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Publication Number:  FHWA-HIF-19-018    Date:  February 2019
Publication Number: FHWA-HIF-19-018
Date: February 2019


Lightweight Concrete: Transfer and Development Length of Prestressing Strands

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Broad-based advancements in concrete materials have led to significant enhancements in the performance of lightweight concrete (LWC). Although the value of using LWC within the constructed infrastructure is clear, decades-old performance perceptions continue to hinder wider use of the concrete. Additionally, the lack of modern updates to structural design provisions for LWC has perpetuated additional barriers to the use of LWC. In 2007, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) investigated the structural performance of modern LWCs. The study described in this report engaged the academic, public sector, and private sector communities to compile the body of knowledge on LWC while also conducting nearly 100 full-scale structural tests on lightweight concretes.

This report presents the results of transfer length measurement and development length tests on high-strength LWC prestressed girders as well as a compilation of data available from the literature. It also provides potential revisions to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Load and Resistance Factor Design Bridge Design Specifications, with a focus on transfer and development length of prestressing strands in LWC.

Cheryl Allen Richter, P.E., PhD.
Director, Office of Infrastructure
Research and Development


This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers' names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

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Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.


2. Government Accession No.


3 Recipient's Catalog No.


4. Title and Subtitle

Lightweight Concrete: Transfer and Development Length of Prestressing Strands

5. Report Date

February 2019

6. Performing Organization Code


7. Author(s)

Gary G. Greene and Benjamin A. Graybeal

8. Performing Organization Report No.


9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Office of Infrastructure Research & Development Federal Highway Administration 6300 Georgetown Pike McLean, VA 22101-2296

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)


11. Contract or Grant No.
12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Office of Research, Development, and Technology
Federal Highway Administration
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101-2296

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Final Report: 2010-2015

14. Sponsoring Agency Code


15. Supplementary Notes

This document was developed by research staff at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center. Portions of the work were completed by PSI, Inc. under contract DTFH61-10-D-00017. Gary Greene formerly of PSI, Inc., who was the lead contract researcher on FHWA’s lightweight concrete research efforts, and Ben Graybeal of FHWA, who manages the FHWA Structural Concrete Research Program, developed this document.

16. Abstract

Much of the fundamental basis for the current lightweight concrete provisions in the AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications is based on research of lightweight concrete (LWC) from the 1960s. The LWC that was part of this research used traditional mixes of coarse aggregate, fine aggregate, portland cement, and water. Broad-based advancement in concrete technology over the past 50 years has given rise to significant advancements in concrete mechanical and durability performance.

This document describes the results of transfer length measurements and development length tests on highstrength LWC prestressed girders that were conducted as part of an overall FHWA research project on LWC. The FHWA test results are included in a strand bond database with over 250 LWC specimens and 350 NWC specimens available in the literature. An analysis of the database was used to develop potential revisions to provisions related to LWC and NWC within Section 5 of the AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications. The framework for addressing LWC in the specifications that was proposed previously as a part of this research effort is applied to the design expressions for strand transfer length and development length. The framework includes a revision to the definition of LWC and a revised expression for predicting concrete elastic modulus.

17. Key Words

LWC, lightweight concrete, bridge design, LRFD design specifications, transfer length, development length, strand bond

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161.

19. Security Classification
(of this report)


20. Security Classification
(of this page)


21. No. of Pages


22. Price


Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72) Reproduction of completed page authorized




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Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101