thin walled steel structures behavior
bucking modes
failure modes

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thin walled steel structures behavior
bucking modes
failure modes

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Thin-Walled Structures

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/tws

with slender webs

H.R. Naderian a, H.R. Ronagh b,n, M. Azhari c

a

Department of Civil Engineering, University of Ottawa, ON, Canada

b

School of Civil Engineering, University of Queensland, Brisbane 4072, QLD, Australia

c

Department of Civil Engineering, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran

art ic l e i nf o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Doubly symmetric steel I-section members with thin webs and stocky ﬂanges have a tendency to buckle

Received 31 January 2013 in a so-called distortional buckling mode, involving distortion of the web of the I-section in the plane

Received in revised form of its cross-section. As this mode is more complicated than the local or global buckling, analytical

25 April 2014

expressions take empirical forms and vary in between different proposals. This paper has two main

Accepted 23 May 2014

objectives. The ﬁrst objective is to propose a complex ﬁnite strip method for distortional buckling

Available online 2 August 2014

analysis of I-section beams with slender webs and check the suitability for such analysis by comparing

Keywords: its accuracy with other methods and the second objective is to propose a simple method for predicting

I-section the distortional buckling loads of I-beams. The latter objective is superior to current methods with

I-beam

respect to the weight of the sections.

Complex ﬁnite strip method

& 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Distortional buckling

Slender web

Thin-walled

bers, especially for the buckling of columns can only handle the

Amongst the several different types of bucking in thin-walled global modes [2]. Classical solutions for lateral-torsional buckling

structures, distortional buckling mode seems to be the most exist, too, at least for certain bending moment patterns and for

problematic to model due to its complexity. With the increased certain cross-sectional types [3]. Lateral-torsional mode is con-

use of cold-formed steel members possessing longitudinal stiffen- sidered as a global mode because of the in-plane deformations in

ers, the issue of distortional buckling has become more important this type of buckling. As far as local buckling is concerned, most

as these cold-formed members are more susceptible to distor- design codes for thin-walled structures rely on simpliﬁed plate

tional buckling. Since 1980s, extensive studies have been carried buckling coefﬁcients, or k values [4]. Analytical solutions are

out in this area. Despite these studies and numerous experimental available mainly for single plate elements and idealized boundary

tests, distortional buckling behavior of thin-walled structures is conditions. In real sections, the plate elements interact with each

not yet quite well understood. other, which makes the application of single-plate solutions more

Thin-walled members may buckle in one of the three modes complicated, although they are often used by certain approxima-

of local, distortional and global buckling. Each buckling mode has tions, keeping a blind eye on some potential discrepancies with

different types which can be called as sub-buckling modes like the real behavior [3]. Until a few years ago, analytical solutions for

local shear buckling, ﬂexural-torsional buckling, lateral-torsional distortional buckling have not been available. Recently though,

buckling, etc. Although there seems to be a consensus on this researchers proposed closed-formed formulae for distortional

classiﬁcation of buckling modes, there is no consensus on the buckling, although limited to speciﬁc sections and based on

exact meaning of the modes [1]. In practice, it frequently happens simplifying assumptions [5–12]. Lately, Schafer developed a com-

that the deformation pattern of the member exhibits certain prehensive method for the design of thin-walled cold-formed steel

features of not only one, but two or three buckling modes. These columns and beams including distortional buckling using Direct

cases are usually referred to as coupled buckling modes [1]. Strength Method (DSM) [13].

Although the notion of distortional buckling is widely used,

probably, the only existing deﬁnition can be found in the Australia/

n

Corresponding author. Tel.: þ 61 7 336 59117; fax: þ 61 7 336 54599. New Zealand Standard [14], originated from the works of the

E-mail address: h.ronagh@uq.edu.au (H.R. Ronagh). University of Sydney Professor, Gregory Hancock. It says that

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tws.2014.05.010

0263-8231/& 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

290 H.R. Naderian et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 84 (2014) 289–301

distortional buckling is “a mode of buckling involving change in rather the result of a strong interaction of local and global modes

cross-sectional shape, excluding local buckling” with the deﬁnition [1,11,12,31–34]. According to this deﬁnition, in general, the ﬁrst

of local buckling as “a mode of buckling involving plate ﬂexure minimum point of the buckling curve identiﬁes the local buckling,

alone without transverse deformation of the line or lines of while the second minimum point is often associated with the

intersection of adjoining plates”. In other words, distortional distortional buckling mode [32–35]. While true for most cases, the

buckling is a mode with cross-sectional distortion that involves association of the second minimum with distortional buckling is

the translation of some of the fold lines (intersection lines of not always correct and there might exist some exceptions. Fig. 2

adjacent plate elements). shows different types of buckling in an I-section beam. As

It has been shown that the buckling modes of equal ﬂange illustrated in this ﬁgure, local buckling involves a distortion of

I-beams (herein is referred to as distortional buckling modes), may the cross-section over a short wavelength, while the line juncture

combine general lateral deﬂection and twist with general changes between the ﬂanges and the web remains straight. Lateral-

in the cross-sectional shape which arise only from web distortion torsional buckling is characterized by a rigid-body lateral transla-

[15,5]. The elastic ﬂexural-torsional buckling analysis of thin- tion and twist of the cross-section, with zero distortion. In

walled I-section members is usually performed assuming that distortional buckling the web distorts into an S shape [5,15,21–

the cross-section of the member undergoes rigid cross-sectional 23,36,37]. Due to the web deformations, the ﬂanges displace

translation and rotation. When a member is fabricated with a sideways with less twist than in idealized LTB solutions. This in

slender web, however, or if one of the ﬂanges is restrained against turn reduces the effective St. Venant torsional stiffness of the

rigid cross-sectional movement, the member may buckle in a way section, and results in a lower buckling strength [20].

where deﬂection and twist are accompanied with a change in the In Fig. 3, results of an analysis using ﬁnite strip method

cross-sectional shape due to web distortion. The effect of web concerning the buckling behavior of simply-supported steel I-

distortion on the buckling capacity of the member can be quite section beams subjected to pure bending are provided where the

signiﬁcant [16]. The web distortion which allows the ﬂanges to normalized buckling stresses F=E are given as a function of the

deﬂect laterally with comparatively little twist reduces the effec- dimensionless buckling half-wavelength L=bw in a logarithmic scale.

tive torsional resistance of the member and consequently reduces The elastic constant values are E ¼ 200 GPa and v ¼ 0:3. Several

the resistance to ﬂexural-torsional buckling. It is worth noting that curves are given for different ratios of web depth ðbw Þ to web

this effect has been shown to be more signiﬁcant in plate girders thickness ðt w Þ. For all curves bf =t f ¼ 12:5 and t f =t w ¼ 4. The curves

with slender unstiffened webs than in simply supported hot-rolled exhibit the same characteristic, namely two minimum points, the

I-sections with comparatively stocky webs [5,17]. Extensive stu- ﬁrst of which has a minimum value at L=bw between 0.5 and 1.0 and

dies of elastic distortional buckling have indicated that distortional second of which has a minimum value at L=bw between 2 and 8. As

buckling will occur at a signiﬁcantly lower load than elastic lateral far as the associated buckling half wavelength for distortional mode

buckling for short beams with slender webs [18]. is concerned, it is typically in between the lengths of local and

In this paper, the complex ﬁnite strip method is used to global modes; usually 2 to 8 times the maximum dimension of

demonstrate the capability of this sophisticated behavior to pre- the section. In the ﬁrst region, the buckling mode is local and in the

dict the distortional buckling of I-beams. The study looks at the second region it may be distortional. Beyond the second peak, the

effects of geometric data on the distortional buckling of slender buckling stress decreases with the increasing half-wavelength, L,

web I-beams under uniform bending. Based on extensive para- until the mode is predominantly lateral-torsional, as predicted by

metric studies then, a new design equation is developed which the Vlasov theory.

may be used to determine the distortional Buckling moment of It should be mentioned that in the next sections of this article,

doubly-symmetric I-beams. The new equation is obtained compar- the expression of distortional buckling is not only limited to the

ing a formula developed by Bradford [5] with the AISC code second minimum point of the buckling curve but also deals

predictions [19]. This will result in a more conservative estimation with the coupled local and lateral-torsional buckling modes in

of the critical distortional moments of slender web I-sections. I-sections.

the subject of considerable research [5,7,17,18,20–30]. I-section

beams especially those with slender webs and stocky ﬂanges are

always exposed to distortion of the web and displacing of the

ﬂanges. In this situation, the buckling mode would be distortional

[5] in which the web distorts and the ﬂanges displace sideways

with less twist than one would expect in the lateral-torsional

buckling mode. This, in turn, reduces the torsional rigidity of the Fig. 1. Distortional buckling phenomena in I-section beam [1].

member, and hence results in a lower buckling strength.

There are different views regarding the treatment of distor-

tional buckling phenomena in steel I-section beams. Fig. 1 shows

a doubly symmetric I-section, together with a possible buckled

shape which can occur if the member is loaded as a beam. It is

clear that the presented buckled shape can neither be pure local

nor pure global, as the cross-section is clearly distorted and at least

one of the intersection lines is displaced. From this aspect, one can

easily classify it as distortional buckling. On the other hand, based

on older classiﬁcations such as Generalized Beam Theory (GBT),

Local buckling Distortional Buckling Lateral-torsional buckling

I-sections do not have distortional buckling modes at all; thus, the

presented buckled shape cannot be pure distortional buckling but Fig. 2. Buckling modes shapes in I-section [20].

H.R. Naderian et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 84 (2014) 289–301 291

In the distortional buckling phenomena, the transverse defor- suggested that the torsional rigidity should be disregarded entirely

mations involve both plate-like deformations and the translation in calculating the elastic critical stress. However, for many I-

of one or multiple intersection lines of adjacent plate elements [1]. sections this simpliﬁcation results in overly conservative lateral-

It is clear from prior research studies that the web distortional torsional buckling moment, particularly for beams with webs of

ﬂexibility can lead to a substantial reduction relative to the beam intermediate slenderness. Therefore, some economic beneﬁts may

theory lateral-torsional buckling resistance for I-sections with be gained by conducting a more accurate assessment of the lateral

torsionally stiff ﬂanges and relatively thin webs [20]. Potential buckling resistance of slender-web members [20]. All in all, it

future directions for improved calculation of I-section member should be said that the Fcr (J¼ 0) solution is very conservative for

ﬂexural resistances are suggested for cases where the inﬂuence of this group of cross-sections.

web distortion is signiﬁcant. Steel design standards generally

deﬁne the ﬂexural resistance of steel I-section members based

on the consideration of local and lateral-torsional buckling limit 3. AISC predictions for distortional buckling of I-sections

states [20].

Zirakian [24] evaluated the effectiveness of this consideration The distortional buckling strength is not addressed explicitly in

within the elastic limit by comparing the AISC code predictions with standards where the ﬂexural design of steel I-section members is

the CUFSM software [38,39] solutions as well as the theoretical dealt with. However, in the 2005 AISC speciﬁcations, it has been

predictions of two elastic distortional buckling formulae developed tried to allow for the inﬂuence of web distortional ﬂexibility on

by other researchers. He found that the assumption of J ¼ 0 for the lateral-torsional buckling resistance of slender-web I-section

slender-web beams results in over conservative estimations of the members through implicit use of J ¼ 0 in the lateral-torsional

buckling strength in some cases which may associate with eco- buckling equations. If the ﬂexibility of the web is relatively large,

nomic losses. The notations used by Zirakian [24] were nicely the two ﬂanges plus adjacent portions of the web act effectively as

selected and could be easily followed. The same notation is adopted semi-independent beams bent in the lateral direction when the

in this paper. Bradford and Ronagh [40] stated that in slender web member buckles or twists [45]. As such, the AASHTO [46] and AISC

I-section beams, web distortion allows the ﬂanges to deﬂect [19] speciﬁcations use the full cross-section St. Venant torsional

laterally with different angles of twist; this reduces the effective rigidity GJ in calculating the lateral torsional buckling (LTB)

torsional resistance of the member and consequently reduces the resistance of I-section members only when the web satisﬁes the

resistance to buckling. Bradford and Trahair [17,41] considered non-compact limit:

the effects of cross-sectional distortion in members where one of sﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

the ﬂanges was restrained against lateral deﬂection and twist, while h E

γ rnon%compact ¼ r 5:70 ð1Þ

the other ﬂange was restrained only by the stiffness of the web. tw Fy

Potential future directions for improved calculation of I-section

The nominal elastic LTB moment is deﬁned by

member ﬂexural resistances were suggested for cases where the

inﬂuence of web distortion is signiﬁcant. M nLTB ¼ F cr Sx ð2Þ

The ﬁrst studies of the inﬂuence of web distortion on the

in which

behavior of I-section members were carried out by Goodier and sﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

Barton [25]. These researchers extended Timoshenko’s [42] thin- " #2

Cbπ2E J Lb

walled open-section beam theory to include web distortion. Major- F cr ¼ 1 þ 0:078 ð3Þ

ðLb =r t Þ 2 Sx ho r t

ity of the research on distortional buckling of I-section members

were performed by researchers at the Universities of New South For doubly symmetric I-section beams with slender webs when

Wales and Sydney, Australia [5,15,17,21,23,36,41]. Systematic stu- Lb 4 Lr (i.e. guaranteeing the elastic behavior of section), the

dies of the distortional buckling problem have been possible only nominal elastic LTB moment is calculated by

with the advent of digital computers and the use of numerical

M nDist ¼ Rpg F crðJ ¼ 0Þ Sx ð4Þ

techniques. This explains in part why standards for steel design

have been silent with respect to the calculation of distortional As mentioned earlier, in slender-web I-section beams due to

buckling strengths [20], with the exception of recent developments the web distortion under bending, torsional rigidity of the section

such as those of the AISI Standard for cold-formed steel design [43]. reduces. For the same reason, due to decrease in the torsional

Winter [44] recognized that the web distortion would modify rigidity and lateral-torsional buckling strength, St. Venant tor-

the effective torsional rigidity of a monosymmetric I-beam, and sional constant is considered as zero and consequently the critical

292 H.R. Naderian et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 84 (2014) 289–301

stress is equal to which are simply supported and the loading which is uniform

2 bending, C b in Eq. (3) is equal to one. Elastic distortional buckling

Cbπ E

F crðJ ¼ 0Þ ¼ ð5Þ moment using Bradford’s equation is given by

ðLb =r t Þ2

Ix

M nAISC formula can be thought of as the nominal elastic distortional M nBradford ¼ F crd Sx ¼ F crd ð11Þ

C

buckling moment because by substituting J ¼ 0 in the lateral-

Eq. (10) is based on the parametric studies of I-section

torsional buckling stress formula, the inﬂuence of web distortion

members with bf b =ho ¼ 0:5 and the following range of proportions

on the critical moment of Eq. (2) is already considered. Also, in

slender web I-sections, local buckling may occur in the web plate, tf bf b bf b

1r r 4; 1r r4 ; 10 r r 20

leading to a reduction of web contribution to the moment tw bf t tf

resistance. This loss of effective strength is introduced in the

For doubly symmetric I-sections ðbf b ¼ bf t ¼ bf Þ Eq. (10) can be

2005 AISC speciﬁcation. In calculating the elastic LTB moment of

formulated as

slender web I-section members (Eq. (4)), the bending strength

reduction factor is also applied which is directly tied to the local F crd 215:6ðt f =bf Þðt f =t w Þ

¼ 1% ð12Þ

buckling of the web [24]. Nonetheless, Rpg may implicitly account F cr E=F cr

for web distortion effects in cross-sections with large web slender-

ness [24] and is given by

sﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ! 5. Complex ﬁnite strip method

aw hc E

Rpg ¼ 1 % % 5:7 r1 ð6Þ

1200 þ 300aw t w Fy

One of the paramount advantages of the complex ﬁnite strip

in which method in comparison with other kinds of numerical methods is

its ability to handle in-plane displacements as well as out-of-

hc t w

aw ¼ r 10 ð7Þ plane. On the other hand, displacements caused by distortional

bf t f buckling include a combination of out-of-plane and in-plane

modes. Therefore, complex ﬁnite strip method becomes a suitable

bf

r t ¼ qﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ ð8Þ tool for predicting the distortional buckling of steel I-section

2

12ððho =dÞ þ ð1=6Þaw ðh =ho dÞÞ members under different loading conditions. In the following, a

computationally efﬁcient ﬁnite strip buckling analysis which

and incorporates web distortion is brieﬂy described.

sﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

E In the ﬁnite strip method (FSM), a thin-walled member is

Lr ¼ πr t ð9Þ divided into longitudinal strips. The advantage of FSM over other

0:7F y

methods, such as the ﬁnite element method which applies dis-

Sections that violate Eq. (1) are referred to as slender-web creteness in both the longitudinal and transverse directions, is

I-sections where the AISC speciﬁcation [19] bases the LTB resis- dependent on the choice made for the shape function of the

tance on Eq. (5). In fact, the implicit use of J ¼ 0 in Section F5 is longitudinal displacement ﬁeld.

intended to allow for the inﬂuence of web distortional ﬂexibility In the original semi-analytical complex ﬁnite strip method

on the LTB resistance of slender web I-section members [47]. developed by Plank and Wittrick [48], elastic stiffness and stability

It is worth noting that in a study on elastic buckling behavior of matrices were obtained using standard ﬁnite element techniques

Steel I-beams with mono and doubly symmetric sections, White based on the energy method. This procedure has been followed in

and Jung [20] concluded that for many compact-web or non- the present study in order to obtain the stiffness and stability

compact-web I-sections, the use of J ¼ 0 in the LTB equations matrices of a strip [49]. For inﬁnitesimally small buckling dis-

results in excessive conservatism, and for slender-web I-section placements, the in-plane and out-of-plane effects are uncoupled

members, the use of F crðJ ¼ 0Þ is prudent to avoid the need for and can be considered separately.

explicit consideration of web distortion effects.

5.1. Displacement functions

4. Bradford’s formula for elastic distortional buckling The geometry, loading and degrees of freedom (DOF) for a strip

are illustrated in Fig. 4. The loading consists of a longitudinal

In 1985, Bradford [5] used a ﬁnite element distortional buckling compressive stress which varies linearly across the width of the

analysis to obtain a more accurate design equation for the reduced plate from σ L % σ B at edge 1 to σ L þ σ B at edge 2. It means that σ L is

buckling stress F crd of mono symmetric I-beams accounting for the average longitudinal compressive stress and σ B is the stress

distortion of the cross-section. Bradford stated that when the half- due to the longitudinal in-plane bending.

wavelength of both lateral-torsional and local buckling are similar, The ﬂexural displacement of a strip w and the in-plane

the mode is of a distortional type [18]. displacements u and v in the semi analytical complex FSM are

The application of regression analysis to parametric studies assumed to be given by

using the ﬁnite element analysis resulted in an approximation

for the distortional buckling stress F crd . Bradford developed the w ¼ RefZdo eiξ g ð13Þ

following equation for the ratio between the elastic distortional

u ¼ RefXJdI eiξ g ð14Þ

buckling capacity F crd and the LTB strength F cr for I-section beams

with equally thick ﬂanges

v ¼ RefYJdI eiξ g ð15Þ

F crd 490ðt f =bf b Þðt f =t w Þð1 % 0:56ðbf t =bf b ÞÞ pﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

¼ 1% ð10Þ where Ref g denotes the real part, i ¼ % 1, do and dI are 4 & 1

F cr E=F cr

vectors of inﬁnitesimal ﬂexural buckling displacements (the ver-

In this equation, F cr can be calculated based on established tical deformations w and rotations Ψ ) and in-plane displacements

elastic LTB equations like Eq. (3). It should be mentioned that comprising the assemble displacements of the strip, respectively.

considering the end conditions of the beams studied in this research ξ ¼ πx=L, in which L is the buckling half-wavelength, and where Z

H.R. Naderian et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 84 (2014) 289–301 293

Fig. 4. (a) Basic state of stress in a strip, (b) strip degrees of freedom.

is a 1 & 4 polynomial interpolation vector and X and Y are where χ is a 3 & 4 matrix deﬁned by

interpolation vectors in the semi-analytical treatment given by 2 3

" # % ΩZ

b 1 b 1 1 6 7

Z ¼ ð1 % ηÞ2 ð1 þ ηÞ; ð1 % ηÞ2 ð2 þηÞ; % ð1 % ηÞð1 þ ηÞ2 ; ð1 þηÞ2 ð2 % ηÞ χ¼ 2 4

4Z″ 5 ð25Þ

8 4 8 4 b

4iΩZ 0

ð16Þ

in which Ω ¼ πb=L and where primes denote differentiation with

1 1 respect to η. Using the principle of virtual work, the inertial virtual

X ¼ 0; ð1 %ηÞ; 0; ð1 þηÞ ð17Þ

2 2 work δW i0 in a wavelength of L of the strip due to the virtual

displacement δd0 can be expressed as

1 1

Y ¼ ð1 % ηÞ; 0; ð1 þ ηÞ; 0 ð18Þ Z Z

2 2 Lb 2π þ 1 T

δW io ¼ δε & D & εdξdη

where η ¼ 2y=b and b is the width of the strip and J is a 4 & 4 2π 0 %1

Z 2π Z þ 1

diagonal matrix deﬁned by Lb T

¼ RefδdO χ T eiξ g & D & Refχdo eiξ gdξdη ð26Þ

J ¼ ½1 0 0 0; 0 % i0 0; 0 0 1 0; 0 0 0 % i( ð19Þ 2π 0 %1

The selected longitudinal functions result in members that are In this step the following mathematical theory [48] is used to

pinned and free-to-warp at their ends. More complicated bound- solve the integral in Eq. (26)

ary conditions may be treated [50] but are not discussed here. Z 2π

ReðaT eiξ Þ & G & Refbeiξ gdξ ¼ πRefaT Gbg ð27Þ

0

5.2. Strain–stress relations

where the bar denotes the conjugate. Using the above formula,

Eq. (26) may be rewritten as

In accordance with established stiffness procedures, the vectors

of generalized buckling strain ε and ε0 for out-of-plane and in- T

δW io ¼ λRefδdo So do g ð28Þ

plane displacements are given by

in which S0 is the out-of-plane standard stiffness matrix and is

ε ¼ f∂2 w=∂x2 ∂2 w=∂y2 2∂2 w=∂x∂yg ð20Þ deﬁned by

( " #) " # Z þ1

∂u ∂v ∂u ∂v b

0

ε ¼ þ ð21Þ So ¼ χ T Dχdη ð29Þ

∂x ∂y ∂y ∂x 2 %1

The ﬂexural property matrix of an isotropic plate D [48] deﬁnes

acting on the four edges of a rectangle strip of width b and length L

the relationship between the inﬁnitesimal generalized moments

also do work δW m0 . This virtual work is given by

and strains for out-of-plane displacements by

Z Z ( " #2 )

M¼D& ε ð22Þ ∂w

δW m0 ¼ ðt=2Þδ σx dxdy ð30Þ

∂y

Also, the buckling internal stress σ and strains ε is given by

0 0

where t is the thickness of the strip and σ x is the local value of the

σ ¼ D0 & ε0

0

ð23Þ

longitudinal stress given by

where D0 is the in-plane rigidity matrix of the isotropic plate [48].

σ x ¼ σ L þ ησ B ð31Þ

5.3. Out-of-plane stiffness matrix

the stress due to the longitudinal in-plane bending.

By transforming x and y into the dimensionless variables ξ and

The strain energy stored in the plate strip during the buckling

η and taking the variation of the integrand, Eq. (30) is obtained by

deformation can be calculated. Substituting Eq. (13) into Eq. (20)

the following formula is derived Z 2π Z þ1 & $ %'

Lt ∂δw ∂w

iξ

δW m0 ¼ Ω2 ðσ L þ ησ B Þ dξdη ð32Þ

ε ¼ Refχdo e g ð24Þ 2πb 0 %1 ∂ξ ∂ξ

294 H.R. Naderian et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 84 (2014) 289–301

By performing the integration with respect to ξ and with regard in which GI is the in-plane ﬂexural stability matrix and may be

to Eq. (27) obtained from

T " 2 # Z þ1

δW m0 ¼ LRefδdo G0 do g ð33Þ Ω σL t

GI ¼ JðX T X þ Y T YÞJdη ð43Þ

2b %1

where G0 is the out-of-plane ﬂexural stability matrix and may be

obtained from Once the strip stiffness and stability matrices SO , SI and GO , GI

" # Z þ1 are derived and combined for each strip, they can be assembled

t

Go ¼ fΩ2 ðσ L þ ησ B ÞZ T Zgdη ð34Þ into the respective global matrices ST and GT using standard

2b %1

procedures. The buckling problem can then be represented by the

eigenvalue equations

5.4. In-plane stiffness matrix

ðST % GT ÞΔ ¼ 0 ð44Þ

A method similar to that for the out-of-plane matrices may be where Δ is a scaling factor related to the critical load.

followed in order to obtain the in-plane stiffness and stability

matrices. The internal virtual work done in the steel strip during

the buckling deformation can be similarly calculated. Substituting

Eqs. (14) and (15) into Eq. (21) the following formula is derived 6. Parametric studies

ε0 ¼ RefΓJdI eiξ g ð35Þ In order to evaluate the accuracy of complex ﬁnite strip method

in which Γ is a 3 & 4 matrix deﬁned by as well as AISC equations given in the code for the prediction of

2 3 distortional buckling, a number of beams with doubly-symmetric

" # iΩX

1 6 7 I-sections are studied under pure bending. For this purpose,

Γ¼ 4 2Y 0

5 ð36Þ critical moments for different values of ﬂange width, web depth,

b

2X þ iΩY

0

and braced beam length are calculated. In each case, one beam

where primes denote differentiation with respect to η. The internal dimension or property is varied while the others are kept constant,

work δW iI in the wavelength 2L of the strip is given by and the accuracy of the complex FSM and code predictions is

Z Z assessed for that speciﬁc case. These case studies are performed by

Lbt 2π þ 1 0T the complex FSM as well as Bradford’s Equation, AISC formula, and

δW iI ¼ δε & D0 & ε0 dξdη

2π 0 %1 CUFSM results carried out by Zirakian [24]. The complex ﬁnite

Z Z

Lbt 2π þ 1 n T T 0iξ o 0 n o strip method of analysis summarized in the previous section is

¼ Re δdI JΓ ε D Re ΓJdI ε0iξ dξdη ð37Þ

2π 0 %1

programmed on a desktop workstation using MATLAB program-

ming language in which the eigenvalue bucking problem of steel

Considering Eq. (27), the internal work δW iI may be obtained

I-section beams can be solved. The results of all case studies

by

obtained by these four methods are compared together. Based on

T

δW iI ¼ LRefδdI SI dI g ð38Þ these parametric studies, a new equation is proposed for the

prediction of distortional buckling of slender web I-section beams

in which SI is the in-plane standard stiffness matrix SI and is in AISC code. The new formula is simple and economic in compa-

derived by rison with the current code equation. It is assumed that the elastic

Z þ1 ! constant values E ¼ 200; 000 MPa, v ¼ 0:3, and F y ¼ 345 MPa.

1 T

SI ¼ btJ Γ D0 Γdη J ð39Þ It is worth noting that all of the beams considered here are simply

2 %1

supported members. These conditions are in accordance with the

According to reference [48], σ L is the only stress component basic assumption of complex ﬁnite strip method which conse-

that needs to be considered for the in-plane buckling and there is quently increases the accuracy of the results [48]. As mentioned

no conceivable in-plane instability that can arise from the action previously, more complicated boundary conditions may be treated

of the stress σ B . In order to calculate the loss of potential energy in the ﬁnite strip method developed by Bradford and Azhari [50].

of the longitudinal stress σ L one can make use of the following All members in this study have slender webs and compact ﬂanges.

nonlinear expression for the longitudinal strain εx In addition, distortional buckling stresses are lower than yield

(" # " #2 " #2 ) stress and are limited to elastic buckling. The sectional dimensions

∂u 1 ∂u 2 ∂v ∂w are chosen so that local buckling does not occur simultaneously in

εx ¼ þ þ þ ð40Þ

∂x 2 ∂x ∂x ∂x the ﬂanges and the web.

Table 1 summarizes the geometric data of the sections and

In this expression, the ﬁrst term has already been accounted for

yield stresses for I-beams considered in this part. In each case, all

in deriving the strain energy whilst the last term, involving w, has

cross-sectional dimensions and yield stresses of the beams are

been used in the calculation of the reduction in the potential

kept constant, except for one which is made variable. According to

energy of basic stresses due to the out-of-plane displacement.

the AISC code [19], the limitation of compact ﬂange for I-section is

An appropriate expression for the reduction of the potential of the

given by

basic stresses due to in-plane displacement is

(" # sﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

" #2 ) $ % bf E

1 ∂u 2 ∂v δ∂u ∂u δ∂v ∂v γ pcompact ¼ r 0:38 ð45Þ

δW mI ¼ σ L tδ∬ þ dxdy ¼ σ L t∬ þ dxdy 2t f Fy

2 ∂x ∂x ∂x ∂x ∂x ∂x

ð41Þ The h=t w ratios of the beams are larger than the code limiting

in which the integral extends over the width b and wavelength 2L. slenderness values for non-compact webs (Eq. (1)), and also the

Substituting Eqs. (14) and (15), and using the mathematical bf =2t f ratios of the beams are smaller than the code limiting values

principle in Eq. (27) will yield for compact ﬂanges (Eq. (32)). Considering the given material

T properties for the steel (E ¼ 200; 000 MPa; F y ¼ 345 MPa) the

δW mI ¼ LRefδdI GI dI g ð42Þ values of the noncompact limit of a web and the compact limit

H.R. Naderian et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 84 (2014) 289–301 295

Table 1

Geometric properties and yield stresses of the beams.

Case number h (mm) hc (mm) ho (mm) d (mm) tw (mm) bf (mm) tf (mm) Lb (mm) Fy (MPa)

2 990 1000 1021 1042 Variable 250 21 6250 345

3 800 810 835 860 5 Variable 25 10280 345

Table 2 Table 3

Lengths and dimension ratios for case study 1. Comparison of the AISC code predictions and complex FSM results with Bradford’s

formula and CUFSM results.

Cross-section number bf /t f h/bf h/tw tf/tw Lb/ho Lr (mm) Lb (mm)

Cross-section MnLTB/ MnDist/ MnFSA/ MnCUFSM/ MnBradford/

Beam1-1 12 3.1 150 4 7.7 5988.7 6,060 number My MnLTB MnLTB MnLTB MnLTB

Beam1-2 12 3.1 150 4 8.3 5988.7 6,474

Beam1-3 12 3.1 150 4 9 5988.7 7,020 Beam1-1 0.78 0.88 0.88 0.94 0.90

Beam1-4 12 3.1 150 4 9.6 5988.7 7,488 Beam1-2 0.68 0.87 0.88 0.94 0.92

Beam1-5 12 3.1 150 4 10.9 5988.7 8,502 Beam1-3 0.59 0.85 0.90 0.94 0.93

Beam1-6 12 3.1 150 4 12.8 5988.7 9,984 Beam1-4 0.53 0.84 0.89 0.94 0.93

Beam1-7 12 3.1 150 4 15.4 5988.7 12,012 Beam1-5 0.43 0.80 0.88 0.94 0.95

Beam1-8 12 3.1 150 4 17.9 5988.7 13,962 Beam1-6 0.33 0.76 0.91 0.95 0.96

Beam1-9 12 3.1 150 4 20 5988.7 15,600 Beam1-7 0.25 0.69 0.92 0.95 0.97

Beam1-8 0.20 0.64 0.90 0.96 0.98

Beam1-9 0.17 0.60 0.94 0.96 0.98

In Table 3, the ratio of nominal lateral-torsional buckling

h

γ rnon % compact ¼ r137:2 ð46Þ moment to yield moment reduces with the increase in the beams’

tw

length. This is logical, because there is a higher sensitivity to

bf lateral-torsional buckling in longer beams. The moment ratios

γ pcompact ¼ r 18:3 ð47Þ obtained by the Complex FSM in all lengths are lower than those

tf

obtained from Bradford’s formula and CUFSM; nonetheless, these

are close to the AISC predictions especially for short lengths. In

general, the nominal distortional buckling moments obtained by

6.1. Inﬂuence of beam length the complex FSM are greater than AISC predictions and lower than

those obtained from CUFSM and Bradford’s formula. The percen-

In Table 1, the case number 1 is selected to investigate the tage of reduction in critical moment for different lengths in

inﬂuence of varying the un-braced length Lb on critical moments Complex FSM, Bradford’s formula, and CUFSM is between 12% to

while all cross-sectional dimensions are kept constant. In Table 2, 6%, 10% to 2%, and 6% to 4%, respectively. According to the AISC

the cross-section dimensional ratios as well as Lb and Lr of the prediction, the percentage reduction varies between 12% and 40%.

members are listed. Especially for longer beams, the nominal distortional buckling

The values of Lr for each beam are obtained through Eq. (9) and moments signiﬁcantly decrease in comparison with the lateral-

the values of Lb are chosen based on a ratio of ho so that the torsional buckling moments.

un-braced lengths Lb are all larger than Lr and the elastic behavior These statistics show that the AISC code is very conservative

is ascertained. In order to ensure that the buckling of beams is and uneconomical in predicting the nominal distortional buckling

elastic, the ratio of lateral-torsional moments to yield moment are strength (Eq. (4)) of I-beams. It can be concluded that the use of

obtained and presented in addition to other outputs. J ¼ 0 in Eq. (3) to allow for the effects of distortional buckling

Table 3 summarizes the nominal critical moments derived from phenomena is not optimal. For the same reason, it is necessary to

AISC, and Bradford’s equations, as well as the complex ﬁnite strip modify the mentioned equation. For this purpose, in Fig. 5, the

results besides those of Zirakian [24] which were obtained using normalized distortional buckling moments M nDist =M y are given as a

the CUFSM software. CUFSM is an open source software which function of the dimensionless ratio M nBradford =M y for Lb ¼ 7:7ho % 20ho .

was originally written by Schafer and colleagues [38,39] in order It can be said that the mentioned lengths involve the distortional

to explore elastic buckling behavior and to calculate the buckl- buckling area in the buckling curve of the I-section. Several charts are

ing stresses and buckling modes of arbitrarily shaped, simply given for different values of yield stress F y . Fortunately, for all yield

supported, thin-walled members. The software employs the semi- stresses and beams lengths, the chart is almost a straight line with

analytical ﬁnite strip method to provide solutions for the cross- constant slope. Moreover, buckling moments obtained through

sectional stability of isotropic as well as orthotropic thin-walled Bradford’s formula are higher than those predicted by the AISC

members. All of the distortional buckling moments in Table 3 are equation in all occurrences. Nevertheless, the charts tend to separate

normalized with the lateral-torsional buckling moment MnLTB at high moments. Here, the diagrams have a slope of about 0.92.

obtained from Eq. (2). In these ratios, the numerator is the reduced Deriving an equation for the straight line with constant slope from

critical moment or the so-called nominal distortional buckling and the diagrams and after some substituting and mathematical manip-

the denominator is nominal lateral-torsional buckling moment ulation, the AISC nominal distortional buckling moment can be

without considering the inﬂuence of distortional buckling. In fact, modiﬁed as the following equation

these moment ratios show a reduction in the lateral-torsional

buckling due to the effect of web distortion. Moreover, the ratios of M nDist1 ¼ 1:09 Rpg F crðJ ¼ 0Þ Sx ð48Þ

nominal LTB moments to yield moments are given in the ﬁrst

column of Table 3, and the occurrence of elastic buckling is quite Although the above mentioned equation can be used for a wide

obvious in all cases. variety of lengths, it is necessary to evaluate other geometric

296 H.R. Naderian et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 84 (2014) 289–301

factors such as web and ﬂange slenderness on the distortional FSM as well as AISC code for elastic distortional buckling of I-beams

buckling of slender web I-beams. will be assessed as a result of varying the web thickness, while all of

In Fig. 5, the larger distortional buckling moments are related the cross-sectional dimensions of the beams are kept constant. The

to shorter beams and the smaller moments are related to longer cross-section dimensional ratios as well as Lr and Lb of the studied

beams which suggest that the distortional buckling strength of beams are listed in Table 4. Here, the un-braced length Lb is

shorter beams is greater than that of the longer ones. It can clearly considered as 6250 mm so that for all beams this is larger than Lr

be seen from the diagrams of Fig. 5 that with increasing the beam and the elastic buckling condition will thereby be established. As

length, the rate of variation of distortional buckling strength observed in Eqs. (8) and (9), the value of Lr is dependent on the web

decreases while on the other hand with decreasing the beam thickness and for the same reason the un-braced length Lr changes

length, it increases. The variation of yield stresses does not have a with the variation of web thickness. In these members, the web

direct inﬂuence on the distortional buckling strength of I-beams. thickness is varied from 7.2 to 4 and consequently the slenderness

In fact, it merely causes the change in the range of moments ratios. of the web is varied from 136.7 to 249.9. The slenderness of the web

In Fig. 6, the variation of normalized nominal distortional is the ratio of the web height to thickness. The rest of the cross-

buckling moments obtained by AISC equation, Bradford’s formula, sectional dimensions are kept constant.

and Complex FSM are given as a function of the un-braced length Lb . Summary of the results are listed in Table 5. Observation of

In addition, the lateral-torsional buckling curve of the I-beam based these buckling results brings about the following conclusions:

on Eq. (2) is plotted in Fig. 6. The geometric data and material

properties are the same as that shown in Table 2. As clearly seen, all ) Based on all four methods, with the increase in the web slende-

three methods show similar distortional buckling behavior for rness, the ratio of distortional buckling moments to lateral-

slender web I-sections in pure bending in which by increasing the torsional buckling moments decreases.

un-braced length, the buckling strength decreases non-uniformly.

Here, distortional buckling moments obtained from Bradford’s and

AISC equations have the highest and the lowest values, respectively. Table 4

Lengths and dimension ratios for case study 2.

Furthermore, the results obtained through complex FSM and

Bradford’s formula are very close to each other. Cross-section number bf/tf h/bf h/tw tf/tw Lb/ho Lr (mm) Lb (mm)

Beam2-2 11.9 4 146.1 3.1 6.1 6011.6 6250

6.2. Inﬂuence of web slenderness

Beam2-3 11.9 4 155.6 3.3 6.1 6042.5 6250

Beam2-4 11.9 4 165 3.5 6.1 6070.2 6250

Distortional buckling strength of steel I-beams is heavily depen- Beam2-5 11.9 4 179.1 3.8 6.1 6106.9 6250

dent on the web slenderness. As the slenderness of web increases, Beam2-6 11.9 4 188.6 4 6.1 6128.7 6250

distortional buckling becomes more critical. In this section, the Beam2-7 11.9 4 207.4 4.4 6.1 6166.8 6250

Beam2-8 11.9 4 226.3 4.8 6.1 6199.1 6250

effects of varying the web slenderness on distortional buckling of Beam2-9 11.9 4 249.9 5.3 6.1 6233.1 6250

I-beams are evaluated. Furthermore, the accuracy of the complex

Fig. 5. Variation of distortional buckling moments for different braced lengths and yield stresses.

H.R. Naderian et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 84 (2014) 289–301 297

) The nominal distortional buckling moments obtained from results are not applicable to the web thicknesses outside of

complex FSM are lower than those obtained from CUFSM 4–7.2 mm. First, this study falls into the category of slender web

software while they are higher than the results of Bradford’s I-sections and according to Eq. (1) the h=t w ratios of the selected

formula and AISC equation. beams should be larger than the code limiting slenderness values

) As the web slenderness increases, the complex FSM and for noncompact webs. In other words, within the range of the

Bradford’s formula as well as CUFSM and AISC equation above mentioned web thicknesses, the web plate in the I-section

indicate reductions in the buckling moments ranging from 6% does not satisfy the compactness limit. This limit is deﬁned in

to 9%, 6% to 12%, 4% to 8%, and 8% to 13%, respectively. Eq. (1) and is a criterion in AISC code to identify the slender web in

I-sections. On the other hand, Eq. (4) for calculating the nominal

Compared with either the complex FSM and Bradford’s predic- elastic LTB moment in AISC code is valid when Lb 4 Lr which

tions or CUFSM, the elastic distortional buckling results of the AISC guarantees the elastic behavior of the section. Here, Lr is the

code are somewhat conservative. Nevertheless, the amount of this limiting laterally unbraced length for the limit state of inelastic

conservatism is not remarkable. Therefore, it seems that Eq. (4) in lateral–torsional buckling and is obtained by Eq. (9). It should be

the AISC code offers acceptable results for the prediction of noted that Lr is dependent to the value of web thickness. There-

distortional buckling in this case. fore, for the web thicknesses outside of the range 4–7.2 mm the

In Fig. 7, the normalized distortional buckling moments elastic buckling behavior is not provided because Lb oLr . As

M nDist =M y are given as a function of the dimensionless of illustrated in Fig. 7, the variation of distortional buckling moment

M nBradford =M y for t w ¼ 3 mm % 10 mm. Other geometric data and ratios seems a bit vague. The diagram in Fig. 7 has a downward

material properties are the same as what is shown in Table 4. In slope in the range of t w ¼ 3–4:8 mm in which with increasing the

this chart, the buckling moments for web thicknesses ranging web thickness (decreasing the web slenderness) the distortional

from 4 mm to 7.2 mm are marked with a circle symbol. It should buckling moment of Bradford’s formula increases, and in contrast,

be mentioned that the results of this chart are not applicable to the the nominal buckling moment of AISC equation decreases. On the

web thicknesses outside of the range 4–7.2 mm especially for the other hand, in the range of t w ¼ 4:8–10 mm, as the web thickness

AISC equation. In fact, they are merely given in order to illustrate increases, the nominal distortional buckling moments obtained by

the outputs of the main results. There are two reasons why the both methods decrease. The reason for the change in the direction

of the diagram at t w ¼ 4:8 can be traced to Bradford’s formula as

Table 5 this is limited to the following range of proportions 1 r t f =t w r4 .

Comparison of the complex FSM results with other methods—different web Ignoring the results of the range of t w ¼ 3 % 4:8 mm, a linear

slenderness. relationship with a slope approximately equal to unity between

Cross-section MnLTB/ MnDist/ MnFSA/ MnCUFSM/ MnBradford/

the Bradford’s and AISC distortional moments is established.

number My MnLTB MnLTB MnLTB MnLTB According to Fig. 7, distortional buckling moments of both meth-

ods are very close to each other. Therefore, it is not necessary to

Beam2-1 0.69 0.92 0.94 0.96 0.94 modify the AISC Eq. (4) in this case.

Beam2-2 0.70 0.91 0.94 0.96 0.93

In Fig. 8, the variation of normalized distortional buckling

Beam2-3 0.71 0.91 0.93 0.95 0.93

Beam2-4 0.71 0.90 0.93 0.95 0.92 moments obtained from all three methods as well as lateral-

Beam2-5 0.72 0.90 0.93 0.95 0.91 torsional moments is given as a function of the web slenderness

Beam2-6 0.73 0.89 0.92 0.94 0.91 h=t w . The material properties and geometric data are the same as

Beam2-7 0.74 0.88 0.91 0.93 0.90 what is shown in Table 4. It should be noted that in the diagram

Beam2-8 0.74 0.88 0.92 0.93 0.89

Beam2-9 0.75 0.87 0.91 0.92 0.88

related to Bradford’s formula the nominal buckling moments for

the range of h=t w Z 200 ðt w ¼ 4 %5 mmÞ are not included because

298 H.R. Naderian et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 84 (2014) 289–301

the formula is not applicable for this range. This is a limitation of Table 6

Bradford’s formula which was also demonstrated in Fig. 7. Lengths and dimension ratios for case study 3.

Concerning these results, it is worth pointing out that:

Cross-section number bf/tf h/bf h/tw tf/tw Lb/ho Lr (mm) Lb (mm)

) As the slenderness of the web increases, the distortional Beam3-1 16.0 2.0 160.0 5.0 12.3 10276.7 10,280

buckling strength of all three methods increases. By increasing Beam3-2 13.3 2.4 160.0 5.0 12.3 8512.8 10,280

the web slenderness, the ratio of lateral –torsional buckling Beam3-3 10.7 3.0 160.0 5.0 12.3 6750.8 10,280

moment to yield moment increases while the rate of the Beam3-4 8.0 4.0 160.0 5.0 12.3 4990.5 10,280

Beam3-5 5.3 6.0 160.0 5.0 12.3 3233.9 10,280

increase is much higher than that for distortional buckling.

This proves that the distortional buckling phenomenon is more

critical at the high values of web slenderness.

) Once again, an excellent agreement exists between the com- Table 7

plex ﬁnite strip results and the Bradford’s formula especially for Comparison of the complex FSM results with other methods—different ﬂange

the small values of web slenderness. slenderness.

number My MnLTB MnLTB MnLTB MnLTB

6.3. Inﬂuence of ﬂange slenderness

Beam3-1 0.82 0.85 0.90 0.92 0.90

In this parametric study, the inﬂuence of the variation of ﬂange Beam3-2 0.59 0.80 0.90 0.92 0.92

Beam3-3 0.40 0.73 0.90 0.91 0.93

slenderness on the distortional buckling behavior of I-beams is

Beam3-4 0.25 0.62 0.92 0.92 0.94

investigated under pure bending. Furthermore, in order to validate Beam3-5 0.14 0.47 0.93 0.94 0.95

and illustrate the application and capabilities of the complex FSM,

the numerical ﬁnite strip results are compared with those

obtained by other methods. For these purposes, ﬁve I-section to distortional buckling and even sometimes prior to local buck-

beams with different ﬂange widths ranging from 133 mm to ling. The reductions in the elastic buckling resistance according

400 mm (consequently different ﬂange slenderness) are consid- to the complex FSM as well as Bradford’s formula and CUFSM

ered, as tabulated in Table 6. The cross-sectional dimensions and software are between 10% to 7%, 10% to 5%, and 8% to 6%,

beam lengths considered are also given in Table 6. The value of Lr respectively. These values verify that all three methods are very

depends on ﬂange width and consequently is variable. The un- similar in predicting the distortional buckling moments of I-

braced length Lb is chosen such that it is always larger than Lr in beams. On the other hand, and according to the AISC equation,

order to ascertain the elastic buckling behavior. the reduction in the elastic buckling strength dramatically

The results of this parametric study are summarized in Table 7. increases from 15% to 51% as the ﬂange width (ﬂange slenderness)

Here, the lateral-torsional buckling moments dramatically decreases. By comparing the results, it can be concluded that in

decrease by decreasing the ﬂange width (ﬂange slenderness). this case, the AISC equation is highly conservative in predicting the

The reason for this is the decrease in some cross-sectional proper- distortional buckling of I-section beams. This conservatism will

ties effective in the lateral-torsional resistance such as warping consequently lead to uneconomical and over-estimated designs.

stiffness C w , torsional constant J, and moment of inertia of the The variation of M nDist =M y is given as a function of the different

cross-section about the plane of the web I y . ratios of M nBradford =M y in Fig. 9 for the range bf ¼ 133 to 400 mm:

Considering the results obtained from the complex FSM, The material properties and geometric data are the same as what

Bradford’s formula, and CUFSM software [24], it can be concluded is shown in Table 6. The diagram in Fig. 9 is almost a straight line

that by decreasing the ﬂange width, the inﬂuence of web distor- with a constant slope in which the maximum of nominal distor-

tion on the cross-section decreases gradually as the nominal tional buckling moment is related to the highest ﬂange width and

distortional and lateral-torsional buckling moments tend to be in contrast, the minimum of the buckling moment is related to the

close to each other. In other words, by decreasing the ﬂange width, lowest ﬂange width. For all values of ﬂange width, distortional

the warping stiffness of the section also decreases and it makes the buckling moments of AISC equation are lower than those obtained

lateral-torsional buckling the dominant mode which occurs prior by Bradford’s formula which again proves that AISC equation is

H.R. Naderian et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 84 (2014) 289–301 299

conservative in predicting distortional buckling moments. Here, increases as the slenderness of the ﬂange increases. It is worth

the diagram has a slope of about 0.98. Deriving an equation for the mentioning that the accuracy of the complex FSM in comparison

straight line with constant slope from the diagram and after some with Bradford’s formula decreases as the ﬂange slenderness

mathematical manipulation, the AISC nominal distortional buck- increases.

ling moment can be modiﬁed as:

6.4. Efﬁciency of the proposed equations

M nDist2 ¼ 1:02 Rpg F crðJ ¼ 0Þ Sx ð49Þ

In order to investigate the accuracy of the proposed formulae,

In Fig. 10, the variation of the nominal distortional buckling

the modiﬁed distortional buckling moments of Eqs. (35) and (36)

moments normalized with the yield moment as well as normal-

for all of the beams of the former case studies are calculated and

ized lateral-torsional buckling moments are given as a function of

summarized in Table 8. The accuracy of the mentioned formulas is

the ﬂange slenderness bf =t f . The geometric data are the same as

demonstrated by comparing with other numerical results in Table 8.

those shown in Table 6. Here, with the increase in the ﬂange

It can clearly be seen that the distortional buckling moments of

slenderness, the nominal distortional buckling strength increases

Eqs. (35) and (36) in all cases are above the current AISC equation.

in all three methods including AISC equation, Bradford’s formula,

It means that with the new formulas, the distortional buckling

and the complex FSM. For all ratios of ﬂange slenderness, the

strength is predicted to be higher and consequently it provides

maximum distortional buckling moment is related to the complex

economical advantage to use these formulas instead of Eq. (4).

FSM and the minimum values of distortional buckling are related

In order to streamline it even further, one can use the mini-

to the AISC equation. Distortional buckling moments obtained by

mum of Eqs. (35) and (36) for the distortional buckling moment of

Bradford’s formula are between those obtained through the AISC

slender web I-beams

equation and the complex FSM, and at the same time are very

close to the lateral-torsional buckling moments. Taking into M nDist3 ¼ minðM nDist1 ; M nDist2 Þ ð50Þ

account all of the features observed in Fig. 10, it can be concluded

Eq. (37) may thus be used by designers for estimating the

that the AISC code is very conservative in predicting the distor-

effects of web distortion in their designs.

tional buckling of I-beams. Moreover, the mentioned conservatism

7. Concluding remarks

buckling behavior of steel I-section beams with slender webs. In

the ﬁrst part of the study, a complex ﬁnite strip analysis of the

distortional buckling of beams was used to study the elastic

buckling behavior of slender web steel I-sections. The accuracy

of the ﬁnite strip procedure was demonstrated by testing it for

the elastic buckling of I-section beams under pure bending. Its

accuracy was also shown to be good when compared to other

established distortional buckling solutions for uniform bending,

while the convergence of the solution was rapid.

In the second part, a parametric study was made on the elastic

distortional buckling of I-section members under uniform bending.

A set of three dimensional parameters deﬁning the cross-sectional

geometry and member lengths were introduced. A simple empirical

buckling formula was proposed for predicting the distortional

Fig. 9. Variation of distortional buckling moments for different ﬂange widths. buckling moment of slender web I-beams based on the comparison

300 H.R. Naderian et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 84 (2014) 289–301

Table 8

Comparison of the accuracy of the proposed formulas Eqs. (35) and (36) with other methods.

Cross-section number MnLTB/My MnDist/MnLTB MnFSA/MnLTB MnCUFSM/MnLTB MnBradford/MnLTB MnDist1/MnLTB (Eq. (35)) MnDist2/MnLTB (Eq. (36))

Beam1-2 0.68 0.87 0.88 0.94 0.92 0.95 0.89

Beam1-3 0.59 0.85 0.90 0.94 0.93 0.93 0.87

Beam1-4 0.53 0.84 0.89 0.94 0.93 0.91 0.85

Beam1-5 0.43 0.80 0.88 0.94 0.95 0.88 0.82

Beam1-6 0.33 0.76 0.91 0.95 0.96 0.82 0.77

Beam1-7 0.25 0.69 0.92 0.95 0.97 0.76 0.71

Beam1-8 0.20 0.64 0.90 0.96 0.98 0.70 0.65

Beam1-9 0.17 0.60 0.94 0.96 0.98 0.65 0.61

Beam2-1 0.69 0.92 0.94 0.96 0.94 1.0 0.94

Beam2-2 0.70 0.91 0.94 0.96 0.93 1.0 0.93

Beam2-3 0.71 0.91 0.93 0.95 0.93 0.99 0.93

Beam2-4 0.71 0.90 0.93 0.95 0.92 0.98 0.92

Beam2-5 0.72 0.90 0.93 0.95 0.91 0.98 0.91

Beam2-6 0.73 0.89 0.92 0.94 0.91 0.97 0.91

Beam2-7 0.74 0.88 0.91 0.93 0.90 0.96 0.90

Beam2-8 0.74 0.88 0.92 0.93 0.89 0.96 0.89

Beam2-9 0.75 0.87 0.91 0.92 0.88 0.95 0.89

Beam3-1 0.82 0.85 0.90 0.92 0.90 0.92 0.86

Beam3-2 0.59 0.80 0.90 0.92 0.92 0.87 0.81

Beam3-3 0.40 0.73 0.90 0.91 0.93 0.80 0.74

Beam3-4 0.25 0.62 0.92 0.92 0.94 0.68 0.64

Beam3-5 0.14 0.47 0.93 0.94 0.95 0.51 0.47

of the current equation of the AISC code and the Bradford’s formula. Ix moment of inertia of the cross-section about the

The results were investigated and listed for a wide range of beam major axis

dimensions. The results were then used to develop a design rule to J torsional rigidity (St. Venant torsional constant)

approximate the elastic distortional buckling moment of slender L half-wavelength

web steel I-section beams. The derivation was based on the Lb laterally unbraced length

investigation of a broad range of web and ﬂange slenderness values Lr limiting laterally unbraced length for the limit state of

and beam lengths within the distortional buckling zone. Authors inelastic lateral-torsional buckling

believe that the proposed formula is a suitable substitute for the M nDist nominal elastic distortional buckling strength predicted

present equation in the AISC code for the prediction of the nominal by the AISC

distortional buckling strength of doubly symmetric steel I-section M nDist1 modiﬁed distortional buckling moment of slender web

beams with slender webs. As the new formula provides less I-beams for AISC code (ﬁrst formula)

conservative values, it would lead into more economical designs. M nDist2 modiﬁed distortional buckling moment of slender web

I-beams for AISC code (second formula)

M nDist3 modiﬁed distortional buckling moment of slender web

I-beams for AISC code

Appendix A. Nomenclature M nBradford nominal elastic distortional buckling strength predicted

by Bradford’s equation

aw the ratio of two times the web area in compression due M nLTB nominal elastic lateral–torsional buckling

to application of major axis bending moment alone to My yield moment about the axis of bending

the area of the compression ﬂange components Rpg bending strength reduction factor

bf b width of bottom ﬂange rt radius of gyration of the ﬂange components in ﬂexural

bf t width of top ﬂange compression plus one-third of the web area in compres-

bw web depth sion due to application of major axis bending moment

C distance from the neutral axis to the most extreme alone

compression edge Sx elastic section modulus about the axis of bending

Cb moment-gradient factor for lateral-torsional buckling tf ﬂange thickness

d full nominal depth of the section tw web thickness

E modulus of elasticity γ pcompact limiting slenderness parameter for compact ﬂange

F buckling stress γ rnoncompact non-compact limit

F cr elastic critical stress

F crd elastic distortional buckling stress

F crðJ ¼ 0Þ elastic lateral-torsional buckling stress determined by

Eq. (5), which is the same as Eq. (3) with J taken equal References

to zero

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