Prestressed Concrete Design

Prestressed Concrete Design

The purpose of this book is to explain the fundamental principles of design for
prestressed concrete structures, and it is intended for both students and practising
engineers. Although the emphasis is on design—the problem of providing a structure
to fulfil a particular purpose—this can only be achieved if the designer has a sound
understanding of the behaviour of prestressed concrete structures. This behaviour is
described in some detail, with references to specialist literature for further information
where necessary.

Prestressed concrete is the most recent of the major forms of construction to be
introduced into structural engineering. Although several patents were taken out in the
last century for various prestressing schemes, they were unsuccessful because low-
strength steel was used, with the result that long-term effects of creep and shrinkage
of the concrete reduced the prestress force so much that any advantage was lost. It
was only in the early part of the twentieth century that the French engineer Eugène
Freyssinet approached the problem in a systematic way and, using high-strength steel,
first applied the technique of prestressing concrete successfully. Since then
prestressed concrete has become a well-established method of construction, and the
technology is available in most developed, and in many developing, countries. An
account of some of the early developments in prestressed concrete is given in Walley

(1984).The idea of prestressing, or preloading, a structure is not new. Barrels were, and
still are, made from separate wooden staves, kept in place by metal hoops. These are
slightly smaller in diameter than the diameter of the barrel, and are forced into place
over the staves, so tightening them together and forming a watertight barrel .
Cartwheels were similarly prestressed by passing a heated iron tyre around the
wooden rim of the wheel. On cooling, the tyre would contract and be held firmly in
place on the rim, thus strengthening the joints between the spokes and the
rim by putting them into compression.
The technique of prestressing has several different applications within civil
engineering, often being used to keep cables taut when subjected to compressive
forces. However, by far the most common application is in prestressed concrete where
a prestress force is applied to a concrete member, and this induces an axial
compression that counteracts all, or part of, the tensile stresses set up in the member
by applied loading.


  • Basic principles
  • Properties of materials
  • Limit state design
  • Loss of prestress force
  • Analysis of sections
  • Deflections
  • Shear
  • Prestressing systems and anchorages
  • Design of members
  • Composite construction
  • Indeterminate structures
  • Prestressed flat slabs
  • Design examples
  • Solutions to problems


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