Post Tension Slab: Understanding its Construction, Benefits, and Best Methods for Post Tensioned Concrete Slabs

Post-tensioning is a method of reinforcing concrete in a slab and beam. Post-tensioning is a form of pre stressing.

In post tension slab tendons are pre stressing steel wires inside plastic ducts or sleeves or metallic sheets and it is positioned in the forms before the concrete is placed.

 Post Tension Slab
Post Tension Slab: Understanding its Construction, Benefits, and Best Methods for Post Tensioned Concrete Slabs 9

After this process concrete gets strength but before the service loads are applied the cables are tensioned and anchored against the external edges of the concrete slab.

What Is Post Tension Slab?

Post tension slab is a combination of conventional slab reinforcement and extra projecting high-strength steel tendons which are continually subjected to tension after the concrete has been settled down.

This method helps to achieve the formation of a thinner slab with a longer side span devoid of any column-free spaces.

Post Tension Slab
Post Tension Slab: Understanding its Construction, Benefits, and Best Methods for Post Tensioned Concrete Slabs 10

Post-tensioned concrete means the concrete is filled after the tension is applied, but it is still getting stressed before the loads are applied.

The Post Tension Slab is the type of slab in which the reinforcement goes through ducts and is made of steel cables, not bars.

These wires have to be made out by tensioning them after the concrete has hardened and before the scaffolding is taken away from buildings.

This means that the slab bends upward direction so all the concrete works as in compression through the slab.

The Post Tension Slab is usually called post-stressed concrete when there is pre-stressed concrete (the wires need to be tightened before pouring the concrete) and once the mixed concrete has hardened, it can be released from the wires.

The effect is also the same the slab is bending upward side by the tension and there are no sections of the slab where the concrete is pulled. It all works in compression form.

The slab with cables in the pipe is ready to be stressed. It is done after the concrete has to get hardness, so it is post-stressed.

Read More: What Is a Floating Foundation | Floating Slab Foundation

Principal of Post-Tension Slab

Concrete has high compressive strength and steel has high tensile strength when combined it is used to bear loads, and the efficiency increases manifold.

When a heavy live load is applied to the structure its concrete slab undergoes tension form, which leads to the constitution of cracks and ultimately deformation.

To reduce this problem in the post-tension slabs, post-tensioned steel tendons are entered at the time of concreting and tensioned after concreting with conventional rebars.

Types of Post-Tension Method

Bonded Posts

Bonded Post Test
Post Tension Slab: Understanding its Construction, Benefits, and Best Methods for Post Tensioned Concrete Slabs 11

Bonded post-tension slab is used for large structural elements like beams and transfer girders. This method was used for Crete monolithic slabs for house construction where adobe clay Crete problems in the perimeter foundation.

Also used in the construction of bridges. Design advantages include increased span lengths in building and load-carrying capacity and decreased deflection. In this method, Hooke’s law was used to maintain tension and wedge position.

Unbonded Post-Tensioning

Unbonded Post Tensioning
Post Tension Slab: Understanding its Construction, Benefits, and Best Methods for Post Tensioned Concrete Slabs 12

It is typically used in new construction for elevated slabs, slabs on grade beams, transfer girders, joists, shear walls, and mat foundations.

In the post-tension slab method, the tendon is coated with lithium-based grease and covered in a plastic sheet formed.

Light and flexible these two are the unbounded mono strand that can be easily and rapidly installed for providing an economical solution.

Freyssinet System

Freyssinet System
Post Tension Slab: Understanding its Construction, Benefits, and Best Methods for Post Tensioned Concrete Slabs 13

It was inaugurated by the French engineer Freycinet. High-strength steel wires of 5 to 7mm diameter of 8 -12-16-24 numbers are grouped into a cable with a helical spring inside steel wires are carried along these grooves at the ends.

it is pulled by Freycinet double-acting jacks which can pull through suitable grooves for all the wires in the cable at one time.

Magnel Blaton System

It is having two wires stretched at one time. This method was introduced by the magnel of Belgium. In this method, the anchor consists sandwich plate having grooves to hold the wires.

All plates carry 8 wires. Approx 5-7mm wires are used in this method. One cable consists of 8 wires. These wires with sandwich plates are used as a tapered wedge.

Gifford Udall System

It was introduced by Great Britain, the type of system used in India. In this system single wire is used and all wires are stressed freely using the double jack.

In this system two types of anchorages are used: 1) tube anchorages and 2) plate anchorages.

Lee McCall System

It was used to prestress steel bars. The diameter bar is 12 to 28mm provided with threads at ends entered in performed ducts.

Electrical Prestressing

It has steel bars is coated with a thermoplastic material such as sulfur or low-melting alloy and buried in the concrete.

Also, bars consisting of threads at the other end are tightened against heavy washers then elongation is obtained.

Chemical Prestressing

Chemical Prestressing is done by obtaining expanding cement. Prestressing was applied to embedding steel.

When the concrete had expensed steel got elongated. Finally, steel starts to produce compressive stress in concrete.

Read More: Load on Column, Beam & Slab | Column Design Calculations pdf

Components of Post-Tension Slab

Component of Post-Tensioning Slab
Post Tension Slab: Understanding its Construction, Benefits, and Best Methods for Post Tensioned Concrete Slabs 14


It is placed inside the slabs to allow the tendons to pass. The main purpose of ducts is to connect cables with tendons. It is available in metal sheet ducts and plastic ducts.

It is thin sheet metal pipes with claw coupling and welded overlapped seam supplied in length of 4 to 6 meters respectively and used as standard ducts are pinned to each other by an outer screw coupling and locked with PE tape.

Plastic ducts are also available on the market to be used besides metallic ducts in post-tension slabs. Ducts are used as waterproof, frictionless, and fatigue-resistant.


One of the most useful aspects of a post-tension slab is an anchor. It is used to bind the tendons into the concrete while deducting or joining two tendons.

The main function of anchorage is to transfer the stressing force to the concrete after the stressing process is completed. Extra reinforcement is provided along the anchors.

In some countries, the anchor is also referred to as a trumpet cone. Also used in houses grouting inlet and outlet pipes to allow grouting of the tendon duct in post tension slab.

This device used the following principal,

1) Wedge action,

2) Direct bearing

3) Looping the wires.


The steel member that is pre-stressed and embedded in concrete loses the initially given stress exponentially with time. Up to a 10% reduction in steel, requirement is possible. Also reduction in concrete requirements due to the reduced size of structural members.


It is the most important part of PT construction. When the placing of strands and casting of concrete is successfully done after 5 to 7 days the jacks are used to give stress to these strands and pulled out to tighten these strands in concrete.

Bearing Plate

It is used to save strands from concrete and avoid casting in a post-tension slab. Provide a proper front for stretching.

The Keeper Plate/ Looping Plate

It is used to support the bearing plate.


It is used at the time of stretching of HT strands and connects strands or bars. This device was tested to transmit the full capacity of strands.

Vent Coupler

It is used at the corners. Used for grouting purposes at ends.

Grouting Equipment

It is the concrete filling of the duct with a strong bond between the tendons and surrounding grout.

The grouting is prepared by the water-cement ratio of about 0.5 with water-reducing admixture, expansion agents, and pozzolans.

Construction Of Post Tension Slab

The following are the steps for the construction of post tension slab,

1. Set up strands in position then set up duct in position and connect ducts with couplings. Insert strand introduces at that one time one strand. set up bar chairs at the right location given on the drawing. Tape all duct joints.

2. Now tendons are set up in the right position as given in the drawing. Set up stressing anchorage parts and stressing recess on slab edge formwork. Now install the bearing plate at the right position using a chair and also provide a grout vent. Fix out anchorage bursting reinforcement. Tape all connections carefully.

Construction of Post-Tension Slab
Post Tension Slab: Understanding its Construction, Benefits, and Best Methods for Post Tensioned Concrete Slabs 15

3. Prepare dead-end anchorage parts. Bulb dead-end type will be used. All strands are formed with a bulb dead end by a hydraulic jack.

4. Filling of concrete is done when MS bars and PT components are installed. Tendons need to be observed during concreting any misalignment of tendons results face failure. After concreting concrete should be cured until the specified strength not gets.

5. Now tack off side formwork and prepare for stressing operation. When stressing operation starts carefully clean up all strands. Used colar mark strand for elongation measurement.

6. Set up the anchor head and wedge it into all strands. Start pt stressing after concrete gets compressive strength. Stressing pull load on all strands should be locked off.

7. Stressing can be conducted in both ways transverse and longitudinal. Elongation should be observed.

8. The pressure did by conformation to the calibration document. After the elongation has been approved the strand should be cut using an abrasive disc.

9. Grouting performed asap after stressing operation is completed. Also, a grout vent provides an anchorage for all cables.

10. Anchorage should be capped with concrete grouting equipment have specified sprinkling pressure and material should be taken in a given proportion, not greater than a low slump level.

11. After the grouting process is done some projection surfaces are cut down by an abrasive disc.

Read More: What Is Slab On Grade | Grade On Slab Foundation | Slab On Fill vs Slab On Grade 


The following are applications of the post-tension slab,

  • It reduces or eliminates shrinkage cracking so no joints or fewer joints are needed.
  • Cracks the form is held tightly together.
  • Permission for slabs and other structural members to be thinner.
  • It allows for constructing slabs on expansive or soft soils.
  • It designs longer spans in elevated members like floors or beams
  • In parking, slots were heavy reinforced thick concrete slabs.
  • In bridge decks used slabs allows bridges to span longer lengths without the need to have extra piers or supports.


Lower long-term costs

when maintenance requirement is less anyone can save on long-term costs. Then the customer can enjoy some energy savings and the opportunity to earn LEED credits.

Structural Durability

PT slabs show reduced cracking, improved durability, and reduced maintenance costs.

Since they won’t deflect their loading so the immediate hairline cracking is no more observed that otherwise looks odd.

Their bending can be controlled by changing the amount of post-tensioning to balance any portion of the given loads immediately after the given stress.

Fast Construction

when reducing rebar allows for saving considerable time that is otherwise taken up by rebar fixing. The same strands are true with formwork and rebar pouring.

Architectural Benefits

The pt slab has advantages over others as it makes a very efficient base for floor design with thin slabs and columnless spaces in larger spans. It gives architects the independence to work freely with the building’s slab designs.

Reduced Dead Weight

when the pt slabs have a lesser thickness, the quantity of concrete and reinforcement used in the building is reduced by up to 20 to 30% when compared to conventional concrete slabs.


because of the benefits, the popularity of pt slabs has skyrocketed for years. The demand for PT slabs throughout all countries continues to increase because of some of the profitable benefits for developers, architects, engineers, contractors, and customers of using buildings.

Improved Performance

The pt slabs are ideal for structures where customers need improved seismic behavior, less vibration, and deflection and crack control. These are perfect for watertight and flexibility in building flooring.

Commercial Real Estate

the post-tensions results in thinner concrete slabs, making the valuable savings in floor-to-floor height available as additional floors. It can provide some extra space within the same overall building height for use as rentable.

Material Saving

while saving the PT slab using a thinner concrete slab. There is substantial material saving. These reduce overall 20% and reinforcement by as much as 75%.

Read More: Floating Slab Vs Monolithic Slab | What Is Monolithic Slab


There are only two groups that offer certification related to PT construction:

PT Institute

PTI has a certification license for manufacturing plants and their parts (level 1 and level 2)

Ironworkers Union

it is introduced by JimRogersand has evaluation and certification licenses also he is the publisher of PT magazine.


What do you mean by Post Tensioning Slab?

Post-tensioning is a method of reinforcing concrete in a slab and beam also. Post-tensioning is a form of prestressing.

What are the advantages of the Post Tension slab Method?

1. Lower long-term costs
2. Structural Durability
3. Fast Construction
4. Architectural Benefits
5. Popularity
6. Improved Performance

What is the Principle of PT Slab?

Concrete has high compressive strength and steel has high tensile strength when combined it is used to bear loads, and the efficiency increases manifold.

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