Steel application research in construction
Fifty years ago, the steel producing industry founded the Society for Studies in Steel Application e. V., later FOSTA e. V., with the intent of strengthening steel use in the various fields of application. Since then, numerous research projects have been promoted and the results have led to a deeper understanding of steel construction methods.
With more than 200 research projects in the field of construction, FOSTA has initiated significant innovations of the past 50 years, from the idea to the proof of possible application. Individual topics such as lighthouses stand out mostly from the large amount of funded research project.
The increase in recent years, in the material strength of steel has created new challenges and opportunities. Only the development and adaptation of modern, technologically advanced regulations, for example with regard to the design of welds or toughness, enables particularly delicate structures whose bearing capacity is often determined by the appearance of stability phenomena, which is also a topic of current research projects.
Today’s natural application of the steel composite construction method is based on numerous research projects of the 1980s and further projects on new construction methods such as composite flat roof systems in more recent times. Likewise, the scientific contributions to the reaction to fire of steel components have supported the efforts throughout Europe to develop the hot design, so that one can mathematically prove this exceptional situation and thus protect the life and limb of users.
Novel designs with efficient, resource conserving load carrying structures, which at the same time enable cost effective production, were and are the central research goals of FOSTA.
The in depth understanding of the load bearing and deformation behavior of hollow section constructions and their principles of connection could only be developed on the basis of numerous experimental and research results and then converted into engineering technology adaptable evaluation formats. This applies both to welded designs of fatigue proof trusses made of round hollow profiles with thick walled belts (P 815 and P 1163) as well as to designs with cast nodes.
From the first published research report "P 01-Soundproofed Steel Structures in Bridge Construction" from 1978 to more recent research such as the recently published research report "P 1150 Usability of Weather resistant Structural Steel in Bridge Construction", numerous bridge construction projects have been supported over the past 50 years. Many have contributed to standardisation, others have led to improvements in manufacturing, and still others have provided the basis for new forms of support that are now being used in practice.
High strength and efficient load carrying structures are also evident in metal lightweight construction facades. Cassette and sandwich facades, originally out of the idea of combining a high load bearing lightweight construction with exposed construction properties, are nowadays a daily feature due to FOSTA research work.
Structures are long term objects. Durability and strength are the postulates that are the defining goal of building design. Here too, FOSTA has set an example by placing it as a paradigm in the center of the Cluster Sustainability of Steel in Construction (NASTA), which has scientifically proven and expressed the sustainable construction of steel in more than 8 large collaborative research projects with the participation of various research institutions. Typical examples of the connection between sustainability and the topic of sustainability are the projects for complete evaluation in steel and composite bridge construction (P 843 and P 978). It is precisely these projects in the research cluster coordinated by FOSTA that have made a significant contribution and team work among researchers and also cooperation in practical experience.
The constant exchange of researchers with the practice during the research work is an essential control tool of the research projects supervised by FOSTA. As a result, the highest possible user relevance and acceptance is possible and thus rapid implementation into economically and technically successful solution approaches.
The contribution of FOSTA to steel application research in the construction industry is therefore noticeably high and is also reflected in the numerous research projects that are also regularly presented as part of the DASt colloquium (German Steel Construction Committee).
The idea of steel application research has taken on a great development to this day, setting sustainable highlights and promoting groundbreaking research projects.
Best conditions for the future.
Markus Feldmann, Ulrike Kuhlmann, Thomas Ummenhofer, Dieter Ungermann