Steel Design by Advanced Analysis: Material Modeling and Strain Limits
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK
Structural analysis of steel frames is typically performed using beam elements. Since these elements are unable to explicitly capture the local buckling behavior of steel cross-sections, traditional steel design specifications use the concept of cross-section classification to determine the extent to which the strength and deformation capacity of a cross-section are affected by local buckling. The use of plastic design methods are restricted to Class 1 cross-sections, which possess sufficient rotation capacity for plastic hinges to develop and a collapse mechanism to form. Local buckling prevents the development of plastic hinges with such rotation capacity for cross-sections of higher classes and, unless computationally demanding shell elements are used, elastic analysis is required. However, this article demonstrates that local buckling can be mimicked effectively in beam elements by incorporating the continuous strength method (CSM) strain limits into the analysis. Furthermore, by performing an advanced analysis that accounts for both geometric and material nonlinearities, no additional design checks are required. The positive influence of the strain hardening observed in stocky cross-sections can also be harnessed, provided a suitably accurate stress–strain relationship is adopted; a quad-linear material model for hot-rolled steels is described for this purpose. The CSM strain limits allow cross-sections of all slenderness to be analyzed in a consistent advanced analysis framework and to benefit from the appropriate level of load redistribution. The proposed approach is applied herein to individual members, continuous beams, and frames, and is shown to bring significant benefits in terms of accuracy and consistency over current steel design specifications.
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