Module code: ENGM031

Module Overview

The module concentrates on the principles of analysis and design of both pre- and post-tensioning prestressed concrete, the principal way of using concrete for bridges. Basic design principles will be covered, based on the fundamental concepts of prestressing, the materials, the anchorages and splices of tendons, the significance of bond, the degree of prestressing and the losses. Focus is placed on both the preliminary and final design of prestressed bridge superstructures, including the loading, the analysis, the detailing and the construction of prestressed superstructures. Design is in accordance with the current Eurocode 2 standards, but is also complemented with state-of-the-art knowledge. Economy and aesthetics are discussed in the module.

Module provider

Sustainability, Civil & Env Engineering

Module Leader

MITOULIS Stergios (Civl Env Eng)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 65

Tutorial Hours: 20

Guided Learning: 40

Captured Content: 25

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

It is desirable to have some understanding of the section analysis techniques used to determine the magnitude and direction of various kinds of stress such as shear, bending, torsion and axial stresses. A good knowledge of the type of loads that are peculiar to bridges, and their effects on bridge structures would be useful. In addition, understanding of various methods of analysis and their applications in bridges to calculate stresses at various sections of the bridge elements is also necessary. These concepts are briefly covered in this module as well. 

Module content

An introduction to the prestressing, its history, and various methods of prestressing are discussed in Unit 1. Unit 2 deals with the properties of materials used for prestressing and an introduction to the actions, and their combinations, pertinent to bridges. Ways of calculating the flexural strength of a section at the serviceability limit state are detailed in Units 3 and 4 for simple and continuous members respectively. A detailed account of possible types of prestress losses and their quantification is carried out in Unit 5. The flexural analysis and design of prestressed members at ULS are the subject of Unit 6. Unit 7 deals with the principles and design methods for shear forces in prestressed members. The effects on presstressed members resulting from method of construction and prestressing technique is dealt with in unit 8.

Many construction methods have been developed for short, medium, and long (single and multiple) span prestressed concrete bridges. These will be explained in some detail in Unit 9 and 10 and illustrated by reference to actual contracts.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework ASSIGNMENT 25
Examination Online ONLINE 24 HOUR (OPEN BOOK) EXAM 75

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The module will be assessed by a bridge design assignment and summative assessment, details of which are described below. At the end of each unit appropriate self assessment tasks are given for your practice about what you have learnt in that module. In most cases these will self assessed. These do not carry any marks but you are encouraged to attempt these and discuss on the solutions and problems with your peers using appropriate Surreylearn discussion forums for the units (Please see details about Surreylearn in your course handbook). There will also be peer assessments for this module.

ASSIGNMENT: Loading and analysis of a real three-span bridge

  • The student will be expected to design a prestressed concrete footbridge for the assignment. This is mandatory and counts for 25% of the total module marks respectively. The assignment along with its completion dates will be available through Surreylearn, hence it is expected that the students will be checking their Surreylearn module at least once a week. These should be submitted within the defined deadlines. Any late submissions will be dealt with according to the regulations defined in your course handbook.


  • The summative assessment will be based on a written examination paper at the end of the semester, dates for which will be notified at a later date. The exam marks counts for 75% of the total module marks.

Peer Assessment:

These do not carry any marks but will give students the opportunity to get quick feedback on their work from their fellow students. This also enhances the communication skills of the students and open channels of communication between students. The students learn by carrying out the task themselves but also by looking into the same work done by others. They also gain more confidence in their understanding by highlighting good efforts and errors of their fellow students. These will be moderated through Surreylearn.

Module aims

  • To promote an understanding of the principles of prestressed concrete as applied to bridges.
  • To promote an understanding of the designer's principal duties in relation to the construction of prestressed structures.
  • To promote an understanding of the load balancing method.
  • To promote an understanding of the section analysis used to determine the serviceability stress and deflection behaviour of prestressed concrete and the ultimate strength of bridge superstructures.
  • To promote an understanding of the allowable concrete stresses, losses, reactions (concordant and non-concordant).
  • To promote an understanding of available construction methods and responsibilities as applied to the prestressed concrete bridges.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Identify appropriate prestressing methods and propose where these should be used in bridge design KCPT
002 Use processes and tools for the design and analysis of prestresed concrete bridges and be able to demonstrate their appropriate use for (both simple and continuous) pre- and post- tensioned concrete bridges in accordance with the current state-of-the-art theory and codes KCPT
003 Apply current design codes pertinent to prestressed concrete design KCPT
004 Apply appropriate construction methods for simple and continuous prestressed concrete bridges for both externally and internally prestressed bridges. KCPT
005 Synthesis of data T
006 Graphical presentation of data T
007   Use of word processer and spreadsheet T
008 Technical report writing T
009 Information retrieval skills T
010 Independent learning skills T

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

30 hrs teacher contact time (including 10 hours of tutorials), 40 hrs of assignment work (includes a prestressed concrete bridge analysis and design assignment), 68 hrs independent learning / self and Peer assessment questions.


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ENGM031

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Advanced Geotechnical Engineering MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Bridge Engineering MSc 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Structural Engineering MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Infrastructure Engineering and Management MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Civil Engineering MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Civil Engineering MEng 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2021/2 academic year.