Steel storage racks are used in about 40% of the production-distribution-consumption cycle of all goods. They are common structures and yet, limited guidance on their design is available. Two distinct research projects are currently being undertaken on steel storage racks, one focussing on the strength of uprights in selective racks and one focussing on the behaviour of drive-in racks.
The research on uprights is motivated by the strengthening achieved by the connections to diagonal web members as they form part of upright frames. The web members provide partial discrete rotational restraint on the upright which enhance the torsional buckling resistance and lead to enhanced ultimate strength. Tests of upright frames have been conducted and compared to finite element analysis featuring complex modelling of the connections between upright and web members. Having achieved good correlation between analysis and tests, finite element analyses are currently being conducted for a wide range of section sizes and upright slenderness to allow the full capacity of uprights to be utilised in structural design.
The research on drive-in racks aims at understanding the 3D load path in this unique type of structure. Particular attention is paid to the transfer of horizontal forces developing from the impact of forklift trucks. Horizontal forces cause lateral deflections of the uprights which can lead to global sideward collapse. Alternatively, the widening of the bay resulting from impact can cause progressive local collapse as pallets drop off rail beams. 3D finite elements analyses are currently being developed to study the 3D load transfer. Tests are scheduled for 2006 and 2007.
The project is supported by the Australian Research Council and Siemens.
The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 410