Research Reports

Debonded Strands in Prestressed Concrete Bridge Girders

Principal Investigator:

Mahad Osman, Catherine E French

July 2019

Report no. MnDOT 2019-30

Projects: Debonded prestressed strand in prestressed beams

Topics: Bridge design and sensing, Concrete

There are three potential options to reduce end stresses in prestressed concrete bridge girders: drape strands, debond strands, or a combination of the two. In the draping option, a portion of the strands are raised from harp points within the girder to reduce the strand eccentricity at the girder ends. Large vertical reactions are required at the hold down points within the girder to resist the uplift of the draped strands. In addition, end cracking that follows the draped strand pattern is often observed, particularly in deeper sections. In the debonding option, a portion of the strands are debonded toward the girder ends to reduce the resultant prestress force. Concerns with debonding are its potential to reduce shear strength and to cause corrosion issues if moisture and deicing chemicals make their way into the girder ends along the debonded path. Due to potential corrosion concerns, MnDOT has prohibited strand debonding. However, as a means to eliminate some of the end cracking observed during fabrication with draped strands, this study was conducted to explore the use of debonded strands and to develop design recommendations. To this end, an extensive literature review was conducted regarding debonded strand research, and state Departments of Transportation with similar climates and fabricators were queried to learn from their experiences. Design recommendations and potential material specifications to protect debonded strands from corrosion are presented in this report.

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