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6.17.14 | Practical Design of Complex Stability Bracing Configurations

The design of bracing systems for frame geometries such as found in metal buildings, as well as for general steel beam-column members, can be an arduous task given current methods. The American Institute of Steel Construction’s Appendix 6 from the 2010 Specification for Structural Steel Buildings affords engineers a means for determining brace strength and stiffness requirements, but only for the most basic cases. Specifically, there are a number of attributes of metal building systems that place their designs outside the scope of AISC’s Appendix 6 (Stability Bracing for Columns and Beams). These include the use of web-tapered members, unequally spaced or unequal stiffness bracing, out-of-plane bracing at knee joints, the use of combined bracing types from flange diagonal bracing and roof or wall panels, and members subjected to bending plus axial force. This presentation discusses a more general approach based on the fundamental concepts and requirements of AISC Appendix 6, but using a practical computational tool to address attributes not captured by the Appendix 6 design equations.