Investigation of Transfer Length, Development Length, Flexural Strength, and Prestress Losses in Lightweight Prestressed Concrete Girders

Report No: 03-CR20

Published in 2003

About the report:

Encouraged by the performance of high-performance normal weight composite girders, the Virginia Department of Transportation has sought to exploit the use of high-performance lightweight composite concrete (HPLWC) girders to achieve economies brought about by the reduction of dead loads in bridges. Transfer length measurements (conducted on two AASHTO Type IV HPLWC prestressed girders) indicated an average transfer length of 17 inches, well below the AASHTO and ACI requirements. Two HPLWC AASHTO Type II girders and a 48 x 8 inch normal weight 4000-psi concrete deck were fabricated. The girders were cast of concretes with a compressive strength of 6380 psi and a unit weight of 114 pcf. Full scale testing of the girders was conducted to evaluate development length and flexural strength in HPLWC composite girders. Embedment lengths of five, six, and eight feet were evaluated. Tests indicated a development length of about 72 inches, marginally below the ACI and AASHTO requirements. All tested girders exceeded their theoretical flexural capacity by 24% to 30%. A third composite Type II girder was cast of high-performance normal weight concrete and topped with a 48 x 8 inch normal weight 4000-psi concrete deck. This girder was intended as a control specimen. Prestress losses in the HPLWC AASHTO Type IV girders monitored over a nine-month period were found to be less than those calculated using the ACI and PCI models.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • Thomas E. Cousins, Adil J. Nassar

Last updated: December 3, 2023

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