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Munich West: Peddinghaus Brings Oktoberfest to Illinois
Posted by MSC on September 5, 2008 at 1:53 PM.

Peddinghaus Corporation will be opening the doors to its Bradley, Ill. facilities this September 24-27 for Oktoberfest 2008. Oktoberfest has long been a tradition of Peddinghaus’ celebration of innovations in technology as well as industry partnerships from around the world. The event will bring together professionals from every corner of the globe to discuss what matters most to their company and the businesses they are involved in. Oktoberfest is a recurring event hosted by Peddinghaus in which the company revisits its German roots while offering industry professionals fulfilling and meaningful experiences. There will be nearly 20 Peddinghaus machines on display, operated by the engineers and production staff who created them.  


Attendees will experience hospitality the Peddinghaus way through:


  • Networking with global fabricators in a relaxed environment      
  • Witnessing the unveiling of four new machines      
  • Meeting industry leaders in steel fabrication at the onsite trade fair       
  • Touring our new production facility   
  • Discussing market trends with industry experts
  • Visiting Chicago—the home of steel construction and the world’s first skyscrapers       
  • Meeting the entire Peddinghaus team: engineering, customer service, production—everybody who serves them


Current customers, new business, and people interested in improving their processes are welcome to join us for four days of food, fun, and fabrication. Oktoberfest will come to a rousing grand finale provided by the Peddinghaus team sure to be memorable. The events will last all day, every day.  Join us as we continue our Oktoberfest tradition!


For more information, visit and click on the Oktoberfest link on the top right-hand corner of the page.

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May the Best Welder Win
Posted by MSC on September 5, 2008 at 10:23 AM.

Sparks will fly—literally—at the AWS Skills Competition Weld-Off, an event testing students’ welding skills. A component of the SkillsUSA Competition, the Weld-Off is among the highlights of the 2008 FABTECH International and AWS Welding Show, Oct. 6-8 in Las Vegas.


Sponsored by the American Welding Society, it requires welders to demonstrate their skills by completing standard test weldments (plate and pipe), sheet metal projects in aluminum and stainless steel, and a pressure vessel. Welds will be judged by AWS Certified Welding Inspectors for soundness and appearance. Written skills and welding code interpretation also will be considered.


Six finalists, selected from 24 student welders that participated in the SkillsUSA Championships in 2007 and 2008, will compete in the Weld-Off this year and only three will qualify to advance to the SkillsUSA U.S. Open Weld Trials in 2009. The U.S. Open Weld Trials Champion will represent the United States at the WorldSkills Competition in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 2009. The AWS U.S. Open Weld Trials winner will receive a four-year scholarship, sponsored by the Miller Electric Manufacturing Co., worth $40,000 from the AWS Foundation, a four-year AWS membership, an AWS Certification and up to $1,000 in AWS publications.


For more on FABTECH International and AWS Welding Show and the AWS Skills Competition Weld-Off, visit

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Student Bridges Shine in the Sunshine State
Posted by MSC on September 5, 2008 at 10:10 AM.

The University of Florida’s Stephen C. O’Connell Center was full of students this past May 23-24, but the majority of them weren’t Gators.


Civil engineering students from around the country, as far away as Hawaii, traveled to the Gainesville campus, as the school played host to the 17th annual AISC/ASCE National Student Steel Bridge Competition. This year’s contest ended with the University of California, Berkeley taking first place for the first time in their history. California’s win ended North Dakota State University’s bid for a three-peat; that school had won in 2006 and 2007. The University of Florida (UF) and the University of California, Davis took second and third place respectively.


For the 42 participating universities, the goal of the competition was to design, fabricate, and build the most efficient 21-ft steel bridge that could support a vertical load of 2,500 lbs. Each bridge was ranked in six categories: Construction Speed, Lightness, Aesthetics, Stiffness, Economy, and Efficiency. Teams spent the entire year and countless hours preparing for the competition.


Beyond the Bridge

For the University of Florida, however, designing an award-winning bridge was only part of the goal. As the host school, the larger feat was figuring out how 42 bridges were going to be assembled and tested in only eight hours.

Nearly 650 students, professors, and professionals attended the competition expecting the competition to run smoothly and efficiently. What many of them didn’t realize is that well before the rules were released in August of 2007—and even before many students knew they would even be on a steel bridge team—students at the UF were already preparing for the 2008 competition. In fact, Dr. Tom Sputo, UF ASCE Faculty Advisor, began the long process in 2006 when he requested that UF be considered as the host of the 2008 NSSBC.


A small committee of dedicated students was assembled in to plan, coordinate, and execute the competition. The students, with already busy schedules—juggling homework and oftentimes a job, as well as other responsibilities—added another demanding item to their plate, spending countless hours making hotel arrangements, setting up contracts with vendors, contacting professionals to be judges, and coordinating with the qualifying universities to make sure they were ready for the competition. Many of the venues, including the O’Connell Center and the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom, were reserved two years in advance—even before the 2007 NSSBC, hosted by the University of California, Northridge.


Student Director of the competition and AISC summer intern James Falls described his experience: “You have to be dedicated and proud to host the best student engineering competition in the country. It was a tremendous amount of work but extremely rewarding when two years of hard work all comes together.” Without question, the students in charge from year to year are the unsung heroes that make the competition possible.


Fromy Rosenberg, AISC’s Director of University Relations, commented, “This is the premier competition for student engineers. It brings together everything students have learned in the classroom. Participating students practice basic steel design and fabrication, project scheduling and management, and gain hands-on appreciation for the strength and versatility of structural steel.”


In order to reach the National Student Steel Bridge Competition, student teams nationwide competed in 18 regional competitions. The winners in those competitions were invited to compete in the national event. This year, a total of 182 universities competed in the regional Student Steel Bridge Competitions.

The 2009 NSSBC competition will be hosted by the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), May 22-23, 2009—and yes, UNLV has already been preparing for months.


SIDEBAR: 2008 NSSBC Winners Overall

  1. University of California, Berkeley
  2. University of Florida
  3. University of California, Davis


Construction Speed 

  1. SUNY College of Technology at Canton
  2. University of California, Berkeley
  3. University of Wyoming



  1. University of California, Berkeley
  2. Virginia Polytechnic Institute
  3. University of Florida



  1. Iowa State University 
  2. South Dakota School of Mines
  3. University of Wisconsin-Madison



  1. University of Missouri, Kansas City
  2. University of Wisconsin, Madison
  3. Seattle University



  1. SUNY College of Technology at Canton
  2. University of California, Berkeley
  3. University of Florida



  1. University of California, Berkeley
  2. University of California, Davis
  3. University of Florida


Full results for the overall competition and each category are posted on the official 2008 NSSBC website,

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Third Quarter 2008 Article Abstracts
Posted by MSC on September 5, 2008 at 10:03 AM.

Third Quarter 2008 Article Abstracts The following papers appear in the third quarter 2008 issue of AISC’s Engineering Journal. EJ is available online to AISC members and ePubs subscribers at


Fracture Modeling of Rectangular Hollow Section Steel Braces 

Xiang Ding, Douglas Foutch, and Sang-Whan Han


Steel braced frames are widely used in all regions of the U.S. including those with high levels of seismicity. Rectangular hollow sections (RHS) are popular because of good section properties and ease of construction. A refined beam model has been developed which is efficient for use in finite element models of buildings. It accounts for local buckling and fracture in the brace and is shown to have good accuracy for nonlinear seismic analyses.


Topics: Seismic Design, Hollow Structural Sections, Stability and Bracing


Design Aid for Triangular Bracket Plates Using AISC Specifications

Shilak Shakya and Sriramulu Vinnakota


This paper presents a model to determine the nominal strength of a triangular steel bracket plate using the column strength equations in AISC Specification.  Also included are two design tables for such bracket plates for two grades of steel.  The nominal strengths obtained by using the relations developed by the authors are compared with the available experimental results and results from other available theoretical approaches.  The authors’ approach predicts results closer to the experimental results than the other theoretical approaches.  Two example problems are worked to illustrate the use of the design tables.


Topics: Connections-Simple Shear, Columns and Compression Members, Steel  


A Comparison of Frame Stability Analysis Methods in ANSI/AISC 360-05

Charles J. Carter and Louis F. Geschwindner


Two simple unbraced frames are used to illustrate the application of the following four frame stability analysis methods:


1. The Second-Order Analysis Method (ANSI/AISC 360-05, Section C2.2a)

2. The First-Order Analysis Method (ANSI/AISC 360-05, Section C2.2b)

3. The Direct Analysis Method (ANSI/AISC 360-05, Appendix 7)

4. The Simplified Method (13th Ed. Steel Construction Manual page 2-12; AISC Basic Design Values cards)


Topics:  Analysis, Specifications, Stability and Bracing  


Effects of Slab Post-Tensioning on Supporting Steel Beams in Steel Framed Parking Deck Structures 

Bhavna Sharma and Kent A. Harries 


AISC Design Guide 18, Steel Framed Open-Deck Parking Deck Structures, discusses the use of cast-in-place post tensioned concrete slabs in steel framed parking structures. In Section of Design Guide 18, the authors reflect on the manner in which the post-tensioning force is resisted by and affects the supporting beam: in a non-composite or composite manner. They conclude that the post-tensioning force is carried almost entirely in a composite manner (minus effects of shrinkage and elastic shortening). This conclusion is based on results of unpublished research and is corroborated by earlier design guidance. The objective of this field study is to quantitatively assess the effect that slab post-tensioning forces have on their supporting steel members. 


Keywords:  Beams and Flexural Members, composite construction  


Current Steel Structures Research  

Reidar Bjorhovde 


Topic:  Research

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From the Shipyard to the Backyard
Posted by MSC on September 5, 2008 at 9:59 AM.

By James Falls


Steel containers have been a mainstay in the world’s shipping industry ever since 1956, when U.S. trucking entrepreneur Malcolm McLean loaded 58 steel containers aboard the tanker Ideal-X and sailed them from Newark, N.J. to Houston.


But what happens to these containers when they are “retired?” At the end of its lifespan, a container is traditionally sold for scrap or, when it’s cost-effective, shipped back to its country of origin. But today, many retired containers are finding new life—as garages or spare bedrooms. Known as intermodal steel building units (ISBU), these repurposed containers are being used to build strong, sustainable, and durable structures.


Some major shipping companies are selling their used containers for approximately $1,200 each, and many containers are being sold over the Internet. A search for “shipping container” returned more than 100 advertisements for shipping containers in the U.S.—all of which were listed for less than $3,000 each.

The standard dimensions of a container are 8 ft in width, 8 ft 6 in. or 9 ft 6 in. in height, and lengths of 20 ft, 40 ft, 45 ft, 48 ft, and 53 ft. The containers are made from high-strength COR-TEN steel, water-resistant, and designed to resist harsh oceanic environments, making more than acceptable for use in building construction.


Dropping Anchor


Transforming an ISBU into a useable structure is fairly straightforward. Since they are originally designed for efficient transportation, they can easily be relocated to a construction site. After delivery, holes for doors, windows, and other desired openings are cut in the sides. The ISBU is then lifted by crane onto the building foundation and securely welded to the foundation; when properly anchored, it can resist winds of up to 175 miles per hour.


Commonly, several ISBUs are stacked on top of each other or placed side-by-side to form a large home or office building. The steel is insulated with a ceramic powder, making it rust-proof and preventing mildew build-up. Typical exterior and interior finishes such as drywall, stucco, and wood are then attached to the steel frame as desired. At this point, the transformation from a sea-faring shipping container to a durable, static structure is complete.


Mixed Use


ISBUs can be used to build a multitude of different structures. Architects use them to build custom homes and trendy bungalows of all sizes and shapes. The U.S. military uses them to set up temporary command centers and training facilities. ISBUs are also very useful as emergency shelters and temporary housing, as they can be delivered quickly and set up with little effort. Press boxes, concession stands, storage facilities, radar stations, and apartment buildings have also employed ISBUs.


In addition, several notable projects around the world have been constructed using these special steel boxes. Architect Peter DeMaria designed a two-story home using eight ISBUs in Southern California; the 3,500-sq.-ft home was awarded the 2007 AIA Honor Award for Design Excellence/Innovation. In Whistler, Canada, home of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, 294 rooms are being constructed to make up for a shortfall in living spaces for workers, media, and volunteers. Also, the Nomadic Museum, built in 2005 in New York to house a photography exhibit, used 152 shipping containers for its exterior walls. (Interestingly, the museum was dismantled and then rebuilt in Santa Monica, California a year later and Tokyo the following year.) And in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, hundreds of containers are double-stacked to create the Dordoy Bazaar, a large wholesale and retail market; an estimated 6,000 to 7,000 containers stretch more than a kilometer long to make up one of the largest commercial centers in the region.


The use of shipping containers to build structures is still in its infancy, but with a little imagination and creativity it is possible to construct almost anything. So the next time you walk by a shipyard or rail yard and see an empty shipping container, don’t assume it will be crossing an ocean—it might just turn out to be your neighbor’s new kitchen.


James Falls is a summer intern with AISC.


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Best Practices for Installing Steel Sheet Piling
Posted by MSC on September 5, 2008 at 9:57 AM.

The North American Steel Sheet Piling Association (NASSPA) earlier this year announced the publication of its Best Practices Steel Sheet Piling Installation Guide. This updated and revised manual provides an authoritative guide to the methods of installing steel sheet piling.  


The goal is to describe practices that ensure proper steel wall installation, and convey the importance of predicting the “driveability” of sheet piling sections following a thorough evaluation of all ground conditions. The manual presents an inventory of the existing driving systems, from impact hammers to vibratory piling drivers and special systems, and also provides a description of driving methods, ancillary equipment (including guide frames), and all necessary procedures to follow when installing sheet pilings. Finally, some common installation problems are illustrated and several special aspects of driving are briefly outlined. 


The guide can be downloaded from the NASSPA web site, A hard copy is available upon request; call 866.658.8667.

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Indiana Fabricator Wins Free Audit
Posted by MSC on September 5, 2008 at 9:56 AM.

Indiana Steel and Engineering Corp., a fabricator in Bedford, Ind., has won Quality Management Company’s drawing for a free audit.


Since October, 2006, QMC has been administering a voluntary Customer Satisfaction Survey of AISC Certified Fabricators and Erectors upon receipt of their certificate. The objective of the survey is to improve the certification process from invoicing to the audit to issuing the certificate, and companies that complete the survey are automatically entered into the drawing. QMC will draw for another free audit in six months, so keep those surveys coming in!

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Covering the Colts
Posted by MSC on September 5, 2008 at 9:55 AM.

On September, 7 the Indianapolis Colts will play their first game at the brand-new Lucas Oil Stadium. Designed by architect HKS, Inc., the stadium seats 63,000 (and can be expanded to 70,000 when it hosts the Super Bowl in 2012). The playing field is 25 ft below street level, allowing fans unobstructed views from their easily accessed seats. 


At the Colts’ first game in its new home—against the Chicago Bears—fans will be sitting beneath an engineering milestone. The stadium’s steel roof, designed by structural engineer Walter P Moore, is the first ever to divide lengthwise into two retractable panels—each 160 ft long x 600 ft wide and 2.9 million lb each—with each half sliding down the steep, gabled roof of the stadium into the open position. A 960-hp cable drum drive system moves the retractable roof panels up and down the sloped track in 9 to 11 minutes depending on wind conditions. (Structural steel was fabricated by Hillsdale Fabricators.) 


The project also features a retractable end wall consisting of six glass panels that move to create an 85-ft-tall x 210-ft-wide opening. Each panel rides on a steel rail while the wall opens and closes, and is supported by two hardened steel wheels.

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