What Are Buildings Columns?
Building columns are vertical structural elements that provide support for the weight of a building or structure.
They are typically cylindrical or square-shaped and are made of materials such as concrete, steel, or brick.
The columns are placed at regular intervals throughout the building and are connected to horizontal beams or slabs to form a structural framework.
Building columns come in different sizes and shapes depending on the building’s design and purpose. For example, columns in a high-rise building will be larger and stronger than those in a single-story building.
Columns can also be designed with different decorative elements to enhance the building’s appearance.
Columns are an essential component of a building’s structural integrity, as they distribute the weight of the building’s floors and roof to the foundation below.
The size and spacing of the columns are determined by the building’s load-bearing requirements, which are calculated based on the building’s size, shape, and materials.
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Importance of Column Construction In Structures?
- Columns carry axial loads and therefore are designed for compression forces.
- Other loads like snow load, wind load, or other horizontal forces can cause bending in the structure, to prevent the failure or settlement of the structural columns provided.
- We shall build up a small size structure with random rubble masonry at a certain height but the multi-story building cannot be constructed by random rubble masonry because the structure is capable to transmit the heavy load to the base of the foundation.
- The column is generally designed to distribute the compressive axial load & additional forces like snow, and wind to the foundation evenly and it could be sustained the structure even in an earthquake or in any other forces.
Types of Columns Used In Construction
The various column types of columns used in construction are,
A. Based on the Shape
1. Square or Rectangular Column
They are commonly used in the construction of buildings and heavy structures.
It is much more effortless to construct and cast rectangular or square columns than circular ones because of the ease of shuttering and to support it from collapsing due to pressure while the concrete is still in flowable form.
The square or rectangular ones are better and cheapest in cost.
2. Circular Column
Circular columns are mostly used in the piling and elevation of buildings for aesthetic purposes.
In a circular column, more than 4 longitudinal steel bars are used as reinforcement bars and their bending resistance is generally higher than the square or rectangular column.
Other than buildings, circular columns are mostly used as bridge pillars due to good resistance against deflection.
3. L and T shaped Column
Generally, the L-shaped column is utilized in the corners of the boundary wall and has similar characteristics to a rectangular or square column.
The T-shaped column is utilized based on the design requirements of a structure. It is widely used in the construction of bridges.
B. Based on the Type of Reinforcement
4. Tied Column
This is usually constructed from reinforced concrete. Longitudinal reinforcements are confined within closely spaced tie reinforcement.
If ties are spaced too far apart, the column will experience shear failure and barreling in between ties. It is estimated that 95% of all columns in buildings are tied columns.
5. Spiral Column
When spiral columns are reinforced with closely and uniformly spaced spiral reinforcement, they are also known as spiral columns.
Mostly the spiral columns are providing to support in the transverse direction and prevent the column from barreling. Spirally reinforced columns generally consist of 6 bars as longitudinal reinforcement.
6. Composite Column
These columns consist of structural steel or cast iron column enclosed with concrete, reinforced with longitudinal as well as spiral reinforcement.
Composite columns are widely used in truss structures to avoid the corrosion of steel. This type of column has more adequate strength with a fairly small cross-section, in addition, to exhibiting good fire performance.
C. Based on the Type of Loading
7. Axially Loaded Column
If vertical axial loads act on the center of gravity of the cross-section of the column, then it is termed as an axially loaded column.
The axially loaded column is rare in construction since coinciding vertical loads on the center of gravity of the column section are not practical.
The Interior column of multi-story buildings with symmetrical loads from floor slabs from all sides is an example of this type of column.
8. Uniaxial Eccentrically Loaded Column
The axis of vertical loads doesn’t cross with the C.G. (center of gravity) of a cross-section of the column but rather acts eccentrically either on the X or Y axis of the column cross-section, then it is called a uniaxial eccentrically loaded column.
A column with this loading system is used in the case of columns with rigidly connected beams from one side only such as edge columns.
9. Biaxial Eccentrically Loaded Column
When vertical loads on the column do not coincide with the center of gravity of the column cross-section and do not act on either axis (X and Y axis), then the column is called a biaxial eccentrically loaded column.
Columns with bi-axial loading are mostly used in corner columns with beams rigidly connected at right angles at the top of columns. These types of columns are used in special types of construction.
D. Based on Slenderness Ratio
10. Short Column
If the ratio of the effective length of the column to the least lateral dimension is less than 12, the column is called the short column. A short column fails by crushing the concrete (pure compression failure).
11. Long Column
If the ratio of the effective length of the column to the least lateral dimension exceeds 12, it is called a long column.
A long column fails by bending or buckling. Long columns are weaker compare to short columns of the same cross-sectional area and are not generally preferred.
E. Based on Construction Materials
12. Reinforced Concrete Column
A column that is reinforced with steel is known as a reinforced concrete column. This column is majorly used in building construction.
Concrete is strong in compression and weak in tension. Therefore, steel reinforcement is provided to increase its tension capacity.
13. Steel Column
A column that is made from steel is known as a steel column. There are huge trends in steel structure construction in the world.
The steel structure is comparatively more flexible, strong, and durable than the concrete structure. There are different types of steel columns like the T-section steel column which is most commonly used in steel structures.
14. Timber Column
A column that is made from timber is known as a timber column. Timber columns are popular in the previous century.
Timber is mostly seen in the old building because at that time it is only construction materials that are easily available.
The timer is a strong and durable construction material if it is given proper treatment. Timber seasoning is done to remove the moisture from wood which provides it strength and reduces weight.
15. Brick Column
Brick masonry types of columns are generally used in load-bearing structures. It plays a vital role in supporting and increasing the stability of the masonry structure.
Sometimes, the construction of brick masonry columns over the concrete column increases its aesthetic appearance. Brick masonry columns may have different cross-sections like round, rectangle or square, or elliptical.
16. Block Column
Block types of columns are constructed from AAC blocks or cement concrete blocks. The Block column’s structural weight is less compared to a concrete column.
17. Stone Column
- The types of columns which are made using stones and rubble are known as the stone column. There are most used to increase the aesthetic appearance of the house.
In conclusion, building columns are crucial elements of any building’s structural system. They provide essential support to distribute the weight of the building’s floors and roof to the foundation below.
Columns come in various sizes and shapes, depending on the building’s design and purpose, and can be made from different materials such as concrete, steel, or brick.
The size and spacing of the columns are determined by the building’s load-bearing requirements. Columns not only provide structural support but can also serve as an architectural feature that enhances the building’s overall aesthetic appeal.
They can be designed with decorative elements to complement the building’s design and style, adding to its overall visual impact.
Maintenance and regular inspections are necessary to ensure that columns remain structurally sound and continue to provide support to the building.
Any damage or deterioration to the columns can compromise the building’s structural integrity, so prompt repairs are essential.
In summary, building columns are critical components of any building’s structural system, providing essential support and contributing to the building’s overall architectural design.
What are building columns?
Building columns are vertical structural elements used in construction to support the load from the upper floors or roof and transfer it to the foundation. They provide stability, strength, and help distribute the weight of the structure evenly.
What factors determine the type of column used in construction?
The selection of the column type depends on various factors, including:
Architectural style and design requirements.
Load-bearing capacity and structural requirements.
Aesthetic preferences and visual appeal.
Material availability and cost.
Environmental conditions, such as seismic activity or corrosion.
Construction timeline and ease of installation.
How are columns constructed?
Columns are constructed by placing formwork (temporary molds) in the desired shape and size of the column. Reinforcement bars are then placed within the formwork, followed by pouring concrete or other suitable materials into the formwork. Once the concrete has cured and hardened, the formwork is removed, and the column is ready for use.
Can columns be decorative elements in buildings?
Yes, columns can serve both structural and decorative purposes in buildings. They can be designed to
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