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Proc. Instn. Ciu.

Engrs, Part 1,1991, W,June, 521-536


PAPER 9513 STRUCTURAL
BUILDING
AND BOARD

Castellated beams

P. R. KNOWLES, MA, MPhil, MICE, FIHT*

The process of castellation was patented in 1939. Applied mainly to rolled sections for use as
beams, it has been for many years a significant feature in steel construction. The Paper
describes the steps leading up to the invention and the early attempts to devise methods of
calculating the load carrying capacity and deflexion of castellated beams. Both elastic and
plastic methods of analysis are examined, the basis and use of interactive design charts is
explained, and the requirements of BS 5950 are outlined.

Notation
notional web area for shear deflexion calculation
area of tee.
beam flange width
depth of castellated section
serial depth of original section
shear modulus
notional second moment of area for deflexion calculation
second moment of area through anopening
constant related to tee
constant related to tee
bending moment on tee
maximum permitted bending moment
plastic moment of tee
positive bending moment ontee
negative bending moment on tee
axial force on tee
squash load of tee
shear force on tee
maximum permitted shear
shear failure load of tee
shear force on upper tee
shear force on lower tee
elastic section modulus of beam at opening
length of horizontal cut forming castellation
castellation dimension
castellation dimension
depth of web between fillets
sum of stressesf, andf,
stress in tee from bending moment onbeam

Written discussion closes 15 August 1991 ;for further details see p. ii.
*Principal, Peter KnowlesDelivered
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f, stress in tee from shear forceonbeam
h distance betweencentroids of tees
p spacing of openings
py material design strength
t web thickness
9 angle of sloping side of castellation to horizontal

Castellated beams
Innovations in civil and structural engineering are not common; the invention of
the castellated beam was the result of a rare flash of inspiration which occurred to
a designer faced with an apparently insoluble problem.
2. Fifty years ago, on 4 January 1939, British Patent number 498281 was
granted to Geoffrey Murray Boyd, at that time living at 11 Burwood Avenue,
Hayes, Kent, for a specification related to improvements in built-up structural
members ‘of the kind comprising two parts with pairs of projections extending
towards one another and welded along a line of sinuous or toothed nature’. The
rather involved phraseology of the specification refers, in fact, to what isnow
known as a castellated steel section, although at the time of the patent application
it was called the Boyd beam.’
3. The basis of the beam’s method of construction, described by a writer in
The Shipbuilder’ as ‘both simple and ingenious’, had occurred to Boyd in 1935
when he was working in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as a structural engineer for the
British Structural Steel Company,the South American subsidiary of Dorman
Long. He was faced with the problem of designing a beam for a monorail hoist.
The maximum beam flange width was, of necessity, restricted by the width of the
hoist opening, but the choice of rolled beams in stock was such that the only ones
available within the restricted flange width were insuficiently stiff for the required
span. Boydwas musing on the possibility of strengthening a beam by welding
another below it-a rathercrude solution-when he thought of cuttingand
welding the beam web in such a way as toincrease its depth and, consequently, its
stiffness. An experiment with a cardboard model quickly showed the feasibility of
the idea, and thus the Boyd beam was invented. Much development work was,
understandably, still required.
4. The patent specification is concerned not only with a simple castellation of
rolled beams but also with techniques of tapering, of forming Z-shaped sections
from channels and of forming cruciform and star-shaped sections for use as
columns. Applications are claimed for ships, aircraft and vehicles as well as for
buildings. In the specification, the use of flame cutting and welding is stressed.
Various geometries of castellation opening are discussed, based on the angle of the
sloping sides and the length of the horizontal portion. It was, however, the Boyd
beam type C which went into general use and whose geometry has become the
standard for castellated beams in theUnited Kingdom (Fig. 1). The depth of cut c
is half the serial depth D , of the original section. Therefore, the depth of the
castellated beam D , = D + O.5Ds z 1.5DS, where D is the actual depth of the
original section.
5. For various reasons, one of which was the 1939-1945 World War and
another Boyd’s position as a Civil Servant, he was unable to exploit his invention
commercially. Boyd therefore assigned his patent rights to the Appleby Froding-
ham branch of the United Steel Companies Limited, which marketed steelwork
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CASTELLATED BEAMS
1

P , b L a , b L a
t 1 1 1 l t /Web

D [ [ : C @

+
(b)

Fig. 1 . ( a ) Universal beam cut along web; (b) two halves welded together to form
castellated beam

fabricated in accordance with the Boyd principles as Appleby Frodingham Castel-


lated Construction. Regrettably, the inventor’s name was superseded by a more
cumbersome but nevertheless descriptive word meaning ‘castle-like or battle-
mented’, a clear reference to thetoothed appearance of the flame-cut section before
welding. The extended patent expired many years ago, allowing castellated sec-
tions to be produced freely by any steelwork fabricator. Thefact remains, however,
that, with the exception of the Lirska beam in which the depth of the original
section is further increased by a plate welded between the castellated teeth (Fig. 2),
no significant improvement has been made to Boyd’s original concept.

L l
Fig. 2. Extended (Litska) castellated
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Design considerations
6. Designers have long laboured under the difficulty of not having a generally
accepted design method for castellated beams. The inventor did producesafe load
charts (Fig. 3), whichwere based on what was then considered theprudent

BOYD BEAMS
Shear: Max. reaction = 1/1.52 of max. safe reaction with uniformly distributed loads
on original beam at 5 t /in2 on web
Bending: Max. extreme fibre stress 8 t /In2
Deflexion: Not exceeding L1325. € = 12000 t /m2
Type 'c' openings
Lateral support assumed adequate

Span: ft
10 X 4% BB 15 X 4 % (6 25 Ibs
Means. Boyd Beam 15 X 4% 25Ibs
made from BSB 10 X 4'12 (ir 25 Ibs

Copyright by G. M. Boyd.

Fig. 3. Safe load chartfor Boyd beam


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CASTELLATED BEAMS

Fig.4. Panel deformation in shear

assumption that the beam properties to be used in calculation should be those


minimum values obtained for the portions above and below the opening in the
web; in effect, two tee sections. Subsequent testing has shown that this apparently
safe procedure is not correct;stresses and, in particular, deflexions can be seriously
underestimated. The reason lies in the flexibility of the region at each opening,
which, deforming in shear (Fig. 4), produces stresses and deflexions whichaugment
those producedby simple beam action.

Elastic stress distribution


7. Elastic analysis of a beam with openings in the web has been carried out by
a number of methods which include finite difference3 and finite element4 tech-
niques. However, a simple analogy in which the castellated beam is considered to
be a Vierendeel girder with points of contraflexure at the mid-line of the openings
and at mid-height of the web posts (Fig. 5), and with the shear force at the
centre-line of the opening divided equally between top and bottom tees,is an
attractive substitute structure whichis statically determinate. The stress at the
tee-to-post junction can thenbe calculated.
8. Experimental verification of the validity of the Vierendeel analysis has been
reported from many sources. A detailed summary is given in Kerdal and Nether-
cot,’ but it must be pointed out that many of these tests have the weakness that
they have been carried out on sections whose castellation profiles are significantly
different from those of current UK standard type. Early tests in the UK were on
British Standard beams, which became obsolete many years ago, and most of the
tests were on beams of small size. It may be concluded that further tests on
castellated universal beams of intermediate or larger size could usefully be carried
out.
9. At each hole, bending and shear are transmitted by the top and bottom tees.
On the assumptions of Vierendeel action, the longitudinalstress at the junction of
tee and post (A-A in Fig. 6 ) consists of two components: the component due to
bending f, ; the component due to shear f,. The total longitudinal stress f =f,
+f,.If the tee properties are area A , and elastic section modulus Z,, then for
applied bending moment M and shear force V
f, = M / A , h = K , M
%,/2Z, = K, V
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KNOWLES
where
K, = 1/A,h
K , = a/2Z,
In calculations, the smallerof the two values of Z , is used. The section constants
K , and K , have been tabulated.'j
10. On examination, K , will be seen to be approximately equal to the recipro-
Z at an opening
cal of the castellated beam elastic modulus
I = 2[A, x(h/2)'] = A , h2/2
(neglecting the small valueof I for each tee about its own centroidal axis).

I
(C)

Fig. 5. Vierendeel analogy: ( a ) castellated beam; ( b ) equivalent Vierendeel girder;


(c)location of points of contraflexure
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C A S T E L L A T E DB E A M S

(4 (b) (C)

bending f, ;
Fig. 6. Stresses at junction of tee and post (A-A): ( a )direct stress due to
(b)bending stress due toshear fv (c) combined stressf
Therefore, the Vierendeel analysis gives a flange stress larger than that found by
using the minimum elastic section modulus.
11. If maximum elastic stress be the design criterion then it will be necessary,
in design, to check the sum of stresses at each cross-section A-A (Fig. 6) along the
length of the castellated beam, unless the point of maximum stress is immediately
apparent. Properties K , and K , are not known until a beam has been selected;
direct design is not possible, and a trial and error process is needed. Some assist-
ance can be gained from published material: load tables have been calculated for
uniformly distributed and central point loads on a range of spans for all the
universal beams.6 For certain load cases, use can be made of the results in figure 6
of reference 6.
12. For other load cases, interaction curves are available which are based on
the linear interaction between shear force and bending. In the absence of bending
moment, the shearforce which can be carried by the beam, in terms of the bending
stress generated by the shear force, is limited by the material strength p y . The
maximum shear force V is then given by
v0 = P&
Similarly, in the absence of shear force, the maximum bending moment
MO = P y K l
13. For any general combination of bending moment M and shear force V, the
resulting sum of bending stresses must not exceed the material design strength py

Interaction curves (Fig. 7) have been plotted for all castellated universal beams,
with X and y axes (l/K2) and (l/K,) respectively. A cornbination(M/p,) and (VIP,)
which lies on, or nearer to the origin than, the interaction line for a particular
beam is a combination which produces a maximum stress not greater than the
allowable stress for that beam material. It will, of course, be necessary to examine
combinations of bending moment and shear to determine the worst case. The
interaction curves can also be used to check the stress in an existing beam.
14. The shear stress caused by the shear force in the tee webs will also interact
with the stress in combined bending,
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Section
(458 X 127 X 48)
(ex 305 X 127 X 48 UB)

(381 X 146 X 43)


(ex 254 X 146 X 43 UB)
(458 X 102 X 33)
(ex 305 X 102 X 33 UB)
(381 X 102 X 28)
(ex 254 X 102 X 28 UB)

0 2 4 6 8
liK, Viallowable stress mm2 X 10'

Fig. 7. Interaction chart for elastic design


resulting equivalentstress if design is on an elastic basis. It will generally befound,
however, that this combination is not critical.
Deflexion
15. Thecalculation of deflexionwas, ashasalready been explained,based
initially on considering a castellated beam as a conventional beam having an
unperforated web with a second moment of area equal to the minimum valuefor
the castellated beam. This simplification, however, leadsto anunderestimate of the
real deflexion by a significant amount. An early improvement,which resulted from
a series of tests carried outby United Steel,7 was to apply a correction factor
to the
deflexion calculated using the minimum second momentof area, based ontests on
small beams loaded at the quarter points. The calculated elastic deflexion was
multiplied by a factor
c = 1 + (2OImi,/L2)
where Iminis the second momentof area through an opening
(in4)and L is the span
(in). Converting to metric
C=1 + (0~031011,iJZ?)
B and depthD , of
Later tests produced a revised formula, incorporating the width
the beam. Inits metricated version,this becomes
C = 0.94 + 0.03l5(BDc/L)
(all dimensions in mm).
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CASTELLATED BEAMS
16. The obvious drawback is that these formulae are derived from a very small
number of tests on relatively small beams of a now obsolete pattern, none of which
exceeded 375 mm in depth. Nevertheless, as suggested in the 1958 United Steel
report,* data for a range of sizes and spans ‘could readily be obtained from beams
in production in the workshops. These could be set up on improvised supports on
theshop floor, loaded by dead weights and the deflection measured by dial
gauges’. The conclusion from the tests was that shear deflexion will be greatest on
heavily loaded short-span beams, where the increase in deflexion may be as much
as 40%. This is, in fact, less serious than the effect on longer spans, for which the
increase, although perhaps only 10%, will be added to an absolute value which is
already large.
17. The increased deflexion of a castellated beam is the consequence of its low
resistance to shearing deformation (Fig. 4). Calculation of the deflexion caused by
shear can be made for each panel of the beam, assuming Vierendeel type action,
and the results summed to provide the total shear deflexion. Analysis of the shear
deflexion of an individual panel of a castellated beam is contained in reference 6,
Appendix 2. The total shear deflexion of the beam can then be found by summa-
tion of each panel deflexion; a tedious task for hand calculation if the beam has
more than a small number of openings. However, a good approximation can be
made by considering an analogous beam with a continuous solid web and thus
constant section values Ifictand Afis,. The first of these is used the normal way to
find the bending deflexion
y, =K w L ~ J E I ~ ~ ~ ~
where K is the relevant elastic factor for the type of loading, and Ificlmay conve-
niently be taken as the minimum second moment of area lmin. The shear deflexion
is calculated using the relationship

where A is the total shear deflexion between panels 1 and n ; n is the panel number;
v is the panel shear in panel i ; G is the shear modulus; and p is the spacing of
openings. Now

is the bending moment at panel n. Therefore, the total shear deflexion at a panel in
a simply supported castellated beam, with panel 1 adjacent to a support, is equal to
the bending moment at that panel divided by CAfic1.The physical property Afictis
analogous to the web area of a conventional beam; its derivation is set out in
reference 6. The value of Afic1has been tabulated for each castellated section.6

Webs
18. The capacity of the web will be limited by failure in
(a) shear yield in the web
( b ) shear yield at the weld
(c) buckling
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lnflll

/
k’45”

T
Fig. 8. Infill plate at a point of concentrated load or reaction (Note: It is normal
practice to$ll hole completely)

Shear yield
19. Some qualitative appreciation of the effects of shear force can be gained by
considering average stresses in weband weld
(a) at a web post
gross web area = tD, = 1.5D, t
average shear stress = V/1.5DSt = 0.67V/Ds t
(b) at a hole
gross web area = t X 0.5D,
average shear stress = V/O,5D, t = 2.0V/D,t
(c) at a weld
area of weld = 2at = 0.250, t
shear force = Vp/h = V(1.08DJ.40,) = 0.77V
average shear stress = 0.77V/0.25DSt = 3.0V/Ds t
Comparing these values, it appears that failure in shear yield will occur at a weld.
In fact, the effect of welding is to increase the strength of the material in the weld
area so that the joint is lesslikely to be a critical factor.’

Buckling
20. Because the web of a castellated beam consists of a series of relatively
isolated posts separated by the openings, there is a general possibility of a post
buckling in a lateral torsion mode. This mode has been investigated by Aglan and
Redwood”but they observe that, for beams of standard British castellation
profile, yield of the web at theweld should occur before a lateral torsional buckle
forms. At points where there is concentrated load or reaction, the web may fail by
conventional interactive buckling, a condition which may be checked using the
same assumptions as those for solid web beams, namely
(a) that the web acts as a column of slenderness 2.5d/t for which the compres-
sive strength can be obtained from the appropriate column curve
(b) that the compressive capacity of the web post is the compressive strength
multiplied by the minimum cross-sectional area of the post at theweld.
Tests have shown that Delivered
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C A S T E L L A T E DB E A M S
21. It is important to appreciate that shear force is assumed to be transmitted
across the opening in a castellated beam by equal division between top and
bottom tees.At the end of a beam, therefore, halfof the shear force passing
through the lower tee does not exert a compressive buckling load on the end post,
and so the end post can resist an external reaction equal to twice its compressive
capacity. If the web capacity is inadequate for the applied load or reaction infill,
plates may be weldedinto the appropriate openings in order to increase the loaded
area at the beam centre-line, a conventional 45 degree spread of load being
assumed (Fig. 8).

Bearing
22. The dispersion of concentrated loads or reactions is assumed to be com-
plete at the nearer root radius, and so the web bearing strength of a castellated
beam is identical to thatof its parent section.

Plastic design
23. Plastic design of castellated beams may be interpreted in two ways
(a) with the castellated beam as part of a continuous structure
(b) with the beam simply supported, collapsing by the formation of either a
parallelogram mechanism or by plastic extension and contraction of the
bottom and topchords respectively.
24. The first condition cannot be safely recommended to designers because of
the imponderable nature of the beam’s reaction to rotation, which may be accom-
panied by premature web-post buckling in a torsional mode. However, plastic
design of a simple beam, showing collapse at only one hinge position, is possible.”
Nevertheless, it will still be necessary to ensure that web and flanges remain stable
up tothe formation of the plastic hinge. The two basic modes of plastic collapse of
a castellated beam are
(a) plastic extension and compression of the lower and upper tees respectively
in a region of high bending moment
(b) parallelogram action of plastic hinge at the corners of an opening in a
region of high shear force (Fig. 9).
The location of both the opening which is critical (at which the collapse mecha-
nism forms) and the corresponding load factor is complicated by the need to
consider the response of an unsymmetrical tee section to three stress resultants:
axial force N caused by the applied external bending moment; bending moment
M ; shear force V caused by the applied external shear force.13 For each of these
stress resultants actingalone, a tee has limiting values

and, adopting theVon Mises yieldcriterion

V, = (web
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Yield in tension /

Fig. 9. Plastic collapse: (a) in region of high bending moment; ( b ) in region of high
shear force

25. For a tee under combined factored stress resultants M , N and V , failure
surfaces can be derived which give the set of ratios NIN,, M / M p and V J V , at
which failure occurs. A two-dimensional interaction diagram illustrating this is
shown in Fig. 10. The significant aspect of the diagram is that for fixed values of
the ratios N I N , and VlV, , the value of the associated ratio M / M p is dependent on
the sign of M . The line A-A in Fig. 10 illustrates this point: for a given magnitude
and sign of N and V , the positive value of M I M , is not equal to thecorresponding
value of the negative ratio of M I M , . The interaction relationship shows the com-
putational difficulty of locating the critical point in a beam, where the load factor
is smallest. If it is assumed that shear stress is not a significant interactive com-
ponent, thesurface can be reduced to the single curve for V/V, = 0.
26. With this simplified relationship, consideration can be given to a typical
bay in which collapse has occurred at the root of the four tees surrounding a hole.
Noting that for a given compressive axial force, the moment capacity of a tee is
greater for positive (compression in the tee flange) than negative bending implies
that thepoint of inflexion is not central (Fig.11).
M+ = V,X
M- = V,y
M+ +M- = V,(X + y ) = V,(a)
and similarly for the lower pair of tees
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BEAMS

-1.2' ' I I 1 I
-0.8 -0.4 0 0.4 I 0.8
A

Fig. 10. Interaction diagram for


bending, shear and axial force on tee

The totalshear across the opening


V=V,+r/;
Therefore
2(M+ + M - ) = Va
In the limiting case of zero bending moment acting at the openingunder consider-
ation, thereby producing a parallelogram failure, there is no axial force N in the

Fig. 11. Forces in tee atDelivered


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tees, the pointof contraflexure is on the openingcentre-line, and
M+ =M_ =Mp
The maximum shear force for this condition,V,,, , can be found from
M+ + M _ = 2Mp = V,,,a/2
The interaction curve for the individual tees of a castellated beam can be trans-
formed into a curve for the combined tees, forming the beam by a transformation
based on
S
-- M++M-
-
SF,,, 2Mp
M N
-
BM,,, N p

where M is the applied bending moment; S is the applied shear force; BM,,, and
SF,,, are the maximum values of bending moment or shear force acting alone
which the beam can resist.
27. Interaction charts have been prepared for the range of castellated beams6
Their use permits atrial section to be readily checked to determine its adequacy to
carry a given factored loading. For concentrated loads, afew trials are necessary to
find the critical combination of shear force and bending moment, although the
locations which require checking are usually obvious. The common case of uni-
formly distributed loading can be simplified by comparing a typical beam strength
curve with the general uniformly distributed loading curve as shown in Fig. 12.
From this it can be seen that a section adequate in shear is inadequate in bending

Applied uniformly
distributed load
MIml,, = [l - (S~S,,,)I2

1 .o
Strength ratio MIBM,,, or moment ratio MIM,,,

Fig. 12. Beam strengthDelivered


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C A S T E L L A T E DB E A M S
Table I . Castellated beams withcompact tee stalks
Grade 43 I Grade 50
Original Castellated Castellated
305 X 127 X 48 305 X 133 X 30
254 X 146 X 43 381 X 146 X 43
203 X 133 X 30 305 X 133 X 30
203 X 133 X 25 305 X 133 X 25

by a small amount (about 5%). Therefore, a trial section can be selected from the
table of ultimate bending and shear force capacities that have a bending moment
capacity alittle larger than the maximum applied bending moment on the beam.

Design to BS 5950
28. The application of BS 595014 to castellated beams requires a consideration
of width to thickness ratios so that the section can be correctly
classified for local
buckling (clause4.15.5.3).Compression flange outstands are unchangedby castel-
lation, andtherefore fall into thesame class astheparent section. The only
castellated beams with semi-compact flanges are in grade 50 steel: 381 X 146 X 31
(ex 254 X 146 X 31 UB) and 305 X 133 X 25 (ex 203 X 133 X 25 UB). The
remainder areplastic or compact.
29. However, the expansion of universal beams has an important effect on the
web depth to thickness ratio in two respects.
( a ) Between openings, the web slenderness d/t is increased by a factor of
about 1.5.
(b) At an opening, the beam consists of two tee sections, the webs (stalks) of
which are unsupported attheir lower edges.
All web posts are at least semi-compact, but many have d/t > 63(275/fy)''2 (BS
5950, clause 3.6.2) and therefore will have to be checked for shear buckling. The
classification of the tee chord downstand is not clear: should it be treated as a tee
stalk or as partof a web?On the former assumption, calculation of the slenderness
( A / t )ratio of the stalk shows that only afew sections are compact(see Table 1); the
remainder are semi-compact.
30. From these considerations it is clear that true plastic design of castellated
beams is possible onlyfor a very small number of sections; the remainder mustbe
designedon an elastic basis, assemi-compact sections, usingthe net section
properties with due allowance for secondary Vierendeel effects of shear at the
openings and for the local effects of point loads, if any, at any point in the beam
(clause 4.15.3.2).

Conclusion
31. Fifty years after their invention, castellated beams continueto meet a need
for an efficient element to provide for moderately loaded longer spans, as they
have useful apertures for the passageof services and an attractive appearance. The
design of the beams for simply supported structures by elastic methods is well-
documented. Some restriction
Deliveredonby their use in continuous
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giventheproblems of slendernesswhichlead t o restrictedrotationcapacity.
Experimental work to determine the limitsof their use is to be encouraged.

References
1 . PATENT Improvements in built-up structural members. HMSO, 1939, Jan.
SPECIFICATION.
4, Patent Specification 498,281.
2. A new method of girder construction. Shipbldr Mar. Eng. Bldr, 1949, Oct., 682-683.
3. MANDEL A. J. et al. Stress distribution in castellated beams. J . Struct. Diu. Am. Soc. Ciu.
Engrs, 1971,97(7),1947-1967.
4. SRIMANI S. L. and DAS.Finite element analysis of castellated beams. Computers Structs,
1978,9, Aug., 169-174.
5. KERDAL D. and NETHERCOT D. A. Failure modes for castellated beams. J . Constr. Steel
Res. 1984,4259-315.
6. KNOWLES P. R. Design of castellated beams. CONSTRADO, Croydsn, 1985 (for use with
BS 5950 and BS 449).
7. UNITEDSTEEL COMPANIES. Properties and strengths of castella beams. Defection charac-
teristics. United Steel Companies, Rotherham, 1960, Aug., Report D.TS.6/262/2.
8. UNITEDSTEELCOMPANIES. Properties and strengths of castella beams. Furthertests.
Research and Development Department, Swinden Laboratories, 1958, July, Report
D.GE. 71/262/1.
9. HOSAINM. U. and SPIERSW. G. Failure of castelated [sic] beams due to rupture of
welded joints. Acier, Stahl, Steel, 1971,36 (l), Jan., 34-40.
10. AGLAN A. A. and REDWOOD R. G. Web buckling in castellated beams. Proc. Instn Ciu.
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