- Design standards: Eurocode 3 for steel structures and Eurocode 4 for composite structures provide guidance with respect to the design of cellular beams. Information includes analysis recommendations for use of these elements in traditional applications such as: the support system for floors and roofs, assumptions to employ when considering how the sections will behave in response to fire events, and information about using cellular beams fabricated from S460 high-strength steel.
- Composite construction: The development of the various aspects of composite steel and concrete construction (e.g. connections, use of steel sheet decking, large floor areas without expansion joints, fire resistance, user comfort, and durability) has greatly contributed to the ACB® and Angelina® beam solutions in floors.
- Analysis tools: To facilitate the easy analysis of cellular beams, two software systems have been developed and made available to structural design firms and architects: ACB+ and ANGELINA. These tools take into account Eurocode design principles as well as results of full-scale tests and numerical simulations. With ACB+ and ANGELINA, users can determine optimal system weights based on section size, opening depth, width, and distance in order to determine the impact that varying steel grades will have on the solution. These systems are designed to assist engineers and architects in finding the most efficient and economical cellular beam solutions.
- Manufacturing: Optimised manufacturing methods, including flame cutting and bending, enable cost-effective production of ACB® and Angelina® beams, even as they are customised to meet individual project needs. In addition, production efficiency leads to quick release of the sections for final fabrication.
- Fabrication technique: Cellular ACB® and Angelina® beams are created from a standard hot-rolled steel section. The length of the beam is established based on the framing layout in the structure. Dimensions that define the shape and layout of the openings (i.e. a0 - diameter or height of opening, s - length of sinusoidal curve, and w - length of the intermediate web post) are governed by strength and serviceability requirements and are verified by the designer.
A new generation of cellular beams
The cellular ACB® and Angelina® beams, with their circular and sinusoidal web openings, elegantly combine function with flexibility. Alternatives to trusses and open-web joist systems, cellular beams are lightweight, long-spanning, structural elements that enable the design of vast column-free spaces.
The web openings permit installation of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) pipes and ducts within the depth of the beam, thereby allowing for compact ceiling systems and maximised floor-to-ceiling heights. In addition, the repetition of the perforations ensures that variations, during construction or throughout the life of the structure, in the layout of the MEP system can easily be accommodated.
Architecturally striking, cellular ACB® and Angelina® beams are seeing increased use in the built environment each year. Today, with improvements that have been implemented in design standards, analysis tools, and manufacturing, it is easier than ever to incorporate them into a framing system. They can be used in composite or non-composite systems.
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