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Advanced Analysis of Steel Frame Structures Subjected to Lateral Torsional Buckling Effects

By Zeng Yuan


The current design procedure for steel frame structures is a two-step process including an elastic analysis to determine design actions and a separate member capacity check. This design procedure is unable to trace the full range of load-deflection response and hence the failure modes of the frame structures can not be accurately predicted. In recent years, the development of advanced analysis methods has aimed at solving this problem by combining the analysis and design tasks into one step. Application of the new advanced analysis methods permits a comprehensive assessment of the actual failure modes and ultimate strengths of structural steel systems in practical design situations. One of the advanced analysis methods, the refined plastic hinge method, has shown great potential to become a practical design tool. However, at present, it is only suitable for a special class of steel frame structures that is not subject to lateral torsional buckling effects. The refined plastic hinge analysis can directly account for three types of frame failures, gradual formation of plastic hinges, column buckling and local buckling. However, this precludes most of the steel frame structures whose behaviour is governed by lateral torsional buckling. Therefore, the aim of this research is to develop a practical advanced analysis method suitable for general steel frame structures including the effects of lateral-torsional buckling. Lateral torsional buckling is a complex three dimensional instability phenomenon. Unlike the in-plane buckling of beam-columns, a closed form analytical solution is not available for lateral torsional buckling. The member capacity equations used in design specifications are derived mainly from testing of simply supported beams. Further, there has been very limited research into the behaviour and design of steel frame structures subject to lateral torsional buckling failures. Therefore in order to incorporate lateral torsional buckling effects into an advanced analysis method, a detailed study must be carried out including inelastic beam buckling failures. This thesis contains a detailed description of research on extending the scope of advanced analysis by developing methods that include the effects of lateral torsional buckling in a nonlinear analysis formulation. It has two components. Firstly, distributed plasticity models were developed using the state-of-the-art finite element analysis programs for a range of simply supported beams and rigid frame structures to investigate and fully understand their lateral torsional buckling behavioural characteristics. Nonlinear analyses were conducted to study the load-deflection response of these structures under lateral torsional buckling influences. It was found that the behaviour of simply supported beams and members in rigid frame structures is significantly different. In real frame structures, the connection details are a decisive factor in terms of ultimate frame capacities. Accounting for the connection rigidities in a simplified advanced analysis method is very difficult, but is most critical. Generally, the finite element analysis results of simply supported beams agree very well with the predictions of the current Australian steel structures design code AS4100, but the capacities of rigid frame structures can be significantly higher compared with Australian code predictions. The second part of the thesis concerns the development of a two dimensional refined plastic hinge analysis which is capable of considering lateral torsional buckling effects. The formulation of the new method is based on the observations from the distributed plasticity analyses of both simply supported beams and rigid frame structures. The lateral torsional buckling effects are taken into account implicitly using a flexural stiffness reduction factor in the stiffness matrix formulation based on the member capacities specified by AS4100. Due to the lack of suitable alternatives, concepts of moment modification and effective length factors are still used for determining the member capacities. The effects of connection rigidities and restraints from adjacent members are handled by using appropriate effective length factors in the analysis. Compared with the benchmark solutions for simply supported beams, the new refined plastic hinge analysis is very accurate. For rigid frame structures, the new method is generally more conservative than the finite element models. The accuracy of the new method relies on the user's judgement of beam segment restraints. Overall, the design capacities in the new method are superior to those in the current design procedure, especially for frame structures with less slender members. The new refined plastic hinge analysis is now able to capture four types of failure modes, plastic hinge formation, column buckling, local buckling and lateral torsional buckling. With the inclusion of lateral torsional buckling mode as proposed in this thesis, advanced analysis is one step closer to being used for general design practice

Topics: Lateral torsional buckling, Steel I-section, Rigid frame, Advanced analysis, Nonlinear analysis, Steel frame design, Ultimate Capacity, Structural Stability, load-deflection response, and Finite element analysis
Publisher: Queensland University of Technology
Year: 2004
OAI identifier:

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