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Direct Second-Order Elastic Analysis for Steel Frame Design


C.K. Iu, W.F. Chen, S.L. Chan, and T.W. Ma

The traditional structural design procedure, especially for the large-scale and complex structures, is time consuming and inefficient. This is due primarily to the fact that the traditional design takes the second-order effects indirectly by virtue of design specifications for every member instead of system analysis for a whole structure. Consequently, the complicated and tedious

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design procedures are inevitably necessary to consider the second-order effects for the member level in design specification. They are twofold in general: 1) Flexural buckling due to P-δ effect, i.e. effective length. 2) Sway effect due to P-∆ effect, i.e. magnification factor. In this study, a new system design concept based on the second-order elastic analysis is presented, in which the second-order effects are taken into account directly in the system analysis, and also to avoid the tedious member-by-member stability check. The plastic design on the basis of this integrated method of direct approach is ignored in this paper for simplicity and clarity, as the only emphasis is placed on the difference between the second-order elastic limit-state design and present system design approach. A practical design example, a 57 m-span dome steel skylight structure, is used to demonstrate the efficiency and effectiveness of the proposed approach. This skylight structure is also designed by the traditional design approach BS5950 for comparison on which the emphasis of aforementioned P-δ and P-∆ effects is placed.

Keywords: traditional design, geometric nonlinearities, P-δ and P-∆ effects, finite element method

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