Improving the ductility of steel I-beams through the use of glass fiber reinforced polymers
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Flange and web local buckling in beam plastic hinge regions of steel moment frames can prevent beam-column connections from achieving adequate plastic rotations under earthquake-induced forces. Reducing the flange-web slenderness ratios (FSR/WSR) of beams is the most effective way in mitigating local buckling as stipulated in the latest seismic design specifications. However, existing steel moment frame buildings with beams that lack the adequate slenderness ratios set forth for new buildings are vulnerable to local member buckling and thereby system-wise instability prior to reaching the required plastic rotation capacities specified for new buildings. This paper presents results from a research study investigating the cyclic behavior of steel I-beams modified by a welded haunch at the bottom flange and reinforced with glass fiber reinforced polymers at the plastic hinge region. Cantilever I-sections with a triangular haunch at the bottom flange and FSR higher then those stipulated in current design specifications were analyzed under reversed cyclic loading. Beam sections with different depth/width and flange/web slenderness ratios (FSR/WSR) were considered. The FEA results revealed that the GFRP reinforcement moderately improves the plastic local behavior of steel I-beams.