Metal Frames In Construction

Metal Building & ConstructionHollow structural sections (HSS) or structural hollow sections (SHS) are a type of hollow metal bar with a tubular cross section. Generally an HSS will have a rectangular or circular section although there are other types available such as hex bars or ellipticals. Structural steel is always used to abide by building codes.

Although sometimes incorrectly referred to as hollow structural steel, HSS can also be properly termed tube steel or structural tubing. Circular HSS is also sometimes called steel pipe or metal round tube, which is not technically incorrect although steel pipes and tubes tend to be classed and dimensioned differently from any HSS sections. The UK uses the terms circular and rectangular hollow sections (CHS and RHS) but again dimensions and tolerances tend to be a bit different from true HSS as used in the USA.

HSS is most often used in welded steel frames which will experience loading in multiple directions. The normal square and circular cross sections are extremely efficient for this type of load as the uniform geometry gives excellent strength characteristics along all axes. They also have good resistance to torque related twisting (torsion) and are commonly used for columns. It is not uncommon for HSS to be used as beams but wide flange or l-beam shapes are often more efficient despite HSS having better resistance to buckling along its length due to twist torques and other forces.

The rectangular metal box sections of HSS are considered very easy to use for construction purposes and are even sometimes left exposed for aesthetic reasons in some modern structures. It is made in the same way as pip, with flat plate steel gradually changed in shape to become round with edges presented ready for welding to form the so-called “mother tube” (also the round variety of HSS) which is then shaped into the final square or rectangular shape. There are different standards of manufacture depending on the locality – the US usually adheres to ASTM A500, Canada to both this and CSA G40.21 and European to EN 10210.

HSS is also sometimes filled with concrete to make Lally columns, which improve fire rating as well as general resilience. The structure is named after its inventor, John Lally of Massachusetts, but is often pronounced as “lolly column” instead. The most common usage of Lally columns is in parking bollards where the concrete filling adds inexpensive compressive strength to the bollard which resists denting despite not particularly improving the overall structural properties.

For a wide range of metal channels, sections, bars and tubes for a wide variety of applications in industry, construction or any other project you can name, visit www.clickmetal.co.uk today. 

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