Friday, 18 November 2016

How Post Tensioning Helps To Create Concrete Construction Miracles

Have you ever watched construction crews building a parking garage or skyscraper and wondered how they were able to raise and attach huge concrete panels like they were building blocks? You never see them actually pour concrete into a form to make the panels, so how do they do it? The secret is a construction system known as post tensioning and it has allowed for some serious miracles in urban construction since its inception.
What is Post Tensioning?
Put simply, it is a method for reinforcing and pre-stressing concrete forms, to make them stronger and more resistant to cracking and breaking under environmental conditions. Concrete, when created and formed, can be quite strong in its compressed form but it is still relatively weak in other areas. By bonding the concrete block during creation with stainless steel wires or rods, it increases its tensile strength, making the whole more durable to extreme changes.
The main advantage to creating concrete construction panels in this manner is that it reduces the maintenance needed to keep the structure as a whole fully operational. Whether the finished product is a slab foundation or a nuclear containment wall, it will have the flexibility it needs to resist temperature and environmental changes, less material will be needed to cover the same area, a lighter structure weight overall and a higher level of structural integrity with a marked increase in deflection and vibration control. This method has been a boon to those areas that are regularly plagued by earthquakes, and hurricanes.
How Is It Done?
Tensioning strands of stainless steel wire, usually grouped into bundles, are stretched along the length of an empty concrete form prior to pouring. As the concrete hardens, the strands are tightened, "stressing" them throughout the hardening concrete. The strands are anchored by adjustable chucks, which can be loosened or tightened during installation of the finished panel.
There are two methods commonly used today in creating a post tensioned slab of concrete: bonded and unbonded reinforcement. In the bonded method, a bonding grout is added to each channel through which the tensioning wires have been strung. This method adds to the stability of the whole, further reducing maintenance costs in construction. Architecture designs that require greater flexibility, like those used in earthquake zones, will use the unbonded method, because they require greater flexibility, rather than additional reinforcement.
The most prominent markets for concrete that has been created through post tensioning represent the majority of installations that can be found in the average city's infrastructure. Airports, stadiums, parking garages, nuclear plants and roadways all incorporate these intricately created and durable slabs into their design. In the private sector, constructions like hotels, universities, office buildings and condominiums have also taken advantage of this flexible alternative to traditional concrete installations.
Want to know more about post tensioning processes and what types of forms can be created for construction purposes? Prestress Supply Incorporated, one of the founding creators of this process, has the answers you seek. Call them today. Also check out our page on Post Tensioning.
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