Introductie / missie

Addressing education, design and research of steel structures
The Chair of Structural Design (Steel Structures) focuses on structural applications of steel in the built environment, especially in buildings, bridges and other civil engineering structures. The research carried out contributes to adequate structural application of steel. This research aims at the development of design rules and intends to make a significant contribution to the structural use of steel in building and civil engineering applications.

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Advancing the design of steel structures through performing fundamental and applied scientific research enabling new design options in structural steel.


To integrate structural steel solutions in buildings, the chair co-operates with other building disciplines within the department, such as Architecture, Building Physics and Building Services.

Often, combinations of research methods are applied in research projects. Numerical research uses finite element programs such as. Abaqus. Experimental research is carried out in the well-equipped Structures Laboratory TU/e. Analytical research is mainly desk research.

The research themes of the chair are:

1. Stability
The research on stability contributes to a better understanding of the stability behavior of steel structures. On the basis of this stability behavior, new and better design rules are developed. Steel structures are known for their lightness and long column free spans inducing stability phenomena to be predominant necessitating the research into flexural, torsional and flexural-torsional buckling of columns, lateral torsional buckling of beams and buckling of plates.

2. Connections
The research on connections focuses on the mechanical behavior of bolted and welded connections. Design rules for simple connections have to be available to the practicing engineer in order to make cost effective steel structures. Application of simpler connections induces connection strength and connection stiffness to have more influence on strength, stiffness and stability of buildings. The research aims at investigating the structural behavior and at developing design methods for including this influence.

3. Cold-formed sections 
The research on cold-formed sections concentrates on the development and improvement of design techniques to contribute to a broader application of cold-formed thin-walled plate products and sections.

4. Structural systems 
Combinations of steel with other structural materials in load-carrying structures form a separate research area. Attention is focused on the way the different materials interact. Pre-stressed steel structures, stay-cable structures in buildings and stability structures in high-rise steel buildings fall under this theme. Materials should be used in an optimal way and this leads to combining materials: steel with e.g. concrete, timber, glass or FRP. Very well known are composite steel concrete structures and with the introduction of high-strength materials there are new challenges requiring additional research. But also a combination of (high-strength) steel with other materials like glass in hybrid structures - where the glass suppresses buckling of steel parts - yields promising new structural solutions. Steel in combination with FRP is another interesting relatively new area of research.

5. High-strength steel
A trend can be observed towards the development and application of high-strength steel. High-strength steel is not yet very common in the building practice, but society’s need for sustainable solutions, using less material, will stimulate its use. Design rules in codes are available for high-strength steel grades but for many rules the research back-up is missing. The steel research necessary for higher strength steels concerns bolted and welded connections, buckling stability aspects, (brittle) fracture and fatigue. High-strength steels have usually a lower toughness and a lower tensile to yield stress ratio. Whether current design rules are still appropriate has to be checked through research. Scientific research is also necessary if other failure criteria than strength become decisive for the design. Fatigue may become decisive due to increased loading frequencies and if the solutions for mild steel are copied to high-strength steel. Also deformations under service conditions may become decisive and therefore other structural forms are to be used in design: trusses and triangulated structures rather than frames. 

Post-docs, PhD-students and Master students carry out this research in projects funded by governmental organizations, European programs such as the Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS), technological top institutes like the Materials innovation institute (M2i) and industrial parties such as ArcelorMittal.

Research is carried out in co-operation with other parties at a national level like Bouwen met Staal (BmS), at an international level like the European Convention for Constructional Steelwork (ECCS) and with other universities like those in Coimbra and Lisbon (Portugal), Stuttgart and Karlsruhe (Germany), Graz (Austria), Zurich (Switzerland) and Ghent (Belgium).
The chair participates in the following (inter)national committees, amongst others:

  • Bouwen met Staal, Technical Committee 8, Stability (member);
  • Code subcommittee 351 01 02 'TGB Staal', Dutch Standards Institution NEN (member);
  • ECCS, Technical Committee 8, Stability (chair); Technical Management Board (member);
  • CEN/TC250/SC3, Eurocode 3 for Steel structures (national delegate);
  • Working Group EN 1993-1-1 (Eurocode 3, basic part) (chair);
  • IABSE, Executive Committee (vice president); Bulletin Editorial Board (member);
  • Steering Committee of the Eurosteel Conferences (member).

VN Doelstellingen voor duurzame ontwikkeling

In 2015 stemden de VN-lidstaten in met 17 wereldwijde duurzame ontwikkelingsdoelstellingen (Sustainable Development Goals, SDG's) om armoede te beëindigen, de planeet te beschermen en voor iedereen welvaart te garanderen. Ons werk draagt bij aan de volgende duurzame ontwikkelingsdoelstelling(en):

  • SDG 7 – Betaalbare en schone energie
  • SDG 13 – Klimaatactie
  • SDG 15 – Leven op het land


Verdiep u in de onderzoeksgebieden waarop Steel Structures actief is. Deze onderwerplabels komen uit het werk van de leden van deze organisatie. Samen vormen ze een unieke vingerafdruk.

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