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The most fully standardized precast concrete elements are those used for
making floor and roof slabs
may be supported by bearing walls of precast concrete or masonry or by frames
of steel, sitecast concrete, or precast concrete
Precast slab elements of any of the four types are manufactured with a rough
top surface

Solid slabs are used as structural deck components similar to hollow-core

slabs. They can be made in a long-line pre-tensioning facility and reinforced
with pre-stressing strand or cast in individual forms with either pre-stressing
strand or conventional reinforcing bars. They are typically cast in the same
position as used in the structure.
For short spans and minimum slab depths
For longer spans, deeper elements must be used, and precast solid slabs,
like their site cast counterparts, become inefficient because they contain
too much deadweight of nonworking concrete.
Typical widths: 4 to 12 ft.
Typical spans: 8 to 30 ft.
Typical thicknesses: 4 to 12 in.

Finishes: The form side (bottom) is smooth as

cast and typically will remain that way in the
finished construction. When it is an exposed
surface, it can remain as is or painted without
additional treatment. The top side is troweled
to the desired degree of smoothness or may be
intentionally roughened to receive a cast-in-
place concrete topping that will act
compositely and provide additional strength.

precast elements suitable for intermediate spans, internal longitudinal voids

replace much of the non-working concrete.
used predominantly for floor and roof deck components for various
structures such as residential, hotel, office buildings, schools, and prisons
Typical widths: 2, 4, and 8 ft; some pre-
casters offer 10 and 12 ft widths

Typical depths: 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, and 16


Typical span-to-depth
ratios: Floors: 30 : 40
Roofs: 40 : 50

Named for its shape, double-tees are used primarily as floor and roof deck
components for any type of structure, including parking structures and all types
of buildings. They are made either:
a. Pre-topped using a flange thickness of 4 in., which creates the wearing
surface in parking structures; or

b. Field- topped with a 2-in. flange, on which a cast-in-place concrete

composite topping of 2 to 4 in. is added in the field. For roof
construction, there is typically no need to add topping on the 2 in. flange.
Pre Topped DT Slab

Field Topped DT Slab

1. Estimate the depth of a precast solid slab at 140 of its span. Depths
typically range from 3 to 8 inches (90 - 200 mm).
2. An 8-inch (200-mm) precast hollow-core slab can span
approximately 25 feet (7.6 m), a 10-inch (250-mm) slab 32 feet (9.8 m),
and a 12-inch (300-mm) slab 40 feet (12 m).
3. Estimate the depth of precast concrete double tees at 128 of their
span. The most common depths of double tees are 12, 14, 16, 18, 20,
24, and 32 inches (300, 350, 400, 460, 510, 610, and 815 mm). Some
manufacturers can provide double tees that are 48 inches (1220 mm)
3. A precast concrete single tee 36 inches (915 mm) deep spans approximately
85 feet (926 m) and a 48-inch (1220-mm) tee 105 feet (32 m).
4. Estimate the depth of precast concrete beams and girders at 115 of their span
for light loadings and 112 of their span for heavy loadings. These ratios apply
to rectangular, inverted-tee, and L-shaped beams. The width of a beam or
girder is usually about one-half of its depth. The projecting ledgers on
inverted-tee and L-shaped beams are usually 6 inches (150 mm) wide and 12
inches (300 mm) deep.
5. To estimate the size of a precast concrete column, add up the total roof and
floor area supported by the column. A 10-inch (250-mm) column can support
up to about 2300 square feet (215 m2) of area, a 12-inch (300-mm) column
3000 square feet (280 m2), a 16-inch (400-mm) column 5000 square feet (465
m2), and a 24-inch (600-mm) column 9000 square feet (835 m2). These values
may be interpolated to columns in 2-inch (50-mm) increments. Columns are
usually square.
5. These approximations are valid only for purposes of preliminary building
layout and must not be used to select final member sizes. They apply to
the normal range of building occupancies, such as residential, office,
commercial, and institutional buildings, and parking garages. For
manufacturing and storage buildings, use somewhat larger members.
Typical shapes: Square or rectangle

Typical sizes: From 12 by 12 in. to 24 by 48 in.

Finishes: Since columns are cast in a

horizontal position, three of the four sides are
created with a form. These finishes are very
smooth and most often remain "as cast" in the
finished construction although they may have
an architectural finish and be exposed to view.
The fourth side is typically troweled to match
the other three sides as closely as possible.

End beams that acts on one side only

In a floor consisting of several beams cast monolithically with the slab, the
intermediate beams acts as T-beams whereas the beams at top of the corners of
the walls or beams around the staircase or lift openings are called L-beams.
These are typically floor beams because of the reduced overall structural depth

Inverted tee beams serve as girders receiving double tees, hollow core slabs or
keystone joists.
Inverted tee beams provide continuous concrete ledges for bearing of floor or
roof members.

designed originally as efficient shapes for bridge structures, but they are
sometimes used in buildings as well
Casting Beds
Pre - stressing and Reinforcing Steel
Carbon Fiber Reinforcing
Hollow-Core Slab Production
Column Production

most precast concrete elements are produced in permanent forms

average 400 feet (125 m) in length but extend 800 feet (250 m) or more in some

Inserting of weld plates with their V-shaped anchors of

reinforcing bar in the casting bed prior to pouring the
concrete. The pre - stressing strands and wire fabric
shear reinforcement have been installed in the stems of
the double for the top slab can be seen in the
foreground. Notice the great length of the casting bed;
many elements can be cast end to end at the same time.
The top surface of the concrete is
Straight edged by machine.

The next morning, following overnight steam

curing, a worker cuts the prestressing strands
between bulkhead separators with an oxyacetylene
cutting torch. The welded wire fabric is exposed at
the ends of the elements because they will be used
as untopped slabs.
Using lifting loops cast into the ends, the slabs
are lifted from the bed and will be Stockpiled
outside. The dapped stems will rest on
inverted-tee and L-shaped girders; the notched
corner will fit around a column.

Loading the double tees for trucking.

- Solid slabs, hollow-core slabs, and wall panels are cast around horizontal strands. Tees,
double tees, beams, and girders are often cast around depressed or harped strands for
greater efficiency of structural action.
- Ordinary mild steel reinforcing is also cast into pre - stressed concrete elements for
various purposes:
a. Beams or slabs that will cantilever beyond their supports are given top reinforcing
bars over the cantilever points.
b. Welded wire reinforcing is used to reinforce the angles of tees and double tees
and for general reinforcing of wall panels.
c. Where stirrups are required in the stems of beams and single or double tees, they
are made of either mild steel reinforcing bars or welded wire reinforcing.
strands to improve
Examples of
depressed and
harped strands are
A precasting bed being readied for
the pouring of a very long
AASHTO girder.
Side forms for the mold can be
seen in the background to the
right. The depressed strands are
held down in the center of the
beam by steel pulleys that will be
left in the concrete after pouring.
The bed is long enough that
several girders are being cast end to
end, with the depressed strands
pulled up and down as required.
Mild steel reinforcing bars are used
for stirrups. The projecting tops
of the stirrups will bond to the
sitecast topping. Vertical twists of
prestressing strand near the end of
the girder will serve as lifting

It is gaining increasing use as a substitute for mild steel reinforcing (such as shear
stirrups and temperature steel) in precast concrete products including wall panels,
double tees, and deck panels for floors and roofs.
Carbon fiber does not require protection from corrosion (unlike steel), less concrete
cover is required than for steel reinforcing, significantly reducing the overall thickness
and weight of carbon fiber - reinforced components.
Low thermal conductivity of carbon fiber, combined with the thinner concrete sections
possible with this type of reinforcing, permit the casting of insulated panels with
superior thermal performance.
The much higher tensile strength and stiffness of carbon fiber in comparison to
mild steel, and the innovative ways in which grids of carbon fiber reinforcing
can be integrated into precast concrete components, yield improvements in
structural efficiency as well.
The longitudinal voids in hollow-core slabs can be formed by a number
of processes.
a. Extrusion Process
extrusion devices squeeze an extremely dry, stiff concrete mix
through a moving extrusion die to produce the voided shape
has the disadvantage that vertical openings and weld plates cannot
easily be cast in; where openings are required in extruded slabs,
they must be cut out of the stiff but still wet concrete just after
extrusion or sawed after curing
Weld plates are added to the slabs by hand before the concrete has
completely cured.
b. Wet Cast Process
a bottom layer of wet concrete is deposited in the casting bed; then a
second layer of concrete, with collapsible tubes, dry crushed stone, or
lightweight aggregate carefully positioned to form the voids, is placed.
Special forms may be easily placed in the bed to make openings as
required, and weld plates may be cast in by this process.
The tubes or aggregate are removed after the concrete has cured.

c. Slip Form Process

a moving hopper deposits a zero-slump concrete mix in the casting bed.
This process falls somewhere between the wet-cast and extrusion
processes in terms of the relative ease or difficulty of placing embeds and
forming special openings.
Because of the higher-strength concrete mixes typically used in the
production of precast concrete, its embodied energy is higher on a pound-
for-pound basis than that of conventional concrete, generally falling in the
range of 500 to 600 BTU per pound (1.1-1.4 MJ/kg).
Precast concrete production encourages the reuse of formwork, reducing
waste. Wood and fiberglass forms can be used up to 50 times without major
maintenance. Concrete and steel forms can be reused hundreds or
thousands of times.
Because precast concrete is manufactured in a controlled, factory-like setting, raw
materials are used more efficiently and less waste is produced. Gray water used in
various production processes, sand used in finishing, and large aggregate used to
create voids in hollow planks can all be readily reused.
In many cases, the optimized design of precast concrete results in elements that use
less material than comparable sitecast concrete systems.
Precast concrete elements with high - quality architectural finishes reduce the need
for volatile organic compound emitting paints or other finish coatings. Concrete
is not easily damaged by moisture and does not support the growth of mold.
Precast concrete wall panels with properly sealed joints have low permeability to air
leakage, reducing building heating and cooling costs and contributing to good
indoor air quality.
Precast concrete wall panels can be reused when buildings are altered.
Precast, prestressed concrete structural elements are crisp, slender in
relation to span, precise, repetitive, and highly finished.
They combine the rapid all-weather erection of structural steel framing with
the self-reproofing of sitecast concrete framing to offer economical framing
for many kinds of buildings.
Engineers and architects have long been comfortable with precast concrete
in longer-span building types, especially parking structures, warehouses, and
industrial plants, where its unique structural potential and efficient serial
production of identical elements can be fully utilized and openly expressed.