First Advisor

Peter Dusicka

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Civil & Environmental Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering




Seismic design, Fiber reinforced polymer, Bracing, Structural Aluminum, Buckling (Mechanics), Earthquake resistant design -- Research



Physical Description

1 online resource (xix, 212 p.) : ill.


An ultra-lightweight buckling-restrained brace (ULWBRB) is developed using a highly ductile aluminum core and FRP restrainer. Utilization of lightweight materials results in a BRB that is 25% the weight of traditional mortar-filled tube varieties allowing easy installation in small to medium sized buildings requiring seismic retrofit without the need for heavy equipment. Construction utilizes commonly stocked materials able to be customized for required strength, drift, and geometry limitations. Analytical single degree of freedom (SDOF) and Euler buckling models are compared with published equations to determine the required restrainer stiffness (RRS). SDOF models yield RRS values 200% higher than the Euler model. Applied end moments due to frame deformation are incorporated into a modified design method that gives RRS values 50% higher than Euler model without eccentricity. RRS is provided using a bundled and wrapped FRP tube configuration using a developed shear flow method considering composite action. Uniaxial low-cycle fatigue (LCF) testing of a 6061-T6 candidate alloy provides data for a constitutive model using combined kinematic-isotropic hardening. LCF testing of round short gage coupons indicates the candidate alloy is capable of stable cycling to 2%, 3%, and 4% total strain with excellent ductility. Early fracture of specimens at 24, 18, and 11 cycles, respectively, also indicates that other candidate alloys should be examined for improved fatigue life. However, inconsistency is noted between similar tests of 6061-T6 that were able to achieve up to 76 cycles at 2.5% total strain. ULWBRB FEA models loaded monotonically consistently give higher RRS values as compared to the analytical methods. This is due to assignment of initial imperfections, longer more realistic unbraced length, higher axial loads achieved through the post-yield region, and plastic hinging potential. Cyclic simulations of braces with the same RRS values are also able to achieve reliable and stable hysteretic behavior through 21 cycles. If a less stiff restrainer is used, cumulative energy dissipation potential is reduced considerably due to pinched hysteresis loops and strain ratcheting. Applied end moments are found to have a linear effect on the RRS that can be modeled by superposition of the buckling effect plus end moment.


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