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Pushing the Bounds of
High-strength Steel

Aeos Steel in the Salesforce Tower Chicago

Rendering by Pelli Clark Pelli Architects
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Nucor produces Aeos from over 90 percent recycled metal, and both the material produced and the company’s waste is 100 percent recyclable as well. Plus—Nucor’s sustainability mindset also informs Aeos’ structural capabilities.

“As we looked at structural options for the Salesforce tower, it became clear that structural steel was the best solution for this particular project,” Dave Eckmann, PE, SE, Senior Principal for MKA said. “Certainly taking advantage of the high-strength steel in the project reduced the column sizes, which reduced the [size of the] enclosures, which made it more desirable to the architect and actually creates more leasable space for the developer.”

Aeos’ incredibly high strength-to-weight ratio enables greater architectural ingenuity—and greater cost- efficiency for the developer and the fabricator.

We automatically jump to grade 65 recognizing that it’s readily available and it provides a material savings to our clients—and I think all engineers should take advantage of this.
Dave Eckmann, PE, SE,
Senior Principal, MKA
Rendering Courtesy of Hines

Elliot Wilm, Assistant Project Manager for Walsh Construction, also lauds Aeos’ advantages in the Salesforce Tower Chicago project.

“Salesforce Tower is a concrete core with a concrete podium up to just below the street level. After that it’s structural steel from level one all the way up to the top,” Wilm said. “Using a higher strength steel allows you to keep a smaller section size, reducing its embodied carbon. Some of the columns that we’re picking down on the west side are 50-something thousand pounds. At that point, if it was made out of lesser grade steel, it probably would cause an issue with the crane and its capacity.”

Due to Salesforce Tower Chicago’s bustling location, transporting and erecting massive pieces of steel poses inevitable logistical challenges. But this high-strength alternative to traditional steel has proven surprisingly advantageous throughout the construction process.

“In the future, I do see structural steel continuing to be developed constantly with higher strength steels, smaller sections, more efficient designs,” Wilm said. “It’s definitely not going anywhere. We know that it’s got a good use in office buildings and taller floor conditions, longer span conditions. It’s been working out well so far, and it’s going to keep going.”

Rendering Courtesy of Hines

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