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Strange type of portal frame used in Germany

Strange type of portal frame used in Germany

Strange type of portal frame used in Germany

Hi everyone,

I'm a civil engineer living in Los Angeles and recently ran into a couple of interesting types of portal frames that are used in Germany.  I have been trying to figure out if these are used in the United States at all, and what they are called, but all my colleagues have been equally stumped.  I have attached a very simple drawing showing each one of them.  With my basic German, I can infer that they are called (in German) single-hip and double-hip frames, but for the life of me I can't recall having ever seen them in the US in any application, and was wondering what they would be called here, if anything.  I'm afraid I'm too used to seeing rigid frames and two and three-hinged frames.

Thank you for your time,
Robert Ferrano

PS. There's also a peculiar type of pad foundation that they use (I recently had a meeting with a group of German civil engineers who are working on a project, which is how I came across these things): http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%B6cherfundament.  It's basically a reinforced concrete pad footing with a socket base that absorbs bending moments and holds the column in place during building.  My German colleagues called it a "sleeve foundation," but I've never heard that used in the US.  Does anyone know what we call these?

RE: Strange type of portal frame used in Germany

I just call them single leg portals, because the legs with the pinned top are just vertical supports, could be a roller support at that point.  Less pieces on which to do moment connection fabrication, and sometimes useful where column space is limited at one side.

A similar thing to the "sleeve foundation" is sometimes done for precast walls which are cantilevered.

RE: Strange type of portal frame used in Germany

Hi hokie66,

Thanks a lot for the explanation.  Here's my question though: when we say "single leg portal" we're referring to the one leg that doesn't have a pinned top.  Now, the Germans (this is starting to sound like a Simpsons episode) refer to the other supports to define them, which actually makes a lot of sense for the "double-hip" frame (if you ignore the actual leg, it does look an awful lot like a human hip).  That lets the Germans distinguish between these two types of frames, i.e., one has one hip and the other has two hips - they simply assume that there is already one leg.
Anyway, my question is: when talking to another engineer in the US, what would you say to distinguish between these two?  Would you just go ahead and describe them fully, i.e., as if though you were explaining the drawing?  Or would you say something like "single leg portal with one vertical support pinned at both ends" and "single leg portal with two vertical supports (on each side) pinned at both ends?"  I really have no idea what I would say - I was wondering how someone with more experience would convey the idea to someone else when explaining a project.

Also, am I correct in assuming that we do not have a standard name for the "sleeve foundation" the Germans use for columns?  I can explain all these terms, but I was wondering if we have specific terms of our own for them.

Thanks again!

RE: Strange type of portal frame used in Germany

I don't think you can explain everything in words.  The old axiom about "a picture being worth a thousand words" is applicable here.  A hip in English useage is normally an inclined ridge.

RE: Strange type of portal frame used in Germany

More of a "bent" to me.

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering
Motto:  KISS
Motivation:  Don't ask

RE: Strange type of portal frame used in Germany


Thanks - that's what I thought.  I just wanted to make sure that we didn't have standardized terms for these that I wasn't aware of.  (I knew not to use "hip" - it's just the literal translation of the German)

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