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Long Span Beams
Beams which exceeds 12m span are categorized as long
span beams.
Design of long span beams
The use of long span beams results in a range of benefits :
Including flexible,
Column-free internal spaces,
Reduced foundation costs, and
Reduced steel erection times.
Many long span solutions are also well adapted to facilitate the integration of services without increasing the Stub girders
overall floor depth.

Types of Beams
1. Parallel beam
2. Composite beams with web openings
3. Cellular composite beams
4. Tapered girders
5. Stub girders
6. Haunched composite beams
7. Composite trusses Tapered girders

Parallel beam Composite beams with web Cellular composite beams Haunched composite beams
Parallel beam approach Composite beams with web openings
Web openings are typically formed in beams to allow services to pass through the
beam. This enables the structural and service zones to occupy the same space, thereby
reducing the effective overall depth of floor construction for a given spanning
capability. Openings may also be formed for aesthetic reasons, for instance with
cambered beams used to support a roof. Composite beams with web openings have
been shown to be a cost effective solution for spans in the range 10 to 16 m.
A particular type of composite beam with web openings is the so-called Cellular beam,
which is formed in a specific way and therefore described separately . The alternative
way of forming the web openings is simply to cut them into the plate used to form the
web of a Plate girder, or the web of a Rolled section. The most appropriate solution to
adopt depends on the size, shape and regularity of the openings, or more commercial
drivers such as the method used by a preferred supplier.

The parallel beam approach is effective for

spans up to around 14 m. Floor grids comprise
two layers of fully continuous beams running in
orthogonal directions.
Services running in either direction can be
integrated within these two layers, so that
services passing in any direction can be
accommodated within the structural floor
A further benefit is that, being fully continuous,
the depth of the beams themselves is reduced
without incurring the expense and complexity of
rigid, full strength connection.
Cellular composite beams
Cellular Beams are a form of beam with multiple regular Web openings , formed by splitting two Rolled sections longitudinally, to form two
Tee sections. The two Tees, which may not come from the same donor section are then welded together to form an I-section with web
openings which have a characteristic shape (normally, but not necessarily, circular).

Although cellular beams have regular

openings some of these may be in
filled, and/or stiffening added to
accommodate local features such as
incoming beams or heavy point loads.
Double (oval) openings may also be
included to facilitate the passage of
larger service ducts

Castellated or cellular beams are examples of

longer span members which have large, generally
regular, openings within the web depth.
These beams achieve the benefits of greater
structural efficiency by increasing the section depth
for a given use of steel, and provide multiple routes
for services.
Cellular beams have greater architectural appeal
because of their apparent lightness and distinctive
appearance in long span roofs and floors.
In a castellated beam, the web of a rolled section is
cut along the length of the beam in a hexagonal
wave form. The two pieces are separated, offset
and then welded together to achieve a deeper
Car Parks At nominally 16 meter spans under car park loadings a cellular
beam is an extremely efficient structural member. In addition to its light
weight, a cellular beam provides three significant benefits in car park
Pre-Cambers Cellular beams can be pre-cambered at no cost during
production to offset a proportion of the dead-load deflection. Large
cambers allow the natural drainage of surface water.
Appearance & Personal Security The large web openings provide a light and
airy interior to improve personal security, increasingly demanded by clients
for modern parking areas.
Smoke Ventilation Stricter health & safety regulation dictates the need to
consider the problems of smoke ventilation. The regular web openings
accelerate smoke dispersion compared to solid web beams

Curves Cellular beams are the perfect solution for

curved roof applications, combining a considerable
weight saving compared with plain sections and a
low-cost manufacturing process.
Step 1 Two beams are split, the
In many buildings, designing longer internal first using A special top tee
spans creates more Flexible space (Orange) and the Second using a
planning. A variety of structural steel special bottom tee Cut (blue).
systems may be used to provide Step 2 A bottom tee is bent to
either long span primary beams or the Required radius.
secondary beams. These long span Step 3 A top tee is curved and
structure generally use the principles welded to The bottom tee. The
of composite construction to increase their process is repeated using the so
stiffness and strength, and often provide for far unused tees to create a pair
integration of services within their depth via of curves.
openings in the webs of the beams.
Tapered girders

This type is more effective for span of 13- 20 M.

It is designed to provide the required moment and shear capacity at all
points along the beam
This type is another solution that allows services to accommodate
within the structural floor zone.
It is also possible to form web openings in tapered girders in regions of
low shear, towards mid-span
They are another solution that allows services to be accommodated
within the structural floor zone.
The depth of the girder increases towards mid-span, where applied
moments are greatest, and thereby facilitating hanging services under
the shallower regions near the beam supports

Spanning between 19m and 26m, the girders are an

architectural feature with top boom channels and
plated webs connected by countersunk bolts. The
web plates are tapered from 1m at the center to
0.6m at the ends. Each beam was fabricated in two
pieces with a central splice designed as a feature
and also requiring countersunk bolts.
Stub girders

A big advantage of this option is that spans in excess of 20

m can be economically achieved.
Services and secondary beams can pass through the gaps
between the beam stubs, reducing overall construction
The stub girder comprises a bottom chord which acts in
tension and a series of short beam sections(stubs) which
connects the bottom chord to the concrete slab.
Voids are created adjacent to stub for services.
Stub girders are a Vierendeel form of truss, a rather exotic STUB GIRDER SYSTEM - A steel beam-and-girder system in which
hybrid that can be thought of as lying somewhere the floor beams sit on top of the main girders, rather than framing
between a solid web I-section and a truss into them. Short lengths of stub girders the same depth as the floor
beams are welded to the tops of the main girders to provide a
connection to the slab for composite action. The advantages of the
stub girder system are reduced weight of steel and reduced story

Yale Art Gallery, 1951. Architect: Louis Kahn. The loft-style

spaces with triangular concrete ceiling grid allow for flexible
exhibition space
Haunched composite beams

Spans in excess of 20 m can readily be achieved.

Haunched beams are designed by forming a rigid moment
connection between beam and column.
Haunches may be added at the ends of a composite beam to
provide moment continuity.
The stiffness and strength of the connections mean that the
rest of the span can be shallower, and services passed under
In buildings where the services are likely to need frequent
replacement (for example in hospitals ), hanging the services
under the beams rather than passing them through holes in
the webs, or through a truss, can be advantageous.
Extra service zone is created beneath the beam between the
haunches offers flexibility in service layout.
Composite trusses
Composite trusses, which use the concrete slab as the upper chord in the
final state, can achieve spans in excess of 20 m.
This means they have been used when very long spanning capability was
The main disadvantages are that during the construction phase
the truss may be rather flexible (laterally), and that in the final state
the cost of fire protection can be high given the large number of surfaces
to protect. W
Clearly one of the prices to pay for the spanning ability is e
that fabrication cost is higher than for a plain beam.
Services can be passed through the gaps between the truss members to m
reduce overall floor depth. b