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Composite construction is a generic term to describe any building construction involving multiple dissimilar materials. It is not to be confused with the Composite order which is a specific order of classical architecture that combines elements of the Ionic and Corinthian orders.

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Structural engineering

In structural engineering, composite construction exists when two different materials are bound together so strongly that they act together as a single unit from a structural point of view. When this occurs, it is called composite action. One common example involves steel beams supporting concrete floor slabs.[1] If the beam is not connected firmly to the slab, then the slab transfers all of its weight to the beam and the slab contributes nothing to the load carrying capability of the beam. However, if the slab is connected positively to the beam with studs, then a portion of the slab can be assumed to act compositely with the beam. In effect, this composite creates a larger and stronger beam than would be provided by the steel beam alone. The structural engineer may calculate a transformed section as one step in analyzing the load carry capability of the composite beam.

House building

A flitch beam is a simple form of composite construction sometimes used in North American light frame construction.[2] This occurs when a steel plate is sandwiched between two wood joists and bolted together. A flitch beam can typically support heavier loads over a longer span than an all-wood beam of the same cross section.

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