Steel was once very expensive and only used for limited purposes. It became more popular and wider used with the introduction of Bessemer Process, which you can read about in this post . Steel is now widely used across various industries and plays a crucial role in construction. Keep on reading to see 5 applications of steel in civil engineering.
The first building constructed with a steel frame in the UK was the Royal Insurance Building in Liverpool. It was designed by James Francis Doyle and built between 1896 and 1903. Incorporation of steel frames made construction of skyscrapers possible. Here, vertical columns and horizontal I-beams form a grid. This supports other elements of the building that are attached to the grid. It is used to better withstand stress of the structure. Bolts and fasteners are used to connect beams to columns. I-beams in the centre are usually wider and so more resistant to bending moments. Wide sheet of steel is used to cover the top of the frame. As for the floor surface, precast concrete is a popular option. Due to steel softening with high temperatures, fire resistant elements are usually incorporated. Various materials and techniques are used for the outer part of the structure as well.
Windposts are used in exterior masonry walls. They protect walls from heavy wind forces and are usually installed within the cavity wall and fixed by special fastenings. Their regular and required spacing intervals are calculated by an engineer.
Metal roofs can be fabricated from galvanised steel or a mixture of zinc, aluminium and silicon-coated steel. Stainless steel, lead and copper can also used. The main advantage of such roofs is their durability. Metal usually gets epoxy- or ceramic-coated in order to prevent the roof from rust and damage caused by water.
Concrete strength can be improved by the use of steel bars, which are embedded before concrete sets. This technology is crucial for modern buildings. Such rebars, are usually made from twisted strands with anchoring ridges. Reinforced concrete can still be destroyed due to mechanical input or chemical reactions, such as corrosion caused by chloride. First reinforcement was applied by a French industrialist, François Coignet, who used iron embedded in concrete. It was not as much to improve the strength but to prevent walls overturnings. Tensile stresses were known to an English builder, William B. Wikinson, who used reinforced concrete in a two-storey construction. Reinforced concrete was first commercialised by G.A. Wayss, a German engineer. Among the first skyscrapers built using this technology was Ingalls Building in Cincinnatti. This 16-storey construction was completed in 1904.
Fixings and fasteners
Fixings and fasteners are often made from stainless steel. They are widely used in automotive, aerospace and other manufacturing industries. They are crucial for stability and safety of construction and civil engineering in general. There are many different types of fixings and fasteners for specific types of constructions.