Flange bracing requirements for metal building systems
Bishop, Cliff Douglas
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The analysis and design of bracing systems for complex frame geometries typically found in metal buildings can prove to be an arduous task given current methods. The American Institute of Steel Construction's Appendix 6 from the 2010 Specification for Structural Steel Buildings affords engineers a means for determining brace strength and stiffness requirements, but only for the most basic cases. Specifically, there are a number of aspects of metal building systems that place their designs outside the scope of AISC's Appendix 6 (Stability Bracing for Columns and Beams). Some of the aspects not considered by Appendix 6 include: the use of web-tapered members, the potential for unequally spaced or unequal stiffness bracing, combination of bracing types including panel and flange diagonal bracing, and the effects of continuity across brace points. In this research, an inelastic eigenvalue buckling procedure is developed for calculation of the ideal bracing stiffness demands in general framing systems. Additionally, the software provides a method of calculating the elastic lateral-torsional buckling load of members with generally stepped and tapered cross-sections, which satisfies an important need for rigorous design assessment. Extensive benchmarking to load-deflection simulations of geometrically imperfect systems is performed and recommendations are developed for determining the required design stiffness and strength of the bracing components based on the use of this type of computational tool.