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Unit of study_

CIVL6257: Concrete Structures - Prestressed Concrete

Objectives: To develop an advanced understanding of the behaviour, analysis and design of prestressed concrete structures. Outcomes: Students will develop skills in the analysis and design of prestressed concrete beams, columns and slabs, to satisfy the serviceability and strength provisions of the Australian Concrete Structures Standard. Syllabus Summary: The behaviour and design of prestressed concrete structures and structural elements, including beams and slabs. Topics covered will include steel and concrete materials, prestress losses, flexural and shear behaviour at service loads and ultimate loads, short and long term deflections, load balancing, anchorage zones (including strut and tie modelling of anchors), dynamic response of post-tensioned floors, and sustainability considerations for prestressed concrete structures.


Academic unit Civil Engineering
Unit code CIVL6257
Unit name Concrete Structures - Prestressed Concrete
Session, year
Semester 1, 2020
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Gianluca Ranzi,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Assignment 1
Assignment 1
20% Week 08 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO2
Assignment Assignment 2
Assignment 2
50% Week 10 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Assignment Assignment 3
Assignment 3
30% Week 13 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
  • Assignments 1, 2 and 3: Critical thinking of students related to the behaviour and design of prestressed concrete structures is expected and the application of knowledge gained from the lectures and tutorials will be tested through 3 assignments.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic honesty, academic dishonesty, and the resources available to all students.

The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic dishonesty or plagiarism seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of dishonesty, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Basic materials used in reinforced and prestressed concrete - cement, concrete, steel reinforcement, steel wires and strands Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO4
Week 02 Basic review of reinforced concrete design - stress vs strain diagrams, strength and serviceability Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 03 Prestressed concrete – history and key players, prestress vs post-tensioned, Australian and overseas codes, iconic PT structures Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO4
Week 04 Prestress basics - zero curvature moments, decompression moments, cracking moments and load balancing Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4
Week 05 Prestress losses and deflections - immediate vs long-term losses, creep, uncracked (Ig) versus cracked (Icr and Ief), deflections Online class (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4
Week 06 Working through assignment Online class (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 08 Prestressed concrete design - ultimate flexural strength (Mu) Online class (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 09 Prestressed concrete design - strength at transfer, shear strength (AS3600:2009 vs AS3600-2018) Online class (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 10 Prestressed concrete design - anchorage zone design (beams and slabs) including strut and tie analysis Online class (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 11 Prestressed concrete design - full PT design workedexample (by hand) from start to finish Online class (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 12 Overview of prestressed concrete software - RAPT, Ram Concepts, etc Online class (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 13 Miscellaneous - vibration design to address issues with PT as well as PT failure case studies, and review of full course Online class (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

Beletich AS, Hymas I, Reid S and Uno P (2015) Reinforced Concrete – The Designers Handbook, Baulkham Hills, NSW : Cement & Concrete Services
[Hardcopy from SciTech Library: General 624.18341 68]

Gilbert IR, Mickleborough NC and Ranzi G (2015) Design of prestressed concrete to AS3600-2009, Boca Raton : CRC Press
[Hardcopy from SciTech Library: General 624.183412 11]
[eBook available from online Library resources]

Warner RF, Rangan BV, Hall AS and Faulkes KA (1998) Concrete Structures, South Melbourne : Longman
[Hardcopy from SciTech Library: General 620.137 55]


Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. understand the fundamental concepts and theoretical models of the effects of prestressing on service behaviour and ultimate strength
  • LO2. carry out design calculations to predict service behaviour of prestressed concrete structures, accounting for the time-dependent effects of concrete creep and shrinkage
  • LO3. carry out design calculations to predict the ultimate strength of prestressed concrete structures
  • LO4. design prestressed concrete structures to satisfy relevant design standards
  • LO5. use design software and interpret the results

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
Based on the feedback received in 2019, greater emphasis has been placed in establishing a link between the fundamental understanding of the behaviour of prestressed concrete structures and their design requirements and methodologies


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