Steel construction combines a number of unique features that make it an ideal solution for many applications in the construction industry. Steel provides unbeatable speed of construction and off-site fabrication achieving minimal waste of material, thereby reducing the financial risks associated with site-dependent delays and congestions in the construction process. The inherent properties of steel allow much greater freedom at the conceptual design phase, thereby helping to achieve greater flexibility and quality. In particular, steel construction, with its high strength to weight ratio, maximizes the useable area of a structure and minimizes self-weight, again resulting in cost savings. Recycling of steel structure is well known for decades. A new trend is towards structures that can be reuse. Especially steel and composite (steel/concrete) structures are possible to designed having in mind this requirement. This means that steel constructions are well suited to contribute towards reduction of the environmental impacts of the construction sector and active contribution to the circular economy.
The construction industry is currently facing its biggest transformation as a direct result of the accelerated changes that society is experiencing. Globalization and increasing competition are forcing the construction industry to abandon its traditional practices and intensive labor characteristics and to adopt industrialized fabrication process typical in automotive sector. Innovative and new technologies, such as modularization of buildings and bridges, use of robots in manufacturing and fabrication of structural components, new execution technique which allow reaching higher structures for example towers for wind turbines, innovative connections, structural concepts appropriate for use of HSS, are corners stone of our research projects . This further enhances the attractiveness of steel construction and our competence.
All these advantages can only be achieved by educating engineers with sound technical knowledge of all stages in the life cycle of the construction process (from design, fabrication, construction, operation and maintenance to final dismantling). It is our objective to educate students following the latest standards and developments in which we are actively participating, through the research at European level and standardization work within NEN (Netherlands Institute of Normalization) and CEN (European Centre for Normalization) in The Netherlands and European standardization committees, respectively. A specialization in Steel Structures provides a broad knowledge in the field of steel engineering, steel-concrete engineering and application and design of new materials like fiber-reinforced plastics to strengthen the steel and/or concrete existing structures and to be used in new structures. In our master courses we provide theoretical background to existing codes and apply them to practical situations. The focus of teaching is on a problem solving. With the wide theoretical knowledge and engineering skills, well trained in our laboratory, our former students will be able to design innovative structures, which are beyond the scope of existing structural standards. Engineers that graduate in our group actively contribute to society by innovative designs, safe and sustainable structures.
Furthermore, research is of vital importance for the development of the competitive market position of the steel industry and to renew the knowledge for the new generations. The present knowledge is widely used for new type of structures and for new applications. Our high standard international reputation may be illustrated by the fact that most of our research results in the field of structural connections and on the fatigue behavior of bridge decks form the basis for the European design standard EC3-Eurocode for the Design of Steel Structures.
The mission of the research program of the Steel and Composite Structures group is to develop models, techniques and structural design rules to describe the static and fatigue behavior of structural components of structures of steel, composite steel-concrete and fiber reinforced plastics. These models and techniques enable industry to develop innovative products and structural concepts in a competitive market.
The group pursues a position among the highest ranked international research groups for the specific fields, for example the static and fatigue behavior of joints and connections and the composite action of steel-concrete structures.
In many projects the group collaborates with the national and international technical universities, institutes like TNO and the Materials Innovation Institute (M2i), national and international agencies, the Materials Innovation Institute (M2i), engineering and consultancy offices, contractors, suppliers and fabricators of building components and professional organizations like the Foundation and Society Bouwen met Staal (BmS) and the European Convention of Constructional Steelwork (ECCS).