Engineering Mechanics Institute Conference 2013

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Axial capacity of cold-formed steel compression members under thermal gradients

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J.C. Batista Abreu
Johns Hopkins University
United States

Ben Schafer
Johns Hopkins University
United States

Cold-formed steel (CFS) sections are increasingly used as primary structural members to satisfy design criteria, including fire demands. This paper studies the stability of compression members subjected to thermal gradients based on computational simulations, using the finite element and the finite strip methods. Computational models include the degradation of material strength and member stiffness, and thermal deformations induced by fire action, grounded in experimental knowledge of material behavior. This study aims to predict the load-carrying capacity of compression members subjected to thermal loads, utilizing the Direct Strength Method (DSM). Time dependent temperature distributions are computed through heat transfer analyses, using a standard fire as input thermal load for diverse fire scenarios. Sequentially coupled mechanical analyses are performed to compute temperature dependent local, distortional and global buckling loads. Axial capacity is estimated, based on elastic buckling loads using DSM. The results are intended for DSM-based predictions of the axial capacity of CFS compression members at an expected fire resistance rating. Additionally, the fully nonlinear response is evaluated to compute the axial collapse capacity of the thermally deformed cross-section under uniform compression, including material and geometric nonlinearities.


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