Westok Cellular beams by Kloeckner Metals UK
During the CPD, a representative from Kloeckner Metals UK presented the benefits of Westok Cellular Beams.
Cellular beams are a modification of rolled steel sections or 'I' Beams, where a specified pattern is cut along the length of the web to divide the beam into two halves or 'tees', each tee consisting of one of the flanges and half of the web of the original beam. The tees are then offset longitudinaly and welded back together to create a new beam, this time with the patterns having created perforations along the length of the web. The resulting beam is deeper in section than the original with greater resistance to bending. The perforations can be cut to any size, shape or frequency along the web.
The benefits of creating greater resistance to bending using the same amount of material as a less resistant beam are obvious. But there are further benefits in terms of performance, integraton, ability to produce curved beams and aesthetics.
Due to their greater strength in bending, cellular beams can be used to span greater distances such as the roofs and floors of large buildings. In minimising the need for intemideary support a more economic, versitile and elegant structure is achievable. Since the beams are created using two tees, it is possible to use tees from different beams to create and asymmetical cellular beam. This may be particularly beneficial in composite constuction with a concrete slab for example, where the compressive force is resisted mostly by the slab. In this case a beam with a smaller flange may be used to create a the top half of the beam, thus reducing materials cost.
The perforations along the web of the beam can prove quite useful when services are to be integrated into the section of the building through which the beam spans. The services could be wiring, pipework or ducting for example, and due to the inifinite possible combinations of size, shape and frequency of the perforations along the web, they can be designed to accomodate the services as required.
The patterns cut along the web can be subtly modified to give the resulting cellular beam a specified curvature. This is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to achieve curvature in comparison to conventional beams. This allows for greater design scope and flexibility at relatively low cost.
Aesthetics and ventilation
The perforations in the beams also maximise air-flow and therefore ventilation throughtout the building. The beams can also be exposed to add to the aesthetic interest of the building's interior or exterior.
Where a deeper section is not an issue, cellular beams are a great solution for achieving greater bending resistance using the same amount of material as a solid beam. Longer spans are possible, resulting in buildings with minimised intemediary support and to allow for more versitle and elegant spaces. ease of creatong curvature allows for greater design scope. Added benefits include integratuon of services, greater air flow throughtout the building and being more aesthetically pleasing than a solid steel section.