The aim of the paper is the prediction of the seismic collapse mode of steel storage pallet racks under seismic loads. The attention paid by the researchers on the behaviour of the industrial steel storage pallets racks is increased over the years thanks to their high dead-to-live load ratio. In fact, these structures, generally made by cold-formed thin-walled profiles, present very low structural costs but can support large and expensive loads. The paper presents a prediction of the seismic collapse modes of multi-storey racks. The analysis of the possible collapse modes has been made by an approach based on the kinematic theorem of plastic collapse extended to the second order effects by means of the concept of collapse mechanism equilibrium curve. In this way, the dissipative behaviour of racks is determined with a simpler method than the pushover analysis. Parametric analyses have been performed on 24 racks, differing for the geometric layout and cross-section of the components, designed in according to the EN16618 and EN15512 requirements. The obtained results have highlighted that, in all the considered cases, the global collapse mechanism, that is the safest one, never develops, leading to a dangerous situation that must be avoided to preserve the structure during a seismic event. Although the studied racks follow all the codes prescriptions, the development of a dissipative collapse mechanism is not achieved. In addition, also the variability of load distribution has been considered, reflecting the different pallet positions assumed during the in-service life of the racks, to point out its influence on the collapse mechanism. The information carried out from the paper can be very useful for designers and manufacturers because it allows to better understand the racks behaviour in seismic load condition.
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