Torsion in Helically Reinforced Prestressed Concrete Poles
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Reinforced concrete poles are commonly used as street lighting and electrical transmission poles. Typical concrete lighting poles experience very little load due to torsion. The governing design loads are typically bending moments as a result of wind on the arms, fixtures, and the pole itself. The Canadian pole standard, CSA A14-07 relates the helical reinforcing to the torsion capacity of concrete poles. This issue and the spacing of the helical reinforcing elements are investigated. Based on the ultimate transverse loading classification system in the Canadian standard, the code provides a table with empirically derived minimum helical reinforcing amounts that vary depending on: 1) the pole class and 2) distance from the tip of the pole. Research into the minimum helical reinforcing requirements in the Canadian code has determined that the values were chosen empirically based on manufacturer’s testing. The CSA standard recommends two methods for the placement of the helical reinforcing: either all the required helical reinforcing is wound in one direction or an overlapping system is used where half of the required reinforcing is wound in each direction. From a production standpoint, the process of placing and tying this helical steel is time consuming and an improved method of reinforcement is desirable. Whether the double helix method of placement produces stronger poles in torsion than the single helix method is unknown. The objectives of the research are to analyze the Canadian code (CSA A14-07) requirements for minimum helical reinforcement and determine if the Canadian requirements are adequate. The helical reinforcement spacing requirements and the effect of spacing and direction of the helical reinforcing on the torsional capacity of a pole is also analyzed. Double helix and single helix reinforcement methods are compared to determine if there is a difference between the two methods of reinforcement. The Canadian pole standard (CSA A14-07) is analyzed and compared to the American and German standards. It was determined that the complex Canadian code provides more conservative spacing requirements than the American and German codes however the spacing requirements are based on empirical results alone. The rationale behind the Canadian code requirements is unknown. A testing program was developed to analyze the spacing requirements in the CSA A14-07 code. Fourteen specimens were produced with different helical reinforcing amounts: no reinforcement, single and double helical spaced CSA A14-07 designed reinforcement, and single helical specimens with twice the designed spacing values. Two specimens were produced based on the single helical reinforcement spacing. One specimen was produced with helical reinforcement wound in the clockwise direction and another with helical reinforcement in the counter clockwise direction. All specimens were tested under a counter clockwise torsional load. The clockwise specimens demonstrated the response of prestressed concrete poles with effective helical reinforcement whereas the counter clockwise reinforced specimens represented theoretically ineffective reinforcement. Two tip sizes were produced and tested: 165 mm and 210 mm. A sudden, brittle failure was noted for all specimens tested. The helical reinforcement provided no post-cracking ductility. It was determined that the spacing and direction of the helical reinforcement had little effect on the torsional capacity of the pole. Variable and scattered test results were observed. Predictions of the cracking torque based on the ACI 318-05, CSA A23.3-04 and Eurocode 2 all proved to be unconservative. Strut and tie modelling of the prestressing transfer zone suggested that the spacing of the helical steel be 40 mm for the 165 mm specimens and 53 mm for the 210 mm specimens. Based on the results of the strut and tie modelling, it is likely that the variability and scatter in the test results is due to pre-cracking of the specimens. All the 165 mm specimens and the large spaced 210 mm specimens were inadequately reinforced in the transfer zone. The degree of pre-cracking in the specimen likely causes the torsional capacity of the pole to vary. The strut and tie model results suggest that the requirements of the Canadian code can be simplified and rationalized. Similar to the American spacing requirements of 25 mm in the prestressing transfer zone, a spacing of 30 mm to 50 mm is recommended dependent on the pole tip size. Proper concrete mixes, adequate concrete strengths, prestressing levels, and wall thickness should be emphasized in the torsional CSA A14-07 design requirements since all have a large impact on the torsional capacity of prestressed concrete poles. Recommendations and future work are suggested to conclusively determine if direction and spacing have an effect on torsional capacity or to determine the factors causing the scatter in the results. The performance of prestressed concrete poles reinforced using the suggestions presented should also be further investigated. Improving the ability to predict the cracking torque based on the codes or reducing the scatter in the test results should also be studied.
Cite this work
Michael Eduard Kuebler (2008). Torsion in Helically Reinforced Prestressed Concrete Poles. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/3879