Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Civil Engineering (MCE)


Civil Engineering

Committee Chair/Advisor

Weichiang Pang

Committee Member

Michael Stoner

Committee Member

Nigel Kaye


While relatively rare, the failures of steel structures occasionally occur due to extreme wind events such as hurricanes and tornadoes. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) provides well-defined guidelines for determining wind loads for regular buildings; nonetheless, the actual wind loads for complex open-frame steel structures are not as clearly understood by practicing engineers. Pipe bridges and pipe racks are open-frame structures, commonly used in many petrochemical plants. Over the years, additional pipes are often added to existing pipe racks or pipe bridges to accommodate changes in the operation needs of the petrochemical plant. The objectives of this study are to investigate (1) the wind loads on wide flange sections using the wind tunnel procedure, (2) strategies to retrofit the pipe racks to accommodate additional pipes, and (3) load distribution during an event where a column loses its load-carrying capacity.



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