Storey-Based Stability Analysis for Multi-Storey Unbraced Frames Subjected to Variable Loading
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For decades, structural engineers have been using various conventional design approaches for assessing the strength and stability of framed structures for various loads. Today, engineers are still designing without some critical information to insure that their stability assessment yields a safe design for the life of the structure with consideration for extreme loads. Presented in this thesis is new critical information provided from the study of stability analysis and design of steel framed structures accounting for extreme loads associated to load patterns that may be experienced during their lifetime. It is conducted in five main parts. A literature survey is first carried out reviewing the previous research of analyzing frame stability including the consideration of initial geometric imperfections, and also evaluating research of the analysis and design of the increased usage of cold-formed steel (CFS) storage racks. Secondly, the elastic buckling loads for single-storey unbraced steel frames subjected to variable loading is extended to multi-storey unbraced steel frames. The formulations and procedures are developed for the multi-storey unbraced steel frames subjected to variable loading using the storey-based buckling method. Numerical examples are presented as comparisons to the conventional proportional loading approach and to demonstrate the effect of connection rigidity on the maximum and minimum frame-buckling loads. Thirdly, the lateral stiffness of axially loaded columns in unbraced frames accounting for initial geometric imperfections is derived based on the storey-based buckling. A practical method of evaluating column effective length factor with explicit accounting for the initial geometric imperfections is developed and examined using numerical examples. The fourth part is an investigation of the stability for multi-storey unbraced steel frames under variable loading with accounting for initial geometric imperfections. Finally, the stability of CFS storage racks is studied. The effective length factor of CFS storage racks with accounting for the semi-rigid nature of the beam-to-column connections of such structures are evaluated based on experimental data. A parametric study on maximum and minimum frame-buckling loads with or without accounting for initial geometric imperfections is conducted. The proposed stability analysis of multi-storey unbraced frames subjected to variable loading takes into consideration the volatility of live loads during the life span of structures and frame buckling characteristics of the frames under any possible load pattern. From the proposed method, the maximum and minimum frame-buckling loads together with their associated load patterns provides critical information to clearly define the stability capacities of frames under extreme loads. This critical information in concern for the stability of structures is generally not available through a conventional proportional loading analysis. This study of work ends with an appropriate set of conclusions.