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Pre-Stressed & Pre-Cast Concrete

Technology (CE 462)

Lecture # 3


Prestressing Methods, Changes in

Prestress Force & Design Loads

Presentation By :
Zain Saeed
Although many methods have been used to produce the desired
state of pre-compression in concrete members, all prestressed
concrete members can be placed in one of two categories:
pretensioned or post-tensioned.
Pretensioned prestressed concrete members are produced by
stretching the tendons between external anchorages before the
concrete is placed. As the fresh concrete hardens it bonds to the
steel. When the concrete has reached the required strength, the
jacking force is released, and the force is transferred by bond from
steel to concrete. In the case of post-tensioned prestressed concrete
members, the tendons are stressed after the concrete has hardened
and achieved sufficient strength, by jacking against the concrete
member itself.
The greater part of prestressed concrete
construction in the United States pretensioned.
The tendons, usually in the form of multiple-
wire stranded cables are stretched between
abutments that are a permanent part of the
facility as shown in Fig. 1.10 a. The extension of
the strands is measured, as well as the jacking
This method is Particularly well suited for
mass production because the casting beds
can be constructed several hundred feet
Tension is applied to the steel wires first,
then concrete in poured, when concrete attains the
sufficient strength, wires are cut. Pre-stress is
transferred to the concrete through bond between
steel and concrete.
Steel wire is

i) T tensioned

ii) Concrete is poured

iii) =\Wires are cut

With the forms in place, the concrete is cast around the
stressed tendons. High early strength concrete is often
used, together with steam curing to accelerate the
hardening of the concrete. After sufficient strength is
attained, the jacking pressure is released. The strands
tend to shorten, but are prevented from doing so
because they are bonded to the concrete. In this way,
the prestress force is transferred to the concrete by
bond, mostly near the ends of the special anchorage is
needed. Figure 1.11 shows the jacking frame at the end
of a casting bed being used to pretension many steel
cables simultaneously.
It was noted that it is often advantageous to vary the
tendon eccentricity along a beam span. This can be
done when pretensioning by holding down the strands at
intermediate points and holding them up at the ends of
the span, as shown in Fig. 1.10A. One, two, or three
intermediate cable depressors are often used to obtain
the desired profile. These hold-down devices remain
embedded in the member. To minimize frictional loss of
tension, it is common practice to stretch the straight
cable, then to depress it to the final profile by using
auxiliary jacks. Allowance must be made, in this case, for
the increase in tension as the cable is forced out of
straight alignment.

FIGURE 1.11 Jacking frame at end of casting bed used for

pretensioning strands simultaneously
Pretensioning is well suited to the mass production of beams
using the long-line method of prestressing as suggested by Fig. 1.10
c. In present practice anchorage and jacking abutments may be as
much as 800 ft apart. The strands are tensioned over the full length
of the casting bed at one time, after which a number of individual
members are cast along the stressed tendon. When the jacking
force is released, the prestress force is transferred to each member
by bond, and the strands are cut free between members. Although a
straight tendon is shown in the sketch, cable depressors are often
used with long-line prestressing, Just as with individual members.
Figure 1.12 is a view of a long-line pretensioning operation, showing
the stressed tendons in place in the metal forms. Note the hold-
down frame in the middle distance; the tendons have not yet been
Pretensioning is a particularly economical
method of prestressing, not only because
the standardization of design permits
reusable steel or fiberglass forms, but also
because the simultaneous prestressing of
many members at once results is great
saving of labor. In addition, expensive end-
anchorage hardware is eliminated
Figure 1.13


When prestressing by post-tensioning, usually

hollow conduits containing the unstressed
tendons are placed in the beam forms, to the
desired profile, before pouring the concrete, as
shown in Fig. 1.13c. The tendons may be
bundled parallel wires, stranded cable, or solid
steel rods.
Figure 1.14 shows a typical arrangement for
post-tensioning with the tendon conduit wired in
position and anchorage fittings in place. In Fig.
1.15, a multiple-strand tendon, one of three in
the beam, is being stressed.

Tendons are normally grouted in their conduits after

they are stressed. A cement paste grout is forced into
the conduit at one end under high pressure, and
pumping is continued until the grout appears at the far
end of the tube. When it hardens, the grout bonds to the
tendon and to the inner wall of the conduit, permitting
transfer of force. Although the anchorage fittings remain
in place to transfer the main prestressing force to the
concrete, grouting improves the performance of the
member should it be overloaded and increases its
ultimate flexural strength.

An alternative method of post-tensioning is

illustrated in Fig. 1.13&. A hollow, cellular
concrete beam with solid end blocks and
intermediate diaphragms is shown. Anchorage
fittings are provided as before, but the tendons
pass through the void spaces in the member.
The desired cable profile is maintained by
passing the steel through sleeves positioned in
the intermediate diaphragms.

beam under
draped tendon
conduits and
anchorages in
position prior
to placing side
forms and

tensioning a
beam using

slab, using
tendons, un-
Courtesy of
the Post-

In many cases, particularly in relatively thin slabs, post-

tensioning tend are wrapped with asphalt-impregnated paper or
encased in plastic sheathing shown in Fig. 1.13c. Anchorage
and jacking hardware is provided. The wrapping prevents the
concrete from bonding to the steel. When the concrete has
hardened the tendons are stretched and anchored, and the
jack removed. Obviously bonding of the tendon by grouting is
impossible with such an arrangerment. Figure 1.16 shows a
two-way slab under construction, which will be post-tensioned
using the sheathed tendons shown in position.

A significant advantage of all post-tensioning schemes is the

ease with when the tendon eccentricity can be varied along
the span to provide the desired counter-moment.
Concrete beam is first cost having a duct through concrete along the length through
this duct the steel wire or strand is passed and then tensioned pre-stressed force is
transferred from steel wire or strand to concrete due to end anchorages, when
concrete attains full strength.

End blocks

Stressed Strand (wire)

The magnitude of prestressing force in a
concrete member is not constant, but assumes
different values during the life of the
member. Some of the changes are
instantaneous or nearly so, some are time-
dependent, and some are a function of the
superimposed loading. All such changes must
be accounted for in the design. Neglect of time-
dependent losses, in particular, accounts for the
lack of success of all early attempts to prestress
With the exception of conditions at severe
overloading, the greatest force that acts is
during the jacking operation. The jacking
force will be referred to subsequently as
P. For a post-tensioned member, this force is
applied as a reaction directly upon the
concrete member, while with pre-tensioning,
the jacking force reacts against external
anchorages and does not act on the concrete
at all.
At the moment of transfer of prestress force from the jack to the
anchorage fittings that grip the tendon, there is an immediate
reduction in force. There is inevitably a small amount of slip as
the wedges or grips seat themselves into the steel tendon, and the
shortening of the tendon that results is accompanied by loss in
tensile strain and stress. This is always a factor to consider in post-
tensiond beams. Corresponding slip loss occurs in pretensioning
too, because temporal grips are normally used at the jacking
abutment to hold the strand as the concrete is poured. However, in
beams pretensioned by the long-line method, slip loss is apt to be
insignificant because of the great length of tendon over which the
slip is distributed.
There is an instantaneous stress loss because of the elastic
shortening of the concrete as the prestress force is transferred to it.
This always occurs in pretensioning, but occurs in post-tensioning
only if there are two or more tendons and if they are tensioned
Another source of immediate loss of prestress force, applying to
post-tensioned members only, is the friction between the steel
and the conduit through which it passes as the tendon is
stretched. The tensile force at the jack will always be larger than
that at the far end, where the tendon is anchored. This loss can be
minimized by overstretching the steel slightly if necessary, then
reducing the jacking force to the desired value. In some cases,
tendons are jacked from both ends to minimize frictional
losses, particularly when the tendon profile has several reversals of
As a consequence of all instantaneous losses,
including those due to anchor age slip, elastic
shortening, and friction, the jacking force Pj is
reduced to a lower value Pi, defined as the
initial prestress force.
With the passage of time, the steel stress is
further reduced. The changes the cause this
reduction occur rather rapidly at first, but the rate
of change of stress soon decreases. A nearly
constant stress level is approached, but only
after man' months, or even several years.
The main causes of time-dependent loss are
shrinkage of the concrete and concrete creep
under sustained compressive stress. Both of
these produce shortening of the member, which
results in a reduction in steel strain and stress, in
addition, the steel experiences a gradual
relaxation of stress, as it is held at nearly
constant strain. The result of all time-dependent
effects, including concrete shrinkage and creep
and steel relaxation, is that the initial prestress
force i' gradually reduced to what will be
termed the effective prestress force Pe.
The sum of all losses, immediate and time-dependent, may
be of the order of 20 to 35 percent of the original jacking
force. All losses must be accounted for the design of
prestressed concrete.
Loading of a prestressed beam will generally produce an
increase in stress. As long as the member remains
uncracked, the increase is so small that it is usually
neglected in design. However, cracking of the concrete is
accompanied by an instantaneous increase in steel
stress, as the tensile force formerly carried by the concrete
is transferred to the steel. If the load is increased further, the
member behaves much as ordinary reinforced concrete, and
the steel stress increases roughly in proportion to the load
until the nonlinear range of material behavior is reached,
followed by eventual failure. The steel may reach its ultimate
tensile strength at failure, although this is not generally so.
Loads that act on structures can be divided into three
broad categories: dead loads, live loads, and
environmental loads. Dead loads are fixed in location
and constant in magnitude throughout the life of the
structure. Usually the self-weight of a structure is the
most important part of the dead load. This can be
calculated closely, based on the dimensions of the
structure and the unit weight of the material. Concrete
density varies from about 90 to 120 pcf (14 to 19 kN/m3)
for lightweight concrete and is about 145 pcf (23 kN/m3)
for normal concrete. In calculating the dead load of
structural concrete, usually a 5 pcf (1 kN/m3) increment
is included with the weight of the concrete to
account for the presence of the reinforcement.
Live loads consist chiefly of occupancy loads
in buildings and traffic loads on bridges.
They may be either fully or partially in place or
not present at all and may change in location.
The minimum live loads for which the floors and
roof of a building should be designed are usually
specified in the building code that governs at
the site of construction. Representative values of
minimum live loads to be used in a wide variety
of buildings are found in Minimum Design Loads
for Buildings and Other Structures.
The referenced table gives uniformly distributed live loads for
various types of occupancies; these include impact provisions where
necessary. These loads are expected maxima and considerably
exceed average values. In addition to these uniformly distributed
loads, it is recommended that, as an alternative to the uniform load,
floors be designed to support safely certain concentrated loads if
these loads produce a greater stress. Certain reductions are
permitted in live load for members supporting large areas on
the premise that it is not likely that the entire area would be
fully loaded at one time.
Service live loads for highway bridges are specified by
the American Association of State Highway and
Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in its Standard
Specifications for Highway Bridges. For railway bridges,
the American Railway Engineering Association (AREA)
has published the Manual of Railway Engineering
Environmental loads consist mainly of snow loads,
wind pressure and suction, earthquake loads (i.e.,
inertia forces caused by earthquake motions), soil
pressures on subsurface portions of structures, loads
from possible ponding of rainwater on flat surfaces, and
forces caused by temperature differentials. Like live
loads, environmental loads at any given time are
uncertain both in magnitude and distribution.

weight of
(psf) equaled
or exceeded
one year in
Much progress has been made in recent years in developing rational
methods for predicting horizontal forces on structures due to wind
and seismic action. Reference 1.1 summarizes current thinking
regarding wind forces and has much information pertaining to
earthquake loads as well.
The sum of the calculated dead load and the specified or
calculated live and environmental loads is called the service
load, because this is the best estimate of the maximum load that
can be expected to act during the service life of the structure.
The factored load, or failure load, that a structure must be capable
of resisting to ensure an adequate margin of safety against
collapse, is a multiple of the service load, as explained in the
following section.