Publication Details

Teh, L. H., Hancock, G. J. & Clarke, M. J. (2004). Analysis and design of double-sided high-rise steel pallet rack frames. Journal of Structural Engineering, 130 (7), 1011-1021.


In routine design of steel storage rack frames, it is far more common to perform two dimensional (2D) rather than three dimensional (3D) linear buckling analyses. In this paper, it is demonstrated that the global buckling behavior of high-rise steel storage rack frames may not be revealed by 2D buckling analyses as 3D interaction modes are involved. It is shown that the monosymmetric upright columns of a high-rise rack frame fail in a flexural–torsional mode due to the shear-center eccentricity of the sections, and that the 3D frame buckling analysis is more reliable in determining the critical members of a rack frame. Current steel storage rack design standards combine independent 2D flexural buckling analyses and simplified flexural–torsional buckling analysis of individual columns to account for 3D behavior. Comparisons between the buckling stresses of the rack columns determined from 3D buckling analyses and the buckling stresses determined in accordance with the steel storage racking standards are presented. It is concluded that the use of 2D analysis based procedures can lead to poorly proportioned pallet rack structures in terms of safety or economy. By comparing the buckling analysis results using 3D beam elements of varying degrees of refinement to each other, it is also demonstrated that the beam elements available in most commercial frame analysis programs are not sufficiently refined for accurate 3D buckling analyses of high-rise rack frames composed of monosymmetric thin-walled open sections.

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