23 November 2020

Welcome to the future of hollow sections

Whether it is for cars and buses or buildings and bridges, steel is used for its strength and steel is getting stronger.

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Welcome to the future! That’s a bold statement. But in the world of steel, the direction of the future is fairly certain. Whether it is for cars and buses or buildings and bridges, steel is used for its strength and steel is getting stronger. Structural steelwork may be a bit later to the game in high strength steel, but there is growing momentum for the use of higher steel grade tubes.

What does high strength steel deliver? Depending on the design criteria, using high strength steel usually means you can use less of it to get the same end effect. In a car, for example, this means less weight and so better fuel efficiency and lower emissions, resulting in a more sustainable product. This is why the automotive sector has been leading the way in developing new, higher strength steel grades. But even in buildings and structures, less weight can have significant advantages.

The simple advantage of lower weight is less steel and less cost. Structures are usually priced by the tonne and a lower-weight structure uses less tonnes. Higher-strength steels may cost more per tonne, but the reduced weight generally outweighs that cost increase for lower overall cost.

With growing concern over embodied carbon in structures, a simple way to minimise carbon emissions is to use more efficient structures – and high strength steel generally enables this.

But the benefits of weight savings can go beyond simple weight reduction. Often a significant load on structures is self-weight, so reducing the weight of the structure can actually reduce the demands on that structure. And a lower-weight super-structure needs less sub-structure to support it, so further savings can often be achieved, for example in foundations or piling.

This is the thinking behind the latest addition to the  range of true hot finished hollow sections – S460NH.

represents the long-established standard for structural hollow sections to EN 10210 – fully normalized for ultimate reliability. The availability of the S460NH grade within the range brings a step-change in design possibilities, while maintaining the advantages of a fully normalized hollow section – and all with a low CEV to maintain ease of fabrication and welding.

In designing our range of grades and sizes for Celsius, we wanted to ensure that the benefits of high strength steel aren’t just theoretical, but can actually be achieved in practice. Structural hollow sections are generally manufactured and specified in certain steel thicknesses (gauges). Importantly, when comparing S460NH to S355NH, in every case where strength is the limiting factor, it is possible to shift from one standard gauge to a thinner standard gauge.

This means that by using Celsius S460NH, it is generally possible to save at least 20% in the weight of steel compared to using S355, either within the Celsius range or other structural hollow sections.

As an example, using traditional design with S355, for a simply supported column of effective length 6.0m and an axial load of 5,000 kN, a section of 300x300x16mm might be selected. Using Celsius S460NH for the same purpose, a thinner section of 300x300x12.5mm could be used with a weight saving of 21%. Alternatively, S460NH could also enable the use of a smaller section such as 250x250x16mm which also gives a weight saving of 20%, but with a smaller footprint – often an important consideration in designing columns.

To accompany our range of Celsius S460NH grade, our Celsius design app has been updated. The app now includes grades S355NH, S420NH and the new S460NH and provides a quick and simple way of finding the right size of hollow section for any application. The app presents results from all grades side-by-side to make comparisons and weight saving calculations easy, clearly demonstrating the benefits of S460NH.

We all have a part to play in creating a more sustainable future and high strength steel is only one small step on the way there. But the future will also be more cost-efficient and more resource-efficient. Bringing the world of high strength steel to structural hollow sections is an important step forward for the world of steel design and fabrication. Welcome to the future with Celsius S460NH.

To learn more about the size range available in Celsius S460NH or other technical aspects click here. We are also able to offer technical advice and guidance on all aspects of designing with this new grade, alternatively contact us. You can also download our app for either Apple or Android devices.

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