Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
Properties of Composite Megacolumns
Project Started: April 2014
Project Completion: October 2016
Funding Sponsor: ArcelorMittal
Principal Investigator: Dario Trabucco, CTBUH
Primary Output

Composite Megacolumns

Research Report, 2016
51 pages, 8.5"W x 11"H

This Research Report is the summary of the research project on composite megacolumns, where multiple, concrete-encased, hot-rolled steel sections were tested for their structural integrity. A complete description of the present research program can be found in the detailed report, available online at

The “study on the constructability and the engineering properties of Composite Megacolumns” research project was made possible with $150,000 in financial support provided by ArcelorMittal.

As tall buildings grow ever higher, it is increasingly critical to optimize structural systems in order to ensure strength and stability. Therefore, on especially tall buildings, the large dimensions required of concrete columns are becoming an inhibitor to the economic feasibility of projects, as structural elements take up increasingly significant shares of buildings’ floor plans, especially at the lower levels.

Funding Sponsor

To avoid this, many supertall buildings are now being designed and constructed using composite materials, with steel and concrete acting together, using the advantages of one material to compensate the limits of the other.       

Such new composite structures need to be fully tested, in order to understand their strengths and limits, and to provide the design community with the awareness, guidance and tools necessary for integrating the use of composite structures into future supertall building designs.

Project Milestones
2016, October: Composite Megacolumn Research Project Completes, Report Published
2016, October: Composite Megacolumn Project Results Presented at CTBUH 2016 China Conference
2015, December: Conclusive Meeting for Megacolumns Research Held in Luxembourg
2015, July: Second Round of Megacolumn Tests
2015, February: First Composite Megacolumns Test a Big Success
2014, December: Composite Megacolumns Research Meeting Held in Beijing
2014, September: Update and First Deliverable
2014, April: Project Announcement

Composite structures integrate multiple large-scale steel profiles embedded in high-strength concrete columns that can be larger than 2x2 meters in plan. By means of shear connectors, the steel elements and the concrete act as a single material.

The research team has worked on design specifics, derived from a real case study, a 300+ meter-tall tower to be built in a major Chinese city. Different design solutions were tested to identify the optimum design system for columns of such an unprecedented size.

“A study on the architectural and engineering properties of Composite Megacolumns” is the second relevant research grant ArcelorMittal has made in support of  CTBUH research, acknowledging the unrivaled capacity of the Council to provide scientific knowledge and extensive connections to the global tall-building community. The first research project was “A Whole Life Cycle Assessment of the Sustainable Aspects of Structural Systems in Tall Buildings,” a multi-faceted research project to study the life cycles of various tall building structural systems.
Composite megacolumns are becoming a “must” in supertall buildings in China

Contact Information
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