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On the Buckling Behaviour of Knee Braced Frames (KBF)

M. Shokouhian * R. Sadeghi** T. Ozbakkaloglu*** * Department of Civil Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China (E-mail: m.shokouhian@gmail.com) ** Bryant Concepts Pty Ltd, U3 66 Rundle St, Kent Town, SA 5067, Australia (E-mail: Reza@bryantconcepts.com.au) *** Department of Civil Engineering, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia (E-mail: tozbakka@civeng.adelaide.edu.au)

ABSTRACT The experience of recent earthquakes and relevant studies signify that, the braced structures despite having reasonable lateral resisting systems are vulnerable to seismic loadings. This vulnerability is due to inadequate energy absorption and/or dissipation capacity of this structural system. The Knee Braced Frame (KBF) is one of the structural systems that were proposed to overcome this vulnerability. In the KBF system, the stiffness of a diagonal brace is combined with the ductile behaviour of a knee element. The diagonal brace provides most of the lateral stiffness, while the knee element provides the required ductility during a severe earthquake. Most researches on KBF focused the frame under horizontal force, causing tensile force in the diagonal member. There is a shortage of literature regarding the KBF when the diagonal brace is under compressive force. This research aims at conducting a parametric study on Knee Braced Frame Structures using non-linear pushover analyses to study ductility and energy dissipating properties of the knee bracing frames, particularly buckling behaviour of the KBF and compare these two to loading conditions. KEYWORDS Knee Braced Frame (KBF), energy absorption, ductility, Steel structural, buckling, nonlinear analyses. INTRODUCTION Engineered structures to withstand earthquakes are required to have sufficient stiffness and strength to manage the induced cyclic deflections under seismic activities. However, these structures may experience some elasto-plastic behaviour under a severe seismic loading. The inbuilt damping of yielding structural elements can be utilized to decrease the strength requirement of the design, leading to a more cost effect design. A Moment resisting frame (MRF) is an excellent energy dissipating structural system; however it requires relatively large beam sections to prevent excessive drift under lateral loading. The Concentrically Braced Frame (CBF), on the other hand is much stiffer than the MRF with similar sections, except it has poor energy dissipating capability when buckling occurs in bracing members. The Knee braced frame (KBF) has the advantages of excellent energy dissipation found in a MRF and high lateral stiffness found in a CBF. In this system, the brace is connected to a secondary knee member, instead of a beam-column joint. The energy is dissipated through the formation of plastic hinges in the knee member, whilst the main diagonal brace is designed to prevent buckling. Under severe seismic activity, plastic hinges initially form in the knee member. The resulting damage to the structural frame would be concentrated in the knee element, which is basically a sacrificial member, and consequently the cost of repairing the structure is limited to replacing the damaged knee member only.

BACKGROUNDS: Knee Braced Frame (KBF) were originally proposed by Aristizabel-Ochoa and later re-examined and modified by Balendra et al (1990, 91 and 2000). Balendra et al (1990) assessed the inelastic characteristics of the KBF using a large scale model through the pseudo-dynamic test procedure. Bourahla (1992) conducted an experimental test to examine the linear and nonlinear response of a symmetric and asymmetric 1/12scale 10 story, knee braced frame subjected to action of two horizontal component of ground motion. The research of Mofid and Khosravi (2000) showed that the structure could exhibit maximum lateral resistance when the knee bracing and inclined brace were parallel to the diagonal of the frame. William et al (2002) concluded that in order to have good energy dissipating performance, the knee element should be in flexural failure mode rather than shearing failure mode. Haung et al (2004) examined the elastoplastic behaviour of knee braced frame and they suggested some general design recommendations according to the results of their research. Mofid and Lotfollahi (2006) studied the behavior of Chevron Knee Bracing (CKB) in the elastic region and in the next step they investigate the behaviour of CKB system using nonlinear static and dynamic analyses. In their research, two different modes of failure (shear and flexural) for the knee element were considered. PROBLEM DEFINITION: A typical knee braced frame with the following basic geometric parameters (B, B1, H, and H1) as shown in Figure 1, is considered to carry out a parametric study. The study is to be carried out on the behaviour of a single and double knee brace frame, both under tension and compression load cases. This research continues the researches carried out by Balendra, Mofid (2000) and HUANG et al (2004) and similar geometric parameters and member sizes are adapted to be in line with those two papers.

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(b) Figure 1 - Basic Parameter of (a) single (b) double knee braced frame (KBF) The parameters of the frame are reduced to x (x=B2/B=H2/H) together with effect of member sizes of knee and diagonal braces. Columns and beams are H12512588 and H10010077 respectively and are constant in all models. Knee brace member sizes are H404044, H606055, H808066 and H10010077 and the diagonal brace sizes are H606055,

H808066 and H1001001010, H1251251010 and H1851851515. Some other sizes might be introduced when there is a need to go in more detail. Finite element modelling and Assumptions: This paper presents large deflection inelastic analysis of knee brace frame structures using both geometric and material nonlinearities. The geometric nonlinearity is considered based on the updated Eigenvalue buckling analyses of a proper buckling mode shape of the KBF, with the allowable imperfection being 1/1000 length of the buckling member. Effect of local buckling in any members in the FE models is ignored. The steel material is defined using proper elastic strain hardening behaviour with the following properties: the elastic module, E=200 GPa, Fy=210 MPa, Fu=350 MPa and Poisson ratio of 0.3. General finite element analyses software ANSYS and Strand7 are used to conduct this numerical research. BEAM188 in ANSYS are used to model the structural frame. This type of element is based on Timoshenko beam theory which includes sheardeformation effects and is suitable for analysing large deflection elastoplastic models. In regards to the meshing, proper mesh sizes with appropriate cross sections and material were utilised to build the FE model of the structural frame. In order to achieve more accurate results, a relatively finer mesh was used for the knee member and in vicinity of the all structural joints. Displacement control with Arc-length method is used to overcome convergence difficulties when instability occurs in the KBF frame, as the Arc-length method is capable of simulating the negative slope portion of a loaddisplacement curve. Nonlinear behaviour of knee braced frame: If parameters of KBF system such as member size and location of the knee element are optimally selected and if the main diagonal brace is in tension, the yielding procedure of a KBF could be divided into two stages: Firstly, the plastic flexural and/or shear hinges at the ends and mid-span of knee member starts to form under lateral loading. This is the energy dissipating state of the knee member. After the knee member has reached its ultimate shear base, the subsequent load will be carried by the main frame until three plastic hinges occur in a structural member. This is referred to as the secondary energy dissipating stage of the KBF system (Figure 2-a). However in a situation where the main diagonal brace is in compression, the second energy dissipating state may not be totally reached as the buckling of the main diagonal brace might occur before the development of plastic hinges in the knee member (figure 2-b).
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(a) (b) Figure 2 Yielding procedure of the Knee braced frame (a) tension (b) tension and compression MODEL VERIFICATION Numerical results obtained from two FEM software, ANSYS and Strand7 are compared with those published literature to demonstrate the accuracy of the FE models. As can be seen the FEA results show in the current study are almost identical with those of published by Huang et al (shown in red, x=0.2).

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(a) (b) Figure 3 - Model verification (a) current study (b) Haung et al (x=0.2) RESULTS AND DISCUSSION As most research on KBF has focused on the KBF where the diagonal brace is in tension, current study focuses on the buckling behaviour of the KBF and their results are individually compared with the case where the diagonal brace is in tension.
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(a) (b) Figure 4- Effect of knee sections on the performance of KBF in (a) tension (b) compression Effects of knee brace section Single KBF: As can be seen in figure 4, the ultimate shear base increases when a larger section (H80x6 and H100x7) is used for the knee element and this increase is more evident in elastic range. This is the case for both tension and compression states of the diagonal braces. Increasing the cross sectional properties of a knee element will reduce the drift in the frame and this reduction is more obvious when diagonal knee is in tension. If the chosen member size for the knee element is a relatively smaller section (H40x4) in comparison to those of the beams and columns, then the behaviour of the entire KBF frame is comparable to the behaviour of a moment resisting frame (MRF), with high ductility and relatively low shear base. This is more evident in the KBF where the diagonal brace is in tension. This study endorses the results reported by Huang et al which suggested 0.2 IK/IC 0.4 is a reasonable cross section for the knee brace. IK is the moment of inertia of knee element and IC is the moment of inertia of the column. If the size of knee element (H100x7) is close to that of the column, the formation of plastic hinge due to flexural and/or shear actions may occur in the knee, column or the beam. In this case the knee braced frame is able to absorb greater lateral force with smaller displacement. This is not

desirable particularly during severe seismic activities, as the formation of plastic hinge in the columns from time to time may cause irreparable damages to the structural frame. Effects of diagonal brace section Single KBF: In case of a single KBF with flexural stiffness of 20%<IK/IC <40%, it is expected that failure take places in the knee brace, thus the effect of changing diagonal brace axial stiffness on lateral performance of the KBF system is not that significant (figure 5). In case of IK/IC <20, due to the fact that flexural stiffness of the knee brace is very small, the knee member is capable of transferring the small amount of load to the diagonal brace. Hence the whole system of bracing is ineffective and the total lateral stiffness of the frame is provided by stiffness of the beams and columns.
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(a) (b) Figure 5 - Effect of diagonal brace section on performance of a single KBF (Knee: H60x5 and IK/IC=20%~40%) in (a) tension (b) compression If IK/IC >40, this may change the failure priority and transfer it to next vulnerable member. If this member is under compressive axial force therefore changing axial stiffness of the section would have an important role on lateral performance of KBF system. In figure 6, a single KBF with the knee member of H100x7 connected to a diagonal bracing member with different slenderness values. If the diagonal brace is too slender (H40x4, in figure 6a.) and under tension, a very ductile with relatively high shear base performance is evident, however same frame in compression exhibits a very poor behaviour (figure 6.b)
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(a) (b) Figure 6- Effect of diagonal brace section on performance of a single KBF (Knee: H100x7 and IK/IC>40%) in (a) tension (b) compression

If the selected diagonal section is relatively large (in this study H185x15), and it is in tension as can be seen in figure 6a that section is not a cost effective and while the is in compression considerably brittle behaviour is exhibited. Effects of knee brace location - Single KBF: Location of the knee member from the beam-column joint plays an important role in energy dissipation of the KBF. Location of knee member determines the length of knee element; a short knee member will yield in shear, while a longer knee yields in flexure. Following Huang et al, x (x=B2/B=H2/H) is assumed to be 0.15~0.5. The closer the knee member is to the connection, x<0.2, the greater the base shear. However this may be followed by a lower level of lateral displacement. This occurs when the main diagonal brace is both in tension and compression. Positioning the knee brace at the distance greater than x=0.35 will introduce another form of structural frame which is not in the scope of this paper however, for x>0.35 when tensile force exists in the diagonal brace, the two energy dissipation stages of KBF merges into one state.
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(a) (b) Figure 7- Effect of x - the position of the knee brace (a) in tension (b) in compression Single and Double KBF: A Load Displacement curve of a double KBF (Knee H80x6) and single KBF of similar size are shown in figure 7 (diagonal brace is in compression). The double KBF presented more shear base, particularly in elastic range, which is approximately twice of the shear base of a single KBF. Even though the ductility of the double KBF is slightly less than of the single KBF, a greater energy dissipating capacity is evident in these types of frames. Using a double KBF results in increased stiffness in the braced bay, this will limit the plastic region to the braced bays and/or the vicinity of the braced bays.
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Figure 8 - Comparison between Single and Double KBF (Knee H80x6)

Effect of Knee brace member Double KBF: Similar to the single KBF, the double KBF is sensitive to changes of the knee brace frame and they follow the same pattern. The difference between lateral displacements in these two types of braces increases when a larger knee member is used. The suggested IK, 0.2 IK/IC 0.4, for single KBF is recommended for double KBF as well.
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(a) (b) Figure 9- Effect of size of the knee element in (a) Double (b) Single KBF Effects of knee brace location - Double KBF: For the lower value of x, reducing the length of knee member increases the shear base of the KBF. As shown in figure 10, buckling of both single and double KBF occurs in the plastic range. The slope of plastic portion in the load-displacement curve in double KBF is slightly greater than the corresponding slope in the single KBF this is due to the increase in lateral stiffness of the KBF system. The lateral displacements for different values of x are in both single and double KBF are approximately similar.
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(a) (b) Figure 10 Effect of x in (a) double (b) single KBF CONCLUSIONS The above discussion on the results of a large deflection inelastic analysis of knee brace frame structures using nonlinear buckling analyses, leads us to draw the following conclusions: 1. The appropriate flexural stiffness of the knee brace member is 0.2 IK/IC 0.4 for both single and double KBF considering the effect of tension and buckling in the KBF system.

2. It is strongly recommended to avoid using knee braces with cross sectional properties close to that of columns or beams. A double KBF is capable of withstanding greater amount of shear base, which is approximately twice of the shear base of a single KBF in elastic range. This is a reasonable choice when a higher shear base and ductility are required. 3. The optimum value of x, location of knee brace from the beam-column joint, for KBF systems is between 15% to 20%. This value accounts for both single and double KBFs.

4. The slope of plastic portion of load-displacement curve in double KBF is slightly greater than the slope corresponding slope in the single KBF. 5. A KBF system with diagonal brace with a relatively large axial stiffness in compression and a knee brace with flexural stiffness close to those of beams or columns may result a considerably brittle behaviour of the system.

REFERENCES
Aristizabal-ochoa JD. Disposable knee bracing. improvement in seismic design of steel frames. Journal of Structural Engineering, ASCE 1986;112(7):1544 52. Balendra T, Sam MT, Liaw CY. Diagonal brace with ductile anchor for a seismic steel frame. Earthquake Engineering and StructuralDynamics 1990;19:84758. Balendra T, Sam MT, Liaw CY, Seng LL. Preliminary studies into the behavior of knee braced frames subject to seismic loading. Engineering Structures 1991;13:6774. Balendra T, Lim EL, Lee SL. Ductile knee braced frames with shear yielding knee for seismic resistant structures. Engineering Structures 1994;16(4):2639. Balendra T, YU C, And LEE F, An Economiucal Structural System for wind and earthquake loads, 12th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Auckland, New Zealand. Bourahla N, Blakeborough A, Bi-Component earthquake tests of model knee braced frames. Earthquake Engineering, Tenth World Conference 1992, Balkema, Rotterdam ISBN 9054100605. HUANG Zhen, LI Qing-song, CHEN Long-zhu, Elastoplastic analysis of knee bracing frame. Journal of Zhejiang University SCIENCE. Mofid M , Lotfollahi M, On the characteristics of new ductile knee bracing systems, Journal of Constructional Steel Research Volume 62, Issue 3, March 2006, Pages 27128. Mofid, M., Khosravi, P., 2000. Non-linear analysis of disposable knee bracing. Computers & Structures, 75: 65-72. William, M.S., Blakeborough, A., Clement, D., Bourahla, N., Seismic behavior of knee braced frames. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Structures and Buildings, 152(2):147-155.