Experimental performance of steel braced frames subjected to bidirectional loading

Keith D. Palmer, Charles W. Roeder, Dawn E. Lehman, Taichiro Okazaki, Carol Shield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Abstract Concentrically braced frames (CBFs) are stiff, strong systems frequently used to resist seismic loading. Special CBF (SCBF) behavior is dominated by brace buckling, while buckling restrained braced frames (BRBFs) develop tensile and compressive yielding and avoid brace buckling. Both systems are widely used in seismic design, and both have a number of specific design issues. This paper describes a first of its kind, 2-story, 1-bay by 1-bay frame tested at the University of Minnesota Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation facility to examine the large-displacement, bidirectional behavior of SCBFs and BRBFs with realistic boundary conditions and to verify the design approach. The SCBF had rectangular hollow steel section (HSS) braces in a single-story X configuration, and the BRBF used a single-diagonal configuration. The design of the gusset plates for the HSS braces followed a previously proposed balanced design procedure with an elliptical clearance to permit out-of-plane rotation caused by brace buckling. The single-story X-brace SCBF concentrated damaged into one-half the brace length, and the first HSS brace fractured at 2% story drift. The BRBF gusset-plate design followed current design standards, and two of the BRB cores fractured at 3.6 and 4.2% story drift prior to any instability in the BRB or system. The SCBF sustained limited damage to the beams and columns; however, the BRBF had much more significant damage to these members because of larger deformations and BRBF behavior. The results indicate that these systems have a stable response to large cyclic deformations and the impact of bidirectional loading on the measured response was minimal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1274-1284
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Structural Engineering (United States)
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2013


  • BRB
  • Bracing
  • Buckling
  • Full-scale tests
  • Gusset plates
  • Steel frames


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