Duct is an important element for bonded post tensioning work. It is essential as it creates a void for the tendon or tensile element. By and large, steel corrugated duct provides the most economical solution to bonded post tensioning work.
Steel corrugated duct are manufactured from a long galvanized strip of steel, normally in the range of 0.25 – 0.40mm in thickness and can be 30 – 80mm in width. It depends on the type of duct forming machine used. These strips are then pressed into a corrugated form before they are fed into a turning wheel to make the edges interlock, and forming into a pipe. And in post tensioning terms, we call this pipe a ‘duct’. And duct can come in 2 types of shapes, round and flat. A steel corrugated flat duct is pressed into shape from a steel corrugated round duct and it is generally used for slab anchorage (not limited).
Duct plays a critical role in providing a corrosion protection environment to the tensile element or tendon (eg. PC Strand). And steel corrugated duct offers excellent bonding behaviour to tendon grout and also the concrete around it. And it is precisely because the duct is a protection to the tendon, its quality is paramount.
Due to the way the steel corrugated duct is produced, bad quality duct can cause huge problems like ‘bleeding’ during the construction process. Most of the time, it is the bad interlocking of the edges between adjacent strips that causes the duct to collapse under the weight of the concrete. This results the concrete to leak into the duct (term ‘bleeding’) and bond with the tendon even before stressing commence.
Operators are well aware of the repercussion bleeding can cause. During stressing, it causes the tendon elongation to fall under the required length even though the stressing jack and pump had worked to its required load. To sum it up, we call this prestressing lost (due to frictional effect). This is a situation everybody wants to avoid.
Duct is also available in plastic form, generally made of polyethylene / polypropylene material. Plastic duct has lesser bleeding issue and it is more commonly found in corrosive environment like waste water treatment tanks, acid tanks, silos etc. However steel corrugated duct is still the preferred choice for providing a homogenous environment to prestressed concrete structure, primarily due to its excellent bonding characteristic. And in some countries, plastic duct are barred because of fire safety regulation. This is because the burning of plastic during a fire hazard can emit poisonous gases and it is harmful to humans.
TMG visited a few project sites and with the blessing of the main contractors, we managed to film the process of steel corrugated duct production. The source of the duct forming machine remains unknown.
Recently, TMG delivered 8 containers of Anchor Head, Bearing Plate and Wedge for a project in South Asia. This project uses a mixture of slab anchors of 4 and 5 strand, and multistrand anchors of 3 to 19 strand. All supplied anchors are for 15.20mm strand size. As post tensioning is becoming more popular in developing countries, we are seeing an upward trend in prestressed concrete structure design.
Just 20 years ago, prestressing seems to be a taboo in these developing countries. Despite the fact that post tensioning can bring a lot of tangile benefits to the whole structure, developers and contractors are conservative in accepting the advantages that it can bring. Many were septical and conventional in the way they viewed civil construction. The growth and popularity of internet helped and transformed the development of post tensioning. With information now easily available over the internet, developers and consultants are more well informed and have better understanding of post tensioning. This information-age development also accelerated the transformation and acceptance of post tensioning, from an unfamilar technology to a widely accepted one today.
As market demand for post tensioning increases, the surge in post tensioning accessories supplies also effected the cost of carrying out such construction to be more transparent, thus bringing benefits to developers and contractors. Products like PC strand, Stressing Equipment (Stressing Jack, Pump, Grouting Machine etc), post tensioning accessories (Anchor Head, Bearing Plate, Wedge etc) become widely available and can be delivered with short lead-time.
Below are some photographs of TMG Anchor Head (before packaging) in our storage warehouse, ready for shipment.