This section is from the book "Safe Building", by Louis De Coppet Berg. Also available from Amazon: Code Check: An Illustrated Guide to Building a Safe House.

WHEN it becomes necessary to cover floors or spaces of such large span, or to carry loads so heavy, that rolled-beams will not answer the purpose, girders are made up of plates and angles riveted together, and are known according to their section as "riveted plate girders" with single webs (Figure 194), "or riveted box girders" with two or more webs (Figure 195). As a rule, too, riveted girders of equal strength can be more cheaply manufactured than the heavier sections of rolled beams.

Fig 194.

In the case of the former the vertical plate or web has two angle irons riveted horizontally along its entire top edge and the same along its bottom edge, or four in all. In verv light construction the free legs of the angles might answer for the top and bottom flanges, but, as a rule, a plate is riveted to these free legs, at right angles to the web, both top and bottom, thus forming the flanges of the girder. This plate need not necessarily extend the entire length, but it usually does. Where the thickness of flanges required is very great, say one inch or more, each flange is made up of two or more thicknesses or layers of plates. In such cases only the layer nearest to the web is carried the entire length, the other layers gradually decreasing from the point of greatest bending-moment (usually the centre) towards the ends.

Single web girders.

To carry all the layers to the ends in heavy work would be a great extravagance, the only advantage gained being a slight increase in stiffness, which can be very much more readily and economically gained by increasing the depth of web.

In double web box girders only two angles are attached to each web, one at the top and one at the bottom, both on the outside surface of each web. To place angles on the inside surface is impracticable, as webs would have to be placed sufficiently far apart for the "holder-up" to crawl in, and the riveting would not only be weak, having to be done by hand, but it would weaken the flange by just so many additional rivet holes. In short girders with heavy loads, where shearing is the main danger, box girders with three webs are sometimes made ; in that case the middle web has the usual four angles, but the two outside webs only two angles each.

Beyond the additional stiffness sideways, in resisting lateral flexure, there is no particular advantage in using a box girder. It is more clumsy to handle and to make, and not readily painted on all exposed surfaces, and besides is more extravagant of material in proportion to its strength. Where the flange is of great breadth and it becomes desirable to have two or more webs, the writer always prefers to use two or more single web plate girders, and to secure them together with bolts and separators, or by latticing the top and bottom flanges, together.

The angles need not necessarily be even-legged; nor need the web necessarily be of same depth throughout, nor of same thickness throughout. It will, however, greatly simplify the calculation to keep the web uniform throughout, and in most cases the extra labor involved in varying the thickness of web, would more than offset the cost of the unnecessary material at the centre.

Where girders are very deep, the web is made in sections or panels, as already explained. In such cases the web can readily and economically be thickened towards the ends.

Whenever possible, the girder should be cambered up at the centre an amount equal to the calculated deflection. But as girders are usually made of straight plates, and machine riveted and punched, the cambering is rarely practicable. Should the girder, however, show any bending or cambering in transportation, the architect should be sure to have the cambered side placed on top.

Box girders.

Cambering girders.

The calculation of riveted girders is exactly the same as for iron beams, but has the additional element of the number and location of rivets to be looked into, also the stiffness of web and overhang of flanges.

The reactions, vertical shearing, bending-moments, actual and required moments of resistance, deflections, etc., can be calculated arithmetically by the rules given in Chapters I and VI; or graphically by the rules given in Chapter VII (Graphical Analysis Of Transverse Strains).

The rules for calculating riveted work were given in the previous chapter (IX).

The only new matter is to find what the strain on the rivets will be. It will be readily seen that when a plate girder is loaded the tendency of the flanges and angle irons is to slide horizontally past the web (see Figures 120 to 125).

This tendency to slide is called the horizontal flange strain. The rivets connecting angles to web resist this tendency and there must be sufficient rivets to do this safely.

The total amount of this tendency to slide or horizontal flange strain between any selected point of girder and the nearer end of girder, is equal to the bending-moment at the selected point, divided by the depth of web of girder at the point, or Horizontal flange strain.

s = m/d

(121)

Where s = the total strain, in pounds, coming on all the rivets connecting either top or bottom flange to web, between any selected point of girder and the nearer end.

Where m= the bending-moment in pounds-inch, at the selected point of girder.

Where d = the total depth, in inches, of the web of girder at the selected point.

The above strain s will exist in both top and bottom flanges and will be resisted by all the respective rivets in either top or bottom flange that connect the angles to the web.

It should now be ascertained which is the weakest resistance of each rivet, whether it be to bearing (compression), to shearing, or to bending, and this weakest resistance divided into strain s, as found by Formula (121) will, of course, give the number of rivets required along each edge of web between the selected point and the nearer end of girder.

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