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Thin-Walled Structures 42 (2004) 533555

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A numerical imperfection sensitivity study


of cold-formed thin-walled tubular steel
columns at uniform elevated temperatures
M. Feng, Y.C. Wang , J.M. Davies
Manchester Centre for Civil and Construction Engineering, University of Manchester and UMIST,
P.O. Box 88, Manchester M60 1QD, UK
Received 14 February 2003; accepted 7 November 2003

Abstract

A numerical study is carried out on cold-formed rectangular hollow section columns to


evaluate the sensitivity of column failure strength to initial imperfections, stressstrain rela-
tionships and to assess the existing design methods. It is shown that the magnitude of initial
local buckling imperfection has a signicant eect on the ultimate strength of short columns
where failure is predominantly local buckling. Its eect on long columns is relatively small.
Similarly the magnitude of initial global imperfection has more inuence on the ultimate
strength of a long column, whose failure is governed by global buckling, than on short col-
umns, where local buckling controls. The shape of the stressstrain relationship of cold-
formed steel will have noticeable eect on the column failure load. Current design methods,
for high temperatures in ENV1993-1-2 and for ambient temperature in ENV1993-1-3, can
provide a valid basis of calculation but modication will be necessary, depending on the
exact model of stressstrain relationship of cold-formed steel at elevated temperatures.
# 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Cold-formed structures; Axial strength; Design method; Initial imperfection; Local buckling;
Flexural buckling; Fire resistance

1. Introduction

Cold-formed thin-walled steel sections are commonly used as primary load bear-
ing members in buildings, including as beams in light weight oors, as studs in


Corresponding author. Tel.: +44-161200-8968; fax: +44-161200-4646.
E-mail address: yong.wang@man.ac.uk (Y.C. Wang).

0263-8231/$ - see front matter # 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.tws.2003.12.005
534 M. Feng et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 42 (2004) 533555

walls or as individual columns. It is only recently that their behaviour in re is


being studied by researchers. Therefore, there does not exist an extensive set of re
test data to form a valid statistical basis to allow design calculation methods to be
rigorously checked and validated. To speed up the development of suitable design
rules, it is useful to employ advanced numerical methods to perform sensitivity stu-
dies to help identify the main inuencing factors on the behaviour of cold-formed
thin-walled steel structures in re.
Initial imperfection is an important factor that causes uncertainty in the predic-
tions of structural behaviour. Thin-walled sections are characterised by their thin-
ness. They can easily be deformed during handling and thus have high geometrical
initial imperfections. This paper focuses on the eects of imperfections on thin-
walled steel tubes under compression at high temperatures. The results of previous
studies by the authors [5,6] indicate that for thin-walled steel studs in walls where
the re exposure on one side causes temperature gradients, the eect of initial
imperfections is relatively small. This is understandable since any eect of initial
geometrical imperfections will be overwhelmed by the eect of thermal bowing
caused by temperature gradients. Thus this paper will only consider uniformly
heated members.
Kaitila reported the results of a similar study [9,10]. He examined the eects of
initial local and global imperfections and their combinations on a uniformly heated
lipped channel column bending about its major axis. He found that with a realistic
level of initial imperfection and using the stressstrain relationships of Outinen
[1214], column buckling curve b would give a better prediction of the column
strength than column buckling curve c, as recommended by the 1995 version of
ENV1993-1-2. This study is seen to complement that of Kaitila. In addition to
investigating the eects of initial local and global imperfections, this paper will also
examine the eects of using dierent stressstrain relationships of cold-formed steel
at elevated temperatures. Instead of considering a simple column length as in the
study of Kaitila, this paper uses a range of column lengths to evaluate these eects
on columns with dierent modes of behaviour.

2. Validation of numerical simulations

This study uses ABAQUS [8] to conduct numerical simulations. In these analy-
ses, the steel column uniform temperature is raised to the target level and then kept
unchanged. Afterwards, load is applied until column failure.
Each analysis is carried out in two steps. The rst step is an elastic eigenvalue
buckling analysis, in which the buckling modes are obtained and the deection
prole of the lowest buckling mode is used to determine the column initial imper-
fection. In the second step, loads are applied. In the analysis of Kaitila [9,10],
higher buckling modes were used in determining column initial imperfections. Also
dierent modes were combined in the same analysis. This approach is not pursued
in this study since it is considered dicult to know a prior the correct buckling
mode or modes to be used. On the contrary, using the lowest buckling mode is
M. Feng et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 42 (2004) 533555 535

more likely to be consistently acceptable in the absence of detailed measurement of


initial imperfections.
ABAQUS has been used extensively by the authors to simulate the behaviour of
cold-formed thin-walled short steel columns in re [5], where some examples of
validation of the numerical results are given. This section provides examples to
demonstrate the authors condence in using ABAQUS to model long column
behaviour.
Ala-Outinen and Myllymaki [1] reported some transient-state re tests on
900mm long columns of rectangular hollow section (RHS) 200  200  5 under
both concentric and eccentric compression loading. The top of the test columns
was free to rotate about two horizontal axes and expand axially. The bottom of
the columns was xed. Because Ala-Outinen and Myllymaki [1] did not give
detailed material properties at elevated temperatures, this study will only compare
numerical and test results at ambient temperature. The 0.2% proof stress and
elastic modulus of 471 N/mm2 and 210,000 N/mm2 have been reported from their
tensile coupon tests.
Element type S4R is used in this study. Figs. 1 and 2 show comparisons of
various simulated load-axial displacement relationships with the test results of
Ala-Outinen and Myllymaki [1] under concentric load and eccentric load respect-
ively, at ambient temperature. The simulation results are for the dierent
maximum initial imperfections of the same mode, which is shown in Fig. 3. In
Figs. 1 and 2, h is the width of the cross-section (200 mm), t is the steel web thick-
ness (5 mm) and L is the column length (900 mm). Ala-Outinen and Myllymaki [1]
reported a maximum initial imperfection of about h/200. It can be seen from
results in Figs. 1 and 2 that the simulation results, especially the predicted column
strengths, are in very good agreement with the test results. In fact the simulated

Fig. 1. Load-displacement relationships for RHS 200  200  5 under concentric compression.
536 M. Feng et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 42 (2004) 533555

Fig. 2. Load-displacement relationships for RHS 200  200  5 under eccentric compression
(e 28 mm).

column strength is not very sensitive to initial imperfections less than the realistic
value of h/200. For initial imperfections much greater than h/200, the simulated
column strengths are noticeably lower.

Fig. 3. Input initial imperfection mode.


M. Feng et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 42 (2004) 533555 537

Fig. 4. Load-axial displacement curves for RHS 200  200  5 under concentric load using dierent
nite element mesh sizes.

Fig. 4 further compares the test and simulation results by using dierent nite
element sizes. It is seen that the dierence in simulation results by using nite
element meshes of 20  20 mm or 10  10 mm is hardly noticeable. To save
computational time, nite element mesh of 20  20 mm will be used in the para-
metric study.

3. Parametric studies

3.1. Basic parameters

The present study uses a rectangular hollow section (RHS) 200  200  5, whose
dimensions are given in Fig. 5. Since it is considered that uniform heating is
usually associated with columns in isolation, using a tube section is more realistic
than using a channel, as done by Kaitila [9,10]. S4R shell elements in ABAQUS
are used. A rigid plate is attached to each end of the column. The rigid plate can
deform in the axial direction, but twisting about it is prevented. Two horizontal
restraints are applied at the centroid of the hollow section at each end to prevent
lateral deformations. Rotational restraint about the vertical axis has also been
applied to form a standard simple support boundary condition, as shown in Fig. 5.
The column length varies from 2 to 8 m.
In addition to the ambient temperature, the two elevated temperatures are
v v
400 C and 600 C, respectively.
538 M. Feng et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 42 (2004) 533555

Fig. 5. Cross-section dimensions and boundary conditions of the column used in parametric study. (a)
Cross-section dimensions; (b) boundary condition.

3.2. Stressstrain relationships

The stressstrain relationships at high temperatures used in this parameter study


are based on the models in Outinen [1214] or in ENV1993-1-2 (2001) or an elastic
perfectly plastic stressstrain representation. When using the Outinen model, the
directly measured stressstrain relationships for S355 of Outinen at dierent high
temperatures are used, as shown in Fig. 6(a). In the elastic perfectly plastic stress
strain relationship shown in Fig. 6(b), the 0.2% proof stresses from ENV1993-1-2
at dierent high temperatures are used as yield stresses. Fig. 6(b) also shows the
ENV1993-1-2 stressstrain relationships. In ENV 1993-1-2, mathematical equations
are given for the stressstrain relationships of steel at elevated temperatures. These
equations are based on the stress at 2% total strain. However, for cold-formed
steel, ENV1993-1-2 only gives the retention factors for the 0.2% proof stress.
Therefore, a suitable modication has been done in order that the mathematical
equations for the stressstrain relationships at elevated temperatures in ENV1993-
1-2 can be used directly. The modication is to select a value for the stress reten-
tion factor at 2% total strain by trial and error so that the retention factors for the
0.2% proof stress equals to the ENV1993-1-2 value for the 0.2% proof stress.
At ambient temperature, because there is no detailed stressstrain relationship in
Outinen [1214], the same model as Feng et al. [5] has been used in this study. In
this model, the elastic stressstrain behaviour is represented by a linear segment up
to a limit stress f p 0:75 f y , where fy is the 0.2% proof stress. The slope of this
linear segment equals to the measured elastic modulus. The gradual yield behav-
iour is idealised by using a bi-linear representation with tangent modulus E1 and
E2 between the proportional limit fp and the yield strength fy with an intermediate
M. Feng et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 42 (2004) 533555 539

Fig. 6. Input stressstrain relationships at high temperatures. (a) Outinen [1214] model at high tempera-
tures; (b) ENV 1993-1-2 model and perfectly elasticplastic (EP) representation.

point at a stress of 0.875 fy. The strain-hardening behaviour is represented by a lin-


ear segment with a modulus E3 E=200, where the stress is equal to the yield
stress fy, as shown in Fig. 7.

4. Results of parametric studies

4.1. Eects of isolated initial imperfections

From the results of eigenvalue buckling analyses, it can be found that the lowest
buckling mode changes from local buckling to exural buckling as the eective
length changes, as shown in Table 1.
540 M. Feng et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 42 (2004) 533555

Fig. 7. Stressstrain relationship at ambient temperature.

Table 1
Initial imperfection shapes
M. Feng et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 42 (2004) 533555 541

The initial imperfection magnitude for local buckling is in proportion to the


thickness and size of the cross-section, and the maximum initial imperfection for
global buckling is in proportion to the column length. According to Kaitila [9], the
maximum initial imperfection for local and global buckling is about h/200 and
L/500 respectively, where h is the cross-section width and L is the column length.
To study the eect of initial local imperfections, the maximum imperfection values
of h/200, t (the thickness of the cross-section), 10%t, 50%t will be used. For global
buckling, values of L/1000 and L/500 will be used.
The simulated column strengths are summarised in Table 2. It should be pointed
that the Outinen [1214] material model has been used for these simulations. It can
be seen that initial imperfections have a large inuence on predicted column
strengths, the higher the initial imperfection, the lower the predicted column
strength. However, a close examination of results in Table 2 suggests that the pre-
dicted column strength is less sensitive to initial local imperfection under local
buckling mode than to initial global imperfections under global buckling mode.
For example, for the 2000 mm column whose failure is clearly local buckling, an
initial local buckling imperfection of half or twice the reported value of h/200
(1 mm) produces a dierence of much less than 10%. On the other hand, for the
8000 mm column whose failure mode is global buckling, reducing the initial imper-
fection from the reported value of around L/500 to half this value (L/1000) gives a
dierence approaching 15%. It is thus clearly more eective in spending eorts to
measure initial global deections than local deections, especially when it is very
dicult to measure local deections.
As expected, the lower the initial imperfection, the higher the predicted column
failure load, but the more rapidly the column reduces its load after reading the
peak. This is observed in both local and global buckling cases, as can be seen from
the two examples in Figs. 8 and 9.
4.2. Eects of combined initial imperfections

Ideally, numerical simulations should include the exact measured initial imper-
fections of a cold-formed section. However, this will not be realistic since there will
not be measured data available. Even if data were available, there would be great
diculty in preparing the simulation data le. It is reasonable to assume that the
predominant mode of initial imperfection will be that associated with the lowest
buckling mode. This has been adopted in the simulation study of the previous sec-
tion. This section will investigate the eect of combining the initial imperfection of
the lowest buckling mode with anther one. It was intended to combine the lowest
local buckling mode with the lowest global buckling mode. However, in ABAQUS
simulations of columns of 2, 4 and 8 m, due to limitations of the eigenvalue solver,
only the 8 m column can display both local and global modes of buckling. For the
2 and 4 m column, the global buckling load is very high and only the local buck-
ling mode can be displayed. Therefore, for the 2 and 4 m columns, the initial glo-
bal imperfection will be represented by an eccentricity. Thus, in this study, initial
542 M. Feng et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 42 (2004) 533555

Table 2
Simulated column ultimate loads at dierent temperatures with dierent initial imperfections
v
Column Temperature ( C) Initial imperfection Ultimate load (kN)
length (mm)
Shape Magnitude
h=200 1 mm 1204.6
10%t 0:5 mm 1276.2
50%t 2:5 mm 1074.1
Ambient Local buckling t 5 mm 960.1
L=1000 2 mm 1108.1
L=500 4 mm 1000.1
h=200 1 mm 798
10%t 0:5 mm 848.3
50%t 2:5 mm 719.3
2000 400 Local buckling t 5 mm 689.6
L=1000 2 mm 736.9
L=500 4 mm 699.1
h=200 1 mm 451.9
10%t 0:5 mm 482.7
50%t 2:5 mm 421.3
600 Local buckling t 5 mm 403.3
L=1000 2 mm 426.2
L=500 4 mm 409.6

h=200 1 mm 1195
10%t 0:5 mm 1275
50%t 2:5 mm 1057
Ambient Local buckling t 5 mm 947.4
L=1000 4 mm 986
L=500 8 mm 860.3
h=200 1 mm 782.3
10%t 0:5 mm 824.6
50%t 2:5 mm 704.7
4000 400 Local buckling t 5 mm 688.3
L=1000 4 mm 695.9
L=500 8 mm 665.6

h=200 1 mm 452.3
10%t 0:5 mm 482.9
50%t 2:5 mm 421.2
600 Local buckling t 5 mm 403.8
L=1000 4 mm 410.0
L=500 8 mm 385.3

h=200 1 mm 817.5
10%t 0:5 mm 833.9
8000 50%t 2:5 mm 769.3
Ambient Flexural buckling t 5 mm 720.4
8000
L=1000 8 mm 681.7
L=500 16 mm 604.3
(continued on next page)
M. Feng et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 42 (2004) 533555 543

Table 2
(continued)
v
Column Temperature ( C) Initial imperfection Ultimate load (kN)
length (mm)
Shape Magnitude

h=200 1 mm 575.6
10%t 0:5 mm 522.9
50%t 2:5 mm 495.6
400 Flexural buckling t 5 mm 504.4
L=1000 8 mm 474.1
L=500 16 mm 414.1
h=200 1 mm 265.7
10%t 0:5 mm 268.1
50%t 2:5 mm 257.0
600 Flexural buckling t 5 mm 243.8
L=1000 8 mm 232.9
L=500 16 mm 208.4

local imperfections of the magnitude of 0, h/200 and h/100 are combined with
initial global imperfections or eccentricities of 0, L/1000 and L/500.
As in Section 3.1, the Outinen [1214] stressstrain relationships have been used.
Table 3 presents the simulation results. It can be seen that for the short column of
2 m where local buckling failure is predominant, there is very little dierence in
simulated results regardless of whether global imperfection (in the form of an
eccentricity) is present or not. For the 8 m column, comparison of the column fail-
ure loads for the same initial global imperfection, but without initial local imper-
fection and with a realistic initial local imperfection of h/200, show that a realistic

v
Fig. 8. Load-axial displacement relationships for the 2000 mm column at 600 C with dierent magni-
tudes of initial imperfection.
544 M. Feng et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 42 (2004) 533555

v
Fig. 9. Load-axial displacement relationships for the 8000 mm column at 600 C with dierent magni-
tudes of initial imperfection.

initial local imperfection has a small eect, reducing the column strength by about
4% compared to neglecting the initial local imperfection. It can be concluded that
the eect of initial global imperfections is greater than local imperfection for the
column where global buckling failure is predominant.
For the 4 m column, even though numerical eigenvalue analysis could only dis-
play local buckling modes, it is very likely that the eect of local and global buck-
ling modes are similar. As a result, the eects of both types of initial imperfections
are noticeable. Even in this case, using initial imperfections from the predominant
local buckling mode only will still give a good predication of column failure loads.
This is demonstrated by comparing the simulated column strength using a realistic
initial local imperfection of h/200 only with that using this initial local imperfec-
tion combined with an eccentricity of L/500, which gives a dierence being less
than 8%.
As a summary, it may be concluded that using initial imperfections from the
lowest buckling mode only is easy to incorporate in numerical simulations. It will
also give a very good prediction of the column strength compared to using combi-
nations of local and global imperfections.

4.3. Inuence of stressstrain relationships

At present, there is some uncertainty about the stressstrain relationships of


cold-formed steel at elevated temperatures. In ENV 1993-1-2, the same model for
hot-rolled steel is assumed to apply to cold-formed steel, even though their behav-
iour is expected to be dierent. To give some insight to the sensitivity of column
behaviour to the stressstrain relationships of cold-formed steel, numerical simula-
tions are carried out for the three models described in Section 3.2. The initial
M. Feng et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 42 (2004) 533555 545

Table 3
The ultimate loads of 4000 mm long RHS 200  200  5 column at dierent temperatures with dierent
initial local buckling imperfections and eccentricity
Column Temp. Magnitude of local Eccentricity (e) or global Failure load (kN)
v
length (mm) ( C) initial imperfection imperfection (d) (mm)
2000 400 h=200 1 mm e0 798
e L=1000 2 785.5a
e L=500 4 792.1
h=100 2 mm e0 736.9
e L=1000 2 736.3
e L=500 4 731.9

4000 amb h=200 1 mm e0 1197.5


e L=1000 4 1143.1
e L=500 8 1117.2
h=100 2 mm e0 1092.9
e L=1000 4 1033
e L=500 8 1016.3
400 h=200 1 mm e0 782.3
e L=1000 4 760.0
e L=500 8 742.7

h=100 2 mm e0 728.9
e L=1000 4 688.2
e L=500 8 680.4
600 h=200 1 mm e0 452.3
e L=1000 4 431.1
e L=500 8 418.7
h=100 2 mm e0 425.9
e L=1000 4 391.0
e L=500 8 383.5
8000 400 0 mm d L=1000 8 474.1
h=200 1 mm 453.5
h=100 2 mm 419.0
0 mm d L=500 16 414.1
h=200 1 mm 398.7
h=100 2 mm 371.2
a
Numerical convergence problem.

imperfections are h/200 for local buckling and L/500 for global buckling as repor-
ted by Kaitila [9,10].
The results are summarised in Table 4. The simulated column strengths using the
v
Outinen [1214] stressstrain model are much higher than others at 600 C. This is
because the 0.2% proof stress in the Outinen model is about 20% higher than that
given in ENV 1993-1-2, which is also used in the elastic perfectly plastic model.
Since the column behaviour is in the elasticplastic range, it can be found that the
546 M. Feng et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 42 (2004) 533555

Table 4
Comparison of predicted ultimate failure loads using dierent material models
Col- Temp Initial imperfection Ultimate load (kN) using stressstrain relationship of
v
umn ( C)
Shape Maximum Outinen ENV1993-1-2 Perfect elastic
length
magnitude plastic
(mm)

amb Local 1204.6 1330.5 1330.5


400 h=200 797.99 764.3 886.9
2000 buckling
600 1 mm 451.88 350.8 403
mode
amb Local 1197.5 1234.0 1324
400 h=200 782.3 762.2 888.2
4000 buckling
600 1 mm 452.3 348.9 409.7
mode
amb Flexural 604.3 663.4 663.4
L=500
8000 400 buckling 414.1 406.4 457.7
600 16 mm
mode 208.4 182.2 207.4

shape of the stressstrain relationship will also aect the column failure load
regardless of the column temperatures. Except at ambient temperature, the simu-
lated column strength using the elastic perfectly plastic model is always higher than
that using the ENV 1993-1-2 model, even though both have the same 0.2% proof
stress.

5. Comparison of simulation results with design calculations

At present, design calculation methods for cold-formed thin-walled members in


re are not as well developed as for hot-rolled members. It is possible to employ a
number of methods. This section will give an assessment of these methods.

5.1. Eurocodes: ENV1993-1-3 [3] and ENV1993-1-2 [4]

For a uniformly heated column, the design calculations for elevated tempera-
tures may be considered to be equivalent to those for a dierent grade of steel at
ambient temperature. In this case, the method in Eurocode 3 Part 1.3 may be used.
In these calculations, the reduced yield stress and elastic modulus of steel at elev-
ated temperatures should be used instead of the yield stress and elastic modulus at
ambient temperature. According to Ranby [15], the yield stress may be taken as the
0.2% proof stress.
Alternatively, the re design method in ENV1993-1-2 [4] may be used. Although
ENV1993-1-2 [4] refers to ENV 1993-1-3 [3], there are two important dierences
between the two calculation methods: Firstly, ENV1993-1-2 recommends that the
eective width of a steel plate should be kept unchanged as at ambient tempera-
tures; Secondly, the column buckling curve is dierent. The column buckling curve
in ENV1993-1-2 is the same as that for hot-rolled steel columns and is adopted
Table 5
Comparison of ultimate failure loads between ABAQUS simulations and modied Eurocode predictions
Column Temp. Maximum initial Material model
v
length ( C) imperfection
(mm)
Local Global (mm) Outinen ENV1993-1-2 Perfect elastic-plastic
(mm)
ABAQUS Modied ENV1993- ABAQUS Modied ENV1993- ABAQUS Modied ENV1993-
ENV1993- 1-2 ENV1993- 1-2 ENV1993- 1-2
1-3 1-3 1-3
Amb. 1204.6 1319.8 1218.5 1330.5 1319.8 1218.5 1330.5 1319.8 1218.5
2000 400 0 797.99 886.7 800.4 764.3 883.5 795.9 886.9 883.5 795.9
600 451.86 478.0 482.9 350.8 401.2 366.4 403 401.2 366.4
Amb. 1197.5 1131.1 1029.4 1234.0 1131.1 1029.4 1324 1131.1 1029.4
400 782.3 764.4 682.6 762.2 762.0 679.3 888.2 762.0 679.3
0
600 452.3 399.3 390.4 348.9 344.8 310.9 409.7 344.8 310.9
Amb. h=200 1 1143.1 1280.7 1280.7
400 Eccentricity 756 714.9 860.5
4000 As above As above As above As above As above As above
600 e L=1000 4 431.1 322.8 395.7
Amb. 1117.2 1244.2 1244.2
400 Eccentricity 742.7 701.2 836.6
As above As above As above As above As above As above
600 e L=500 8 418.7 318.0 384.7
M. Feng et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 42 (2004) 533555

Amb. 604.3 614.2 573.0 663.4 614.2 573.0 663.4 614.2 573.0
8000 400 0 L=500 16 414.1 424.5 391.9 406.4 424 391.0 457.7 424 391.0
600 208.4 198.8 182.3 182.2 189.3 167.1 207.4 189.3 167.1
547
548 M. Feng et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 42 (2004) 533555

from the results of a numerical study by Franssen et al. [7]. Appendices I and II
present an example of using each of these two methods.
Table 5 compares the numerical simulation results with calculations using the
aforementioned two design methods. It can be seen that the re design method in
ENV 1993-1-2 predicts lower column strengths than the modied ambient tempera-
ture design method based on ENV1993-1-3. The dierence between the two
methods is principally due to the dierent column buckling curves used. For the
cross-section under consideration, it does not appear to matter whether the eect
of temperature on local buckling width is included or not. However, this needs to
be investigated in more detail by using dierent cross-sections that have higher
ratios of plate width to thickness.
The column buckling curve used in ENV1993-1-3 is mainly applicable to stress
strain relationships close to elastic perfectly plastic. Thus, at ambient temperature,
the predictions of ENV1993-1-3 are more accurate, while being on the safe side,
than those using ENV1993-1-2. However, at elevated temperatures, stressstrain
relationships of cold-formed steel become highly non-linear. Therefore, if numeri-
cal simulations using the more realistic material methods of either Outinen or
ENV1993-1-2, using the column buckling curve in ENV1993-1-3 leads to over pre-
diction of the column strengths. On the contrast, using the column buckling curve
in ENV1993-1-2 appears to produce safe results. This suggest that at elevated tem-
peratures, the stressstrain relationships of both hot-rolled and cold-formed steels
converge so that the column buckling curve derived by Franssen et al. [7] for hot-
rolled steel becomes applicable to cold-formed steel. On the whole, the method in
ENV1993-1-2 gives acceptable results.
5.2. SCI method [11]

In addition to the Eurocode methods described in the previous section, Lawson


[11] adopted the limiting temperature method in BS5950 Part 8 [2] for hot-rolled
steel structures to cold-formed thin-walled steel structures. The limiting tempera-
ture is a function of the load ratio of the structural member. The load ratio is
dened by:
Load on member at the fire limit state
Load ratio :
Load carrying capacity of member under normal loading
1
Fig. 10 compares the numerical simulation results for using dierent stressstrain
models. In each gure, results of the 2, 4 and 8 m columns are compared. For the
2 and 4 m columns, simulations include an initial local imperfection of h/200. For
the 8 m column, an initial global imperfection of L/500 is used. It can be seen that
regardless of the material model, these does seem to exist an almost xed relation-
ship between the column failure temperature and its applied load. Thus the concept
of limiting temperature is applicable.
For columns under uniform heating, the Lawson method is very easy to use.
Fig. 11 compares the numerical simulation results and the limiting temperatures
M. Feng et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 42 (2004) 533555 549

Fig. 10. Comparison of simulated column failure loads for dierent column lengths by using dierent
stressstrain models. (a) Outinen model; (b) ENV 1993-1-2 model; (c) elastic perfectly plastic model.
550 M. Feng et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 42 (2004) 533555

Fig. 11. Comparisons of results of numerical simulation and Lawson method. (a) 2000 mm column; (b)
4000 mm column; (c) 8000 mm column.
M. Feng et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 42 (2004) 533555 551

according to the Lawson method. It can be found that the Lawson method gives
lower results than the simulation results using the Outinen [1214] material model
and higher results than using the ENV1993-1-2 stressstrain relationship. The best
agreement is when the elastic perfectly plastic stressstrain relationship is used.
Since the elastic perfectly plastic model is unlikely to be a realistic representation,
the column limiting temperatures will need to be adjusted, however, this will
depend on the true stressstrain relationship of cold-formed steel to be accepted.

6. Conclusions

This paper has presented the results of a numerical sensitivity study of ultimate
failure loads of a cold-formed thin-walled steel section to dierent initial local and
global imperfections and their combinations for columns of dierent slenderness at
dierent temperatures. Three stressstrain relationships were considered. The
results have been compared with design predictions by using the re design method
in ENV 1993-1-2 [4], the modied ambient temperature method based on
ENV1993-1-3 [3] and the limiting temperature method of Lawson [11]. The follow-
ing conclusions may be drawn:

. Initial imperfection has an important eect on the load carrying capacity of a


cold-formed thin-walled column under uniform heating. As expected, the higher
the initial imperfection, the lower the column strength.
. Combining initial deections of dierent buckling modes, as would happen in
realistic structures, will give dierent results of predicted column strengths from
using only one mode of initial imperfection. However, combining dierent buck-
ling modes to simulate realistic initial imperfections will be dicult to
implement in numerical simulations because of a lack of measured initial imper-
fection data and complexity associated with preparation of input data les. For-
tunately, the failure load of a column in its predominant buckling mode is only
slightly aected by an additional initial imperfection of a dierent mode. There-
fore, it is acceptable to use only the initial imperfections of the lowest buckling
mode.
. Simulation results are sensitive to the input stressstrain model of cold-formed
steel. Further fundamental experimental research will be necessary to clarify the
current uncertainty.
. The ambient temperature column buckling curve in ENV1993-1-3 is clearly not
suitable for re design since it will overestimate column strength in some cases.
The new column buckling curve in ENV1993-1-2, originally developed for hot-
rolled steel, seems to produce acceptable, safe results.
. The limiting temperatureload ratio method of Lawson may be considered
usable since the failure temperatures of columns with the same load ratio, but
dierent failure modes, do not change much. However, the column limiting tem-
peratures will be dierent from those recommended by Lawson. The revised lim-
iting temperatures will depend on the accepted stressstrain model of cold-
formed steel.
552 M. Feng et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 42 (2004) 533555

Acknowledgements

This project is sponsored by the UKs Engineering and Physical Science


Research Council (EPSRC) under grant GR/M56319.

Appendix I. An example of using the modied ENV 1993-1-3 method to


calculate the ultimate failure load of a 4000 mm long RHS 200  200  5
v
column at 400 C by using the ENV1993-1-2 material model

Cross-section dimensions, material properties

b 200 mm
t 5 mm
L 4000 mm
f 0:2 406 N=mm2 at ambient temperature
f0:2;400 C ky f0:2 0:65  406 263:9 N=mm2 at 400 C
v
v

E 210600 N=mm2 at ambient temperature


E400 C kE E 0:7  210600 147420 N=mm2 at 400 C
v
v

Gross cross-sectional properties

Area : A t4b 8000 mm2


1
Ix Iy b t4  b  t4 2670 cm4
12 r
r
Ix Iy
ix iy 81:7 mm
A A
M. Feng et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 42 (2004) 533555 553

Local buckling

Eective width
kr 4:0
s 0:053 w
2 1
b 121  m f
v
0:2;400 C kp
kp 0:8905 > 0:673 giving q 0:8707
t p2 E400 C kr
v kp
Effective width beff qb 174:14 mm
b1 87:07 mm
2
Effective area Aeff 4qbt 3482:909 " mm
 2 # "   #
1 3 3 b b b1 2
Ieff ;x Ieff ;y 4tb1 b1 t 4 b1 t 4 b1 t  2407:044 cm4
12 2 2 2
Ieff ;x
Weff ;x Weff ;y 240:704 cm3
b=2
The ultimate failure load for local buckling is :
Pcr f0:2;400 C Aeff 919139:8 N 919:1 kN
v

Flexural buckling
kx ky 49
Use buckling curve b according to ENV1993-1-3 at ambient temperature;
bA Aeff =A 0:8707 and a 0:34
!0:5
E400 C v

k1 p 74:214
f0:2;400 C v

 
y k b0:5 0:616
x k
k
k1 A
/ 0:51 a k  0:2  k2 0:760
1
vx vy 0:829
/ /2   k2x 0:5
The ultimate failure load of the column is : Pb vbA Af0:2;400 C v

762025:7 N 762:02 kN
554 M. Feng et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 42 (2004) 533555

Appendix II. An example of using the ENV 1993-1-2 method to calculate the
ultimate failure load of the column in Appendix I

Local buckling

Eective width (same as at ambient temperature)

kr 4:0
s 0:053 w
2 1
b 121  m f0:2 kp
kp 0:9242 > 0:673; giving q 0:8479
t p2 Ekr kp

Eective width beff qb 169:58 mm


b1 84:79 mm

Eective area Aeff 4qbt 3391:58 mm2


"   # "   #
1 3 3 b 2 b b1 2
Ieff ;x Ieff ;y 4tb1 b1 t 4 b1 t 4 b1 t  2360:46 cm4
12 2 2 2
Ieff ;x
Weff ;x Weff ;y 236:046 cm3
b=2

The ultimate failure load for local buckling is:


Pcr f0:2;400 C Aeff 895036:6 N 895:04 kN:
v

Flexural buckling
r
ky
kx;400
C
v ky;400
C
v k 47:2
ke
bA Aeff =A 0:8707
 0:5
E
k1 p 71:51
f0:2 
 k
kx 
ky b0:5
A 0:608
k 1
r
235
a 0:65 0:376
f0:2
/ 0:51 a k k2 0:799
1
vx vy 0:759
/ /2   k2x 0:5

The ultimate failure load for exural buckling is: Pb vbA Af0:2;400 v
C
679280:7 N 679:28 kN:
M. Feng et al. / Thin-Walled Structures 42 (2004) 533555 555

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