Structural steel is one of the most common and ‘go to’ building materials utilized in construction in Ireland, and across the globe as its most flexible. Engineers and builders have used structural steel building massive skyscrapers and expansive bridges that have remained for hundreds of years.
At Conspect engineering we make use of this versatile material for smaller structures yet no matter the size of the building or use it is governed by the same laws of physics and the same types of loads and forces are placed on a smaller designed steel component, just … well smaller and lessor or lower loads. It is why steel is chosen for extensions, attic conversions and open plan house alterations across Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Conspect engineering work with SSI on many projects that require structural steel or sheet metal steel supply, design, fabrication, delivery and erection on site. Complete buildings of steel are framed with structural steel members and clad in sheets of profile steel or other composite materials. Depending on the use SSI (Steel suppliers Ireland) have used steel for steel garages Ireland, insulated steel sheds Ireland, steel sheds from Dublin across to Galway even second hand steel sheds are for sale such as kit farm sheds Ireland – it is highly versatile and adoptable material with a strict regulation and testing criteria behind every section of steel used in buildings.
No matter whom, what or where the steel is fabricated for a few common types and specific shapes known throughout the industry.
I have written this blog post to guide you through the specific shapes of steel and common uses in construction (big & small!)
Angle beams take an L shape, with two legs that come together at a 90-degree angle, the legs can be of equal or unequal leg sizes.
L beams are typically used in floor systems because of the reduced structural depth.
When builders can’t find a structure on a shallow foundation, they use bearing piles to design a deep foundation system. Bearing piles are H-shaped to effectively transfer loads through the pile to the tip. Bearing piles work best in dense soils that offer most resistance at the tip. Individual piles can bear more than 1,000 tons of weight.
These developed their name from the use of Iron as the initial ‘wonder metal’ in construction of all types and the name ‘channel Iron’ was born. Structural C channels, or C beams, have a C-shaped cross section. Channels have top and bottom flanges, with a web connecting them. C-shaped beams are cost-effective solutions for short- to medium-span structures.
Channel beams were origins in bridges, but are popular for use in marine piers and other building applications.
HSS is a metal profile that has a hollow, tubular cross section. HSS units can be square, rectangular, circular, or elliptical. HSS structures are rounded, with radiuses that are about twice the thickness of the wall. Engineers commonly use HSS sections in welded steel frames for which units experience loading in different directions.
An I Beam, also known as an H beam or a universal beam, has two horizontal elements, the flanges, with a vertical element as the web. The web is capable of resisting shear forces, while the horizontal flanges resist most of the beam’s bending movement. The I shape is very effective at carrying shear and bending loads in the web’s plane. The construction industry widely uses I beams in a variety of sizes.
I-beams are commonly made of structural steel but may also be formed from aluminium or other materials. A common type of I-beam is the rolled steel joist (RSJ)—sometimes incorrectly rendered as reinforced steel joist. British and European standards also specify Universal Beams (UBs) and Universal Columns (UCs). These sections have parallel flanges, as opposed to the varying thickness of RSJ flanges which are seldom now rolled in the UK. Parallel flanges are easier to connect to and do away with the need for tapering washers.
I-beams include American Standard (designated S) shapes, in which flange surfaces are not parallel
Generally known as an S beam, the American standard beam has a rolled section with two parallel flanges, all connected by a web. The flanges on S-shaped beams are relatively narrow. The designation of the beam gives the builder information about each unit’s width and weight.
Structural steel pipes are important for a variety of construction applications, lending strength and stability. Pipes are hollow, cylindrical tubes that come in a variety of sizes. Engineers often use steel pipes to meet the needs of water, oil, and gas industry projects.
A tee beam, or T beam, is a load-bearing beam with a T-shaped cross section. The top of this cross section is the flange, with the vertical web below. Tee beams can withstand large loads but lack the bottom flange of the I Beam, giving it a disadvantage in some applications.
Today’s engineers are not limited to using only the most common shapes. Custom metal fabrication opens the doors to a variety of special structural steel shapes for any type of project. Using specialist equipment, from an engineers CAD design screen water jets, laser cutting and a host of state of the art metal fabrication methods can bring your steel component or building design to life.
As an example of the variety of production method types in steel of all shapes and sizes, here are the different types for angle bars in stainless steel and carbon steel. The production methods utilized for the fabrication of steel in all the shapes detailed above would be a tad long winded and the methods of angle steel production give a clean introduction to steel suppliers production and fabrication methods.
Hot rolling of stainless steel angles is the least costly production method.
This however is also the least precise method of angle bars or L beams due to the round angles and an internal radius, which can be up to the double amount of the material thickness.
Cold rolling of angle bars in stainless steel provides a bright and shiney surface with a tight tolerance. Often used in furniture construction and other aesthetic applications they polish up easily due to the smooth surface left at production stage.
Cold drawing of angle bars in stainless steel is another production method, which allows very precise sections. Often used in machinery construction applications due to the high level of preciscion and tolerances required
production of the L-profiles is formed by welding together two stainless steel flat bars. The result is sharp edged angle steel with inside welding seam at a maximum of two millimetres again providing the tight tolerances.
Cold forming and press braking are two other similar technologies to produce angle bars. Both production methods have in common, that they generate a bend radius on the inside and outside.
Press braking on the other hand is to produce single bars only. A particular mould and arbor press forms a flat bar positioned in a trimming press to a stainless steel angle.
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