Civil Notes Logo AboutCivil Logo Advantages of Prestressing, Limitations of prestressed concrete

Advantages of Prestressed Concrete


The prestressing of concrete has several advantages as compared to traditional reinforced concrete (RC) without prestressing. A fully prestressed concrete member is usually subjected to compression during service life. This rectifies several deficiencies of concrete. The following text broadly mentions the advantages of a pre-stressed concrete member with an equivalent RC member. For each effect, the benefits are listed.

A) Section remains un-cracked under service loads

  1. Reduction of steel corrosion
    • Increase in durability.
  2. Full section is utilized
    • Higher moment of inertia (higher stiffness)
  3. Less deformations (improved serviceability).
  4. Increase in shear capacity
  5. Suitable for use in pressure vessels, liquid retaining structures.
    • Improved performance (resilience) under dynamic and fatigue loading.

B) High span-to-depth ratios

  1. Larger spans possible with prestressing (bridges, buildings with large column-free spaces)
  2. Typical values of span-to-depth ratios in slabs are given below.

For the same span, less depth compared to RC member.

  • Reduction in self weight
  • More esthetic appeal due to slender sections
  • More economical sections.

C) Suitable for precast construction The advantages of precast construction are as follows.

  • Rapid construction
  • Better quality control
  • Reduced maintenance
  • Suitable for repetitive construction
  • Multiple use of formwork
  1. Reduction of formwork
  • Availability of standard shapes.

The following figure shows the common types of precast sections.

Limitations of Prestressing

Although prestressing has advantages, some aspects need to be carefully addressed.

  • Prestressing needs skilled technology. Hence, it is not as common as reinforced concrete.
  • The use of high strength materials is costly.
  • There is additional cost in auxiliary equipments.
  • There is need for quality control and inspection.
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