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close up of concrete reinforcement being used in construction project

Concrete is an extremely versatile construction material that can be used in practically any form of building project. Be it a standard office block, a more ornate housing design, or a larger transport project like a bridge or an overpass, concrete is used to support a varying amount of weight over different amounts of space, and it is these variables that gauge what type of concrete is needed to do the job. While being set, concrete can be subject to different forms of stress, which will imbue the final product with different qualities. This article will be focusing on the question of “what is post tension construction?”, its main uses, and the benefits that it has over normal reinforced concrete.

What Is Post Tension Construction?

Post tension construction is a form of pre-stressing concrete so as to compress it before it is used to support whatever loads it needs. There are several forms of post tension construction, with each being suited to different applications. All (bar one) of the processes involve placing tendons onto or into the concrete. The tendons are made up of steel bars that are contracted once the concrete has gained strength, causing the concrete to be placed under compressive tension, thereby offering it a higher degree of strength, while using less concrete at the same time. The main forms of post tension construction are:

  • Internal bonded tendons – better suited for bridges and heavy loaded beams in buildings.
  • Internal unbonded tendons – used more in slabs-on-ground projects and car parks.
  • External unbonded tendons – good for bridges and refurbishing structures.
  • Grounded anchors – made to support ground excavations, hillsides, and tunnel walls.

When discussing what is post tension construction used for, it’s important to emphasise the difference between bonded vs unbonded tendons.The difference between bonded and unbonded tendons is whether the steel bars are encased in a metal or plastic duct or not. Bonded tendons are placed in a duct that is then filled with grout, which is then bonded with the concrete.

Advantages Of Post Tension Construction

Now that we’ve answered the question of “what is post tension construction”, let’s take a closer look at its main benefits. We’ve already touched on one advantage which is that it offers a greater degree of strength for less material used, but these are not the only benefits:

The support given by the tendons mean that slabs and other formations of concrete can be larger and still hold their strength, so that means you can create fewer pieces with less joints (and therefore less weak points) for your project.

The support from post tension construction also means that you can create more difficult and complicated pieces of concrete without having to worry about the strength of the concrete, which is why this form of concrete is so popular in bridge and infrastructure projects that need more specific and unique formations.

Finally, the fact that the concrete is already compressed means that cracks and faults that do form are already under stress, and therefore cannot pose a serious threat to the overall structure (depending on the size of the crack of course).

While there are several construction companies in Bahrain that offer concrete construction services, for guaranteed quality of product and service then Al Manaratain should always be your first choice. With over 60 years of experience and a wide range of products both concrete and otherwise, there is no one you should trust more with your construction needs. To hear more about our products and services, or if you have any further questions regarding “what is post tension construction”, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.