Week Three Research: I-Beam Morphology


Week Three Research Project:


Goal: (note the change in readings from the proposal in week 3)

-This is because of lack of access to the book/unavailability in Martin

-Through reading the Structure in Architecture, the concepts of understanding the structure of buildings and the use and composition of I-beams and there advantage over other constructive tools will be explained.  This will allow for an understand on the use of I-beams and what they can mean and tell a simple observer about the utilitas of the building being examined.


1.)  Salvadori, Mario, Robert A. Heller, Mario Salvadori, and Mario Salvadori. “Beams.”Structure in Architecture: The Building of Buildings. 3rd ed. Englewood Cliffs – N.J: Prentice Hall, 1986. 137-66. Print.

Preface/Reflections of Source:

-Unlike I believed initially Structure in Architecture would provide insight into why certain structures laid their I-beams in a very realistic manor and why others hid the use of the I-beams.  Instead this book allowed me to dig dipper into the use of I-beams and why they provided such a great skeleton for buildings.  Not only were their pros were covered though; their cons were also discussed.  The book also went into a deeper understanding of how the I-beams can be transformed for specific uses that the architect or engineer denotes to satisfy the buildings need.

Summary/Main points of Research:

-In construction there are many types of different beams that can signify the type of loads they are used for.

Cantilevered Beams—Convert vertical loads into horizontal loads

-These beams tend to be the most common and allow for the energy of the load on the building/ the dead weight to be converted into a load that is supported by the base

Simple Support Beams—These beams are supported on both ends and are free to rotate while both expanding and contracting longitudinally.

-These types of beams transfer one half of the stress placed upon it on to its own ends and there for those ends supports.  Thus, the maximum dead load that can be carried is dictated by the supports of the ends of this I-beam

-In many situations these different types of I-beams have to support many different types of stresses.  These factors can result from weather to temperature to compression because of the mass of the building.  Many times it is many of these type stressing acting on the building at once.  This explains why it was so difficult before the use of steel I-beams to create what we refer to today as skyscrapers.  Yet with the creation of steel buildings could grow exponentially taller.

Direct Stress—Compressive and tensile stresses of constant value over the entire cross section of a building or structural unit

Root of a beam—When stress is applied to Cantilever beams the most amount of stress is conducted through the beam to the root.  Thus this makes the root of a beam very liable for problems or fault.





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