Energy Dissipation Potential of Square Tubular Steel Columns Subjected to Axial Compression
Research into the post-buckling behavior of columns has typically been undertaken to establish safe design standards for compressive resistance rather than to evaluate the potential energy dissipation capacity under conditions of collapse. However, extreme events, such as very hot fires or acts of terrorism may require structural engineers to ascertain the possible consequences of a local failure that could manifest into a global collapse if adequate precautions are not taken in advance. Since a building’s columns are key to the avoidance of such a catastrophe, their collective ability to absorb energy under such conditions would be paramount to saving lives and minimizing the damage done to the structure overall. A test program on the crush resistance of square steel box sections was therefore undertaken to determine the amount of energy that could be absorbed, if subjected to axial loading exceeding maximum strength. For the eleven specimens, possessing slenderness ratios in the low intermediate range, and tested quasi-statically, all but one exhibited crush progression of inward and outward folds propagating over the length. The amount of energy absorbed thus determined far exceeded what might have been expected for H-shaped sections, namely mid-height plastic hinge buckling ultimately compressing into a scissors shape. Our results, therefore suggest that hollow squares are much more desirable as columns than open sections in such circumstances.
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