Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil Engineering


Between 1962 and 1970, five Master of Science Candidates in Civil Engineering at South Dakota State University have written theses on the feasibility, performance, and cost of prestressed concrete pavements. In 1962 Gorsuch conducted laboratory tests on the structural performance of precast panels. By using half-scale panels with dimensions 12 feet long, 2 feet wide and 2 inches thick, he determined that when the panels were laid in the transverse direction they acted as a single slab and behaved elastically beyond the yield point. Kruse made further laboratory tests in 1966 to evaluate the feasibility of prestressed pavement and make recommendations for possible field studies. Prestressed panels used in the investigation had dimensions of 24 feet by 4 feet by 4 1/2 inches thick. The panels were pre-tensioned in the longitudinal direction and post-tensioned in the transverse direction. A 2-inch overlay of asphaltic concrete was used for a riding surface. The conclusions drawn from the study were that 4 1/2 inchs thick pavement is structurally adequate for heavy duty highway service, and that subgrade pumping was the principal factor which may preclude the use of this type of pavement on subgrades with a low modulus of subgrade reaction. In 1967, Jacoby finished a report on a laboratory and small-scale field study of prestressed concrete pavements. The full-scale field test panels measured 24 feet in length, 6 feet wide and 4 1/2 inches thick, while the laboratory analysis used half scale panels. The research was solely aimed at finding the expansion and contraction characteristics of a pavement system of the type studied. One conclusion was that the contraction cycle of a panel group will be of primary concern in the determination of the shearing. forces present in the grout key. Objectives of Investigation Initially, it seemed as though the individual slab design would be controlled by two factors. The first factor involved providing sufficient concrete cover over prestressing tendons; the second dealt with the stress in the slab due to its own dead weight during handling. The objectives of this investigation were to study the structural characteristics of the pavement system and to determine if the original design was adequate for loading conditions prevailing in South Dakota. A previous investigation was completed by Phillips, in 1970, concerning the seasonal expansion and contraction characteristics of the test pavement involved in this report. Therefore, this study was restricted to the analysis of the following structural aspects: 1. Bending stress resulting from loading; 2. Warping stress due to temperature differential; 3. Combined warping and bending stress; 4. Deflection; S. Shear transfer from panel to panel.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Prestressed concrete
Precast concrete
Pavements, Concrete



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University