Teaching Post-Tension Concrete Design: Leveraging Practical Industry Expertise

Ryan Solnosky, M. K. Parfitt

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Within civil and architectural engineering programs that offer structural specialization, students are regularly exposed to steel and reinforced concrete courses that focus on the fundamentals of analyzing structural behavior, as well as, designing members. Varying topics are covered in these courses across both undergraduate and graduate offerings. One topic that is not regularly covered is the pre-stressed concrete domain. Programs that do offer pre-stressed concrete frequently offer it at the graduate level where the emphasis frequently revolves around more theoretical behavior. Often missing, a critical emphasis area of pre-stressed concrete, is practical post-tensioned (PT) concrete design and construction practices. In a search of Civil (CE) and Architectural Engineering (AE) programs, only a handful offer PT, which considering how many buildings and infrastructure projects use PT systems, is surprising. One factor impacting the offering of PT courses appears to be that most instructors are faculty with expertise in the research side as opposed to the application side. Additionally, packed curricula does not support making PT a requirement. As such, there remains a disconnect to practiced-based application in those already established courses. This anomaly is something that needs attention in education circles as PT design is a mixture of engineering and art combined to develop solutions that meets the needs of the project. This paper describes the development of a practice-based PT course that both undergraduate and graduate students can take as an elective that interweaves PT fundamentals with applications and insights into how design professionals approach and execute solutions. To connect to industry, the course leverages a series of expert practitioners as guest speakers mixed with faculty instruction to establish contented parallels. Details of how the course was structured, how industry engages, and assessment techniques will be provided. Recommendations on industry involvement for other programs will further be provided. As this course was generally small (less than 20 students), summary data will be provided along with faculty observations including student end of semester feedback to gauge the course's success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Aug 23 2022
Event129th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Excellence Through Diversity, ASEE 2022 - Minneapolis, United States
Duration: Jun 26 2022Jun 29 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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