Seismic characterization of cold formed steel pallet racks

  • Saravanan, M. (CSIR-Structural Engineering Research Centre) ;
  • Marimuthu, V. (CSIR-Structural Engineering Research Centre) ;
  • Prabha, P. (CSIR-Structural Engineering Research Centre) ;
  • Surendran, M. (CSIR-Structural Engineering Research Centre) ;
  • Palani, G.S. (CSIR-Structural Engineering Research Centre)
  • Received : 2014.02.10
  • Accepted : 2014.06.29
  • Published : 2014.12.25


Storage racks are used worldwide in industries and commercial outlets due to the advantage of lighter, faster erection and easy alteration of pallet level as required. The studies to understand the behaviour of cold formed steel pallet racks, under seismic action is one of the emerging area of research. The rack consists of perforated uprights and beams with hook-in end connector, which enables the floor height adjustments. The dynamic characteristics of these racks are not well established. This paper presents the dynamic characteristics of 3-D single bay two storey pallet rack system with hook-in end connectors, which is tested on shake table. The sweep sine test and El Centro earthquake acceleration is used to evaluate the seismic performance of the cold formed steel pallet racks. Also an attempt is made to evaluate the realistic dynamic characteristics by using STAAD Pro software. Modal analysis is performed by incorporating the effective moment of inertia of the upright, which considers the effect of presence of perforations and rotational stiffness of the beam-to-upright connection to determine the realistic fundamental frequency of pallet racks, which is required for carrying out the seismic design. Finite element model of the perforated upright section has been developed as a cantilever beam through which effective moment of inertia is evaluated. The stiffness of the hook-in connector is taken from the previous study by Prabha et al. (2010). The results from modal analysis are in good agreement with the respective experimental results.


  1. ABAQUS Analysis Users Manual (2008), Hibbit, Karlson & Sorensen, Inc.,
  2. Alavi, B. and Gupta, A. (2008), "Performance-Based Seismic Design of an Industrial Storage Rack System", Structures Congress, 1-10
  3. Bajoria, K.M., Sangle, K.K. and Talicotti, R.S. (2008), "Capacity based design of cold formed storage rack structures under seismic load for rigid and semi rigid connections", The 14th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Beijing, China
  4. Bajoria, K.M., Sangle, K.K. and Talicotti, R.S. (2010), "Modal analysis of cold-formed pallet rack structures with semi-rigid connections", J. Construct. Steel Res., 66(3), 428-441
  5. Castiglioni, C.A., Panzeri, N., Brescianini, J.C. and Carydis, P. (2003), "Shaking table tests on steel pallet racks", Proceeding of the STESSA 2003, Napoli, 775-781
  6. Castiglioni, C.A. (2008), "Seismic behaviour of steel storage racking systems", Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Genova, Italy.
  7. Chopra, A.K. (2002), Dynamics of Structures: Theory and Applications to Earthquake Engineering, Prentice-Hall of India Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, India.
  8. FEMA-460 (2005), Seismic Considerations for Steel Storage Racks Located in Areas Accessible to the Public" National Institute of Building Sciences, Washington, D.C.
  9. Filiatrault, A. and Wanitkorkul, A. (2004), Shake-table testing of Frazier industrial Storage Racks, Report No. CSEE-SEESL-2005-02, Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory, Departmental of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, University at Buffalo, State University of New York.
  10. Filiatrault, A, Bachman, R.E. and Mahoney, M.G. (2006), "Performance-based seismic design of pallet-type steel storage racks", Earthq. Spect., 22(1), 47-64
  11. Filiatrault, A, Higgins, P.S., Wanitkorkul, A., Courtwright, J.A. and Michael, R. (2008), "Experimental seismic response of base isolated pallet-type steel storage racks, Earthq. Spect., 24(3), 617-639.
  12. Filiatrault, A, Higgins, P.S. and Wanitkorkul. A (2006), "Experimental stiffness and seismic response of pallet-type steel storage rack connectors", Pract. Period.Struct.Des.Construct., ASCE, 11(3), 161-170
  13. Haque, A.B.M.R. and Alam, M.S. (2013), "Direct displacement-based design of industrial rack clad buildings", Earthq. Spect., 29(4), 1311-1334
  14. IS 1893 (2002), Criteria for Earthquake Resistant Design of Structures-Part 1: General Provisions and Buildings, Bureau of Indian Standards, New Delhi, India.
  15. MH16.1 (2008), Specification for the Design, Testing, and Utilization of Industrial Steel Sorage Racks, Rack Manufacturers Institute, Charlotte, NC.
  16. Moen, C.D. and Schafer, B.W. (2009), Direct Strength Design of Cold‐Formed Steel Members with Perforations, Research Report, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218.
  17. Prabha, P, Marimuthu, V, Saravanan, M and Arul Jayachandran, S. (2010), "Evaluation of connection flexibility in cold formed steel racks", J. Construct. Steel Res., 66(7), 863-872.
  18. Rosin, I. (2009), Storage Racks in Seismic Areas, Rept. EUR 23744, European Commission, Directorate-General for Research, Brussels, Belgium.
  19. Sideris, P, Filiatrault, A, Leclerc, M and Tremblay, R (2010), "Experimental investigation on the seismic behavior of palletized merchandise in steel storage racks", Earthq. Spect., 26(1), 209-233.