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Steel and Composite Structures
  Volume 31, Number 6, June25 2019 , pages 601-615

Experimental and numerical investigations on axial strength of back-to-back built-up cold-formed steel angle columns
G. Beulah Gnana Ananthi, Krishanu Roy and James B.P. Lim

    In cold-formed steel (CFS) structures, such as trusses, wall frames and columns, the use of back-to-back built-up CFS angle sections are becoming increasingly popular. In such an arrangement, intermediate fasteners are required at discrete points along the length, preventing the angle-sections from buckling independently. Limited research is available in the literature on the axial strength of back-to-back built-up CFS angle sections. The issue is addressed herein. This paper presents the results of 16 experimental tests, conducted on back-to-back built-up CFS screw fastened angle sections under axial compression. A nonlinear finite element model is then described, which includes material non-linearity, geometric imperfections and explicit modelling of the intermediate fasteners. The finite element model was validated against the experimental test results. The validated finite element model was then used for the purpose of a parametric study comprising 66 models. The effect of fastener spacing on axial strength was investigated. Four different cross-sections and two different thicknesses were analyzed in the parametric study, varying the slenderness ratio of the built-up columns from 20 to 120. Axial strengths obtained from the experimental tests and finite element analysis were used to assess the performance of the current design guidelines as per the Direct Strength Method (DSM); obtained comparison showed that the DSM is over-conservative by 13% on average. This paper has therefore proposed improved design rules for the DSM and verified their accuracy against the finite element and test results of back-to-back built-up CFS angle sections under axial compression.
Key Words
    back-to-back sections; built-up columns; cold-formed steel; direct strength method; finite element analysis
(1) G. Beulah Gnana Ananthi:
Division of Structural Engineering, College of Engineering Guindy Campus, Anna University, Chennai, India;
(2) Krishanu Roy, James B.P. Lim:
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.

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