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RE: Rules of Thumb

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The February, 2000 issue of Modern Steel Construction has an 
article in it by Ioannides and Ruddy called "Rules of Thumb for 
Steel Design".  In it they present several formulas for figuring the 
approximate section properties, weights, etc. of various structural 
members.  For example, according to the article, given the weight 
and depth of a wide flange shape, its strong axis moment of inertia 
can be approximated by the formula:  Ix = D*D*Wt/20.
 
The full article is available online here:
 
 
Don't know how accurate it is;  I just remember reading it and filing 
it away for future reference. 
 
It is just a set of rules of thumb that get you a quick approximation. Great for meetings in which the owner or architect throws stuff at you and wants estimates right away. You still have to check against the code equations in the end, though.

Charlie