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  • Writer's pictureESC Steel Structures

Structural Steel Applications in Marine Construction

Updated: Apr 20

pontoons fabrication

steel structure catalog

Structural steel has a wide variety of applications in the construction industry. It is one of the most used materials for building various structures. Likewise, structural steel also has a wide range of technical/engineering specifications, such as yield strength, ultimate strength, and ductility.


Structural steel is a type of construction material that can be formed into various shapes, depending on the intended use in a particular project. Examples of standard shapes for steel sections are pipes, tubes, angles, channels, and wide flange sections. These shapes can be used for different parts of a structural framing, such as beams, girders, purlins, and columns.

There are also different methodologies on how to create the previously mentioned steel sections. Two of these methods are hot-rolled, and built-up sections. Hot-rolled sections refer to structural steel being rolled from the mill in a monolithic manner. Built-up sections on the other hand are structural sections that can be formed into the specified shape by welding steel plates together.

Some of the commonly used shapes for structural steel shall be discussed in the succeeding sections.


dolphin pipes

In marine construction, steel pipes are usually used as infill elements for a sheet pile wall. In between two sheet pile panels, a pipe is installed to provide a higher section modulus, which provides better resistance against lateral loads being applied to the wall during its useful life.

cofferdam construction

Steel pipes can also be used as foundation elements for wharf and pier structures. These pipes are driven to the ground until it reaches a competent subsurface layer to provide adequate support to these offshore structures.


offshore foundation piling using steel pipes and wide flange beams

Similar to steel pipes, wide-flange (W) and H sections can be used for offshore/marine applications. Most of the time, these shapes can be designated as beam and girder elements of a bridge framing system. These serve as main flexural members of the bridge and shall resist various gravity and lateral loads such as traffic loads, earthquake, and wind loads. W and H steel sections are also used as walers for retaining wall structures. Interconnected walers act as a continuous beam to evenly distribute forces from the sheet piles to the steel struts.

W and H sections are effective as beam elements due to its shape: the flanges contribute to high section modulus values, while having a reduced mass per unit length as compared to other structural shapes.


offshore steel sheet piling

Steel sheet piles are commonly used in offshore applications as a water-retaining and earth-retaining structures. Offshore construction such as cofferdams, jetties, and quay walls often require steel sheet piles to form the wall components. Like steel pipe piles, sheet piles are driven into the ground at its most optimum design depth to provide overall stability of the structure. Sheet piles are connected using steel interlocks at its ends to form a continuous wall. The interlocks are then applied with a sealant to prevent any water seepage when the sheet piles are installed at the sea.


fabricated steel pipes for the wastewater treatment plant project

There are other structural steel shapes/sections that can be fabricated, as necessary. For special structures, non-standard shapes are usually required by the structural engineer to satisfy the desired flexural and shear capacity of the structure.

fabricated steel pipes for the wastewater treatment plant project

ESC Steel is a leading global supplier of fabricated structural steel sections. The capabilities of the in-house engineers and other technical professionals have led the company to working on a wide range of steel construction projects in a global scale.

Should you need structural steel for marine construction, or anything else, click here to get in touch with us today. We are always happy to help.

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