Creep buckling behavior of steel columns subjected to fire
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The essence of performance-based structural fire safety design of steel building structures is the ability to predict thermal and structural response to fire. An important aspect of such predictions is the ability to evaluate strength of columns at elevated temperatures. Columns are critical structural elements, and failure of columns can lead to collapse of a structure. The ability of steel columns to carry their design loads is greatly affected by timeand temperature-dependent mechanical properties of steel at high temperatures due to fire. It is well known that structural steel loses strength and stiffness with temperature, especially at temperatures above 400 °C. Further, the reductions in strength and stiffness of steel are also dependent on the duration of exposure to elevated temperatures. The time-dependent response or creep of steel plays a particularly important role in predicting the collapse load of steel columns subjected to fire temperatures. Specifically, creep of steel leads to the creep buckling phenomenon, where the critical buckling load for a steel column depends not only on slenderness and temperature, but also on duration of exposure to fire temperatures. The main focus of the research summarized in this dissertation is on a testing program to investigate the effects of time-dependent material behavior or creep on buckling of steel columns subjected to fire. Material characterization tests were conducted at temperatures up to 1000 °C to evaluate tensile and creep properties of ASTM A992 steel at elevated temperatures. In addition, buckling tests on W4×13 wide flange columns under pin-end conditions were conducted to characterize short-time and vii creep buckling phenomena at elevated temperatures. The column test results are further used to verify analytical and computational tools developed to model the time-dependent buckling of steel columns at elevated temperatures. Test results are also compared against code-based predictions such as those from Eurocode 3 and the AISC Specification. Results of the research study presented in this dissertation clearly indicate that thermal creep of steel has a very large effect on strength of steel columns at high temperatures due to fire. The effect of creep on column capacity at high temperatures can be predicted using analytical and computational approaches presented in this dissertation.