Advanced Steel Construction

Vol. 4, No. 2, pp. 113-122 (2008)



Leroy Gardner

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus,

London, SW7 2AZ, UK. Tel: +44 (0)207 5946058. Fax: +44 (0)207594 5934

*(Corresponding author: E-mail:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)





The use of stainless steel in structural and architectural applications is growing due, in part, to the material’s attractive appearance, corrosion resistance, ease of maintenance, low life cycle costs and fire resistance, alongside improved and more widespread design guidance and enhanced product availability. This paper explores the aesthetics, economics and design of stainless steel structures, highlighting recent applications in practice and recent advances in research.   Increasingly, the construction industry, in common with most other industries, is expected to consider the longer term economic and environmental implications of material specification. Whilst structural carbon steel generally offers the most economic solution based on initial material costs, alternative metallic materials such as aluminium and stainless steel offer long-term benefits and associated cost savings. Life-cycle cost analyses of carbon steel and stainless steel employed in a range of structural applications are summarized herein.   Although a number of similarities between stainless steel and ordinary carbon steel exist, there is sufficient diversity in their physical properties to require separate treatment in structural design.   In addition to the straightforward differences in basic material properties (such as Young’s modulus and yield strength), further fundamental differences exist, such as the nature of the stress-strain curve and the material’s response to cold-work and elevated temperatures; these have implications at ultimate, serviceability and fire limit states.   Current design rules for stainless steel structures and deficiencies thereof are described in this paper.


Keywords:Aesthetics, cold-work, deformation capacity, design, economics, stainless steel, structures


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