Module code: ENGM031

Module Overview

Prestressed concrete is the principle method by which concrete is used in bridge. The module concentrates on the principles of analysis and design of both pre- and post-tensioning prestressed concrete.  Fundamental design principles are covered, based on the physical concepts of prestressing, the properties and use of 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

IMAM Boulent (Sust & CEE)

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


Module content

The contents of this module are organised in eight units. Unit 1 covers fundamentals of prestressing, its history, and various methods of prestressing are discussed . Unit 2 deals with the properties of materials used for prestressing and provides 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 EXAM (2 HOUR) 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 tasks are not marked, but you can seek formative feedback from peers and the teaching team through the SurreyLearn discussion forums set up for each unit. 

ASSIGNMENT: Loading and analysis of the case study of a real three-span bridge. To complete this assignment, the student will design a prestressed concrete footbridge.

EXAM: The  assessment will be based on a written examination paper at the end of the semester


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

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

Teaching on this module addresses both the development of knowledge and skills. Learning takes place through reading material and captured content. The tutorial sessions are used to apply the theory  on design problems. The assignment work is crucial in the development of skills.

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

Other information

Surrey's Curriculum Framework is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills and capabilities in the following areas:

Employability: The module provides the students with the necessary knowledge for the design of bridges and hence makes them employment-ready for design and consulting offices. The students are equipped with skills beyond the traditional bridge engineering design and assessment, as they learn about the state of the art and practice in bridge engineering on different continents and for different design guidelines. Also, they learn how to report their calculations and drawings in a professional deliverable (assignment), justify their design choices, and convincingly present their work.

Resourcefulness & Resilience: The students learn how to deliver real-life design solutions for prestressed bridges, respond quickly to changes in customer needs and requirement,s and adapt to new design requirements for restricted budgets and cost constraints. The module fosters agile and critical thinking, through a number of multiple choice questions and interactions during the tutorial in which alternative solutions are being discussed on the basis of SLS and ULS principles and Eurocode requirements, embracing resilience-based design in bridge design, including quantification of robustness, and design for quick structural and operational recovery after disruptive events.

Digital Capabilities: Students are supported to use fit-for-purpose digital capabilities and emerging tools, spanning from traditional structural analysis software and CAD tools to more advanced tools for design, visualisation, and communication purposes. The module material is delivered, and communications are taking place mainly through the digital platform Surrey Learn. Discussion forums are available online and the students are encouraged to use these communication and interaction pathways.


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
Structural Engineering 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
Infrastructure Engineering and Management 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
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 2024/5 academic year.