What is Prestressed Concrete?

Prestressed concrete is fundamentally concrete in which internal stresses of an appropriate distribution and scale are introduced so that the stresses resulting from the external loads are countered to a preferred extent. As it is evident from the name, it is a form of concrete which is stressed by means of compression before supporting any design load beyond its own weight. The compression is produced in concrete by tensioning the high tensile strength “Tendons” located in or adjacent to the concrete mass.
The basic functioning of prestressed concrete is in a manner that high-strength steel tendons in the concrete members induce compressive strength that balances tensile stresses levied in the member during service. There are many added benefits of using prestressed concrete and it has numerous advantages over the traditional reinforced concrete structures.

Advantages of Using Prestressed Concrete (PSC) over Reinforced Concrete (RCC):

  1. Since there is no tensile crack, prestressed concrete is more durable than reinforced concrete. PSC is also resistant to the effect of shocks and stresses.
  2. Improved shear resistance among the PSC members reduces the principle tensile stress.
  3. In PSC, the section of members can be reduced to use the smaller sections for longer periods of time. Also, this makes transportation easier.
  4. Prestressed concrete offers excellent fire resistance elegance, high corrosion-resistance, and adaptability, and also boasts of low maintenance costs.
  5. Prestressed structures are lighter in weight than reinforced structures.
  6. PSC requires lesser quantity of materials as compared to RCC. Thus, the material cost is less.
  7. The reinforcement in prestressed concrete stays unaffected from external factors and hence, longevity is much better than RCC.
  8. The dead weight of P.S.C. is much less compared to what is required for R.C.C. It is 1/3rd of its RCC equivalent.
  9. PSC structures are stiffer owning to lesser deflections.
  10. The deformation in prestressed members is very much less than reinforced concrete member. As in the case of reinforced beam, the deflection is just about 25% of an equivalent RCC beam.
  11. PSC structures have better fatigue strength.
  12. Prestressed concrete is a better option for structures that need to retain water for long.

It has been proved that structures made out of prestressed concrete have better durability and longevity; the cost of construction is also on the competitive side. However, expert supervision, skilled labour-force and specialist construction tools are required in order to go forward with a construction involving PRC.