Section Modulus

In Q & Aby Scott Butlin

Section Modulus and what does it mean to a scaffolding company?

Section modulus is a geometric property for a given cross-section used in the design of beams or flexural members. Other geometric properties used in the design including an area for tension and shear, the radius of gyration for compression, and moment of inertia and polar moment of inertia for stiffness. Any relationship between these properties is highly dependent on the shape in question.

So, in simple terms think of a plastic 30cm ruler. Pick it up and hold it flat between your two hands. It bends pretty easy, right? Now hold it on its edge, and you will notice that it does not bend at all. Same ruler, same material, same weight, same everything. The only difference is the shape. Section Modulus basically states that the further distance the edges are from the centre, the greater the strength.

Section Modulus – Why Is This Important?

Understanding section modulus allows designers to create an optimal shape for strength while using minimal material. Resulting in higher load capacities and fewer transport costs. Who doesn’t like less for more? Australian Scaffolds challenge is to find the perfect shape for a beam/column to form part of our new scaffolding system. Our new scaffolding system has to be:

  • Lighter
  • Stronger
  • Safer
  • Faster

Than comparable systems. 

Finite element analysis (FEA) is a computerised method for predicting how a product reacts to real-world forces, vibration, heat, fluid flow and other physical effects. Finite element analysis helps predict the behaviour of products affected by many physical effects, including Mechanical stress. Using this type of software allows Australian Scaffolds engineers to test different shapes and thicknesses to determine optimal performance.

Understanding Design

Scaffold systems were once designed only as a way to complete a task at height, and there has never been much consideration given to worker’s comfort and productivity. Australian Standard for scaffolding AS/NZS 1576:1:2010 requires only strength, stability, stiffness, safety and environment (in which the scaffold is used) as the concerns to take into account when designing a scaffold.

Imagine working in an office, shop or on a factory floor and constantly having to navigate gaps, trip hazards, head height clearance, falling materials, rain, sun, wind etc. Would you be happy? Yet, this is exactly what workers have to put up with when working on scaffolds. Australian Scaffolds believes that comfort should be part of the design criteria. Scaffolding is not just to work at height, it is a workplace and should be treated no different from any other workplace.

That’s why Australian Scaffolds are creating the worlds best scaffolding system, for users in the 2 – 10m range. Our prospective customers are builders, bricklayers, carpenters, electricians, plasterers, plumbers and DIY’ers,  looking to work safer, faster, smarter.

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