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# Challenges, Opportunities and Solutions in Structural Engineering

## and Construction Ghafoori (ed.)

2010 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN 978-0-415-56809-8

## Practical non-prismatic stiffness matrix for haunched-rafter pitched-roof

steel portal frames
Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

ABSTRACT: Pitched roof steel portal frames are popular structures among single-storey buildings. Since the
bending moment at the column-to-rafter joint is very high, the decision is made to haunch a part of the rafter
adjacent to the joint. The haunch makes this part of the rafter linear non-prismatic. In this study, a stiffness matrix
for non-prismatic members is derived and passed through regression analysis to set up a practical stiffness matrix.
A column analogy is used to simulate the bending and shear effects whereas a virtual work method is used to
involve axial force effect into the stiffness matrix. After a large amount of data was collected from regression
analysis, quadratic coefficients have been obtained to generalize the stiffness matrix for both prismatic and
non-prismatic members. The correctness of the obtained stiffness matrix is verified by a simple numerical
example.

INTRODUCTION

## Single-storey frame structures are extensively used

in commercial, industrial, and leisure buildings. The
nature of those buildings necessitates selecting a structural system which covers the area without intermediate columns. As steel provides an economical solution
in those buildings, they are commonly constructed
with steel frames (Saka 2003). Pitched roof steel portal
frames are the most popular steelwork among the structures used in single-storey buildings. It is estimated
that 50% of single-storey buildings are constructed
with steel portal frames (Salter et al. 2004). Since
the bending moment at the column-to-rafter joint is
very high, the decision is made to haunch a part of
the rafter adjacent to the joint. The haunch makes
this part of the rafter linear non-prismatic. Because
of non-uniform distribution of the bending moment
in the non-prismatic member, material savings can be
achieved, while the cross-section capacity is satisfied.
Despite the additional cost of fabrication, the use of
a tapered member in structural elements provides a
more economical structure than the uniform member
(Fraser 1983). When the direct stiffness method is
adopted to fulfill the structure analysis, the stiffness
matrix for each element of the structure should be
necessarily constituted. The stiffness matrix for prismatic element is well documented in the text books.
However, different developed stiffness matrices for
non-prismatic members are not somehow practical to
use. Saka (2003) implemented the stiffness matrix of
non-prismatic member developed by Matheson et al.
(1959; cited in Saka 2003) to carry out the optimization process on steel portal frames. Luo et al. (2007)

167

Figure 1.

## Typical pitched roof steel portal frame.

adopted the transfer matrix method to a deduced general expression for the components of the stiffness
matrix of non-prismatic members. Both developed
stiffness matrices require long computation time as the
matrices components are in integration form. Hence,
in this study, it is attempted to develop a practical and
generalized stiffness matrix for both prismatic and
non-prismatic members so that it could be brought
into office daily use. A typical pitched roof steel
portal frame with a haunched-rafter is depicted in
Figure 1.

2
2.1

STIFFNESS MATRIX
Prismatic members

## The slope deflection method is used to derive the

stiffness matrix for prismatic members. For a twodimensional structure, a prismatic member has six
degrees of freedom whereby a 6 6 matrix dimension is made. The derivation of the stiffness matrix
of a prismatic member is well documented in standard structural analysis text books (see for example;
Willems and Lucas (1978), McGuire et al. (2000), and

## Ghali et al. (2003)). Accordingly, a stiffness matrix

for such elements will take the form:

E
[k] = 2
L

0 AL 0
0
6I 0 12I /L 6I

4IL 0 6I 2IL

AL
0
0

Symmetric
12I /L 6I
4IL

AL

0
12I /L

(1)
Figure 2. Internal axial force and displacement of nonprismatic member.

## where A = area of the member cross-section; E =

modulus elasticity of the member; I = moment of
inertia of the member; and L = length of the member.
2.2

## which consequently gives

x
x
+ A2
Ax = A 1 1
L
L
Similarly (from Figure 2):

Non-prismatic members

## The stiffness matrix of non-prismatic members is

formed in practice by subdividing the member into
a number of smaller prismatic member segments.
This way of making a stiffness matrix is somewhat
cumbersome and time-consuming as it substantially
increases the global stiffness matrix of the frame. As
a result an error is likely to occur and less accurate
results are gained. It necessitates constructing a stiffness matrix for non-prismatic members to eliminate
more members stiffness matrix. In this study, the Virtual Work Method has been implemented to derive the
axial stiffness. Whereas Column Analogy (Ghalli et al.
2003) has been the guideline to constitute the stiffness
matrix for bending and shear effects. The following
procedures are applied to derive the stiffness matrix
for non-prismatic members.
Virtual work is work done by real forces acting
through virtual displacement (Willems and Lucas
1978). The principle of virtual work is:
Wint = Wext

u =

x
um
L

(7)

ends.
From Equation 3:
L
Wint =

d(u)
x  du
x
E A1 1
+ A2
dx
dx
L
L dx

## Substituting Equation 7 into 8 and performing the

integration, gives:
Wint

L


2
x2
um
x2
= 2 E A1 x
+
A2
L
2L
2L
0
=

2
um
E
2
L

A1 L + A2 L
2

2
um
L

A 1 + A2
2

E
(9)

(2)

Equation 4:

u A1 + A2
2
Eum
Fum =
(10)
L
2

L
x EAx dx

(8)

where:
Wint =

(6)

(3)

Wext = Fum

F=

(4)

## where Wint = internal work; Wext = external work;

E = modulus of elasticity; A = cross-sectional area
of the member; x = axial strain; F = applied axial
force; and u = axial displacement.
As depicted in Figure 2. the relation between Ax , A1
and A2 can be defined as:

(A1 A2 )

Lx
L

= (Ax A2 )

(5)

(11)

and since
F = kum

(12)

therefore;
k=

E
(A1 + A2 )um
2L

E
(A1 + A2 )
2L

168

(13)

## Since the actual load for deriving the flexibility

matrix is considered as unity, the vertical displacement
will be:



2
dx
Mu1 Mu2 dx
Mu1
(16)
v=
Fy +
Mz
EIx
EIx
and similarly for the rotation:

z =

Mu1 Mu2 dx
EIx

2
dx
Mu2
EIx

Fy +

Mz

(17)

Since,
{v} = [f ]{Fy Mz }
Figure 3. (a) Simulation of column analogy on nonprismatic member. (b) Application of the unit load methods
on the non-prismatic member.

## Applications of force and displacement methods

have, in some cases, been applied through the classical
procedure known as column analogy and moment distribution. Column analogy can be applied for a plane
framed analysis of one closed bent where the degree
of redundancy does not exceed three. It involves
calculations similar to those of stresses in column
cross sections when subjected to combined bending
moments and axial force (see Figure 3). The redundancy is chosen at a point called the elastic centre
(Ghali et al. 2003). Regarding this condition, the column analogy has been used to derive the stiffness
matrix of a single member. However, the column
analogy imitates the force method and to form the
stiffness matrix it is required to inverse the flexibility
matrix generated from the force method. This is only
true when the plane remains plane after deformation
(elastic theory).
Figure 3a shows a member of variable cross section
idealized as a straight bar having a variable EI.
Figure 3b refers to demonstration of a unit load and
moment system acting on the member which has the
shape of a strip with varying width = 1/EI and the
length = l, where EI EI (x) the flexural rigidity at
any point at a distance x from O, the centroid of the
analogous column (the elastic centre).
Figure 3 shows a non-prismatic member with varied
depth along the length of the member. Figure 3b is used
to determine the flexibility matrix of the member when
the one end (j) is assumed fixed (force method). Using
the virtual work, the moment due to unit load and unit
moment are:

(18)

## where {v} = displacement vector; [f ] = flexibility

matrix; {Fy Mz } = force vector; v = vertical displacement of the joint; z = rotation of the joint; Fy =
shear force at the joint; and Mz = the bending moment
at the joint, therefore the flexibility matrix could be
constituted as:



2
Mu1
dx
Mu1 Mu2 dx

EIx
x

[f ] =
 EI
 Mu1 Mu2 dx
M 2 dx
u2

EIx

(L1 + x)2

EIx
=
 (L1 + x)

EIx

(L1 + x)

 EIx

dx
EIx

(19)

## The stiffness matrix is obtained by inversing the

flexibility matrix:

1
 x2 dx

[k] = EIx
L1
 x2
EIx dx




1
1
EIx dx

L1
x2

EIx dx

+

L12

x2
dx
EIx

(20)

## Considering the other member end (i) as fixed in

Figure 3 and including the axial displacement, the
stiffness matrix for the member could be formed as:

[k] =
(21)
k44 k45 k46

Symmetric
k55 k56
k66

Mu1 = (L1 + x)

(14)

where:

Mu2 = 1

(15)

169

EIx

E
(A1 + A2 )
2L

## k22 = k24 = k54 = 

k26 = k56 = 
k35 = 



k33 =


L2
x2
EIx dx

x2
EIx dx

1
1
EIx dx

+

L12

k4 = k8 = d(6I  )
k6 = k12 = c(6I  )
k7 = g(4I  L)
k13 = e(4I  L)

x2
EIx dx

L1 L 2
+  x2
EIx dx


L22
1
+  x2
=  1
EIx dx
EIx dx
1

1
EIx dx

## k12 = k13 = k15 = k16 = k45 = k46 = 0

In the special case, when EI is constant, L1 = L2
and A1 = A2 then the stiffness matrix will be same as
that for the prismatic members (Equation 1).

REGRESSION ANALYSIS

## The derived stiffness matrix in Equation 22 has the

components with integration. This will need covering
more loops in the program subroutine to formulate the
integration. To eliminate this, the stiffness matrix is
passed through regression analysis. All eighty existing standard cross-sections available in BS 5950 have
been engaged in analysis. Furthermore, the difference
between the depths of both ends of the members has
varied between 0 and 1.28 m. After performing the
analysis, the stiffness matrix given in Equation 22 can
be redefined as follows:

k1 0
0
k2
0
0

k3 k4
0
k5 k6

E
k7
0
k8 k9

(22)
[k] = 2

k
0
0

10
L
Symmetric

k11 k12
k13
where:
k1 = k2 = k10 = a(A L)
k3 = k5 = k11 = b(12I  /L)
k9 = f (2I  L)
If A1 A2 :
k4 = k8 = c(6I  )
k6 = k12 = d(6I  )

k7 = e(4I  L)
k13 = g(4I  L)
and if A1 A2 :

L1

k36 = 

k66

1
x2
EIx dx

## where: A = A1 + A2 ; I  = I1 + I2 ; A1 & A2 = areas

of the member ends; I1 & I2 = moments of inertia of
the member ends; and
a = 0.50
b = 0.50 0.53d + 0.17(d)2
c = 0.50 0.59d + 0.21(d)2
d = 0.50 0.47d + 0.13(d)2
e = 0.50 0.56d + 0.21(d)2
f = 0.50 0.64d + 0.23(d)2
g = 0.50 0.39d + 0.08(d)2
d = difference between the depths of member ends.
In the case when the difference between both depths
of the member ends (d) is zero (prismatic member),
the stiffness matrix in Equation 23 will have the same
components of the one in Equation 1.
To have a more cost effective shape for haunched
part of the steel portal frame, the depth of the haunch
is taken as the same depth of the rafter. Having said
this, the elements of the stiffness matrix given in
Equation 23 can be refined to the following equations:
where:
k1 = k2 = k10 = 0.50A L
k3 = k5 = k11 = 0.32(12I  /L)
k9 = 0.28(2I  L)
If A1 A2 :
k4 = k8 = 0.36(6I  )
k6 = k12 = 0.29(6I  )
k7 = 0.39(4I  L)
k13 = 0.29(4I  L)
and if A1 A2 :
k4 = k8 = 0.29(6I  )
k6 = k12 = 0.36(6I  )
k7 = 0.29(4I  L)
k13 = 0.39(4I  L)

170

BENCHMARK EXAMPLE

## 22% decreased lateral displacements at the top of the

columns (Figure 4, joint 6).

## Implementing the direct stiffness method, structural

analysis is conducted on a pitched roof haunchedrafter steel portal frame (given in Figure 4) to examine
the suitability of the developed matrix. The steel portal frame is assumed to experience the gravity load of
14 kN generated by purlins spaced horizontally at 3 m
in out-plane. A horizontal load of 0.7 kN is assumed
to act on the frame to portray the sway behavior. As
the column behaves as a beam-column section due
to large value of the bending moment, the universal beam section (not universal column section) is
almost used for the column in steel portal frames.
The universal beam sections of 762 267 134 and
686 254 170 are used for the columns and rafters
successively and the depth of the haunched is assumed
as equal as the depth of the section of the rafter. The
steel frame is analyzed twice named as case 1 and
case 2. In case 1 the developed stiffness matrix (Equation 23) is used to set up global stiffness matrix
whereas in case 2 the haunched part of the rafter is subdivided into eight smaller prismatic elements. The outputs of both cases is compared and tabulated in Table 1
including support reactions, nodal displacements, and
elapsed time of analysis. After analysis of the structural response, it was found that using the idea of
subdividing the non-prismatic member into prismatic
elements to form global stiffness matrix uses three
times more computation time than when Equation
22 is used. However, results show that using the
developed stiffness matrix ends up with 6% increased
vertical displacement at apex (Figure 4, joint 4), and

CONCLUSIONS

## A column analogy was simulated and a virtual work

method was adopted to set up and generalize the stiffness matrix for both prismatic and non-prismatic members. Through regression and structural analyses, it
is found that the formed stiffness matrix comes up
with 200% saving of time in determining the member
forces. However, it increases vertical displacement of
the apex by 6% and decreases the lateral displacement
of the frame by 22%. As a result the developed stiffness
matrix could be brought into office daily use by structural engineers. As massive iterations are required for
non-linear analysis and the optimization process, it is
concluded that using the developed stiffness matrix
can assist the operation to reduce the computation
cost. It can lead the design problem to a faster convergence into an optimum solution when the stiffness
matrix is implemented in the analysis part of structural
optimization.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The authors would like to thank Mr. Guy Birkin, a
PhD student in Art & Design at Nottingham Trent
University for devoting his time to help conducting
the regression analysis.
REFERENCES

## Figure 4. Pitched roof steel portal frame used as benchmark

example.
Note: All loads are in kN and dimensions are in m.
Table 1.

## Result of structural analysis.

Component

Case 1

Case 2

Difference (%)

FxL , kN
FxR , kN
FyL , kN
FyR , kN
u2 , mm
u6 , mm
v4 , mm
Elapsed Time, Sec

60.11
60.81
69.88
70.12
2.2
1.8
25.3
1

60.67
61.37
69.88
70.12
2.1
2.3
23.9
3

0.1
0.1
0
0
5
22
6
200

171

## Fraser, D.J. 1983. Design of tapered member portal frames.

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