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AISC Offers Electronic Design Aids

March 19, 2003 From American Institute of Steel Construction, Inc.

The American Institute of Steel Construction, Inc. has posted Clean Columns v3.1 on the Steel Tools™ section of the AISC website located at www.aisc.org/steeltools. Clean Columns is a downloadable, Visual Basic enhanced Excel file that helps engineers reduce the overall cost of steel framing on their project in a matter of minutes.

Clean Columns v3.1 calculates the minimum weight column section that can be used without stiffeners and/or double plates to develop a specified percentage of a selected beam’s plastic moment capacity based on the criteria in AISC Design Guide #13. Clean Columns prompts the user to provide loads and member sizes. This tool then identifies the lightest column section that can be used without stiffeners and/or double plates.

Column stiffeners can increase the cost of a moment connection by an equivalent 1000 pounds of steel. With structural steel still selling at 1970s prices, you can increase the column size by more that 100 lb/ft to eliminate stiffeners and doubler plates and still save money--proving once again that least weight is not least cost.

As part of the Steel Solutions Center on the AISC website, the Steel Tools™ section makes designing with Steel easier than ever before. “AISC’s Steel Tools are developed by the Steel Solutions Center in conjunction with experienced members of the institute’s technical committees and other leading industry experts,” explained Roberta Marstellar, P.E., Steel Solutions Center Director. “As a result, Clean Columns v3.1 is a very comprehensive resource for both veteran and younger designers. Our goal is to provide online tools that help make designers more efficient when working with steel.”

Other resources posted in the Steel Tools™ section include:

Parametric Bay Studies v4.1
This tool helps engineers answer questions such as: “Is it less expensive to increase the size of the beams than to camber?” and “Is it more efficient to frame the beams in the long direction or the short?” Parametric Bay Studies v4.1 designs a typical bay in a composite steel framed structure and optimizes the design for either the overall weight or the relative cost of the framing system.

Surface Area v1.1
This Visual Basic enhanced Excel spreadsheet helps engineers and architects quickly estimate how much paint or fire proofing material they will need for their steel structure. The user provides typical member sizes for interior/exterior beams and girders as well as interior columns and the spreadsheet quickly calculates the amount of surface area requiring coating on the project.

For more information contact:

Scott Melnick
VP of Communications
(312) 670-8314
[email protected]


American Institute of Steel Construction
The American Institute of Steel Construction, headquartered in Chicago, is a not-for-profit technical institute and trade association established in 1921 to serve the structural steel design community and construction industry. AISC’s mission is to make structural steel the material of choice by being the leader in structural steel-related technical and market-building activities, including: specification and code development, research, education, technical assistance, quality certification, standardization, and market development. AISC has a long tradition of service to the steel construction industry of providing timely and reliable information. 

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