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What is Structural Steel? Classification and Application of Steel in Practice

Expert opinion - 30/08/2022

Structural steel is increasingly used in prefabricated steel frame buildings and constructed in the traditional way by outstanding advantages such as: diverse shapes and sizes to meet many requirements of use, easy to fabricate, abundant product sources in the market. Join Pebsteel to learn and classify steel shapes, pros and cons and practical applications of this construction material type.

Structural steel is widely applied in construction works

1. What is structural steel?

Structural steel is a type of construction material created in a certain shape or structure. Examples include square box steel, pipe steel, U-shaped steel, twisted steel,…

Structural steel is designed with the shape and size according to the specifications that are suitable for different projects. Some methods of fabricating this type of material are: hot rolling, cold rolling, complex welding, bending,…

2. Application of structural steel in practice

Structural steel is very commonly used in industrial constructions. Here are some typical applications in practice:

Applications of steel buildings in practice

Be a framework for commercial constructions

Commercial construction project in the Philippines (Source: Pebsteel)

Be factory framework for workshops, manufacturing factories

The gloves factory with structural steel frame (Source: Pebsteel)

Be a framework for civil steel frame buildings

Prefabricated steel frame house (Source: Internet)

Used to make road bridges

Glass-roofed for structural steel roof (Source: Internet)

Used to make C and Z purlins when constructing corrugated steel roof

C-shaped structural steel as a purlin when constructing corrugated steel roof (Source: Pebsteel)
Z-shaped structural steel as a purlin when constructing corrugated steel roof (Source: Pebsteel)

In addition, structural steel is also used to make transceiver columns, antenna columns, railways, storage tanks,…

3. Pros and cons of structural steel

Like other types of construction materials, structural steel also has its own advantages and disadvantages:

Shaped steel+ It is easy to find and purchase on the market, there is no need to wait for fabrication at the factory.+ Diverse design, meeting many needs such as making purlins, columns, trusses,…+ Diverse prices.+ Because it has been pre-manufactured with a fixed size (e.g. fixed steel pipe diameter, fixed steel rod length, fixed bending corners,….) so when buying, it is necessary to add some new modifications that can be used (e.g. short cutting, welding to increase the length, grafting many steel boxes together for the desired width,  or paired with other components,…). This will causes a lot of inconvenience and technical problems if the mechanical workmanship is poor (such as welding – sloppy cutting, miscalculation of engineering).+ The quality is difficult to control: due to the diverse source of goods from many different manufacturers and the price is also diverse, the quality will not be guaranteed.+ Large tolerances are also a disadvantage for hot rolled structural steel because it means large technical errors, it can be cracked, curved or broken while used. This will require the buyer to choose a reputable company.+ Time-consuming auxiliary processing: specifically, corrosion-resistant paint time (except for stainless steel), decorative paint. Some places offer structural steel that is coated with a sketchy anti-corrosion coating (usually a hot dip galvanized layer), which requires a full repaint so it will not rust.+ Wasteful: because it has been mass-produced with a fixed size, it is inevitable that the user has to cut out the excess steel segments causing waste.+ Not usable for large, complex constructions: structural steel is pre-manufactured and widely supplied in the market and restricted to certain sizes. In cases where the construction requires a structure to be extremely large in scale (e.g. steel beams weighing 20 tons), the source of the available component is completely impossible to find.
Prefabricated Structural Steel+ Can create any shape, size and quantity that suits the needs, the most common are the H-shaped and I-shaped steel.+ Uniform and well controlled quality, extremely small tolerances, so the bearing capacity is large and high safety.+ Material savings: due to being produced according to each construction drawing, the calculation of fabricating components from large steel ingots will eliminate the waste compared to the pre-manufactured structural steel.+ Anti-corrosion paint right at the factory with large machinery, saving time and quality better than manual paint.+ It is impossible to completely replace hot rolled and cold rolled structural steel in some specific shapes such as round pipes, box blocks, striped bars, solid steel bars,…+ Waste of fabricating time.

4. Classification of structural steel in practice

Classification of steel in practice (Source: Internet)

In fact, there are many types of structural steel that are commonly used as follows: 

  • Right angle steel: Shaped like an “L”. Pre-produced in many different sizes. This type is often used as a corner section in works such as construction, industry, commerce, transportation or mining.  
  • Tubular hollow cross form: tubular hollow cross sections are highly resistant to twisting, used mainly in multi-axis constructions.
  • Flat form: often referred to as plates, used to attach to parts of the construction to enhance bearing strength. 
  • U-shaped form: there are two sides parallel to the right angles that resemble the shape of the letter “U”. This type has relatively high durability.
  • C-shaped form: has a cross section resembling the letter “C”, this form is used to make purlins below the roof with a supporting effect.
  • Z-shaped form: there is a cross section resembling the letter “Z”, similar to the form of “C”, this form is also mainly used to make purlins. 
  • Rectangular hollow cross section: The rectangular hollow cross section is similar to the circular hollow cross section. This type is often used in many mechanical and construction steel industries.
  • Square hollow cross section: Since this form is difficult to combine with other forms, the square hollow cross section is used only as a column or pillar of the building.
  • Taper-shaped beams and columns: popular in industrial prefabricated steel buildings.

The above article has provided customers with the necessary information about structural steel. If you have any questions related to the article, please contact at the following email: marketing@pebsteel.com.vn or phone number +84 908 883531 for the fastest assistance.

Pebsteel is a global enterprise specializing in providing solutions for prefabricated steel buildings and steel structures. During its operation, the company has carried out more than 6000 different projects in many countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Laos,… Therefore, Pebsteel is always committed to providing customers with a comprehensive, professional service throughout the project and always maintaining support for customers.  Some common types of services in Pebsteel that customers can refer to are the construction of prefabricated buildings with high standard contract systems, providing corrugated steel roof system and high-end construction accessories.

If you want to receive a quote please contact +84 908 883531 for free advice.


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