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A steel structure, as the name suggests, is a building made of steel components. These buildings are known for their strength and durability and therefore, steel is a popular choice of raw material for the construction sector. The importance of steel structures has grown tremendously as they are now considered a green product that is entirely recyclable.
What is a steel structure?
A steel structure is a metal structure that is erected using structural steel components. These components are connected to each other to carry loads and provide rigidity. Fabrication of structural steel needed for the construction is done by the company according to the desired shape and cross section mentioned in the building plan.
What are the elements of steel structures?
A steel structure is a combination of different elements/components that holds the building together. Given below are the elements of a steel structure:
Steel beams are one of the essential elements of steel structures. Generally, they look like two long steel plates joined together by perpendicular plates. Various kinds of steel beams are used in making steel structures including H beam, I beam, etc.
Steel columns are vertical members of a steel structure. Columns play a pivotal role in the bearing capacity of steel structures and provide overall stability. They are made of structural steel which offers multiple advantages such as durability, weldability, fire resistance, and so on.
A truss is yet another essential element of a steel structure. It can be easily identified by its unique triangular shape. Trusses are mainly designed to efficiently distribute loads and provide support for roofs, bridges, and other structures over long spans of time. The triangular shape helps in the effective distribution of loan and also minimise the amount of material required.
Steel bracings are diagonal steel members of a steel structure. They play a crucial role in providing lateral stability and resisting forces such as wind, seismic activity, and other horizontal loads. Like beams, steel bracings also come in various types. They include X-bracing, K-bracing, V-bracing, inverted V-bracing, chevron bracing, etc.
While columns provide vertical support, steel girders provide horizontal support to the steel structure. Durability, low maintenance, speed of construction, etc., are some of the key features of steel girders.
Steel connections are of various types – rivets, bolts, welding, etc. Based on rigidity, the connections are of three types – rigid, simple and semi-rigid.
A frame is a skeleton of any steel structure. Steel structures are extensively used in the construction of buildings such as warehouses, industrial buildings, high rises, temporary structures, and so on.
Advantages and disadvantages of steel structures
Strength and durability are not the only properties of steel structures. Given below are a few advantages of steel structures:
- Steel structures will not buckle, walk or splinter easily
- It can resist harsh weather conditions, including strong wind, earthquakes, etc.
- Steel structures can be erected faster than concrete and wood structures
- Steel parts required for steel structures are ready to be erected because they are pre- engineered structural steel fabricators in a manufacturing plant.
- Steel structures can create large open spaces without the need for columns for support
Given below are the disadvantages of steel structures:\
- Maintenance cost of steel structures is very high as it should be painted in regular intervals to prevent rusting
- The fire resistance of steel is low compared to concrete structures. Additionally, at high temperature steel loses strength.
- Steel components used in steel structures are used in its existing forms like beams and channels. New steel shapes are not used to build infrastructure.
- Steel structures are susceptible to corrosion
- The initial cost of starting a steel structure project is very high
Applications of steel structures
Some of the common applications of steel structures are as follows:
- Industrial buildings
- Commercial buildings
- Residential buildings
- Infrastructures such as bridges
- Sports facilities
- Healthcare facilities
- Agricultural buildings like barns, silos, etc.
- Equipment storage facility
Types of steel products used for construction
Different types of steel products like steel bolts are used as steel components while erecting a steel structure. Here are the types of connections in steel structures:
- Steel angle
Steel angles are hot-rolled carbon steel that are moulded into L-shaped cross sections. The sides of the cross section are called legs of the angle. Most angles available in the market feature a 90° shape. There are other variations available as well.
- Steel round bars
A steel round bar is a cylindrically shaped bar used for industrial applications and construction sites. Its specifications are indicated in millimeters of diameter of the circular cross section. Bars with higher diameters have excellent load bearing capacity and are used in construction of steel structures.
- Channel steel
Steel channels look like a long hollow cuboid with an absent top face and two lateral faces. Technically speaking, a steel channel is two steel legs connected by a web of flattened steel. Most common steel channels found in India are C shaped and U-shaped channels. These are often used in construction for masonry support or as wall restraints.
- Steel plate
A steel plate is any steel material that is formed into a plate. These plates come in various lengths, widths, shapes, finishes, etc. skyscrapers, railways, housing buildings, shipping containers, etc., make use of steel plates.
It is a flat steel material with a large aspect ratio and surface area. According to the thickness, it can be divided into three types: thin plate (thickness<4mm), medium plate (thickness 4-25mm), and thick plate (thickness>25mm)
- Steel pipe
A steel pipe is a long strip of steel with a hollow section. According to the shape of its cross-section, these pipes can be divided into round pipes, square pipes and hexagonal pipes. Steel pipes are typically made of carbon steel, ally steel, stainless steel and galvanised steel.
IS code for structural steel design
The Indian Standard code which deals with steel structures is IS 800-2007. This standard dictates the guidelines on the different types of steel to be used for construction, the load to be considered in the design layout, and other details on service requirements that should be included in the design.
There are also a few other IS Codes that set the specifications of steel products to be used in construction projects. These are the codes to be kept in mind while designing steel structures:
IS code for structural steel
Application of IS steel code
|IS: 800: 2007
|Guidelines for general construction in steel
|IS: 802 Part 1: 1995
|Guidelines for the application of structural steel in transmission line towers and overhead transmission systems (materials, loads, permissible stress)
|IS: 802 Part 2: 1978
|Code of Practice for the use of structural steel in overhead transmission systems/towers (fabrication, galvanising, inspection and packing)
|IS: 802 Part 3: 1978
|Code of Practice for using structural components in the overhead transmission systems (testing)
|IS: 806: 1968
|Code of Practice for use of steel tubes in general building construction
|IS: 811: 1987
|Cold formed light gauge structural steel sections specifications
|IS: 1161: 1998
|Specifications for steel tube for structural purposes
|IS: 1730: 1989
|Specifications of steel plates, steel sheets, strips and flats for use in structural engineering
|IS: 2314: 1986
|Specifications of steel sheet piling components
|IS: 2062: 1999
|Specifications on steel for general structural purposes
|IS: 2750: 1964
|Requirements for steel scaffoldings
|IS: 3502: 1994
|Specifications for steel chequered plates
|IS: 4000: 1992
|Code of Practice for installing high strength bolts in steel constructions
|IS: 7205: 1974
|Safety code for erection of structural steel work
|IS: 7215: 1974
|Tolerances for fabrication of steel structures
|IS: 8500: 1991
|Weldable structural steel (medium and high strength)
|SP 6 (Part 1): 1964
|Handbook for structural steel sections
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