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AISC Appd'x 'B' - Effective width

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I am designing a steel box beam subject to 3 axis of bending, torsion and
shear.  It is 36" x 8" and I hope to make it from 1/4" plate.  Since the
b/t of the 36/0.25 is too slender I must use Appd'x. 'B'.  My question
has to do with calculating the effective width 'be'.  What does the 'f'
stand for?  It appears to me it is the combined compressive stress on the
section.  Are the stresses based on the gross section, or the reduced
section?  The code is not clear.  It says use the properties as specified
in Appd'x. B5.2 which could be reduced section properties or gross
section properties.  If it is the reduced section then this appears to be
an iterative process.

Rich

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