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Feature:
New Manufacturing Methods, New Standard

Contributed by Karen Thornton, AISC

When changes in steel manufacture of structural shapes made an old standard obsolete, the American Iron and Steel Institute came together with stakeholders in ASTM Committee A01 on Steel, Stainless Steel, and Related Alloys to meet the new needs of this crucial industry.

This past year, ASTM developed and promulgated a new specification, A 992, Specification for Steel for Structural Shapes For Use in Building Framing, that more accurately reflects current production practices and also addresses the needs of engineers and welders. ASTM Committee A01 on Steel, Stainless Steel, and Related Alloys developed the standard at the request and with substantial input from the American Institute of Steel Construction.

ASTM has always provided the material standards used by AISC, structural steel fabricators, welders, and producers, and has been an active participant in A01 and F16 for many years. The relationship between AISC and ASTM has always been a strong one.

The ASTM consensus is stronger than just history, however. ASTM’s position as a standard-setting organization offers enough influence to give companies in the steel industry the stability necessary to invest resources necessary to furnish material in compliance with the new standard. ASTM provides a forum in which expertise from producers, designers, and fabricators meet to balance needs and production practices. Knowledgeable representatives from the steel industry who make and use the product give their advice and opinions on whatever standard is being tested, therefore providing protection from many different areas of harm in the industry.

With the knowledge that the standard has been scrutinized in the ASTM consensus process, the AISC Specification Committee, the American Welding Society Structural Welding Committee, and model building codes have been able to include the standard in building construction documents.

The new standard has great benefits to the specifier. A 992 has a maximum yield point and a specified yield tensile ratio. It also limits the maximum carbon equivalent for weldability. The yield tensile ratio does two things: helps control fracture in connections and assists in achieving plastic moment capacity. Because of A 992’s great marketability, the designer now has control over energy dissipation in seismic design as compared to A 36, Specification for Carbon Structural Steel, providing a more tightly defined material for seismic design.

A 992 will hopefully become the material of choice in structural wide flange shapes for engineers and welders. The fabrication industry looks to the day when inventory is reduced because they will no longer need to keep and control multiple grades of steel. A 992 moves the structural steel industry towards the use of simple high strength grade in building design. And because of ASTM’s influence, the steel industry will know that A 992 is a safe and quality standard.