tensioning process.
Supplementary or untensioned reinforcement- Reinforcement in
prestressed members not tensioned with respect to the surrounding
concrete before the application of the loads.
Transmission Length- The length of the bond anchorage of the
prestressing wire from the end of a pre-tensioned member to the point of
full steel stress.

Cracking Load- The load on the structural element corresponding to the

first visible crack.
Creep in Concrete- Progressive increase in the elastic deformation of
concrete under sustained stress component.
Shrinkage of Concrete- Contraction of concrete on drying.
Relaxaiton in Steel- Decrease of stress in the steel at constant strain.
Proof Stress- The tensile stress in steel which produces strain of 0.2% of
the original gauge length on unloading.
Creep Coefficient- The ratio of the total creep strain to elastic strain in
End Anchorage- Length of reinforcement, or mechanical anchor, or
hook, or combination thereof, beyond point of zero stress in
End Block- Enlarged end section of member designed to reduce
anchorage stresses.
Cap Cable- A short curved tendon arranged at the interior supports of a
continous beam.
Diaphragm- Transverse stiffener in girders to maintain section geometry.
Duct- Hole or void formed in prestressed member to accommodate
tendon for post-tensioning.
Degree of Prestressing- A measure of the magnitude of the
prestressing force related to the resultant stress occuring in the structural
member at working load.
Debonding- Prevention of bond between the steel wire and the
surrounding conrete.
Wobble Friction- Friction caused by unintended deviation of prestressing
sheath or duct from its specified profile or alignment.
Wrapping or Sheathing- Enclosure around a prestressing tendon to
avoid temporary or permanent bond between prestressing tendon and
surrrounding concrete.

Shear Lag- Non-uniform distribution of bending stress over the cross

Curvature Friction- Friction resulting from bends or curves in the
specified prestressing tendon profile.
Anchorage Seating- Deformation of anchorage or seating of tendons in
anchorage device when prestressing force is transferred from jack to
anchorage device.
Coating- Material used to protect prestressing tendons against corrosion,
to reduce friction between tendon and duct, or to debond prestressing
Couplers (Couplings)- Means by which prestressing force is transmitted
from one partial-length prestressing tendon to another.
Friction (post-tensioning)- Surface resistance between tendon and
duct in contact during stressing.
Grout Opening or Vent- Inlet, outlet, vent, or drain in post-tensioning
duct for grout, water, or air.

Prestressed Concrete - N.Krishna Raju