Dr. Nicolas Boissonnade
Department of Civil and Water Engineering, Laval University

Design of Beams with Overhanging Segments Against Lateral Torsional Buckling

This research is to investigate the lateral torsional buckling of beams with overhanging segments (commonly known as the Gerber girder system).  Such structural elements are quite popular in Canada, and used widely for multi-bay arrangements.  It has the advantages of maintaining a statically determinate system with an effective and economic balance of hogging and sagging bending moments and reduced deflections, while avoiding complex and costly moment connections. Currently there is a lack of clear, practical design solutions for the lateral torsional buckling resistance of the overhanging and simple span segments and for the connections to vertical supporting members (at locations of maximum hogging bend) which can lead to unsafe and unpractical designs. The present project therefore aims to (i) fully understand the behavior of such systems primarily through finite element analyses, (ii) characterize the key design parameters, (iii) develop an adequate design method and (iv) provide design engineers with simple yet effective and economic design solutions and tools.   



Dr. Nicolas Boissonnade got his MSc, MEng and PhD at the Blaise Pascal University, Clermont-Ferrand (France). He then served as a senior researcher for 6 years at the University of Liège (Belgium), before working as a senior design engineer at companies in Aachen (Germany) and Lausanne (Switzerland). In 2009, he was back to Academia in Fribourg (Switzerland), as a professor for Steel and Composite Structures. He eventually joined Laval University in June 2016, as the Chair for Steel Structures André-Picard. His teaching and research areas include Steel and Composite Structures, Structural Stability, Numerical Methods and Structural Mechanics. He remains involved in many international projects, collaborations and committees.

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