Wind Drift Design of Steel Framed Buildings: An Analytical Study and a Survey of the Practice

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Virginia Tech


The design of steel framed buildings must take into consideration the lateral drift of the structure due to wind loading and any serviceability issues that may arise from this lateral movement. This thesis focuses on one of these issues, damage to nonstructural components.

Although there are no specific requirements in the United States governing the effects of wind drift, it is an important issue which may significantly impact the buildings structural performance and economy. Furthermore, because these serviceability issues are not codified, there is a wide variation among design firms in how they are dealt with, leading to a greater economic disparity.

This thesis begins with a comprehensive review of the literature that covers all pertinent aspects of wind drift in steel framed buildings. Next an analytical study of the variations in modeling parameters is performed to demonstrate how simple assumptions can affect the overall buildings stiffness and lateral displacements. A study is then carried out to illustrate the different sources of elastic deformation in a variety of laterally loaded steel frames. The different modeling variables demonstrate how deformation sources vary with bay width, the number of bays and the number of stories, providing a useful set of comparisons.

To ascertain how serviceability issues are dealt with from firm to firm, a survey of the practice is developed to update the one conducted in 1988 (ASCE). In effect, the thesis is presented with the intention of suggesting and establishing a comprehensive, performance based approach to the wind drift design of steel framed buildings.



structural steel, structural analysis, serviceability, wind, drift