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RE: CORTEN steel

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Cautionary CORTEN anecdote.  Hearsay.  Read at your own risk.

I was staff engineer, then project engineer and finally principal of a
consulting structural engineering practice which had been named in a lawsuit
concerning an exposed CORTEN steel framed football stadium in Hawaii which
they had designed while I was still in elementary school.  The lawsuit had
yet to be resolved when I decided I'd rather be my own boss and left the
firm fourteen years after I started with them on graduation from college.

I don't know all of the details but one of the secondary issues was the use
of CORTEN in a marine environment.  USX, then U.S. Steel and also named in
the suit by the stadium's public owners, had as I understand it marketed the
material quite aggressively for a wide variety of uses.  It turned out not
to be a good idea in Hawaii.  In addition to the problems of messy rust
staining, there was significant corrosion, and some parts of the structure
were finally sand-blasted and painted to stop it -- a solution that the
owner found unsatisfactory since the CORTEN had been sold to them as a way
to reduce maintenance expense.

I would think very carefully before I specified weathering steel,
particularly in light gage, as Lynn seems to be investigating.  You might be
fine in a less aggressive (wet) environment with a vertical (rain-shedding)
installation, or even horizontal, but if you get water regularly sitting on
this stuff and it's thin you've got to seriously consider the possible loss
of structural integrity due to rust-through.

Drew Norman, S.E.
Drew A. Norman and Associates