Jul 17, 2015 Off Comments in Laser Cutting by

The advancement in laser cutting technology combined with the increasing use of 3D printing could result in significant improvements in developing structural steel. This is according to a Virginia Tech professor, Matthew Eatherton, in this post on advancing structural steel performance.

Eatherton, who has been at work for years in the earthquake-prone state of California, sees an opportunity to take advantage of developments in laser cutting technology in subtractive manufacturing, where material is removed from a structural component, to help steel structures better absorb force from earthquakes.

Eatherton’s research shows how steel plates with intricately designed geometric patterns cut into them can better withstand both everyday loads and extreme events such as high winds, blasts or shocks from an earthquake than the standard solid steel plates currently used.

Structural systems can resist collapse when they can endure large deformations without breaking. This is highly beneficial when structures and buildings are subjected to extreme lateral loads such as during earthquakes and other hazards. The property of these systems, known as ductility, can protect the lives of hundreds of people in buildings when earthquakes occur.

The usual structural systems that depend on shear deformations in steel plates to develop ductility are faced by shear buckling and a potential fracture. Eatherton’s research attempts to transform structural systems that rely on ductile shear deformations. The innovative approach is to improve ductility and energy dissipation ability by tactically removing material from the plates rather than adding more material. This project will develop cutout patterns, and the underlying science, to convert shear deformations into smaller ductile mechanisms that resist buckling.

The research also has effects in the continued development of high-rise buildings, especially in earthquake prone areas.

The progress in the design approach will take some years in order to test. The importance of collaboration with the steel industry and laser cutting technology to facilitate technology transfer and widespread implementation is highly stressed as the research study progress.

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Our turnaround time is also very fast, often 2 or 3 days, and we are equally capable of handling small and large volume production runs. JIT shipping services are also available as a value added service to customers and our additional processing capabilities include powder coating, light fabrication work, welding, cutting, assembly, packaging, and delivery. For more information about our custom laser cutting capability, feel free to contact us directly.