What is Structural Steel?20 July 2017
Like the building blocks we see children using, structural steel is a building resource that comes together piece by piece. Unlike those juvenile toys, however, these load bearing parts are massive. That unwieldy size factor demands heavy duty lifting gear, so expect a crane or two when the frame is being erected. Besides the need for a crane, though, what exactly is structural steel?
Durable Construction Backbone
Above all else, the material is forged and heat treated to accommodate this function. After all, buildings rise by multiple levels, they’re designed to last for many decades, and their hardened frames even endure when external threats apply mechanical stress. That latter outside force could be something as simple as the swaying action caused by a strong wind when a building rises straight up by forty storeys. Worst case scenarios are also part of the structural steel design field, though, so the structure may be subjected to a seismic shock if it’s located in an earthquake prone region. So if durability is the primary datasheet entry, what other features are there of remark here? Well, structural steel uses a design principle that adopts a systematic physical layout. Beams employ standard structural profiles, plates and frame sections add universally accepted flanges and edges, and preload bolts or welding tools fasten the discrete elements in place.
Regulating Construction Material Usage
The general consensus among construction authority types was to establish a regulating body, a standardisation arbiter whose duty it was to administer this building blocks method school of thought. Remember, there are literally thousands of building pieces and associated materials used in a construction project, especially when that project is erecting some mighty skyscraper. A methodical assembly methodology simplifies the work, even if just a little, and adds prefabricated logic to the construction process. In point of fact, the steel components can even be partially assembled, welded and fastened, back at the workshop. Then they’re transported to the site, where the final erection stage takes place.
In answer to the opening query, structural steel is an entirely durable alloy. It’s imbued with carbon and other strengthening additives, so it’s a hard alloy. That durability feature is controlled by a heat treatment stage so that the metal frame can absorb the swaying effects of a high altitude gale, or it’s further tempered to withstand seismic shocks. Forged from iron, strengthened with carbon, the metal absorbs compression, handles loading effects, and is still ductile enough to assume any standard cross-sectioned profile.
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