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  • SSEF - Fun is in the Details - Steel and Timber.
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The bond between reinforcement and concrete must be ensured to maintain the required flow of forces from concrete to steel and vice-versa. The concrete and steel structural members must be able to interact with each other in a desired way. If the connection between steel and concrete loses its integrity, the integrity of the entire structure comes in jeopardy.

In order to ensure the integrity of connections between steel and concrete, it is required to i investigate their behavior through high quality experiments, ii evaluate their performance with advanced and reliable computational methods, and iii summarize them in practical and reliable design rules and models to be used by engineers and practitioners. Although connections between steel and concrete are used ever since the commencement of reinforced concrete construction, there are several aspects which are yet to be fully understood.

Advancement in technologies lead to development of new products such as post-installed anchors, anchor channels, high strength reinforcing bars etc. New concrete based materials such as high performance concrete, fiber reinforced concrete, geopolymer concrete etc. The interaction between structure and the anchorages or concrete and steel structure connected through anchorages need to be understood. Innovative fastening solutions between steel and concrete components are being developed for which reliable design models are needed.

Furthermore, several general design issues, e. In addition, globally, structures are exposed to natural and man-made hazards more than ever, which induce extreme loads on the structural components, e. The performance of existing structures against such hazards has exposed several inherent weaknesses in the past. Often, the performance of structures under such hazards is significantly influenced by the performance of connections between steel and concrete.

Since the loads induced in the structures by such hazards cannot be reliably estimated and also since under such loads, compatibility requirements between different components result in additional demands on different components, the designs can only be reliably done following a performance based design approach. Similar approaches must also be developed for the design of connections between steel and concrete to ensure a reliable performance from the connections and in turn from the structures against extreme hazards.

Innovative Connections

Steel can undergo large plastic deformation before failure, thus providing large reserve strength. Predictable material properties. Properties of steel can be predicted with a high degree of certainty. Steel in fact shows elastic behavior up to a relatively high and usually well-defined stress level.

Corrosion of Embedded Metals

In contrast to reinforced concrete, steel properties do not change considerably with time. Speed of erection. Steel members are simply installed to the structure, making for a very short construction time. This normally results in quicker economic payoff in areas such as labor costs.


Ease of repair. Steel structures in general can be repaired quickly and easily. Adaptation of prefabrication. Steel is highly suitable for prefabrication and mass production. Repetitive use. Steel can be reused after a structure is disassembled. Expanding existing structures. Steel buildings can be easily expanded by adding new bays or wings.

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Steel bridges may be widened. Fatigue strength. Steel structures have relatively good fatigue strength. Disadvantages General cost. Steel is very energy intensive and naturally more expensive to produce. Steel structures may be more costly to build than other types of structures. The strength of steel is reduced substantially when heated at temperatures commonly observed in building fires.

Steel also conducts and transmits heat from a burning portion of the building quite fast. Consequently, steel frames in buildings must have adequate fireproofing. Steel exposed to the environment can damage the material and even contaminate the structure through corrosion. Steel structures exposed to air and water, such as bridges and towers, are painted regularly.

Application of weathering and corrosion-resistant steels may eliminate this problem. Susceptibility to buckling. As a result, more design considerations are needed to improve the buckling resistance of slender steel compression members. Figure 1. Structural Steelwork Overview Reinforced Concrete Concrete is a mixture of water, cement and aggregates. Reinforced concrete has a high compressive strength compared to other building materials.

Tensile strength. Due to the provided reinforcement, reinforced concrete can also withstand a good amount tensile stress.

Steel vs. Concrete: Which Comes Out on Top

Fire resistance. Concrete has a good ability to protect reinforcing steel bars from fire for extended periods. This buys time for the reinforcing bars until the fire is extinguished. Locally sourced materials. Most materials required to produce concrete are easily sourced locally, which makes concrete a popular and cost-effective choice.

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  6. The reinforced concrete building system is more durable than any other building system. Reinforced concrete, as a fluid material in the beginning, can be economically molded into a nearly limitless range of shapes. Low maintenance. Reinforced concrete is designed to be rugged, using low value materials such as sand and water that do not require extensive maintenance. The concrete is meant to enclose the rebar entirely such that the rebar is undisturbed. This makes the cost of maintenance for reinforced concrete structures very low. In structure like footings, dams, piers etc.

    It acts like a rigid member with minimum deflection. A minimal deflection is good for the serviceability of buildings. Compared to the use of steel in structure, less skilled labor can be used in the construction of reinforced concrete structures. Concrete cannot be stored once it is mixed as the cement reacts with water and the mixture hardens.

    Its main ingredients have to be stored separately.

    Steel frame construction animation

    Curing time. Concrete has a thirty day curing period. This factor affects greatly in the construction schedule of the building. This makes the speed of erection of cast-in-place concrete slower than steel, however, this can be improved greatly with the use of precast concrete. Cost of forms. The cost of the forms used for casting RC is relatively higher.

    Engineering Journal

    Greater cross-section. For a multi-storied building the reinforced concrete column section RCC is larger than steel section as the compressive strength is lower in the case of RCC. Shrinkage causes crack development and strength loss. Figure 2. A typical example of a Reinforced Concrete Timber Wood is an organic, hygroscopic and anisotropic material.