Controlling cracking in prestressed concrete panels
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Precast, prestressed concrete panels (PCPs) are used in 85% of bridges in Texas. The goal of this thesis is to reduce collinear cracking (cracks propagating parallel to strands) in PCPs. One way to reduce collinear cracking would be to reduce the initial prestress force. In design, TxDOT conservatively assumes total prestress losses of 45 ksi. Based on eight panel specimens, instrumented and fabricated at two different precast plants in Texas, actual prestress losses were measured as at most 25 ksi. This difference (about 20 ksi) is consistent with a reduction in initial prestress force from 16.1 kips per strand to 14.4 kips per strand. Another way to reduce collinear cracking would be to provide additional transverse reinforcement in the end regions of the panels. By comparing crack spacings and crack widths in current and modified panel specimens, it was found that additional reinforcement consisting of one or two #3 bars placed transverse to strands at panel ends would effectively control collinear cracking in PCPs.