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BRACING

12.1 INTRODUCTION

Stability bracing requirements first appeared in the early 1900s related to the design

of lacing in the built-up members of trusses (Waddell, 1916). Numerous railroad

truss failures prompted the development of the 2% rule—the lacing shear force

equals 2% of the force in the column. The lacing rule was most likely simply

extended by structural engineers to all stability bracing situations, primarily as a

result of steel design specifications in the United States not containing general

bracing requirements until 1999. In the 1970s, the New York City building code

contained the 2% rule for stability bracing but no stiffness requirements. Timo-

shenko’s 1936 book, Theory of Elastic Stability, contained solutions for columns

with flexible supports (brace points). He showed that if the flexible supports had a

certain minimum stiffness, a straight column would behave as if the supports were

rigid (no movement). Making the brace stiffness greater than the minimum did not

affect the column strength. He also gave a simple technique for determining the

minimum (later called ideal ) stiffness for column bracing. Winter (1960) extended

Timoshenko’s solution to columns with initial crookedness (real columns) and to

beams. Winter introduced the concept that stability bracing strength and stiffness

requirements are interconnected. He showed that the design stiffness needed to be

twice the ideal stiffness to keep brace forces small. The recommendations found

in this chapter follow and expand on Winter’s concept.

An adequate brace system requires both strength and stiffness (Winter, 1960).

A simple brace design formulation, such as designing the brace for 2% of the

member compressive force, addresses only the strength criterion. The magnitude

of the initial out-of-straightness of the members to be braced has a direct effect on

the bracing force. The brace stiffness also affects the brace force. Many published

solutions provide stiffness recommendations only for perfectly straight structural

systems. Such recommendations should not be used directly in design because very

large brace forces may result, as will be shown subsequently.

Guide to Stability Design Criteria for Metal Structures, Sixth Edition Edited by Ronald D. Ziemian 531

Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

532 BRACING

A general design guide for stability bracing of columns, beams, and frames is

presented. The focus is on simplicity, not exact formulations. The design rec-

ommendations cover four general types of bracing systems: relative, discrete,

continuous, and lean-on, as illustrated in Fig. 12.1.

adjacent points along the length of the column or beam. If a cut everywhere

along the braced member passes through the brace itself, then the brace

system is relative, as illustrated by diagonal bracing, shear walls, or truss

bracing.

(b) A discrete brace controls the movement only at that particular brace point.

For example, in Fig. 12.1b the column is braced at points 1 by cross beams.

A cut at the column midheight does not pass through any brace, so the brace

system is not relative but discrete. Two adjacent beams with diaphragms or

cross frames are discretely braced at the cross-frame locations.

(c) Continuous bracing is self evident; there is no unbraced length. The special

case of diaphragm-braced columns and beams are discussed in Chapter 13.

(d) A beam or column that relies on adjacent structural members for support

is braced in a lean-on system. Structural members that are tied or linked

together, such that buckling of the member would require adjacent members

to buckle with the same lateral displacement, characterize lean-on systems,

as shown in Fig. 12.1d . In the sway mode member A leans on member B,

that is, member B braces member A.

comp cross

flange frames

1

1

diaphragms

brace

(a) (b)

metal B A

deck

grider

A B

siding attached column

A B

to columns

(c ) (d )

FIGURE 12.1 Types of bracing systems: (a) relative; (b) discrete; (c) continuous; (d )

lean-on.

BACKGROUND 533

12.2 BACKGROUND

A general discussion of stability bracing for beams, columns, and frames has been

provided by Trahair and Nethercot (1984), Chen and Tong (1994), and Yura (1995).

Before presenting the various bracing recommendations, some background material

on the importance of initial out-of-straightness, connection stiffness, and member

inelasticity on bracing effects is discussed along with the limitations of the design

criteria.

Winter (1960) derived the interrelationship between bracing strength and stiffness

using simple models. He showed that the brace force is a function of the initial

column out-of-straightness, o , and the brace stiffness, β. The concept is illustrated

for the relative brace system shown in Fig. 12.2, where the brace, represented by the

spring at the top of the column, controls the movement at the column top, , relative

to the column base. The unbraced length is defined as L. Summation of moments

about point A gives PT = βL(T − o ) where T = + o . If o = 0 (an

initially perfectly plumb member), then Pcr = βL, which indicates that the critical

load increases with an increase in brace stiffness. The brace stiffness required in

the sway mode to reach the load corresponding to Euler buckling between brace

points, Po , is called the ideal stiffness, β i , where βi = Po /L in this case.

For the out-of-plumb column, the relationship between P, β, and T is plotted

in Fig. 12.3a. If β = βi , Po can be reached only if the sway deflection gets very

large. Unfortunately, such large displacements produce large brace forces, F br , as

shown in Fig. 12.3b because Fbr = β. For practical design, must be kept small

at the maximum factored load level. This can be accomplished by specifying β

> β i . For example, if β = 2β i , then = o at Po as shown in Fig. 12.3b. The

larger the brace stiffness, the smaller the brace force. For very stiff brace systems

the brace force approaches Fbr = Po o /L. The brace force is a linear function

of the initial out-of-plumbness. The recommendations given later will assume a

ΔO ΔT

P P

ΔO Δ

bΔ

b

L

L

initial out-

of-straightness

A

P P

534 BRACING

particular out-of-straightness and a brace stiffness at least twice the ideal stiffness.

The effects of the magnitude and shape of the initial imperfection pattern on the

brace forces in beams are discussed by Wang and Helwig (2005).

Most research on bracing requirements for structures are based on elastic concepts

(Trahair and Nethercot, 1984). The design requirements for relative braces, how-

ever, are merely a function of the load on the member and the distance between

braces, as illustrated above, not column elasticity or inelasticity. For discrete brac-

ing systems, Pincus (1964) used a simple theoretical model to demonstrate that

the bracing stiffness requirements for inelastic columns are greater than those for

elastic columns. Gil and Yura (1999), however, showed experimentally and analyt-

ically that an inelastic column with a midspan discrete brace showed no effect of

column inelasticity on the bracing requirements. Also, Ales and Yura (1993) cast

doubt on the Pincus solution, and their experiments on discrete bracing of inelastic

beams verified Winter’s approach. Nakamura (1988) presents a few beam experi-

ments that also appear to follow the trends suggested by Winter’s approach. Wang

and Nethercot (1989) conducted a theoretical study of brace stiffness and strength

requirements for beams with a concentrated load at midspan. Their study further

verified the Winter approach, especially on the need to use at least twice the ideal

full bracing stiffness in order to reduce the brace forces. The brace forces were

less than 1% of the flange force when the recommended stiffness was provided.

The results appear to verify Winter’s approach for use with inelastic beams, but

the loading condition considered involved only a small amount of inelasticity near

midspan.

For beams in the inelastic range, most research has been concerned with the

spacing of the braces, not the properties of the braces. Commentary on Plastic

Design in Steel (ASCE, 1971) gives requirements for bracing at plastic hinge loca-

tions. In the ASCE recommendations, the lateral brace must have axial strength,

axial stiffness, and flexural stiffness. Experiments on simply supported beams do

not verify the need for flexural stiffness in the lateral braces. Yura and Li (2002)

BACKGROUND 535

studied bracing requirements for beams in the plastic range for steels with Fy

≤ 50 ksi. They found that brace stiffness requirements are not sensitive to rotation

capacity, but brace forces do increase as rotation capacity increases and when local

flange and web buckling occur. The bracing recommendations presented herein

can be used in plastic design with Fy ≤ 50 ksi, but not for applications requiring

rotation capacities greater than 3. Thomas and Earls (2003) found that the bracing

requirements herein were inadequate for the plastic design of A709 Gr. HPS483W

high-performance steel girders with current compactness limits.

The few documented studies on discrete bracing requirements for inelastic beams

and columns cited above indicate that inelasticity in the main members does not

affect the bracing requirements unless large rotation capacities are required. Undoc-

umented bracing failures of test setups in experiments when instability occurs in

the inelastic range has contributed to the notion that inelastic structures require

larger braces than elastic structures. When a lateral bracing failure occurs in a

load test into the inelastic range, however, it usually happens after a local flange

or web buckle occurs, which causes the W-shape beam to become unsymmetric.

The loss of symmetry of the section causes shifts and inclinations of the princi-

pal bending axes that can cause very substantial lateral and torsional forces, much

like those in channel sections not loaded through the shear center. Lateral bracing

forces caused after local buckling occurs are very substantial (Yura and Li, 2002).

Because most local buckling occurs in the plastic range, however, bracing failures

are often associated with inelasticity rather than local buckling.

In continuous and lean-on brace systems, the brace requirements are based on

the elastic and/or inelastic stiffness of the members to be braced, as will be given

later. In these stability problems the effect of member inelasticity on the buckling

solution can be reasonably approximated by representing the stiffness with the

tangent modulus ET (with ET = τ E , where τ is the inelastic stiffness reduction

factor) instead of the elastic modulus, E . The elastic range is defined by the axial

stress in the member, not the slenderness ratio. A member with low slenderness

ratio (L/r) will respond elastically if the axial stress is low. In the AISC 2005

Specification, an axial stress less than 0.35Fy places the column in the elastic

range. The AISC Manual (AISC, 2005) tabulates the stiffness reduction factor for

various P/A stress levels. In LRFD, τ = −6.97(P/Py ) log(1.111P/Py ), where P is

the factored column load and Py is the yield load, Fy A. The potential axial buckling

capacity of a column is φτ (0.877)π 2 EI /(KL)2 for P/Py ≥ 0.35. For P/Py < 0.35,

τ = 1.0. This τ factor will be used in some of the following example problems.

12.2.3 Limitations

The brace requirements presented below will enable a member to reach the Euler

buckling load between the brace points (i.e., use K = 1.0). Because the ideal brace

stiffness β i = 1.0Pe /L corresponds to K = 1.0, this is not the same as the no-sway

buckling load as illustrated in Fig. 12.4 for the braced cantilever with rigid rotational

base restraint. For a brace with twice the ideal stiffness, the buckling load is only

75% (K = 0.81) of the no-sway case. A brace with six times the ideal stiffness is

536 BRACING

necessary to reach 95% of the K = 0.7 load limit. Theoretically, an infinitely stiff

brace is required to reach the no-sway limit.

If they are flexible, brace connections should be considered in the evaluation of

the bracing stiffness as follows:

1 1 1

= + (12.1)

βsys βconn βbrace

The brace system stiffness, β sys , is less than the smaller of the connection

stiffness, β conn , or the stiffness of the brace, β brace . When evaluating the bracing of

rows of columns or beams, consideration must be given to the accumulation of the

brace forces along the length of the brace, which results in a different displacement

at each beam or column location. Medland and Segedin (1979) and Tong and Chen

(1989) have studied interbraced structures. The solutions are fairly complex for use

in design. In general, bracing forces can be minimized by increasing the number

of braced bays and using stiff braces. Chen and Tong (1994) recommend bracing

at least every eight bays.

The recommendations presented are based on ultimate strength. Column and beam

loads are assumed to be factored loads. For brace stiffness formulations, a value of

φ = 0.75 is recommended in LRFD. If the load calculations are based on service

loads as in ASD, a factor of safety of 2.0 can be applied to the factored load

stiffness requirements. The strength requirements use the built-in safety factors or

φ factors within each design specification. In LRFD, the design brace force will

be based on factored loads and compared to the design strength of the brace and

its connections. In ASD, the brace force will be a function of the applied service

RELATIVE BRACES FOR COLUMNS OR FRAMES 537

loads, and this force will be compared to the allowable brace loads and connection

capacity.

The initial displacement o for relative and discrete braces is defined with

respect to the distance between adjacent braces as shown in Fig. 12.5. In frames,

P is the sum of the column loads in a story to be stabilized by the brace. In

the case of a discrete brace for a member, P would be the average load in the

compression member above and below the brace point. The initial displacement

o is a small displacement from the straight position at the brace points caused by

sources other than the gravity loads or compressive forces. For example, o would

be a displacement caused by wind or other lateral forces, erection tolerance (initial

out-of-plumb), and so on. In all cases, the brace force recommendations are based

on an assumed o = 0.002L, with direct proportion permitted for other o values.

For torsional bracing of columns or beams, an initial twist βo of 0.002L/h is used

where h is the distance between the flange centroids. For cases when n columns,

each with a random o , are to be stabilized√by a brace system, Chen and Tong

(1994) recommend an average o = 0.002L/ n value to account for the variation

in initial out-of-straightness.

0.002L and a brace stiffness twice the ideal value, βi = P/L, the design (LRFD)

recommendation is

2 P

φ = 0.75 βreq = Fbr = 0.004 P

φL

Example 1 illustrates the bracing design for a typical interior portion of a build-

ing with bracing every third frame. Each interior brace must stabilize 1500 kips.

The floor is assumed to act as a rigid diaphragm and all o are equal. It is also

538 BRACING

assumed that only the tension diagonal brace, taken as a threaded rod, controls the

lateral flexibility of the structure. The cosine functions are necessary to convert

the diagonal brace to an equivalent brace perpendicular to the column(s). Stiffness

controls the design in this case. If o is different from 0.002L, F br should be

changed in direct proportion to the actual o . If the brace stiffness provided, β act ,

is different from β req , F br can be modified as follows:

1

Fbr = 0.004 P (12.2)

2 − (βreq /βact )

Example 12.1: Relative Brace–Tension System A typical brace with F y =

36 ksi must stabilize three bents. The factored load for each bent is

150 + 250 + 100 = 500 kips

column:

• Brace force

150 k 250 k 100 k

12′

θ

20′

0.004(3 × 500)

Fbr = = 6.99 kips

cos θ

5

8 -in. threaded rod OK

• Brace stiffness

Ab E 2(3 × 500 kips)

cos2 θ = βreq = gives Abgross = 0.364 in.2

Lb 0.75(12)

bracing is

2P

φ = 0.75 βreq = Ni Fbr = 0.01P

φL

in which P is the factored load, L the required brace spacing, and n the number of

braces, Ni ≈ 4 − (2/n).

DISCRETE BRACING SYSTEMS FOR COLUMNS 539

Fig. 12.6 for three intermediate braces. The exact solution taken from Timoshenko

and Gere (1961) shows the relationship between Pcr and the brace stiffness, β.

With no bracing Pcr = π 2 EI /(4L)2 . At low brace stiffness the buckling load

increases substantially with the buckled shape a single (first-mode) wave. As

the brace stiffness is further increased, the buckled shape changes and additional

brace stiffness becomes less effective. Full bracing occurs at βL/Pe = 3.41 = Ni .

This ideal nondimensionalized stiffness factor Ni varies for equally spaced braces

between 2.0 for one brace to 4.0 for a large number of braces. Thus 4.0 can be

used conservatively for all cases. The above design recommendation is based on

full bracing assuming the load is at Pe . If P varies along the length, the design of

a brace can be based on the average load in the two adjacent unbraced segments.

The discrete brace force requirement (Yura, 1993) was developed initially from

Winter’s rigid member model assuming zero moment at the node points, which

gives F br = 0.8% of P from solutions similar to those shown in Fig. 12.3. Tong

and Chen (1987) and Plaut (1993) showed that Winter’s model was unconser-

vative for the case of a single brace at midspan, and hence, it is recommended

that F br = 1% of P. This force assumes that a brace stiffness twice the ideal

value is used. For other brace stiffnesses, the adjustment factor given in Eq. 12.2

can be used.

Typically, P may be less than Pe so it is conservative to use the actual column

load P to derive the design stiffness represented by the dotted line in Fig. 12.6. Note

that the required brace stiffness is inversely proportional to the brace spacing L. In

many applications there are more potential brace points than necessary to support

the required member forces. Closer spaced braces require more stiffness because the

derivations assume that the unbraced length provided is just sufficient to support the

column load. For example, suppose three girts are available to provide minor axis

bracing to the columns and that the column load is such that only a single full brace

at midspan would suffice. The required stiffness of the three-brace arrangement

540 BRACING

in the brace stiffness equation rather than the actual unbraced length. It should be

noted that the continuous bracing formula given in the next section more accurately

represents the true response of Fig. 12.6 for less than full bracing.

The design recommendation is based on twice the ideal stiffness to account

for initial out-of-straightness. Example 12.2 illustrates the design procedure for a

single discrete brace at the column midheight. The value of Ni is based on equal

brace spacing and is unconservative for unequal spacing. For unequal spacing, Ni

can be derived simply by using a rigid-bar model between braces (Yura, 1994). For

a single discrete brace at any location along the column length, with the longest

segment defined as L and the shorter segment as aL, Ni can be determined as

follows:

1

Ni = 1 + (12.3)

a

Example 12.2: Discrete Brace at Midheight A cross member braces the minor

axis of W16×26 at midheight. Factored loads are shown.

F

120 k 5′ 5′

W16 × 26 Δ

10′

5′

5′

brace

10′

2(120)

n = 1 Ni = 2 βreq = 2 = 5.33 kips/in.

0.75(120)

F 48EI

β= =

(10 × 12)3

5.33(120)3

Ireq = = 6.6 in.4

48(29,000)

Try a C5×6.7:

1.2(120)

Fy = 36 ksi fb = = 10.3 ksi OK

4(3.5)

CONTINUOUS COLUMN BRACING 541

βL2

Pcr = Pe n + 2 2

2

(12.4)

n π Pe

where n is the number of half sine waves in the buckled shape as shown by the solid

line in Fig. 12.7. As the brace stiffness per unit length β increases, the buckling

load and n also increase. The switch in buckling modes for each n occurs when

βL2 /π 2 Pe = n 2 (n + 1)2 . Substituting this expression for n into Eq. 12.4 gives

2L

Pcr = Pe + βPe (12.5)

π

Equation 12.5 is an approximate solution, shown dashed in Fig. 12.7, which

gives the critical load for any value of β without the need to determine n. In the

inelastic range use τ Pe for Pe in Eq. 12.5.

Equation 12.5 can also be used for discrete braces by defining β ≡ β × (number

of braces)/L and limiting Pcr ≤ π 2 EI /l 2 , where l is the distance between braces.

This approach is accurate for two or more braces. For example, if there are two

discrete-braces, the ideal discrete-brace stiffness is β = 3Pcr /l , where l = L/3 and

Pcr = π 2 EI /l 2 . Using Eq. 12.5 with β = 2(3Pcr /l )/L gives Pcr = 1.01(π 2 EI /l 2 ).

The bracing design recommendation given below is based on Eq. 12.5 with

β adjusted by a factor of 2 to limit the brace forces, adding a φ br = 0.75, and

using Po = φc (0.877)τ Pe , which is the AISC LRFD column design strength. The

542 BRACING

brace strength requirement Fbr = π 2 PT /L2o , where Lo is the maximum theoretical

unbraced length that can support the column load, was developed by Zuk (1956).

Taking T = 2o ando = 0.002Lo gives Fbr = 0.04P/Lo

ous bracing is

L

φc Pcr = Po + 2φbr βPo Fbr = 0.04P/Lo

π

When

some members lean on adjacent members for stability support (bracing), the

P concept (Yura, 1971) can be used to design the members. The approach will

be explained using the problem shown in Fig. 12.8, in which column A has a load

P with three connecting beams attached between columns A and B. There are two

principal buckling modes for this structure, the no-sway and the sway modes.

If column B is sufficiently slender, the system will buckle in the sway mode,

shown by the dot-dash

line in Fig. 12.8a. In the sway mode the buckling strength

involves the sum ( Pcr ) of the buckling capacity of the two columns because

each column has the same deformation pattern. The systemis stable in the sway

mode if the sum of the applied loads ( P) is less than the Pcr . This, of course,

assumes that all the columns have the same height. If column B is sufficiently stiff,

FIGURE 12.8 Lean-on bracing: (a) sway and no-sway buckling modes; (b) impact of

relative column stiffnesses.

LEAN-ON SYSTEMS 543

the buckling capacity may be controlled by the no-sway mode shown dashed. Both

modes must be checked in design.

An exact elastic solution, developed with nonlinear finite element analysis soft-

ware (ANSYS), shows that as IB (the bending moment of inertia of column B)

increases, Pcr increases linearly in the sway mode. For IB /IA ≥ 15.3, column A

buckles in the no-sway mode. The IB required to develop full bracing can be

approximated using the P concept. In the sway mode, the elastic capacities of

columns A and B are π 2 EIA /(4L)2 and π 2 EIB /(4L)2 , respectively. The desired Pcr

corresponding to the no-sway mode is π 2 EIA /L2 . Equating the sum of the sway

capacities to the Pcr in the no-sway mode,

π 2 E (IA + IB ) π 2 EIA

= (12.6)

(4L)2 L2

gives IB = 15IA , which is close to the exact solution of IB = 15.3 IA . In the inelastic

range, τ i is used where τ i is based on the axial load in each column, Pi . There can

be axial load on all the columns.

Example 12.3, which is similar to a problem solved by Lutz and Fisher (1985),

shows a W12×40 with its minor axis in-plane supported by an adjacent column

W12×26 with the major axis in-plane. Only in-plane buckling is considered. The

tie beams have shear-only (pinned) end connections, so it is assumed that the tie

beams do not contribute to the sway stiffness of the system. Sway is prevented at

the top of the columns. The W12×40 has been sized based on buckling between

the supports, spaced at L = 8 ft. The calculations show that the elastic W12×26

adjacent column can brace the minor axis column, which is in the inelastic range.

Example 12.3: Lean-On System Confirm that the W12×26 is capable of bracing

the W12×40. Assume F y = 50 ksi, factored loads are given, and the AISC LRFD

specification governs.

From the AISC manual, φP n = 439 kips for L = 8 ft.

W12 × 40

70 k 439 k

8′

W12 × 26

8′

8′

B A

sway mode

(continued)

544 BRACING

P concept: W 12×40, A = 11.7 in.2 , Iy = 44.1 in.4

Column A :

PA 439

=

Fy A (50 × 11.7)

= 0.750 > 0.35 ∴ inelastic

τ = −6.97(0.750) log(1.111 × 0.750) = 0.414

0.90(0.414)(0.877)π 2 (29,000)(44.1)

φPA =

(288)2

= 49.7 kips

Column B :

PB 70

= = 0.183 < 0.35 ∴ τ = 1.0

Fy A 50 × 7.65

0.90(0.877)π 2 (29,000)(204)

φPB = = 566 kips

(288)2

Pcr = 50 + 556 = 606 > P = 439 + 70 = 509 kips OK

Doubly symmetric columns will buckle in a flexural mode between brace points if

the braces prevent both twist and displacement. If the brace detail does not prevent

twist, such as rod bracing framing into the center of the web, then the column

can buckle in a torsional mode. Another common bracing detail that can result

in twist of the section is shown in Fig. 12.9. Girts frame into the column flange,

which restrains minor axis lateral displacement near the flange. If the girts are

discontinuous, they will not provide any torsional restraint and the column may

buckle by twisting about the lateral brace point as shown in Fig. 12.9b.

FIGURE 12.9 Buckling about a restrained axis: (a) lateral brace at flange; (b) buckled

shape.

BEAM BUCKLING AND BRACING 545

FIGURE 12.10 Typical torsional brace details: (a) using struts; (b) using moment con-

nection with stiffener.

The torsional buckling load, PT , for a column with a lateral restraint (Timo-

shenko and Gere, 1961) is

τ Pey h 2 /4 + a 2 + GJ

PT = (12.7)

a 2 + rx2 + ry2

where a is the distance between the restrained axis and the centroid, rx and ry

the principal radii of gyration, h the distance between the flange centroids, Pey the

Euler load based on the column length between points with zero twist, and G and

J the material shear modulus and cross-sectional torsion constant, respectively. An

infinitely stiff lateral brace at the brace point (zero displacement) was assumed in

the derivation of Eq. 12.7. To compensate for finite stiffness, the maximum factored

column load should not exceed 90% of PT . Horne and Ajmani (1971, 1972) studied

the more complex problem of beam-columns braced on one flange.

When the applied factored load is greater than PT , torsional bracing must be

provided. Two typical bracing schemes are shown in Fig. 12.10. When a moment

connection is used, a partial-depth web stiffener is recommended to prevent web

distortion. The design requirements for the torsional braces for columns are given

by Helwig and Yura (1999).

the inflection point as a brace point to define Lb in restrained beams will be dis-

cussed. In many cases when this issue is raised, the top flange is laterally braced by

the slab or joists along the full span length while the bottom flange is unbraced. An

inflection point cannot be considered a brace point as illustrated by the example

shown in Fig. 12.11. One beam has a moment at one end (Cb = 1.67) with Lb =

L, and the other beam has an inflection point at midspan (Cb = 2.3) with Lb =

2L. The 2L span with the inflection point will buckle at a load that is 68% of the

beam with span L. If the inflection point were a brace point, the critical moment

of both beams would be the same. The buckled shape of the 2L beam shows that

the top flange and bottom flange move laterally in opposite directions at midspan.

It should be noted that an actual brace on one flange at the inflection point still

does not provide effective bracing at midspan (Yura, 1993).

Lateral buckling solutions from finite element analysis for beams with top-flange

lateral bracing were obtained and the approximate Cb formulas developed are given

546 BRACING

FIGURE 12.11 Comparison of buckling behavior: (a) beam braced at both ends, Lb = L;

(b) beam with inflection point at midspan, Lb = 2L.

in Fig. 12.12. Two general cases are derived, top flange laterally braced with

top-flange gravity loading and top flange braced with uplift loading. These Cb

values can be used in design with Lb equaling the span length if twist is posi-

tively controlled only at the supports. Torsional restraint along the top flange was

neglected. Essa and Kennedy (1995) have presented design charts for suspended

construction which also consider the torsional restraint provided by joists attached

to the top flange.

There are two general types of beam bracing, lateral and torsional. Bracing sys-

tems for beams must prevent the relative displacement of the top and bottom

flanges (i.e., twist of the section). Lateral bracing (joists attached to the compres-

sion flange of a simply supported beam) and torsional bracing (cross frames or

diaphragms between adjacent girders) can effectively control twist. Some bracing

systems restrain lateral movement and twist simultaneously (slab attached to the

top flange with shear studs). Mutton and Trahair (1973) and Tong and Chen (1988)

have shown that combined lateral and torsional bracing is more effective than

either lateral or torsional bracing acting alone for beams under uniform moment.

Deck systems that are attached directly to the top flange of a beam and act as

shear diaphragms can also improve beam stability. Such systems provide mainly

warping restraint to the top flange rather than lateral or torsional restraint. Design

recommendations for diaphragm-braced beams given in Helwig and Yura (2008)

indicate that the diaphragm strength requirement, which is limited by the fastener

capacity, generally controls the design.

BEAM BRACING 547

A general discussion of beam lateral and torsional bracing and the development

of the design recommendations herein are presented elsewhere (Yura, 1993). The

provisions are limited to doubly and singly symmetric members loaded in the plane

of the web. Lateral bracing can be relative, discrete, continuous, or lean-on. Only

relative and discrete lateral bracing requirements are presented here. Continuous

lateral bracing is addressed by Trahair and Nethercot (1984) and Yura and Phillips

(1992). Beams that are linked together lean on each other and the lateral buckling

cannot occur at the links unless all the members buckle. In this case the beams in

the structural system cannot buckle until the sum of the maximum moment in each

beam exceeds the sum of the individual buckling capacities of each beam (Yura

et al., 1992). Buckling of an individual beam can occur only between the cross

members in a lean-on system. No additional bracing requirements are necessary in

lean-on systems.

Torsional bracing can be either discrete or continuous. If two adjacent beams

are interconnected by a properly designed cross frame or diaphragm at midspan,

548 BRACING

that point can be considered a braced point when evaluating the beam-buckling

strength. Because the beams can move laterally at midspan, the effectiveness of

such a bracing system is sometimes questioned. As long as the two flanges move

laterally by the same amount, there will be no twist. If twist is prevented, the beam

can be treated as braced. Tests and theory confirm this approach (Flint, 1951; Yura

et al., 1992).

The effectiveness and size of a lateral brace depend on its location on the cross

section, the moment diagram, the number of discrete braces in the span, and the

location of the load on the cross section (Yura, 1993). These factors have been

included in the following recommendations. Lateral bracing is most effective when

it is attached near the compression flange. The exception to this is for cantilevers

where top (tension) flange bracing is most effective. Lateral bracing near the cen-

troid of the cross section is rather ineffective.

The relative and discrete brace design provisions presented below, which are

based on Winter’s approach, are applicable only for bracing attached near the top

flange. The provisions assume top-flange loading, which is a worse case scenario

and can be used for any number of discrete braces. The compressive force is

conservatively approximated as Mf /h. When the beam has an inflection point,

lateral bracing must be attached to both flanges and the stiffness requirements are

greater as given by the Cd factor in the brace requirements. For example, for a

beam in reverse curvature as shown in Fig.12.11b, a brace on both the top and

the bottom flanges at midspan will require twice as much stiffness for each brace

as a similar length beam with compression on only one flange. The brace force

provisions are twice those for columns (Sections 12.4 and 12.5) because top-flange

loading is assumed. A brace stiffness of twice the ideal value has been used in

the development of these recommendations. When Lb is smaller than the unbraced

length, Lq , needed to support the factored loads, then Lq can be substituted for Lb

in the stiffness requirement for discrete bracing, as discussed in Section 12.5 for

discrete bracing of columns.

are

Relative Discrete

4Mf Cd 10Mf Cd

Stiffness: βL = βL =

φLb h φLb h

0.008Mf Cd 0.02Mf Cd

Strength: Fbr = Fbr =

h h

where Mf is the maximum moment, h the distance between flange centroids, Lb

the unbraced length, φ = 0.75, and Cd = 1.0 for single curvature and Cd = 2.0

for reverse curvature.

BEAM BRACING 549

The lateral bracing provisions are illustrated in Example 12.4 where a top-flange

relative brace truss system is used to stabilize the compression flange during con-

struction of the composite plate girders. Each truss system is designed to stabilize

two and one-half girders. The diagonal braces are assumed to support tension only.

Example 12.4: Relative Lateral Brace System Design the diagonals of the top-

flange horizontal truss to stabilize the five 80-ft girders with the factored moments

shown. Assume F y = 36 ksi.

1000 k-ft

3/4 × 8

M - diag

1/2 × 48

Five Girders 80 ft

1-1/4 × 15

girder

8 ft h = 49 in.

16 ft

Top flg

of girder

PLAN VIEW

• Stiffness

4.0(1000 × 12)

βL =

0.75(16 × 12)49

= 6.80 kips/in. for each girder

× 2.5 girders = 17.0 kips/in

AE Ab (29,000) 1 2

cos2 θ = √ √ = 17.0

L b 8 × 12 × 5 5

Ab = 0.629 in2 ← controls

• Strength

0.008(2.5)(1000 × 12)

Fbr = = 4.90 kips

49

√

4.90 5

Ab = = 0.34 in.2

0.9 × 36

3

Use L2×2× 16 ; A = 0.715 in.2

550 BRACING

Cross frames or diaphragms at discrete locations or continuous bracing provided

by the floor system in through-girders or pony trusses or by metal decks and slabs

represent torsional bracing systems. In the development of the design recommen-

dations (Yura, 1993), which are based on the work of Taylor and Ojalvo (1966),

it was determined that factors that had a significant effect on lateral bracing had

a substantially reduced effect on torsional bracing. The effects of the number of

braces, top-flange loading, and brace location on the cross section are relatively

unimportant when sizing a torsional brace. A torsional brace is equally effective if

it is attached to the tension flange or the compression flange. A moment diagram

with compression in both flanges (reverse curvature) does not alter the torsional

brace requirements.

On the other hand, the effectiveness of a torsional brace is greatly impacted by

cross-sectional distortion at the brace point, as illustrated in Fig. 12.13. The top

flange is prevented from twisting by the torsional brace, but the web distortion

permits a relative displacement between the two flanges. A stiffener at the brace

location can be used to prevent the distortion. The design method presented below

considers web distortion and any stiffeners required.

Discrete braces and continuous bracing use the same basic design formula with

the continuous brace stiffness taken as β T = βT n/L, where β T is the discrete brace

stiffness, n the number of braces, and L the span length. In this case, β T and β T are

defined as the torsional stiffnesses of the discrete and continuous bracing systems,

respectively. The system stiffness β T is primarily related to the stiffness of the

brace β b and the stiffness of the web plus any stiffeners β sec by

1 1 1

= + (12.8)

βT βb βsec

The β b for diaphragm systems is given in Fig. 12.14. The discrete web

stiffener

detail can vary over the web as shown in Fig. 12.15. The term 1/βsec = (1/βi )

with the stiffness of each portion i of the web given by

3.3E h 2 (1.5hi ) tw3 ts bs3

βc , βs , βt = + (12.9)

hi hi 12 12

BEAM BRACING 551

that 1.5h be replaced with 1 in. and the ts term be neglected if there is no stiffener.

The portion of the web within hb can be considered infinitely stiff. Equations

12.8 and 12.9 were developed from Milner and Rao (1978) and finite element

buckling analysis that considers cross-sectional distortion (Akay et al., 1977). For

rolled sections (h/t w < 60) cross-sectional distortion will not be significant if the

diaphragm connection extends at least three-fourths of the web depth.

tions are

β TL 2.4LMf2

Stiffness: βT = = 2

(12.10)

n φnEIeff Cbb

0.005Lb LMf2

Strength: Mbr = Fbr hb = 2

(12.11)

nEIeff Cbb h

where Mf is the maximum moment, Ieff = Iyc + (t/c)Iyt , L the span length, Lb

the unbraced length, n the number of span braces, h the distance between flange

centroids, and Cbb the moment modification factor for the full-bracing condition.

For a singly symmetric section, Iyc and Iyt are the out-of-plane moments of inertia of

the compression and tension flanges (Fig. 12.16), respectively. If the cross section is

doubly symmetric, I eff becomes Iy . The 2.4 factor in the stiffness requirement comes

from using twice the ideal stiffness and an additional 20% increase to account for

top-flange loading. The brace strength provision, M br , assumes an initial twist of

0.002Lb /h and is consistent with the imperfection used for lateral bracing (Helwig et

552 BRACING

compression

flange

c

y

x x

y

t

tension flange

al., 1993). When the values of the variables in the two unbraced segments adjacent

to a brace are different, the brace can be designed for the average of the strengths

and stiffnesses determined for both segments.

In Example 12.5 a diaphragm torsional bracing system is used for the problem

given in Example 12.4. The C9×13.4 diaphragm will not brace the girders if a

stiffener is not used. Even a much larger diaphragm cannot work without web

stiffeners because of the web distortion. Similar example problems using cross

frames are given by Yura (1993).

96 in.

Same as Example 12.4 but use the diaphragm system shown. Assume Mmax =

1000 kip-ft, Cb = 1.0; four braces, Fy = 36 ksi, L = 80 ft. The girder properties are

as follows:

Ix = 17,500 in.4 Iyc = 32.0 in.4

18.15

Iyt = 352 in.4 Ieff = 32 + 352 = 239 in.4

30.85

The strength is given by

Mbr = = 97.7 in.-kips

4(29,000)239(1.0)2 49

97.7

Sx req = = 3.02 in.3

(0.9) × (36)

REFERENCES 553

The stiffness of the diaphragms on the exterior girders is 6EIbr /S . Because there

are diaphragms on both sides of each interior girder, the stiffness is 2 × 6EIbr /S .

The average stiffness available to each girder is (2 × 6 + 3 × 12)/5 = 9.6EIbr /S .

βT req = = 15,960 in.-kips/rad

(0.75)4(29,000)239(1.0)2

15,960(96)

Ibrmin = = 5.50 in.4

(9.6)29,000

9.6(29,000)47.9

βb = = 138,900 in.-kips/rad

96

1 1 1

= + βsec = 17,900 in.-kips/rad

15,960 138,900 βsec

1 2 3.3(29,000) 49 2

= βc = 2(17,900) =

17,900 βc 20 20

1.5(20)(0.5)3 0.375bs3

× +

12 12

bs = 3.10 in.

Use a 3

8 × 3 12 -in.stiffener.

REFERENCES

AISC (2005), Steel Construction Manual , American Institute of Steel Construction, 13th

ed., Chicago, IL.

Akay, H. U., Johnson, C. P., and Will, K. M. (1977), “Lateral and Local Buckling of Beams

and Frames,” ASCE J. Struct. Div., Vol. 103, No. ST9, pp. 1821–1832.

Ales, J. M., and Yura, J. A. (1993), “Bracing Design for Inelastic Structures,” Proc., SSRC

Conf. “Is Your Structure Suitably Braced?” Milwaukee, WI., Apr., pp. 29–37.

ASCE (1971), Commentary on Plastic Design in Steel , ASCE Manual No. 41, 2nd ed.,

American Society of Civil Engineers, New York.

Chen, S., and Tong, G. (1994), “Design for Stability: Correct Use of Braces,” Steel Struct.

J. Singapore Struct. Steel Soc., Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 15–23.

Essa, H. S., and Kennedy, D. J. L. (1995), “Design of Steel Beams in Cantilever-

Suspended-Span Construction,” J. Struct. Eng., Vol. 121, No. 11, pp. 1667–1673.

Flint, A. R. (1951), “The Stability of Beams Loaded through Secondary Members,” Civ.

Eng. Public Works Rev., Vol. 46, No. 537-8, pp. 175–177, 259–260.

Gil, H., and Yura, J. A. (1999), “Bracing Requirements of Inelastic Columns,” J. Constr.

Steel Res., Vol. 51, No. 1, pp. 1–19.

Helwig, T. A., and Yura, J. A. (1999), “Torsional Bracing of Columns,” J. Struct. Eng., Vol.

125, No. 5, pp. 547–555.

554 BRACING

Helwig, T. A., and Yura, J. A. (2008), “Shear Diaphragm Bracing of Beams. II: Design

Requirements,” J. Struct. Eng., Vol. 134, No. 3, pp. 357–363.

Helwig, T. A., Yura, J. A., and Frank, K. H., (1993), “Bracing Forces in Diaphragms and

Cross Frames,” Proc., SSRC Conf., “Is Your Structure Suitably Braced?” Milwaukee,

WI., Apr., pp. 129–140.

Horne, M. R., and Ajmani, J. L. (1971), “Design of Columns Restrained by Side Rails,”

Struct. Eng., Vol. 49, No. 8, pp. 329–345.

Horne, M. R., and Ajmani, J. L. (1972), “Failure of Columns Laterally Supported on One

Flange,” Struct. Eng., Vol. 50, No. 9, pp. 355–366.

Lutz, L. A., and Fisher, J. M. (1985), “A Unified Approach for Stability Bracing Require-

ments,” AISC Eng. J., Vol. 22, No. 4, pp. 163–167.

Medland, I. C., and Segedin, C. M. (1979), “Brace Forces in Interbraced Column Structures,”

ASCE J. Struct. Div., Vol. 105, No. ST7, pp. 1543–1556.

Milner, H. R., and Rao, S. N. (1978), “Strength and Stiffness of Moment Resisting

Beam-Purlin Connections,” Civil Eng. Trans. Inst. Eng., Aust., Vol. CE 20, No. 1, pp.

37–42.

Mutton, B. R., and Trahair, N. S. (1973), “Stiffness Requirements for Lateral Bracing,”

ASCE J. Struct. Div., Vol. 99, No. ST10, pp. 2167–2182.

Nakamura, T. (1988), “Strength and Deformability of H-Shaped Steel Beams and Lateral

Bracing Requirements,” J. Const. Steel Res, Vol. 9, pp. 217–228.

Pincus, G. (1964), “On the Lateral Support of Inelastic Columns,” AISC Eng. J., Vol. 1, No.

4, pp. 113–115.

Plaut, R. H. (1993), “Requirements for Lateral Bracing of Columns with Two Spans,”

J. Struct. Eng., Vol. 119, No. 10, pp. 2913–2931.

Taylor, A. C., and Ojalvo, M. (1966), “Torsional Restraint of Lateral Buckling,” ASCE J.

Struct. Div., Vol. 92, No. ST2, pp. 115–129.

Thomas, S., and Earls, C. J. (2003), “Cross-Sectional Compactness and Bracing Require-

ments for HPS483W Girders,” J. Struct. Eng., Vol. 129, No. 12, pp. 1569–1581.

Timoshenko, S. P. (1936), Theory of Elastic Stability, McGraw-Hill, New York.

Timoshenko, S. P., and Gere, J. M. (1961), Theory of Elastic Stability, McGraw-Hill, New

York.

Tong, G., and Chen, S. (1987), “Design Forces of Horizontal Inter-Column Braces” J. Constr.

Steel Res., Vol. 7, pp. 363–370.

Tong, G., and Chen, S. (1988), “Buckling of Laterally and Torsionally Braced Beams,”

J. Constr. Steel Res., Vol. 11, pp. 41–55.

Tong, G., and Chen, S. (1989), “The Elastic Buckling of Interbraced Girders,” J. Constr.

Steel Res., Vol. 14, pp. 87–105.

Trahair, N. S., and Nethercot, D. A. (1984), “Bracing Requirements in Thin-Walled Struc-

tures,” in Developments in Thin-Walled Structures, Vol. 2 (Eds. J. R. Rhodes and A. C.

Walker), Elsevier, New York, pp. 93–130.

Waddell, J. A. L. (1916), Bridge Engineering, Vols. I and II, Wiley, New York.

Wang, L., and Helwig, T. A. (2005), “Critical Imperfections for Beam Bracing Systems,” J.

Struct. Eng., Vol. 131, No. 6, pp. 933–940.

Wang, Y. C., and Nethercot, D. A. (1989), “Ultimate Strength Analysis of Three-Dimensional

Braced I-Beams,” Proc. Inst. of Civ. Eng, Part 2, Vol. 87, pp. 87–112.

REFERENCES 555

Winter, G. (1960), “Lateral Bracing of Columns and Beams,” Trans. ASCE , Vol. 125, Part

1, pp. 809–825.

Yura, J. A. (1971), “The Effective Length of Columns in Unbraced Frames,” AISC Eng. J.,

Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 37–42.

Yura, J. A. (1993), “Fundamentals of Beam Bracing,” Proc. SSRC Conf., “Is Your Structure

Suitably Braced?” Milwaukee, WI., Apr. Reprinted and updated in AISC Eng. J., Vol.

38, No. 1, 2001, pp. 11–26.

Yura, J. A. (1994), “Winters Bracing Model Revisited,” 50th Anniv. Proc. SSRC, Bethlehem,

PA, pp. 375–382.

Yura, J. A. (1995), “Bracing for Stability-State-of-the-Art,” Proc. Struct. Congr. XIII , ASCE,

Boston, Apr., pp. 88–103.

Yura, J. A., and Li, G. (2002), “Bracing Requirements for Inelastic Beams,” Proc., SSRC

Conf ., Seattle, WA, pp 53–73.

Yura, J. A., and Phillips, B. A. (1992), “Bracing Requirements for Elastic Steel Beams,”

Research Report 1239-1, Center for Transportation Research, Univ. of Texas, Austin,

TX, May.

Yura, J. A., Phillips, B., Raju, S., and Webb, S. (1992), “Bracing of Steel Beams in Bridges,”

Research Report 1239-4F, Center for Transportation Research, Univ. of Texas, Austin,

TX, Oct.

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Div., Vol. 82, No. EM3, pp 1032-1–1032-11.

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