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Steel and Composite Structures
  Volume 33, Number 4, November25 2019 , pages 595-614

Testing, simulation and design of back-to-back built-up cold-formed steel unequal angle sections under axial compression
G. Beulah Gnana Ananthi, Krishanu Roy, Boshan Chen and James B.P. Lim

    In cold-formed steel (CFS) structures, such as trusses, transmission towers and portal frames, the use of back-to-back built-up CFS unequal angle sections are becoming increasingly popular. In such an arrangement, intermediate welds or screw fasteners are required at discrete points along the length, preventing the angle sections from buckling independently. Limited research is available in the literature on axial strength of back-to-back built-up CFS unequal angle sections. The issue is addressed herein. This paper presents an experimental investigation on both the welded and screw fastened back-to-back built-up CFS unequal angle sections under axial compression. The load-axial shortening and the load verses lateral displacement behaviour along with the deformed shapes at failure are reported. A nonlinear finite element (FE) model was then developed, which includes material nonlinearity, geometric imperfections and modelling of intermediate fasteners. The FE model was validated against the experimental test results, which showed good agreement, both in terms of failure loads and deformed shapes at failure. The validated FE model was then used for the purpose of a parametric study to investigate the effect of different thicknesses, lengths and, yield stresses of steel on axial strength of back-to-back built-up CFS unequal angle sections. Five different thicknesses and seven different lengths (stub to slender columns) with two different yield stresses were investigated in the parametric study. Axial strengths obtained from the experimental tests and FE analyses were used to assess the performance of the current design guidelines as per the Direct Strength Method (DSM); obtained comparisons show that the current DSM is conservative by only 7% on average, while predicting the axial strengths of back-to-back built-up CFS unequal angle sections.
Key Words
    axial strength; back-to-back built-up sections; buckling; cold-formed steel; finite element modelling; unequal angle sections
(1) G. Beulah Gnana Ananthi:
Division of Structural Engineering, College of Engineering Guindy Campus, Anna University, Chennai, India;
(2) Krishanu Roy, Boshan Chen, James B.P. Lim:
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.

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