This project tested the concept of centrally prestressed unreinforced concrete (CPUC) columns and piles for application to highway structural systems. In the CPUC column, the innate incompatibility between concrete and steel is eliminated by removal of the latter; but flexural resistance and ductility are restored by the application of a centrally located prestressing tendon or closely spaced strands. This concentration of steel results in a significant increase in concrete cover for better corrosion protection without loss of strength.
Specimens of CPUC columns and piles were evaluated to assess the feasibility and practicality of the concept. Test results showed that the prestressed column provided a substantial increase in effective cross section to withstand both axial and shear loading compared to conventional reinforced concrete columns. Figure 1 illustrates the second innovation, labeled as an extended performance flexural (EPF) device. The EPF device is not a shock isolator, but a completely structural device intended for connecting pier columns to either the superstructure or the substructure, or both, and transmitting considerable moments while permitting large rotations. It sustained several cycles of rotations up to without damage. Analytical application of the EPF device to a bridge structure indicates close to one order of magnitude increase in the fundamental period of vibration and a decrease of 65% in the equivalent static lateral force used in earthquake design. Large-scale field tests on actual highway structures are needed for implementation of this IDEA product. The final report is available from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS # PB97-160816).
The final report for this IDEA project can be found at: