Flexural behaviour and design of cold-formed steel beams with rectangular hollow flanges

Wanniarachchi, Somadasa (2005) Flexural behaviour and design of cold-formed steel beams with rectangular hollow flanges. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Until recently, the hot-rolled steel members have been recognized as the most popular and widely used steel group, but in recent times, the use of cold-formed high strength steel members has rapidly increased. However, the structural behavior of light gauge high strength cold-formed steel members characterized by various buckling modes is not yet fully understood. The current cold-formed steel sections such as C- and Z-sections are commonly used because of their simple forming procedures and easy connections, but they suffer from certain buckling modes. It is therefore important that these buckling modes are either delayed or eliminated to increase the ultimate capacity of these members. This research is therefore aimed at developing a new cold-formed steel beam with two torsionally rigid rectangular hollow flanges and a slender web formed using intermittent screw fastening to enhance the flexural capacity while maintaining a minimum fabrication cost. This thesis describes a detailed investigation into the structural behavior of this new Rectangular Hollow Flange Beam (RHFB), subjected to flexural action The first phase of this research included experimental investigations using thirty full scale lateral buckling tests and twenty two section moment capacity tests using specially designed test rigs to simulate the required loading and support conditions. A detailed description of the experimental methods, RHFB failure modes including local, lateral distortional and lateral torsional buckling modes, and moment capacity results is presented. A comparison of experimental results with the predictions from the current design rules and other design methods is also given. The second phase of this research involved a methodical and comprehensive investigation aimed at widening the scope of finite element analysis to investigate the buckling and ultimate failure behaviours of RHFBs subjected to flexural actions. Accurate finite element models simulating the physical conditions of both lateral buckling and section moment capacity tests were developed. Comparison of experimental and finite element analysis results showed that the buckling and ultimate failure behaviour of RHFBs can be simulated well using appropriate finite element models. Finite element models simulating ideal simply supported boundary conditions and a uniform moment loading were also developed in order to use in a detailed parametric study. The parametric study results were used to review the current design rules and to develop new design formulae for RHFBs subjected to local, lateral distortional and lateral torsional buckling effects. Finite element analysis results indicate that the discontinuity due to screw fastening has a noticeable influence only for members in the intermediate slenderness region. Investigations into different combinations of thicknesses in the flange and web indicate that increasing the flange thickness is more effective than web thickness in enhancing the flexural capacity of RHFBs. The current steel design standards, AS 4100 (1998) and AS/NZS 4600 (1996) are found sufficient to predict the section moment capacity of RHFBs. However, the results indicate that the AS/NZS 4600 is more accurate for slender sections whereas AS 4100 is more accurate for compact sections. The finite element analysis results further indicate that the current design rules given in AS/NZS 4600 is adequate in predicting the member moment capacity of RHFBs subject to lateral torsional buckling effects. However, they were inadequate in predicting the capacities of RHFBs subject to lateral distortional buckling effects. This thesis has therefore developed a new design formula to predict the lateral distortional buckling strength of RHFBs. Overall, this thesis has demonstrated that the innovative RHFB sections can perform well as economically and structurally efficient flexural members. Structural engineers and designers should make use of the new design rules and the validated existing design rules to design the most optimum RHFB sections depending on the type of applications. Intermittent screw fastening method has also been shown to be structurally adequate that also minimises the fabrication cost. Product manufacturers and builders should be able to make use of this in their applications.

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ID Code: 29810
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Mahendran, Mahen
Keywords: flexural behavior, hollow flange beams, rectangular hollow flange beams, cold-formed steel beams, distortional buckling, lateral tortional buckling, buckling tests, section moment capacity, finite element analysis
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 19 Jan 2010 04:51
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2017 14:43

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