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2.1 Reinforced concrete

Reinforced concrete (RC) is a composite material in which concrete's relatively low tensile
strength and ductility are counteracted by the inclusion of reinforcement having higher tensile
strength or ductility. The reinforcement is usually, though not necessarily, steel reinforcing bars
(rebar) and is usually embedded passively in the concrete before the concrete sets. Reinforcing
schemes are generally designed to resist tensile stresses in particular regions of the concrete that
might cause unacceptable cracking and/or structural failure. Modern reinforced concrete can
contain varied reinforcing materials made of steel, polymers or alternate composite material in
conjunction with rebar or not. Reinforced concrete may also be permanently stressed (in
compression), so as to improve the behaviour of the final structure under working loads

2.2 Post-Tensioning System Materials and Components

Satisfactory performance of post-tensioned depends upon the appropriate selection, design,

specification and fabrication of various materials and components that make up the post-
tensioning system. The general guidance and information for materials and components.. Two
important resources are Specifications for Grouting of Post-Tensioned Structures (PTI M55.1-
12) and Guide Specification for Grouted Post-Tensioning (PTI/ASBI M50.3-12).

2.2.1 Prestressing Steel Strands and Bars

Strands for post-tensioning is made of high tensile strength steel wire. A strand is comprised of 7
individual wires, with six wires helically wound to a long pitch around a center king wire. All
strand should be Grade 1860 MPa (270 ksi) low relaxation, seven-wire strand conforming to the
requirements of ASTM A416 Standard Specification for Steel Strand, Uncoated Seven Wire
Strand for Prestressed Concrete. ASTM A416 provides minimum requirements for mechanical
properties (yield, breaking strength, elongation) and maximum allowable dimensional tolerances.
Strand from different sources may meet ASTM A416 but not necessarily be identical in all

Strand is most commonly available in two nominal sizes, 12.7mm (0.5in) and 15.2mm (0.6in)
diameter, with nominal cross sectional areas of 99mm2 and 140mm2 (0.153 and 0.217 square
inches), respectively. Though the majority of post-tensioning hardware and stressing equipment
is based on these sizes, the use of 15.7mm (0.62in) diameter strand has been increasing.

Strand size tolerances may result in strands being manufactured consistently smaller than, or
larger than nominal values. Recognizing this, Acceptance Standards for Post-Tensioning
Systems (Post-Tensioning Institute, 1998) refers to the Minimum Ultimate Tensile Strength
(MUTS), which is the minimum specified breaking force for a strand. Strand size tolerance may
also affect strand-wedge action leading to possible wedge slip if the wedges and strands are at
opposite ends of the size tolerance range.

Strand conforming to ASTM A416 is relatively resistant to stress corrosion and hydrogen
embrittlement due to the cold drawing process. However, since susceptibility to corrosion
increases with increasing tensile strength, caution is necessary if strand is exposed to corrosive
conditions such as marine environments and solutions containing chloride or sulfate, phosphate,
nitrate ions or similar. Consequently, ASTM A416 requires proper protection of strand
throughout manufacture, shipping and handling. Protection during the project, before and after
installation, should be specified in project drawings and specifications.

Various methods have been developed to provide improved corrosion protection to individual
prestressing strands. Some of these methods include:

Greased and plastic sheathed mono-strand for unbonded tendons has been widely used in
buildings, but not generally in bridges in the United States. Plastic sheathed monostrands are,
however, available for cable-stays or external tendon applications for new structures and the
repair of old ones.
Epoxy coated strand meeting the same requirements as ASTM A416 is available and should
also conform to ASTM A882 Standard Specification for Epoxy-Coated Seven Wire Strand.
Epoxy coated strand is available as an outer coating only, or as a coating that also fully fills the
interstices between wires. The latter is preferred for posttensioning or cable stay applications.
Special wedges are required that bite through the thickness of the coating and engage the strand;
power seating of the wedges is usually required.

Strand made from fiber material (such as carbon or aramid fibers) has limited application as
post-tensioning to date. These composite materials offer advantages for enhanced corrosion
resistance, but lack the benefit of a high modulus of elasticity that is routinely provided by steel
and which is crucial to good load-deflection behavior of a prestressed structure without excessive
cracking under service loads. Few U.S. manufacturers supply galvanized strand. The
galvanizing process leads to some reduction in tensile strength of prestressing steel. This
reduction is typically compensated by starting the wire drawing process with rod of higher
strength (or utilizing larger rod for drawing) so that at conclusion of the process dimensions and
minimum strength specified for equivalent non-galvanized prestressing wire is achieved. This
strand is not typically used in U.S. bridges.

Tendons in prestressed concrete structures do not experience stress cycling significant enough to
induce fatigue problems. Fatigue is a concern only in certain applications such as cablestays in
cable-stayed bridges where traffic loads significantly affect stress variations. Bars

Bars should be Grade 1035 MPa (150 ksi), high strength, thread bar meeting the requirements of
ASTM A722, Standard Specification for Uncoated High-Strength Steel Bar for Prestressing
Concrete, Type II bar. Bars are available in both a coarse and fine thread depending on the
manufacturer. Each may have advantages in different situations. It is good practice to limit the
stress level and number of re-uses for temporary applications, according to recommendations of
the Manufacturer. In the absence of such information, it is suggested that for new bars, the stress
should not exceed 50% fpu and the number of re-uses be conservatively selected based on the
critical nature of usage. Re-use of bars should only be after inspection for damage from previous
Post-tensioning bars are available in various sizes from 16mm (5/8in) to over 50mm (2in)
diameter. However, for convenience in handling, installation, and removal and re-use in normal
applications for post-tensioned bridges, 32mm (1-1/4in) or 35mm (1-3/8in) diameter bars are
typically used. Bars are not as easily damaged by corrosion as strands because of their lower
strength, large diameter and smaller ratio of exposed surface to cross section area. Hot rolled bars
also acquire a natural surface oxidation from the rolling process that enhances their protection.
Nevertheless, bars need to be protected during extended periods of exposure especially in
aggressive environments.