Critical Elements

There are several critical elements in a post-tensioning system. In unbonded construction, the plastic sheathing acts as a bond breaker between the concrete and the prestressing strands. It also provides protection against damage by mechanical handling and serves as a barrier that prevents moisture and chemicals from reaching the strand. The strand coating material reduces friction between the strand and the sheathing and provides additional corrosion protection. Anchorages are another critical element, particularly in unbonded systems. After the concrete has cured and obtained the necessary strength, the wedges are inserted inside the anchor casting and the strand is stressed. When the jack releases the strand, the strand retracts slightly and pulls the wedges into the anchor. This creates a tight lock on the strand. The wedges thus maintain the applied force in the tendon and transfer it to the surrounding concrete. In corrosive environments, the anchorages and exposed strand tails are usually covered with a housing and cap for added protection.