What is a Steel Frame - 5 Advantages of Choosing Steel Frame Construction?

A steel frame is a structural system used in construction where the building’s load-bearing structure is made of steel. Steel frames are composed of vertical columns and horizontal beams or girders, joined together to form a rigid and stable structure that can support the weight of the building and resist external forces such as wind, earthquake, or snow loads.

Development History Of Steel Frame

Steel frames as a structural system first appeared in the mid-nineteenth century, as the Industrial Revolution accelerated advances in manufacturing and construction techniques. Early skeleton frame construction used cast iron, which was brittle and prone to failure.

The Bessemer process, developed in the 1850s, allowed for the mass production of high-quality steel at a lower cost. Steel was used in construction as a result, including the development of steel frames.
The first major example of a steel frame building was the Home Insurance Building in Chicago, built in 1885 by architect William Le Baron Jenney. The building was only 10 stories tall, but its innovative steel frame construction made it the tallest building in the world at the time.

In the following decades, steel frame construction became more common, particularly for high-rise buildings. The Empire State Building, completed in 1931, was a notable example of a steel frame skyscraper.

Advancements in steel production and construction techniques continued throughout the 20th century, leading to even taller and more complex steel-framed buildings. Today, steel frames are a common choice for a wide range of building types, from skyscrapers to bridges to industrial facilities.

What Is Material Of Steel Frame?

Steel frames are typically made of steel, which is an alloy primarily composed of iron and carbon. Other elements, such as manganese, silicon, and sulfur, can be added to steel to improve properties such as strength, ductility, and corrosion resistance. Steel is widely used in construction due to its high strength-to-weight ratio, durability, and resistance to fire, pests, and weathering. Steel is also a versatile building material due to its ease of fabrication and molding into a variety of shapes and sizes.

Galvanized steel material

What Are Components Of Steel Frame?

A steel frame typically consists of several components, including:

Horizontal members that carry loads between columns or walls.

Vertical members that support the weight of the structure and transfer loads to the foundation.

Diagonal members help resist lateral forces such as wind and seismic loads.

Various types of fasteners and welding join the beams, columns, and bracing together.

The base on which the steel frame is anchored is typically made of concrete or other materials.

Shear Walls:
Vertical structural elements resist lateral loads in the plane of the wall.

Floor and Roof Decking:
Steel sheets or panels form the base for the floors and roofs of the building.

These components work together to provide a stable and strong structure that can resist the loads and stresses imposed upon it. The specific configuration of these components will depend on the building design and intended use.

What Are The Types Of Steel Frame?

Steel frames are used in many different types of construction, including:

Moment Frame:
Moment frames are intended to withstand lateral loads while also providing structural stability. They are commonly used in high-rise buildings and other structures that are subject to wind and earthquake loads.

Braced Frame:
Braced frames resist lateral loads and provide structural stability by utilizing diagonal members. They are frequently used in low to medium-rise structures such as schools, offices, and hospitals.

Shear Wall Frame:
Shear wall frames are composed of vertical walls designed to withstand lateral loads. They are commonly used in high-rise buildings and other earthquake-prone structures.

Dual System Frame:
A dual system frame, which combines moment frames and braced frames or shear walls, provides the structure with lateral stability. This frame is commonly found in high-rise buildings and other structures requiring multiple lateral load-resisting systems.

Truss Frame:
Truss frames are made up of a series of interconnected triangles that provide the structure with strength and stability. They are commonly used in industrial buildings and other large span structures.

Composite Frame:
A composite frame is made up of steel and concrete components that work together to provide the structure with strength and stability. This type of frame is frequently used in high-rise buildings and other structures where structural performance is critical.

What Are The 5 Advantages Of Steel Frame?

Steel frames have several advantages over other construction materials, such as wood or concrete. Here are some of the key advantages of steel frames:

Strength and Durability:
Steel is a very strong and durable material, making it ideal for use in construction. It can withstand heavy loads, high winds, earthquakes, and other extreme weather conditions, making it a popular choice for commercial and industrial buildings.

Fire Resistance:
Steel is non-combustible and does not contribute to the spread of fire, making it a safe choice for buildings that require high fire resistance.

Design Flexibility:
Steel can be easily fabricated into a variety of shapes and sizes, giving architects and designers greater flexibility in their designs. Steel frames can also be prefabricated off-site and assembled on-site, saving time and reducing construction costs.

Steel is a highly recyclable material and can be reused many times without losing its strength or durability. This makes it a sustainable and eco-friendly choice for construction projects.

Low Maintenance:
Steel frames require little maintenance and are resistant to pests, rot, and decay, reducing the need for frequent repairs or replacements.

Overall, steel frames offer a strong, durable, and sustainable solution for modern construction projects.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Steel Frame?

While steel frame structures offer many advantages such as strength, durability, and versatility, there are also some disadvantages to consider:

Steel can corrode over time if it is not properly protected with coatings or paint. This can lead to weakening of the structure and eventual failure.

Fire Resistance:
Steel is not as fire-resistant as other materials such as concrete or masonry. In the event of a fire, a steel frame can weaken and collapse quickly.

Thermal Conductivity:
Steel is a good conductor of heat and can transfer heat rapidly. This can lead to higher energy costs to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures.

While steel frames offer long-term cost savings due to their durability, they can be more expensive to construct initially compared to other materials such as wood.

Design Limitations:
The design of steel frame structures can be limited by the strength and weight of the steel members. This can limit the size and shape of the structure, as well as the types of architectural features that can be incorporated.

Noise and Vibration:
Steel frame structures can be noisy and prone to vibration due to the lightweight nature of the steel members. This can lead to discomfort for occupants and damage to sensitive equipment.

Overall, steel frame structures can be a good choice for many construction projects, but it is important to consider these disadvantages along with the benefits before deciding on construction materials.Usually some good maintenance building materials will make up for the lack of steel frame. But it is essential to the maintenance work on steel frame and steel frame buildings.

What Are The Uses Of Steel Frame?

Steel frames are used in a variety of construction applications due to their strength, durability, and versatility. Some common uses of steel frames include:

Building Construction:
Because of their ability to withstand heavy loads and resist lateral forces, steel frames are commonly used in the construction of high-rise buildings, industrial buildings, and other large structures.

Because of their high strength and durability, steel frames are used in the construction of bridges. They are also a cost-effective option because they can be prefabricated off-site and assembled on-site.

Automotive and Aerospace Industries:
Steel frames are used in the manufacturing of automobiles, trucks, airplanes, and other vehicles due to their strength and ability to withstand impacts.

Storage Tanks and Silos:
Steel frames are commonly used in the construction of storage tanks and silos due to their ability to withstand high pressure and heavy loads.

Agricultural Buildings:
Steel frames are commonly used in the construction of agricultural buildings such as barns and sheds due to their strength and durability.

Industrial Equipment:
Steel frames are used in the manufacture of heavy industrial equipment such as cranes and excavators due to their ability to withstand heavy loads and resist corrosion.

Overall, steel frames are a popular choice in construction and manufacturing industries due to their strength, durability, and versatility.

How Do You Calculate Steel Frame Quantity?

Calculating the quantity of steel required for a frame involves several steps. Here’s an outline of the process:

  • Determine the total length of the steel frame:
    Measure the length of each beam, column, and other members that make up the frame, and add them together to get the total length.
  • Calculate the weight of each member:
    You can either use engineering software to do this or refer to manufacturer specifications to determine the weight of each member.
  • Determine the cross-sectional area required for each member:
    You can calculate the minimum required cross-sectional area for each member based on the loads that the frame must support.
  • Determine the total volume of steel needed:
    To calculate the volume of each member, multiply its total length by its cross-sectional area, and then total the volumes of all the members.
  • Calculate the total weight of steel needed:
    Divide the total volume of steel by its density, which is usually around 7850 kg/m3.

Finally, add a contingency factor of around 10% to account for any waste or unforeseen circumstances.

Here is a formula to summarize the calculation:
Total Weight of Steel Frame = Σ(Length of Members x Weight of Members x Required Cross-sectional Area of Members) x Density of Steel x Contingency Factor

Please note that this is a simplified explanation and that the actual calculation may be more complex depending on the specific design and requirements of the steel frame. It’s important to consult with a qualified engineer or professional to ensure accurate calculations.
iBeehive has 23 years of experience in the design, manufacture and installation of steel frame buildings, and can give the most professional structural advice and cost reference.