Flexural behaviour and design of the new built-up LiteSteel beams

Jeyaragan, Sivapathasunderam (2010) Flexural behaviour and design of the new built-up LiteSteel beams. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


LiteSteel Beam (LSB) is a new cold-formed steel beam produced by OneSteel Australian Tube Mills. The new beam is effectively a channel section with two rectangular hollow flanges and a slender web, and is manufactured using a combined cold-forming and electric resistance welding process. OneSteel Australian Tube Mills is promoting the use of LSBs as flexural members in a range of applications, such as floor bearers. When LSBs are used as back to back built-up sections, they are likely to improve their moment capacity and thus extend their applications further. However, the structural behaviour of built-up beams is not well understood. Many steel design codes include guidelines for connecting two channels to form a built-up I-section including the required longitudinal spacing of connections. But these rules were found to be inadequate in some applications. Currently the safe spans of builtup beams are determined based on twice the moment capacity of a single section. Research has shown that these guidelines are conservative. Therefore large scale lateral buckling tests and advanced numerical analyses were undertaken to investigate the flexural behaviour of back to back LSBs connected by fasteners (bolts) at various longitudinal spacings under uniform moment conditions. In this research an experimental investigation was first undertaken to study the flexural behaviour of back to back LSBs including its buckling characteristics. This experimental study included tensile coupon tests, initial geometric imperfection measurements and lateral buckling tests. The initial geometric imperfection measurements taken on several back to back LSB specimens showed that the back to back bolting process is not likely to alter the imperfections, and the measured imperfections are well below the fabrication tolerance limits. Twelve large scale lateral buckling tests were conducted to investigate the behaviour of back to back built-up LSBs with various longitudinal fastener spacings under uniform moment conditions. Tests also included two single LSB specimens. Test results showed that the back to back LSBs gave higher moment capacities in comparison with single LSBs, and the fastener spacing influenced the ultimate moment capacities. As the fastener spacing was reduced the ultimate moment capacities of back to back LSBs increased. Finite element models of back to back LSBs with varying fastener spacings were then developed to conduct a detailed parametric study on the flexural behaviour of back to back built-up LSBs. Two finite element models were developed, namely experimental and ideal finite element models. The models included the complex contact behaviour between LSB web elements and intermittently fastened bolted connections along the web elements. They were validated by comparing their results with experimental results and numerical results obtained from an established buckling analysis program called THIN-WALL. These comparisons showed that the developed models could accurately predict both the elastic lateral distortional buckling moments and the non-linear ultimate moment capacities of back to back LSBs. Therefore the ideal finite element models incorporating ideal simply supported boundary conditions and uniform moment conditions were used in a detailed parametric study on the flexural behaviour of back to back LSB members. In the detailed parametric study, both elastic buckling and nonlinear analyses of back to back LSBs were conducted for 13 LSB sections with varying spans and fastener spacings. Finite element analysis results confirmed that the current design rules in AS/NZS 4600 (SA, 2005) are very conservative while the new design rules developed by Anapayan and Mahendran (2009a) for single LSB members were also found to be conservative. Thus new member capacity design rules were developed for back to back LSB members as a function of non-dimensional member slenderness. New empirical equations were also developed to aid in the calculation of elastic lateral distortional buckling moments of intermittently fastened back to back LSBs. Design guidelines were developed for the maximum fastener spacing of back to back LSBs in order to optimise the use of fasteners. A closer fastener spacing of span/6 was recommended for intermediate spans and some long spans where the influence of fastener spacing was found to be high. In the last phase of this research, a detailed investigation was conducted to investigate the potential use of different types of connections and stiffeners in improving the flexural strength of back to back LSB members. It was found that using transverse web stiffeners was the most cost-effective and simple strengthening method. It is recommended that web stiffeners are used at the supports and every third points within the span, and their thickness is in the range of 3 to 5 mm depending on the size of LSB section. The use of web stiffeners eliminated most of the lateral distortional buckling effects and hence improved the ultimate moment capacities. A suitable design equation was developed to calculate the elastic lateral buckling moments of back to back LSBs with the above recommended web stiffener configuration while the same design rules developed for unstiffened back to back LSBs were recommended to calculate the ultimate moment capacities.

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ID Code: 36209
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Mahendran, Mahadeva
Additional Information: Thesis embargoed until 16 June 2012.
Keywords: Buckling (Mechanics), Girders, Steel, Structural, LiteSteel beams, back to back section, built-up beams, lateral distortional buckling, lateral buckling tests, finite element analyses, FEA, contact modeling, cold-formed steel structures, flexural members, web stiffeners, transverse web stiffeners, thesis, doctoral
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 22 Sep 2010 13:04
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2012 14:10

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