Rack Clad Buildings

Research Project Title: Rack Clad Buildings

Research Abstract:

Dr Alam’s research group is focusing on developing structural design guidelines for a new type of storage structure, which is called rack clad building or rack supported building. This new type of structure has a high capacity to weight ratios compared with conventional steel or reinforced-concrete storage structures. The structural elements of the rack clad building are generally made of thin-walled steel sheets, e.g., the steel sheets are cold-formed into the desired cross-sections of beams and columns. The structural frame, hence, is very light but could offer a considerable storage capacity. The construction of rack clad buildings is time-efficient since boltless joints (e.g., hook-in end connectors) are utilized to connect the beams and columns. Moreover, the frames of rack clad buildings can be easily disassembled and moved to a new site for a re-usage. Due to these advantages, rack clad buildings are gaining the attention of more and more clients while its structural design guidelines are not mature yet. The objective of this research is to develop guidelines for structural engineers for designing rack clad buildings against wind and earthquakes. The research group has physically tested the perforated rack columns with various cross-sections and lengths under uniaxial compression loads. The buckling behaviour of the columns are investigated, and researchers are proposing the analytical design solutions for predicting the compression capacity of the columns. The experimental investigation of the performance of beam-column connections under cyclic load will be conducted in 2019.  In the near future, based on the results of the experimental investigations and numerical simulations, the methodologies of quasi-static design and performance-based design will be applied to the rack clad frames, and a package of seismic design solutions will be developed.

A unit of the structural frame of the rack clad building

A perforated rack column under testing

Project Team:

[1] M. Shahria Alam

[1] Peng Zhang


[1] Zhang, Peng, and M. Shahria Alam. “Experimental investigation and numerical simulation of pallet-rack stub columns under compression load.” Journal of Constructional Steel Research 133 (2017): 282-299.

[2] Peng Zhang and M. Shahria Alam. (2016). “Numerical simulation strategy for pallet rack stub columns under uniaxial compression load.” Proc., The 11th Pacific Structural Steel Conference, Shanghai China.