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Finite element idealisation of a cold-formed steel portal frame

Lim, J.B.P. and Nethercot, D.A. (2004) Finite element idealisation of a cold-formed steel portal frame. Journal of Structural Engineering, 130 (1). pp. 78-94. ISSN 0733-9445

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A simple linear beam idealization of a cold-formed steel portal frame is presented in which beam elements are used to idealize the column and rafter members, and rotational spring elements are used to represent the rotational flexibility of the joints. In addition, the beam idealization takes into account the finite connection length of the joints. Deflections predicted using the beam idealization are shown to be comparable to deflections obtained from both a linear finite element shell idealization and full-scale laboratory tests. Using the beam idealization, deflections under rafter load are divided into three components: Deflection due to flexure of the column and rafter members, deflection due to bolt-hole elongation, and deflection due to in-plane bracket deformation. Of these deflection components, the deflection due to bolt-hole elongation is the most significant and cannot, therefore, be ignored. Using the beam idealization, engineers can analyze and design cold-formed steel portal frames, including making appropriate allowances for connection effects, without the need to resort to expensive finite element shell analysis.