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members

Robert Tremblay

Epicenter Research Group, Department of Civil, Geological, and Mining Engineering, Ecole

Polytechnique, Montreal, PO Box 6079, Station Centre-ville, H3C 3A7, Montreal, Canada

Received 16 July 2001; received in revised form 17 August 2001; accepted 29 November 2001

Abstract

A survey of past experimental studies on the inelastic response of diagonal steel bracing

members subjected to cyclic inelastic loading was carried out to collect data for the seismic

design of concentrically braced steel frames for which a ductile response is required under

earthquakes. The parameters that were examined are the buckling strength of the bracing mem-

bers, the brace post-buckling compressive resistance at various ductility levels, the brace

maximum tensile strength including strain hardening effects, and the lateral deformations of

the braces upon buckling. Equations are proposed for each of these parameters. In addition,

the maximum ductility that can be achieved by rectangular hollow bracing members is exam-

ined. 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Bracing member; Buckling; Concentrically braced steel frame; Ductility; Fracture life; Lateral

deformation; Post-buckling strength; Steel; Strain hardening; Yielding

1. Introduction

Several experimental studies [1-19] have been conducted in the last three decades

to understand the inelastic response of steel bracing members under cyclic loading.

Key parameters that influence the brace behaviour such as their effective slenderness

and the compactness of their cross-section could be identified and modern seismic

design provisions [20-23] now include limits for these parameters to ensure ductile

response under severe earthquakes. The information obtained from the test programs

0143-974X/02/$ - see front matter 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

PII: S 0 1 4 3 - 9 7 4 X ( 0 1 ) 0 0 1 0 4 - 3

666 R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701

has also been used to develop numerical inelastic brace elements that were

implemented in nonlinear dynamic analysis computer programs [24-28]. Several

parametric studies [29-38] could then be performed on typical braced steel frames

to assess their overall seismic behaviour and develop design recommendations to

achieve adequate performance levels.

Building codes now generally require that beams and columns in concentrically

braced steel frames be protected from yielding under the design earthquake in order

to maintain the structural integrity of the gravity carrying system. Beams and col-

umns must then be sized to carry the gravity loads together with the action corre-

sponding to the maximum anticipated brace forces. Similar capacity design pro-

visions also apply to other elements located along the lateral load path of the structure

such as member connections, horizontal diaphragms, collector elements, foundations,

etc. All these elements must remain essentially undamaged while the bracing mem-

bers yield in tension and buckle in compression [39,40].

Realistic estimates of the actual brace axial forces that are likely to develop during

an earthquake must therefore be known and used in design to ensure adequate protec-

tion of beams, columns and other non-ductile elements of the structure. This infor-

mation is also needed when performing nonlinear dynamic analysis with inelastic

brace elements. In current code provisions, it is generally recommended to use the

nominal strength of the braces when assessing the maximum expected compressive

and tensile brace forces. Examination of test results indicate, however, that these

nominal values can be exceeded for typical bracing members, which suggests that

current code requirements may lead to non-conservative design. For several bracing

configurations, a critical loading condition also exists when a compression brace has

buckled and lost part of its capacity. Simplified expressions are suggested in codes

to predict the post-buckling strength of braces to be applied in such cases. More

comprehensive models that account for the brace slenderness and the level of axial

deformation have been developed and validated against test data [41] and empirical

expressions have also been proposed in the literature [42].

In this paper, these essential brace parameters are briefly reviewed in the context

of ductile design of concentrically braced steel frames. The results of test data from

nine experimental studies including 76 specimens are then carefully examined and

design values for the actual buckling strength of steel bracing members, their

maximum expected tensile resistance including strain hardening effects, and their

reduced post-buckling compressive capacity at various ductility levels are rec-

ommended.

Two other aspects of the inelastic seismic brace response were also examined in

this survey: the lateral deformation of braces and the fracture life of bracing members

made of rectangular hollow sections (RHS). Upon buckling, braces typically deform

significantly at their mid-span and this can become a life safety issue when such

deformations develop out-of-plane and cause failure of wall partitions and cladding,

especially in braced frames located along the facade of multi-storey buildings [43].

This problem can be avoided by forcing the braces to buckle in the plane of the

frame or by providing sufficient room to accommodate the anticipated out-of-plane

deformations. Because the most efficient details for brace connections typically lead

R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701 667

to out-of-plane buckling [11,20], the second option will often need to be examined

and an equation is developed in the paper to predict out-of-plane brace deformations

based on test results.

Due to their high efficiency in carrying axial compressive loads, RHS braces have

become increasingly popular for bracing members over the years, event if past

experiments [4,6,44,45] as well as experience in recent earthquakes [46] have shown

that they exhibit limited inelastic deformation capacity under cyclic loading. Early

fracture is due to the high strains that develop when local buckling occurs and

attempts have been made in codes to delay local buckling by imposing stringent

limits on the width-to-thickness ratio of the cross-section elements. Nevertheless,

tests show that fracture of stockier braces can still develop at ductility levels that

are expected for well designed braced frames and an equation is derived in this paper

to relate the ductility level at fracture to the brace slenderness. This relationships

can be used to establish the minimum slenderness ratio or the maximum ductility

of RHS braces.

relies on the capacity of the bracing members to undergo several cycles of inelastic

deformations including stretching in tension and buckling in compression. Fig. 1

shows a typical hysteretic response (P vs plot) of an RHS brace as measured in

a quasi-static test in which the amplitude of the applied deformation was increased

stepwise at every other cycle up to fracture of the brace [1]. Py and y in the figure

correspond respectively to the yield capacity and deformation at yield of the brace.

In this test, the brace was loaded first in tension but also buckled in the first cycle

Fig. 1. Typical brace hysteretic response under symmetrical cyclic loading (specimen S1A from Ref.

[1]).

668 R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701

when the load was reversed. After buckling has occurred, the compressive strength

decreased as a plastic hinge formed near the brace mid-length. Upon load reversal,

elastic recovery took place and the brace was straightened up through inelastic

rotation in the plastic hinge. During the second and subsequent cycles, the compress-

ive resistance degraded significantly due to the Baushinger effect and to residual out-

of-plane deformations from previous cycles. In tension, the brace reached its tensile

yield resistance and developed some strain hardening. At every cycle, the brace also

accumulated permanent elongation and, hence, could only developed its yield resist-

ance after larger axial deformation was imposed in tension. The amount of inelastic

rotation imposed to the hinge at every cycle increased as the brace elongated and

the imposed deformation increased. Eventually, local buckling of the cross section

developed at the hinge location, which induced high localized strains in the steel

material and contributed to reduce further the brace compressive strength. Fracture

took place at the hinge when the brace was stretched in tension after local buckling

has occurred.

The simple braced frame in Fig. 2 is used to illustrate the various brace force

conditions that can develop in frames where lateral loads at every floor and in every

braced bay are resisted by braces acting both in tension and compression. Such load

sharing between tension and compression braces is now required by most building

codes when ductile seismic response is required. In design, braces are usually selec-

ted to meet compressive strength requirements but code limitations on brace slender-

ness and width-to-thickness ratio of cross-section elements or fabrication consider-

ations can also govern the brace size. Under a severe earthquake, nonlinear response

generally initiates when the compression force in one of the braces reaches Cu and

buckling of that brace occurs (Fig. 2a). Brace connections, including gusset plates,

must be able to sustain such maximum brace compression load. Maximum com-

pression force also develops at the base of the column at first buckling of the braces.

Unless the brace compression strength diminishes very rapidly after buckling, the

storey shear and overturning moment attain their peak value when yielding is reached

in the tension brace at a later stage during the earthquake (T=Ty=Py), i.e. when the

brace ductility, =/y, is equal to 1.0 (Fig. 2c). Beyond that point, the force in the

tension brace remains nearly constant while the compression brace loses its strength

and the storey shear typically reduces, even if some strain hardening develops in the

tension brace. The maximum value of the storey shear resistance is critical for

elements like roof diaphragms or for sliding and overturning of the foundations (Fig.

2c). Due to initial defects such as residual stresses and out-of-straightness in bracing

members and connection elements, the peak storey shear in actual frames is likely to

develop slightly after a drift level corresponding to =1.0 is reached. For simplicity,

however, this point is still referred to herein as =1.0 and the compression force in

the brace at that point is defined as Cu1, as shown Fig. 3a. These imperfection effects

have been accounted for when assessing Cu1 in the tests, as will be discussed later.

The peak brace ductility demand in well proportioned symmetrical tensioncom-

pression systems typically varies between 2 and 3 but values up to 46 have been

observed in special cases [29,30,32,33,34,37,38]. Under such large inelastic defor-

mation levels, strain hardening may develop in the tension braces, resulting in larger

R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701 669

for uplift, as shown in Fig. 2d (in this figure and in Fig. 3a, it is assumed that Tmax

is reached at a ductility of 3.0). At the same time, the post-buckling capacity of the

compression brace has reduced significantly (Cu3 in the figures), resulting in a criti-

cal loading case for the interior column which must carry its tributary gravity load

together with the difference between the vertical components of the tension and

compression brace forces.

Similar scenarios can be easily developed for other tensioncompression bracing

configurations such as X-bracing or chevron bracing as well as for multi-storey

frames. Chevron bracing may behave somewhat differently, however, under large

deformations. After buckling of the compression braces, the beams are pulled down-

670 R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701

ward due to the combined action of the gravity loading and the tension acting braces,

as shown in Fig. 4. Unless the beams are designed to carry this net vertical load

together with the axial loads that develop from the braces, a plastic hinge eventually

forms at mid-span of the beams before the tension braces reach their yield tensile

capacity. Upon load reversal, the behaviour is mirrored and the beams are pulled

further downward by the previously buckled braces now acting in tension. This

behaviour leads to much higher level of brace ductility demand in compression,

typically in the range of 1020, with no or limited ductility demand in tension

[27,30,33,35,36], as shown in Fig. 3(b).

3. Test programs

A total of 76 tests from 9 experimental programs were selected in this study. For

each brace specimen, Table 1 gives the test program, the test number, the member

shape, the type of specimen, the orientation of the cross section with respect to the

plane of the frame, the plane of buckling, the cross-section area, Ag, the yield strength

of the steel, Fy, the normalized width-to-thickness ratio of the cross-section, the clear

R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701

Table 1

Characteristics of the specimens

Study1 Test no. Shape2 Type3 Axis4 Buckling5 Steel Ag Fy (b0/t)/ LB LH y Displacement

(mm2) (MPa) (b0/t)lim 6(mm) 6

(mm) (mm) (mm) History7

1 S1A RHS 127764.8 1 X Out G40.21-350W 1790 353 0.67 4007 4610 1.312 7.922 1-T

S1B RHS 127764.8 1 X Out G40.21-350W 1790 353 0.67 4007 4610 10312 7.922 1-C

S2A RHS 102764.8 1 X Out G40.21-350W 1550 346 0.67 4089 4611 10502 7.798 1-T

S2B RHS 102764.8 1 X Out G40.21-350W 1550 346 0.67 4089 4611 10506 7.798 1-C

S3A RHS 76764.8 1 Out G40.21-350W 1310 332 0.67 4179 4619 2.014 8.126 1-T

S3B RHS 76764.8 1 Out G40.21-350W 1310 332 0.67 4179 4619 1.99 8.126 1-C

S4A RHS 127644.8 1 X Out G40.21-350W 1670 346 0.53 4049 4611 1.366 7.802 1-T

S4B RHS 127644.8 1 X Out G40.21-350W 1670 346 0.53 4049 4611 1.365 7.802 1-C

S5A RHS 102766.4 1 X Out G40.21-350W 1990 388 0.67 4089 4614 1.644 8.622 1-T

S5B RHS 102766.4 1 X Out G40.21-350W 1990 388 0.67 4089 4614 1.658 8.622 1-C

S1QA RHS 127764.8 1 X Out G40.21-350W 1790 353 0.67 4009 4610 1.314 7.926 2-T

S1QB RHS 127764.8 1 X Out G40.21-350W 1790 353 0.67 4009 4610 1.319 7.926 2-C

S4QA RHS 127644.8 1 X Out G40.21-350W 1670 346 0.53 4049 4611 1.36 7.521 2-T

S4QB RHS 127644.8 1 X Out G40.21-350W 1670 346 0.53 4049 4611 1.338 7.521 2-C

(continued on next page)

671

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R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701

Table 1 (continued)

Study1 Test no. Shape2 Type3 Axis4 Buckling5 Steel Ag Fy (b0/t)/ LB LH y Displacement

(mm2) (MPa) (b0/t)lim 6(mm) 6

(mm) (mm) (mm) History7

2 1 W821 4 X In A36 3974 288.4 0.71 3340 3810 1.439 4.816 3-C

2 W625 4 X In A36 4735 277.9 0.73 1085 1555 0.478 1.508 4-C

3 W620 4 X In A36 3787 276.2 0.9 2599 3069 0.953 3.589 4-C

4 W620 4 X In A36 3787 276.2 0.9 2599 3069 0.953 3.589 4-C

5 W620 4 X In A36 3787 276.2 0.9 2599 3069 0.953 3.589 3-T

6 W616 4 X In A36 3058 305.8 0.54 2477 2947 1.497 3.788 3-C

7 W615.5 4 X In A36 2858 348.6 1.25 1014 1484 0.532 1.767 3-T

8 2-L63.50.375 4 X In A36 4413 281.1 1.01 2356 2825 1.13 3.311 3-C

9 2-L53.50.375 4 X In A36 3929 300.4 1.01 1014 1484 0.803 1.523 3-C

10 2-L43.50.375 4 Y In A36 3445 305.9 1.16 3340 3810 1.482 5.109 3-C

11 2-C811.5 4 X In A36 4361 268.5 0.63 2526 2996 1.398 3.391 3-C

12 WT522.5 4 Y In A36 4290 261.1 1.57 2069 2538 0.927 2.701 3-C

13 WT822.5 4 X In A36 4290 284.7 0.68 2721 3191 1.03 3.873 3-T

14 Pipe 4.50.237 4 In A53, gr. B 2045 354.8 0.51 2599 3069 1.073 4.611 4-C

15 Pipe 4.50.237 4 In A53, gr. B 2045 354.8 0.51 2599 3069 1.073 4.611 3-C

16 Pipe 4.50.337 4 In A53, gr. B 2845 192.9 0.36 2538 3008 0.791 2.448 3-C

17 RHS 440.250 4 In A501 2316 393.4 0.57 2578 3048 1.122 5.071 5-C

18 RHS 440.500 4 In A501 4103 565 0.19 2295 2765 1.322 6.483 6-C

(Continued)

R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701

Table 1 (continued)

Study1 Test no. Shape2 Type3 Axis4 Buckling5 Steel Ag Fy (b0/t)/ LB LH y Displacement

(mm2) (MPa) (b0/t)lim 6(mm) 6

(mm) (mm) (mm) History7

19 W620 5 X In A36 3787 276.2 0.9 1957 1804 0.476 2.702 4-C

20 2-L63.50.375 5 X In A36 4413 281.1 1.01 3801 3614 1.13 5.343 4-C

21 Pipe 4.50.375 5 In A53, gr. B 2845 192.6 0.36 1957 1843 0.43 1.888 4-C

22 RHS 440.500 5 In A501 4103 565 0.19 3712 3610 1.321 10.486 6-C

23 W516 5 X In A36 3019 291 0.75 3423 3296 0.963 4.98 4-C

24 Pipe 4.00.226 5 In A53, gr. B 1729 338.3 0.48 3654 3552 1.047 6.181 4-C

3 WW1 W1015 3 X In A36 2845 310 0.8 3600 3397 1.097 5.58 7-T

WW3 W515.5 3 X In A36 2941 289 0.75 3600 3346 0.631 5.202 7-T

WW4 W815 3 X In A36 2865 289 0.69 3600 3396 0.979 5.202 7-T

WW5 W69 3 X In A36 1729 330.7 1.01 3600 3397 1.013 5.953 7-T

WW6 W620 3 X In A36 3787 310.1 0.9 3600 3294 0.592 5.582 7-T

TW2 RHS 530.250 3 X In A500, gr. B 2316 379 0.86 3600 3448 0.825 6.822 7-T

TW3 RHS 420.250 3 X In A500, gr. B 1671 413.4 0.65 3600 3498 1.332 7.441 7-T

TW4 RHS 750.250 3 X In A500, gr. B 3606 441 1.29 3600 3346 0.527 7.938 7-T

TW6 RHS 630.188 3 X In A500, gr. B 2026 427.2 1.51 3600 3448 0.841 7.69 7-T

4 1 RHS 550.188 2 Out A500, gr. B 2271 425.8 1.22 2946 3429 0.864 6.272 7-C

2 RHS 550.188 2 Out A500, gr. B 2271 429.9 1.22 3200 3429 0.511 6.878 7-C

4 RHS 440.125 2 Out A500, gr. B 1226 399.6 1.51 3200 3429 0.612 6.394 7-C

5 RHS 440.250 2 Out A500, gr. B 2316 509.9 0.65 3099 3454 1.23 7.901 8-C

(Continued)

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R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701

Table 1 (continued)

(mm2) (MPa) (b0/t)lim 6(mm) 6

(mm) (mm) (mm) History7

6 RHS 440.250 2 Out A500, gr. B 2316 509.9 0.65 3299 3480 0.729 8.411 8-C

7 RHS 440.250 2 Out A500, gr. B 2316 509.9 0.65 3299 3480 0.729 8.411 8-C

5 1 150 UC 30.0 4 X In AS3679.1-300 3945 311.2 0.98 2416 2056 1.005 3.76 9-T

2 150 UC 30.0 4 X In AS3679.1-300 3945 311.2 0.98 1652 2292 0.753 2.571 9-C

3 150 UC 30.0 6 X In AS3679.1-300 3945 311.2 0.98 3056 2756 0.453 4.756 9-T

6 T633H RHS 630.188 2 X In A500, gr. B 2026 372.1 1.51 3023 2871 0.663 5.624 7-T

T424H RHS 420.250 2 X In A500, gr. B 1671 372.1 0.65 3150 3048 1.102 5.861 7-T

T422H RHS 420.125 2 X In A500, gr. B 903 372.1 1.51 3150 3048 1.057 5.861 7-T

7 1B RHS 1271278.0 7 Out G40.21-350W 3620 421 0.68 3350 3401 0.788 7.052 10-C

2A RHS 1521528.0 7 Out G40.21-350W 4430 442 0.86 3950 3995 0.797 8.73 10-C

2B RHS 1521529.5 7 Out G40.21-350W 5210 442 0.68 3950 3989 0.785 8.73 10-C

3A RHS 1271276.4 7 Out G40.21-350W 2960 461 0.91 4350 4403 0.991 10.027 10-C

3B RHS 1271278.0 7 Out G40.21-350W 3620 421 0.68 4350 4398 0.96 9.157 10-C

3C RHS 271279.5 7 Out G40.21-350W 4240 461 0.53 4350 4382 0.941 10.027 10-C

(Continued)

R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701

Table 1 (continued)

(mm2) (MPa) (b0/t)lim 6(mm) 6

(mm) (mm) (mm) History7

4A RHS 1521528.0 7 Out G40.21-350W 4430 442 0.86 4850 4897 0.95 10.719 10-C

4B RHS 1521529.5 7 Out G40.21-350W 5210 442 0.68 4850 4882 0.894 10.719 10-C

8 SIC1 H-505066 3 X In SS-41 851 289 0.44 984.7 885 0.479 1.423 11-C

SIC2 H-505066 3 X In SS-41 837 289 0.45 1970 1870 0.957 2.847 11-C

SIC3 H-505066 3 X In SS-41 819 257 0.45 2972 2872 1.38 3.819 11-C

SOC1 H-505066 3 Y In SS-41 839 289 0.44 989.3 889 0.31 1.43 11-C

SOC1 H-505066 3 Y Out SS-41 839 289 0.44 989.3 889 0.486 1.43 11-C

SOC2 H-505066 3 Y Out SS-41 843 289 0.44 1970 1870 0.953 2.847 11-C

SOC3 H-505066 3 Y Out SS-41 824 257 0.44 2968 2868 1.375 3.814 11-C

9 RHS1 RHS 1501006 4 X In AS1163-C350 2730 449 1.35 2064 2704 1.207 4.634 12-T

RHS2 RHS 1501006 4 X In AS1163-C350 2730 449 1.35 1388 2028 0.905 3.116 12-T

RHS3 RHS 1501006 6 X In AS1163-C350 2730 449 1.35 2704 2504 0.603 6.07 12-T

1

The number points to the reference in which the test program is described.

2

SI designation except for studies 2, 3, 4, and 6 for which imperial designation is used.

3

The number refers to the geometry no. shown in Fig. 5(a).

4

The axis refers to which of the X and Y-axis in Fig. 5(b) lies in the plane of the drawings in Fig. 5(a).

5

Plane of buckling: In (Out)=in (out) the plane of the drawings in Fig. 4(a).

6

Defined in Fig. 5(a).

7

The number refers to the loading history no. in Fig. 6: C (T)=starts in compression (tension).

675

676 R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701

length of the braces (between the gusset plates), LB, the length between the hinge

points, LH, the slenderness parameter, , the yield axial deformation, y, and the

applied loading history. The number associated to the test program corresponds to

the Ref. No. in which the program is described. The selected studies included tests

on realistic, nearly full-scale, bracing members made of various cross-sections: rec-

tangular hollow sections (RHS), pipes, I-sections (W, UC, and H), T-sections (WT),

back-to-back angles (2-L), and back-to-back channels (2-C). The dimensions of the

cross sections varied from 50 to 250 mm and the tensile yield strength, AgFy ranged

from 210 to 2318 kN.

In Fig. 5, the geometry of the brace specimens is schematically illustrated and the

X and Y reference axes of the cross-sections are defined. The plane of buckling in

Table 1 indicates if brace buckling developed in or out of the plane of the brace

assemblies shown in Fig. 5(a). For instance, Specimen S1A in Test program 1

buckled out-of-plane about its Y-axis while all W shapes in Test program 2 buckled

in-plane about their Y-axis. End conditions varied from perfectly fixed to perfectly

pinned. Several specimens were also designed to buckle out-of-plane with a single

gusset plate detailed to allow restraint-free plastic rotations, as recommended in Refs.

[11] and [20] (Types 1, 2, and 7 in Fig. 5). The brace effective slenderness ratio,

KL/r, was evaluated in the plane of buckling, taking into account the applicable end

conditions. As shown in Table 1, the brace length of the specimens, LB, ranged

between 985 and 4850 mm and the slenderness parameter, , as defined in [1], varied

from 0.31 to 2.01.

R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701 677

E

KL Fy

2

(1)

r

For double angle and tee sections which buckled about their Y-axis, the equivalent

slenderness ratio associated to flexural-torsional buckling was considered instead of

the pure flexural slenderness. In Test program 8, specimen SOC1 buckled in-plane

(about strong axis) although out-of-plane buckling was expected based on relative

slenderness ratios. In the 7th cycle of loading, in the second cycle at a ductility of

approximately 7, buckling eventually developed about the weak axis. As shown in

678 R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701

Table 1, two values of the slenderness parameter were therefore used for this speci-

men: about the strong axis up to the 6th cycle and about the weak axis for the

subsequent cycles.

The width-to-thickness ratios given in Table 1 were calculated for the element of

the cross-sections located on the concave side of the bracing member upon buckling.

For RHS, b0 is equal to the cross-section dimension minus four times the wall thick-

ness. It corresponds to half the full-flange width for flanges of I-sections and tees,

to the full nominal dimension for the legs of angles and the flanges of channels, and

to the full nominal depth for the stems of T-sections buckling about their X-axis.

For pipes, b0 is equal to the outside diameter of the cross-section. The computed

values of b0/t were then normalized to the limits specified in the CSA-S16.1 Canadian

Standard for steel structures [21] for braces in frames of the Ductile Braced Frame

category located in active seismic zones. Flanges of I- or Tee-shapes, angles, and

channels as well as the stems of Tee-shapes must meet the limit for flanges of Class

1 I-sections: 145/Fy. Pipes must also be Class 1 sections with D/t13000/Fy. For

walls of RHS, the limit is 330/Fy, which corresponds to 80% of the limit for Class

1 sections. In Table 1, these limits were based on the nominal yield strength.

As indicated in Table 1, most braces have a normalized width-to-thickness ratio

less than 1.0 and hence comply with the CSA-S16.1 requirements for Ductile Braced

Frames. In the paper, such braces are referred to as Class 1 (even if RHS braces are

stockier than Class 1). The other braces are designated as Non Class 1. For the latter,

the normalized b0/t varies from 1.16 to 1.51. It is worth noting that AISC [20]

imposes slightly different limits: 170/Fy vs 145/Fy for flanges of I-sections, tees

and channels, 136/Fy vs 145/Fy for legs of angles, 8960/Fy vs 13000/Fy for round

pipes, and 289/Fy vs 330/Fy for RHS.

In Table 1, the hinge length of the braces, LH, is equal to the distance between

the points where hinges were observed in the tests. At fixed ends, the plastic hinge

was assumed to be located at a distance from the brace end equal to one times the

cross section dimension measured in the plane of buckling. This length LH is used

later when evaluating the brace lateral deformations. The axial deformation y was

taken as equal to the clear length of the brace, LB, multiplied by the yield strain of

the brace, y=Fy/E, with E=200,000 MPa. Since yielding of the braces only developed

over the length LB, this deformation was deemed to represent the best reference for

evaluating the ductility demand in the braces.

This survey represented an opportunity to compare the nominal and actual yield

properties of various brace materials. Such comparison can then be used in combi-

nation with other statistical data [47] to establish values of the expected yield strength

of braces for design purposes. It must be kept in mind, however, that this survey

covers a wide range of fabrication processes in different countries and spans over a

period of 25 years. Therefore, the values may not be applicable to all situations.

The nominal yield strength for the various grades of steel/shapes examined in the

study is given in Table 2. Rolled shapes were made of steel complying to ASTM

R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701 679

Table 2

Material yield strength

Fy/Fy,nom

(MPa)

AS3679.1, gr. 300 300 1 1.04 1.04 1.04

Welded H SS-41 235 2 1.09 1.23 1.16 0.08

RHS ASTM A501 248 2 1.59 2.28 1.93 0.25

ASTM A500, gr. B 317 11 1.17 1.61 1.3 0.1

CSA-G40.21-350W 350 13 1.06 1.32 1.19 0.08

AS1163, gr. C350 350 1 1.28 1.28 1.28

Pipes ASTM A53, gr. B 241 3 0.8 1.47 1.23 0.3

All 50 0.8 2.28 1.24 0.16

A36 and AS3679.1, Grade 300. Tests in Japan were conducted on welded H shapes

made of SS-41 steel plates. These shapes were annealed before testing. Steel tubes

were made of ASTM A501 steel (hot formed), ASTM A500, grade B steel (cold

formed), CSA-G40.21-350W (cold formed), and AS1163, grade C350 (cold formed).

The pipes conformed to ASTM A53 Type E, grade B.

Table 2 also gives the statistics of the ratio of the measured to the nominal yield

strength values for each material. The yield strength of the RHS braces in Test

program 1 was obtained using the 0.2% offset method from stub-column testing of

bracing member samples. For I-shaped members, tees, angles, and C-shapes of Test

programs 2 and 5, a weighted average of test results on coupons from the web and

the flanges was used. As opposed to what was observed for the tubular sections, the

steel in all these members exhibited a very well defined yield plateau. The yield

strength of RHS and pipes in Test programs 2, 4, 6, 7, and 9 corresponds to the

0.2% offset yield as measured from tests on coupons. In Test program 3, an average

yield strength was determined from initial tensioning of the bracing members while

material properties in Test program 8 were measured from coupon testing from the

virgin plates. As shown, the average measured yield strength exceeded the nominal

value in all cases. Only 4.50.237 pipes in Test program 2 had a yield strength lower

than the specified value.

The displacement histories used in the test programs are illustrated in Fig. 6. The

loading patterns shown must be seen as representative examples only as the actual

history could vary slightly from one specimen to another within a given group. All

tests were of the cyclic quasi-static type. In most cases, the displacement pattern

was symmetrical, or nearly symmetrical, with the amplitude of the excursions in

tension and compression increasing stepwise at every cycle or every second cycle.

680 R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701

Pattern H2 was based on time histories of brace axial deformations obtained from

nonlinear dynamic analyses of building structures with X-bracing. Loading protocols

H7 to H9 were developed to reproduce the demand on bracing members in chevron

bracing with weak beams, i.e. with large ductility in compression and limited duc-

tility demand in tension (see Fig. 3). Pattern H8 was adopted from analysis results.

In Table 1, the letter T is used only when the brace was loaded in tension up to

or near yielding in the first cycle. The effects of earthquakes on building structures

can vary significantly depending on structural properties and ground motion charac-

teristics and such a large collection of loading protocols combined to the broad range

of brace specimens (shapes, length, end conditions, material, etc.) permitted to cap-

ture up to a certain extent the broad range of anticipated seismic response.

For all RHS members in Test programs 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 9, local buckling

developed in the plastic hinges, followed by the fracture of the members. In Test

program 2, local buckling developed in all members except for the thick wall pipes

(4.50.337), but no fracture was observed. I-sections in Test program 3 experienced

local buckling and eventually fractured. Local buckling was observed in all three I-

sections in Test programs 5 and in two specimens in Test program 8, but fracture

of the members is not reported.

4. Test results

In all tests, the maximum brace compressive strength was reached at first occur-

rence of buckling of the bracing members. Lateral deformation and plastic hinging

formed when further negative deformation was applied, resulting in a loss in com-

pression strength. Fig. 7(a) gives the applied load at first buckling for all brace speci-

mens, as normalized with respect to their plastic strength, AgFy. In the figure, a

distinction is made between the braces which were loaded first in compression and

those which were stretched in tension up to, or beyond, yielding before being loaded

in compression. Test specimens for which the CSA width-to-thickness ratio limits

for Ductile Braced Frames (Class 1) were not met are also identified in the figure.

The plasticelastic curve as well as design column curves are also given in the

figure for comparison purposes. The SSRC [48] column strength curve 1 was used

for the stress-relieved bisymmetrical sections examined in Test program 8 whereas

SSRC curve 2 was selected for all other bracing members. In this study, the simpli-

fied expression [49] given by Eq. (2) for both SSRC column curves, as used in the

1994 Canadian Standard [21], has been retained:

AgFy

Cu (2)

(1 2n)1/n

where n=2.24 and 1.34 for curves 1 and 2, respectively. In Fig. 7(a), the axial com-

pressive strength Pn as specified in the LRFD 1999 specifications [50] is also shown

for reference:

R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701 681

Fig. 7. Compressive strength at first buckling, Cu: (a) measured values; (b) ratio of the measured to

predicted values.

2

Pn AgFy(0.658 ), for l1.5 (3)

Pn AgFy

0.877

2

,for l 1.5 (4)

Fig. 7(b) gives the ratio of the measured compressive strength to the value pre-

dicted by Eq. (2) and the statistics of that ratio are presented in Table 3. As shown,

the SSRC column curves are generally conservative, with a mean test-to-predicted

ratio of 1.16. If the AISC design curve was used, the ratio would have been slightly

lower (mean=1.09, COV=0.16). In both cases, the difference is more pronounced

for intermediate brace slenderness, say greater than 0.8. Such higher compressive

resistance can be attributed to imperfection and residual stress conditions that are

less critical for the specimens than those considered in establishing the column curves

but this could not be verified as the data was not available for all bracing members.

From Table 3, it can be seen that no definite trend exists as to the influence of the

loading sequence or the compactness of the cross-section. For the former, pre-ten-

682 R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701

Table 3

Compressive strength, Cu

Cu / Cu, S16.1

Non Class 1 8 1.01 1.53 1.21 0.15

Tension Class 1 18 0.89 1.74 1.19 0.19

Non Class 1 9 0.88 1.42 1.07 0.16

All 76 0.81 1.74 1.16 0.17

sioning the braces most likely reduced both the residual stresses and the member

crookedness but the resulting potentially beneficial impact on the buckling strength

was apparently offset by the Baushinger effect on the steel material, i.e. a lowering

of the elastic modulus upon reloading after previous yielding.

These results suggest that non-ductile elements in frames will be adequately pro-

tected only if a capacity higher than the predicted nominal compressive strength is

assigned to the braces in capacity design check. When determining the required

amplification factor to be applied to Cu, one must also consider that the brace slender-

ness and Cu were determined in this study with the actual brace length and end

conditions. In day-to-day practice, Cu is most often determined by taking KL equal

to the o/c dimension of the bracing members. While this approach introduces some

conservatism for the braces themselves, ignorance of actual brace end conditions lies

on the unsafe side in capacity design check.

4.2. Force in the compression braces upon yielding of the tension braces

when the sum of the horizontal components of the compression and tension braces

reaches its maximum value. Because the brace compression strength degrades with

axial deformation and the number of cycles, the most severe condition typically

develops when the tension brace yields just after the compression brace has buckled.

As both braces will eventually yield in tension and buckle during an earthquake, the

condition where a previously buckled brace yields in tension while the opposite brace

buckles for the first time must also be examined. In either case, the force in the

tension brace can be taken as AgFy as these conditions occur at small deformation,

prior to any significant strain hardening, and the compression brace can be assumed

as carrying a load Cu1 still equal to Cu, i.e. neglecting the loss in brace compressive

strength. The latter assumption is validated in this section using the available test

data.

In tests where brace specimens were loaded first in tension, it was observed that

yielding developed at a brace elongation typically larger than y. This is attributed

to elastic deformations taking place outside of the brace length LB, as in the gusset

R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701 683

plates or other brace attachment parts, and to other effects such as a the steel material

not exhibiting a sharp yield plateau, residual stresses, and initial member out-of-

straightness. Therefore, a deformation at first yield, 1, had to be defined first in

order to evaluate the compressive strength at that deformation. As shown in Fig. 8,

the deformation where the projection of the linear portion of the axial loaddefor-

mation response of the braces reaches the force AgFy was selected for that purpose.

Using such a deformation gives a conservative value of Cu1 as 1 does not include

residual stress nor progressive yielding effects. Among all specimens, the ratio 1/y

varied from 1.0 to 1.35 with a mean value of 1.08. Fig. 8(a) and (b) illustrate the

determination of Cu1 for brace specimens which were first loaded in compression

and tension, respectively. The second case corresponds to the condition where a

previously yielded brace buckles for the first time. In this case, the deformation 1

is measured from the point where the load deformation curve crosses the deformation

axis before buckling. For both cases, the value of Cu1 was set equal to Cu when

buckling had not occurred yet at 1. This situation is illustrated in Fig. 8(b). Using

Cu in such a case is realistic as the force in the compression brace will eventually

reach that level while the opposite tension brace will be yielding.

Fig. 9 gives the measured values of Cu1 as well as the ratio Cu1/Cu for the 76

brace specimens. The results are divided into two groups depending upon the direc-

tion of loading in the first half-cycle. The results show that the full strength of the

compression brace should be combined to the yield capacity of the tension brace for

less than 1.0. As the brace slenderness is increased, buckling occurs at a smaller

deformation and yielding develops in the tension brace after the compression brace

has experienced some degradation in strength (Cu1Cu). This reduction seems to

be less pronounced for braces that have been stretched in tension prior to buckling.

This is mainly due to the Baushinger effect: after being loaded in tension, braces

generally buckle at a larger deformation as the loaddeformation response exhibits

Fig. 8. Determination of the compressive strength Cu1 for braces loaded first in: (a) compression; (b)

tension.

684 R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701

Fig. 9. Measured compressive strength Cu1: (a) measured values; (b) ratio of the measured values to

the compressive strength Cu.

a more gradual transition between the elastic response and buckling stages. For these

braces, a value of Cu1=0.8 Cu could be used in design when 1.0. Lower values

were measured for the braces that were first loaded in compression. However, such

values are not recommended in design as the most critical case (braces that buckle

after having been yielded in tension) must be considered.

The braces developed their yield tensile resistance, AgFy, in most of the tests and

strain hardening was observed in several cases. Examination of the various hysteresis

curves also revealed that the maximum load reached in tension depends on the

applied loading history. For instance, Figs. 1 and 10 show hysteresis curves obtained

with identical brace specimens subjected to three different loading patterns. In Fig.

1, the brace was subjected to symmetrical cyclic loading with the amplitude of defor-

mation increasing stepwise in successive increments at every second cycle (H1 in

Fig. 6). An unsymmetrical loading history (H2 in Fig. 6) was applied in the speci-

mens of Fig. 10, with the first excursion being in tension in Fig. 10(a) and in com-

pression in Fig. 10(b). The figures show that the peak tension force generally

R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701 685

Fig. 10. Typical brace hysteretic response under unsymmetrical cyclic loading (specimens S1QA and

S1QB from Ref. 1).

decreases in the second and subsequent cycles of a series of cycles having the same

displacement amplitude. This is due to the permanent elongation of the brace that

results from the stretching of the brace and from the net inelastic tension straining

that develops in the plastic hinge(s) upon straightening of the brace after buckling.

The latter contribution becomes generally more important as the amplitude of the

imposed displacements is increased and it influences the tension force reached in

the first cycle after the displacement amplitude has been increased, as shown in

Fig. 1.

Hence, higher tension forces are expected if large inelastic excursions are imposed

early in the loading history, as this is the case in Fig. 10. Under such a loading

history, the tension force continually increases with the deformation as strain harden-

ing gradually develops in the steel material. The eventuality of such large defor-

mations should be considered in design and it would have been desirable to propose

a set of maximum tension forces for various ductility levels. The designer could

have then selected the peak tension force associated to the anticipated ductility level

for his structure. In the test data base, however, the displacement history applied

prior to reaching the peak tension force at a given ductility level varied significantly

from one specimen to another. In many cases, that point was preceded by several

load cycles and a higher force would have likely been reached had fewer cycles

been imposed. In view of this, a simplified approach was used to obtain a design

value for the maximum expected brace tension load: only one tension load was

selected, regardless of the ductility level, and that load was taken as the maximum

value measured upon yielding up to a cumulative plastic deformation in tension of

3.0 times y. This approximately corresponds to a ductility of 4.0 under monotonic

loading, which can be seen as a maximum in typical tensioncompression bracing

systems. Therefore, the approach may be on the conservative side if lower tension

ductility is expected in design, as in chevron bracing with weak beams. However,

it must be reminded that higher tension loads might have developed in some speci-

mens had a more critical loading history been applied.

Out of the 76 brace specimens, strain hardening was observed in 26 HSS and pipe

686 R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701

sections and 24 hot rolled shapes (W, tees, and angles). These two categories of

sections were examined independently because of the differences in material proper-

ties. For the tubular sections, Tmax/AgFy varied from 1.01 to 1.27 AgFy, with a mean

value of 1.10 and a COV of 0.06. For the hot rolled shapes, strain hardening ranged

between 1.01 and 1.13 with a mean value of 1.05 and a COV of 0.04. The higher

values exhibited by tubular shapes can be attributed to the effects of cold-forming

on steel: yield plateau not well defined with a higher tensile strength that develops

at a lower strain level.

In all tests, the compressive resistance of the braces decreased upon applying

larger compression deformations or during the second and subsequent cycles at a

given displacement amplitude. After buckling has occurred, shortening of the braces

essentially develops through plastic rotation in the hinge(s) and lateral deformations.

As the lateral deformation increases upon shortening of the braces, a lower axial

load is required to induce further rotation in the hinge(s) and further deformation in

the negative direction. The cumulated elongation of a brace under cyclic loading

also contributes in reducing its compressive strength because a longer brace exhibits

larger lateral deformations at a given compression displacement.

In design, the minimum compression load that a brace will carry at the anticipated

peak ductility level can represent a critical loading condition. In bracing systems for

which a similar level of peak ductility is expected both in tension and compression,

this condition is met when the anticipated compression ductility is reached after a

similar ductility has been attained in tension. Such a brace has been elongated in

tension and, therefore, has larger lateral deformation and lower strength when loaded

subsequently in compression. This situation was reproduced in most of the tests with

symmetrical loading patterns. For these tests, it was thus decided to select the brace

load when the target compression ductility level was reached for the first time after

the brace had experienced the same ductility level in tension, as shown in Fig. 3(a).

Three ductility levels were selected: =/y=2, 3, and 5, to which correspond respect-

ively the loads Cu2, Cu3, and Cu5. This covered the range of deformations antici-

pated for typical symmetrical tensioncompression bracing configurations.

This approach appeared too rigorous, however, when considering the high varia-

bility in the seismic response of buildings and the difficulty to predict such a response

with accuracy. In addition, the tension ductility levels imposed in several tests did

not match exactly the target ductility levels for which Cu was to be determined

(=2, 3, and 5). In view of this and recognizing that a lower bound estimate of the

compression resistance was required, Cu was taken as the brace load that was meas-

ured at the target ductility in compression, after a ductility in tension equal to or

exceeding by up to 0.5 unit the target ductility had been attained. The force Cu was

limited, however, to the load at the target ductility in compression, as recorded after

a compression ductility equal to or exceeding by up to 0.5 unit has been reached in

a previous cycle. That limit governed when the displacement history included larger

deformations in compression. It was also used in the tests with unsymmetrical load-

R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701 687

ing as the ductility demand in a given cycle in these tests was typically higher in

compression than in tension. In general, the compression resistance for a given duc-

tility level was larger when the displacement history deviated significantly from sym-

metry. These results were therefore kept apart when the ductility in tension imposed

before attaining Cu was lower than the target ductility by 1.0 unit or more.

Figs. 1113 present respectively the measured values of Cu2, Cu3, and Cu5. A

distinction is made between the symmetrical and unsymmetrical loading patterns, as

just defined, and between the shapes that met the width-to-thickness ratio limits for

the CSA Ductile Braced Frame category and those which did not meet those limits

(Class 1 vs Non Class 1). The CSA column strength curve with n=1.34 is also

illustrated in the figures for reference. As shown, braces with intermediate slender-

ness ( varying from 0.5 to 1.5) exhibit the largest compressive strength degradation

and, as expected, braces subjected to an unsymmetrical loading history generally

maintained a higher residual resistance. Non Class 1 shapes typically developed a

lower compression strength under large deformations (Figs. 12 and 13 vs Fig. 11).

688 R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701

The effects of b/t also appears to be more pronounced for less slender braces. Short

braces with higher width-to-thickness ratio likely experienced more severe local

buckling at large deformation, which resulted in a larger reduction in the flexural

capacity at the plastic hinge and, thereby, in a more significant larger loss in com-

pression strength.

The value of Cu for the three ductility levels can be expressed with the nonlinear

regression equation:

Cu AgFy(a bc)Cu (5)

where a, b, and c are obtained with the program Sigma Plot 4.0 using the data points

from tests on Class 1 brace specimens subjected to symmetrical loading. Only Class

1 shapes were considered as these sections are more likely to be used in seismic

applications. Table 4 gives for each ductility level the number of data points con-

sidered, the values of the parameters a, b, and c for the mean-value function, and

the conditional standard deviation assuming the variance is constant within the range

of the test data. Eq. (5) is plotted in Figs. 11 to 13 (Cu mean) for the three levels

of ductility. The mean functions minus the standard deviations are also shown on

the figures. The standard deviation reduces as the deformation level is increased,

which reflects the lower scatter observed for higher ductility.

Table 4

Nonlinear regression of the post-buckling compression resistance of the braces

Ductility n a b c Conditional

standard

deviation

3 37 0.084 0.12 1.61 0.060

5 42 0.095 0.046 2.22 0.036

R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701 689

In design, Cu at any ductility level between 2.0 and 5.0 can be obtained by linear

interpolation between the values obtained with Eq. (5) and the appropriate para-

meters. For compression ductility slightly exceeding 5.0 under symmetrical defor-

mation histories, the value of Cu5 is still applicable as test results showed that the

compression strength becomes nearly constant beyond that deformation level. In

chevron braced frames with weak beams, braces can experience much higher duc-

tility demand in compression (1015) with no or limited yielding in tension. The

resistance Cu5 from tests with symmetrical displacement history is considered appro-

priate for such frames because the brace lateral deformation at a ductility of 5 under

a symmetrical loading approximately corresponds to that of brace loaded only in

compression up to a ductility of 10. Beyond that level, the reduction in force is

insignificant and Cu5 therefore remains a good estimate of the actual brace load.

It is worth mentioning at this point that the ductility levels used in this paper are

based on the measured yield strength and the actual length LB of the braces

(y=Fy/ELB). In design, calculations are generally based on the nominal yield

strength and on the o/c length of the bracing members. It is therefore recommended

that the anticipated ductility level in the structure be corrected using estimates of

actual brace properties before making use of the equations presented in this study.

In Fig. 14, Eq. (5) is compared to other numerical models that have been proposed

in the past for the post-buckling resistance of steel bracing members. In this figure

and in the discussion that follows, Cu corresponds to the CSA 1994 column strength

curve with n=1.34, i.e. the SSRC column curve 2. In Ref. [41], an analytical model

is developed based on a plastic hinge formulation of the inelastic response of bracing

members under compression. In this model, the brace compressive resistance at a

given compression deformation, c, is given by:

Cu AgFy

1

1

4/3

Cu (6)

690 R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701

where:

8 r3/4

(7)

53/2

5 c

1/3 2/3

2

3 y

(8)

In Eq. (7), r is the strain hardening ratio of the steel material which is taken herein

as 0.015. The normalized compression deformation, c/y, in Eq. (8), depends upon

the loading history applied prior to reaching the ductility level of interest in com-

pression. For braces subjected to a symmetrical loading history, it can be taken equal

to 21 to account for the brace permanent elongation in tension, the permanent

elongation being assumed equal to 1. In Fig. 14, Eq. (6) is plotted for c/y so

computed with =2, 3, and 5 and, hence, can be compared directly to Eq. (5) which

was derived for the same loading conditions. As shown, both sets of equations agree

very well over the entire range of brace slenderness. Eq. (6) is generally slightly

more conservative, however, except for =3 and 5 in which cases it gives higher

values than Eq. (5) for =0.4 to 1.3. When compared to test data, the conditional

standard deviations obtained with Eq. (6) are 0.092, 0.069, and 0.054 for =2, 3,

and 5, respectively, which is larger than the values given in Table 4 for Eq. (5).

Eqs. (9) and (10) are simple models that have been proposed for design purposes.

Eq. (9) has been adapted from the empirical expression that has been suggested in

Ref. [42] based on compression strength values measured in tests in the first and

second cycles at a compression deformation of 5y. A similar equation is rec-

ommended for ductile concentrically braced frames in the Commentary to the Steel

Structures Standard in New Zealand [51]. As shown in Fig. 14, this equation appears

to overestimate the post-buckling load when compared to Eqs. (5) and (6) for =5.0.

Some of the data used in the derivation of Eq. (9) were obtained from tests with an

unsymmetrical loading pattern, which can explain the observed discrepancy. Eq. (10)

was adopted in the 1994 CSA S16.1 Standard [21] to account for the brace compress-

ive strength degradation. This expression was originally recommended by SEAOC

[52]. Fig. 14 shows that it gives much higher values than observed in this survey

and, hence, would likely result in non conservative capacity design in situations like

the one shown in Fig. 2(d).

0.30

Cu C C , for l1.27 (9)

1.1 u u

Cu

Cu (10)

1 0.35

The Japanese Specifications for Building Structures include empirical expressions

to estimate the compressive strength of steel bracing members at a compression strain

of 0.01 [53]:

1

Cu AgFy Cu, for l0.30 (11)

110.6

R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701 691

1

Cu AgFy C , for l 0.30 (12)

6 0.85 u

For Fy=350 MPa, as strain of 1% corresponds to =5.7 y and Eqs. (11) and (12)

would then apply for an anticipated ductility level of approximately 3.0 under a

symmetrical displacement history (21=5.7). When compared to Eqs. (5) and (6)

for that ductility level, it is found that the Japanese specifications are generally con-

servative, as already pointed out in Ref. [41].

In the recent AISC seismic provisons [20], the post-buckling brace capacity is set

equal to 0.26 times the load Pn given by Eqs. (3) and (4). Fig. 14 indicates that this

equation matches very well Eqs. (5) and (6) for =5.0 and =0.61.5. That range

of slenderness covers most of the braces likely to be used in typical braced frames.

For other brace slenderness ratios, the AISC provisions provide conservative (too

low) values of Cu. A similar simplified approach has been adopted in the new CSA-

S16.1-01 Standard [54] wherein the brace post-buckling strength is assigned a value

of 0.2 AgFy, regardless of the brace slenderness. According to Eq. (5), Cu5 varies

from 0.24 AgFy to 0.11 AgFy for the range of comprised between 0.6 and 1.5 and,

hence, the unique value of 0.2 AgFy would be applicable only for stocky braces if

a ductility of 5.0 is anticipated. It would be more appropriate, however, for a ductility

of 3.0 as Cu3 from Eq. (5) ranges from 0.36 AgFy to 0.15 AgFy for =0.6 to 1.5.

in tests and in past earthquakes and such movements must be accounted for in design

if it can produce damage to and collapse of non-structural elements such as walls

and cladding elements. Such lateral deformations develop upon application of a com-

pression load to a previously buckled brace. Observations of brace behaviour during

tests suggest that simple models as those shown in Fig. 15 can be used to relate the

lateral deformation, , to the applied compression displacement, c. For a pin-ended

Fig. 15. Out-of-plane deformation of braces: (a) elastic with pinned ends; (b) inelastic with pinned ends;

(c) elastic with fixed ends; (d) inelastic with fixed ends.

692 R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701

brace subjected to small axial deformations (Fig. 15a), a sinusoidal function closely

represents the deformed shape and it can be shown that the amplitude of the lateral

displacement is equal to:

2

L 0.64cLH

c H

(13)

In this equation, LH is the length of the member between the hinges. Of course,

the displacement c is small compared to LH and it is assumed herein that LH remains

unchanged as c is applied. Under higher ductility levels, a plastic hinge forms at

mid-span and a rigid-plastic stick model represents more closely the brace response,

as shown in Fig. 15(b). With that model, the lateral deformation is given by:

1

L 0.71cLH

2 c H (14)

The true brace response lies between these two extreme cases and a conservative

estimate of can be obtained by using a factor of 0.7 in front of the square root

term in the above equations. For braces with rotational end restraints, the deformation

will typically be smaller. For instance, the maximum lateral deformation for a fixed

fixed end connected brace at low ductility (Fig. 15c) is given by:

1

L 0.16cLB

2 c B

(15)

At higher ductility plastic hinges develop in the braces (Fig. 15d), can be

obtained using Eq. (14) with the distance LH being equal to the distance between

the hinges that form near the ends. Based on observations during tests, these hinges

can be assumed to be located at a distance from the brace ends equal to the depth

of the member measured in the plane of buckling. Considering that lateral defor-

mations are generally critical at high ductility levels, Eq. (14) with a factor 0.7 can

then be used for all end conditions.

In design, the lateral deformation will be needed at the maximum anticipated

compression deformation. The corresponding value of c would then include the

compression deformation at that point, which is equal to cy where c is the com-

pression ductility, plus the permanent elongation experienced by the brace prior to

attaining the point under consideration. As described earlier, the permanent elong-

ation of the brace can be taken as (t1)y, with t being the maximum ductility

in tension reached before the point where is to be determined. Using this definition

of c, the brace lateral deformation under any loading history can be calculated

with:

the brace at the peak compression deformation should be deducted from the defor-

mation c as it does not produce any lateral deformation. This elastic deformation

R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701 693

previous section. However, it would generally be small relative to the anticipated

inelastic deformations and it can be neglected without introducing too much con-

servatism. In addition, this simplification can be partially offset due to the fact that

the permanent elongation of a brace can exceed the assumed value of (T1)y if

the brace is stretched several times to the same ductility. As discussed earlier, each

time the brace is straightened up after buckling, the plastic deformations that take

place in the hinges produce net brace elongation. Therefore, it is recommended that

Eq. (16) be used without including elastic deformation effects. If no yielding has

occurred in tension before the point of maximum compression deformation, the value

of t should be taken equal to 1.0.

The validity of Eq. (16) was checked against the values measured in the test

programs. The lateral deformation was not documented in all tests, however, and

tests in which the braces had a length LB less than 2 m were excluded as such short

braces would not represent realistic field conditions. Thus, a total of 49 specimens

from 4 test series were examined for lateral deformations and 419 measurement

points could be obtained at various ductility levels. This data set is plotted in Fig.

16 as a function of c/y and the predicted deformations (PRE) are compared to the

measured values in Fig. 17. As shown, Eq. (16) gives a very good estimate of the

lateral deformation for the whole range of test data. On average, the prediction is

on the safe side with a mean value of the test-to-predicted ratio equal to 0.92

(COV=0.11). Hence, this equation can be used in design to assess the anticipated

lateral deformation of braces. If symmetrical response is expected, the term in

brackets in Eq. (16) can be set to (21), where is the anticipated ductility level.

Fracture was observed in all cold-formed RHS brace specimens of test series 1,

3, 4, 6, 7, and 9 (total of 38 braces) after local buckling had occurred in the plastic

694 R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701

hinges. In many cases, the ductility level at fracture was well within the range antici-

pated under the design earthquake and this ultimate limit state must therefore be

addressed at the design stage. The limited fracture life of RHS members under inelas-

tic cyclic loading can be mainly attributed to the high strains that develop upon local

buckling in the corner regions of the cross-section, at the location where the steel

exhibits lower fracture strain due to cold working [3-6]. Cracks eventually form in

the local buckled area and gradually propagated through the cross-section when the

braces are loaded in tension after being deformed in compression. A test series [55]

in which RHS members were subjected to constant amplitude cyclic displacement

histories clearly showed that fracture develops only after local buckling has formed.

Hence, local buckling in compression followed by tension loading are required for

fracture of RHS bracing members to occur.

Local buckling is influenced by the width-to-thickness ratio of the elements of the

cross-section but also strongly depends upon the brace slenderness and the applied

displacement history. In the test programs, local buckling was more severe in braces

with low slenderness, even if b/t was kept small [1-3]. This is because higher com-

pressive strains are generally induced in the plastic hinges that form in less slender

braces. Larger compression deformations, including brace permanent elongation

effects as discussed earlier, lead to higher plastic rotation in the hinges and, thereby,

also promote the development of local buckling. Thus, both the ductility level

reached in compression and the sequence of imposed displacements (compression

R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701 695

excursions preceded or not by large tension plastic extensions) impact on the fracture

life of RHS braces.

The specimens in the test programs had various b/t and slenderness ratios and

were subjected to different loading histories (Nos. 1, 2, 7, 8, 10 and 12 in Fig. 6).

Using that database, attempts were made to define the damage level at fracture, as

obtained from damage accumulation laws, and to relate that level of damage to the

ductility level at fracture and to the brace slenderness and width-to-thickness ratios.

Only poor correlation was obtained, however, most likely because the amount of

inelastic straining actually experienced by the bracing members could not be determ-

ined with sufficient accuracy. In addition, the application of such an approach to

predict the fracture life of members would be complicated in a design context as

the complete displacement history which will be applied in future earthquakes is not

known ahead of time.

Consequently, a simpler approach was examined in which the total ductility

reached at fracture, f, is related only to the brace slenderness parameter, . The

ductility f is illustrated in Fig. 3. It is equal to the sum of the peak ductility reached

in tension and the peak ductility attained in compression in any cycle before the

half-cycle in tension in which failure of the brace is observed. As explained in the

previous sections, this ductility is a good indicator of the total amount of the com-

pression deformation undergone by a brace and, thereby, on the demand imposed on

the plastic hinges. This approach is more appropriate for design as only the maximum

expected ductility needs to be known, not the complete time history.

Fig. 18 presents the plot of f as a function of for the 38 RHS brace specimens

examined. As illustrated, the ductility at fracture generally increases with the slender-

ness ratio and a reasonable correlation can be obtained between these two parameters,

even if the dataset contains a large variety of loading histories and cross-section

properties. In the figure, a distinction was made among the data points to investigate

Fig. 18. Prediction of the peak ductility at fracture, f, for cold formed RHS bracing members.

696 R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701

the possible influence of these two additional parameters. Although the number of

samples in each case is limited, the results seem to indicate that a symmetrical load-

ing (LH Nos. 1 and 12) is less critical for fracture than a displacement history with

higher amplitudes in compression (LH Nos. 7, 8, and 10). The results also suggest

that the b/t ratio does not have a significant effect on the brace fracture life although

braces with similar slenderness under the same loading protocol (No. 7) performed

better if Class 1 sections were used. In the dataset, however, the braces with a large

b/t ratio generally had a lower slenderness (large sections with thin walls resulting

in a lower slenderness for a given length). Additional tests would then be required

on slender braces with thin walls as well as on less slender braces with thick walls

to better capture the influence of the width-to-thickness ratio.

Nevertheless, Fig. 18 clearly shows that slender braces exhibit better fracture life

performance than braces with low slenderness ratio. This suggests that b/t ratio limits

are more critical for less slender braces and that a minimum brace slenderness should

be established in design if a given ductility level needs to be achieved. In absence

of sufficient data, no specific guidelines can be recommended regarding the required

width-to-thickness ratio. The minimum brace slenderness could be estimated, how-

ever, assuming a linear relationship between f and , as given by Eq. (17).

f a b (17)

The linear regression performed using all 38 data points is shown in Fig. 18. For

this regression line, a=2.4 and b=8.3 in Eq. (17), and the resulting test-to-predicted

ratio varies from 0.50 to 1.62, with a mean value of 1.01 and a COV of 0.25. These

values change slightly if only the 28 brace specimens which meet the CSA 1994 b/t

limits for Ductile Braced Frames are considered: the parameters a and b in become

respectively 2.3 and 8.3 and the test to predicted ratio ranges between 0.71 and 1.64

with a mean value of 1.01 and a COV of 0.23. In design, f in Eq. (17) would be

set equal to two times the expected ductility level for symmetrical systems and to

the anticipated brace compression ductility for chevron braced frames with weak

beams. Alternatively, the design seismic loads can be modified to ensure that the

imposed ductility demand will not exceed the capacity of bracing members likely

to be used in the structure.

Other factors contribute to the scatter observed in Fig. 18, including the shape of

the cross-section (square vs rectangular), the material properties (especially in the

corners), and the ratio of the sectional area affected by cold-forming to the gross

cross-sectional area. These aspects could also be investigated in further experimental

studies. It would also be of interest to obtain data for other tubular shapes such as

hot formed RHS or circular tubes which would likely exhibit enhanced fracture life

performance while offering a comparable high efficiency in carrying axial com-

pression loads in the elastic range.

5. Conclusions

A review of 76 cyclic loading tests on bracing members from nine different test

programs was carried out to recommend values for the seismic design of concentri-

R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701 697

cally braced steel frames. The test programs covered a wide range of brace properties,

including the section type, cross section area, end conditions, brace effective slender-

ness, and material properties. Various displacement histories were also considered

in the tests. The compressive and tensile brace resistance could be determined at

various deformation levels for capacity design purposes. Out-of-plane deformation

of bracing members and fracture of RHS braces were also examined. The main

conclusions and recommendations of this study are:

The actual yield strength of the steel material exceeded the nominal properties in

all test specimens but one. The mean value of the actual-to-nominal ratio was

equal to 1.24, with a COV of 0.16. These values cannot be used directly in design

in view of the long period of time covered by the test programs, the wide variety

in material types and fabrication processes, and the limited number of specimens

of each type. They clearly indicate, however, that this effect can be significant

and must be accounted for in design. In particular, bracing members are often

made with small shapes which may exhibit relatively higher yield strength.

The compressive strength of the braces at first buckling, Cu, generally exceeded

the value predicted using specified column design curves. When compared to the

SSRC curves, the measured strength was in average 16% higher with a COV of

0.17. Higher values were generally observed for the more slender braces.

Braces with a slenderness parameters of 1.0 and less could maintain a compressive

resistance equal to Cu at a deformation level sufficient to develop yielding in

tension. This indicates that both the compression and tension braces at a given

floor of a symmetrical bracing bent can develop simultaneously a compression

force equal to Cu and a tension force equal to AgFy, respectively. For more slender

braces, a reduced compressive strength equal to 0.8 Cu can be used when yielding

develops in the companion tension braces.

The tests showed that the maximum tension force that will develop in a brace

depends upon the applied loading history, the highest loads being observed under

large tension excursions applied early in the tests. Strain hardening was observed

in 66% of the test specimens. For braces made of tubular shapes, the peak tension

force exceeded the tensile yield load AgFy by 10% in average, with a COV of

0.06. For hot rolled shapes, the mean strain hardening level was equal to 5% with

a COV of 0.04.

Equations have been proposed from nonlinear regression of test data to predict

the minimum brace compressive strength, Cu, at ductility levels of 2, 3, and 5

under a symmetrical displacement history. Very good correlation was obtained,

especially at high ductility levels. These values would represent a conservative

estimate of the post-buckling resistance of braces subjected to unsymmetrical

loading patterns. The Cu values proposed for a ductility of 5.0 can be applicable

in cases where higher ductility demand in compression is reached, such as for

braces in chevron braced frames with weak beam design. The recommended Cu

values are in good agreement with the predictions obtained from plastic hinge

analysis of steel bracing members developed in a previous study. Values specified

in several codes would need to be modified in order to better match the test data.

698 R. Tremblay / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 58 (2002) 665701

A simple equation has been proposed to predict the lateral deformation of single

diagonal bracing members that result from brace buckling. This equation is rec-

ommended for design as it reproduces well the test measurements with a mean

test-to-predicted ratio of 0.92 and a coefficient of variation of 0.11.

Fracture of RHS bracing members was found to depend strongly upon the slender-

ness ratio of the bracing members and, to a lesser extent, on the width-to-thickness

ratio of the cross-section and the imposed displacement history. Slender braces

can sustain higher ductility levels prior to fracture, most likely because the strain

demand in the plastic hinge reduces with the brace slenderness. Therefore, more

stringent width-to-thickness ratios should be specified for less slender members

and minimum brace slenderness should be prescribed to achieve a given ductility

level. For the latter, a simple linear equation has been proposed to predict the

peak ductility corresponding to fracture. Additional test data is required, however,

to improve the accuracy of this prediction model. In particular, the influence of

the width-to-thickness ratio should be examined further. Test data should also be

obtained for hot formed RHS members and circular tubes as such members are

expected to exhibit relatively longer fracture life.

All tests were of the quasi-cyclic type and possible strain rate effects on the brace

compressive and tensile resistance could not be assessed. It is recommended that

dynamic testing with realistic deformation time histories be performed to evaluate

these effects and check the overall performance of bracing members under such

loading demand.

Acknowledgements

Financial support for this study was provided by the Natural Sciences and Engin-

eering Research Council of Canada. The author sincerely thanks J.B. Shaback for

providing his test data.

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