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Steel in the News

New Book Explores Chicago River Bridges
Posted by Tasha Weiss on February 6, 2014 at 5:52 PM.

chicago-river-bridges-book-cover-copy.jpgA new book entitled Chicago River Bridges, by Patrick McBriarty, presents the evolution and history of Chicago as the “Drawbridge Capital of the World.” This comprehensive guidebook chronicles more than 175 bridges spanning 55 locations along the Main Channel, South Branch and North Branch of the Chicago River.  


Throughout, McBriarty delivers new research into the bridges’ architectural designs, engineering innovations and their impact on Chicagoans’ daily lives. Describing the structure and mechanics of various kinds of movable bridges (including vertical-lift, Scherzer rolling lift and Strauss heel trunnion mechanisms), he explains how the dominance of the “Chicago-style” bascule drawbridge (which is made of steel) influenced the style and mechanics of bridges worldwide.


If you’ll be in Chicago, McBriarty will be providing a Book Launch & Talk on Tuesday, February 18, at 6 p.m. in the Cindy Pritzker Auditorium (lower level) of the Harold Washington Public Library (400 S. State Street). He’ll be giving a multimedia presentation on Chicago’s bridges and the innovation, design and major contributions to moveable bridge technology by Chicagoans. A book signing will begin at 7 p.m. after the presentation.


For additional information on the book and launch event in Chicago, visit the author’s website at

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Download the 2014 NASCC Mobile App!
Posted by Tasha Weiss on February 5, 2014 at 6:07 PM.

Planning your conference experience is now easier with the 2014 NASCC mobile app! By using this interactive digital show guide, you’ll be able to see detailed information on each session and create a personal schedule, scout exhibitors you’d like to visit and connect with other attendees. To download this free app, simply search for “NASCC” in the Android Market or the Apple Store, or download it from This year’s NASCC: The Steel Conference takes place in Toronto, March 26-28 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.  


Key features of the NASCC mobile app include: multiple ways to browse sessions (by day, track, topic or speaker) and ease of bookmarking and prioritizing them; locating booth placement on the show floor, searching exhibitors by name or product category and viewing their website; an easy-to-create personal schedule, as well the option to set reminders and add notes on each session and exhibitor meeting; finding an attendee to send a personal message; and receiving notifications on conference updates.  


The Steel Conference is the premier event for engineers, fabricators, detailers and erectors to learn about structural steel design and construction, to interact with their peers and see the latest products for steel buildings and bridges. The Steel Conference offers more than 100 technical sessions, an extensive trade show with more than 200 exhibitors (featuring products ranging from structural software to machinery for cutting steel beams) and plentiful networking opportunities.


The Steel Conference also incorporates the Structural Stability Research Council’s Annual Stability Conference, the Technology in Steel Construction Conference (TSCC) and the World Steel Bridge Symposium.


For additional information and to register for the conference, visit

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New AISC Course Focuses on Earthquake Engineering for Buildings
Posted by Tasha Weiss on February 4, 2014 at 4:44 PM.

Looking for an educational program that enhances your professional growth and accommodates your busy schedule? AISC offers “Night School,” a web-based, evening curriculum of online courses on various structural steel design and construction topics. Classes begin on Monday, February 24, for the new course focused on “Fundamentals of Earthquake Engineering for Building Structures.”


The course provides a background on seismic effects on structures and concepts that underlie the design of steel. The main objective is to understand the principles of earthquake engineering so that they can be appropriately applied to fundamental procedures of seismic design. Attendees will gain an understanding of the behavior of steel structures under earthquake loading; the course is intended for engineers with little or no experience with seismic design, as well as experienced engineers wishing to refresh their understanding of the principles underlying seismic design.  


The course consists of eight 1.5-hour webinar sessions, all beginning at 7 p.m. (EST):


Session 1: February 24 - Seismology and Earthquake Effects
Session 2: March 3 - Dynamics and Response
Session 3: March 10 - Building Dynamics and Response
Session 4: March 17 - Steel Behavior
Session 5: March 31 - System Ductility and Seismic Design
Session 6: April 7 - Steel Systems
Session 7: April 21 - Building Configuration
Session 8: April 28 - Building Codes


Attendees can register for the course in two ways: register for the entire eight-session package and view the webinars live or recorded, one attendee per connection, earning up to 12 PDHs (1.5 PDHs per session attended) and 1 “EEU” certificate upon passing a series of eight quizzes and a final exam; or, you can sign up for individual webinars to view live only, with an unlimited number of attendees per connection and earn 1.5 PDHs per webinar.
For more information and to register for the course, visit


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Steel Structure Trivia: Double-Name Bridge
Posted by Tasha Weiss on January 31, 2014 at 1:00 PM.


Here’s MSC’s first Steel Structure Trivia question of the year! The new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge, set to open to traffic next Sunday, February 9, connects Illinois with Missouri over the Mississippi River near downtown St. Louis and will be completed just in time to celebrate the city’s 250th birthday next month. The project uses 8,000 tons of structural steel in all, fabricated by W&W/AFCO Steel (an AISC/NSBA member and AISC Certified fabricator), and when complete, it will be the third-longest cable-stayed bridge in the U.S.  Your trivia question is: How did the bridge get its name? Photo: MoDOT and IDOT




The bridge got its name as a compromise between politicians on both sides of the Mississippi River, who had different ideas for the name of the bridge. The Missouri side wanted to name the bridge after the St. Louis Cardinals’ legendary outfielder and first baseman Stan Musial, who died last year, and the Illinois side wished to honor military veterans. In the end both sides won, and this past summer the bridge was officially named the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge (SMVMB).


Congratulations to our winners: Nathan Lang, a senior project engineer with Merrill Iron & Steel, Inc. in Schofield, Wis. (an AISC member and AISC certified fabricator); Bob Brendel, a special assignments coordinator with MoDOT; and Matthew Lombardo, a project structural engineer with McPherson Design Group in Norfolk, Va.


You can read more about the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge project from the November 2013 issue of MSC.


And you can test your steel structure knowledge right here on our MSC website on the last Friday of each month, where a new photo will be posted to the Steel in the News section as our weekly “Steel Shot.” Your challenge is to correctly answer the trivia question provided in the news post, based on what you see in the photo. Our next question will be posted on Friday, February 28, at noon (CST). 




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AISC’s Spring Seminar Series to Visit 24 Cities
Posted by Tasha Weiss on January 30, 2014 at 5:09 PM.

No matter what type of building you’re designing, AISC’s semi-annual Louis F. Geschwindner Seminar Series is a great opportunity to enhance your professional knowledge as you learn from masters in the industry, live and in person. This season, become more efficient in seismic design with a seminar focused on the new edition of the AISC Seismic Design Manual and recently updated AISC Seismic Provisions. This seminar will be offered in 24 cities around the U.S. from February 20 to late May. Register at


This full-day seminar will highlight proper application of key design and detailing requirements featured in the Second Edition AISC Seismic Design Manual and introduce important technical changes contained in the 2010 AISC Seismic Provisions. The presentation will include useful tools and resources, including course notes and design examples, and attendees will receive 0.8 CEUs/8.0 PDHs.


The Second Edition Seismic Design Manual is available for purchase at a discounted rate of $100 (a $350 value) when you pre-register for the seminar; all copies of the Manual will be distributed on-site at the seminar.


For additional information on AISC’s Spring Seminar Series, including registration details and pricing, go to AISC also offers live webinars and other steel-related continuing education opportunities throughout the year. To learn more, visit AISC’s Continuing Education page.

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Engineers Week Offers Students Real-World Experience
Posted by Tasha Weiss on January 29, 2014 at 7:22 PM.

pubdlcntphp.pngEngineers Week is coming up February 16-22 and reaches out to schools, businesses and community groups across the U.S. to offer students various events and resources that provide hands-on experiences with engineering.


Dozens of events are scheduled all over the country, including “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day,” which has introduced more than one million girls and young women to the engineering field. Now in its 13th year, the national event will take place on Thursday, February 20, as part of Engineers Week. 


Engineers Week enters its 63rd anniversary and is organized by DiscoverE (formerly the National Engineers Week Foundation) whose mission is to help unite, mobilize and support the engineering and technology volunteer communities.


For more information on Engineers Week and other DiscoverE programs, visit

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Webinar to Highlight Economical Selection of Open Web Steel Joists
Posted by Tasha Weiss on January 28, 2014 at 1:41 PM.

The Steel Joist Institute (SJI) is hosting a “Economical Selection of Open Web Steel Joists” webinar on Wednesday, February 19 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (EST). The webinar will provide design engineers with suggestions for economical specification and selection of open web steel joists.


Presenters will explore the economies of the various combinations of joists, joist girders, bridging and decking that create bay framing, as well as cost impacts of joist special loads and conditions.


For registration details and pricing, visit

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Steel Shots: The Kelpies
Posted by Tasha Weiss on January 27, 2014 at 9:49 AM.


Towering 100 ft above Scotland’s new Helix Parkland and weighing more than 300 tons each, The Kelpies — the world’s largest pair of equine sculptures — are not only a stunning piece of public art but also a prime example of the diversity of steel, modern computer modeling and excellent structural engineering. Photo: Courtesy of SH Structures


Forming a gateway at the eastern entrance to Scotland’s Forth and Clyde canal, and the new canal extension built as part of The Helix land transformation project set to open this spring, The Kelpies are a monument to horse-powered heritage across the country.


Designed by sculptor Andy Scott, the 100-ft sculptures are built of structural steel with a stainless steel cladding, designed to withstand the elements as they guard the new canal tunnel under the M9 motorway. Construction began last June and was complete by October. The process, however, involved eight years of planning and one year of fabrication and assembly. The steel was fabricated in Yorkshire and transported to Falkirk, where the structures were pieced together using 3D modeling software.


More than 9,842 ft of steel tubing and 600 tons of structural steel was used in the construction process, and more than 10,000 special fixings were used to secure the ’skin’ of the two horses heads (one looking up and one looking down) to the steel framework.


The Kelpies are positioned on either side of a specially constructed lock and basin, part of the redeveloped Kelpies Hub. Dramatically changing the landscape around Falkirk, The Kelpies and the new canal link into the Forth & Clyde Canal are expected to open up the inland waterways to more and bigger vessels and lead to an increase in boating traffic throughout Central Scotland.


Scott’s 1:10 scale models, known as maquettes, have been displayed at various events and locations around Scotland and the U.S., including the Field Museum in Chicago.


To learn more about The Kelpies, visit The Helix website (

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Engineering Journal Q1 Now Available Online
Posted by Tasha Weiss on January 23, 2014 at 5:56 PM.

The first quarter 2014 issue of Engineering Journal is now available online. Click here to view, print and share the current digital edition.


Papers in EJ Q1 include: ej-q4-2014.jpg


  • “Experimental Investigation of Steel Joist Design for Ductile Strength Limit State” by Joseph Robert Yost, Timothy J. Harrington, Joseph J. Pote, Shawn P. Gross and David W. Dinehart
  • “Experimental Verification of Spliced Buckling Restrained Braces” by Kenneth T. Tam, Ronald L. Mayes, David L. McCormick, Anindya Dutta and Craig B. Goings
  • “Local Stability of Double-Coped Beams” by Bo Dowswell and Robert Whyte 


Article searches for the complete collection of EJ remain available at Downloads of current and past articles in PDF format are free to AISC members and ePubs subscribers. Non-AISC members may subscribe to EJ at the AISC bookstore


Is there a steel design topic that you would like to see addressed in more detail? EJ is always looking for your ideas. E-mail them to Keith Grubb, editor, at

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TRB Recommends Uncoated Weathering Steel for Bridges
Posted by Tasha Weiss on January 22, 2014 at 4:53 PM.

A “Report on Performance of Uncoated Weathering Steel (UWS) Highway Bridges Throughout the United States” recently published by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) concludes that UWS bridges perform well in most cases and, considering the economic and environmental benefits, continued or increased use of UWS is regarded as sound engineering practice.


A presentation on the paper at TRB’s recent Annual Meeting reported that (1) the superstructure condition ratings of the majority of UWS bridges are classified as excellent or very good, based on the national criteria for these qualitative descriptors and (2) comparing these ratings of UWS bridges and other steel bridges within representative agencies while accounting for differences in ages of the various populations showed that UWS displays better or similar performance relative to other steel bridges.


The study was performed by the University of Delaware and funded by the Federal Highway Administration. The paper (number 14-1139) is available for download, along with all other papers presented at the meeting, at the 2014 Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers.

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