Analysis of the status of pre-release cracks in prestressed concrete structures using long-gauge sensors

H. Abdel-Jaber, B. Glisic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Prestressed structures experience limited tensile stresses in concrete, which limits or completely eliminates the occurrence of cracks. However, in some cases, large tensile stresses can develop during the early age of the concrete due to thermal gradients and shrinkage effects. Such stresses can cause early-age cracks, termed 'pre-release cracks', which occur prior to the transfer of the prestressing force. When the prestressing force is applied to the cross-section, it is assumed that partial or full closure of the cracks occurs by virtue of the force transfer through the cracked cross-section. Verification of the closure of the cracks after the application of the prestressing force is important as it can either confirm continued structural integrity or indicate and approximate reduced structural capacity. Structural health monitoring (SHM) can be used for this purpose. This paper researches an SHM method that can be applied to prestressed beam structures to assess the condition of pre-release cracks. The sensor network used in this method consists of parallel long-gauge fiber optic strain sensors embedded in the concrete cross-sections at various locations. The same network is used for damage detection, i.e. detection and characterization of the pre-release cracks, and for monitoring the prestress force transfer. The method is validated on a real structure, a curved continuous girder. Results from the analysis confirm the safety and integrity of the structure. The method and its application are presented in this paper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number025038
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Signal Processing
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • curved continuous girder
  • earlyage cracks
  • long-gauge fiber optic sensors
  • pre-release cracks
  • prestressed concrete
  • structural health monitoring


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