Experimental Mechanics

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 201–215 | Cite as

Field measured pre-stress concrete losses versus design code estimates

  • O. U. Onyemelukwe
  • P. E. Moussa Issa
  • C. J. Mills


In Florida, pre-stressed concrete bridges with a hybrid structural configuration, consisting of simply supported girders and continuous deck units providing composite action, are prevalent. In this study, an actual bridge with this configuration is instrumented with embedded vibrating wire strain gages during construction. The axial strain data are utilized to determine the time-dependent pre-stress loss variation and distribution in the pre-tensioned concrete girders used for the bridge. In this paper, however, we discuss the bridge instrumentation and monitoring technique used, and the deduced pre-stress losses obtained from field-measured strains up to 150 days, before placement of the composite slab. A comparison of the measured loss with the estimates of the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) indicates that the field-measured pre-stress loss is non-uniform across the girder depth, opposed to a uniform distribution implicitly assumed in most codes. The measured pre-stress variation is used in computing the concrete stress distribution in the girder at different depths within the given cross-section. When compared to the concrete stress from using the PCI and AASHTO suggested losses, the stress distribution resulting fron using the field-measured loss is found to be non-linear, and in most cases higher.

Key Words

Pre-stressed concrete bridge pre-stressed concrete girder pre-stress losses time-dependent pre-stress losses nonlinear concrete stresses bridge instrumentation bridge monitoring vibrating wire strain gages axial strain measurements modified AASHTO type VI girder 



Location of concrete girder centroid measured from bottom of girder


Time-dependent value of modulus of elasticity of concrete


Value of the modulus of elasticity of concrete on the 28th day


Modulus of elasticity of the pre-stressing strands


Characteristic strength of concrete


Mean compressive strength of concrete


Change in pre-stress


Moment of inertia of concrete girder


Bending moment due to girder self weight


Cement type correction factor


Time in days


Temperature at any time,t


Temperature at preceding time,t−1


Depth of interest measured from bottom of girder


Age correction factor used for determining the modulus of elasticity of concrete


Relative change in strain due to temperature changes

βɛweight effects

Relative change in strain due to girder weight and time dependence of the modulus of elasticity of concrete




Measured strain at any time,t


Measured strain at reference time,t o


Absolute change in strain


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Copyright information

© Society for Experimental Mechanics 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • O. U. Onyemelukwe
    • 1
  • P. E. Moussa Issa
    • 2
  • C. J. Mills
    • 3
  1. 1.CEE DepartmentUniversity of Central FloridaOrlando
  2. 2.TY Lin InternationalChicago
  3. 3.HNTBOrlando

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