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2 Post-tensioned slabs on grade

Rhys Rogers
Structural Engineer – R&D and Design
BBR Contech

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Post-tensioned slab on grade
• Definition, applications & advantages
• Typical layouts
• Elements of a PT slab
• PT slab design for mobilisation
• PT slab design for loadings (thickness)

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Post-tensioned slab on grade

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Post-tensioned slab on grade

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Post-tensioned slab on grade
• PT stress puts concrete
in compression

– PT stress prevents shrinkage


cracking by allowing slab
to shrink as one unit

– Enhances load bearing


capacity

– Causes any cracking that


does occur to tend to remain
narrow or to close up

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Post-tensioned slab on grade
• PT provides resilience and robustness
– Allows slab to recover from minor overloads
– Causes any cracking to tend to remain narrow or close up
• Can accommodate moderate levels of differential
settlement, and deformation

• Minimises interference with


pouring and finishing
– Gives placers best opportunity
to achieve finish & flatness
requirements

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Why select a PT slab?
• Increased joint spacing
– Construction joints only, no sawcuts
• Minimises shrinkage and flexural cracks
• Lower life-cycle cost
– Fewer joints to maintain
– Better durability
• Enhanced serviceability
– Minimum down-time for joint repair/maintenance
ACI 360R-10 Guide to design of slabs-on-ground
Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade
Why select a PT slab?
• Better preservation of floor flatness by
minimising joints
• Decreased slab thickness
• Increased load strength
• Resilience and recovery capability from
overloading

ACI 360R-10 Guide to design of slabs-on-ground


Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade
Post-tensioned slab on grade
• Definition, applications & advantages
• Typical layouts
• Elements of a PT slab
• PT slab design for mobilisation
• PT slab design for loadings (thickness)

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Typical layout of PT slab
• Objective is to minimise joints
– Fewer joints results in better operational productivity and
lower life cycle maintenance
• Primary limitation on
joint spacing is max.
pour size
– single pour usually
<≈ 2500-3200m2

• No sawcuts or joints required within each pour

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Typical layout of PT slab
• Multiple pours can be post-tensioned together
• Day joint between 2 slabs (allows up to 6000m2)
• Coupled joints can join more than 2 slabs
• Creates tight/closed joints
– Good durability, minimal impact on forklifts
– No joint armouring required
• Allows very large slabs with no opening joints
– Shrinkage movements restricted to slab edges

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Multiple pours post-tensioned as one slab
(Day joint)

Day 1 Day 2
Pour Pour
PT tendons
PT tendons
stressed after
second pour

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Multiple pours coupled together

Pour 3 Pour 1

Stress 1
Stress 3
and 4
Pour 4 Pour 2

Stress 2

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Tight construction joints
• No armouring
• Durable joint
• Minimal impact on forklifts operations
• Clients should expect some minor
cracking around joints, these don’t
usually affect slab performance

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Post-tensioned slab on grade
• Definition, applications & advantages
• Typical layouts
• Elements of a PT slab
• PT slab design for mobilisation
• PT slab design for loadings (thickness)

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Elements of a PT slab
 Edge Reinforcement
 Casting
 Strand Onions

 Strand
 Grout Vents
 Spiral reinforcement

 Ducting
 Duct Chairs
 Barrels & Wedges
Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade
Elements of a PT slab

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Elements of a PT slab

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Elements of a PT slab

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Stressing access: Infill strips

• Nominally 1m wide infill strip provides access for stressing


• Most flexible way to provide access
• Usually tied to slab with rebar so opening joint is at wall
• Adds another tight joint, but usually hidden by racking

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Stressing access: Pockets

• 300x110mm pockets cast into wall panels


• PT Slab extends to wall
• Must isolate slab from panels and columns
• PT slab design required before PC panel production begins

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Stressing access: Pockets

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


PT slab design concepts
• Design for mobilisation (concrete shrinkage)
– PT design
– Detailing
– Early shrinkage & Relative shrinkage

• Design for loading


– Design methodology
– Types of loading
– Sensitivity to different types of load
Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade
Post-tensioned slab on grade
• Definition, applications & advantages
• Typical layouts
• Elements of a PT slab
• PT slab design for mobilisation
• PT slab design for loadings (thickness)

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


PT design for mobilisation
• Avoidance of Shrinkage cracks
– The PT is designed to be sufficient to overcome subgrade
friction and allow the entire slab to shrink as one unit

– Restraint of this movement


will result in cracking
(detailing critical)

– Concentrates shrinkage
gaps at slab edges
(can be large for long slabs)

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


PT design for mobilisation
• Shrinkage starts when concrete begins to harden
• Nothing to prevent cracking before PT is applied
• Rate of shrinkage drops off quickly with age

– Our observations indicate shrinkage


movement occuring up to 2 years age

– Minimal shrinkage occurs after 2 years

– Restraint over first six months most likely


to cause problems

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


PT design for mobilisation
• At any given section:
FPT >= Ffriction
• Friction force prop.
to weight of slab and

Stress End
applicable loadings

Dead End
• PT force varies along
length of tendon

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


PT design for mobilisation
• Mobilisation equation at given section

ntendons * Ftendon
>=
Aslab to be mobilised * μsubgrade *
(UDLslab weight + UDLapplicable loads)

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


PT design for early shrinkage
• Initial PT force must be applied ASAP
– Must prevent shrinkage cracking from starting (<=24 hrs after pour)

• Allowable PT force is limited by early concrete strength


– cylinders required for initial stress and final stress

• Initial PT force must be sufficient to overcome subgrade


friction and allow slab to shrink as one unit

• Only need to mobilise slab weight (no loads)

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


PT design for early shrinkage
• At application of initial PT force
– No load on slab, friction due to slab weight only
– Friction coefficient is large
• Friction coefficient tends to reduce as shrinkage
movement occurs, worst case is for initial movement
– Initial load varies with slab size and layout,
usually about 1/3 to ½ of final PT force

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


PT design for mobilisation
(medium to long term)
• More variables to consider
– Greater PT stress available to mobilise
– Must mobilise slab & realistic proportion of loading

• Long term, slab movement must not be restrained


to allow thermal movements

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


PT design for mobilisation
(medium to long term)
• Med-long term mobilisation is usually not critical

• Should consider when the following coincide:


– Long slabs or multiple coupled slabs (>≈120m)
– Early application of heavy UDLs (<≈ 6 to 12 months)
– Limited load cycling is expected

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


PT design for mobilisation
(medium to long term)
• When we do consider med/long term mobilisation,
we need to get an accurate picture of loading
– Full UDL unlikely to apply to full floor area
• Unloaded aisles and forklift manoeuvring areas
• What proportion of full UDL is realistically expected in loaded
areas?
– True UDL can be as low as 50% of design UDL

• Will the load be cycled?


– Shrinkage movement can occur piecemeal when loads
are low
Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade
PT design for mobilisation
(medium to long term)
• Design options
– Increase PT stress
• More PT gives a more resilient slab over all
• Greater PT can allow thinner slab
– Reduces friction force and increases PT force

– Divide the slab with armoured opening joints


• Limits slab length and required mobilisation force
• Also reduces magnitude of shrinkage movement
– Easier to detail for gaps at slab edges and doors

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Differential shrinkage

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Differential Shrinkage

• Slab 1 is poured & begins to shrink

• Slab 2 is poured & wants to shrink faster/further

• Slab 2 is restrained by contact with slab 1

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Differential Shrinkage

• Total shrinkage for each slab will be the same

• Say 20% of shrinkage occurs before slab 2 is poured

• The 20% differential is permanent at the joint

• 0.2*750με = 150με = 0.15mm/m = sum of crack widths /m

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Layout and sequence
1. Layup slabs 1A & 1B
3. Pour 1B
(day after) 5. Layup slab 2
4. Initial stress 1A & 1B
6. Final stress 1A & 1B
8. Initial stress 2
9. Final stress 2
7. Pour slab 2
2. Pour slab1A (2 weeks after 1B)

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Differential shrinkage

2 week differential
Slab 1A Slab 2A

shrinkage
Slab 1B Slab 2B
4 week differential 4 week differential
shrinkage shrinkage

2 week differential
Slab 3A Slab 4A

Slab 3B shrinkage Slab 4B

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Differential Shrinkage
• Expect some cracking on coupled joints
• Aim is to end up with many narrow cracks
– Good detailing, construction programming, concrete, curing, PT
processes required

• Mitigate risk of undesirable cracking by:


– Limit time between adjacent pours
– Use concrete with low early age shrinkage properties
– Apply PT stress before shrinkage begins so that joint remains tight
– Detailing
• PT couplers must transfer PT stress all the way to edge of first slab
• Rebar in relevant locations to maintain small crack widths

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Post-tensioned slab on grade
• Definition, applications & advantages
• Typical layouts
• Elements of a PT slab
• PT slab design for mobilisation
• PT slab design for loadings (thickness)

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


PT slab design for loading
• Loading design concepts

• How to consider common loading types


– Rack loading
– Axle loads
• Key design information / Sensitivity

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


PT slab design concepts
• Design objective:
– Slab remains crack free during normal operation
(governs design)

• Slab is allowed to crack under minor


overloads
– SLS EQ or SLS overload cases
– PT maintains small crack widths which close up
when load is removed
Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade
PT slab design concepts
• Not designed as a “crack free slab”
– Client expectation is often greater than reality

• Need to manage this to avoid disappointment


• PT slabs designed for water tightness have 2-3 times
more PT stress than average PT slab on grade
• Minor cracking at interfaces due to mobilisation and
differential shrinkage can’t be prevented by more PT

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


PT slab design concepts
• NZS1170 limit states don’t directly apply
– ULS
• On the ground so slab can’t collapse
• Must maintain integrity to prevent racking collapse
– Resilient nature of PT slabs maintains bearing ability
– Uplift forces restricted by yielding baseplates
– SLS
• Cracking is permitted under NZS1170 SLS cases
• PT Slab designed not to crack under normal operation
• Small crack widths under SLS EQ/overload

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


PT slab design concepts

“Avoid the use of multiple factors of safety. Post-tensioning provides


reserve capacities, and factors of safety greater than those for nonprestressed
slabs should not be used. Cracking under the concentrated load is permissible
for post-tensioned slabs, and it can be taken into account by using structural
design requirements of ACI 318.”

ACI 360R-10 Guide to design of slabs-on-ground


Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade
Loading design methods
• Westergaard method
• Other design approaches
– Graphical methods (based on Westergaard)
• PCA (Portland Cement Association)
• WRI (wire reinforcement institute)
• COE (Corps of Engineers)
– Finite Element Modelling – can be sensitive to
interpretation/experience (rubbish in rubbish out!)
– Proprietary slab design software

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Westergaard slab design
• Westergaard model is most common
– Most design standards suggest this approach
– CCANZ design guidance is available
– Relatively simple to automate in a spreadsheet

– Based on un-reinforced slab design


• PT stress is added to the tensile strength of concrete
• Design variables: Slab thickness & PT stress

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Westergaard slab design
Flexural stress from loading
<=
Flexural tensile strength of concrete

• Accounts for fatigue and time to loading with


factors on flexural tensile strength

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Westergaard slab design

• Considers subgrade as a winkler spring bed


– Modulus of subgrade reaction = k
• Often given as N/mm2/mm or MN/m3 (misleading)
• Measure of pressure per unit displacement (kPa/mm)

• Usually have to convert from CBR which can be inaccurate


• Ideally Geotech engineers should do conversion
– Provide k value for design,
– Benkelman beam test targets for construction

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Westergaard design for loads
• UDL loads not usually critical
– Evenly loaded floor has no flexural stress in slab
– Aisle loading rarely governs

• Westergaard formulae deal with point loads


– Equations for interior, edges and corners
– Stresses from multiple loads must be combined

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Westergaard PT slab design
• Stress due to interior load P

l is dependant on slab depth,


typically 0.5 to 1m
Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade
Westergaard PT slab design
• Stress due to single point load depends on:
• P = Load magnitude
• h = Slab depth (cubed, big influence)
• k = Modulus of subgrade reaction
• μ = Poisson ratio of slab (0.15 static, 0.2 dynamic)
• b = loaded radius

Loaded radius is calculated based on post area


for rack loads.
Baseplates are too thin to spread load

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Westergaard PT slab design
• Combination of loads
– When two loads are close together (<2h)
• combine loads (2*P)
• Increase loaded radius (r)
– When two loads are further apart (>2h)
• combine stresses in
x & y directions at
critical point using
graph

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Loading types
• Rack loading
• Forklifts (MHE)

• Other types of loading


– Container loads / Swinglifters
– Truck loading

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Back to back rack loading
300mm
B2B rack
Large B2B spacing
Aisle Feet considered separately (1xP)
Less severe load case

200mm
B2B rack
Small B2B spacing
Aisle Feet combined (2xP)
More severe load case

Edge rack

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Back to back rack loading

Aisle

Sensitive to:
1. Post load
Aisle
2. B2B spacing
3. Post size
4. Short leg spacing

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Double deep racking

Aisle

Double deep
B2B racking

Aisle
More Critical than B2B racking
Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade
Shuttle Racking
• Approximately square grid, 1.1-1.6m spacing
• Generally less critical than B2B racking
• No B2B
posts

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Rack loadings
• Slab design & thickness is sensitive to:
– Post load
– Racking type (B2B, double deep, shuttle)
– Back to back rack spacing (clear spacing)
– Short direction post spacing (c/c or outside dim?)
– Post size (not baseplate size)

– Modulus of subgrade reaction (k)

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Forklift Loadings

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Forklift loadings
• Machine + load weight balanced on front axle
• Reasonable factor for
impact and uncertainty

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Forklift loading
• Loaded radius based on tyre pressure
– Pneumatic tyres (700-1000 kPa)
– Solid “Cushion” tyres (1200 to 1600kPa)
– Solid rubber tyres (1700-1800kPa)
– Solid polyurethane wheels (>6900kPa)

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade


Forklift loading
• Slab design and thickness is sensitive to:
– Axle load / rated capacity of forklift
– Axle width
– Single or double wheeled axle
– Tyre type / pressure

– Modulus of subgrade reaction (k)

Specification and design of commercial concrete slabs on grade