How do I apply prestress to tension members?


To correctly combine the planned prestress with the other load cases, define a suitable load case and apply a "pulling" strain load to the members concerned. The pulling strain load can be, for example:

  • a negative temperature load Tc distributed uniformly over a cross‑section,
  • a negative axial strain ε,
  • a negative axial displacement Δl,
  • a positive initial prestress V, or
  • a positive final prestress V (in RFEM only).

The input by using the axial displacement is the most comprehensible input as you can directly measure the displacement at the turnbuckle of the tension member.


Prestress Tension member Failure Turnbuckle Unstable


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RFEM Main Program
RFEM 5.xx

Main Program

Structural engineering software for finite element analysis (FEA) of planar and spatial structural systems consisting of plates, walls, shells, members (beams), solids and contact elements

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RSTAB Main Program
RSTAB 8.xx

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The structural engineering software for design of frame, beam and truss structures, performing linear and nonlinear calculations of internal forces, deformations, and support reactions

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