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1.0 Introduction......... 1
2.0 History of Prestressing.... 2
3.0 Principle of Prestressed Design ..... 3
4.0 Production ...... 4
4.1 Pre-tensioning .... 4
4.2 Post-tensioning 6
5.0 Materials used in prestressed concrete ... 8
5.1 Reinforcement..... 8
5.2 Concrete...... 8
6.0 Uses..... 9
6.1 Advantages of using Pre stress....... 9
6.2 Disadvantages of using Pre-stress..... 10

7.0 Conclusion.... 11

1.0 Introduction
Pre-stress concrete products are widely used in the world. It became popular in Ghana in the early
2000s when the flat floor system was introduced my IPCP of Trassaco Group Limited. It is mostly
used in residential, light commercial buildings floor slab to replace conventional reinforced concrete
slab. It is considered because it reduces the construction cost considerable and it also increases the
rate or speed of construction.
This paper reports on the production and uses of pre-stress concrete products in Ghana. Even though
there are no many companies in this business, few companies such as IPCP of Trassaco Group
Limited, Isada Concrete Products, and African Concrete Products are the only companies in the
production of pre-stressed concrete products.

2.0 History of Prestressing

The art of prestressing concrete evolved over many decades and from many sources, but we can
point to a few select instances in history that brought about this technology.
In the United States, engineer John Roebling established a factory in 1841 for making rope out of
iron wire, which he initially sold to replace the hempen rope used for hoisting cars over the portage
railway in central Pennsylvania. Later, Roebling used wire ropes as suspension cables for bridges,
and he developed the technique for spinning the cables in place.
During the 19th century, low-cost production of iron and steel, when added to the invention of
portland cement in 1824, led to the development of reinforced concrete. In 1867, Joseph Monier , a
French gardener, patented a method of strengthening thin concrete flowerpots by embedding iron
wire mesh into the concrete. Monier later applied his ideas to patents for buildings and bridges.
In Ghana, prestressed concrete products was introduced in the early 90s but were not popular. they
have been used for civil engineering infrastructures such as bridges on piers and abutments. Early
2000, IPCP of Trassaco Group Limited introduced the trassaco fast floor system which was widely
sought after because of it fast in construction and the reduction in overall construction cost. This is
still gaining grounds against conventional reinforcement concrete slab.
Some of the companies which are involved in the prestressed concrete products are IPCP of
Trassaco Group Limited, Isada Concrete Products, African Concrete Products just to mention a few.

3.0 Principle of Prestressed Design

The permanent stresses which are created by prestressing can be produced in many ways. The most
suitable methods for concrete structures subjected to bending or tension are those in which tensioned
steel wires, strands, cables, or bars (commonly called tendons) are used to apply a compressive
force to the concrete. It is necessary to provide sufficient steel in the tensile zone to ensure suitable
resistance at ultimate load (see Chapter 3), either all or part of the steel is tensioned; the eccentric
prestressing force so obtained produces stresses of the required naturethat is, the tensile zone is
subjected to a prior compression.
The initial tensioning stress in the steel is reduced, in the course of time, by various losses (see
Chapter 6) and the residual prestressing force which remains after all of these losses have occurred is
termed the effective prestressing force. At the time when the prestress is applied the critical factor
which limits its magnitude is the compressive strength of the relatively young concrete; hence it is
important to assume that the losses which occur at transfer are the minimum, thereby ensuring that,
at this stage, the greatest possible prestressing force has been allowed for in the design. On the other
hand, the critical factor at working load is usually the tensile stress which can be permitted in the
concrete; for this purpose the smallest possible effective prestressing force should be considered,
and it should therefore be assumed that the maximum losses occur after transfer. The magnitude of
the effective prestressing force required under working load conditions can be calculated for any
given load and working stress. In other words, a particular set of conditions calls for a particular
force at a particular eccentricity.
It is also important to note that the losses which occur are largely independent of the magnitude of
the initial stress in the prestressing steel.

4.0 Production
There are two main methods used in prestressing concrete, Pre-tensioning and Post-tensioning. It is
widely used in the production of prestressed concrete products and Ghana is no different. T IPCP of
Trassaco Group Limited is the first and largest company in Ghana to produce prestress concrete
products for the fast growing Ghanaian construction industry. The company produces a range of prestress concrete products including the leading Trassaco Fast Floor (beam and block, hollow core and
biscuit slab system. The company produces about 60,000 linear meters per month and a half of a
million blocks per month in its Accra plant. Isada Concrete Products, African Concrete Products are
also companies who produce pre-stressed concrete beams with hollow blocks for floor slab system.
These companies used these methods in the production of their prestressed concrete beams. There
above mention methods are explained elaborated below.
4.1 Pre-tensioning
This is the process which the tendons are tensioned before the concrete is placed, tendons are
temporarily anchored and tensioned and the prestress is transferred to the concrete after it is
In pre-tensioning (Figure 1.0), the steel tendons are tensioned usually through a pulling mechanism
and the concrete placed in formwork around them. When the concrete has reached sufficient
compressive strength, the steel is released. The force of the release is then transferred to the
concrete. Pre-tensioning is usually carried out off-site in factory conditions. The formwork is
manufactured to the correct size, and the tendons are positioned and then threaded through stop ends
and anchor plates before being fixed to a jack. The correct amount of stress is then induced, the
tendons anchored off and the jack released. The concrete is then poured. The bond between the

concrete and the steel is vitally important and the steel must be kept perfectly clean to ensure the
quality of this bond. When the concrete has cured, any temporary supports are removed and replaced
with jacks that are slowly released. As the tensioned steel tries to return to its original shape the bond
between the concrete and steel will resist this and the concrete is placed in compression.

Figure 1

4.2 Post-tensioning
This is the process which the tendon is tensioned after concrete has hardened. Tendons are placed in
sheathing at suitable places in the member before casting and later after hardening of concrete.
In post-tensioning (Figure 1.1), the concrete is cast into the formwork and allowed to harden before
the stress is applied. The steel tendons are positioned in the correct position in the formwork, in a
sheath to prevent the concrete and steel from bonding. The concrete is then placed and allowed to
cure. The tendons are then tensioned by anchoring one end of the tendon and jacking against the face
of the fixed steel at the other end, or alternatively by jacking or pulling the steel from both ends.
When the desired load has been reached the tendon can be anchored off and the jacks released.
When all the tendons have been stressed the ducts are filled with a cement grout under pressure. This
grout prevents steel corrosion and creates a bond between the concrete and the tendon. The curved
profile of the steel permits the effective distribution of prestress within the member at positions in
the member where the greatest tensile stresses are expected. Post-tensioning may be used in factory
production both on- and off-site, but there are quality assurance issues relating to the production of
post-stressed concrete on-site.

Figure 1.1

5.0 Materials used in prestressed concrete

5.1 Reinforcement
According to AASHTO, prestressing reinforcement must be high-strength seven-wire strand, highstrength steel wire, or high-strength alloy bars of the grade and type as specified by the design
engineer. Uncoated seven-wire strand must conform to the requirements of AASHTO M 203
(ASTM A 416).

5.2 Concrete
Stronger concrete is usually required for prestressed than for reinforced work. Present practice calls
for a minimum 28-day cylinder strength of 40N/mm2. High strength is necessary in prestressed
concrete for several reasons. First, in order to minimize cost, commercial anchorages for prestressing
steel are always designed for high-strength concrete. Hence weaker concrete either will require
special anchorages or may fail under the application of prestress. Also, concrete of high compressive
strength offers high resistance in tension and shear as well as in bond and bearing, and is desirable
for prestressed concrete elements whose various portions are under higher stresses than ordinary
reinforced concrete.

Another factor is that high-strength concrete is less prone to shrinkage cracks. It also has a higher
modulus of elasticity and smaller creep strain, resulting in smaller loss of prestressing in the steel.

6.0 Uses
Prestressed concrete is used in the civil and building construction industry. It is used in bridges,
vessels of nuclear reactors, residential and high-rise buildings.
Unbonded post-tensioning tendons are commonly used in parking garages as barrier cable. Also, due
to its ability to be stressed and then de-stressed, it can be used to temporarily repair a damaged
building by holding up a damaged wall or floor until permanent repairs can be made.
In Ghana, the use of prestressed concrete beams is very common; it is used mainly in suspended
concrete floors in small residential buildings to high rise commercial buildings. It is adopted mainly
to increase the rate of floor construction and also to reduce construction cost considerably.
6.1 Advantage of Prestressed Concrete

The use of high strength concrete and steel in prestressed members results in lighter and
slender members than is possible with RC members.

In fully prestressed members the memberis free from tensile stresses under working loads,
thus whole of the section is effective.

In prestressed members, dead loads may be counter-balanced by eccentric prestressing.

Prestressed concrete member possess better resistance to shear forces due to effect of
compressive stresses presence or eccentric cable profile.

Use of high strength concrete and freedom from cracks,contribute to improve durability
under aggressive environmental conditions.

Long span structures are possible so that saving in weight is significant & thus it will be

Factory products are possible.

Prestressed members are tested before use.

Prestressed concrete structure deflects appreciably before ultimate failure, thus giving ample
warning before collapse.

Fatigue strength is better due to small variations in prestressing steel, recommended to

dynamically loaded structures.

6.2 Disadvantages of Prestressed Concrete

The availability of experienced builders is scanty.

Initial equipment cost is very high.

Availability of experienced engineers is scanty.

Prestressed sections are brittle

Prestressed concrete sections are less fire resistant.


6.1 Conclusion
Pre-stressed concrete products, especially, pre-stressed beams for floor slabs are the widely used prestressed product in Ghana. Its acceptance and use is still on the low as most contractors are still
unfamiliar with it uses and construction experience. Meanwhile there is considerable use of prestressed floor beams and hollow core blocks in high rise commercial buildings because of the speed
to completion required in construction of these buildings. Individuals who have knowledge of
reduction in the overall construction cost also make use of these products.