Improved joining method for segmental prestressed structures

Ralph W Jensen, University of Texas at El Paso


This dissertation addresses the need for more robust and materially efficient structures, specifically structures that absorb higher levels of energy, can self-erect and which have variable reaction capabilities. These structures can take much higher levels of strain and loading compared to current technologies in reinforced concrete and carbon fiber composites. These structures are made using a novel method of joining segmental elements. A great advantage with this segmental structural system is it's survivability under overloaded conditions. During an impact, or concentrated pressure load, the structure will wrap around the impact zone thereby widely distributing the contact stresses. This function or joining-method can be adapted to vehicles, or aircraft frames and other structures such as landing strips, bridges and buildings. Self-erecting structures are also a function achieved by this innovation. This may be accomplished through the process of post-tensioning. A structure that is in a collapsed state but linked with tendons is pulled into an erect state as the tendons are tensioned. One example is a tower, which would slowly pull itself into a standing position one segment at a time as the tendon tension increased. At a fully prestressed state the tendons would be anchored. Additionally, variable reactivity to loading can be incorporated into each joint function. The joint structures incorporate rubber layers and end caps which are at the ends of each segment. The rubber layers are similar in function to the hyaline cartilage found throughout animal skeletal structures.

Subject Area

Civil engineering|Mechanical engineering

Recommended Citation

Jensen, Ralph W, "Improved joining method for segmental prestressed structures" (2011). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3457752.