The vertical load-bearing elements of the structural frame are usually called with a common name: “columns”.
Due to their varied behaviour, their different design rules and most of all, their differences in reinforcement and detailing, they are separated into three major categories namely columns, shear walls and composite elements.
As Columns are defined the rectangular elements in which the larger dimension of their cross-section is less than 4 times the smaller dimension e.g. 400/400, 400/600, 250/900, etc. (dimensions in mm).
Various column types
The columns category also comprises circular sections, for example, D=500 and quadrilateral sections like 500/600 with an inside angle equal to 60˚.
The columns category may also include elements with “L”, “T” or “Z” cross-sections, in which the dimension ratio of their orthogonal parts is lesser than 4 e.g. “Γ” cross-section 400/800/250/250, “T” cross-section 700/500/250/250, “Z” cross-section 600/700/900/250, etc.
As Shear walls are defined the rectangular elements with a length to thickness ratio greater or equal to 4 e.g. cross-sections 1000/250, 1500/300.
As Composite elements are defined the elements composed of one or more rectangular elements, at least one of which must be a shear wall. Generally speaking and due to the fact that the two ends of each shear wall are locally reinforced as columns, a wall could be characterized as a composite element. For example, a wall with an ”L” cross-section 1200/1000/250/250, or an ”L” cross-section 1200/700/250/250, elevator cores with or without flanges, double elevator cores with a slope on one side etc are composite elements.