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You are on page 1of 4

W BEAM

with strength? Well, engineers

may remember learning about LINK

Systems

composite beam design, column 500

PLF

design, or beams with compression reinforcing. ANALYSIS MODEL

n Factor. That is the factor that defines the ratio ANALYSIS MODEL 500

PLF

of the moduli of elasticity between materials. It

discussion and advances

is used in calculations to convert the stiffness of PICTURE 1

related to structural and different materials to a common one. This was the

component systems foundation for understanding that stiffness plays Figure 1. Analytical model connected beams.

a role in the distribution of forces in a section.

However, material stiffness, the modulus of elas- the case. In these instances, the load is distributed

ticity, and cross-sectional area are not the only to the members in proportion to the ratio of

components that influence the distribution of their stiffnesses.

force flow. Geometric constraints, such as length A simple model can demonstrate the interac-

E

of members, support conditions, and sectional tive effect of members with different stiffnesses

properties all influence the force flow in a system. (Figure 1). The beams were first sized as inde-

R

In fact, all of structural engineering is dictated one pendent, unconnected beams based on a linear

way or another by the ratio of stiffness between load of 500 pounds per linear foot (plf ). From

U

components in a structure. htForce flow is defined the resultant moment, a W 10 x 15 was selected

yrig

T

Cop as the distribution of all

here for the 20-foot long top beam and a W 10 x 30

internal systems forces, such was selected for the 30-foot long bottom beam.

C

as axial force, moment, shear, When connected, the top beam moment

e

U

and torsion. increased by 155% and the bottom beam

This article discusses two

i n moment decreased by 33.5%. This disparity

R

systems in order to explore is the result of the top beam being signifi-

z

T

the influence of stiffness and strength: 1) struc- cantly stiffer, due to its shorter length, than

g a

tural static systems and 2) connections. the bottom beam. It essentially robbed the

S

By Paul A. Gossen, P.E., F.ASCE, Why is this important? Compatibility of load from the bottom beam. The top beams

and Keith M. MacBain, Ph.D., P.E. a

deformations of structural components is the size had to be increased to eliminate the over-

m

foundation of a safe structure. If there is no com-

patibility between components, they can easily be

stress while the bottom beam size remained

unchanged. It was necessary for the top beam

overstressed and can fail progressively as a result. to be increased to a W 10 x 30 to obtain the

strength to carry the increased load that was

shed from the bottom beam. Increasing its

Structural Systems section results in a larger section modulus and,

Often, members are connected to carry the same more so, a larger moment of inertia. Looking

load, although sometimes it may not appear to be at the terms of both, the section modulus and

Paul A. Gossen is Principal the moment of inertia, one can

Emeritus at Geiger Engineers. see that the moment of inertia,

He is a member of ASCE and thus the stiffness, increased

Committee 19 Structural by a factor of 2.5 while the sec-

Application of Steel Cables for tion modulus increased by 2.3,

Buildings, as well as Committee which is the opposite of what

55 Tensile Membrane was desired. (Section Modulus

Structures. Paul can be reached S = bd2/6; Moment of Inertia I

at pag@geigerengineers.com. = bd3/12; b = width, d = depth)

(See Figure 2a).

Keith M. MacBain is a

Another solution would be

Principal of Geiger Engineers

to increase the stiffness of the

and can be reached at

bottom beam. In this scenario,

kmm@geigerengineers.com.

the bottom beam is increased

to a W 14 x 38 to obtain the

stiffness that eliminates the shed-

ding of load to the top beam,

while the top beam size remained

unchanged. Figure 2b shows the

interaction of the two beams.

Note that the second solution

Figure 2a. Impact of top beam size increase. is more economical. In the first

20 June 2017

very limited diaphragm composed of joists that support metal roof

action. Often members in deck. Edge members around the panels

these structures are designed form borders that support the deck on the

based on the contribut- long sides and the joists on the short sides.

ing load and spans without The panels were prefabricated and lifted

regard to the fact that they are onto the cable net. The members along the

interconnected. Thus, load cables are clamped to the cable to prevent

sharing is ignored. However, the panel from sliding and to resist uplift

if the structure is analyzed from wind. The modulus of elasticity (E)

three-dimensionally, which of the cable is 20 x 106 kips per square inch

reflects load sharing among (ksi), and its working strength is 90 ksi, with

the members, it is evident a factor of safety of 2.2. The edge member

that the assumed load allo- that is clamped to the cable is a structural

cation is incorrect and that section with a modulus of elasticity of 29

the ridge member, which x 106 ksi and a working stress 21.7 ksi. If

was properly sized for the the cable and the edge member are rigidly

assumed contributing load, bolted together, the strain compatibility

E

is overloaded. The behavior is must be checked. The cables are pre-ten-

R

Figure 2b. Impact of bottom beam size increase. similar to that demonstrated sioned to 50% of their allowable capacity

in the example above. before placing the panels. The differential

U

scenario, 300 pounds was added to the struc- Again, the reason is that the ridge member strain between preload and maximum load

ht

ture while the steel weight was increased by is stiffer compared

yrig to the valley rafter and for the cable is (0.5 x 90)/(20 x 10 6) = 2.25

T

Cop

only 240 pounds in the second scenario. attracts a greater share of the total load. x 10-6 and for the edge member it is 21.7/

C

However, the beam depth increased from 10 Most engineers would increase the ridge (29 x 106) = .75x10-6. This means that the

inches to 14 inches. The 14-inch deep beam member size, usually its depth, because strain in the cable under full load is 3 times

e

U

was chosen because the moment of inertia this is more effective in resisting moments. greater than the allowable strain in the edge

and stiffness increases significantly without However, what is needed is to modify its

i n member, which would cause failure of the

R z

a large increase in weight. If the depth could stiffness as well as its strength. As shown edge member. The solution was to rigidly

T a

not be more than 10 inches, then the beam in the example above (Figures 2a and 2b), clamp the edge member of a panel to the

g

S

size would have had to become a W10 x 68. the increase in size, specifically the depth, cable at only one location and allow the

A third solution would have been to change

a

increases the section modulus. At the other connections to slide. These additional

the boundary condition of the lower beam,

i.e. restrain the rotation at the support.

So, where do these conditions occur in

m

same time, the moment of inertia is also

increased by a larger factor. Increased stiff-

ness attracts even more load, resulting in

connections were required to resist wind

uplift. The detail for the sliding connection

consisted of a split pipe with a neoprene

practice? They are more widespread than larger moments. liner between the surface of the cable on

one may realize. Investigating the compatibility of stress the inside face of the pipe. The split pipe

A simple example is a wooden roof struc- and strain, an indicator of material stiffness was bolted on the cable using U bolts.

ture to form dormers, frequently used in and cross section, is essential when com- There are a few structural systems where defor-

residential buildings (Figure 3). The ridge bining sections of different stress capacities mations increase their capacity. In catenary

beam is linked to the valley rafters by the and or stress/strain behavior. An example systems, elastic deformations amplify the sag

sloped rafters. The roof sheathing is 2 x 6 is a cable roof clad with prefabricated and, thus, its load carrying capacity. Membrane

tongue and groove decking which provides roof panels (Figure 4). The roof panels are and cable structures often incorporate catenaries.

continued on next page

RIDGE BEAM

SLOPED RAFTER

VALLEY RAFTER

WOOD ROOF

PICTURE 3

Figure 3. An example of load sharing members in a wood roof. Figure 4. Floating roof panels in a cable roof.

3/8"

3/4" THICK COVER

PLATE

3/8"

1"

TOP FLANGE OF W 30 x 132

END

FigureDETAIL OFofCOVERPLATE

5. End detail a cover plate. Figure 6. Wooden scarf joint connections.

the magnitude of load transfer to match the Scarf splices in wood connections (Figure 6)

Connections capacity of the welds or match the welds use the same principal. By tapering the con-

The importance of exploring compatibil- to the stiffness of the cover plate. Here is nected section against each other, a smooth

E

ity in connections cannot be overstated. an example: load transfer is achieved without overstress-

However, detailed free-body analyses of A W30 x 132 beam has a moment of 665 ing the glue line. They are usually used to

R

load transfers in connections are often kip-feet resulting in a bending stress (fb) of extend the length of a member. Failure in

ignored. 21 ksi. A -inch-thick cover plate is to be these connections usually originates at the

U

An example of connection compatibil- welded to the flange ht of the beam. The strain

apex of the tapered joint. If the glue line

yrig

T

ity is the connection of a cover plate that resulting from Copthe stress in the beam flange

fails at this location, the joint peels apart.

reinforces a girder. The end connection of must become the same in the cover plate. The cause is an increase of stress in the

C

a cover plate to the flange of a girder is the The plate is welded to the flange with a remaining glue line.

e

U

critical area because the cover plate strain 3

8-inch fillet weld. The capacity of the weld Another example of how the stiffness of a

has to catch up with the strain in the is 5.6 kips per inch. For welds on both sides

i n component in a connection affects its per-

R

girder flange. of the plate, the load that can be transferred formance can be shown at a simply-bolted

z

T

The load is transferred from the top flange is F = 2 x 5.8 = 11.6 kips per inch. The splice of a wide flange beam. The force in

to the cover plate through welds. The welds a

locally increased area of the cover plate at

g

one beam is transferred to another beam

S

provide a shear connection between the two this location should not exceed A = F/fb; by splice plates.

components. Thus, the shear capacity of a

A = 11. 6/ 21 = .552 square inches. The Plates on each side of the web, on the

the weld is critical for the integrity of the

connection. Using a free body diagram and m

stress of the flange is used here because the

strain in the cover plate must match the

outside of the flanges, and on the under-

side of the flanges are bolted together to

looking at the strain compatibility between one in the flange. The modulus of elastic- form the connection (Figure 7). The con-

the connected area of the cover plate and ity (E) is the same for the flange and the necting bolts are loaded in double shear.

the flange, the weld, as well as the shape cover plate. Thus, the differential increase The plates on the outside of the flanges

of the end of the cover plate, can be deter- of the -inch plate width over 1 inch is differ from those on the underside of the

mined. The flange is under load and, thus, .552/ 0.75 = .736. Both sides of the plate flange. The width of the outside plates can

has deformations. The cover plate needs to edges are tapered in plan. Thus, the taper is be the full width of the flanges. The plates

adapt to this deformation for a safe load 2/.736 or 1: 0.368 or 1 inch: 38-inch (Figure on the underside of each flange are placed

transfer. The limit of how much load can be 5). The magnitude of the total load that is on each side of the web to clear the web

transferred is defined by the capacity of the transferred depends on the width of the plate inand fillet; thus, the combined width of these

welds that connect the plate to the flange. this example. As more and more load is trans- plates is less than that of the top plate. The

The local stiffness of the cover plate section ferred to the plate, the stress level in the beam

full capacity of a bolt in double shear can

dictates how much load is attracted. In the flange is reduced and, theoretically, the slope only be realized if both bolt shear planes

design, one can tailor the shape of the end of the taper could be increased. A more practi- are stressed to their maximum allowable

of the cover plate, thereby manipulating cal solution would be to reduce the weld size. shear stress. This can only happen when

the strain of top flange plate is

A equal to that of the underside.

Consequently, the area of the top

plate must equal the sum of areas

of the under-the-flange plates.

The total width of the under-

the-flange plates is less than that

0.5A of the top plate due to the inter-

ference of the web and fillet. By

increasing the thickness of the

SIDE VIEW under-the-flange plates, the same

area of that of the top plate can

SECTION

be obtained resulting in an equal

TYPICAL

Figure 7. SteelBEAM SPLICE

beam splice. strain in the connection plates.

PICTURE 7

STRUCTURE magazine 22 June 2017

more economical and safer design. There

GLASS & CERAMICS

The Final Word are computer programs that analyze these

The stiffness distribution in a structural relationships and more that can incorpo-

system affects its force flow. By manipu- rate the non-linear behavior of materials.

lating its stiffness, the force and moment However, finite element analyses of connec-

STRESS

HIGH STRENTH WIRE distribution can be rearranged. Components tions often still lead to unrealistic results,

in structures are rarely isolated, even though because these analyses do not reflect the

it is often assumed that they are. Looking plasticity of the materials.

MILD STEEL at the deformations and strain compat- The evaluation of strain compatibility

PLASTIC RANGE

ibility between components, one may get in the design of pure elastic materials is

a better understanding of the force and essential. Without that, the possibility of

moment distributions that may result in a sequential or progressive failure is high.

STRAIN

E

Materials

R

All the above examples are based on materials

with pure elastic behavior. Elastic behavior

U

means that the stress/strain relationship is righ

t

T

y

linear. Most designs assume that the mate- Cop

rials behave linearly, which allows one to

C

readily extrapolate the forces and stresses

e

U

of a structure or connection. It allows the

superposition of load effects. However, most

i n

R

materials exhibit non-linear behavior in

z

T

higher stress ranges. Figure 8 shows the stress-

strain curve for steel, high strength wires, and

g a

S

glass and ceramic materials. Note that mild

steel in the plastic range (yield range) deforms a

but gains very little strength. This results in

a loss of stiffness. Consequently, in the yield m

range, a member can shed load to other stiffer

members in a structure that are less stressed

and whose material have not yet reached the

yield stress. The change in geometry in the

system may cause instability in compression

members that must be examined. Yielding of

the steel, however, is limited by the breaking

strength of the material as well as strain hard-

ening. Strain hardening occurs with cycled

stresses in the yield range and reduces the

ductility of the material.

Fillet welds would not work without

yielding since strain compatibility is rarely

observed between connected sections. Only

in bridge work and when fatigue issues are

a concern is strain compatibility addressed.

The pure elastic behavior of a material

(without any plasticity at any stress level) is

brittle behavior. These materials are unfor-

giving to overloading, and their failure is

without warning. It is for this reason that

factors of safety in the order of 4 to 6 are

applied in the design of glass and stone, and a

factor of safety of 2.2 is applied in the design

of high strength cables with a limited inelastic

range at high stress. These are all in contrast

to mild steel, with a sizable yield range and

a factor of safety of only 1.6.

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