Structural analysis and optimized design of general nonprismatic I-section members
Jeong, Woo Yong
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Tapered I-section members have been employed widely for the design of long-span structures such as large clear-span buildings, stadiums, and bridges because of their structural efficiency. For optimized member design providing maximum strength and stiffness at minimum cost, general non-prismatic (tapered and/or stepped cross-sections) as well as singly-symmetric cross-sections have been commonly employed. Fabricators equipped to produce web-tapered members can create a wide range of optimized members from a minimal stock of different plates and coil. Linearly tapered web plates can be nested to minimize scrap. In many cases, the savings in material and manufacturing efficiencies lead to significant cost savings relative to the use of comparable rolled shapes. To employ Design Guide 25 (DG25) which provides guidance for the application of the provisions of the AISC Specification to the design of frames composed of general non-prismatic members, designers need a robust and general capability for determining the elastic buckling loads. Furthermore, robust tools are needed to facilitate the selection of optimum non-prismatic member designs based on minimum cost. This research addresses the calculation of the elastic buckling loads for general non-prismatic members subjected to general loadings and bracing conditions (typically involving multiple brace points along a given member). This research develops an elastic buckling analysis tool (SABRE2) that can be used to define general geometries, loadings and bracing conditions and obtain a rigorous calculation of the elastic buckling load levels. The three-dimensional finite element equations using open section thin-walled beam theory are derived and formulated using a co-rotational approach including load height effects of transverse loads, stepped flange dimensions, and bracing and support height effects. In addition, this research addresses an algorithmic means to obtain automatic optimized member and frame designs using the above types of members based on Genetic Algorithms (GA). These capabilities are implemented in the tool SABRE2D, which provides a graphical user interface for optimized member and frame design based on updated DG25 provisions and the elastic buckling load calculations from SABRE2.