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The prestressing steel is tensioned against independent anchorage before the concrete is
poured around it. When the concrete reaches its required transfer strength, the tension at the
anchorage is gradually released and the steel cut at the ends of the member. The full
prestressing force is transferred to the concrete over a transmission length which depends
upon the strength of the concrete, surface condition, cross-section and diameter of the steel.
The cable profile is normally straight, but deflecting or debonding of strands at the ends
of a member is required for longer span beams. The maximum length is limited to 27m and
sections are chosen from the standard ranges of M, T, I and box beams whenever possible.
Typical Standard Sections

Pretensioning procedure

(A) Long line prestressing bed and laying of wires/strands

(B) Tensioning of wires/strands using bulkhead

(C) End view of jacking plate of bulkhead

(D) Release of jacking force and transfer of prestressing force


The prestressing force is applied against internal end anchorages after the concrete has
reached its transfer strength. Cable profile may be straight or curved and is formed by fixing
a sheath or duct inside the steel cage before casting. The prestressing steel is bundled
into these ducts to form large diameter tendons so that bursting forces are particularly
localised at the end anchorages. No restriction on length and precast units may be made
continuous by prestressing units together and in-situ structures may be extended in stages.
Voids in cable ducts are filled with cement grout under pressure. Bond obtained between
prestressing steel and grout important at ultimate loads and provides effective control against
corrosion of steel.

Post-tensioning of beam

Post-tensioning procedure

(A) Preparation of prestressing bed at site (B) Fixing and placing reinforcement cage
(C) Laying of cable ducts

(D) Anchorage zone at beam end

(E) Thrusting/pushing of strands in ducts to form tendons

(F) Concreting of beam followed by jacking/transfer of prestress


Prestressing is usually applied by a system comprising of tendons, jacks, anchors, etc.; each
perform different function.

Prestressing tendon comprising of multiple wires

Prestressing jack for individual strands

Prestressing jack for multiple strands

Wedges for individual strands

Ducts for tendons

Applying prestressing (mechanical)

- longitudinal tensioning of steel

- circular prestressing
- anchoring

Longitudinal prestressing of box section beam

Circular prestressing of concrete tank

Ground anchoring

Degree of prestressing

Full prestressing - tensile stresses eliminated in concrete. No need to provide

untensioned reinforcement.

Partial prestressing - tensile stress not eliminated; further catered by untensioned

reinforcing steel

Prestressing in stages - prestressing applied at different times mainly for reason of

changing load, maturity of cement, need to control shrinkage.