Steel shuttering refers to steel panels or structures that are put in place ahead of the pouring of concrete. The panels are held in place with rods or connecting pins known as falsework. Steel shuttering is used to create a mold in which concrete can be poured and set to create a concrete structure. The panels are often temporary supports that are removed after the concrete has set, though in some instances, the steel panels are kept in place as a permanent part of the structure.
Very often plywood is used as shuttering, but for heavier-duty applications and exceptionally large concrete structures, steel shuttering may be a more appropriate material. Plywood is often used because it is lightweight and inexpensive, and while steel can be more costly, heavier, and more difficult to transport and store, it is a much stronger material that will withstand heavier amounts of weight from concrete in its liquid and solid forms. Large construction projects are likely to feature steel shuttering structures, especially if the steel will remain as part of the concrete structure once the concrete has set.
The various types of steel shuttering can vary. Some of it can be exceptionally lightweight but rigid, featuring ridges that allow better adhesion to the concrete. Such ridges or corrugation also allows for a certain amount of flex in the concrete as it expands or contracts depending on the temperature and the amount of moisture. Corrugated steel is often used as shuttering if the steel will be left in place as a permanent feature of the structure. Thicker steel without corrugation will generally be used as a temporary mold that will be removed once the concrete has set.
For smaller concrete projects, roadform may be used. Roadform is basically a series of smaller steel panels that can be stacked and interlocked with bars to create a mold. Such forms are often used when pouring concrete sidewalks or sections of concrete road. These panels are very rigid and are able to maintain a consistent platform on which the concrete can be poured, and they are one of the most commonly used types of shuttering in construction applications. Such forms may be avoided in certain applications, however, as they tend to be bulky, difficult to stack, and heavy to move. If the forms are likely to be moved frequently, plywood is often the material of choice .