Analysis of Stress Distribution and Failure Behavior of Cellular Beams

This paper presents an overview of recent research on cellular beams, or steel beams with circular expanded sections. Expanded web beams are common steel I-beam sections that have been adapted by adding web openings down the length of the span. The addition of these cells results in a beam of the same weight as the root beam but stronger and deeper due to the increased web depth. These added openings, however, also result in a different stress distribution within the web and new failure modes associated with the beam. Recent experimental research of coped cellular beams has shown that these non-composite beams often fail in one of three ways: 1) by buckling of the first web post, 2) by buckling of the region between the cope at the end connection and the first web opening (referred to as the e′ region), or 3) by a combination of e′ region buckling and web post buckling. A linear elastic finite element analysis for service loading conditions and a nonlinear buckling analysis were performed in parallel with the experimental testing program. The analyses were correlated with the experimental data.

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