December 19, 2020


ASDIP STEEL is a structural engineering software for design of steel members and connections. It includes the design of steel and composite beams based on the latest AISC 360 provisions. But how do you actually enter the information in the program? How do you check the results? How do you optimize the design? How do you print out the reports? Following is an overview of the required steps to design steel and composite beams using ASDIP STEEL.

Click here to download ASDIP STEEL free 15-day trial.

Steel and composite beam design steps

1. Specify the beam geometry.

ASDIP STEEL has a built-in database of the AISC steel sections. In the Steel Beam tab click on the AISC button to invoke the list of steel sections and properties, and select the desired section. The software will use the selected section properties in the calculations.

Enter the number of supports. ASDIP STEEL allows to specify up to six supports, which means up to five continuous spans and two end cantilevers. Enter the span dimensions in the table. By default the interior supports are pinned, but the two end supports can be modeled as pinned or fixed if a cantilever has not been specified.

Specify the location of the lateral bracing points. You can either specify top continuously braced, top braced at a certain spacing, completely unbraced, or braced at specific points per span at top or bottom. These options cover most of the practical cases.

ASDIP STEEL generates a summary of the results in the At-a-Glance tab for a quick overview of the continuous beam design as you go. In addition, it generates a condensed presentation of the results, organized by topic and load combination, for a quick granular check of the design. The screen shot below shows the Steel Beam tab and the Condensed tab.


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2. Specify the slab and deck properties.

In the Slab / Deck tab enter the concrete slab thickness and properties. Enter the beam spacing, which will be used to calculate the self-weight. If there is a metal deck, select it from the drop down list of manufacturers, otherwise select "None". The metal deck can be oriented parallel or perpendicular to he beam.

Specify whether the beam is composite or non-composite. For composite beam design it's possible to specify temporary shoring during construction. In this case the composite section will resist both the construction and final loads. If no shoring is specified, then the construction loads will be resisted by the non-composite steel section.

For composite beams, enter the size and properties of the shear studs along the beam. ASDIP STEEL lets you specify the partial composite percentage. If not specified, the minimum number of required studs that comply with the design criteria will be calculated.

ASDIP STEEL generates a detailed presentation of the results, showing step-by-step calculations organized by topic and load combination, with exposed formulas and references to the AISC code. This is excellent for a deep granular check of the design. The screen shot below shows the Slab / Deck tab and the Detailed tab.


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3. Enter the applied loads.

Use the Loads tab to enter the applied loads on the beam. ASDIP STEEL lets you specify uniform, variable, concentrated, and moment loads anywhere on any span. For similar loads, you can copy the loads of one span to the other spans, which saves time entering the loads. Construction loads and final loads are specified separately. Design method per either ASD or LRFD.

ASDIP STEEL allows to specify either a set of load cases, such as dead, live, roof live, snow, wind, and seismic, to be combined per the specified load combinations, or a set of pre-combined loads. For the latter loads, it's assumed that they were combined somewhere else, and therefore no further load factors are applied. This is useful when you need to use the output loads from another software.

ASDIP STEEL generates an elevation view of the beam and loads, and the corresponding shear and moment diagram as shown below. The diagrams can be sorted by load combination, and by span. 


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4. Optimize the design.

Use ASDIP STEEL Design Manager to find all sections that pass all the design checks. Set the minimum and maximum beam depth limits and populate the table. These sections are the winners in the specified depth range that comply with the design criteria. The table can be sorted by weight or by design ratio. Accept the selection to update the results with the new section, as shown below.



ASDIP STEEL includes the design of continuous beams, either composite or non-composite. The graphical user interface is simple and intuitive, with multiple options to optimize the design easily. The results are shown instantly in both text and graphic format.

For engineering background, please read the blog post Steel and Composite Beams: A Design Overview. For our collection of blog posts about steel design please visit Structural Steel Design.

Detailed information is available about this structural engineering software by visiting ASDIP STEEL. You are invited to download the Free 15-day Software Trial, or go ahead and Place your Order.

Best regards,

Javier Encinas, PE

ASDIP Structural Software

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