Evaluation of steel I-section beam and beam-column bracing requirements by test simulation
Lokhande, Ajinkya M.
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The ANSI/AISC 360-10 Appendix-6 provisions provide limited guidance on the bracing requirements for beam-columns. In cases involving point (nodal) or shear panel (relative) lateral bracing only, these provisions simply sum the corresponding strength and stiffness requirements for column and beam bracing. Based on prior research evidence, it is expected that this approach is accurate to conservative when the requirements can be logically added. However, in many practical beam-column bracing situations, the requirements cannot be logically added. This is because of the importance of the brace and transverse load position through the cross-section depth, as well as the fact that both torsional and lateral restraint can be important attributes of the general bracing problem. These attributes of the bracing problem can cause the current beam-column bracing requirement predictions to be unconservative. In addition, limited guidance is available in the broader literature at the current time regarding the appropriate consideration of combined lateral and torsional bracing of I-section beams and beam-columns. Nevertheless, this situation is quite common, particularly for beam-columns, since it is rare that separate and independent lateral bracing systems would be provided for both flanges. More complete guidance is needed for the proper consideration of combined bracing of I-section beams and beam-columns in structural design. This research focuses on a reasonably comprehensive evaluation of the bracing strength and stiffness requirements for doubly-symmetric I-section beams and beam-columns using refined Finite Element Analysis (FEA) test simulation. The research builds on recent simulation studies of the basic bracing behavior of beams subjected to uniform bending. Various cases of beam members subjected to moment gradient are considered first. This is followed by a wide range of studies of beam-column members subjected to constant axial load and uniform bending as well as axial load combined with moment gradient loading. A range of unbraced lengths are considered resulting in different levels of plasticity at the member strength limit states. In addition, various bracing configurations are addressed including point (nodal) lateral, shear panel (relative) lateral, point torsional, combined point lateral and point torsional, and combined shear panel lateral and point torsional bracing.