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TECHNICAL PAPERS

TORSION AND WARPING

TORSION INCLUDING WARPING OF OPEN SECTIONS (I, C, Z, T AND L SHAPES)

Restrained warping for the torsion of thin-wall open sections is not included in most commonly used frame analysis programs. Almost all frame programs in practice use St-Venant torsion theory ignoring the effects of restrained warping.

Torsion and warping

It is important to note that the torsional stiffness of an open section is function of the warping end conditions as well as the location of the torsional load. Thus, the distribution of the forces in the structure having members resisting torsion may differ whether this option is enabled or disabled. A subdivided continuous member needs to be specified as a physical member to get the continuity effect of warping along the member.

In addition to shear stresses, some members carry torque by axial stresses. This is called warping torsion. This happens when the cross-section wants to warp, i.e., displace axially, but is prevented from doing so during twisting of the beam. In other words, the section tends to resist torsion by out of plane bending of the flanges.

Deformation

Bending in flanges

Torsion and warping equivalent top flange

Equivalent view of the top flange

Torsion and warping warped section

Warped section

Axial warping stresses

For solid and thin-wall closed sections (square, rectangular and circular tubes) these effects are often negligible. However, for thin-wall open sections restrained warping is often dominant. To include the effect of restrained warping we need to know the torsion constant J and the warping constant Cw which are geometric properties of the cross-section. For open shapes (I, C, Z, T, L, built-up …) the following equation may be used to evaluate the influence of the warping.

C=√(GJ/(EC_w ))

where
G Shear modulus of elasticity of the material
J Torsional constant for the cross section
E Modulus of elasticity of the material
C_w Warping constant for the cross-section

For axisymmetric cross-sections and thin-walled cross-sections with straight parts that intersect at one point such as X-shaped, T-shaped, and L-shaped cross-sections pure torsion will generally dominate over warping stresses. In these cases, torsional loads are carried by pure torsional shear stresses (St-Venant torsion) regardless of the boundary conditions.

LIMIT STATES CALCULATION INCLUDING TORSION

For open and closed cross sections, torsional stresses are evaluated from an elastic analysis. In the Torsion - Warping table, several columns describe in more details the pure torsion limit state.

The allowable stress in torsion is evaluated according to the selected design code. As torsional stresses are shear stresses, the torsional limit state is added directly to the shear limit state already calculated. The columns modified by this limit state are shown below in the Limit State Summary table.

LIMIT STATES CALCULATION INCLUDING WARPING DUE TO TORSION

The warping stresses are evaluated from an elastic analysis for open cross sections. In the Torsion - Warping table, several columns describe in more details the warping limit state.

Warping induces axial stresses as tension, compression and bending as well as shear stresses. These stresses thus have an influence on the compression-bending, tension-bending and shear limit states. The columns modified by this limit state are shown below in the Limit State Summary table.

TORSION OF A SIMPLY SUPPORTED WELDED PLATE GIRDER

The following example is taken from example 5.4 of the reference Torsional Analysis of Structural Steel Members, Steel Design Guide 9, AISC.

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