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Faculty of Civil Engineering and Building Services


The technology of mounting and joining

elements in case of metallic structures
Beijing National Stadium (Bird’s nest)

Student: Matei Silviu-Cristian

Group: 3406

Supervisor: Sef. lucr. Dr. Ing. Ciprian Ilie Cozmanciuc

Faculty of Civil Engineering and Building Services

Welding and welding types

Welding is a fabrication or sculptural process that joins materials,

usually metals or thermoplastics, by causing fusion, which is distinct from lower temperature
metal-joining techniques such as brazing and soldering, which do not melt the base metal. In
addition to melting the base metal, a filler material is typically added to the joint to form a pool of
molten material (the weld pool) that cools to form a joint that is usually stronger than the base
material. Pressure may also be used in conjunction with heat, or by itself, to produce a weld.
Welding also requires a form of shield to protect the filler metals or melted metals from being
contaminated or oxidized.
Although less common, there are also solid state welding processes such as friction welding in
which metal does not melt.
Some of the best known welding methods include:

 Oxy-fuel welding – also known as oxyacetylene welding or oxy welding, uses fuel gases and
oxygen to weld and cut metals.
 Shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) – also known as "stick welding" or "electric welding",
uses an electrode that has flux around it to protect the weld puddle. The electrode holder holds
the electrode as it slowly melts away. Slag protects the weld puddle from atmospheric
 Gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) – also known as TIG (tungsten, inert gas), uses a non-
consumable tungsten electrode to produce the weld. The weld area is protected from
atmospheric contamination by an inert shielding gas such as argon or helium.
 Gas metal arc welding (GMAW) – commonly termed MIG (metal, inert gas), uses a wire
feeding gun that feeds wire at an adjustable speed and flows an argon-based shielding gas or
a mix of argon and carbon dioxide (CO2) over the weld puddle to protect it from atmospheric
 Flux-cored arc welding (FCAW) – almost identical to MIG welding except it uses a special
tubular wire filled with flux; it can be used with or without shielding gas, depending on the
 Submerged arc welding (SAW) – uses an automatically fed consumable electrode and a
blanket of granular fusible flux. The molten weld and the arc zone are protected from
atmospheric contamination by being "submerged" under the flux blanket.
 Electroslag welding (ESW) – a highly productive, single pass welding process for thicker
materials between 1 inch (25 mm) and 12 inches (300 mm) in a vertical or close to vertical
 Electric resistance welding (ERW) – a welding process that produces coalescence of laying
surfaces where heat to form the weld is generated by the electrical resistance of the material.
In general, an efficient method, but limited to relatively thin material.
Many different energy sources can be used for welding, including a gas flame, an electric arc,
a laser, an electron beam, friction, and ultrasound. While often an industrial process, welding may
be performed in many different environments, including in open air, under water, and in outer

Faculty of Civil Engineering and Building Services

Beijing National Stadium

Beijing National Stadium,

officially the National Stadium, also
known as the Bird's Nest, is
a stadium in Beijing. The stadium
(BNS) was jointly designed by
architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de
Meuron of Herzog & de Meuron,
project architect Stefan Marbach,
artist Ai Weiwei, and CADG which
was led by chief architect Li Xinggang.
The stadium was designed for use
throughout the 2008 Summer
Olympics and Paralympics and will be used again in the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.
The Bird's Nest sometimes has some extra temporary large screens installed at the stands of the
stadium. The stadium consists of two independent structures, standing 50 feet apart:a red concrete
seating bowl and the outer steel frame around it.

In an attempt to hide steel

supports for the retractable roof,
required in the bidding process, the
team developed the "random-
looking additional steel" to blend
the supports into the rest of the
stadium.[9] Twenty-four trussed
columns encase the inner bowl,each
one weighing 1,000 tons.Despite
the random appearance of the
Stadium, each half is nearly

Faculty of Civil Engineering and Building Services

Building Loads

The weight of the structure was estimated based on the numbers discussed in Sheelagh
Matthew’s book ” Structural Wonders – Beijing National Stadium”.
Dead Loads:
Total Structure weight (without spectators) = 45, 000 tons
Weight of steel = 42,000 tons
The following calculations were estimated based on some extended research and educated

seats = 91,000 x 8 lb = 728 t

Internal systems and partitions = 5% weight of internal structure = 150 tons
Weight of Concrete = 45,000t – 42,000t – 728t – 150t = 2,122 tons
To resist the dead load of the structure, the stadium was places on a plinth.

Sample Plinth to illustrate the footing of stadium. It can be described as a VERY thck slab
under ground.

Faculty of Civil Engineering and Building Services

The stadium can seat up to 91,000 spectators. With the service personnel and competitors
the total occupancy can be reached 110, 000 people. For the purposes of a live load estimate, an
average weight of a person will be used as 90 kilograms.
The Stadium is located in the Beijing, China. Beijing lies roughly on the same latitude as
Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco. The Live loads due to the snow and wind will be similar
to those in Philadelphia.

Live Loads:
People = 110, 000 x 200 lb = 11, 000 tons
Snow (20 lb/sf) = 20 lb/sf * 62,500 sf (~roof area) = 625 tons
Wind Load = 90 mph ~ 25 lb/sf = 25 lb/sf * (1,093 ft (longest length) * 226 ft (height)) = 25lb/sf
* 27,018 sf = 3,090 tons
Total Loads:
Dead Load = 45,000 tons
Live Load (Vertical) = 11,625 tons
Live Load (Lateral) = 3,090 tons
Total Vertical Load = 56,625 tons / 62,500 sf = 0.906 tons/sf of load on the foundation

Load Resistance
The Beijing National Stadium is designed to resist both typical building loads and earthquake

Horizontal Loads
The structure must resist a total of 56,625 tons of vertical load. The Steel structure itself
must resist its own load of 42,000 tons and 11,625 tons of live load, totaling in 53,625 tons. The
Plinth type of the foundation is essential to carry such a load, which is fairily evenly distributed.

Each member of the steel “Nest” is designed carefully to carry its own weight of 42, 000
tons loads. The overall shape appears to be random, but in reality it follows strict geometric
rules.The loads at each intersection are split between the members and transferred downward as
indicated below.

Faculty of Civil Engineering and Building Services

The red points indicate the transfer connections were load impact is felt most significantly.
The below image identifies the primary and secondary members. the secondary members had to
be welded on two sides of primary members. The steel envelope is constructed of 22.5 miles of
steel and it took about 700 welders to complete the task.

Steel frame connection details

The core portion of the building carries the dead load of the concrete structure as well as
the live load of people totaling to 13,122 tons. The load is transferred directly to the plinth
foundation as distributed load as shown below.

Faculty of Civil Engineering and Building Services

Lateral Loads
The massive steel structure resists lateral loads in a similar manner as the horizontal ones.
In addition, instead of the loads hitting the structure and following it downwards and upwards it is
broken down through the lattice of steel while being weakened and providing natural ventilation
in the building.

Earthquake Loads
The Beijing National Stadium was designed with earthquake loads in mind, because
Beijing is prone to seismic events. The outer steel structure is completely separate from the inner
stadium seating area and is placed 50 feet apart. this placement allows the two structures move
independently in case of an earthquake. Steel has a rather high modulus of elasticity as compared
to the concrete, therefore the entire outer structure could be put together as a unit and withstand
earthquakes. The core of the stadium was constructed out of the pre-cast reinforced concrete.
Because concrete has significantly lower modulus of elasticity, it was decided into eight individual
sections. this division allows each portion of structure to move independently of the other in case
of seismic motion causing minimal amount of damage. Beijing Bird’s Nest is designed to
withstand earthquakes rated at 8.0 on Richter Scale.

Structural Design

The Stadium is a massive and an incredibly complicated structure. The structural design
was introduced by the Herzog & De Meuron, whom from very initial stages have been working
with structural engineers from Ove Arup & Partners and developing 3D models.

Faculty of Civil Engineering and Building Services

Because the proposed structure was so complicated, in order to sell the

idea even the smaller detail had to be thought of and modeled in the very
early stages of the project.
The detail above shows one f numerous connections involved in the
structure. Due to such significant loads on the structure members as well
as their connections had to be designed carefully. the welding process
alone sometimes took 17 hours per connection with several welders
switching places to avoid exhaustion.
Developing structural calculations for this building would be incredibly
rewarding and fun, but it would also be very challenging. even though
computer software can be used, some hand calculations should be done
to verify the results. below is a partial structural plan of roof framing for the stadium indicating
the grid used to determine the geometry of the “Nest”.

Faculty of Civil Engineering and Building Services

Assembly of the “nest”

On site the workers welded
the beams together to form even
larger sections, forming a truss, some
of the truss formed were up to 12m
in length. Each weighed upto 350
tons and were hoisted by 800 ton
cranes to the top of the roof.
Positioning these heavy structures
also required great skill because the
pattern was random and the job was
just as to fit pieces of jigsaw puzzle
together. It was difficult to fit all the
parts without any error because in
positioning one end the other would go out. This took 2-3 days to weld the joints and secure them
in place. As the strength of the structure also depended now on welds, so for welding of the special
steel, over 1000 skilled workers were trained.

Faculty of Civil Engineering and Building Services

Welding the Beijing stadium was a hard,

dangerous and slow job. Q460 proved to be a hard steel
and required temperatures higher than common steel for
welding. About 320 km length of welds were to be

Some ends were left open and un-welded to

allow for temperature changes during construction.
Temperature in Beijing ranges from -20 - 30°C.
When the temperature rises, so does the Bird's nest
and when it drops, the Bird's nest also settles down.
The open joints were to be welded in a weather
neither too hot, nor too cold. So the nights of summer
were selected for the job and 400 workers took part
in the job at night shift. August 31, 2006, the workers
finished the welding.

Faculty of Civil Engineering and Building Services

Removal of Formwork
Now the form work and other supporting structure
were to be removed which held the beams in place.
Until then the building was standing on 78
supporting columns. These columns were evenly
spaced below the structure and were subjected to
42000 tons of steel load. The unloading was to start
in Sept, 2006.

To remove the columns from beneath the roof,

hydraulic jacks were used. These jacks would first support the roof, the columns would be removed
and the load would transfer to the jacks which would eventually lower, allowing the structure to
support its own weight.

According to calculations, the roof had to settle up-to 30cm and it did so after the supports
were removed. Still they had to wait to see any further sinking or cracking. If so, it would mean
that serious damage would occur. In full 1 week all of the supports were removed. The frame was
finally standing on its own on Sept, 17, 2007. Still the structure was just a hollow steel structure.
It had to be furnished and fabricated to be an Olympic stadium. Flouro-Carbon polymer transparent
sheets were used to fill up the spaces between the steel structural members.

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Faculty of Civil Engineering and Building Services


1. https://beijingbirdsnest.wordpress.com/structural-systems/
2. https://www.designbuild-
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beijing_National_Stadium
4. http://weldreality.com/bird%27s%20nest%20welds.htm
5. https://www.slideshare.net/luisaam/beijing-national-stadium

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