Steel structures are unique in both an appearance and a construction aspect. Steel is an extremely strong material with many different levels of strength and members that all have to be connected correctly in order to make a building structurally sound. Not all steel members are created equally with the same strength, so structural engineering professionals must test the strength of each member against the force put against it during construction. Not doing so can lead to structural failure, which can cause devastating consequences. Here are the most common types of failures in steel structures that every structural engineering company sees.
Types of failure in steel structures are
1- Shear Failure
Shear failures occur in connections between members (i.e. Column connection, girder connection, etc.,). Connections have high shearing forces that an engineer must consider when designing the connection. A failure can occur if the structural engineer underestimates the design force the connection is to withstand. Common connections in steel structures may be made with bolts or welds or a combination of both.
2- Flexural Failures
Flexural failures occur in flexural members such as members and girders, and, in some cases, compression members such as columns that are subjected to bending stresses. Flexural members fail when flexural loadings cause the element to buckle. Because steel is strong, steel members are designed to be slim and efficient which may put them at risk of buckling. Flexural loadings create tension and compression forces in members. Lateral torsional buckling occurs when the high compression forces cause an unrestrained section of the member to buckle and laterally displace.
3- Compression Failures
Compression failures typically occur in compression members, such as columns and braces, when the compressive axial force applied to the element caused the element to either buckle or become overstressed. Similar to beams, columns and brace members subjected to high compressive stresses may experience buckling.
4- Tensile Failures
Tensile failures generally occur in brace members or hangers. This type of failure occurs when the steel member is stretched to a level that exceeds the material strength of the member. Steel is a very strong material and very reliable in the structural construction of buildings. Its effectiveness, however, is only guaranteed when the steel is properly designed to withstand the imposed forces. Poor design can lead to the above-mentioned failures of steel structures.