Geometric Properties of Structural Shapes

on . Posted in Structural Engineering

Geometric properties of structural shapes refer to various characteristics and measurements that define the shape and dimensions of different structural members used in construction and engineering.  These properties play a role in the design, analysis, and calculation of the structural behavior of these elements.

Key Points about Geometric Properties

  • Area  -  The cross-sectional area of a structural shape is a fundamental property used to calculate various aspects of its behavior, such as load carrying capacity and stress distribution.
  • Moment of Inertia  -  Measures an object's resistance to changes in rotational motion.  In the context of structural shapes, it's used to assess a shape's stiffness and its ability to resist bending.  Higher moment of inertia values indicate greater resistance to bending deformation.
  • Section Modulus  -  Section modulus is directly related to the moment of inertia and represents the shape's resistance to bending.  It's often used in calculating the maximum bending stress a member can withstand.
  • Radius of Gyration  -  The radius of gyration is a measure of the distribution of an object's area about an axis.  It's used in calculations involving buckling and the estimation of critical loads.
  • Plastic Section Modulus  -  Plastic section modulus accounts for the plastic (yielded) behavior of a section.  It's used in plastic analysis and design, considering material yield before failure.
  • Shear Area  -  Shear area is relevant for assessing shear stresses in a section.  It's particularly important in cases of shear force distribution.
  • Torsional Constant  -  Torsional constant measures a shape's resistance to torsional (twisting) deformation.  It's significant in members subjected to torsional loading, like beams with transverse forces.
  • Elastic and Plastic Centroids  -  The centroid represents the center of gravity of a shape.  Inelastic centroids are important for plastic design and analysis.
  • Principal Axes and Moments of Inertia  -  For asymmetrical shapes, principal axes are the axes of rotation that yield maximum and minimum moments of inertia.  They play a role in assessing the shape's overall stability and behavior.
  • Perimeter and Section Modulus of Gyration  -  These properties are relevant for analyzing composite sections, where different materials or shapes are combined.
  • Aspect Ratio  -  The ratio of the length to the width or height of a shape, which can influence the distribution of loads and stresses.

These properties are essential for structural engineers to perform calculations related to stress, deformation, stability, and overall performance of different structural shapes under various loading conditions.  The geometric properties are typically provided in design manuals and engineering databases for various standard shapes like I-beams, channels, angles, tubes, and more.

These are structural steel shape cross-sections that conform to ASTM A6 / A6m - Standard specification for general requirements for rolled structural steel bars, plates, shapes, and sheetpiling.


Geometric Properties of Structural Shapes

circle 4Circle circle hollow 4Hollow Circle circle thin wall 4Thin Wall Circle circle half 4Half Circle


circle quarter 4Quarter Circle circle sector 4Circle Sector circle segment 4Circle Segment polygon 4APolygon


square 10Square square diamond 2Square Diamond trapezoid 11Trapezoid isosceles trapezoid 4Isosceles Trapezoid


Tags: Structural Steel