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Re: Lateral Stability of a Box Beam ?

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This may not be much help, but I reviewed four fire halls in Fort Erie (across the river from Buffalo) for structural integrity. One of them had what appeared at first glance to be poured concrete beams until I noticed a hole in one. They turned out to be plywood box beams, trapezoidal in shape, wider at the top. I believe I asked the list at the time and no one was able to give me a specific answer but someone seemed to recall that these were being promoted at the time (1950s?) by the plywood industry? Perhaps there is someone out there who can help. I would like to learn more about them also.

Bill Allen wrote:

I have a situation requiring two beams, approximately 12" apart spanning about 27 feet. They aren't supporting much more than their own weight, but I'm concerned that if I just use the span as the unbraced length, the beams are going to be very large.

I would like to put plywood top and bottom to increase the effective lateral torsional strength. Is there a good reference in determining the capacity of such an assembly in wood?

Thank you,

T. William (Bill) Allen, S.E.


Consulting Structural Engineers
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