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Types of Steel Structures

By: Haseeb Jamal / On: Aug 31, 2017 / Types of

Classification of Steel Structures

Classification of Steel Structures involves categorizing them based on their structural behavior, design, and application. Here are brief explanations of different types of steel structures:

  1. Tension Members
  2. Compression Members
  3. Truss Systems and Frame Systems
  4. Built-up Members and Structures
  5. Shell Structures
  6. Suspension Structures

Tension Members:

Tension members are structural elements primarily designed to carry tensile forces. These members are subjected to axial forces that act in tension, resulting in elongation along the member's length. Examples of tension members include cables, hangers, and bracing elements that provide stability to structures under tensile loads. Primarily occur as:

  1. Chord Members in trusses
  2. In diagonal bracing in bracing systems
  3. Cable elements in suspension roofs, main cables of suspension bridges, and suspenders.

Steel Tension And Compression Members

Compression Members

Compression members are structural elements designed to withstand compressive forces. These members are subjected to axial forces that act in compression, causing them to shorten or buckle. Common examples of compression members include columns, pillars, and vertical supports in buildings and bridges. Primarily Occur as:

  • Columns in buildings;
  • Chord Members in trusses and diagonal members in end panels of trusses
  • Stability is an important consideration in the design and behavior of compression members
  • The area is generally spread out to maximize the Radius of Gyration

Truss Systems and Frame Systems:

Truss systems and frame systems are structural frameworks composed of interconnected members. Trusses consist of triangular-shaped elements, while frames have rectangular or square-shaped elements. These systems efficiently distribute loads and provide strength and stability to structures. Trusses are often used in roof structures, bridges, and towers, while frames are common in buildings and industrial structures.

Built-up Members and Structures:

Built-up members and structures involve combining multiple steel sections or plates to form larger and stronger members. This technique allows for the creation of customized shapes and sizes to meet specific design requirements. Built-up members are used when standard rolled sections may not be sufficient, and they are commonly employed in large-span structures, industrial buildings, and heavy equipment supports.

Shell Structures:

Shell structures are characterized by curved or curved-like surfaces that form a continuous shell-like shape. These structures derive their strength from their form, with the load being evenly distributed across the surface. Steel shell structures can be seen in dome-shaped buildings, storage tanks, and curved roofs.

Suspension Structures:

Suspension structures are characterized by a series of tension elements that support the weight of the structure, creating a suspended or hanging effect. Steel suspension structures often utilize cables or chains to suspend the main load-bearing members. Suspension bridges are a notable example of this type of structure.


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