LRFD factors for pultruded wide-flange columns

Linda M. Vanevenhoven, Carol K. Shield, Lawrence C. Bank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) pultruded profiles are produced by a number of manufacturers worldwide in similar, but nonstandard, wide-flange, I, angle, and tubular profiles. At present there is no American National Standards Institute approved design code in the United States for structural design with pultruded FRP profiles. Manufacturers of pultruded profiles each provide their own design equations, design methods, material properties, and safety factors for their pultruded products. There is a need for standardization of production and design of pultruded profiles to enable mainstream use of these profiles in structural engineering practice. The purpose of this paper is twofold: (1) to provide appropriate resistance factors (φ factors) for wide-flange pultruded columns that are compatible with ASCE 7 load factors and (2) to provide a unified analytical equation for local and global buckling of concentrically loaded axial members, which may be appropriate for a future design code. The resistance factors are provided for different target levels of structural reliability, Β, and for different nominal design properties of the pultruded materials. The resistance factors were determined using Monte Carlo simulation based on the results of 75 tests of full-scale pultruded columns that have been reported in the literature. In addition, resistance factors and structural reliabilities were calculated for the design equations provided by the manufactures in their design codes. The paper demonstrates that a unified design equation for pultruded columns can be developed for LRFD with reliability indices that are similar to those used for conventional materials. The paper also shows that markedly different reliability indices are obtained for the different manufacturer-provided equations even though identical allowable stress design safety factors are recommended by all manufacturers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)554-564
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Structural Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2010


  • Buckling
  • Columns
  • Flanges
  • Global buckling
  • Load and resistance factor design
  • Local buckling
  • Pultrusion
  • Reliability
  • Resistance factors
  • Structural reliability
  • Wide flange profiles


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