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Multi-Purpose Castellated Timber H-Beam

, Ramesh Kannan.M

PG Student, Structural Engineering;
Assistant Professor, Structural Engineering
1, 2
School of Mechanical and Building Sciences (SMBS),
VIT University, Chennai Campus, Chennai - 600127, Tamil Nadu, India.

AbstractIn this paper, we introduce an innovative type of
product in the family of castellated timber beams in which
the height of the beam can be increased by just replacing
the lower half of the beam with the desired type of beam
and with the desired height. The prefabricated castellated
timber beams are of various standard sizes available in the
market such as H16, H20, H30, H36 according to their
height. But accurate quantity and size of timber beams are
required since the sizes and types are not interchangeable.
Thus it demands a research in castellated timber beams
(H-Beams) with interchangeable heights so that the
constraint of the need for accuracy can be avoided. The
Main objective of this research is to make a customized or
multi-purpose timber H20 beam which in turn can be
converted to H30, H36 and even H24 by replacing with the
desired lower half of the beam. The joint is made by the
concept of interlocking the timber beams with each other
with a dovetail joint at their edges. The characteristics of
this beam are calculated and recorded in Autodesk
Revit Structure 2009 and STAAD.Pro V8i softwares and
it is found to have increased moment of inertia, reduced
weight of the beam itself, higher workability, and higher
strength than the conventional castellated timber H-beams.
It is also cost effective and eco-friendly as the timber can
be re-used without any constraints. Thus a practical model
of the beam is made and it is found with the expected
positive results. This paper illustrates the procedure and
design of a multi-purpose castellated timber H20-beam
with all the technical data.
Keywords castellated, prefabricated, dovetail joint,
moment of inertia, workability, Autodesk Revit
Structure 2009 and STAAD.Pro V8i
Castellated Beam is a name commonly used for a type of
expanded beam. It is made by expanding a standard rolled
shape in a manner which creates a regular pattern of holes in
the web. The name is derived from the pattern of web holes,
because castellated means built like a castle, having
battlements, or regular holes in the walls, like a castle.[1]
The expanded beams have been widely used in the past in
different countries of the world like the U.S.A. the U.K.,
Japan, Germany and other European countries for buildings,
bridges, industrial structures and ship constructions under
various names such as castellated beam, serrate channels
and angles and others.[7]

The concept behind the castellated beams is to increase the
strength of the beam by increasing the depth of the section
without adding or altering any other properties of the beam.
Castellated beams are 40-60% deeper than the conventional
parent section.[8]Here, the castellated beam is made of timber
material which is available readily with engineered properties
having an H-section throughout its length. The details of the
material selection and their advantages are as follows:
Timber is wood in any of its stages from felling to readiness
for use as structural material for construction, or wood pulp for
paper production. Finished timber is supplied in standard sizes,
mostly for the construction industry, primarily softwood from
coniferous species including pine, fir and spruce (collectively
known as Spruce-pine-fir), cedar, and hemlock, but also some
hardwood, for high-grade flooring. [2]
Timber is one of the most sustainable resources from the well
maintained forests. It is also a renewable resource and found in
many parts of the world. It has a very high strength to weight
ratio, is capable of transferring both tension and compression
forces, and is naturally suitable as a flexural member. Timber is
a material that is used for a variety of structural forms such as
beams, columns, trusses, girders, and is also used in building
systems such as piles, deck members, and railway sleepers and
in formwork for concrete.
The main advantages of the timber materials are:
Ease of construction
Ease of maintenance
Pleasing appearance
Renewable resource
Aesthetic look
Possess more strength
Long life of the structure
Reduced construction waste
Engineered Product
I-joists are structurally engineered timber joists comprising
flanges made from solid timber or LVL and a web made from
OSB, plywood or particleboard. The flanges and web are
bonded together to form an I-section member, a structurally
efficient alternative to conventional solid timber. I-joists are
economical and versatile structural elements in which the

geometry permits efficient use of material by concentrating the
timber in the outermost areas of the cross-section where it is
required to resist the stresses. [3]
The flanges are commonly designed to provide the moment
capacity of the beam and the web to predominantly carry the
shear force. The horizontal elements of the "I" are flanges,
while the vertical element is the web. The web resists shear
forces while the flanges resist most of the bending moment
experienced by the beam. Beam theory shows that the I-shaped
section is a very efficient form for carrying both bending and
shears loads in the plane of the web. [3]

Figure 1. Cross-section of an H-Beam
Thus the incorporation of these advantageous products and
concepts resulted in a Multi-purpose castellated timber H20
beam, which can be converted to other type of beams by simple
replacement of the lower part of the beam with the desired type
of beams.

Castellated timber beam is made by cutting the beam section
along its web with a regular alternating pattern which in turn
produces hexagonal openings in the web. The separated beams
are joined together with the lower end of the beam to produce
the desired type of beam.[4]

Figure 2. Steps in formation of Castellated beam
This process increases the depth of the beam by
approximately 50%, therefore increasing the strength and
stiffness by 40%.
A typical H20 timber beam model is illustrated in Figure.2.
The web and flange thicknesses of the H20 beam are 26.8mm
and 40mm respectively.

Figure 3. A typical H20 timber beam model
The H20 beam depicts a typical beam with 200mm total
height. The number indicates the height of the beam in
centimeter. The flanges are fixed with the web of the timber
beam by interlocking the flanges with the web as illustrated in
the Figure 2.
The resultant castellated timber H20 beam is possessed with
increased moment of inertia, reduced material weight, and
increased strength.

Figure 4. 3D model of Castellated H20 timber beam

According to the Euro code 5, H20 beam should possess the
following properties:
Maximum permissible moment = 11 kNm
Shear Force = 24 kN
Maximum permissible load = 11.00 kN
E* I (bending stiffness) = 350 kNm [3]



Few different methods which are presently used are described
in brief as follows.
The simplest method of analysis of castellated beam is by
elementary bending theory where reduced web section is
considered in calculating stress and deflection in beams. The
results calculated by this method deviate appreciably from the
actual value because of neglecting local bending in the T-
Another method which is widely used is Vierendeel analysis.
In this method, apart from considering longitudinal stresses due
to bending, stresses arising in the T-section due to local
bending from shear force are also considered. [7]

A. Bending Stress Analysis:
A castellated beam having a span of L and overall depth D is
subjected to a uniformly distributed load q kg/M.
For design of castellated beam it is required to find the
maximum stresses in the beam which may occur at any point in
the length of the beam within the region of T-section.
The stress distribution diagram is shown in Figure 5

Figure 5. Typical section and distribution of stresses of castellated beam

= M/Ig*D/2
= V/2*e/2*1/S
bB = M/I
* h
bV = V/2*e/2*1/S

Maximum fiber stress at section A-A

b =
B +
= (M
)*h+ (V.e/4S

Maximum fiber stress at section B-B

t =
B +
= (M
)*h+ (V.e/4S

B. Shear stress analysis:
The shear capacity will be governed by the least area either
in the vertical web or in the throat length. Maximum shear
stress may generally occur in the throat length except in case
where the expansion ration is high when it may occur in the
vertical section. The shear stress in the web element is
calculated as follows.[7]

Figure 6. Free body diagram of top segment of castellated beam

The different forces acting on the element are shown in
Figure 6. It is required to find horizontal shear at section X-X
which is obtained by taking moment at point C.
= (V
/2*S/2) / (D/2-H1)
= S/4 (V
)/ (D/2-H1)

C. Deflection:
Various types of analysis and tests have been carried out to
find the accurate deflections of castellated beams like finite
element, plane frame analysis and vierendeel analysis.
These analyses are quite complicated and time consuming
and so it is difficult to apply in the design office.
In order to obviate this difficulty, method used in Eurocode
5 handbook has been adopted, the results of which are found
to be quite reasonable and accurate and is also suitable for
The method is described below.
The total deflection of a castellated beam under uniformly
distributed load is considered to be the sum of two deflections,
primary and secondary.
The primary deflection (
) is obtained by basic beam
bending deflection formula based on average moment of
inertia (I
) of solid and open section.
= 5/384*WL
/ EI

= V
/192 EI


Figure 7. Shear Force and Bending moment diagram of Castellated Beam


Autodesk Revit Structure software is the purpose-built
Building Information Modeling (BIM) solution for structural
engineering firms, providing tools for structural design and
analysis. Revit Structure integrates a multimaterial physical
model and an independently editable analytical model for more
efficient structural analysis while providing bidirectional links
to popular structural analysis software. [5]
STAAD.Pro is the structural engineering professionals
choice for steel, concrete, timber, aluminum, and cold-formed
steel design of virtually any structure including culverts,
petrochemical plants, tunnels, bridges, piles, and much more
through its flexible modeling environment, advanced features,
and fluent data collaboration. [6]
Using the above software, a virtual model of the proposed
castellated timber H20 beam is made and it is analyzed for its
structural behaviors with various load patterns.
The following figures illustrate the typical models of
castellated timber H20 beam fusing with the other beam types.

Figure 8. 3D BIM Model of Timber H-Beam (H-20) using Autodesk Revit
Structures 2012.

Figure 9. 3D BIM Model of Castellated Timber H-Beam (H-20) using
Autodesk Revit Structures 2012.

Figure 10. 3D BIM Model Upper part Castellated Timber H-Beam (H-20)

Figure 11. 3D BIM Model of Lower part of Castellated Timber H-Beam (H-
30) to fuse with upper part of H20 beam

Figure 12. 3D BIM Model of Lower part of castellated timber H-Beam
(H-24) to fuse with upper part of H20 beam

Figure 13. 3D BIM Model of Lower part of castellated timber H-Beam
(H-16) to fuse with upper part of H20 beam
Analysis using the Euro code 5 is carried out in the
STAAD.Pro V8i and the results have been compared with a
practical model ordered from the Nav Nirman Beam
Techniques, Hyderabad
The fabrication of this type of beam includes the following
Preparation of fabrication drawings
Making of jigs, fixtures and templates
Marking of cutting pattern in basic timber beam
Cutting of timber beam into two halves
Planning and grinding
Wood joineries aligning and fixing
Inspection and quality control
Pesticide control techniques
Rectification of defects
Painting if required
The fusing is done with the necessary joints such as dovetail
joints and thus the varying of the height of the beam results in
different variants of beam with the H20 beam fixed at the top
and the other types such as H30, H24, H16 fused at the bottom
of the beam.
A. Advantages and feasibillity
The increase of strength in a beam is made by increasing
the height of the beam section and not by adding or altering
any materials or properties proves economical and also
practically feasible to a greater extent.
The efficient usage of timber materials will save a lot of
time and money and also proves to have more life time than
the conventional ones.
The resultant multi-purpose castellated timber h-beams
could be of high workability and strength.

B. Further Research
If successfully incorporated in timber, the concept of
castellation and interchanging the beam types can be adopted
to Aluminium Beam, CFRP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced
Polymer) Beam, to achieve corrosion resistance beams in the
[1] J.P. Boyer, Castellated BeamsNew Developments, AISC
Engineering Journal, July 1964.
[2] J.E.Gibson, and L.W.Jenkins, An investigation of the stresses and
deflections in castellated beams, 1957.
[3] EN 1995-1-1:2004 (E) Euro code 5 Design of timber structures
[4] Open Web Beam, Junior Steel Company Bulletins Los Angeles
California 1952.
[5] P.F. Aubin, Mastering Autodesk Revit Building, 1
ed, Autodesk Press,
USA, 2006.
[6] S. Zibres, Revit 2010 - Family Standards and Best Practices, 1
Integrated Content Solutions, 2009.
[7] P.K.Das & S.L.Srimani, Handbook for the design of castellated
[8] P. R. KNOWLES,Castellated Beams Proc. Instn. Ciu. Engrs, Part
1,1991, W, June, 521-536.