Structural health monitoring methods for the evaluation of prestressing forces and prerelease cracks

Hiba Abdel-Jaber, Branko Glisic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Prestressed concrete bridges currently account for 45% of bridges built in the last 5 years in the United States. This has resulted in an increase in the number of deficient bridges composed of prestressed concrete, which requires a better understanding of the on-site performance of this building material. The use of new materials, such as high-performance concrete, in conjunction with prestressing provides additional motivation for the creation of structural health monitoring methods for prestressed concrete. This paper identifies two parameters relevant to prestressed concrete, along with methods for their evaluation. The parameters evaluated are the prestressing force value at transfer and the width of prerelease cracks, both of which are indicators of structural performance. Improper transfer of the prestressing force can result in tensile stresses in the concrete that exceed capacity and result in cracks and/or excessive deflections. Prerelease cracks occur in the concrete prior to transfer of the prestressing force and are mainly caused by autogenous shrinkage and thermal gradients. Closure of the cracks is expected by virtue of prestressing force transfer. However, the extent of crack closure is important in order to guarantee durability and structural integrity. This paper presents an integral overview of two novel methods for the statistical evaluation of the two monitored parameters: prestressing forces and the width of prerelease cracks. Validation of the methods is performed through application to two structures, both of which are components of Streicker Bridge on the Princeton University campus. Uncertainties are evaluated and thresholds for unusual behavior are set through the application.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20
JournalFrontiers in Built Environment
StatePublished - Aug 31 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction
  • Urban Studies


  • Continuous girder
  • Deck-stiffened arch
  • Early-age cracks
  • Long-gage fiber optic sensors
  • Prerelease cracks
  • Prestressed concrete
  • Prestressing forces


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