Instruction in structural design has always been considered an essential part of the training of a student engineer, though the difficulties of teaching the subject effectively have not always been completely appreciated.
An ideal course should combine theoretical instruction and practical application; limitations of time, space and money generally restrict the latter aspect to calculation and drawing with perhaps the construction and testing of models.
But much can be done with pencil and paper to inculcate a sound approach to the design of structures, provided the student is made aware of the fundamentals of design method and the specific problems associated with the various structural materials.
The aim of this publication is to present the essential design aspects of one structural material—steel. The book is of an entirely introductory nature, demanding no prior knowledge of the subject, but readers are assumed to have followed (or be following) courses in structural analysis and mechanics of materials in sufficient depth to give them a confident grasp of elementary structural and stress analysis techniques.
Although it has been written primarily with undergraduates in mind the book will be of use to young graduates who may be coming across the subject for the first time. For this reason the example calculations conform as far as possible to practical requirements.
The first chapter commences with a brief review of the historical development of the science of iron and steel making and the use of these two materials in structures, followed by a discussion of the important properties of structural steel, and the types of steel products available for structural use.
Design philosophy and stability, outlined in Chapter 2, are followed by a detailed chapter on that most important structural element, the beam. After consideration of local and overall instability the chapter goes on to describe the design of a number of different beam types; rolled sections, compound beams, welded plate girders, gantry girders and composite beams.
Chapter 4 is devoted to elements loaded in tension or compression, with or without bending, considering rolled and built-up members, concrete encasement and concrete filling, and the special problems of angle members.
Connections are the subject of Chapter 5. Detailed treatment of the fundamentals of connection design is given, with emphasis on high strength friction grip bolting and welding. Finally Chapter 6 introduces some very simple assemblies of elements.
Mere manipulation of code of practice clauses is a poor preparation for a student; he must be aware of the theoretical background to present and future design practice. Yet codified information needs to be used if comparisons are to be made and some discipline imposed on examples and exercises.
In this case the current version of British Standard 5950 has been used as a basis for calculations. Extracts from BS5950: Part 1:1985 are reproduced by permission of the BritishStandardsInstitution. Complete copies can be obtained from BSI at Linford Wood, Milton Keynes, MK14 6LE.
Design is an open-ended subject in which there are no unique solutions. Students often have difficulty in accepting this fact, accustomed as they are to finding the unique correct solution to an analytical problem.
They must try to cultivate an attitude of mind which will help them to criticise their solution to design problems from economic and aesthetic points of view in so far as this is possible in a student environment. Finally, an intelligent interest in the world of engineering is essential.
Visits to structures under construction, fabricating shops and steelworks are to be encouraged. At the very least students should read architectural and engineering journals to keep abreast of developments in steel construction.
It must always be borne in mind that a textbook such as this one must of necessity always lag behind the most modern practice even though the fundamental ideas which it contains will still be valid. My particular thanks go to Norman Wootton, BSc, MICE, for his help in checking the example calculations.