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Roofing Profiles

Comparison of Steel Truss Profiles


for Roofing Large Areas
Prof. D.S.R. Murty, Professor of Civil Engg. Andhra University, Visakhapatnam,
S.V.N. Suryanarayana Raju, Senior Structural Engineer,
D.V. Trinadha Rao, Junior Engineer, Vijay Nirman Co Pvt. Ltd

C
urrently the sustained efforts The present paper fulfills the elements are assumed tubular in
of designers, manufacturers objective, with the comparison of section.
of materials and builders to three different truss profiles currently Triangular and triangular arch
innovate and incorporate unmatched being used. The trusses trusses are commonly used in a
excellence in the construction of roof investigated include conventional variety of truss roofed structures;
trusses of large areas have resulted triangular truss, triangular truss with these configurations of steel roof
in highly functional, economical and vertical members at supports and trusses with three different spans
pleasing structures. Function halls, triangular arch truss. The study are investigated. The truss profiles
theaters, huge gathering areas and concludes, highlighting various of different spans varying from 20m
warehouses are housing units with advantages associated with each to 30m are illustrated in Fig 1, Fig
roofs and enclosing walls, but with type of the compared trusses. The 2 and Fig 3. The spacing of trusses
no further floors above. The study further materialises that the adopted in this study is at 6m centre
characteristics of such units are traditionally used triangular truss is to centre. Truss top chord slope, is
long span storage area, column more economical than the arched 1 in 3 and the corresponding top
free space for uninterrupted view triangular truss, though it offers chord angle is 18.4° in all the
and movement of vehicular traffic lesser volume of space below the trusses. The parallel distance
for loading and unloading of bottom chord than the latter. In this between the chords in arch
material and goods. The most comparison, only trusses are triangular truss is 1.5 m for 25 m
suited roof for such structures is involved; purlin weights, roof and 30 m spans and 1.25 m for 20
steel trusses. For functional utility sheeting, truss supports, m span.
and economy, identification of the foundations, walling and flooring are The analysis and design is
best truss is the aim of a designer. excluded. All the truss member performed using SAP2000

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Roofing Profiles

Wind Load
The wind pressure is taken as 2
kN/m2. External wind pressure acting
on the top chord on the windward
side works out to -0.5256 P (from
tables of IS 875 (Part III)-1987). On
A. Triangular Truss the leeward side, the pressure is -
0.4 P, where P is 2 kN/m2; ignoring
the increased wind pressure in the
corner and edges. Internal wind
pressure depends on the
permeability of the structure. It is
taken here as ±0.5 P, assuming 5
to 20 % of wall area as opening
B. Triangular Truss With Vertical Members at Supports area.

Earthquake Load
Action of earthquake forces on the
truss is not considered.

Triangular Truss
Triangular truss is the most
frequently used one, since antiquity.
Top and bottom chords resist the
C. Triangular Arch Truss moment coming on the truss at
Figure 1: Truss Profiles for 20 M Span every section along the span, and
the diagonal and vertical members
programme, and the code followed Loads on the Truss in the web resist shear force. The
is IS 800-1984. However, the slope of the top chord normally
The various loads the truss is
permitted increase in allowable used, is in the range of 1:3 to 1:5.
subjected to are
stress by 33% due to wind is not Higher slope 1:3 consumes less
1. Dead load
implemented. The total truss is steel in the top and bottom chords
2. Live load
analysed assigning hinge support and more steel in the vertical and
3. Wind load
at one end and roller support at the the diagonals. As per the moment
other end. Support conditions Dead Load resistance requirement, the
chosen for the trusses reflect the Dead load on the truss includes distance between the top and
actual situation of seating of the self weight of truss, purlins, truss bottom chords is the maximum at
truss in practice, on the columns wind bracing, false ceiling and roof the mid span where moment on
that are generally flexible. The truss sheeting. the truss is the maximum. The only
elements between the joints are With the input of these details disadvantage is the zero lever arm
treated as rigid and capable of of truss members in the distance between top and bottom
transferring moment and shear in programme, the self weight of the chords at the supports. This
addition to membrane force. Top truss is automatically taken into invariably shoots up the forces in
and bottom chord members are account in the analysis by computer the top and bottom chords to higher
designed for their respective forces programme SAP 2000. The weight levels, than those in the highest
optimally; similarly diagonal and of roof sheet, purlins, and other bending moment region, rendering
vertical members are designed services are fed in the analysis as the truss uneconomical if same
individually. However, one method input data at 0.15 kN/m2. member size is used throughout
in normal practice is to adopt a the bottom chord and similarly in
uniform section throughout the Live Load the top chord. To remedy this
chord length in the top and bottom As per IS 875-1987, the live load situation, one vertical member of
chords. But in the present depends on the slope angle of small height may be provided at
investigation each member in the truss top chord. For the slope of both the supports, to lower forces
chord is designed for the level of 18.4° in the present case, the live in the vicinity of supports both in
its force in the top and bottom load works out as 0.582 kN/m2. the top and bottom chords.
chords.

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Roofing Profiles

Vertical and diagonal members dead and live load forces. This economy in top and bottom chords
of the truss provide the needed situation does not allow fixing is slightly nullified by small
separation between top and bottom diagonal inclination uniquely, increases in lengths of vertical and
chords besides resisting the shear however, if the designer is particular, diagonal members. All other items
force at every section along the the inclination can be decided applicable to triangular truss equally
span. Inclination of diagonal depending on the direction of the apply to this truss as well. The
members and the direction of higher vertical force, among the vertical members are kept at about
external forces acting on the truss, external vertical loads due to dead, 0.5m height arbitrarily. Increase in
decide the nature of force either as live and wind. this height reduces chord forces in
compression or tension in the The truss vertical supports are the triangular truss; at the same
diagonal members. Creation of subjected to mainly vertical forces time, it increases lengths of the
tensile forces rather than and small horizontal force which is web members slightly.
compressive force is desirable in a equivalent to the difference of
slender steel member. For forces horizontal component of external Triangular Arch Truss
acting vertically downwards like dead inclined wind forces on the two top This truss is very commonly used
and live loads in trusses, inclination chords. Geometry of the truss does in ware houses, storage sheds,
of a diagonal towards the nearer not create any horizontal force on industries for large storage space
support induces tensile force in it. the two supporting columns of the near ports. Triangular arch truss
In a truss, all external forces acting truss having triangular configuration. provides more storage space than
on it are not of same direction. a triangular truss below the bottom
While dead and live loads act Triangular Truss with chord.
vertically downwards, wind load Availability of this space for
generally acts perpendicular to the
Vertical Members at
storage is highly valuable for
inclined top chord, the force is Supports commercial purposes. The slope
equivalent to large vertical force Vertical members are located on of the top chord in this truss also
upward in direction and a horizontal the supports with the only objective can be in the range of 1:5 to 1:3.
force towards nearer support. The of reducing the forces in the top The distance between top and
direction of vertical force due to wind and bottom chords in the vicinity of bottom chord is part of design
is in opposite direction to that of supports. The resulting significant criteria. Obviously as the distance
between the chords increases, the
forces in the chords decrease.
Based on a small analysis, it is
qualitatively established that 20 %
increase in the distance between
the chords results in about 20%
decrease in the chord forces. The
A. Triangular Truss
slope of the both chords induces
horizontal forces on the junction of
truss bottom and column tops. The
forces create moment in the
support columns. Due to geometry
of the truss, additional moments
are induced in supporting columns
unlike in the case of triangular
truss. Columns in such structures
B. Triangular Truss With Vertical Members At Supports
ranging in height from 6 to 15m
become more expensive than the
columns under companion
triangular trusses.
Supports to trusses are
columns. These can be of structural
steel or reinforced concrete.
Reinforced concrete columns are
maintenance free, cheaper, but more
C. Triangular Arch Truss
time consuming in construction than
Figure 2: Truss Profiles for 25 M Span
steel columns. The foundations for

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Roofing Profiles

loads. Dead and wind load


combination yields highest forces
in the members that have to be
considered for member design.
These forces are listed in Tables 1
through 3 for all the trusses and
A. Triangular Truss spans.
The resulting member forces
in the top and bottom chords
depend on the geometry of the
truss and influence the magnitude
of forces. The distance between the
top and bottom chords or the lever
arm is the needed geometry. Due
B. Triangular Truss With Vertical Members At Supports to near zero or very small lever
arm, the forces in the top chord
from support to quarter span are
highest and nearly same despite
lower bending moments. The forces
keep on reducing up to centre of
truss from the quarter span due to
increasing lever arm. Same trend
can be noticed in the bottom chord;
C. Triangular Arch Truss adopting uniform section if needed
Figure 3: Truss Profiles for 30 M Span in the top chord can be done, only
with small economy loss. In the
the columns depend on type of soil 550 MPa is used in different shapes diagonals closest to the mid span
encountered. In sandy and gravely of sections such as C and Z. Use maximum force occurs in the web.
soils, cheaper shallow foundations of this material reduces the weight The total weight of the truss comes
can be adopted. In loose and of purlins, but increases the unit to 7.78 kN. The split of truss weight
marine clay soils, expensive deep cost. between various members is
foundations such as piles are worked out. Both the chords weigh
Roof Sheet
needed. Under-reamed pile is the 6.60 kN and the web members
Asbestos sheet commonly used in
solution in black cotton soils. weigh 1.18 kN which is 15.2 % of
the past is now very rarely utilised
Cheaper wooden piles can be tried the total truss weight.
because of health hazards. Currently,
in place of expensive conventional
GALVALUME ® metallic sheet is Triangular Truss with
reinforced concrete piles, for
frequently used for roofing material.
substantial economy.
The unit weight of GALVALUME® Vertical Members at
Purlins and Roof sheet is far less than that of
Supports
asbestos. Same material is used
Cover Sheet for cladding large truss roofed There is slight variation in the
areas. geometry of the truss from triangular
Purlins
truss. It is only inclusion of vertical
The only flexural members in
trusses are purlins. Conventionally, Discussion of Results members at the supports,
eliminating zero lever arm between
purlins adopted are in mild steel The trusses are designed with
top and bottom chords and creating
with shapes such as, I beam, tubular sections having yield stress
some lever arm equal to newly
channels, angles (tubular sections equal to 250 Mpa. Joinery of truss
placed vertical member height. The
are uneconomical when subjected members is not touched in this
geometry change helps reduction
to bending). Depending on purlin study.
in chord member forces, bringing
span, sag rods are used. For larger
spans, built up steel sections such SPAN: 20 m, closer to the forces in the remaining
part of chord. Highest force in the
as triangular sections, used in Triangular Truss chord member in the triangular
railway platforms are economical.
The analysis is carried out truss with zero lever arm near the
Currently, cold formed steel with
separately for dead, live and wind support 285.30 kN, has come down
yield stress ranging from 450 to

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Roofing Profiles

Design Details of 20 M Span Profiles

to 192.80 kN with the introduction distance of 1.25m. Maximum force


of a short vertical member on the appears at quarter span from the
support. The forces in all the support. From this location, the
members in the top chord have forces decrease more towards
become nearly equal, differing only support than towards apex. The total
by a small percent of 19. The weight of the truss is 8.68 kN. The truss with vertical members at
bottom chord force distribution along maximum force in the bottom chord supports. Highest weight is
the span is nearly same as that of occurs at a distance of 1/4 th of recorded by arch truss. Arch truss
top chord. span from the centre. The forces is 11.6% higher than triangular truss
As for forces in web members, decrease to near zero value at the in total weight and 13.4% higher
maximum force occurs in the support. The decrease in forces than triangular truss with vertical
vertical member on the support. towards mid span is small. The members at support. Highest weight
Forces in other verticals are small. weights of top and bottom chords is consumed by chords in the
In the diagonals maximum forces are 3.33 kN and 3.18 kN, triangular truss and lowest weight
occur in the diagonal closest to the respectively. The weight of web by triangular truss with vertical
mid span of truss. The total weight members is 2.17 kN which members at supports. While web
of the truss comes to 7.66 kN while constitutes 25 % of total height of members consume 25% total
top and bottom chords contribute a truss. weight of truss in triangular arch
weight of 6.13 kN, and the web truss, minimum weight of web
members contribute a weight of Comparison of members occurs in triangular truss
1.53 kN. The weight of web
members is 20 % of the total weight
Trusses, 20 m span (15% of total weight). The web
members consume 20% of total
The total weight of truss is least at
of truss. weight in triangle truss with vertical
7.66 kN for triangular truss with
members at supports. Overall
Triangular Arch Truss vertical member supports. Next
maximum economy occurs in
higher truss is triangular truss with
In the triangular arch truss top and triangle truss with vertical members
1.6 % higher truss weight than the
bottom chords are separated by a at supports. Maximum utility space

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Design Details of 25 M Span Profiles

occurs in the case of triangular arch of bottom chord members is 4.6kN.


truss with 11.6% higher weight than The weight of top chord is slightly
the conventional triangular truss. more than that of bottom chord.
The total weight of web members
25m Span, is 3.52kN. The total weight of truss
works out to 12.33kN. For 20m
Triangular Truss triangular truss, the weight of truss
With zero or near zero lever-arm at
is 7.78kN. An increase of 5m in
and in the vicinity of support similar to those of triangular truss.
span increases the weight of truss
respectively, the forces in the The total weight of the truss comes
by about 60%.
members close to support in the to 11.81kN. The weight of top chord
members is 5.22kN. In the bottom
top chord are maximum in two- Triangular Truss with chord the forces in the two end
thirds of half-span from support. In
the remaining one-third of half-span Vertical Members at members in the half-span are small
from truss centre, the forces are compared to those in the remaining
Support members. The top chord and
comparatively smaller (about 80%
In top chord, provision of vertical bottom chord exhibit nearly same
of maximum forces). Similarly, the
members at supports and magnitude of forces. The weight of
magnitude of forces in the top chord
consequent availability of some bottom chord members is 4.6kN. In
is maximum in the three-fourth of
lever arm between chords reduce the verticals, the members at the
half-span from support. Forces in
forces in the two members closest support exhibit several times more
both the chords are nearly same.
to support. However, forces in the force than in the remaining
While the weight of top chord
remaining top chord members are members. Moreover, diagonals
members equals 5.22kN, the weight

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Design Details of 30 M Span Profiles

closest to the support and the one nearly same. The total weight of
closest to centre exhibit maximum the truss is 14.40kN. The force
forces. The weight of web members variation in bottom chord members
is 3.3kN, which is about 28% of the is nearly same as in the case of
total truss weight. The weight top chord. The weight of top chord
increase in comparison with the and bottom chord are 4.88kN and
companion 20m span truss is 5.76kN, respectively. Vertical web
4.15kN. It is observed that the members except one member at
truss by 5.72kN. A 5m increase in
weight of truss increases by 54% two-third of half span from the
span increases the weight of the
for a 5m increase in span. support exhibit nearly same force.
truss by 66%.
In diagonals, maximum forces occur
Triangular Arch Truss closest to the support and at truss
30m Span,
The forces are maximum in the two centre. The weight of the web
members close to the support and members is 3.74kN, which works Triangular Truss
one member close to the centre of out 26% of total weight of the truss. 30m truss is fairly on a big span.
span of the top chord. In the Total weight of this truss differs The variation in magnitude of forces
remaining members the forces are from the companion 20m span in the top chord is within 16% in

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the first quarter span from support. 42% compared to 20m and 25m at support and centre of span. In
However, the forces in the second spans, respectively. the other members, the forces are
quarter span are about 75% of varying arbitrarily. The weight of web
those in first quarter span. Similarly, Triangular Truss with works out to 5.96kN, which is
the maximum forces in the bottom 35%of total weight of truss. This
chord occur in the first quarter span
Verticals at Support truss weight is 125% and 45%
Incorporation of vertical members
from the support. In addition, the more than those of its companion
at supports, unlike in triangular
forces in the second quarter span 20m span and 25m span,
truss facilitates the forces in the
for bottom chord are about 85% of respectively.
two or three members in the top
the maximum forces in the first
quarter span. The total weight of
chord nearest to the support to be Triangular Arch
reduced significantly in tune with
truss comes to 17.52kN. The weight
of top chord and bottom chord are
the small bending moments near Truss
the supports. Also, in the bottom In the top chord members, the
7.2kN and 6.1kN, respectively. In
chord, two members nearest to the forces increase gradually from
the web members, forces are
support and at centre, register support to truss centre. The forces
minimum in first vertical nearest to
minimum forces, because of in bottom chord follow the same
the support and two verticals near
smallest bending moment at the trend. The weights of top chord and
the mid-span. The forces in the
support and maximum lever arm, bottom chord are 10.34kN and
remaining members do not vary
in spite of maximum bending 8.62kN, respectively. In the web, the
significantly. In the diagonals, the
moment at the centre of the span. forces in the verticals gradually
forces increase gradually from a
The total weight of the truss works decrease up to quarter span and
minimum to a maximum value from
out to 17.18kN. The weights of top again increase up to mid-span of
support to mid-span, with small
chord and bottom chord are 6.04kN truss. The forces in the diagonals
values in a couple of members.
and 5.18kN, respectively. In the web, decrease from support to mid-span
The weight of web members is
the forces are maximum at support except in the two members closes
4.21kN which is 24% of total weight
and minimum at centre of span for to the mid-span of truss. The weight
of truss. The weight of truss for
obvious reasons. Forces in the of web members is 4.55kN which
this span increases by 125% and
diagonal members are maximum is 19.3% of total weight of truss.
This truss with 30m span
weighs 170% and 57%
more than its companion
trusses of 20m span and
25m span, respectively.
Table 4 illustrates
comparison of truss
member weighs for different
truss profiles and spans

Conclusion
Based on the investigation
undertaken, the following
conclusions can be drawn
for steel roof trusses. The
items investigated relate to
functional utility, total weight
of truss and the resulting
economy. Commonly used
three types of trusses are
studied. They are triangular
truss, triangular truss with
vertical members at
supports and triangular arch
truss.
1. Conventional triangular
trusses are most suited

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with column free space to be 4. For a given span, triangular truss to 0.131kN for spans 20m to 30m.
used in auditoriums, cinema with vertical members at the 7. Use of uniform section for the
halls, function halls and large supports weighs least and maximum force in the top and
gathering areas facilitating triangular arch truss weights bottom chords instead of
provision of false ceiling and air- highest. individual sections for the
conditioning. 5. Weights of web members in corresponding forces does not
2. Triangular trusses can be these trusses constitute 15 to result in minimum amount of steel
rendered more economical with 35% of total weight of truss in all and economical advantage in a
the location of two vertical truss profiles and spans; the truss.
members of small height on the highest percentage occurring in 8. Though purlins have not been
supports. triangular trusses with the vertical part of the present study, in the
3. Triangular arch truss affords more members at supports, except in total truss roof, the weight of steel
space below the bottom chord for the lowest span, 20m. purlins constitute a major
storage purposes than both 6. Steel consumption of trusses per percentage of truss weight and
triangular truss and triangular sq. meter of built-up area of truss hence deserve special attention
truss with vertical members on increases with the area covered in their selection and adoption.
supports. by truss and varies from 0.064kN

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