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Aporte a los interesados en los efectos torsionales en puentes usando GBT

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structures

*

J.M. Davies

Manchester School of Engineering, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL,

UK

Abstract

tion have taken place on three related fronts. There have been significant developments in the

technology which result in more complex shapes with a higher yield stress so that cold-formed

sections represent a particularly high-tech form of constructional steelwork. Developments in

technology would be of little consequence unless there were parallel developments in practical

applications and this is illustrated by the continual increase in the market share of cold-formed

sections. This, in turn, makes demands on design procedures and requires parallel development

in calculation models and design codes. In particular, sections have tended to become more

highly stiffened and this necessitates a more sophisticated treatment of local buckling, distor-

tional buckling and the interactions between them. The latest trend is to move from simplified

design models to design procedures based on whole section analysis. In this paper, recent

developments in technology and application are outlined and this is followed by more detailed

consideration of the related design procedures. 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights

reserved.

1. Introduction

developed world. The reasons for this include the improving technology of manufac-

ture and corrosion protection which leads, in turn, to the increased competitiveness

of the resulting product as well as new applications. This paper first reviews the

* Fax: +44-(0)161-9045929.

E-mail address: jmdavies@fs1.eng.man.ac.uk (J.M. Davies).

0143-974X/00/$ - see front matter 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

PII: S 0 1 4 3 - 9 7 4 X ( 9 9 ) 0 0 0 8 9 - 9

268 J.M. Davies / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 55 (2000) 267288

technical developments and some of the resulting new applications. It is shown that

as a result of current trends, cold-formed sections are becoming more slender and

more highly stiffened and therefore more prone to local and distortional buckling.

It then follows that there is a consequential demand for improved design procedures.

These generally take the form of calculation models suitable for incorporation in

design codes. The available approaches to the design of cold formed sections are

reviewed in some detail and some possible improvements in design codes are antici-

pated.

than its more mundane hot-rolled counterpart. This section of the paper reviews some

recent developments. Some of these developments have previously been summarised

by Pekoz [1].

The trend to higher quality steel is primarily seen in an increased yield stress and

there has been a continuing increase in the yield stress of typical mass-produced

products such as purlins, sheeting and decking in recent years. The steel used for

such applications now typically has a yield stress in the range 280 to 550 N/mm2.

This trend of increasing yield stress is likely to continue. There are also some steels

available with ultra-high yield stress. These are generally only economic for special

applications such as lightweight bridges for the military. In this context, Hoglund

[2] discusses the welding of quenched and tempered (QT) steel produced in Sweden

with a yield strength up to 1100 N/mm2. The application of steels with a very high

yield stress is often limited by considerations of stiffness and Nippon Steel in Japan

are reputed to have produced steels with a 30% increase of Youngs modulus in the

direction of rolling though with a corresponding decrease in the transverse direction.

Steels with better fire resistance, including less creep at elevated temperature, are

also being introduced.

thickness and considerations of local stability lead logically to the development of

highly stiffened sections with more folds and rolled in stiffeners. This trend can be

conveniently illustrated by the development in sections for purlins. Early purlin

shapes were simple lipped channels and Zed sections. As shown in Fig. 1, the simple

channel has evolved into Multibeam Marks I, II and III, the latter having a compound

lip. A similar trend can be seen in the evolution of the Zed into the Zeta and

Ultrazed shapes.

A similar evolution can be observed in cassette sections with stiffened flanges and

J.M. Davies / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 55 (2000) 267288 269

webs, the (perforated) uprights in pallet racks, slotted wall studs and the 2nd and

3rd generation decking profiles. The use of high strength steels in thinner, highly

stiffened sections inevitably leads to more demanding design requirements. The

consequences of this are considered in more detail later in this paper.

Undoubtedly, one of the primary reasons for the increase in the practical usage of

cold-formed sections is improved corrosion resistance. This is the result of improved

galvanising and other coating technology, bearing in mind that the protective coating

system is undamaged by the cold-forming process. There is also an increasing use

of cold-formed stainless steel. A 12% chromium steel with no nickel has been used

for housing in Japan. This steel does not have the shiny surface usually associated

with stainless steel but is less prone to rust.

Modern rolling lines are generally computer controlled from the design office so

that not only can highly accurate complex shapes of precise lengths be produced to

order but also holes, perforations and slots (e.g. web openings for services) can be

punched in precise positions during the rolling process. A significant recent develop-

ment is the automatic end forming of beams at the time of rolling, as shown in Fig. 2.

270 J.M. Davies / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 55 (2000) 267288

The rolling of transverse stiffeners in the wide top flange of 3rd generation decking

profiles, as shown in Fig. 3, has been available for some time. Similar technology

allows the rolling of vertical web stiffeners in beam sections. Even more complex

sections may now be formed in two or more parts in which the individual parts are

formed and assembled using high frequency welding in a single operation. This

may involve the combination of different material qualities and thicknesses in a

single component.

an important role in the development of structures formed using cold-formed sec-

tions. The conventional methods of connection, such as bolting and arc-welding are,

of course, available but are generally less appropriate and the emphasis is on special

techniques more suited to thin material. Long-standing methods for connecting two

elements of thin material are blind rivets and self-drilling, self-tapping screws. Fired

pins are often used to connect thin material to a thicker supporting member. More

recently, clinching technology [3] which is very quick, requires no additional

components and causes no damage to the galvanising or other metallic coating

has been taken from the automotive industry and applied to building construction.

An even more recent and significantly stronger innovation is the Rosette [4,5].

3. Developments in applications

structural engineering, particularly building construction, with which the author is

familiar. Historically, the main applications have been such elements as: purlins and

sheeting rails and associated components; cladding and decking; pallet racking and

shelving etc. The developments in technology outlined above are all applicable to

J.M. Davies / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 55 (2000) 267288 271

components of this type and their evolution will undoubtedly continue. However,

the main current and foreseeable developments are in a rather different sphere.

Although this is not yet so evident in Europe, in other parts of the developed

world there is an extremely rapid development in the use of cold-formed framing

systems for houses and other low-rise construction. This development is being led

by the USA where the rise may be said to be exponential. Pekoz [1] states that,

in the USA, about 500 homes were built in light gauge steel in 1992. This number

rose to 15 000 in 1993 and 75 000 in 1994. A further five-fold increase is estimated

by 2002. The primary framing elements for this form of construction are cold-formed

steel wall studs and floor joists. Light gauge steel roof trusses or rafters are also

used. There is a vast amount of literature on the subject, a good deal of which is

summarised in the Residential Steel Framing Manual published by the American

Iron and Steel Institute [6].

Surprisingly, this major evolution has been accompanied by little development in

cold-formed section technology. The majority of steel framing systems have evolved

from timber framed solutions and have merely involved replacing timber sections by

cold formed steel sections of similar overall size connected together by conventional

methods such as bolting and welding. More recently, advantage has been taken of

the clinching connection methods discussed in Section 2.5, particularly where factory

prefabrication is used. A recent important development is the use of wall studs with

perforated webs [7,8]. These studs have been developed in the Scandinavian coun-

tries in order to reduce thermal bridging in external walls. The web perforations take

the form of arrays of slots which, of course, significantly weaken the web in trans-

verse bending and shear. This has several effects, including a reduced resistance to

distortional buckling, and thus leads to rather complex design problems.

Another significant development is the use of cassette walls [9]. These have the

advantage of providing a weather proof wall as well as a structural frame and avoid

many of the stability problems of stud wall construction. They also act as a shear

diaphragm with regard to horizontal (wind) load and thus avoid the necessity of

providing bracing systems in the plane of the walls. This leads to much simpler

detailing and more rapid construction.

Closely associated with the trend outlined above is the related trend to maximise

prefabrication in the factory. Using jigs and appropriate jointing technology such as

clinching and Rosettes, cold-formed steel components can be rapidly and accurately

assembled into complete structural units for delivery to the site. Such units can take

the form of wall and floor panels and roof trusses. Even more dramatic is the increas-

ing factory prefabrication of complete building modules such as complete hotel

rooms. These may be built and fitted out with bathroom units, furniture and fittings

before being shipped to the site complete and requiring only the connection of exter-

272 J.M. Davies / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 55 (2000) 267288

nal services [10]. In the UK, most out of town hotels and motels are now built in

this way.

often seen at its best when it interacts with other materials and building components.

Familiar applications of this principle are: purlins stabilised by cladding; wall studs

stabilised by sheathing; composite decks where embossed metal decking acts together

with in-situ concrete; and sandwich panels where two thin metal faces interact with

a lightweight insulating core. Stressed skin (diaphragm action) offers another

instance of this important principle in which the thin metal cladding of a building

can act to stabilise the framing members and even provide the primary stability of

the complete structure. Various forms of frameless construction take this principle

a stage further.

There are a number of current developments which utilise the interaction of cold-

formed steel members with other materials. These include filled cassettes, which are

substantial C-shaped sections used for wall construction which may be filled with

rigid thermal insulation in order to provide improved stability and resistance to

denting. Another important application is in dry flooring systems in which cold-

formed steel floor joists (or profiled steel decking) act together with a built-up walk-

ing surface to provide enhanced structural performance as well as meeting the

requirements of building physics (acoustic, fire, vibration etc). It is significant that

these two examples are both particularly applicable to residential and low-rise

steel construction.

cedures are becoming more complicated. Although this may not be to the taste of

all practitioners, it is an inevitable consequence of a high-tech product which is being

put to more demanding use. Those of us who propose design procedures and write

design codes have to find an acceptable compromise between rigorous

(mathematical) design and the aspirations of practical designers who demand sim-

ple design procedures. This section summarises the tools that are available for

research and development. The paper then demonstrates how these are related to

practical design.

Steel sections may be subject to one of four generic types of buckling, namely

local, global, distortional and shear. Local buckling is particularly prevalent in cold-

formed sections and is characterised by the relatively short wavelength buckling of

individual plate elements. The term global buckling embraces Euler and lateral-

J.M. Davies / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 55 (2000) 267288 273

rigid-body buckling because any given cross-section moves as a rigid body without

any distortion of the cross-section. Distortional buckling, as the term suggests, is

buckling which takes place as a consequence of distortion of the cross-section. In

cold-formed sections, it is characterised by relative movement of the fold-lines. The

wavelength of distortional buckling is generally intermediate between that of local

buckling and global buckling.

It is a consequence of the increasing complexity of section shapes that local buck-

ling calculations are becoming more complicated and that distortional buckling takes

on increasing importance. These two generic modes of buckling may, of course,

interact with each other as well as with global buckling. Whereas much has been

written about local and global buckling, and codes of practice for the design of

structural steelwork contain the relevant clauses, distortional buckling is less well

known and less well documented. This, however, should not be taken as an indication

of its lack of importance. In many cold-formed sections, distortional buckling is at

least as likely as local buckling and warrants similar consideration in design. It is

also likely in relatively slender hot-rolled sections.

Shear buckling may also be either local or global. Local shear buckling can occur

in the slender webs of members subject to bending or in the wide flanges of sheeting

and decking profiles subject to diaphragm action. Global shear buckling generally

only arises when relatively lightweight sheeting or lining profiles are subject to dia-

phragm action. There is a need for greater understanding of both local and global

shear buckling of stiffened tray and cassette sections subject to diaphragm action.

The research and development engineer has a range of tools available to him when

considering the design of a new range of cold-formed sections or new applications

of existing sections. Evidently, most cases of practical importance are covered by

modern design codes such as Eurocode 3: Part 1.3 [11]; The American Specification

[12], The Australian and New Zealand Standard [13] and the British Standard BS

5950: Part 5 [14]. However, cases may arise which are not adequately covered by

the available codes or where the codes are over-conservative and more efficient

designs can be obtained by an investment into a more detailed design. The available

design technologies for such situations may be summarised as follows.

4.2.1. Testing

Historically, design by testing has been more widely used for cold-formed sections

than for most other building components. There are a number of reasons for this,

both practical and economic. As analytical methods have improved, testing is now

used less frequently. However, it is still widely used for particular cases such as:

purlins clad with sheeting; perforated racking uprights; (slotted) studs with sheathing

attached; composite decks; sandwich panels etc. It is notable that almost all of these

examples involve the interaction of light gauge steel components with other materials

or parts of the structure as discussed above. These situations are, of course, notori-

274 J.M. Davies / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 55 (2000) 267288

ously difficult to analyse satisfactorily although much progress is being made in this

area. Other situations which are difficult to analyse and where testing may still be

appropriate are those involving significant holes or openings through the member

and those where economic design requires consideration of ultimate limit states in

which there is interaction between buckling and yielding.

equations

Although the differential equations which govern the behaviour of thin-walled

metal sections have been known for many years, explicit solutions have been found

for relatively few practical situations. The emphasis, therefore, is on numerical sol-

utions which are considered later. The main application of explicit solutions is in

the analysis of the global buckling (lateral and lateral torsional) of beams and col-

umns. Explicit solutions are also useful in some simple cases of shear buckling.

The finite element method is the most general of the numerical methods which

provide solutions of the governing differential equations. In principle, all of the

required phenomena can be modelled using appropriate finite element techniques.

However, this method is generally considered to be too cumbersome for practical

design and therefore may be seen as the primary method available to researchers.

The primary building-block for the analysis of cold-formed sections is the second-

order thin shell element which can accommodate the full range of section shapes

and buckling phenomena. If a non-linear stress-strain relationship is incorporated

into the analysis, such elements can also model yielding and elastic-plastic buckling.

Contact elements, connection elements and large deflection theory add to the huge

range of facilities that are available to the analyst so that all of the relevant practical

problems can be solved using the finite element method. The disadvantage is, of

course, the considerable cost. This is mainly a consequence of the time spent in data

preparation and post-processing although non-linear problems may take a long time

to run. It should be noted that great care is needed in formulating the correct bound-

ary conditions and this can also consume a considerable amount of time.

The finite strip method falls into the category of numerical methods that are

specifically designed for prismatic members. Cold-formed sections are generally pris-

matic and the finite strip method has the advantage over the finite element method

of requiring less computer time and memory as well as less data preparation.

From the practical point of view, the second-order finite strip method is parti-

cularly important because bifurcation buckling solutions may be obtained relatively

easily using simple half sine wave displacement functions. This provides whole

section solutions for the full range of buckling phenomena, leading to relatively

new design procedures which will be considered later. Several well-known

researchers (e.g. Hancock, Pekoz, Rhodes) have prepared user-friendly computer

software for this calculation which is available to practical designers. That of Pekoz

J.M. Davies / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 55 (2000) 267288 275

http://www.cee.cornell.edu/schafer/TWResearchGroup/analysis.htm

The seven degree of freedom prismatic finite element was developed by Barsoum

and Gallagher [15]. It adds the first derivative of rotation about the longitudinal axis

to a conventional six degree of freedom, second-order beam-column element and

thus introduces consideration of lateral torsional buckling. This provides a rational

approach to rigid body buckling when the available solutions based on explicit

solutions of the governing differential equations are not sufficient.

Generalised Beam Theory is also applicable to prismatic members and has been

compared to the finite strip method. However, it is much more than an alternative

method and more in the nature of a new theory. It is applicable to all three

generic modes of buckling as well as their interaction. It is, therefore, considered in

some detail in the next section of this paper.

Generalised Beam Theory (GBT) has been described elsewhere [16,17] and space

precludes a full description here. For our purposes, it is important to note that the

essential concept of GBT is the separation of the behaviour of a prismatic member

into a series of orthogonal displacement modes. It is a particular strength of GBT

that these modes may be considered separately or in any combination in order to

investigate different aspects of the structural response. In GBT, each mode has an

equation and, in second-order format, neglecting the shear deformation terms, the

equation for mode k is:

n n

(iWj V)k q for k1,2,%n (1)

i1j1

where the left superscript k denotes the mode and: kC is the generalised warping

constant; kD is the generalised torsional constant; and kB is the transverse bending

stiffness.

These are the generalised section properties which depend only on the cross-sec-

tion geometry. In addition:

ijk

are second-order section properties which relate the cross-section deformations

to the stress distributions,

E and G are the modulus of elasticity and the shear modulus respectively,

k

V and kW are the generalised deformation resultant and stress resultant,

k

q is the uniformly distributed load and

n is the number of modes in the analysis.

276 J.M. Davies / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 55 (2000) 267288

For simple cross-sections, the section properties and the ijk values may be calcu-

lated manually but this is cumbersome. In general, this task is best carried out by

computer and a general program has been prepared by the author and his colleague

Dr C. Jiang and has been made available in the public domain.

If the right hand side terms kq of the equation system (1) are zero, the solution

gives the critical stress resultant iW. In general, this requires the solution of an eigen-

value problem in which the analyst is free to choose which modes to include in his

analysis. Various mode interactions can be studied in this way for prismatic members

of varying lengths.

When a constant stress resultant, such as an axial load or a constant bending

moment, is applied along a member which is assumed to buckle in a half sine wave

of wavelength l, GBT allows some particularly simple results to be obtained. Thus

the critical stress resultant for single mode buckling is [17]:

i,k

Wcr

1

ikk

p2 k

l2

E CGk

D

l2 k

p2

B (2)

i,k

Wcr

1

ikk

(2 E kCBG k D) (3)

k

lp

E kC

k

B

0.25

(4)

buckling mode, including the distortional modes. No other method known to the

author allows the distortional modes to be isolated in this way. In particular, it can

be seen that critical stress resultant for either local or distortional buckling in mode

k is dependant only on readily calculable section properties. The second-order coup-

ling term ikk is dependant on the load mode i but the buckling half wavelength

depends only on the cross-section properties kC and kB which are independent of

the type of load (e.g. axial or bending). The design expressions based on simplified

models, which will be discussed later, have the same pattern.

There are three different applications of second-order GBT which may be used

to investigate buckling phenomena in cold-formed sections. These are: (1) the above

explicit expressions for single-mode buckling; (2) simple mode interaction based on

the half sine wave assumption which gives rise to elementary eigenvalue problems;

and (3) the general case, without any assumed displacement function, which gives

rise to larger eigenvalue problems based on a finite difference solution of the coupled

differential equations. These may be illustrated by considering a particular example.

5.1. The application of GBT to the buckling of a column section under axial load

the upright section used in the construction of pallet racking. These members usually

J.M. Davies / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 55 (2000) 267288 277

which are not pre-determined. However, this feature will be ignored in the follow-

ing illustration.

Fig. 4 shows a typical upright section which has previously been analyzed by the

authors [18]. Here, for simplicity, it is idealised with sharp corners. By including an

artificial node in the middle of the long side, local buckling of this face of the section

is included in the analysis. Local buckling of the other faces is clearly much less

critical. Additional (optional) nodes are also included at the ends of the lips. These

detect a pure local buckling mode in the lips. There are, thus, a total of 11 nodes

in the cross-section and these give rise to 11 orthogonal modes of deformation in

the GBT analysis. Fig. 4 also shows the modes of distortion which are determined

by GBT. Mode 1 is axial shortening, modes 2 and 3 are bending about the two

principal axes and mode 4 is pure torsion. These are the rigid-body modes with

no distortion or local buckling of the cross-section. The remaining modes all involve

either distortion or local buckling. Modes 5 to 8 are the distortional modes, mode

9 is local buckling of the long face and modes 10 and 11 are local lip buckling modes.

Eq. (4) shows that, if kB is not equal to zero, a given mode k has a clearly

defined buckling half-wavelength and, therefore, from Eq. (3), a clearly defined mini-

mum critical stress. All of the modes except the rigid-body modes fall into this

category and the critical wavelengths and stresses are given in Table 1.

It may be noted here that the modern tendency to introduce more folds in order

to reduce the impact of local buckling has the effect of introducing more distor-

tional modes!

Fig. 5 shows the buckling behaviour in some of the individual modes according

to Eqs. (2)(4) together with the lateral torsional (rigid-body) buckling curve and

lower bound curves when all modes are considered together. There are some entirely

typical features which can be clearly seen from these results:

The local and distortional buckling modes are clearly identified and their buckling

278 J.M. Davies / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 55 (2000) 267288

Table 1

Buckling behaviour in the individual modes

5 52.1 31.2

6 41.3 52.4

7 29.2 309.4

8 25.6 486.8

9 6.31 38.7

10 5.46 61.4

11 5.45 61.3

section

The three local buckling modes have very short wavelengths and, for the purposes

of design, they can be treated by the usual effective width approaches

The critical distortion mode is a symmetrical rotation of both flanges about the

junction with the upper web. Distortional buckling modes have intermediate

wavelengths.

For this type of problem (singly symmetric section subject to axial load), there

is little interaction between distortional and lateral-torsional (rigid-body) buckling

and it is sufficient to consider distortional buckling in isolation.

J.M. Davies / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 55 (2000) 267288 279

In general, with GBT, the critical distortional buckling mode is symmetrical and

can be easily identified. Eq. (3) then provides a simple design expression based on

the calculated section properties. However, at the present time, GBT is not readily

available to structural designers and it is appropriate to consider other simplified

approaches. Not surprisingly, as discussed in Section 6.2 of this paper, other authors

have attempted to model the symmetrical mode 5 as shown in Fig. 4, though without

a formal evaluation of the alternative modes revealed by GBT.

The buckling behaviour of beams bent about the major axis differs from that of

columns in a number of respects. Fig. 6(a) shows a typical cold formed section beam.

Ignoring considerations of local buckling, which do not add anything to the argument

here, the section has 6 natural nodes and therefore there are 6 orthogonal modes of

buckling. These are shown in Fig. 6(b) and are 4 rigid-body modes and 2 distor-

tional modes.

When the beam is bent about the major axis, it is well known that individual

lateral and torsional modes have no significance and the only rigid-body buckling

mode is a combination of modes 3 and 4, namely lateral torsional buckling. In the

same way, the distortional modes 5 (symmetrical) and 6 (antisymmetrical) have no

individual significance and the only distortional mode is a combination of the two

such that most of the distortion takes place in the compression flange with the flange

in tension playing a minor role. Assuming again that the bucking mode is a half

sine wave, GBT again allows a simple calculation for the case of pure bending. The

relevant buckling curves are shown in Fig. 7.

The above results are typical and the general conclusions are similar to those

for columns:

280 J.M. Davies / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 55 (2000) 267288

Fig. 7. Buckling curves for a lipped channel section beam in uniform bending.

The critical distortion mode is a rotation of the compression flange about its junc-

tion with the web. Distortional buckling modes have intermediate wavelengths.

For this type of problem (channel section beam bent about the minor axis) there

is little interaction between distortional and lateral-torsional (rigid-body) buckling

and it is sufficient to consider distortional buckling in isolation.

Unrestrained beams are, of course, relatively rare. It is more usual for cold-formed

section beams to be at least partly restrained by the floor or roof that they support.

An important practical case is that of a purlin supporting a lightweight roof. In this,

and other similar cases, the purlin receives both lateral and torsional restraint to one

flange. It is an important feature of GBT that such restraints can be incorporated

into the member properties [19]. Consider the channel section from above with the

upper flange restrained in position laterally and restrained torsionally by a spring

with a specified stiffness cq. This is a typical representation of a purlin. Fig. 8 shows

the orthogonal modes of deformation, computed with the aid of GBT, for the purlin

section shown in Fig. 6 and for the typical case of cq =1.0 kNcm/radian per cm.

Mode 1 is axial strain which is not relevant for a purlin in bending and the remain-

ing modes are each associated with a buckling mode. Mode 3 is global buckling by

bending about the major axis which is unaffected by the restraints. Due to the exist-

ence of the restraints, the mode of buckling by bending about the minor axis of the

section is eliminated and the mode of pure torsion about the shear centre is turned

into a combination of torsion and distortion (mode 2). Modes 4 and 5 are the distor-

tional modes.

Under downward load, such a purlin usually fails in distortional buckling with a

J.M. Davies / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 55 (2000) 267288 281

combination of modes 4 and 5. However, for the important case of uplift load, there

is a transition from distortional buckling to the combined torsional-distortional mode

as the span increases. The point of transition depends on the amount of restraint

which is received from the cladding and, if this is sufficiently great, the torsional

distortional mode may not occur at all, regardless of the span. GBT can, of course,

deal rather elegantly with this complexity.

Local buckling of thin-walled sections has been known for many years and has

been well researched. The basic phenomenon is illustrated in Fig. 9 which shows

local buckling in a cassette column with an intermediate stiffener in the wide flange.

282 J.M. Davies / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 55 (2000) 267288

As shown, plate elements which are adequately stiffened along both longitudinal

edges tend to buckle into approximately square waves. For economic design, it is

essential to consider the post-buckled condition and, in this context, the primary

building block for cold formed section design is the concept of effective width

beff illustrated in Fig. 10.

The usual effective width formula is the semi-empirical formula due to Winter

[11]:

0.22 1

lp lp (5)

s Ek

seff bp seff

l p 1.052 (6)

cr t s

where seff is the maximum compressive stress in the plate element; scr is the critical

stress for elastic buckling of the plate element; E is the Youngs modulus; ks is the

buckling factor which = 4.0 for a simply supported plate in uniform compression

and 0.43 for an outstand plate element with one edge free.

Elements stiffened on one side only are much less stable and can also be treated

by an analogous effective width approach. However, such unstiffened elements rarely

arise in practice because the free edges are usually restrained by lips. The modern

tendency is to use compound lips as illustrated in Fig. 1 (Multibeam Mark III), Figs.

2 and 9.

Eurocode 3: Part 1.3 [11] gives some comprehensive rules for the determination

of effective widths under different stress conditions. In principle, the effective widths

of the individual plate elements may be combined to give an effective section and

member design completed using conventional techniques. However, this apparent

simplicity conceals a number of difficulties. As illustrated by Fig. 9, individual plate

elements do not buckle in isolation but interact with each other. Although some

codes (e.g. BSI 1987 [14]) give an approximate treatment of this phenomenon, it

can only be dealt with accurately by a whole-section analysis.

Fig. 10. Effective width beff of plane element stiffened along both edges.

J.M. Davies / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 55 (2000) 267288 283

Furthermore, Fig. 9 suggests that both the intermediate stiffener in the wide flange

and the compound lip stiffeners are fully effective so that they remain straight

during local buckling of the plate elements. With modern, highly stiffened sections,

this is often not the case. Stiffeners may be partially effective so that stiffener buck-

ling interacts with local plate buckling. Highly stiffened decking profiles are a special

case for which some complex but accurate design procedures have been derived

[20]. Eurocode 3: Part 1.3 [11] gives some design rules for more general situations

but these are complicated to use and not particularly accurate [21]. Evidently, this

is another situation where design based on an analysis of the whole section is to

be preferred.

researchers. The research has now reached the point where design procedures suitable

for inclusion in codes of practice are beginning to emerge. Both columns and beams

will be considered in turn. Mention will also be made of the special case of beams

(purlins or sheeting rails) which are partially restrained by the cladding that they

support as this is an important practical case.

The considerations discussed above in the context of GBT point the way to an

appropriate model from which simplified analytical expressions for the distortional

elastic buckling stress may be derived. Such a model, which was originally developed

by Lau and Hancock [22], is shown in Fig. 11. In contrast to GBT, in which the

whole cross-section is considered, their analytical expressions were based on a flange

buckling model in which the flange was treated as a compression member restrained

by a rotational and a translational spring. The rotational spring stiffness kf represents

the torsional restraint from the web and the translational spring stiffness kx represents

the restraint to translational movement of the cross section.

In Lau and Hancocks analysis [22], it is shown that the translational spring stiff-

ness kx does not have much significance for the buckling mode under consideration

284 J.M. Davies / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 55 (2000) 267288

and the value of kx was assumed to be zero. The key to evaluating this model is to

consider the rotational spring stiffness kf and the half buckling wavelength l, while

taking account of symmetry. Lau and Hancock [22] give a detailed analysis in which

the effect of the local buckling stress in the web and of shear and flange distortion

were taken into account in determining expressions for kf and l. These are too

complex to reproduce here but a direct analogy with Eq. (4) may be noted.

Davies and Jiang [23] have carried out a detailed calibration of this model against

the more accurate whole-section analysis offered by Generalised Beam Theory

(GBT). They noted the sensitivity of this model to the value of the spring stiffness

kf and were able to propose a significant improvement.

Analytical expressions for the distortional buckling of thin-walled beams of gen-

eral section geometry under a constant bending moment about the major axis have

been developed by Hancock [24]. These analytical expressions were based on the

simple flange buckling model shown in Fig. 12 (together with an improvement pro-

posed by Davies and Jiang [25]) in which the flange was treated as a compression

member with both rotational and translational spring restraints in the longitudinal

direction. The rotational spring stiffness kf and the translational spring stiffness kx

represent the torsional restraint and translational restraint from the web respectively.

In his analysis, Hancock again chose the translational spring stiffness kx to be zero.

These beam models are, of course, directly analogous to the column model shown

in Fig. 11. The only significant difference lies only in the stiffness of the rotational

spring and the necessary modifications to the design expressions for the rotational

spring stiffness kf and the buckling length l are given in Hancocks paper [24]. This

then leads to the similar equations for the critical stress for distortional buckling.

When comparing the results given by Hancocks expressions and GBT for the

distortional buckling of channel section beams [25], it was found that good results

were obtained for small web depths but that, for deeper sections, Hancocks

expression could become unsafe due to the neglect of web local buckling and the

assumption of fixity at the bottom (tension) end of the web. In order to improve

Fig. 12. Comparison of design expressions with the results given by GBT for channel section beams.

J.M. Davies / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 55 (2000) 267288 285

introducing a reduction coefficient into the equation for kf and by assuming the

tension end of the web to be pinned. It was shown that the modified design

expressions give a better estimate of the critical bending moment than Hancocks

original expressions. This again emphasises the sensitivity of models of this type to

the value assumed for kf and the preference for whole-section analysis.

Evidently, as discussed in Section 5.3, when one flange is elastically restrained,

the behaviour is more complex than for an unrestrained section and there are two

distortional modes to consider in design. Lack of space precludes a full discussion

of this topic but it is sufficient to say that Pekoz and Soroushian [26] have described

an adequate model for the combined torsional-distortional mode 2 and that Hancocks

distortion buckling model in Fig. 12 can be readily modified further [27] to include

the additional torsional restraint from the cladding. Both models must be considered

and the more critical of the two gives a satisfactory design expression for a

restrained purlin.

section analysis rather than simplified design models has been emphasised. Whole

section models are believed to be particularly appropriate for dealing with local and

distortional buckling and the interaction between them. This is now considered to

be a practical proposition for designers because of the ready availability of finite

strip or GBT bifurcation analyses based on half sine wave displacement functions.

However, bifurcation analyses only give the critical stress for elastic buckling.

For design purposes, it is generally necessary to consider the interaction of buckling

and yielding. Furthermore, for economic design, it also necessary to consider the

beneficial effect of post-buckling. There are two complementary approaches which

are available to deal with this situation.

and global buckling. Solutions of practical accuracy can generally be obtained by

combining the theoretical load (or stress) for elastic (bifurcation) buckling with the

corresponding yield load (or stress) using the equation:

1

c but c1 with f0.5[1a(l0.2)l2] (7)

f+[f l2]0.5

2

where c is the reduction factor for buckling with respect to the unbuckled capacity;

a is an imperfection factor and l is the relative slenderness in the relevant buck-

ling mode.

286 J.M. Davies / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 55 (2000) 267288

In Eurocode 3: Part 1.3 [11], this equation is applied to the flexural buckling of

columns and to the lateral torsional buckling of beams with l equal to P/Pcr and

M/Mcr respectively. Local buckling may be allowed for by basing the yield load

(or stress) on the effective cross section. Up to the present time, this part of the

calculation has been based on conventional (effective width) approaches with the

problems discussed in some detail above.

In principle, Eq. (7) is equally valid when used to allow second-order elastic GBT

solutions to be used to give reliable estimates of the failure loads for both beams

and columns in a wider range of practical situations. However, the AyrtonPerry

approach does not include any allowance for post-buckling so that it is likely to be

over-conservative when applied to situations where local buckling is significant. It

is with this in mind that Schafer and Pekoz [28] have recently proposed the direct

strength approach.

The direct strength method recognises that the available models for local and

distortional buckling design are far from simple and have significant limitations. It

also recognises that the current trend is to increase the complexity of section shapes

and also increases the complexity of the required mathematical models. It therefore

proposes a formal design procedure based on elastic bucking solutions for the com-

plete cross-section. The particular characteristic of this procedure is that it also

recognises that, for economic design, it is necessary to take advantage of the post-

buckling strength. It therefore takes the conventional effective width Eqs. (5) and

(6) and applies these to the complete cross-section. The method has been initially

expressed in terms of flexural members but it is clearly also applicable to members

under axial compression. Thus, the design moment capacity is given by:

MnrMy(rS)fyb

where

Mcr 0.22 1

if l (8)

y

The elastic buckling moment Mcr for local or distortional buckling may be readily

obtained from either the finite strip method or GBT using half sine wave displace-

ment functions. The proposals of Schafer and Pekoz [28] offer two possible

additional refinements to the basic procedure described above. Noting that there may

be decreased post-buckling capacity in the case of distortional buckling, a reduction

factor is suggested for this case. Alternatively, a modified equation may be used for

r in order to obtain better agreement with the experimental results.

The above proposal, and the possible refinements, have been calibrated against

the AISI [12] specification for a total of 574 test results for unrestrained beams

obtained by 17 researchers. It is shown that, as well as being simpler, the initial

J.M. Davies / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 55 (2000) 267288 287

form of the direct strength method is conservative and at least as accurate as the

AISI specification. The reduction factor for distortional buckling does not improve

matters but the second proposed improvement results in a distinct improvement on

the AISI design rules.

8. Conclusions

this is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. This development has been a

combination of improvements in technology and developments in applications. It has

placed researchers under some pressure to find adequate practical design procedures

for increasingly complicated section shapes. Research workers have responded to

this challenge in two ways. Viable design models have been developed for the local

and distortional buckling, and the interaction between them, for most of the sections

of interest to the designers of building structures. However, these models are far

from simple and a more interesting possibility arises from the ready availability of

bifurcation buckling analyses of the complete cross-section using either the finite

strip method or Generalised Beam Theory with a half sine wave displacement func-

tion.

For cold-formed steel columns and beams with the proportions typically used in

practice, distortional buckling is often critical. Generalised Beam Theory (GBT) pro-

vides a particularly appropriate tool with which to analyze distortional buckling in

isolation and in combination with other buckling modes. It also provides a yardstick

with which other simplified methods may be assessed.

The results of such bifurcation analyses need to be combined with a yielding

limitation in a semi-empirical fashion. There are two complementary procedures

available. The AyrtonPerry equation is well-established for situations where the

predominant buckling mode is global (lateral or lateral-torsional). An allowance for

post-buckling behaviour may be made in the calculation of the yield load or stress.

The direct strength method makes a more formal allowance for post-buckling and

is evidently more appropriate when local buckling is significant. Combining the two

procedures gives the best available design procedure when members with a range

of length or span need to be considered.

At the present time, the author understands that the direct strength approach is

being seriously considered for inclusion in certain National design standards. The

author believes that this is a positive step forward which should be encouraged.

References

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