Curved Steel in Construction? No worries!

Whenever I talk to architects and engineers about bending beams, bending pipes, or any other steel section bending, three questions usually come up:

  • Is it structurally sound?
  • Is it too expensive? And
  • Is it readily available to meet a demanding construction schedule.

Is it structurally sound?

  • Writing specifically about steel beam bending, Reidar Bjorhovde addressed this question in the  Engineering Journal/Fourth Quarter/2006. “When a shape has been curved successfully, with no buckling or localized cracking, the strains the member will experience under actual service conditions will be much smaller than those associated with the curving operation. Once the curving is done, the member can be expected to perform as intended.”
  • Although not definitive, based on the experience of most if not all of the major benders and rollers in the world, there has not been an incident of failure in recent memory as the result of incorporating correctly formed curved steel members.
  • The curving process, at least when it is done cold, actually causes the tensile and yield to increase.  There may be some reduction in ductility, but except in seismic applications or where there are both temperature variations and live loading, this diminution in ductility is insignificant in the application.
  • More research will probably be done regarding tube bending due to the increasingly popular use of HSS sections in construction

Is it too expensive?

  • Here, perhaps, the question is whether the structural steel bending contributes more to the overall design than the cost of the steel bending.  Whether the curved steel helps form a attractive small canopy for an otherwise prosaic structure or creates the enormous curved roof trusses of a structure like the University of Phoenix Stadium,  curved steel can add both beauty and functionality to almost any size project.
  • The fact that dozens of Bender/Rollers provide the service of curving steel across North America ensures that pricing will be competitive.  Call us for a quick, reliable, consistent quotation or for budgetary pricing.

Is it readily available to meet the most demanding construction schedule?

  • It is our experience that even in these economically challenging times, quick turn-around times are still required.  Turn-around times range from 1 or 2 days to 1-2 weeks with some companies offering same-day service.  Adequate supplies of material at mills and service centers also allow for quick delivery.

What concerns, if any, do you have with using curved steel in your construction projects?

George Wendt, President
Chicago Metal Rolled Products


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