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Assignment No: 02

Assignment Name: Application of Pre-Stressed Concrete.

Introduction

Pre-stressed concrete is a structural material that allows for predetermined, engineering stresses
to be placed in members to counteract the stresses that occur when they are subject to loading. It
combines the high strength compressive properties of concrete with the high tensile strength
of steel. ..........(1)

In ordinary reinforced concrete, stresses are carried by the steel reinforcement, whereas pre-
stressed concrete supports the load by induced stresses throughout the entire structural element.
This makes it more resistant to shock and vibration than ordinary concrete, and able to form
long, thin structures with much smaller sectional areas to support equivalent loads. ..........(1)

Pre-stressed concrete was patented by San Franciscan engineer P.H Jackson in 1886, although it
did not emerge as an accepted building material until 50 years later when a shortage of steel,
coupled with technological advancements, made pre-stressed concrete the building material of
choice during European post-war reconstruction. ..........(1)

It is now commonly used for floor beams, piles and railways sleepers, as well as structures such
as bridges, water tanks, roofs and runways. Generally, pre-stressed concrete is not necessary
for columns and walls, however, it can be used economically for tall columns and high retaining
walls with high bending stresses. ..........(1)

As a general rule, traditional reinforced concrete is the most economic method for a span of up to
6 m. Pre-stressed concrete is more economical when spans are over 9 m. Between 6 and 9 m, the
two options must be considered according to the particular requirements as to which is the most
suitable option. ..........(1)

The process of pre-stressed concrete can be either through pre-tensioning or post-tensioning.

Pre-tensioning

This process involves the stressing of wires or cables by anchoring them at the end of a metal
form, which may be up to 120 m in length. Hydraulic jacks stress the wire as required, often
adding 10% to accommodate creep and other pre-stress losses that may be incurred.
Side moulds are then fixed and the concrete placed around the tensioned wires. The concrete
hardens and shrinks, gripping the steel along its length, transferring the tension from the jacks to
exert a compressive force in the concrete. ..........(1)

Once the concrete has reached the desired strength, the tensioned wires are released from the
jacks. A typical concrete strength of 28 N/mm2 can be achieved by 24-hour steam curing, as well
as using additives.
To create shorter members, dividing plates can be placed at any point along the member which,
when removed, permit the cutting of the wires. ..........(1)

Post-tensioning

This follows the reverse method to pre-tensioning, whereby the concrete member is cast and the
pre-stressing occurs after the concrete is hardened. This method is often used where stressing is
to be carried out on site after casting an in situ component or where a series of precast
concrete units are to be joined together to form the required member. ..........(1)

The wires, cables or bars may be positioned in the unit before concreting, but bonding to
the concrete is prevented by using a flexible duct or rubber sheath which is deflated and removed
when the concrete has hardened. ..........(1)

Stressing is carried out after the concrete has been cured by means of hydraulic jacks operating
from one or both ends of the member. Due to the high local stresses at the anchorage positions it
is common for a helical (spiral) reinforcement to be included in the design. When the required
stress has been reached, the wire or cables are anchored to maintain the pre-stress. The ends of
the unit are sealed with cement mortar to prevent corrosion due to any entrapped moisture and to
assist in stress distribution. ..........(1)

Anchorages used in post-tensioning depend on whether the tendons are to be stressed


individually or as a group. Most systems use a form of split cone wedges or jaws which act
against a form of bearing or pressure plate. ..........(1)

Advantages and disadvantages

The advantages of pre-stressed concrete include: ..........(1)

 The inherent compressive strength of concrete is used to its fullest.


 The special alloy steels used to form the pre-stressing tendons are used to their fullest.
 Tension cracks are eliminated, reducing the risk of the steel components corroding.
 Shear stresses are reduced.
 For any given span and loading condition a reduction in weight can be achieved from using
a component with a smaller cross section.
 A composite member can be formed by joining individual precast concrete units together.

The disadvantages of pre-stressed concrete include: ..........(1)

 A high degree of workmanship and control is required.


 Special alloy steels are more expensive than traditional steels used in reinforced concrete.
 Expensive equipment is needed and there are complex safety requirements.
Types of Pre-stressed Concrete:

It has two types. They are,

1. Pre-tensioned concrete.

2. Post-tensioned concrete.

Pre-tensioned Concrete: Pre-tensioned concrete is a variant of pre-stressed concrete


where the tendons are tensioned prior to the concrete being cast. The concrete bonds to the
tendons as it cures, following which the end-anchoring of the tendons is released, and the
tendon tension forces are transferred to the concrete as compression by static friction.
..................(2)

Post-tensioned concrete: Post-tensioned concrete is a variant of pre-stressed concrete


where the tendons are tensioned after the surrounding concrete structure has been cast. The
tendons are not placed in direct contact with the concrete, but are encapsulated within a
protective sleeve or duct which is either cast into the concrete structure or placed adjacent to
it. At each end of a tendon is an anchorage assembly firmly fixed to the surrounding
concrete. Once the concrete has been cast and set, the tendons are tensioned ("stressed") by
pulling the tendon ends through the anchorages while pressing against the concrete. The large
forces required to tension the tendons result in a significant permanent compression being
applied to the concrete once the tendon is "locked-off" at the anchorage. The method of
locking the tendon-ends to the anchorage is dependent upon the tendon composition, with the
most common systems being "button-head" anchoring (for wire tendons), split-wedge
anchoring (for strand tendons), and threaded anchoring (for bar tendons). ..................(2)

Applications
Prestressed concrete is a highly versatile construction material as a result of it being an almost
ideal combination of its two main constituents: high-strength steel, pre-stretched to allow its full
strength to be easily realised; and modern concrete, pre-compressed to minimise cracking under
tensile forces.[1]:12 Its wide range of application is reflected in its incorporation into the major
design codes covering most areas of structural and civil engineering, including buildings,
bridges, dams, foundations, pavements, piles, stadiums, silos, and tanks.[6] ..................(2)
Building structures ..................(2)
Building structures are typically required to satisfy a broad range of structural, aesthetic and
economic requirements. Significant among these include: a minimum number of (intrusive)
supporting walls or columns; low structural thickness (depth), allowing space for services, or for
additional floors in high-rise construction; fast construction cycles, especially for multi-storey
buildings; and a low cost-per-unit-area, to maximise the building owner's return on investment.
The prestressing of concrete allows "load-balancing" forces to be introduced into the structure to
counter the loadings which will apply in-service. This provides many benefits to building
structures:
 Longer spans for the same structural depth
Load-balancing results in lower in-service deflections, which allows spans to be increased
(and the number of supports reduced) without adding to structural depth.
 Reduced structural thickness
For a given span, lower in-service deflections allows thinner structural sections to be used, in
turn resulting in lower floor-to-floor heights, or more room for building services.
 Faster stripping time
Typically, prestressed concrete building elements are fully stressed and self-supporting
within five days. At this point they can have their formwork stripped and re-deployed to the
next section of the building, accelerating construction "cycle-times".
 Reduced material costs
The combination of reduced structural thickness, reduced conventional reinforcement
quantities, and fast construction often results in prestressed concrete showing significant cost
benefits in building structures compared to alternative structural materials.
Some notable building structures constructed from prestressed concrete include: Sydney Opera
House,[21] St George Wharf Tower, London,[22] CN Tower, Toronto,[23]Kai Tak Cruise Terminal,
Hong Kong,[24] Ocean Heights 2, Dubai,[25] World Tower, Sydney,[26] Eureka Tower,
Melbourne[27] Torre Espacio, Madrid,[28] Guoco Tower (Tanjong Pagar Centre),
Singapore,[29] Zagreb International Airport, Croatia,[30] Capital Gate, Abu Dhabi
UAE,[31] International Commerce Centre, Hong Kong.[32]

The USA, Australia and some countries in South East Asia and South America use more than
half of the pre-stressing steel for the post-tensioning of building floors. Typical applications are
office buildings, shopping centers, hotels and even some residential construction,
However, in Europe the use of pre-stressed concrete in building floors is still marginal in most
countries and at best low for special precast pre-tensioned members in a few Northern European
countries.
a) Office building
b) Car parking
c) Hotel
Post-tensioning brings advantages for many types of buildings
Some of the well recognized advantages of the post-tensioning in buildings are:
(1) Longer spans of floors creating large open space in buildings and offering significant
flexibility and comfort to the users.

(2) Reduced material consumption for concrete (-20%) and reinforcing steels (-65%), and hence,
reduced labor (-60%) and carnage needs;

(3) Fast cycle times for formwork and reduced need for back-propping because of the load
balancing produced by the post-tensioning tendons when stressed;

(4) Post-tensioned flat slabs can be used even for quite large spans permitting easier installation
of electrical and mechanical installations with reduced overall floor-to-floor height.
(5) Post-tensioning tendons installed across supporting columns and walls offer significant
redundancy under accidental loading and can prevent progressive collapse.

It is the author’s opinion that architects, engineers and contractors should seriously look into the
use of post-tensioned concrete in buildings, mainly for floors but also for transfer plates / girders,
foundation rafts and even for vertical pre-stressing of building cores and walls. Looking at the
above referenced material savings, the use of post-tensioned concrete would, apart from
economy, contribute also to a significant reduction of the carbon-dioxide footprint of concrete
buildings.
-----------(3)

Civil structures
Bridge ..................(2)
Of the wide range of alternative methods and materials that are available for the construction of
bridges, concrete remains the most popular structural material, and prestressed concrete, in
particular, is frequently adopted.[33][34] When investigated in the 1940's for use on heavy-duty
bridges the advantages of this type of bridge over more traditional designs was that it is quicker
to install, more economical and longer-lasting with the bridge being less lively.[35][36] One of the
first bridges built in this way is the Adam Viaduct, constructed 1946 it is the earliest railway
bridge of this type in the UK.[37] By the 1960s prestressed concrete largely superseded reinforced
concrete bridges in the UK, with box girders being the dominant form.[38]
In short-span bridges of around 10 to 40 metres (30 to 130 ft), prestressing is commonly
employed in the form of precast pre-tensioned girders or planks;[39] for medium-length structures
of around 40 to 200 metres (150 to 650 ft), precast-segmental, in-situ balanced-
cantilever and incrementally-launched designs are all efficiently constructed using
prestressing;[40] while for the longest bridges, prestressed concrete deck structures often form an
integral part of cable-stayed designs.[41]
Dams ..................(2)
Concrete dams have used prestressing to counter uplift and increase their overall stability since
the mid 1930s.[42][43] Prestressing is also frequently retro-fitted as part of dam remediation works,
such as for structural strengthening, or when raising crest or spillway heights.[44][45]
Most commonly, dam prestressing takes the form of post-tensioned anchors drilled into the
dam's concrete structure and/or the underlying rock strata. Such anchors typically comprise
tendons of high-tensile bundled steel strands or individual threaded bars. Tendons are grouted to
the concrete or rock at their far (internal) end, and have a significant "de-bonded" free-length at
their external end which allows the tendon to stretch during tensioning. Tendons may be full-
length bonded to the surrounding concrete or rock once tensioned, or (more commonly) have
strands permanently encapsulated in corrosion-inhibiting grease over the free-length to permit
long-term load monitoring and re-stressability.[46]
Silos and tanks ..................(2)
Circular storage structures such as silos and tanks can use prestressing forces to directly resist the
outward pressures generated by stored liquids or bulk-solids. Horizontally curved tendons are
installed within the concrete wall to form a series of "hoops" spaced vertically up the structure.
When tensioned, these tendons exert both axial (compressive) and radial (inward) forces onto the
structure, which can used to directly oppose the subsequent storage loadings. If the magnitude of
the prestress is designed to always exceed the tensile stresses produced by the loadings, a
permanent residual compression will exist in the wall concrete, assisting in maintaining a
watertight, crack-free structure under all storage conditions.[47][48][49][50]:61
Nuclear and blast-containment structures ..................(2)
Prestressed concrete is long-established as a reliable construction material for high-pressure
containment structures such as nuclear reactor vessels and containment buildings, and
petrochemical tank blast-containment walls. Using prestressing to place such structures into an
initial state of bi-axial or tri-axial compression increases their resistance to concrete cracking and
leakage, while providing a proof-loaded, redundant and monitorable pressure-containment
system.[51]:585–594[52][53]
Nuclear reactor and containment vessels will commonly employ separate sets of post tensioned
tendons curved horizontally or vertically to completely envelop the reactor core, while blast
containment walls for LNG tanks and similar will normally utilise layers of horizontally-curved
hoop tendons for containment in combination with vertically looped tendons for axial wall
prestressing.
Hardstands and pavements ..................(2)
Heavily loaded concrete ground-slabs and pavements can be sensitive to cracking and
subsequent traffic-driven deterioration. As a result, prestressed concrete is regularly used in such
structures as its pre-compression provides the concrete with the ability to resist the crack-
inducing tensile stresses generated by in-service loading. This crack-resistance also allows
individual slab sections to be constructed in larger pours than for conventionally reinforced
concrete, resulting in wider joint spacings, reduced jointing costs and less long-term joint
maintenance issues.[51]:594–598[54] Initial works have also been successfully conducted on the use
of precast prestressed concrete for road pavements, where the speed and quality of the
construction has been noted as being beneficial for this technique.[55]
Some notable civil structures constructed using prestressed concrete include: Gateway Bridge,
Brisbane Australia,[56] Incheon Bridge South Korea,[57] Roseires DamSudan,[58] Wanapum
Dam Washington US,[59] LNG tanks, South Hook Wales, Cement silos, Brevik
Norway, Autobahn A73 bridge, Itz Valley Germany, Ostankino Tower, Moscow Russia, CN
Tower, Toronto Canada, Ringhals nuclear reactor Videbergshamn Sweden[52]:37
The USA, Australia and some countries in South East Asia and South America use more than
half of the pre-stressing steel for the post-tensioning of building floors. Typical applications are
office buildings, shopping centers, hotels and even some residential construction,
However, in Europe the use of pre-stressed concrete in building floors is still marginal in most
countries and at best low for special precast pre-tensioned members in a few Northern European
countries.
a) Office building
b) Car parking
c) Hotel
Post-tensioning brings advantages for many types of buildings
Some of the well recognized advantages of the post-tensioning in buildings are:
(1) Longer spans of floors creating large open space in buildings and offering significant
flexibility and comfort to the users.

(2) Reduced material consumption for concrete (-20%) and reinforcing steels (-65%), and hence,
reduced labor (-60%) and carnage needs;

(3) Fast cycle times for formwork and reduced need for back-propping because of the load
balancing produced by the post-tensioning tendons when stressed;

(4) Post-tensioned flat slabs can be used even for quite large spans permitting easier installation
of electrical and mechanical installations with reduced overall floor-to-floor height.

(5) Post-tensioning tendons installed across supporting columns and walls offer significant
redundancy under accidental loading and can prevent progressive collapse.

It is the author’s opinion that architects, engineers and contractors should seriously look into the
use of post-tensioned concrete in buildings, mainly for floors but also for transfer plates / girders,
foundation rafts and even for vertical pre-stressing of building cores and walls. Looking at the
above referenced material savings, the use of post-tensioned concrete would, apart from
economy, contribute also to a significant reduction of the carbon-dioxide footprint of concrete
buildings.
-----------(3)

Slab-on-Ground (SOG)

Slabs-on-ground and industrial floors are relatively thin plates which sit directly on the ground.
They are typically used for container terminals, warehouses, storage facilities and distribution
centers. These slabs/ floors are subject to wheel loads (trucks, forklifts) and point loads from
storage racks. They are used both inside buildings and externally. Post-tensioned slab-on-ground
ensures durability and low maintenance cost. Many of today’s slabs/ floors are built in
unreinforced concrete with expansion joints every few meters to limit restraints due to shrinkage
and temperature movements of concrete. However, these joints usually have a poor behavior
over time and cause significant maintenance/ repair costs. Post-tensioned slabs-on-ground /
industrial floors receive an orthogonal post-tensioning applied concentrically to the slab. Except
along the slab edges there is no non-pre-stressed reinforcement at all. The post-tensioned floors
are typically placed on plastic sheets to reduce friction between slab and ground, The post-
tensioned floors have only few but well designed expansion joints. Detailing and the quality of
concreting works are important to avoid cracking of the floors during the first few hours and
days after concreting. An early application of the post-tensioning through partial stressing of the
tendons before twelve hours after concreting is recommended. Well designed and constructed
post-tensioned slabs-on-ground and industrial floors perform exceptionally well in practice. They
are competitive with other construction methods when life-cycle costing is considered due to
their low maintenance costs.
Similar comments as to slabs-on-ground apply also to post-tensioned concrete pavements for
highways and airports. -----------(3)

Precast segmental bridges

Precast segmental construction has taken a dominating role in concrete bridge construction in
particular for large scale and fast-track projects. Although introduced in France already begin of
the 1960’s, the construction method made its real break-through only after the successful
introduction into the USA with the large scale projects in Florida in the early 1980’s. Precast
segmental bridge decks, mostly box girders with internal and / or external post-tensioning
tendons, have since become a preferred construction method up to spans of about 100-120m.
Short-line match casting of segments permits to follow almost any bridge deck alignment even in
very constrained space in urban areas. Precast box girders are competitive and are now preferred
over precast beam solutions in many parts of the world. Without the availability of precast
segmental construction technology, many of today’s fast-track urban projects would likely be
built in steel. Figure 14 presents some selected precast segmental road bridges built over the last
few years. While in the past, precast segmental construction was almost exclusively used for
highway bridges, more recently some notable examples of railway bridges were constructed.
These examples include many light rail structures built in urban areas. However, precast
segmental construction was also used for high speed railway structures. Figure 15 presents some
examples of railway bridges. Despite the successful use of precast segmental construction in
many countries, some owners and engineers remained reluctant to use this contraction method.
This was mainly due to some reservations on the use of external tendons, in general. However, a
particular point of concerns was the encapsulation of internal tendons across the joints between
precast segments. Dry joints (without epoxy resin) and internal tendons with discontinuous
plastic ducts are not considered acceptable for any tendon Protection Level (PL), Joints
adequately filled with a suitable epoxy resin are acceptable for PL1. However, for PL2 and PL3
either sealing of the exposed segment joints with a suitable membrane and/ or full encapsulation
of the tendon with plastic couplers across the joints is considered necessary in addition to the
epoxy resin. This can be achieved e.g. by special duct couplers across the segment joints. Figure
6 shows such a type of duct coupler for continuity of the tendon encapsulation across joints in
precast segmental construction. It is the author’s opinion that today’s external tendon technology
and encapsulation technology for internal tendons permit construction of very durable precast
segmental concrete bridges even for use in harsh environments. It is expected that the use of
precast segmental construction will further increase. ---------
--(3)

Extradoses segmental bridges

As mentioned in the introduction to the above section on segmental bridge construction, the
maximum span range of precast segmental bridges is limited to about 100-120m. This span range
can be Pre-stressed structural concrete: New developments and applications extended for specific
spans of a project without necessarily changing the depth of the deck by the use
of extra dosed tendons. Extra dosed tendons are external tendons placed outside of the envelope
of the box girder somewhat similar to stay cables but typically at a shallower inclination to the
deck. Extra dosed segmental bridges therefore, have a relatively stiff deck when compared with
typical cable-stayed bridges. According to [22], the typical span range for extradoses bridges is
100 – 200 m, with recent examples approaching 300 m .Typical girder depths at pier and mid-
span are Span/35 and Span/55, respectively.

The height of the pylon above deck is of the order of Span/12. The extra dosed deck is typically
erected by balanced cantilever construction with progressive installation of the extra dosed
tendons. The main advantages of the extra dosed bridge system are said to include a relatively
light deck, appealing aesthetics for its increased deck slenderness, improved geometry control
during construction, improved in-service stiffness of the deck, and reduced stress amplitudes in
the tendons which allow a more efficient utilization of the tendon at higher loads than stay
cables. In practice, the stress range from live load is of the order of 20–50 MPa, and therefore,
the permissible upper load has been set at 60% GUTS i.e. between the corresponding levels of
stay cables and external tendons of 45% and 80%, respectively. However, system acceptance
tests are required at the order of 100 – 140 MPa fatigue stress range. With these parameters,
extra dosed tendons are less sensitive to vibrations than stay cables. This type of bridge seems
also suitable for railway structures. Extra dosed tendons typically consist of a bundle of 7-wire
strands inside a HDPE pipe, injected with cement grout after stressing, i.e. similar to external
tendons. More recently, also non-grouted extra dosed tendons have been used, initially in Japan
and now also elsewhere.
An example of the transition of traditional precast segmental construction into the extra dosed
system is the Pakse Bridge in Laos, Fig. 16. The new bridge was at the time of construction only
the second crossing of the Mekong river in the country. The bridge has a precast segmental deck
with 102 m typical spans, and an extra dosed main span of 143m, all erected by balanced
cantilever construction with an overhead gantry, Fig. 16. It has a total length of 1,380 m with
intermediate expansion joints to form four sections of 306 to 443 m. A total of
384 segments were cast in a long line yard set-up on site, with a typical width of 11.5 m, and
14.5 m at the extra dosed span to provide additional space for the tendons anchorages. The depth
of the segments varies between 3.0 and 6.5 m. Segment lengths are between 2.5 and 3.5 m to
limit the weight to a maximum of 105 tones. The 50 tones of extra dosed tendons consist of 7-
wire strands, inside an HDPE pipe, and injected with cement grout. The tendons are continuous
across the pylon through special saddles with double steel pipe to permit replacement of the
tendons, if ever required. The pylon reaches a height of 15 m above deck level. Pakse extra
dosed bridge, Laos It is the author’s expectation that we will see more extra dosed bridge
construction in the future. Recommendations for the design of extradoses structures and for extra
dosed tendons are being prepared by several organizations, including fib.
-----------(3)

Concrete containment and storage structures

Pre-stressed concrete has been used since long successfully for the construction of storage
structures such as silos, water reservoirs and LNG/LPG tanks. There has also been a large
number of pre-stressed concrete containment structures built in the 1970’s and 80’s for nuclear
power plants. Norway has been leading in the design and construction of offshore structures for
the oil and gas production and storage .Both gravity based and floating concrete structures were
built. Investigations have shown that these pre-stressed concrete structures have performed
extremely well in the harsh North Sea environment. These structures have also demonstrated that
dense concrete is extremely well suited for storage of oil without particular linings. Today’s
demand for energy will also bring needs for more storage structures. Pre-stressed concrete is
extremely suitable and economical to satisfy the needs either on-shore or off-shore. With the
increase of steel prices, floating concrete storage structures, such as the N’Kossa Barge, Fig. 17,
or similar structures may become again economically interesting. N’Kossa Barge, France The
construction of a large number of nuclear power plants has been announced all around the world.
Pre-stressed concrete will be the preferred construction technology for many of these structures.
The trend in the pre-stressed containments is to larger post-tensioning tendons up to 55 strands
0.6”. To simplify detailing of the containments and reduce the number of buttresses, hoop
tendons go around 360 degrees. The size and lay-out impose new challenges in terms of tendon
installation, stressing and grouting. These challenges will bring forward new developments in the
post-tensioning technology which will be beneficial to other types of structures also. The author
also expects that there will be further progress in the monitoring of tendons brought through
experience with these structures. Wind turbines installed on towers either onshore or offshore
have become widely accepted for production of electricity. Increasing oil prices have made this
form of energy production economically feasible. Early applications with relatively small
turbines have favored the use of structural steel towers. However, increase of turbine size and
tower height as well as demands for stiffness and fatigue resistance make now pre-stressed
concrete attractive and economically feasible. Precast segmental concrete towers are expected to
become the preferred construction method for these towers for wind turbines. -----------(3)
Reference

1. https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/Prestressed_concrete
2. Wikipedia. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prestressed_concrete]
3. BE2008 – Encontro Nacional Betão. Estrutural 2008 Guimarães – 5, 6, 7 de
Novembro de 2008 (http://www.hms.civil.uminho.pt/events/be2008/3.pdf)