Plate Girders - Advantages and disadvantages - Steel Structures.

The development of highly automated workshops in recent years has reduced the fabrication costs of plate girders very considerably; box girders and trusses still have to be fabricated manually, with consequently high fabrication costs. Optimum use of material is made, compared with rolled sections, as the girder is fabricated from plates and the designer has greater freedom to vary the section to correspond with changes in the applied forces. Thus variable depth plate girders have been increasingly designed in recent years. Plate girders are aesthetically more pleasing than trusses and are easier to transport and erect than box girders.

There are only a very few limitations in the use of plate girders. Compared with trusses they are heavier,more difficult to transport and have larger wind resistance.

The provision of openings for services is also more difficult. The low torsional stiffness of plate girders makes them difficult to use in bridges having small plan radius.

Plate girders can sometimes pose problems during erection because of concern for the stability of compression flanges.

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