A large span roof made of cable stayed arches

Pier Giorgio Malerba
Department of Structural Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy

Paolo Galli, Marco di Domizio and Giacomo Comaita
Studio Malerba, Milan, Italy

ABSTRACT: A large span roof made of cable-stayed arches is presented. Compared to a traditional tied arch, the pre-tensioned cable-stayed arch presents: (a) a strong reduction of the bending moments; (b) a general increase of the stiffness; (c) a strong increase of the limit multiplier associated with the Eulerian critical load. 1 INTRODUCTION

In 2003, Mo.Tri.Dal. Handling Equipment and Plants S.p.A., based in Piacenza (Italy), installed a new smelter of green coke in the Alba Bahrain Plant in Sitra (Kingdom of Bahrain), whose maximum capacity is of 650 TPH. The plant (Fig.1) is made up of a primary unit that, rotating around a pivot supported by a truss tower, covers an angular sector of 128°, and of a secondary unit, hinged at the end of the upper stringer of the primary unit, which is able to rotate of 270°. The secondary unit carries the terminal part of the conveyor belt, from which the born material is released. In 2004, Alba Bahrain decided to enhance the storage capacity of the plant, and placed an order for the project of a retaining wall to be built along the longest side of the spreading area, so as to provide an external containment for the stored material. In the same occasion, Alba Bahrain required a feasibility study regarding the possibility of including the entire plant into a large building, in order to avoid dispersion of green coke dust. 2 DESIGN CRITERIA AND SHAPE DEFINITION

The design issues were: (1) Search for a shape that allowed to cover the widest surface compatible with the area restraints; (2) Design of a retaining wall which, at the same time, had to work also as a support for the roof; (3) Design of a cover of minimum weight; (4) Set up of erection procedures, made more complicated by the scale of the building, that would allow to carry out more jobs at the same time, so as to respect the 18 months schedule. After a series of comparative evaluations, the plant shown in Fig.1 was drawn. Behind the 84.00 m wide N-W front, there is a rectangular area with a depth of 42.00 m. The two sides remain parallel from alignment 1 to alignment 3, then they bend, so that side B (internal) is (42.00 + 38.68) = 80.68 m long, while side A (external) is (42.00 + 158.00) = 200.00 m long. The two sides follow irregular curves, each one having many curvature centres in different positions. This results in the fact that the distance between the two lateral alignment varies considerably, passing in a first stage from 84.00 m to 91.00 m (alignment A5-B5), then from 91.00 m to 60.00 m (alignment A9-B9). Although the scale, the shape of the building and the loads were such that special attention had to be paid to every single design phase, the most delicate issues were posed by the roof. Different configurations were examined: the first idea was that of a roof sustained by parallel beams running from alignment A to alignment B; in a second time, a radial lay-out was considered. In both cases, the structure was too heavy.

In order to avoid lateral thrust at the top of the columns. vertical cross-section and plan of the columns. 1977. trussed arches were taken into consideration. None the less.2. hosted in the mean depth of the roof (Fig. As tied arches. and Calabrò P. the envelope of load conditions presented flexural components that required cross sections of remarkable area. but they are also characterized by a set of internal constraints that reduces axial force eccentricity. These constraints are provided by adequately pre-tensioned cables radiating from a focus.280 ARCH’10 – 6th International Conference on Arch Bridges Figure 1 : Geometry and dimensions of the plant. with respect to external constraints they behave like isostatic simple beams and do not convey lateral thrust. these arches had to be of the tied type.g). Trying to reduce the steel weight. increases the critical load value and reduces the structure deformability. 2006) (Fig. Cable stayed arches were finally examined (Belenya E.a). . Buraschi L. The arches are connected to one another by trussed beams.2. The roof surface has been stiffened by means of cross bracings.

in correspondence with the columns axes and with the beams centre. the diagonal elements are made of L90 x 9 profiles. In the same sector. In the top truss (Fig. the arches are connected to one another along the longitudinal direction. Along Alignment B. For each arch.g). 3 R and L) were kept simmetrical.b) has the shape of a 2. Partial lateral thrusts transmitted to the columns can arise under . The arches ends are restrained by hinges. The theoretical arch axis is circular. The typical section of arches n. the theoretical arch axis has been subdivided into eight straight-line segments. Sector A5-A7.Pier Giorgio Malerba. Paolo Galli. In the first Sector A1-A3. This second Sector comprises of four arches (alignments A3’-A4-A4’-A5) arranged in a fan pattern. Sector A7-A9).00 m wide upper side. connected to the upper perimetral beams along Alignment A and B. five arches are connected by nine longitudinal crossbeams. Alignment A3’ and A4’ are connected by bracings. In the roof surface.00 m deep isosceles triangle. and are made of two L80 x 8 profiles. From A3-B3 to A9-B9. Along alignment A.d). that make the system stiff with respect to relative movements of the arches in the longitudinal direction.00 m pitch. Sector A3-A5.2. In the area included between alignment A1-B1 and alignment A3-B3. They are connected to each other by longitudinal crossbeams. the arches are parallel to each other. in order to have a certain modularity. whose entire length is 4 x 10.2.1 THE CABLE STAYED ARCH ROOF General characteristics of the cable stayed arch roof 281 The roof lays on a set of 17 cable stayed arches (Fig. As the arches ends are at different heights on alignments A and B. central segments 4 and 5 act as compensating elements. having a shorter span. and considering the need for the aerator strip to be placed on the highest part of the roof. 7’. The section comprises of two HEA200 profiles at the two top vertexes. In the lateral trusses (Fig.50 = 42. The arches.2. so that the cross centres lie on alignment A4: this means that the bracings elements in Sector 2 have a span which is double the span in Sector 1. Actually. that gradually bend following the building’s shape. so that only vertical loads are conveyed to the columns. the lateral thrusts are completely carried by the system of nine cables that tensions the arch.2 The cable stayed arch The characteristics of the typical arch are shown in Fig. 2. having a 2.a (the rise is measured as the normal distance from the circular theoretical axis of the arch to the chord). The lengths of the segments vary along a single arch and among different arches. these hinges are placed. the first three arches are connected to each another by 2 x 8 cross-girders. After Column B3 the building bends.00 m. the arches have the same layout as in Alignment A until Column B3. while the diagonal elements are L80 x 8 profiles.2. with respect to the reference load combinations (self weight. The typical arch section (Fig. arranged so as to form a cross-shaped section. etc. alternatively. 3 3. arranged so as to form a cross-shaped section. the first three segments starting from the two ends (segments 1. the transverses are perpendicular to the segment axis. they are arranged in a radial patterns and their span. from 10. Marco di Domizio. are designed in such a way that.f) that rest on the perimetrical top beams. so that the five following hinges rest on the upper perimetral beams B3-BK and BK-B9. comprises of two HEA180 at the two top vertexes and by a HEA260 at the bottom vertex.00 m. 3. 8’ and 9. A gap that will be covered only by purlins separates Sector A1-A3 from Sector A3-A5.2. corresponding to the four sectors identified by the expansion joints (Sector A1-A3.2. 8. made of transverses and bracings separated by a constant 2. geometry and axis line vary.00 m to 12. temperature T = 20° C). The wall trusses on the three sides are similar to those of the previously described arch. dead loads. which are restrained at the two ends by hinges (Fig. The remaining hinges are in-line with the columns. the transverses are made of two L70 x 7 profiles.c). and by a HEA300 at the bottom vertex. and they can be grouped in four subsets. The three vertexes are connected by trussed walls. the arches structures are not symmetrical and are different one from the other.

3 shows a view of the first five arches during the erection stages. Fig.282 ARCH’10 – 6th International Conference on Arch Bridges different load combinations than the reference one. (f) the connection to the column.4 shows an internal view of the completed roof. (b) (a) (c) (d) (e) (g) (f) Figure 2 : (a) The typical cable stayed arch. (c) the arch seen from the above. (g) plan of the bracing system . or under the action of wind on the entire roof surface. (d) lateral view. (e) the focus. (b) transverse section. Fig.

two separate optimisation procedures have been carried out. Step 1. in function of their position. 2007). due to unit pre-tension forces. some cables remain slack or exceed the maximum allowable tension value. With reference to each single arch. A set of design factors (α) and an objective function f(α). NCT axial forces in cables.W. 2006. applied to each of the cables.3 Cable stayed arch optimization: focus position and pre-tension in the stays The criteria for the choice of the best shapes in a cable stayed arch are nor simple neither immediate. while the others stays remain little engaged. For instance. The pre-tensioning of the cable is optimized. . symmetrical and having an horizontal chord. NCS. under several loading distributions. For the sake of simplicity. Malerba P. two symmetry constraints for vertical displacement of the nodes 2-8 and 3-7 have been introduced.5. gives little improvement to structural performances: the tie attracts the highest force contribution in containing the arch thrust. the optimal position of the central pin. the minimum and the maximum axial force variations in the cables due to imposed loads and wind loads (Fig. in compliance with the original design of the roof shape. the design pre-tension in the cables was calculated into three main steps. for the worst loading condition. was focussed to optimize the pre-tensioning of the stays. The second one.5.G. (b) permanent loads and (c) unitary pre-tension forces. are introduced. In order to assure a symmetric configuration of the arch. In particular. which equals the horizontal displacement x1 of the roller at the node 1.a) the individual effects singularly produced by (a) self weight.b. With reference to the whole structure. et al. etc. having a fixed pin at the support A and a roller at the support B. and Calabrò P. Paolo Galli. Marco di Domizio. The first one was exploratory and referred to a simpler arch. (Fig. Other potentially positive effects can be achieved by properly choosing the stiffness of the stays. c. A significant evolution of the static behaviour and of the buckling performances under different load distributions. NCPERM axial forces in cables due to permanent loads. and by giving suitable pre-tensions to the stays. d. 283 Figure 3 : The assembly of the arches Figure 4 : Internal view of the completed roof 3. under self weight and permanent loads. the optimal distribution of the stays stiffness and of pre-tensioning in the stays (Buraschi L. and to make it easier the assemblage of the transverse beams. Step 3. applied to the actual stayed arch layout. f) are computed through a three-dimensional frame model. y (horizontal and vertical displacements of the nodes).Pier Giorgio Malerba. Such procedure was focussed to find. axial forces in cables due to self weight. is obtained when the focus position is moved vertically along the segment normal to the middle of the chord. of the main bracings and of the purlins. Two further constraint conditions were defined to avoid that. the simple addition of a bundle of stays starting from the centre of the tie of a normal tied arch. Optimisation consists in setting the function x1 = f(α) to zero. were computed and summarized in the following matrices and vectors: x. Step 2.

W . C C C (6) The optimization procedure was repeated for each arch of the structure.00 m between one another. . + N PERM . The edge beam is made of a HEB600 profile. by a slackness constraint (Eq. placed along the height at a distance of 6. + y 8 PERM . .imp. . 4 THE FRONT WALLS Both front walls are flat. .i C .i (4) (5) N T ⋅ α + N S.imp.imp. + N PERM . and follows stepwise the roof curvature. = y 8T ⋅ α + y 8 S . C C C C .i C . (3)).imp. ΔN int . (5)): f (α ) = x1 = α ⋅ x 1T + x1S .(2) and Eq. This beam links the trussed columns 1 ÷ 15. ΔN env.i C . ΔN int . + y 3 PERM . . . = y 7T ⋅ α + y 7 S . and with the upper part which follows the curvature of the corresponding alignment. N T ⋅ α + N S . (6): c = N T ⋅ α + N S . whose height varies according to the shape of the edge beam. = 0 T (1) (2) (3) C . connects the upper part of the front wall to the roof and acts as a support for the cladding.W . (4)) and by an equation that defines the maximum allowable tension (Eq.i C .i C The design pre-tensions in the cables are finally computed through the following Eq.W .imp. In the transverse direction. by symmetry constraints (Eq.W .W . + x1PERM . (1)). ΔN env. + y 2 PERM .W .i C .W . ΔN ext. + N PERM . + max( ΔN tot. with the lower part as wide as the building. The N-W front wall is 84.284 ARCH’10 – 6th International Conference on Arch Bridges Figure 5 : Single arch model under different loading conditions The complete optimization procedure is defined by the objective function (Eq.wind ) ≤ N max. The structure comprises of a series of 15 trussed columns.W . ΔN ext.wind ) ≥ N min. + y 7 PERM .i C y 2T ⋅ α + y 2 S . the columns are connected by trussed crosspieces. .imp.00 m wide. C C C C . y 3T ⋅ α + y 3 S . + min( ΔN tot.

The N-E front wall (Fig. (b) a general increase of the stiffness. while horizontal movements in a plane perpendicular to the front wall are impeded. Above +114. Paolo Galli. up to +114. The geometry of the surface has been specifically studied. The N-E lateral wall faces the existing shelter: up to the soffit of the perimetrical beams. (c) a strong increase of the limit multiplier associated with the Eulerian critical load. prone to thermal effects and to wind action. the aluminium panelling is interrupted by two intermediate strips of translucent panels.7). are inserted in the HEB600 web with a coulisse mechanism. which in turn is connected to the first arch of the roof and therefore follows its movements. with the difference that the lower strip is left completely open.Pier Giorgio Malerba.6) is 60. Above this height. is closed partially by the retaining wall and partially by the aluminium panelling. Figure 6 : The North-Eastern front wall Figure 7 : The building after completion. and its structural characteristics are very similar to the ones of the N-W front wall.600 and up to the soffit of the perimetrical upper beams. . the gaps between the columns are panelled by two longitudinal strips of aluminium corrugated sheets. The lower strip of the N-W front wall.00 m wide. The N-E front wall panelling is similar. 285 The remarkable deformability of the roof structure. the roof has the irregular L shape described before. between which a strip of translucent panels is situated. As known. the role of S-W and S-E lateral walls is played by those which are actually retaining walls. the pre-tensioned cable stayed arch presents: (a) a strong reduction of the bending moments. in such a way that vertical and lateral movements are allowed. in order to make it as smooth as possible and to grade lights and shadows under different lighting conditions and from different perspective views (Fig. The B2-B3 field is partially open and the B3-BK field is completely open. In comparison with a traditional tied arch. The criteria followed in defining the shape of the building and the characteristics of the roof are described.600) up to (+114. The translucent panels and the aluminium sheets have the same corrugations. while it is panelled by the same aluminium sheets above. which cover a new large smelter of green coke in Bahrain. 5 CONCLUSIONS This paper presents a large span roof made of cable stayed arches. although with a different geometry. 5 LATERAL WALLS AND CLADDING From ground level (+99. Front wall and roof are hence connected only by means of vertical elements which. the arches are curved structures that carry loads primarily by developing axial compression. emerging from the trussed columns. has suggested to keep the front wall structure separated from the edge beam. Marco di Domizio.600). This typical behaviour can be improved by activating a system of pre-tensioned stays converging to a focus having a suitable position. etc.600. The curved surface which covers the arches is irregular as well. In plan. this wall is left open.

286 ARCH’10 – 6th International Conference on Arch Bridges Thanks to the efficiency of this structural system. Kirsch U. solution. Galli P. Prestressed Load-Bearing Metal Structures.. C. Performance Analysis of the Cable Stayed Arch.. McGraw-Hill.. Optimum structural design. methods and applications. Di Domizio M. and Calabrò P.. 1977. REFERENCES Belenya E. Mir Publisher. on Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization. Malerba P. New York. . Dissertation at the Politecnico di Milano. 2007. 1981. Seoul. Buraschi L. although unusual. Concepts. 7th W. the 60 m to 91 m spans were covered with a competitive. Structural Optimization of the Cable Stayed Arch. Moscow. and Comaita G.G... 2006.

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