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Proceedings of
The Second International Conference on Advances in Steel Structures

15-17 December 1999, Hong Kong, China

Volume I

Proceedings of
The Second International Conference on Advances in Steel Structures

15-17 December 1999, Hong Kong, China

Volume I
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Proceedings of
The Second International Conference on Advances in Steel Structures

15-17 December 1999, Hong Kong, China

Volume I

Edited by
S L C h a n and J G T e n g
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Organised by
Department of Civil and Structural Engineering
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Sponsored by
The Hong Kong Institution of Engineers


E L S E V I E R S C I E N C E Ltd
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Kidlington, Oxford OX5 1GB, U K

9 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

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These two volumes of proceedings contain 9 invited keynote papers and 126
contributed papers presented at the Second International Conference on Advances in
Steel Structures held on 15-17 December 1999 in Hong Kong. The conference was a
sequel to the International Conference on Advances in Steel Structures held in Hong
Kong in December 1996.

The conference provided a forum for discussion and dissemination by researchers

and designers of recent advances in the analysis, behaviour, design and construction
of steel structures. The papers presented at the conference cover a wide spectrum of
topics and were contributed from over 15 countries around the world. They report
the current state-of-the-art and point to future directions of structural steel research.

The organization of a conference of this magnitude would not have been possible
without the support and contributions of many individuals and organizations. The
strong support from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Professor M. Anson,
Dean of the FaTculty of Construction and Land Use, and Professor J.M. Ko, Head
of the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, has been pivotal in the
organization of this conference. We also wish to express our gratitude to the Hong
Kong Institution of Engineers for sponsoring the conference and the Local Advisory
Committee for mobilizing support froTm the construction industry and government

Thanks are due to all the contributors for their careful preparation of the
manuscripts and all the keynote speakers for their special support. Reviews of papers
were carried out by members of the International Scientific Committee and the Local
Organizing Committee. To all the reviewers, we are most grateful.

We would also like to thank all those involved in the day-to-day running of the
organization work, including members of the Local Organizing Committee and
secretarial staff in the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering.

Finally, we gratefully acknowledge our pleasant cooperation with Dr. J. Milne and
Mrs R. Davies at Elsevier Science Ltd in the UK.

S.L. Chan
J.G. Teng
This Page Intentionally Left Blank

H. Adeli, The Ohio State University USA

H. Akiyama, University of Tokyo Japan
M. Anson, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Hong Kong, China
P. Ansourian, The University of Sydney Australia
J. Arbocz, Delft University of Technology Netherlands
R. Bjorhovde, University of Pittsburgh USA
M.A. Bradford, University of New South Wales Australia
R.Q. Bridge, University of Western Sydney Australia
C.R. Calladine, University of Cambridge UK
S.F. Chen, Xi'an University of Architecture and Technology China
W.F. Chen, Purdue University USA
Y.K. Cheung, The University of Hong Kong Hong Kong, China
C.K. Choi, Korea Advanced Institute of Science Korea
and Technology
M. Chryssanthopoulos, Imperial College UK
A. Combescure, Laboratoire de Mechanique et Technologie France
S.L. Dong, Zhejiang University China
P.J. Dowling, University of Surrey UK
M. Farshad, EMPA Switzerland
Y. Fukumoto, Fukuyama University Japan
Y. Goto, Nagoya Institute of Technology Japan
P.L. Gould, Washington University, St Louis USA
R. Greiner, Technisce Universitat, Graz Austria
P. Grundy, Monash University Australia
G.J. Hancock, University of Sydney Australia
J.E. Harding, University of Surrey UK
K.M. Hsiao, National Chao Tung University Taiwan, China
J.F. Jullien, INSA Lyon France
S. Kato, Toyohashi University of Technology Japan
S. Kitpornchai, University of Queensland Australia
V. Krupka, Institute of Applied Mechanics, Vitkovice Czech Republic
T.T. Lan, Chinese Academy of Building Research China
S.F. Li, Tsinghua University China
R. Liew, National University of Singapore Singapore
Xila Liu, Tsinghua University China
Xiliang Liu, Yianjin University China
L.W. Lu, Lehigh University USA
Z.T. Lu, South-East University China
E. Lui, Syracuse University USA
P. Marek, Academy of Science of the Czech Republic Czech Republic
S. Morino, Mie University Japan
D.A. Nethercot, University of Nottingham UK
G.W. Owens, Steel Construction Institute UK

J.A. Packer, University of Toromo Canada
S. Pellegrino, University of Cambridge UK
E.P. Popov, University of California, Berkeley USA
J. Rhodes, University of Strathclyde UK
J.M. Rotter, University of Edinburgh UK
H. Schmidt, Universitat Essen Germany
G. Sedlacek, RWTH Aachen Germany
S.Z. Shen, Harbin University of Civil Engineering China
and Architecture
Z.Y. Shen, Tongji University China
T.T. Soong, Suny, Buffalo, NY USA
S.S. Sridharan, Washington University, St Louis USA
N.S. Trahair, University of Sydney Australia
T. Usami, Nagoya University Japan
A. Wada, Tokyo Institute of Technology Japan
F. Wald, Czech Technical University Czech Republic
E. Walicki, Technical University of Zielona Gora Poland
D. White, Georgia Institute of Technology USA
F. Williams, University of Wales UK
Y.B. Yang, National Taiwan University Taiwan, China
R. Zandonini, University of Trento Italy
S.T. Zhong, Harbin University of Civil Engineering China
and Architecture


Chairman: J.M. Ko
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University


A.S. Beard Mott MacDonald Hong Kong Ltd.

F.S.Y. Bong Maunsell Consultants Asia Ltd.
A.K.C. Chan Ove Amp and Partners (HK) Ltd.
H.C. Chan The University of Hong Kong
Y.L. Choi Buildings Department, HKSAR Government
W.K. Fung Architectural Services Department, HKSAR Government
M. Harman British Steel (Asia) Ltd.
I. Kimura Nippon Steel Corporation
M.H.C. Kwong Scott Wilson (Hong Kong) Ltd.
C.K. Lau Highways Department, HKSAR Government
S.H. Ng Hong Kong Housing Society
W. Tang The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
H. Wu Kowloon Canton Railway Corporation


Chairman: S. L. Chan
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Vice-Chairman: J.G. Teng

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University


C.M. Chan The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

W.T. Chan Buildings Department, HKSAR Government
T.H.T. Chan The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
K.F. Chung The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
J.C.L. Ho Scott Wilson (Hong Kong) Ltd.
W.M.G. Ho Ove Amp and Partners (HK) Ltd.
C.M. Koon Buildings Department, HKSAR Government
M.K.Y. Kwok Ore Amp and Partners (HK) Ltd.
S.S. Lam The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
J.C.W. Lau James Lau & Associates Ltd.
Y.W. Mak Housing Department, HKSAR Government
A.D.E. Pan The University of Hong Kong
A.K. Soh The University of Hong Kong
K.Y. Wong Highways Department, HKSAR Government
Y.L. Wong The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Y.L. Xu The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
L.H. Yam The Hong Kong Polytechnic University



International Scientific Committee vii

Local Advisory Committee

Local Organising Committee

Keynote Papers

Unbraced Composite Frames: Application of the Wind Moment Method

D.A. Nethercot and J.S. Hensman

A Cumulative Damage Model for the Analysis of Steel Frames under Seismic Actions 13
Z.- Y. Shen

Recent Research and Design Developments in Cold-Formed Open Section and Tubular
Members 25
G.J. Hancock

Behaviour of Highly Redundant Multi-Storey Buildings under Compartment Fires 39

J.M. Rotter

Design Formulas for Stability Analysis of Reticulated Shells 51

S.Z. Shen

Ductility Issues in Thin-Walled Steel Structures 63

T. Usami, Y. Zheng and H.B. Ge

High-Performance Steel Structures: Recent Research 75

L.W. Lu, R. Sause and J.M. Ricles

A Unified Principle of Multiples for Lateral Deflection, Buckling and Vibration of

Multi-Storey, Multi-Bay, Sway Frames 87
W.P. Howson and F.W. Williams

Beams and Columns

Three-Dimensional Hysteretic Modeling of Thin-Walled Circular Steel Columns 101

L. Jiang and Y. Goto

xii Contents

Local Buckling of Thin-Walled Polygonal Columns Subjected to Axial Compression or

Bending 109
J.G. Teng, S.T. Smith and L. Y. Ngok

Ultimate Load Capacity of Columns Strengthened under Preload 117

H. Unterweger

Chaotic Belt Phenomena in Nonlinear Elastic Beam 125

Z. Nianmei, Y. Guitong and X. Bingye

Frames and Trusses

Investigation of Rotational Characteristics of Column Bases of Steel Portal Frames 135

T.C.H. Liu and L.J. Morris

Ultimate Strength of Semi-Rigid Frames under Non-Proportional Loads 145

B.H.M. Chan, L.X. Fang and S.L. Chan

Second-Order Plastic Analysis of Steel Frames 151

P. P.-T. Chui and S.-L. Chan

Study on the Behaviour of a New Light-Weight Steel Roof Truss 159

P. Ma'keldinen and O. Kaitila

A Proposal of Generalized Plastic Hinge Model for the Collapse Behavior of Steel
Frames Governed by Local Buckling 167
S. Motoyui and T. Ohtsuka

Advanced Inelastic Analysis of Spatial Structures 175

J.Y.R. Liew, H. Chen and L.K. Tang

Stability Analysis of Multistory Framework under Uniformly Distributed Load 183

C. Haojun and W. Jiqing

Space Structures

Studies on the Methods of Stability Function and Finite Element for Second-Order
Analysis of Framed Structures 193
S.L. Chan and J.X. Gu

Dynamic Stability of Single Layer Reticulated Dome under Step Load 201
C. Wang and S. Shen

Experimental Study on Full-Sized Models of Arched Corrugated Metal Roof 209

L. Xiliang, Z. Yong and Z. Fuhai

Quasi-Tensegric Systems and Its Applications 217

L. Yuxin and L. Zhitao


The Design of Pins in Steel Structures 229

R.Q. Bridge
Contents xiii

Finite Element Modelling of Eight-Bolt Rectangular Hollow Section Bolted Moment

End Plate Connections 237
A.T. Wheeler, M.J. Clarke and G.J. Hancock

Finite Element Modelling of Double Bolted Connections Between Cold-Formed Steel

Strips under Static Shear Loading 245
K.F. Chung and K.H. Ip

Analytical Model for Eight-Bolt Rectangular Hollow Section Bolted Moment End Plate
Connections 253
A.T. Wheeler, M.J. Clarke and G.J. Hancock

Predictions of Rotation Capacity of RHS Beams Using Finite Element Analysis 261
T. Wilkinson and G.J. Hancock

Failure Modes of Bolted Cold-Formed Steel Connections under Static Shear Loading 269
K.H. Ip and K.F. Chung

Design Moment Resistance of End Plate Connections 277

Y. Shi and J. Jing

Threaded Bar Compression Stiffening for Moment Connections 283

T.F. Nip and J.O. Surtees

Experimental Study of Steel I-Beam to CFT Column Connections 291

S.P. Chiew and C.W. Dai

Behaviour of T-End Plate Connections to RHS Part I: Experimental Investigation 305

M. Saidani, M.R. Omair and J.N. Karadelis

The Behaviour of T-End Plate Connections to SHS. Part II: A Numerical Model 313
J.N. Karadelis, M. Saidani and M. Omair

Cyclic Behaviour of Beam-To-Column Welded Connections 323

E. Mele, L. Calado and A. De Luca

Advanced Methods for Modelling Hysteretic Behaviour of Semi-Rigid Joints 331

Y.Q. Ni, J.Y. Wang and J.M. Ko

Cold-Formed Steel

Behaviour and Design of Cold-Formed Channel Columns 341

B. Young and K.J.R. Rasmussen

Section Moment Capacity of Cold-Formed Unlipped Channels 349

B. Young and G.J. Hancock

Web Crippling Tests of High Strength Cold-Formed Channels 357

B. Young and G.J. Hancock

Local and Distortional Buckling of Perforated Steel Wall Studs 367

J. Kesti and J.M. Davies
xiv Contents

An Experimental Investigation into Cold-Formed Channel Sections in Bending 375

V. Enjily, M.H.R. Godley and R.G. Beale

Composite Construction

Flexural Strength for Negative Bending and Vertical Shear Strength of Composite Steel
Slag-Concrete Beams 385
Q.-L. Wang, Q.-L. Kang and P.-Z. Cao

Concrete-Filled Steel Tubes as Coupling Beams for RC Shear Walls 391

J.G. Teng, J.F. Chen and Y.C. Lee

Experimental Study of High Strength Concrete Filled Circular Steel Columns 401
Y.C. Wang

Strength and Ductility of Hollow Circular Steel Columns Filled with Fibre Reinforced
Concrete 413
G. Campione, N. Scibilia and G. Zingone

Axial Compressive Strength of Steel and Composite Columns Fabricated with High
Strength Steel Plate 421
B. Uy

Concrete Filled Cold-Formed C450 RHS Columns Subjected to Cyclic Axial Loading 429
X.L. Zhao, R.H. Grzebieta, P. Wong and C. Lee

Research on the Hysteretic Behavior of High Strength Concrete Filled Steel Tubular
Members under Compression and Bending 437
Z. Wang and Y. Zhen

Design of Composite Columns of Arbitrary Cross-Section Subject to Biaxial Bending 443

S.F. Chen, J.G. Teng and S.L. Chan

Effects of Loading Conditions on Behaviour of Semi-Rigid Beam-to-Column

Composite Connections 451
Y.L. Wong, J.Y. Wang and S.L. Chan

Steel-Concrete Composite Construction with Precast Concrete Hollow Core Floor 459
D. Lam, K.S. Elliott and D.A. Nethercot

Testing and Numerical Modelling of Bi-Steel Plate Subject to Push-Out Loading 467
S.K. Clubley and R.Y. Xiao

Rectangular Two-Way RC Slabs Bonded with a Steel Plate 477

J.W. Zhang, J.G. Teng and Y.L. Wong


Structural Performance Measurements and Design Parameter Validation for Tsing Ma

Suspension Bridge 487
C.K. Lau, W.P. Mak, K.Y. Wong, W.Y. Chan, K.L. Man and K.F. Wong
Contents XV

Wind Characteristics and Response of Tsing Ma Bridge During Typhoon Victor 497
L.D. Zhu, Y.L. Xu, K.Y. Wong and K. W.Y. Chan

Structural Performance Measurement and Design Parameter Validation for Kap Shui
Mun Cable-Stayed Bridge 505
C.K. Lau, W.P. Mak, K.Y. Wong, K.L. Man, W.Y. Chan and K.F. Wong

Free and Forced Vibration of Large-Diameter Sagged Cables Taking into Account
Bending Stiffness 513
Y.Q. Ni, J.M. Ko and G. Zheng

Stability Analysis of Curved Cable-Stayed Bridges 521

Y.-C. Wang, H.-S. Shu and J. Ermopoulos

Expert System of Flexible Parametric Study on Cable-Stayed Bridges with Machine

Learning 529
B. Zhou and M. Hoshino

Parameter Studies of Moving Force Identification in Laboratory 537

T.H.T. Chan, L. Yu, S.S. Law and T.H. Yung

Seismic Analysis of Isolated Steel Highway Bridge 545

X.-S. Li and Y. Goto

Shear Analysis for Asphalt Concrete Deck Pavement of Steel Bridges 553
X. Zha and Q. Xiao



International Scientific Committee vii

Local Advisory Committee ix

Local Organising Committee


Strength and Ductility of Plates in Shear 563

T. Usami, H.B. Ge and M. Amano

Post-Buckling of Unilaterally Constrained Mild Steel Plates 571

S.T. Smith, M.A. Bradford and D.J. Oehlers

Postbuckling Analysis of Plate with General Initial Imperfection by Finite Strip Method 579
T.H. Lui and S.S.E. Lam

Post-Buckling Analysis of Web Plates of Girders by Three Dimensional Degenerated

Shell Element Method 587
H. Qinghua, Y. Yue and L. Xiliang
xvi Contents


Buckling Interaction Strength of Cylindrical Steel Shells under Axial Compression and
Torsion 597
H. Schmidt and T. A. Winterstetter

Shell Buckling Design of Austenitic Stainless Steel Cylinders under Elevated

Temperatures up to 500~ 605
H. Schmidt and K.T. Hautala

Cylindrical Shells Buckling under External Pressure--Influence of Localized Thickness

Variation 613
J.F. Jullien, A. Limam and G. Gusic

Stability and Strength of Conical Shells Subject to Axial Load and External Pressure 621
N. Panzeri and C. Poggi

The Nonlinear Stability of Semi-Thin Spherical Shell Joints under Uniformly

Symmetric Circular Line Loads 631
Y.F. Luo, K.S. Huang and Q.Z. Li

The Influence of Circumferential Weld-Induced Imperfections on the Buckling of Silos

and Tanks 639
M. Pircher and R. Bridge

Experimental Techniques for Steel Silo Transition Junctions 647

J.G. Teng and Y. Zhao

Buckling Strength of T-Section Ringbeams in Steel Silos 655

J.G. Teng and F. Chan

Abnormal Behaviour of a Steel Silo Caused by Paddy Rice Storage 663

M.P. Luong

Bifurcation Buckling of Aboveground Oil Storage Tanks under Internal Pressure 671
S. Yoshida

Buckling of Cylindrical Shells Subjected to Edge Vertical Deformation 679

M. Jonaidi and P. Ansourian

On the Nonlinear Analysis of Shells with Eigenmode-Affine Imperfections 687

J.G. Teng and C.Y. Song

Postbuckling Analysis of Shells of Revolution Considering Mode Switching and

Interaction 697
T. Hong and J.G. Teng

Transition of Plastic Buckling Modes in Cylindrical Shells 705

Y. Goto, C. Zhang and N. Kawanishi

Are the Static Postbuckling Predictions Conservative? 713

A. Combescure
Contents xvii

Plastic Stability of Cylindrical Shells Taking Account of Loading History 721

V.S. Hudramovych

Design and Construction

Prestressing and Loading Tests on Full-Scale Roof Truss of Shanghai Pudong

International Airport Terminal 731
Z. Xiangzhong, C. Yiyi, S. Zuyan, C. Yangji, W. Dasui and Z. Jian

Air Mail Centre at Chek Lap Kok 739

P.H. Lam

Composite Design and Construction of a Tall Building--Cheung Kong Center 747

D. Scott, G.W.M. Ho and H. Nuttall

The Tallest Building in Mexico City: Torre Mayor, Mexico City, Mexico 755
A. Rahimian and E.M. Romero

The Use of Triangular Added Damping and Stiffness (TADAS) Devices in the Design
of the Core Pacific City Shopping Centre 775
K.L. Chang, S.J.W. Rees, C. Carroll and K. Clandening

Site Measurement of Vibration Characteristics of Shanghai Jin Mao Tower 783

W. Shi, X. Lu and J. Shen

Design of Steel Scaffolding by Nonlinear Integrated Design and Analysis (NIDA) and
the Stability Function 791
A. Y.T. Chu and S.L. Chan

Experimental Assessment for Aluminium Alloy Sections in Glass Curtain Walls of

Shanghai Jinmao Building 799
L. Tong, Y. Luo, Z. Shen and Y. Wang

Dynamics and Seismic Design

Transverse Dynamic Characteristic and Seismic Responses of Large-Scale Tall-Pier

Aqueduct 809
Y. Li

Dynamic Characteristic and Seismic Response of Semirigid Jointed Frames 815

W.S. Zhang and Y.L. Xu

Nonlinear Seismic Analysis of Flexibly Connected Steel Buildings 823

P. P.-T. Chui and S.-L. Chan

The Response Analysis of the Transversely Stiffening Single Curvature Cable-

Suspended Roof to the Fluctuating Wind 831
X. Zhao, X. Liu and Y. Dou

Transient Analysis of Stiffened Panel Structure by a Finite Strip-Mode Superposition

Method 839
J. Chen
xviii Contents

Dynamic Performance of Steel Lightweight Floors 849

M.M. Alikhail, X.L. Zhao and L. Koss

Coupled Truss Walls with Damped Link Elements 857

A. Rahimian

Galloping of Cables with Moving Rivulet 873

L.Y. Wang and Y.L. Xu

Free Vibration Analysis of Thin-Walled Members with Shell Type Cross Sections 881
M. Ohga, T. Shigematsu and T. Hara

A Simple Formulation for Free Vibration of Frame-Shear Wall Tall Building 889
Q. Wang and L. Wang

Flexure-Torsion Coupled Vibrations for Tall Building Structures Considering the

Effects of Vertical Loads 897
S.H. Bao and S.C. Yi

The Computational Time Efficient Finite Element Method for Large Amplitude
Vibrations of Composite Plates 905
Y.-Y. Lee and C.-F. Ng

Determination of Model Order for Thin Steel Plate Systems Using Vibration Test Data 913
Y.Y. Li and L.H. Yam


Study on Tendon Profile on the Analysis and Design of Prestressed Steel Beams 921
G.N. Ronghe and L.M. Gupta

Long Term Analysis of Externally Prestressed Composite Beams 931

A.D. Asta, L. Dezi and G. Leoni

Flexible Connection Influence on Ultimate Capacity of Externally Prestressed

Composite Beams 939
A.D. Asta, L. Dezi and G. Leoni

A Fracture Criterion for Prestressing Steel Cracked Wires 947

J. Toribio and M. Toledano

Failure Analysis of Prestressing Steel Wires 955

J. Toribio and A. Valiente

Fatigue and Fracture

Experimental Study on Static and Fatigue Behavior of Steel-Concrete Preflex

Prestressed Composite Beams 965
K. Zhang, S. Li and K. Liu

Object-Oriented Fatigue Reliability Analysis for the Offshore Steel Jacket 975
C. Wang, Y. Shi and S. Li
Contents xix

Fatigue Strength of Thin-Walled Tube-To-Plate T-Joints under In-Plane Bending 983

F.R. Mashiri, X.L. Zhao and P. Grundy

Failure Assessment of Beam-to-Column Steel Joints via Low-Cycle Fatigue Approaches 991
C. Bernuzzi and R. Zandonini

A Method to Estimate P-S-N Curve for Misaligned Welded Joints 999

G. Deqing

Reliability Analysis of Draw Bar of Large-Scale Lock Mitre Gate 1005

Z.G. Xu, C.Y. Bian and R.L. Wang

Computation of Stress Intensity Factor for Surface Crack in Welded Joint 1013
G. Deqing and Y. Yong

Numerical Approach to the Ductile Fracture of Steel Members 1021

M. Obata, A. Mizutani and Y. Goto

Fire Performance

The First Code on Fire Safety of Steel Structures in China 1031

G.Q. Li, S.C. Jiang and J.L. He

Fire Resistance of Concrete Filled Steel Tubes in China 1039

L.-H. Han

Elevated Temperature Testing of Composite Columns 1047

N.L. Patterson, X.-L. Zhao, M.B. Wong, J. Ghojel and P. Grundy

Full Scale Fire Test on the New UK Slim Floor System 1055
C.G. Bailey, T. Lennon and D.B. Moore

Mechanical Properties of an Austenitic Stainless Steel at Elevated Temperatures 1063

J. Outinen and P. Mdkeldinen


Optical Design of Steel Frames with Non-Uniform Members 1073

A. Mu'ller, F. Werner and P. Osterrieder

Optimal Sizing/Shape Design of Steel Portal Frames Using Genetic Algorithms 1081
P. Liu, C.-M. Chan and Z.-M. Wang

Study on Optimization of Particular and Multi-Variable Structures by Wavelet Analysis 1089

L. Liu, Y. Zhai and H. Lin

Optimal Analysis of Large Span Double-Layer Barrel Vaults 1099

L. Shan and H. Yan
xx Contents


Determination of Section Properties of Complicated Structural Members 1109

Z.X. Li, J.M. Ko, T.H.T. Chan and Y.Q. Ni

Adaptive Finite Element Buckling Analysis of Folded Plate Structures 1117

C.K. Choi and M.K. Song

Hoop Stress Reduction by Using Reinforced Rivets in Steel Structures 1125

K.T. Chau, S.L. Chan and X.X. Wei

Safety Analysis and Design Consideration for Oil and Gas Pipelines 1133
A.N. Kumar

Prediction of Residual Stresses: Comparison Between Experimental and Numerical

Results 1141
Y. Vincent, J.F. Jullien and V. Cano

Soil Structure Interaction

Composite Foundation of Deep Mixing Piles for Large Steel Oil Tanks on Soft Ground 1151
X. Xie, X. Zhu and Q. Pan

An Analytical Study on Seismic Response of Steel Bridge Piers Considering Soil-

Structure Interaction 1157
A. Kasai and T. Usami

Late Papers

Modelling Hysteresis Loops of Composite Joints Using Neural Networks 1167

J.Y. Wang, Y.L. Wong and S.L. Chan

New Design Methods for Concrete Filled Steel Tubular Columns 1175
Y.C. Wang

Keynote Paper

The Implications of the Information Society on the Practice of and Training for
Steelwork Construction 1187
G. Owens

Index of Contributors II

Keyword Index 15
Keynote Papers
This Page Intentionally Left Blank

D A Nethercot 1and J S Hensman 2

ISchool of Civil Engineering, University of Nottingham, University Park,

Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK
2Caunton Engineering Limited, Moorgreen Industrial Park, Moorgreen,
Nottingham NG16 3QU, UK


Proposals are given to extend the simplified design technique known as the Wind Moment Method
to cover a limited range of composite frames. The range represents that of most interest in practice
in the UK. Justification is by comparison with the findings from an extensive numerical study.

KEYWORDS : Composite Construction, Connections, Frames, Joints, Steel Structures, Structural



The Wind Moment Method (WMM) has long been established as a simple, intuitively based, design
approach for unbraced frames. More recently, it has been the subject of scientific study, designed to
provide a more fundamental understanding of the link between actual frame behaviour and the
inherent design simplifications. This work has, until now, been restricted to bare steel construction.

In a recent study Hensman, (1998), the authors have examined the case for an extension of the
WMM to cover composite steel/concrete frames. Although the approach adopted resembles that
used for bare steelwork, a number of particular features have had to be addressed. This paper
summarizes the main outcomes from that study.

The basis for the extension was numerical modelling, utilising the available body of knowledge on
the performance of composite connections, the previous application of the WMM to bare steelwork
and the capabilities of the ABAQUS package. It was also found necessary to conduct a detailed
examination of the role of column bases - a feature not previously addressed in WMM
D.A. Nethercot and J.S. Hensman
investigations. Several of the findings therefore have relevance to potential improvements in the
WMM for bare steel frames. This paper covers: appraisal of the basic source data, outline of the
numerical studies, presentation of the key findings and an indication of the resulting design
approach. This last item will be presented in a fashion suitable for direct use by designers in a
forthcoming Steel Construction Institute Design Guide.


The approach was originally devised in the pre-computer era, when overall structural analysis of
unbraced frames represented an extremely challenging and potentially tedious task. It therefore
sought an acceptable simplification so that the labour involved in the structural analysis might be
minimised. This was achieved by recognising that some simplification in the representation of the
actual behaviour would be necessary. Although it is now quite widely accepted that the true
behaviour of all practical forms of beam to column connection in steel and concrete construction
function in a semi-rigid and partial strength f a s h i o n - with the ideals of pinned and rigid only
occasionally being approached- early methods of structural analysis could only cater for one or
other of these ideals. Thus the basic WMM uses the principle of superposition to combine the
internal moments and forces obtained from a gravity load analysis that assumes all beams to be
simply supported and a wind load analysis that assumes beam to column connections to be rigid
with points of contraflexure at the mid-span of the beams and the mid-height of the columns as
illustrated in Figure 1. This second assumption permits use of the so-called portal method of frame

Once it became possible to conduct full range analyses of steel frames allowing for material and
geometrical non-linear effects and including realistic models of joint behaviour, studies were
undertaken to assess the actual performance of frames designed according to the WMM principles.
The findings permitted observations to be made of the two key behavioural measures:

9 That the load factor at ultimate was satisfactory

9 That drift limits at serviceability were achieved.

This second point is of importance because, when estimating sway deflections at working load, the
WMM normally involves taking the results of an analysis that assumes rigid connections and then
applying a suitable scaling factor. Important contributions in the area of bare steel construction are
those of Ackroyd and Gerstle, (1982), Ackroyd, (1987), and Anderson and his co-workers at
Warwick, Reading, (1989), Kavianpour, (1990), Anderson, Reading and Kavianpour,(1991)


All the numerical work was undertaken using the ABAQUS package. Whilst this contained
sufficient functionality to cover many of the necessary behavioural features, three items required
particular attention:

9 Representation of the composite beams

9 Representation of composite beam to column connections
9 Inclusion of column base effects
Unbraced Composite Frames: Application o f the Wind M o m e n t M e t h o d


~4' 4'4' 4'4' 4'4' 4'4' 4'4' 4'4'4'

7" r
(a) 77

t t t

Figure 1 Superposition of gravity and lateral load analyses

For the first of these the approach previously utilised by Ye, Nethercot and Li, (1996), that is based
on moment curvature relationships developed by Li, Nethercot and Choo, (1993), was employed.
Since composite endplates were assumed for the beam to column connections, the work of Ahmed
and Nethercot,(1997), in predicting moment-rotation response under hogging moment was directly

Data on the performance of composite beam to column connections under sagging i.e. opening,
moments was, however, almost non-existent. Previous experience with the Wind Moment Method
had, however, suggested that reversal in the sign of the rotation at any connection might be a rather
unusual event. An approximate model for composite connection behaviour under sagging moments
was therefore devised by examining test data for such connections when subject to cyclic loading.

All previous studies of the WMM have assumed rigid i.e. fully fixed column bases. Enquiries
among practitioners had, however, already revealed that such an option was not attractive. In
addition, there was a widely held belief that all practical forms of "pin" column bases were capable
of supplying quite significant amounts of rotational restraint. Accordingly, all relevant information
on column base effects - particularly previous experimental studies - was carefully reviewed in an
attempt to identify suitable minimum restraint levels likely to be supplied by notionally pinned
bases, Hensman and Nethercot, (2000a). The findings were then incorporated in the full parametric
study. This point is regarded as particularly important as attempts to justify the WMM approach
using truly pinned column bases, Hensman,(1998), had shown that it was almost impossible to
satisfy realistic drift limitations due to the greatly enhanced overall frame flexibility resulting from
the loss of column base restraint (as compared with the usual WMM assumption of fixed bases). It
is believed that the exercise should be r e p e a t e d - since bare steel columns were assumed
throughout, it would merely be a case of conducting appropriate analyses on bare steel frames - as a
way of similarly relaxing an unattractive restriction in the application of the WMM to bare steel
6 D.A. Nethercot and J.S. Hensman

Because of concem over the adequacy of the modelling of composite beam to column connections
under sagging moments, particular attention was paid in an initial study, Hensman, J S (1998), to
the occurrence (or not) of reversal in the sign of the connection rotations. Initial studies using the
sub-frame of Figure 2, that was specially configured to represent a typical intermediate floor in a
more extensive structure, showed that for realistic arrangements of frame layout, member sizes and
levels of gravity and wind loading reversal of rotations, even at the potentially most vulnerable
windward connections was extremely unlikely. It was therefore concluded that the full parametric
study need not concern itself with further refinement of this feature.


Figure 3 illustrates the basic frame layouts considered and Tables 1 and 2 list the range of variables
considered within the numerical study. Although this was based on the equivalent set of restrictions
given in Anderson, Reading and Kavianpour (1991) it has been adapted somewhat, both to
recognise important differences between bare steel and composite construction e.g. the likely use of
longer span beams, and to reflect certain preferences from the industry and recent changes in the
UK design environment e.g. issue of a new Code for wind loading. A more detailed explanation of
the arrangement of the study, including justification for decisions on joint types, load combinations
etc., is available, Hensman and Nethercot (2000b). Full details of the 300 cases investigated
covering 45 different frame arrangements, including summary results for each, are available in
reference 1. In all cases the approach adopted was to first design the frame using the proposed
WMM technique and then to conduct a full range computer analysis to check its condition at the
SLS and ULS stages.


Undoubtedly the most significant overall outcome of the parametric study was the finding that
every frame design using the proposed WMM approach was essentially satisfactory in terms of
providing an adequate margin of safety against ULS load combinations. This was despite the fact
that the actual distributions of intemal forces and moments within the frames often differed
significantly from those presumed by the WMM analyses. Only in an extremely small number of
cases was any degree of column overstress observed (and then less than 4%) - a comforting feature
given that actual end restraint moments obtained from the rigorous analyses were often significantly
higher than the assumed 10% of the WMM. The actual values of up to 30% in certain cases might
suggest that where gravity loads are high beam sections could be reduced by assuming a larger-say
20% - end restraint moment. Before so doing, however, it would be important to check the effect
on overall lateral frame stiffness as it might well prove difficult to satisfy drift limitations with this
inherently more flexible system.

For all cases of frames designed for maximum gravity load and minimum wind load the SLS
conditions were met. However, if higher wind loads were introduced, particularly for frames with
short bay widths, some difficulty in ensuring adequate serviceability performance might well be
Unbraced Composite Frames." Application of the Wind Moment Method 7

A general discussion on the findings from the numerical study in terms of possible future
modifications to the WMM and links between flame features and observed behaviour is available in
Hensman and Nethercot (2000b).

Figure 2: Typical subframe arrangement used for preliminary study

(Beam spans vary between 6m and 12m)
8 D.A. Nethercot and J.S. Hensman

Figure 3 9Schematic diagram of alternative flame layouts used in parametric study

Unbraced Composite Frames: Application of the Wind Moment Method


Minimum Maximum
Number of storeys 2 4
Number of bays 2 4"1
Bay width (m) 6.0 12.0
Bottom storey height (m) 4.5 6.0
Storey height elsewhere (m) 3.5 5.0
Dead load on floors (kN/m 2) 3.50 5.00
Imposed load on floors (kN/m 2) 4.00 7.50
Dead load on roof (kN/m 2) 3.75 3.75
Imposed load on roof (kN/m 2) 1.50 1.50
Wind loads (kN) 10 .2 40 *2
*' frames can have more than 4 bays, but a core of 4 bays is the maximum
that can be considered to resist the applied wind load.
,2 Wind loads = concentrated point load on plane frame at each floor level



Minimum Maximum
Bay width: storey height 1.33 2.67
(bottom storey)
Bay width: storey height 1.33 3.43
(above bottom storey)
Greatest bay width: 1 1.5
Smallest bay width


The basic design approach is outlined in the chart o f Figure 4. This presents all the relevant steps,
including those intended to identify arrangements for which the W M M is not suitable. Some key
details for certain of the steps in the actual design procedure are discussed below.

Once an initial frame arrangement has been decided upon, global analyses for the three load

9 1.4DE + 1.6IL + Notional Horizontal Forces

9 1.2(DL+IL+WL)
9 1.4 ( D E + W E )

should be undertaken. Notional horizontal forces should be taken as 0.5% o f the factored dead +
imposed load as specified by BS5950: Part 1. Pattern loading should be considered; it may well be
10 D.A. Nethercot and J.S. Hensman

Define frame geometry

NOTE: This flow chart is not a design procedure.

STEP 2 It should be used only as a 'first check', to
Define load types and magnitude determine if the wind-moment method outlined
(1) Gravity in this document is a suitable design method for
(2) wind the frame in question.

Design composite beams as
simply supported with a capacity The frame design is likely to be controlled
of 0.9Mp I. . . . . . . . . by SLS sway. However, a suitable frame
. . . . . . . . .
design may still be achieved using the
wind-moment method.
, Consider increasing the member sizes.

Estimate required column . . . . . . . . . I


Predict the SLS sway using
the method in Section 5 Design the frame as rigid, or include
vertical bracing.

~ ~ ~ Using the wind-moment method to

~" Is the t~alframe ~ Is the to!al frame ~ designthis frame for ULS is likely
sway <.n:.~uu:/ ~ sway <h:200? J " to result in unsatisfactory SLS
~ b e h sway
a v i o u r ~

~ Yes
~ ] Using the wind-moment method to
~ . ~ ~_ _ ~ _. [designthis frame for the ULS is likely]
to result in unsatisfactory inter-storey I
sway behaviour. Design frame as I
rigid at the 1st storey level, or includeI
~ e ~ I vertical bracing.
s ~ es I

Design the frame using the I The bottom storey SLS sway is likely
wind-moment method,as ] to control the frame design.
detailed in this document. Increasing the column section sizes
may resolve this problem; if not then
it may be appropriate to use an
alternative method.

F i g u r e 4 Steps in design a p p r o a c h
Unbraced Composite Frames." Application of the Wind Moment Method 11
critical for the design of internal columns when heavy imposed loads are present on long span

For beam design under gravity loading an end restraint moment of 10% of the maximum sagging
moment in the beam should be assumed. For horizontal loading, frame analysis should be by the
"portal method".

Composite beams should be Class 1 designed for 90% of their plastic moment of resistance at mid-
span. This provision has been introduced so as to ensure that adequate rotation capacity is present
in the composite connections to develop the required span moment. Previous studies, Li, Choo
and Nethercot, (1995), Nethercot, Li and Choo, (1995), have shown both that the available rotation
capacity of composite connections is limited and that the non-linear relationship between beam span
design moment and the amount of moment redistribution necessary to achieve this substantially
reduces the rotational demands on the connections.

Columns, which are assumed to be of bare steel, should be designed by the usual interaction
formula approach. Effective lengths for in-plane and out of plane checks should be taken as 1.5L
and 1.0L respectively. Column end moments should allow for both the end restraint moment due
to partial fixity when considering gravity loading and the moments calculated due to horizontal

Connections must be designed for both maximum hogging and minimum sagging loads in
recognition of the fact that wind loading can reverse.

The parametric study indicated deflections under serviceability loading to be of the order of 30%
greater than those calculated assuming rigid joints due to the greater overall flexibility of the frames
with semi-rigid connections. Rather than permit the use of any method for the determination of
sway deflections, a development of that proposed by

Wood and Roberts, (1975), that employed a simple graphical technique is proposed. In this way the
common drift limit of h/300 recommended by BS5950: Part 1 and EC3 may be achieved. In
addition to considering the behaviour of the complete frame, it is important to check each individual
story. The first story is likely to be the most critical, typically accounting for the percentage of total
frame sway indicated in Table 3.


Based on the findings of a careful numerical study that employed a synthesis of the best currently
available scientific evidence, proposals for the application of the Wind Moment Method to the
design of a restricted range of unbraced composite frames have been made. In application, these
closely follow the established procedure of the SCI Design Guide for bare steel frames. The
background study has, however, recognised the need to properly consider the behaviour of both the
composite beams and the composite connections; it has also recognised the desirability of using
less than fully rigid column bases. In deriving the design procedure, account has been taken of
industry wishes, important practical differences in the likely configuration of composite frames
from steel frames and recent changes in the general structural design climate in the UK.
12 D.A. Nethercot and J.S. Hensman

Ackroyd, M (1987), Design of flexibly connected unbraced steel building frames, Journal
Constructional Steel Research, No 8, pp 261-286.

Ackroyd, M H and Gerstle, K H (1982), Behaviour of type II steel frames, Journal of the Structural
Division ASCE, Vol. 108, No 7, pp 1541-1556.

Ahmed, B and Nethercot, D A (1997), Design of composite flush end-plate connections, The
Structural Engineer, Volume 75, No. 14, pp 233-244.

Anderson, D, Reading S, J and Kavianpour, K (1991), Wind-moment design for unbraced frames,
The Steel Construction Institute, Publication No 082.

Hensman, J S (1998), Investigation of the wind moment method for unbraced composite frames,
MPhil thesis, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Nottingham.

Hensman, J S and Nethercot, D A, (2000a) Utilisation of test data for column bases when
addressing overall frame response: a review, Advances in Structural Engineering, to be published

Hensman, J S and Nethercot, D A, (2000b) "Numerical studies of composite sway frames:

Generation of Data to Validate Wind Moment Method of design", to be published.

Kavianpour, K (1990), Design and analysis of unbraced steel frames, PhD thesis, University of

Li, T Q, Choo, B S and Nethercot, D A (1995), Determination of Rotation Capacity Requirements

for Steel and Composite Beams, Journal of Constructional Steel Research, Vol. 32, pp. 303-332.

Li, T Q, Nethercot, D A and Choo, B S (1993), Moment curvature relations for steel and composite
beams, Steel Structures, Journal of Singapore Structural Steel Society, Volume 4, No. 1, pp 35-51.

Nethercot, D A, Li, T Q and Choo, B S (1995), Required Rotations and Moment-Redistribution for
Composite Frames and Continuous Beams, Journal of Constructional Steel Research, Vol. 35. No.
2, pp. 121-164.

Reading, S J (1989), Kavianpour, K (1990), Anderson, D, Reading S, J and Kavianpour, K (1991)

Investigation of the wind connection method, MSc thesis, University of Warwick,

Wood, R H and Roberts, E H (1975), A graphical method of predicting sidesway in multistorey

buildings, Proceedings Institution of Civil Engineers, Part 2, Vol. 59, pp 353-272.

Ye Mei-Xin, Nethercot, D A and Li, T Q (1996), Non-linear finite element analysis of composite
frames, Proceedings Institution of Civil Engineers, Structures and Buildings, Volume 116, pp 244-

Zu-Yan Shen I

~State Key Laboratory for Disaster Reduction in Civil Engineering,

Tongji University, Shanghai, 200092, China


Based on a series of experiments and theoretical analysis, a cumulative damage mechanics model of
steel under cyclic loading, hysteresis models for plane and space steel members with damage
cumulative effects and a cumulative damage model for steel frames under seismic actions are
presented. Using these cumulative damage models, the elasto-plastic response of steel framed
structures sustained the major shock and successive aftershocks of an earthquake can be calculated
and the performance of the structures can be predicted more precisely and more realistically. In order
to verify the theoretical results and the acceptability of the cumulative damage models, shaking table
tests were conducted by the author in the State Key Laboratory for Disaster Reduction in Civil
Engineering of Tongji University.


Cumulative damage model, Steel framed structures, Seismic response, Shaking table test


The collapse of structures is usually due to the cumulation of damage to certain extent. In order to take
the cumulation of damage into account in analysis, damage mechanics has been developed,
Kachnov(1986). But up to now few of the research results have been used in the seismic analysis of
steel framed structures. Recently Shen and Dong (1997) suggested an experiment-based cumulative
damage mechanics model for steel subjected to cyclic loading. Shen et al (1998) derived a hysteresis
model for plane steel members with damage cumulative effects. Since these research results can take
the damage cumulative effects into consideration, it becomes possible to establish an analysis
approach for calculating the elasto-plastic response of steel framed structures sustained the major
shock and successive aftershocks of an earthquake.

~National Key Projects on Basic Research and Applied Research: Applied Research on Safety and Durability of Major Construction

14 Z . - Y. S h e n

In the paper, a cumulative damage model for steel framed structures under seismic actions is
established. The performance of the structures subjected to a major shock and successive aftershocks
of an earthquake can be analyzed and the extent of damage including the damage cumulation of the
structures after each shock can be calculated. Shaking table tests were conducted by the author in the
State Key Laboratory for Disaster Reduction in Civil Engineering of Tongji University for verifying
the theoretical analysis.


A cumulative damage mechanics model of steel under cyclic loading was established by the author,
Shen and Dong (1997). The model can be expressed as follows.

Damage index D is calculated by

" ~ C - 6g
D = (l-ill e'-eg +fl~ (11
C - 6g .= 6=" - 6g

where N is the number of half cycles which cause plastic strain, fl is the weight value, 6 p is the
plastic strain during the ith half cycle, 6 p is the ultimate plastic strain of the material and 6.P is the
largest plastic strain during all halfcycles.

The effects of damage on elastic modulus, yield strength and strain hardening coefficient are

E o = (1-4D)E

tro = (1 - ~2D)tr, (2)

where D is the damage index, D = 0 means no damage and D = 1 means complete failure of the
material, E and E n are the elastic modulus in respect of D = 0 and D , respectively, tr s is the
initial yield stress when D = O, try is the yield stress in respect of D, k 0 is the original strain
hardening Cbefficient and k (") is the strain hardening coefficient after the nth halfcycle. ~:~,~:2 and ~3
are three material parameters.

And the cumulative damage mechanics model of the steel under cyclic loading is

for first half cycle


from the second half cycle,

Cumulative Damage Model for the Analysis of Steel 15

f ! = erA.+, + ED(')(C-- CA.+,) I~176 - ~ to? '~

- - a c 2 -~- b g + c ?'or.~ < [era,,+, -o" I < (2 + r/)cr~<') (4)
-- O'Cn+l -I- k(')ED(')(c - Cc.+,) IOta.,+,- or] > (2 + r/)cr~~

where ~s and es are the initial yield stress and strain, CA~+, and eAn+~ axe the stress and strain at
unloading point A of the (n+ 1)th halfcycle, ~cn+, and ecn+, are the stress and strain at stress hardening
point C of the (n+l)th halfcycle, y and r/ are two material parameters and a, band c are the
constants of the parabolic curve connecting the yielding point B and the stress hardening point C.

The cumulative damage mechanics model can be illustrated by Figure 1.

Figure 1: Hysteretic model of steel considering damage cumulation

For steel Q235, all the material parameters can be adopted according to Table 1.


0.0081 0.227 0.119 Eqn. 5 0.000073 1.44 0.041

- 0.014-016 t,m i+ 1 l:l'm I- I (5)



Shen and Lu have developed a powerful integration method to calculate the behavior of steel members,
Shen and Lu (1983). The method can analyze strength problems and stability problems as well, taking
into account the effects of initial geometrical and physical imperfections including residual stresses of
the steel member and can give the complete load-deflection relationship of the member including both
the ascending and descending branches.
16 Z.- Y. Shen
Since the basic required input of the integration method is the stress-strain relationship of material, the
method can be used to obtain the hysteresis model of steel members with damage cumulation effects,
if we take the cumulative damage mechanics model of steel under cyclic loading as the input of the

Two experiments conducted by the author, Li et al. (1999), were calculated for verifying the proposed
method. The material properties and the sectional dimension of the H section columns are shown in
Table 2. or, and 6, denote yield stress and yield strain, respectively, crb and 6,, are ultimate stress
and ultimate strain, respectively, b and h are the width and height of the section and t, and tf are
the thickness of the web and the flange, respectively.


E crs crb 6~ 6= h b tf tw
(MPa) (MPa) (MPa) (mm) (mm) (mm) (mm)
1.972x 105 290.08 440.67 0.00147 0.19978 176 160 8 8

The column specimens are cantilevers with length 1100mm. For specimen A, there are only two
horizontal forces acting at the top, and for specimen B, there are two horizontal forces and one
constant vertical force with magnitude 300kN acting at the top. The loading path of the specimens are
shown in Figure 2 and the comparison between calculation and tests can be seen in Figure 3, where
Px and Py are the horizontal forces applied on the top ends of the tested column specimens, and Dx
and Dy are the corresponding horizontal displacements. In Figure 3, the test results are shown by
solid lines, and the calculated results by dashed lines. The comparison shows that using the method
proposed, a precise hysteresis curve can be obtained by theoretical analysis.

Figure 2: Loading path of the tested specimens

Cumulative Damage Model for the Analysis of Steel 17

Figure 3" Comparison of measured and calculated results



In order to put the model into practice, the author has established a simplified hysteresis model for
plane steel members with damage cumulation effects, Shen et al. (1998). The model can be extended
to spatial steel members with damage cumulation effects.

The hysteresis parameter for a spatial member at nth loading can be expressed as the same as the
plane member, Shen at al. (1998), if the ~o denotes the yield function of the spatial member.

(for (P < (Ps,n)

~o- fps,, 1
+(k-l) ] (for ~os., <(p < ~Op.,) (6)
[k(1-~,D) (for q) > ~Op,n)

where D is called equivalent damage index of the cross-section to be substituted for the actual
.~ IDidA~
D- (7)
is the area of the ith subsection, D, is the damage index of the ith subsection. ~o is the yield
function for the spatial member. ~os,. and ~Op,, denote the value of initial yield and the perfect yield
during the nth loading, respectively, and k is the strain hardening coefficient. The yield function for
the spatial member has been developed by many authors, Chen and Austra (1976), Duan and Chen
(1990), Kitipomchai et al. (1991 ).

When damage and plastic yield occur at both ends of the spatial member, the elasto-plastic tangent
stiffness matrix can be expressed by the following equation
18 Z.- Y. Shen
[KpD] = [Ke]-[K,][G][E][L][E]r[G]r[K,] (8)

where [Ke] is the elastic stiffness matrix of the spatial member element, [G],[E] and [L] can be
obtained from the reference, Li et al. (1999)
The same experiments mentioned in the above section can be used for verifying the simplified
hysteresis model for spatial members with damage cumulation effects. Figure 4 shows the comparison
of the test results and the calculated results using the simplified hysteresis model, in which the test
results are shown by solid lines and the calculated results by the dashed lines.

Figure 4: Comparison of tested results and calculated results

The comparison illustrates that the accuracy of the simplified hysteresis model is quite good and the
model is acceptable for practical analysis.

After every half cycle of loading the strain of every subsection can be calculated, the damage index
D~ of the subsection is obtained by using Eqn. 1 and hence the equivalent damage index /9 of the
member is also obtained by Eqn. 7. Summing up the equivalent damage of all previous half cycles of
loading, the cumulated damage index of the member can be obtained.

At the end of loading the cumulated damage index of specimen A and B are 0.121 and 0.305,

The simplified hysteresis model not only can be used to imitate the actual hysteresis curves of spatial
members but also has several unique advantages.

First, it can be used to analyze the hysteresis behavior of a member with initial damage, if the initial
damage index is known. Second, it can get the damage index and emulated damage index of a
member after loading. And third, it can be used to analyze the behavior of members subjected to the
seismic loading more than one times.


Cumulative Damage Model for the Analysis of Steel 19
From the ealsto-plastic tangent stiffness matrix, Eqn. 8, for spatial steel member with damage
cttmualtion effects, the global tangent stiffness matrix [Kpo] of the spatial steel frames can be easily
assembled. Then the deferential equation of dynamic equilibrium for the frames can be built as
[M] {A6} + [C] {AS} + [Kpo] {A6} = [MI[E]{A6g } (9)

where [M] is the mass matrix of the structure, [C] is the damping matrix of the structure, {6} is
the displacement vector of the structure and {6g } is the acceleration vector of ground movement.

Solving the above equation, the displacement response of the structure can be determined. Through
the displacement, the damage index of each member can be calculated.

In order to verify the proposed method, a shaking table test was conducted by the author. Figure 5
shows the sketch of the spatial steel frame model used for shaking table test. All of the members are
H-typed cross-sections. Node numbers are given in Figure 5.

A3 ,1 ?/~ //~x,2



Figure 5 Sketch of the frame model.


E(MPa) o-s (MPa) o-b(MPa) 6s 6= ~' 6

2.03x 105 228.44 369.51 0.00113 0.204 64.76% 34.45%


b(mm) h(mm) tw (mm) ty (mm)

Beams 100 150 5 5
Columns 100 120 5 5

The material properties and the sectional dimension of the H-section members are shown in Table 3
20 Z.- Y. Shen

and Table 4, respectively. ~ and 6 denote the sectional reduction and elongation of the material,

The loading series of the shaking table test are listed in Table 5. The input ground movement in the x-
direction and y-direction of the shaking table are El-Centro N-S and El-Centro E-W, respectively,
taking the time ratio t / / ~ .


Series No. 1 2 3 4 5
Amplitude X 0.30g 0.30g 0.50g 0.50g 0.70g
of the Direction (0.309g) (0.311g) (0.4976) (0.499g) (0.7046)
acceleration Y 0.15g 0.15g 0.25g 0.25g 0.25g
direction (0.163g) (0.1556) (0.258g) (0.2546) (0.2526)

Series No. 6 7 8 9 10
Amplitude X 0.70g 0.60g 0.60g 0.80g 0.80g
of the Direction (0.703g) (0.6036) (0.605g) (0.790g) (0.792g)
acceleration Y 0.25g 0.30g 0.30g 0.35g 0.35g
Direction (0.2546) (0.3036) (0.305g) (0.358g) (0.359~;)
( 9) is the actual amplitude of the shaking table.

The natural frequencies of the free vibration of the model measured from the experiment are listed in
Table 6. There is no different between the initial frequencies and the frequencies after 4th loading, that
indicates the seismic action did not damage the steel frame model and the model was still in the elastic
range. After the 4th loading, the frequencies decreased successively after subsequent loading due to
the damage of the model. Using the simplified hysteresis model, the natural frequencies were
calculated and also listed in Table 6 by parentheses. In Table 6, the errors 6 between tested and
calculated frequencies are given as well. From Table 6 it can be seen that the frequencies of a
damaged structure can be calculated by using the proposed simplified hysteresis model with sufficient


1st f (Hz) 2nd f2 (Hz) 3rd f3 (Hz) 4th f4 (Hz)

Initial 3.174(3.181) 4.883(5.264) 9.115(9.243) 15.462(17.730)
(g =0.22%) (6=7.23%) (6=1.38%) (6=12.79%)
After 4th 3.174(3.162) 4.883(5.242) 9.115(9.220) 15.462(17.668)
Loading (6 =0.38%) (6 =6.85%) (6=1.14%) (8=12.49%)
After 6th 3.163(3.146) 4.863(5.221) 9.081(9.202) 15.339(17.618)
Loading (6=0.54%) (6=6.85%) (6=1.31%) (6=12.93%)
After 8th 3.135(3.111) 4.833(5.179) 9.046(9.164) 15.304(17.509)
Loading (6 =0.77%) (6 =6.68%) (6=1.28%) . (6=12.59%)
After 10th 3.092(3.089) 4.800(5.155) 8.870(9.097) 15.200(17.390)
Loading (6=0.10%) (6=6.87%) (6=2.49%) (6=12.60%)
Cumulative Damage Model for the Analysis of Steel 21
The dynamic displacements Aland A3 of the model during the 10th loading are shown in Figure 6.
The calculated results considering and not considering the cumulative damage effects are illustrated
by Figure 7 and Figure 8, respectively.

Figure 6 The tested displacement curves for points A1 and A3 during 10th loading
22 Z.- Y. Shen

Figure 7 The calculated displacement curves for points A1 and A3

during 10th loading considering the cumulative damage

Figure 8 The calculated displacement curves for points A1 and A3

during 10th loading assuming no damage(D=-0)
Cumulative Damage Model for the Analysis of Steel 23
Table 7 are the maximum and minimum displacements of points A1 and A3 during different loadings.
There are three results corresponding to the measured values, the calculated values taking the
cumulative damage into account and the calculated values not considering the damage (/9=-0).


~---.-u.e..~ng~ No. No. 5 No. 6 No. 7 No. 8 No. 9 No. 10

A1 Max Tested 2.42 2.45 3.30 3.39 3.61 3.82
(cm) Cal. with D 2.20 2.38 2.96 3.16 3.35 3.59
Cal. D=-0 2.19 2.24 2.79 2.87 3.08 3.11
Min Tested -2.44 -2.49 -3.01 -3.26 -3.57 -3.65
(cm) Cal. with D -2.37 -2.38 -2.63 -2.84 -3.09 -3.29
Cal. D=0 -2.36 -2.36 -2.50 -2.67 -2.97 -3.09
A3 Max Tested 1.29 1.31 1.08 1.10 1.39 1.43
(cm) Cal. with D 1.26 1.28 1.02 1.05 1.30 1.34
Cal. D=-0 1'.24 1.25 0.99 1.00 1.23 1.25
Min Tested -1.30 -1.31 -1.09 -1.09 -1.37 -1.42
(cm) Cal. withD -1.13 -1.14 -1.03 -1.05 -1.31 -1.34
Cal. D=-0 -1.10 -1.11 -1.02 -1.03 -1.28 -1.30

The cumulative damages of the columns of the steel frame model after each loading of the loading
series are shown in Table 8. In the Table the two digits of the end member indicate the column (Figure
5) and the first digit means the end where damage occurs.


Loading End Number

No. 1-5 5-1 2-6 6-2 3-7 7-3 4-8 8-4
4 0.083 0.020 0.080 0.024 0.085 0.020 0.081 0.025
5 0.089 0.023 0.153 0.029 0.091 0.024 0.155 0.029
6 0.112 0.037 0.171 0.032 0.165 0.034 0.172 0.033
7 0.155 0.051 0.196 0.065 0.201 0.063 0.198 0.066
8 0.219 0.073 0.348 0.068 0.265 0.088 0.364 0.068
9 0.242 0.081 0.371 0.080 0.288 0.096 0.387 0.080
10 0.287 0.095 0.395 0.097 0.334 0.111 0.432 0.109

Loading End Number

No. 5-9 9-5 6-10 10-6 7-11 11-7 8-12 12-8
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

0 0.021 0.005 0.057 0.017 0.021 0.005 . . . .

0.042 0.013 0.026 0.128 0.042 0.013 0.084 0.007

From Figures 6 to 8 and Tables 7, 8 the following points can be drawn. First, a severe seismic action
24 Z.- Y. Shen
will cause structures damaged. Second, the damage in a structure will cumulate during successive
seismic actions. Third, the cumulative damage will deduce the resistance capacity of structures to the
seismic action. Fourth, the dynamic behavior of steel framed structures can be analyzed with
acceptable accuracy by using the proposed cumulative damage hysteresis model.


Based on a series of experiments and theoretical analysis mentioned in the previous sections, the
following main conclusions can be drawn:

(1) The cumulative damage mechanics model of steel under cyclic loading suggested by the author is
easy to be used in structural analysis with satisfactory accuracy.

(2) Hysteresis curves of steel planar and spatial members can be precisely imitated by using Shen &
Lu's integration method with cumulative damage mechanics model as the input of the steel hysteresis

(3) The simplified hysteresis model of steel members with damage cumulation effects and the elasto-
plastic tangent stiffness matrix of the spatial members derived by the author can put the analysis of
steel framed structures subjected to more than one time's earthquakes into practice.

(4) Using the method proposed in the paper, the analysis of initially damaged structures becomes
practical and the damage of structures due to loading can be calculated in a practical way.


Chen W. F. and Ausuta T. (1976). Theory of Beam-Columns, vol. 2, MeGraw-Hill, New York.
Duan L. and Chen W. F. (1990). A Yield Surface Equation for Doubly Symmetrical Sections.
Engineering Structures 12:4, 114-118.
Li G. Q. et al. (1999). Spatial Hysteretic model and Elasto-plastic Stiffness of Steel Columns. Journal
of Constructional Steel Research 50:, 283-303.
Kachanov L. M.(1986). Introduction to Continuum Damage Mechanics, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers,
Kitipomchai S. et al. (1991). Single-equation Yield Surfaces for Monosymmetric and Asymmetric
Sections, Engineering Structures 13:10, 366-370.
Shen Z. Y. and Dong B.(1997). An Experiment-based Cumulative Damage Mechanics Model of Steel
under Cyclic Loading. Advances in structural Engineering 1:1, 39-46.
Shen Z. Y., Dong B. and Cao W. w. (1998). A Hysteresis Model for Plane Steel Members with
Damage Cumulation Effects. Journal of Constructional Steel Research 48:2/3, 79-87.
Shen Z. Y. and Lu L.W. (1983). Analysis of Initially Crooked, End Restrained Steel Columns, Journal
of Constructional Steel Research, 3:1, 40-48.

Gregory J. Hancock

Department of Civil Engineering, University of Sydney

NSW, 2006, Australia


A major research program has been performed for 20 years at the University of Sydney on cold-
formed open section and tubular structural members. This research has included both members and
connections and has been performed predominantly for high strength steel sections. The open section
members include mainly angles, channels (with and without lips) and zeds, and the tubular members
include mainly rectangular (RHS) and square (SHS) hollow sections. The research has been mainly
incorporated in the Australian Steel Structures Standard AS 4100-1998 and the Australian/New
Zealand cold-formed steel structures standard AS/NZS 4600. The paper summarises the recent
developments in the research and points to on-going and future research needs.


Cold-formed, Steel Structures, Structural Design, Open Sections, Tubular Sections, Standards


Cold-formed structural members are being used more widely in routine structural design as the world
steel industry moves from the production of hot-rolled section and plate to coil and strip, often with
galvanised and/or painted coatings. Steel in this form is more easily delivered from the steel mill to
the manufacturing plant where it is usually cold-rolled into open and closed section members. In
Australia, of the approximately one million tonnes of structural steel used each year, 125,000 tonnes is
used for cold-formed open sections such as purlins and girts and 400,000 tonnes is used for tubular
members. Tubular members are normally produced by cold-forming with an electric resistance weld
(ERW) to form the tube. In most applications of open sections, the coil is coated by zinc or
aluminium/zinc as part of the steel supply process. In some applications of tubular members, the
sections are in-line galvanised with a subsequent enhancement of the tensile properties. The resulting
product is called DuraGal (BHP (1996)). In Australia, the total quantity of cold-formed products now
exceeds the total quantity of hot-rolled products.

The open section members are normally produced from steel manufactured to AS 1397 (Standards
Australia, 1993). This steel is cold-reduced and galvanised and typically has yield stress values of

26 G.J. Hancock
450 MPa for steel greater than 1.2 mm (called G450), 500 MPa for steel in the range 1.0 to 1.2 mm
(called G500) and 550 MPa for steel less than 1.0 mm (called G550). Hence the majority of the
sections are constructed from high strength cold-reduced steel. Structural steel hollow sections are
normally produced to the Australian Standard AS 1163 (1991). They are all cold-formed and usually
have stress grades of 250 MPa (called C250), 350 MPa (called C350) and 450 MPa (called C450).
The most common grade is C350 which has the yield strength enhanced from 300 MPa to 350 MPa
during the forming process. The C450 grade is often achieved by in-line galvanising (BHP, 1996).

The Australian Standard for the design of steel structures AS 4100 was first published in limit states
format in 1990 and permitted the use of cold-formed tubular members to AS 1163. Cold-formed
tubular members had been permitted to be designed to the permissible stress steel structures design
standard AS 1250 (Standards Australia 1981) since an amendment in 1982. However, the research on
cold-formed tubular members was limited in many areas, particularly flexural members and
connections, and so a significant research program was undertaken. Much of this research which was
incorporated in the most recent edition of AS 4100 (Standards Australia, 1998) is described in Zhao,
Hancock and Sully (1996).

The Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 4600 (Standards Australia 1996) for the limit states
design of cold-formed open section members was published in 1996 and was based mainly on the
American Iron and Steel Institute Specification (AISI, 1997). However, the Australian/New Zealand
Standard permitted the use of high strength steel to AS 1397 and so research data was incorporated for
this purpose.

This paper summarises the most recent research in the following areas:

9 High strength angle sections in compression

9 Lipped and unlipped channel sections in compression
9 Unlipped channel sections in bearing
9 Lateral buckling of channel sections
9 Bolted and screwed connections in G550 steel
9 Tubular beam-columns
9 Bolted moment end-plate connections
9 Plastic design of cold-formed square and rectangular hollow sections


Axial Compression of Cold-Formed Angles

A major research program was performed on cold-formed angles formed by cold-rolling and in-line
galvanising so that the final product had a yield stress of 450 MPa (BHP (1996)). Sections ranging
from slender (EA 50*50*2.4 mm) to non-slender (EA 50"50"4.7mm) were tested in pin-ended
concentric compression such that flexural buckling could occur about the minor principal axis.
Detailed measurements of the stress-strain characteristics of the material forming the sections, the
residual stresses and overall geometric imperfections were taken. The results are reported in Popovic,
Hancock and Rasmussen (1999).

The results of the tests are compared with the design rules of AS 4100 (Standards Australia 1998) and
AS/NZS 4600 (Standards Australia 1996) in Figs 1 and 2. Comparison of the angle tests is shown
with AS 4100 in Fig. 1 and AS/NZS 4600 in Fig. 2 which only includes the slender sections. The
slender sections failed in a combination of flexural and flexural-torsional buckling. For the sections
Recent Developments in Cold-Formed Open Section and Tubular Members 27
tested, it can be concluded that the design procedure in AS 4100 is not satisfactory if the design yield
stress is taken from stub column strengths as shown in Fig. 1 but it is satisfactory if it is based on
coupons taken from the flats. The design procedure does not include specific rules for flexural-
torsional buckling. Higher design curves than recommended by AS 4100 can be used for the non-
slender sections which did not include torsional deformations in the failure mode. As demonstrated in
Fig. 2, the design procedure in AS/NZS 4600 is conservative for short length sections where torsional
buckling is included twice by virtue of an effective section for local buckling and torsional buckling
stresses in the column design. For longer length columns, the additional required moment equal to a
load eccentricity of L/1000 need only be applied for slender sections as shown in Fig. 2. Non-slender
(fully effective) sections do not need this additional eccentricity as demonstrated in Popovic, Hancock
and Rasmussen (1999).

Long Column Tests - Pinned Ends

1.4 AS 4100 Column Curves (Ns = Stub Column Strength)

(Xb = " 1.0 SSRC 1

(Xb = - 0.5 AISC-LRFD
(Xb= 0.0 SSRC2
(Xt)= 0.5
(Xb= 1.0 S S R C 3

2~ 0.6 / 9L50x50x4.0
9 L50x50x5.0 !

0.4 ,~ = r-~.~.~Kf-~
o.~ k:--~

0.0 I I I I I I . . . .
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200
Fig. 1 Comparison of angle section test strengths with hot-rolled design standards
Long Column Tests L50x50x2.5
1.4 AS 4600 and AISI Column Curves (fy = 396 MPa)


f-t buckling controls l- Pin-Ended


" " /.. 9
ff-t X A e

3 0.6 ,L flexure controls



[ -- ~000 .

0.0 9 I
0 20 40 60 80 1O0 120 140 160 180 200

Fig. 2 Comparison of angle section test strengths with cold-formed design standards
28 G.J. Hancock
Lipped and Unlipped Channels in Compression

A test program on unlipped (plain) and lipped channels in compression was performed where the
channels were compressed between fixed ends and pinned ends (Young and Rasmussen, 1998a,
1998b). Whereas it is well-known that local buckling of pin-ended channel columns induces overall
bending, this phenomenon does not occur in fixed-ended channel columns that remain straight after
local buckling and only bend when overall buckling occurs. These fundamentally different effects of
local buckling on the behaviour of pin-ended and fixed-ended channel sections lead to inconsistencies
in traditional design approaches. The research program investigated these phenomena and compared
the results with the design approach in AS/NZS 4600.

Results for plain channels compressed between fixed ends and pinned ends are shown in Figs. 3 and 4.
The fixed ended tests (Fig. 3) clearly show that the formulae for column strength alone accurately
predict the test results and the sections carry loads well in excess of the local buckling load. However,
the pin-ended tests (Fig. 4) show that the loads carried are not significantly greater than the local
buckling load for the pin-ended shorter length test specimens. By comparison, the design predictions
accounting for the shift in effective centroid are very conservative. Similar results are achieved for
lipped channels but the differences are not so marked as shown in Young and Rasmussen (1998b).

Fig. 3 Comparison of fixed-ended plain channel test strengths with design strengths
Recent Developments & Cold-Formed Open Section and Tubular Members 29

Fig. 4 Comparison of pin-ended plain channel test strengths with design strengths

Unlipped Channel Sections in Bearing

An experimental investigation of cold-formed unlipped channels subject to web crippling has been
described in Young and Hancock (1998). The concentrated loading forces were applied by means of
bearing plates which acted across the full flange widths of the channels. The web crippling results
were compared with AS/NZS 4600. The design web crippling strength predictions given by the
standard were found to be very unconservative for the unlipped channel sections tested which had web
slenderness values ranging from 16.9 to 38.3. These slenderness values are fairly stocky compared
with those for the test data base used for the American Iron and Steel Institute Specification (AISI,
1996) on which AS/NZS 4600 was based. A simple plastic mechanism model for the web crippling
strength of unlipped channels was proposed. The plastic mechanism model is most appropriate for the
stocky web sections which fail as a mechanism due to the load eccentricity resulting from the rounded

Lateral Buckling of Channel Sections

A research program on the lateral buckling capacities of cold-formed lipped channel-section beams
(CFCs) was undertaken and published in Put, Pi and Trahair (1999a). It has been argued that the
design approximations based on hot-rolled beams may be inappropriate for CFCs, because of the very
different cross-sectional shape and method of manufacture. The paper describes lateral buckling tests
on simply supported unbraced CFCs of two different cross-sections which were undertaken to resolve
the issue. However, the lateral buckling tests showed that the CFCs failed catastrophically by local
and distortional buckling of the compressed element of the cross-section after quite large
deformations. The failure moments were lower when the beam lateral deflection increased the
compression in the compression lip, and higher when they increased the compression in the flange-
web junction.

The results in Fig. 5, which are taken from Put, Pi and Trahair (1999a), show some interesting features
when compared with the predictions of AS 4100 and AS/NZS 4600. The stockier section C10019 is
fairly accurately predicted by AS/NZS 4600 although it is slightly conservative at longer lengths.
30 G.J. Hancock
Both the distortional buckling strength Md and section strength Ms reasonably accurately predict the
test results at shorter lengths as well as the longer lengths specimens which fail in the lip buckling
mode. AS 4100 provides an unconservative estimate of the section strength. However, for the more
slender C10010 section, the distortional buckling strength Md and section strength Ms predictions of
AS/NZS 4600 are unconservative. By comparison, AS 4100 is more accurate although this may be
coincidental since the design method in AS 4100 was not developed for local and distortional
buckling of such slender sections and the prediction is based on a very simple model of local
buckling. Further, there seems to be a significant interaction between the lateral buckling mode and
lip buckling at longer lengths with both AS 4100 and AS/NZS 4600 providing unconservative
predictions of the strength. Further investigations of this phenomenon are required for slender

A separate paper on the bending and torsion of cold-formed channel beams loaded concentrically and
eccentrically at mid-span has been published (Put, Pi and Trahair, 1999b). The tests show that the
beam strengths decrease as the load eccentricity increases and that the strength is higher when the load
acts on the centroid side of the shear centre than when it acts on the side away from the shear centre.
Good agreement is demonstrated between the test results and analytical predictions of the strengths.
An extended series of analytical expressions was used to develop simple interaction equations that can
be used in the design of eccentrically loaded cold-formed channel beams.

Fig. 5 Lateral buckling tests of cold-formed channels compared with design strengths

Bolted and Screwed Connections in G550 Sheet Steels

Cold-formed structural members are usually fabricated from sheet steels which must meet various
material requirements prescribed in applicable national design standards. AS/NZS 4600 allows the
use of thin (t< 0.9 mm), high strength (fy = 550 MPa) sheet steels in all structural sections. However,
in the design the engineer must use a value of yield stress and ultimate strength reduced to 75% of the
minimum specified values, due to lack of ductility exhibited by sheet steels which are cold reduced to
thickness. Three papers investigating the ductility (Rogers and Hancock, 1997), bolted connection
capacity (Rogers and Hancock, 1998) and screwed connection capacity (Rogers and Hancock, 1999)
have recently been published summarising research investigating thin G300 and G550 sheet steels.
Recent Developments in Cold-Formed Open Section and Tubular Members 31

Fig. 6 Bearing strength of bolted connections in thin sheet steels compared with design strength
32 G.J. Hancock
In general, the problems with these steels were not a reduction in section strength due to the low
ductility, but a problem in the bearing capacity of thin sections. This can be clearly seen in Fig. 6
where the bearing capacity of bolted connections in 0.42 mm G550 steel and 0.60 mm G550 and
G300 steel are well below the predictions of AS/NZS 4600 and other design standards. The only
standard to provide a reasonable prediction of this phenomenon was the Canadian standard for cold-
formed steel structural members (CSA, 1994) which had a bearing coefficient which varied with the
d/t ratio of the bolt and sheet. Proposals have been made for the Australian standard and American
specification to adopt this approach.

Similar characteristics were discovered for screwed connections as reported in Rogers and Hancock
(1999). The recommended beating coefficients also depend on the screw diameter to sheet thickness
ratio and are shown in Fig. 7.

Fig. 7 Existing and Proposed Bearing Coefficients for Screw Connections


Tubular Beam-Columns

A test program was conducted into the behaviour of cold-formed square hollow section (SHS) beam-
columns of slender cross-section (Sully and Hancock, 1998). The experimental program follows an
earlier test program on compact SHS beam-columns (Sully and Hancock, 1996). The tests were
conducted in a purpose built testing rig capable of applying load and moment in a constant ratio. The
tests specimens were pin-ended and were loaded at two different ratios of end moment. The results of
the testing program have been compared in Sully and Hancock (1998) with the current design rules in
AS 4100-1998, the American Institute of Steel Construction Specification and Eurocode 3.

From the interaction tests, it is clear that the slender sections collapse more suddenly as a result of
inelastic local buckling than do compact sections. The long yielding plateau and associated high
curvatures observed in the compact tests (Sully and Hancock, 1996) were not evident for the slender
sections. Local imperfections are more easily formed in the slender sections particularly from the
welding of the connection components. These local imperfections can have a detrimental effect on
the section bending capacity of the member causing premature collapse through local instability. The
possibility of this type of failure occurring is of particular concern in structures where maximum
moments occur at the member connections. Further research is required in this area.

For the long length interaction tests where the maximum load was reached prior to local instability,
the design rules in AS 4100 for compact doubly-symmetric sections are applicable. However, this
Recent Developments in Cold-Formed Open Section and Tubular Members 33
does not preclude the case of more slender sections than those tested which may locally buckle before
reaching maximum load. Further investigation is required to determine if the AS 4100 compact
section interaction rules are appropriate for non-uniform moment. Short length interaction tests
indicated that local instability affects the beam-column strength more severely for short length
specimens. Again, further investigation is required to determine if the AS 4100 interaction rule is
appropriate for non-uniform moment. The simple linear interaction rule for non-compact sections in
AS 4100 appears satisfactory for all the sections tested.

Bolted Moment End Plate Connections

Moment end plate connections joining 1-section members are used extensively and considerable
documentation on their behaviour exists in the literature. In contrast, research on moment end plate
connections joining rectangular and square hollow sections is limited and satisfactory design models
are not widely available. The research on tubular end plate connections that has been conducted has
concentrated on pure tensile loading or combined compression and bending. An analytical model to
predict the serviceability limit moment and ultimate moment capacities of end plate connections
joining rectangular hollow sections has been presented in Wheeler, Clarke, Hancock and Murray
(1998). The connection geometry considered utilises two rows of bolts, one of which is located above
the tension flange and the other of which is positioned symmetrically below the compression flange.
Using a so-called modified stub-tee approach, the model considers the combined effects of prying
action caused by flexible end plates and the formation of yield lines in the end plates as shown in
Fig. 8. The model has been calibrated against experimental data from an extended test program
forming part of the research project (Wheeler, Clarke and Hancock, 1995).

Of the three types of end plate behaviour considered in the stub-tee model (thick, thin and
intermediate), the paper recommends that the end plate connections be designed to behave in an
intermediate fashion, with the connection strength being govemed by tensile bolt failure. Thin plate
behaviour results in connections that are of very ductile and exhibit extremely high rotations, while
connections exhibiting thick plate behaviour are very brittle and may be uneconomical.




(a) Mode 1 (b) Mode 2 (c) Mode 3

Fig. 8 Yield line mechanisms for bolted moment end plate connection
34 G.J. Hancock
Plastic Design of Cold-Formed Square and Rectangular Hollow Sections

Plastic design of cold-formed members has been limited by design standards such as AS 4100 since
plastic design methods were verified by tests on hot-rolled steel members, which have notably
different material properties compared to cold-formed hollow sections. To investigate the suitability
of cold-formed hollow sections for plastic design, a series of bending tests examined the influence of
web slenderness on the rotation capacity of cold-formed rectangular hollow sections (Wilkinson and
Hancock 1998a). The results indicate that the plastic (Class 1) web slenderness limits in design
standards, which are based on tests of I-sections, are not conservative for RHS. Some sections, which
are classified as compact or Class 1 by current steel specifications, do not demonstrate rotation
capacity suitable for plastic design. The common approach in which the flange and web slenderness
limits are given independently is inappropriate for RHS. There is considerable interaction between
the webs and the flange, which influences the rotation capacity, as shown by the approximate iso-
rotation curves in Fig. 9. A proposal for a bilinear interaction formula between the web and flange
slenderness limits for compact RHS is also shown in Fig. 9.

~" 50
r Possible new AS 410D I I
~- 45
Compact Limit Compa~:t
~ < 70- 5~/6 Limit
~ ~ ~'~ ~f< 30
N 35
~ 30
~ 25

s 20

s ,
"~ 10

~ 5
~ o
20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
Web Slenderness (AS 4100) ~ - (d-2t)/t-~(J'~/250)

Fig. 9 Iso-rotation curves and proposed compact limit for webs of rectangular hollow sections

Further research (Wilkinson and Hancock, 1998b,c,d) has recently been completed investigating the
plastic behaviour and design of portal frames and connections within the frames. These papers
described tests of different types of column-rafter knee connections, and tests of 3 large scale portal
frames manufactured from cold-formed Grade C350 and Grade C450 cold-formed RHS. Some
welded connections experienced fracture near the heat affected zone caused by welding, before
adequate plastic rotation was achieved. A plastic mechanism was formed in each frame and plastic
collapse occurred. The ultimate loads of the frames can be predicted by plastic analyses although
second order effects and the shape of the stress-strain curve may be important.
Recent Developments in Cold-Formed Open Section and Tubular Members 35

A wide ranging research program on cold-formed members which has been performed at the
University of Sydney over more than 15 years has been summarised. Emphasis has been placed on
test data and comparison of the test results with design standards, particularly the Australian Standard
AS 4100-1998 Steel Structures and the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 4600:1996 Cold-
Formed Steel Structures. The research has been performed mainly on high strength steels with the
strength typically ranging from 350 MPa to 550 MPa. Both members and connections have been

There are several general conclusions that can be reached:

1. Open sections such as angles and channels in compression often suffer from structural instability
in the elastic range due to the slender nature of the sections and the high yield strength of the
sections. Torsional modes or torsional modes combined with flexure can become dominant. Care
has to be taken with loading conditions such as fixed or pinned ends and assumptions regarding
the line of action of axial load since it can have a large effect on axial load capacity.

2. Laterally unbraced flexural members may undergo lateral buckling with significant interaction
with local and distortional modes. Clearly, more research is required in this area as the project
described has found certain unconservative behaviour when compared with existing design
standards for slender sections. Bearing failure may also be important in flexural members because
the cold-formed sections have rounded comers and unstiffened webs.

3. Ductility was not found to be a problem in any of the members or connections tested even with
high strength (G550) cold-reduced steel. Of greater importance is the thinness of the material and
the types of bearing failures that can occur in bolted and screwed connections. New design rules
have been proposed for these cases.

4. Slender tubular members are more likely to undergo inelastic local buckling in compression or
combined compression and bending. The design rules for these types of members are included in
AS 4100-1998. Care needs to be taken with welded connections to slender cold-formed tubes.
Section distortion may occur and aggravate inelastic local buckling of the slender cold-formed

5. Proposals for the design of bolted moment end plates in cold-formed tubular members have been
made. This type of connection can be designed for satisfactory performance provided the welding
of the tubes to the end plates is carried out to rigorous welding standards.

6. The plastic design of cold-formed tubular (RHS and SHS) members is possible provided the
aspect ratio of the sections used for plastic design is chosen carefully. The existing Class 1 section
web slenderness limits, which are based on I-section members, are unconservative for RHS
members. Revised design rules have been proposed. Care also needs to be taken when designing
moment resisting connections in cold-formed tubular members to ensure they have adequate
rotation capacity for plastic design.


This paper has been prepared based on the research of many people. Permission to use their test data
and resulting graphs is appreciated. They were all supplied in electronic form from the original
authors which explains the slight change in format between the different figures. The following
36 G.J. Hancock
people are gratefully acknowledged: Emeritus Professor NS Trahair, Associate Professor Kim
Rasmussen, Dr Murray Clarke, Dr Ben Young, Dr Andrew Wheeler, Dr Colin Rogers, Mr Bogdan Put
and Mr Tim Wilkinson.


American Iron and Steel Institute (1997). Specification for the Design of Cold-Formed Steel
Structural Members, Washington, DC.

BHP Structural and Pipeline Products (1997). DuraGal Design Capacity Tables for Structural Steel
Angles, Channels and Flats, BHP, Sydney.

Canadian Standards Association (1994). "Cold Formed Steel Structures Members", Toronto,
Canadian Standards Association.

Popovic, D, Hancock, GJ and Rasmussen, KJR (1999). "Axial Compression Tests of Cold-Formed
Angles", Journal of Structural Engineering, ASCE, 24:5, 515-523.

Pi, Y-L, Put, BM and Trahair, NS (1999a). "Lateral Buckling Tests of Cold-Formed Channel Beams",
Journal of Structural Engineering, ASCE, 125: 5, 532-539.

Put, BM, Pi, Y-L and Trahair, NS (1999b). "Bending and Torsion of Cold-Formed Channel Beams",
Journal of Structural Engineering, ASCE, 125-5, 540-546.

Rogers, CA and Hancock, GJ (1997). "Ductility of G550 Sheet Steel in Tension", Journal of
Structural Engineering, ASCE, 123:12, 1586-594.

Rogers, CA and Hancock, GJ (1998). "Bolted Connection Tests of Thin G550 and G300 Sheet
Steels", Journal of Structural Engineering, ASCE, 124:7, 798-808.

Rogers, CA and Hancock, GJ (1999). "Screwed Connection Tests of Thin G550 and G300 Sheet
Steels", Journal of Structural Engineering, ASCE, 125:2, 128-136.

Standards Association of Australia (1991), Structural Steel Hollow Sections, AS 1163-1991.

Standards Australia (1993). Steel Sheet and Strip - Hot Dipped Zinc-Coated or Aluminium/Zinc-
Coated, AS 1397-1993.

Standards Association of Australia. (1998). Steel Structures, AS 4100-1998.

Standards Association of Australia/Standards New Zealand (1998). Cold-Formed Steel Structures,

AS/NZS 4600:1996.

Sully, R and Hancock, GJ (1996). "Behaviour of Cold-Formed SHS Beam Columns", Journal of
Structural Engineering, ASCE 122:3, 326-336.

Sully, RM and Hancock, GJ (1998). "The Behaviour of Cold-Formed Slender Square Hollow Section
Beam-Columns", Proceedings of the Eighth International Symposium on Tubular Structures,
Singapore, 445-454.
Recent Developments in Cold-Formed Open SeCtion and Tubular Members 37
Wheeler AT, Clarke MJ & Hancock G J, (1995), "Tests of Bolted Moment End Plate Connections in
Tubular Members", Proceedings, 14th Australasian Conference on Structures and Materials,
University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, 331-336.

Wheeler, AT, Clarke, MJ, Hancock, GJ and Murray, TM (1998). "Design Model for Bolted Moment
End Plate Connections Joining Rectangular Hollow Sections", Journal of Structural Engineering,
124:2, 164-173.

Wilkinson, T and Hancock, GJ. (1998a). "Tests to Examine Compact Web Slenderness of Cold-
Formed RHS", Journal of Structural Engineering, ASCE, 124:10, 1166-174.

Wilkinson T and Hancock GJ (1998b). "Tests of Stiffened and Unstiffened Knee Connections in
Cold-Formed RHS", Tubular Structures VIII, Proceedings, 8th International Symposium on Tubular
Structures, Singapore, 177-186.

Wilkinson T and Hancock GJ (1998c)."Tests of Bolted and Intemal Sleeve Knee Connections in
Cold-Formed RHS", Tubular Structures VIII, Proceedings, 8th International Symposium on Tubular
Structures, Singapore, 187-195.

Wilkinson T and Hancock GJ (1998d). "Tests of Portal Frames in Cold-Formed RHS", Tubular
Structures VIII, Proceedings of the 8th International Symposium on Tubular Structures, Singapore,

Young, B and Rasmussen, KJR (1998a). "Tests of Fixed-Ended Plain Channel Columns", Journal of
Structural Engineering, ASCE, 124-2, 131-139.

Young, B and Rasmussen, KJR (1998b). "Design of Lipped Channel Columns", Journal of Structural
Engineering, ASCE, 124-2, 140-148.

Young, B and Hancock, GJ (1998). "Web Crippling Behaviour of Cold-Formed Unlipped Channels",
14th International Specialty Conference on Cold-Formed Steel Structures, St Louis, October, 127-150.

Zhao, X-L, Hancock, GJ and R Sully (1996). "Design of Tubular Members and Connections using
Amendment No 3 to AS 4100", Steel Construction, Australian Institute of Steel Construction, 30:4, 2-

Wheeler, AT, Clarke, MJ and Hancock, GJ (1995)."Tests of Bolted Moment End Plate Connections in
Tubular Members", Proceedings, 14th Australasian Conference on Mechanics of Structures and
Materials, University of Tasmania, 331-336.
This Page Intentionally Left Blank

J.M. Rotter

School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JN, UK


In current design practice, structural members under fire are treated as if each member is isolated and
determinate, with the strength controlled by material property degradation at high temperature. This
treatment might well seem appropriate for compartment fires where only the structural members in the
compartment are affected. However, it is seriously misguided for large redundant composite multi-
storey building structures, because the major influence of the adjacent cool structure on the behaviour
of elements under extreme heating is ignored. The interactions between adjacent parts can completely
transform the structural response and invalidate the design assumptions. Key features of the behaviour
of a structural element under fire within a highly redundant structure are examined in this paper. The
surrounding cool structural components restrain thermal expansion and provoke other displacements.
Several examples are presented of the behaviour of quite simple structures which illustrate the roles of
thermal expansion, loss of material strength, the relative stiffness of adjacent parts of the structure, the
development of large deflections, post-buckling and temperature gradients. Although simple, the
relevance of these examples to complete structures is clear. Several counter-intuitive phenomena are
noted. From these discoveries, some significant implications are drawn for the philosophy of design to
be used for large buildings under fire.


Compartment fires, composite, fire, floor systems, large deflections, membrane effects, multi-storey,
non-linear response, plasticity, post-buckling, restraint, thermal buckling, thermal expansion.


For fire control reasons, the spaces within large buildings have long been divided into compartments to
ensure that the fire does not spread and that its effects can be contained locally. The consequence for
the structure is that only a local part is severely heated, whilst its surroundings remain comparatively
cool. The result is that a very hot weakening and expanding local region is contained within a large
cool mass. The interaction between these two regions is the subject of this paper. The full scale fire
tests on the composite building at Cardington (Kirby, 1997; Moore, 1997) showed that very high
temperatures could be sustained in the steel joists. Since the temperatures were so high that the steel
strength was effectively destroyed, and yet runaway failures did not occur, researchers are presented
with a significant task to explain why; this paper sets out some fundamental parts of that explanation.

Current assessment methods for the fire resistance of a building structure (ENV 1994-1-2, 1995) are
based on the fire testing of single elements, evaluated in terms of the time to failure. Naturally, these

40 J.M. Rotter
tests are supported by a good understanding of the phenomena and by calculation of the effects of fire
in reducing the member's strength, which extend the scope and confidence of the assessment far
beyond the conditions actually tested. However, the structural environment of a member in such a fire
test is not well related to the situation in the complete structure in a real compartment fire. It has long
been recognised that the thermal scenario is unrealistic, but the greater shortcomings of the structural
idealisation have not been properly identified.

In a determinate structure, the pattem of internal forces and stresses can be determined using only
equilibrium considerations, provided the displacements are small. Most fire tests on isolated members
match this condition. By contrast, in a redundant structure, the pattern of internal forces and stresses
depends on the relative stiffnesses of parts of the structure. In the training of structural engineers, the
significance of lack of fit and imposed displacements in redundant structures is not strongly
emphasised, and building structures are often portrayed as dominated by bending actions, accompanied
by axial forces in the columns which are rather easily determined. There are good reasons for these
choices, based on the theorems of plasticity. Whilst these ideas are effective in ambient temperature
design, they do not carry over very well into the fire scenario.

Figure 1: Runaway failure in determinate structure under fire

At collapse, determinate and redundant structures are more sharply differentiated than the above
simple definitions suggest. The determinate structure collapses when the most highly stressed region
reaches the local strength, and this strength may be reduced by elevated temperatures. The concept of
"runaway" failure in a structure under fire derives from this situation (Fig. 1) where the rapid
deterioration of the properties of the material causes deflections to increase very rapidly when the
temperature reaches the appropriate value (which naturally depends on the load level).

However, in the redundant structure with adequate ductility and without instability, different stress
paths may support additional load when the local strength is reached at a single location. This effect is
classically defined as "plastic redistribution", but it is open to wider interpretation if different load
carrying mechanisms can come into operation. Where a structure is very redundant and there are many
alternative load paths, large deformations can develop without a loss of its capacity to carry the
imposed loads, and it may be difficult to decide how to define "failure". The question of how to define
failure is faced in structural engineering fields apart from fire; researchers in pressure vessels and
rectangular storage structures are faced with the need for new failure definitions which can incorporate
survival under large displacements. It should be noted that the theorems of plasticity on which
structural engineering design depends so much depend not only on ductility and lack of instability, but
they are strictly only valid for small displacements.
Behaviour of Highly Redundant Multi-Storey Buildings 41
Structural engineering practice for the design of frames at ambient temperature is chiefly based on the
concept that the forces in individual members can be found from a global elastic analysis, but the
members are subsequently proportioned according to an ultimate strength assessment for each member
alone. Thus, the inelastic and large deformation behaviour which may affect the member when alone
is deemed to have little effect on the response of the complete structure. This design procedure cannot
capture the phenomena which occur in highly restrained structural elements under fire.

The studies described in this paper arose from attempts to understand the complex behaviours seen in
calculations (Sanad et al., 1999) to model the Cardington full scale fire tests on a composite building
(Kirby, 1997; Moore, 1997). Many conclusions concerning behaviour could be drawn directly from
the tests (Martin, 1995; Newman, 1997), but those presented here are more difficult to extract from the
experimental record. The paper is particularly concerned with the development of large displacements,
since these permit the new load-carrying mechanism of tensile membrane action to come into play.


When a compartment fire occurs in a large building, the effects are felt on the floor system above the
fire and the columns of the fire floor. The columns are critical to the building's survival, and need fire
protection; they are not discussed further here. For the floor system, the compartment boundaries
effectively isolate the surrounding structure from really high temperatures, and the floor' s continuity in
its own plane means that differential thermal expansions play a dominant role (Fig. 2).

Figure 2: Plan view of floor with heated compartment under tire

Under fire conditions, temperatures of the order of 800 or 1000~ are achieved, and the thermal strains
are extremely large. In such highly redundant structures, the consequent lack of fit means that the cold
structure imposes huge forces on the heated region, but these are relieved by two mechanisms, which
are the subject of this paper: plastic straining (with decreasing material strength) and post-buckling
42 J.M. Rotter

large displacements. The hot zone covers a limited area, determined by the compartment size, and the
compressive stresses which develop within it are governed by the lack of fit, the in-plane stiffness of
the floor system around it, and the stress-relieving mechanisms of plasticity and post-buckling. Most
importantly, the deflections which develop within the hot region are not controlled by material
degradation, as was the case for a determinate structure (Fig. 1) but by restrained thermal expansion.
No "runaway" collapse conditions occur, provided the building has adequate in-plane restraint. The
development of large deflections limits the damage to the structure, and these large deflections permit
different load carrying mechanisms to develop (other than small deflection bending).

The differential thermal environment is not simply a contrast between the heated zone and the cold
surroundings. Exposed steel members (low mass and high thermal conductivity) rapidly achieve high
temperatures, but the concrete slab (high mass and low thermal conductivity) develops significant
temperature gradients through its thickness, and with its high indeterminacy as a plate structure, acts as
a major restraint against thermal expansion. As the slab is heated, its expansion must also be
accommodated by the mechanisms described above, but its slenderness means that buckling, rather
than plasticity, is the dominant phenomenon. Thermal gradients, both in the two dimensional
horizontal plane, and vertically through the slab, strongly affect the deflections of the structure.

Yielding under thermal expansion

The floor system of a building is designed to carry load by bending and shear. The slab often spans
between beams in something like one way action, and its behaviour is most easily understood by
considering beam behaviours. As noted above, significant axial forces develop in a beam or slab if it is
heated and fully or partially restrained against axial expansion (or contraction during cooling).
Depending on the surroundings, these forces can be either beneficial or deleterious to the performance
of the structure. When floor slabs expand, they can exert enormous forces on the surrounding structure.
The first key aspect of the floor system behaviour under fire is therefore in the plane of the floor.

If the floor system provides stiff restraint, the thermal expansion forces can become very large. A fully
restrained steel element under thermal expansion reaches compressive yield at a temperature of only:

ATe = Ec~ (1)

in which ATy is the temperature rise to cause yield, tx is the thermal expansion coefficient and E is
the elastic modulus of steel. This relationship shows that a temperature change of 102~ for 250 grade
steel and 142~ for 350 grade steel (ignoring any material degradation) is needed to achieve yield.
Compared with the 800 or 1000~ which the fire may achieve, these temperatures are so low that there
is plenty of scope for high stress development in real fires even when the restraint is only partial.

Key understanding of responses to thermal expansion

When heated, a structure displays a variety of responses. Structural engineers, trained at the outset to
relate deflections to structural stiffnesses, stresses to deflections, and growing deflections to material
degradation, are often surprised by the more complex responses arising from thermal expansion.
Indeed, because the structural fire literature is mostly concerned with determinate structures in which
these connections are valid, the importance of thermal expansion strains is often lost.

To understand redundant structural behaviours under fire, attention should be focused on the strain
state, since this is where thermal expansion, stress-strain relationships, and strain-displacement
relationships can all be brought together. The key relationships needed for understanding are:
Behaviour of Highly Redundant Multi-Storey Buildings 43

~total -" ~thermal + ~mechanical (2)

with: ~mechanical --> 6 stresses (3)
e,otat --> 8 deflections (4)
The total strains govern the deformed shape of the structure ~5, through kinematics or compatibility.
The stress state in the structure cr (elastic or plastic) depends only on the mechanical strains.

In a structure whose displacements are not restrained, thermal strains are free to develop in an
unrestricted manner. If there are no external loads, axial expansion or thermal bowing results from:
~,o,al = ~,h~.n~ (5)

[Stherma! ~ 5 deflections (6)

By contrast, if thermal strains are fully restrained without external loads, thermal stresses and
plastification result from:
0 = EthermaI + [;mechanical (7)

E:mechanical ~ Cr stresses (8)

In real structures under fire, most situations have a complex mix of mechanical strains due to applied
loading and mechanical strains due to restrained thermal expansion. These lead to combined
mechanical strains (Eqn 8) which often far exceed the yield values, resulting in extensive plastification.
The deflections of the structure, by contrast, depend only on the total strains, so these may be quite
small if there is high restraint, but they are associated with extensive plastic straining. Alternatively,
where less restraint exists, larger deflections may develop, but with a lesser demand for plastic
straining and so less destruction of the stiffness properties of the materials.

These relationships show that larger deflections may reduce material damage and may simultaneously
correspond to higher structural stiffnesses. Alternatively, they show that high restraint may lead to
smaller deflections with lower stiffnesses due to material damage. Thus they cause structural
situations which appear to be quite counter-intuitive for most structural engineers.

small transverseload

P~I + + + + + + + + + + + + ~ + + + + + + + + + + + + ~P
prebuckling state: expansiondevelopsaxial compression
~ecr L

against axial ~
translation ~ postbuckled
state: expansionproducesdeflections
Figure 3: Beam with rigid axial end restraint subjected to increasing temperature

Thermal buckling and post-buckling

When an elastic beam with rigid axial restraint at its ends is uniformly heated (Figure 3), compressive
stresses develop following Eqns 2 & 3. If the modulus E and thermal expansion coefficient ot are
deemed independent of temperature, the beam reaches a bifm'cation point when the thermal thrust
attains the classical Euler buckling load:
44 J . M . Rotter

E1 ~2 I~!2
EA ot A T = n 2 7 EA


where g is the effective length of the beam and depends on the end flexural restraint conditions. The
critical buckling temperature riseATer for unchanging elastic modulus E is thus (Figure 3)
~2 (~/2
(AT)r = g (10)

For structural elements of the slenderness commonly found in slabs, this critical temperature can easily
be as low as 100 or 200~ The phenomenon is thus also likely to occur in most fires. Any material
degradation (deterioration with temperature rise or yielding or cracking) reduces the temperature.

If the elastic modulus and/or expansion coefficient are accepted as temperature dependent, the
relationship is not so simply defined, since the thrust is a nonlinear integral of the thermal expansion
and elastic modulus, whilst the stability is governed by a tangent modulus condition:

~cr = a(T) E,r(T,g) dT = n2 E.r(Tcr,g,~r) (11)

in which E.r(T,~) is the tangent modulus which varies with the temperature T and stress state cr and
or(T) is the thermal expansion coefficient which changes with the phase of the material.

Whilst buckling may occur at quite a low temperature, the phenomenon is unlike that in a classical
column; the force in the beam is controlled by constrained thermal expansion (the beam is too long),
not by an imposed force. Thus, the large displacements which rapidly follow bifurcation phenomena
under ambient temperature static loading do not occur here. The post-buckling axial shortening 8x
and transverse deflection ~yof an axially loaded pinned beam may be approximated (Euler, 1744) by:

8x = L ~-~+ 2 -1 (12)

~)y 2"Xf-2L~P
= rc P-'~E- 1 (13)

Figure 4: Deflection of heated axially restrained elastic beam

Behaviour of Highly Redundant Multi-Storey Buildings 45
Applying Eqn 10 and the thermal expansion Lo~AT in the post-buckled state (Figure 3), the post-
buckling transverse deflection 8y becomes:

2@L ]o~AT - (nr I g)2 2@L ~ AT/ATcr- 1

8y = n " ~ 2 +- (-~rl-g)2 = ~ _ _ {2/(otATcr)} +1 (14)

The prediction of Eqn 14 for the post-buckling deflection of the beam is shown in Figure 4, together
with the prediction from a large displacement finite element calculation using ABAQUS (1997) for the
response in the presence of a small transverse load. The load smoothes the bifurcation phenomenon
slightly, but the critical temperature can be clearly identified (matching Eqn 10), and the post-buckling
response involving rapid growth of deflections into a large deformation state matches Eqn 14 The key
feature of this behaviour is that the increasing deflections in the post-buckling state permit the thermal
expansion to be accommodated in member curvature, thus reducing the stresses present but inducing
large deflections. Here, post-buckling is not, in any sense, an unstable condition. The magnitudes of
the deflections are very substantial compared with the length of the beam.

Figure 5: Axial force development in heated axially restrained elastic beam

The axial force developing in the beam under increasing temperature is shown in Figure 5. As
assumed above, this force almost constant in the post-buckling region and additional thermal
expansion is all absorbed in additional deflection, instead of causing increased stresses (Eqns 2-4). For
local fires in real structures, this is a helpful effect as it limits the additional forces generated by the
restrained thermal expansion and thus reduces damage to adjacent parts of the structure. Thus,
buckling is good for this structure! This is perhaps a rather unexpected conclusion.

Figure 6: Response of heated axially restrained elastic-plastic beam

46 J.M. Rotter
In real structures, the elastic modulus and yield stress are affected by temperature rise. Thus, steel
yielding and concrete cracking may be expected to damage the simple responses seen above. It is then
no longer easy to perform algebraic analyses, but the corresponding ABAQUS calculation is shown in
Figure 6. The axial force developed in the beam declines, controlled by development of plastic hinges
at midspan and the ends. Increasing deflections mean that the axial force must fall even if the moment
were to remain constant, but the yield surface permits an increasing moment with falling axial force.
However, the magnitude of the deflection and its rapid growth are little changed. Initially, this is
another surprising result for structural engineers, but it is easily understood in terms of thermal
expansion; the expanded beam length is very precisely proscribed, and is accommodated by deflection.

This effect indicates that plasticity in the expanding structure may be a good phenomenon, since it
reduces the forces to which other parts of the structure are subjected and thus reduces mechanical
damage. This point is raised again later.

Finite axial restraint against thermal expansion

Rigid axial restraint is generally impossible to achieve, so the above represents only a limit; real
structures offer only finite axial restraint. Assuming that the restraint to axial expansion can be
represented by a linear translational spring of stiffness kt (Figure 7), the compressive axial stress
developed by thermal expansion in an elastic beam with unchanging modulus becomes:
E ct AT
~=(I+EA-k~) (15)

The critical buckling temperature increment (AT)cr is modified from the Eqn 10 value to (Figure 8):

(A~. = ~ 1+ (16)

From this relationship it can be seen that buckling and post-buckling phenomena should be observable
at moderate fire temperatures (say 300~ in structures with translational restraint stiffnesses kt which
are quite comparable with the axial stiffness of the member (EA/L). This axial stiffness itself is
reduced by heating through the reduction in ET, so these post-buckling phenomena should be observed
in slabs and beams in typical fires.
p length L, effectivelength gefr propertiesE, A, I k p
t prebuckling
state: expansion develops axial compression

__ ~ with stiffness k
postbuckled state: expansion produces deflections against axial
Figure 7: Elastic axial restraint to beam expansion under increasing temperature

Not only are the buckling temperatures reduced by elastic-plastic material degradation, but as shown in
Figure 6a, the forces imposed by the post-buckled beam decline rapidly. Because these forces become
smaller, even relatively modest elastic restraint stiffnesses become effective and act in a manner
similar to rigid axial restraints. For this reason, large post-buckling deflections can be expected in
large buildings under compartment fires, even when the compartment is in a edge or comer position.
Behaviour of Highly Redundant Multi-Storey Buildings 47
The moments developing in the beam have not been shown for space reasons, but it should be noted
that the thermal expansion effects rapidly swamp the load-carrying primary bending effects.

Figure 8: Bifurcation temperature for partially axially restrained beams


The above discussion assumed a uniform temperature distribution through the slab or beam thickness.
The concrete slab is heated from below and a high temperature gradient develops through its thickness.
Temperature gradients also produce some surprising consequences. For clarity, it is helpful first to
study the gradient alone, before recombining the effects of the gradient and a uniform rise into a
realistic distribution. The temperature differential leads to thermally induced bending or to thermal
bowing (Eqns 2-4 apply again). The differential induces either bending moments or additional
deflections or both in the slab. Where the bending moment causes cracking, the stiffness again
declines and encourages post-buckling large displacement effects.

8 ~ - ~ cold: c o n t r a ~ ~hermal]
.. ~ains ]

hot: expansion xxxxx

cold: contraction 8 = 0 ,~
"q ai a'
hot: expansion

Figure 9: Thermal gradient, and the effect of rotational boundary conditions

The natural starting point is a simply supported beam (axially and rotationally flee), subject to a linear
dT dT
through-thickness thermal gradient ~ (Figure 9). A uniform curvature d~= tx~--~yis caused by thermal
expansion (and contraction). No stresses develop and the hot lower surface leads to downward
bowing. If instead, the beam is rigidly restrained against end rotations (but axially free to translate), no
deflections develop at all in the beam! It remains perfectly straight. Instead, a constant bending
hogging moment is induced throughout the beam (Eqns 2-4 again), given by M = E1 c tdy"
i The hot
48 J.M. Rotter
lower surface is thus in compression, and first cracking in concrete occurs on the top unheated surface
(a counter-intuitive result for most structural engineers). More importantly, where the beam is
composite, the steel joist at the bottom can become fully yielded throughout its length in compression
under extreme fire conditions, causing engineers trained in conventional design to ask how the
composite beam structure can possibly still carry its loads.

The thermal curvature qb due to a uniform gradient (with no net temperature rise), causes a deflection
gy in an axially free beam of:

I~y = ~" 1 - cos 7 (17)

and, in a large displacement evaluation, this causes the distance between the supports to reduce by:

~Sx = L - 2 ~ (~-~) (sin )txL

- ~ d-Tyy~ (18)

If the beam ends are now axially restrained, the loss of length in arc shortening 6x must be replaced by
a stress-related extension, which requires a uniform axial tension closely modelled by (EA/L) 6x.
Thus, for axially restrained but rotationally free beams (close to real conditions), a thermal gradient
produces axial tension. By contrast, a uniform temperature rise produces axial compression.

Thus, the observed deformed shape of the structure is a poor indicator of whether part of the structure
is in axial tension or compression, and a real temperature distribution with both thermal gradient and
centroidal temperature rise can cause either axial tension or axial compression, with quite similar
deformations. Some of these forces participate in load-carrying mechanisms (under large displacement
regimes), whilst others are purely self-stressing in character. The effects of reduced flexural restraint
at the ends of the beam is discussed by Rotter et al. (1999).

In a composite building, an expanding heated steel joist beneath a slab is restrained by the colder slab
(a vertical thermal gradient) throughout the fire period and can become severely plastified in
compression (Fig. 9) if large deflections do not occur. The slab is a major cause of thrust developing
in the steel joist. The thermal expansion strains are absorbed as large compressive plastic strains,
causing significant shortening of the joist. On cooling, this length reduction is not easily recovered,
especially because the cooling steel gains stiffness and strength faster than the tensile stresses develop.
Thus, very high tensile stresses develop during cooling, which can cause rupture damage to the
connections unless these are designed to be ductile under joist tension, even though they occur in
positions where the ambient temperature designer believes that hogging bending is occurring. In the
design of highly redundant buildings, fire design should not ask "How is the load being carried?", but
"Can large deflections develop well?", and "Must greater ductility be provided for the cooling phase?".


Two separate structural stress pattems in slabs are termed "membrane action". Both involve axial
forces in the plane of the slab (membrane forces). Both require the boundaries of the slab to be
restrained in the plane of the slab (this was termed axial restraint above). At small displacements,
compressive membrane action occurs (Figure 10). When cracking occurs in concrete, the neutral axis
or zero strain axis is displaced in the direction of the compression face. The middle plane of the slab is
thus effectively subjected to an expansion. Such an effect can occur at both midspan in sagging
bending and at supports in hogging bending, giving additive expansive displacements. Where these
expansions are resisted by a stiff boundary, additional compressive forces develop, and where the slab
is thick, the eccentricity of the compressive force transmission produces an arching action which can
Behaviour of Highly Redundant Multi-Storey Buildings 49
carry a greatly increased load. This mechanism is present in steel-concrete composite beams in highly
redundant structures even under ambient conditions, due to the very large disparity between their
hogging and sagging neutral axes. However, this action is more powerfully demonstrated in the
thermally expanding slab of the composite structure, because the thermal expansions are very large and
can cause major changes in the load-carrying mechanism. The load-carrying mechanism is promoted
by any effect which assists the development of large deflections.

At large displacements, tensile membrane action begins (Figure 11). In tensile membrane action, the
large deformations lead to a new load-carrying mechanism by change of geometry; effectively a small
component of the tension carries transverse load directly. Under ambient conditions, such large
displacements mean that large mechanical strains have developed, and there is a danger of rupture due
to loss of ductility. Under fire conditions, thermal expansion provides much of the required
deformation (Eqns 2-4), reducing the need for mechanical strains and ductility. The post-buckling
deformations described above promote large displacements, and the 2D slab with a continuous
displacement field, permits tensile membrane action to develop even adjacent to zones in a post-
buckling compressive state. Because buckling restricts the compression forces and promotes increased
deformations, tensile membrane action is more readily achieved. These membrane mechanisms make
the floor slabs the strongest elements in the building since, under extreme conditions, they possess
considerably greater strength than is required to carry the design loads in bending.

~ Shear,V
Axial tension,T

], sagging neutral axis high ~i

end . . . . . . . ined ~-- ~ ~ }1 ~

againstaxial b ~ i
translation ] hogging neutral axis low [
axially restrained: compression due to changing NA location
Figure 11: Tensile membrane action
Figure 10: Compressive membrane action at large deflections

The worst scenario for a fire in a composite frame building structure is compartment breach. Structural
fire design should define compartment breach as an "ultimate limit state" and ensure that it is
prevented. The only structural member in a composite frame that acts as a compartment boundary is
the composite floor slab. A compartment breach of the slab is unlikely because it is mostly in
membrane compression throughout the fire. Appropriate reinforcement should be provided to ensure
that through thickness cracks cannot develop in the slab.


Composite multi-storey building structures are highly redundant, and their floor systems exhibit high
in-plane stiffness. When a compartment fire occurs beneath the floor, the behaviour of the floor
system is dominated by restraint to thermal expansion, with middle surface heating and through
thickness gradients causing quite different effects. The restraint to thermal expansion can easily lead
to buckling and large post-buckling displacements, which are both stable and beneficial. Runaway
failures are not seen in these redundant structures because the large displacements permit compressive
and tensile membrane action to carry the loads in place of bending. Almost all the phenomena
50 J.M. Rotter
described derive from large displacements; small displacement ideas and small displacement analysis
lead to serious misinterpretation of both test results and appropriate design measures.

Under fire loading, the dominant phenomenon in determinate structures is material degradation. In
highly redundant structures, the single most important factor is the effect of thermal expansion. Where
this leads to high stresses, damage occurs to the material (plasticity or concrete cracking). Where
instead, large displacements develop in a post-buckling mode, the expansion is accommodated without
so much damage, loads are carried by membrane action and the performance is considerably improved.
Large displacements are commonly associated with bending failures, but here they may be beneficial,
occurring with membrane thrusts, or with membrane tensions, depending on the thermal regime. A
key conclusion is that the design criteria must not be based on limitation of deflections during the fire.

The effects of high temperatures on structures are best interpreted in the context of Eqns 2-4, which
permit the roles of expansion and material degradation to be properly identified and which decouple
the displacement and stress fields. Thermal expansion often couples with large displacements to
produce effects which appear counter-intuitive to the conventionally trained structural engineer.

These findings are of fundamental importance to our understanding of composite frames in fire. They
have major implications for the development of design philosophies and procedures.

The support of DETR for funding this research through the PIT scheme is gratefully acknowledged.
The author is most grateful for many discussions and calculations provided by Dr Asif Usmani and Dr
Abdel Sanad of Edinburgh University and Dr Mark O'Connor and Dr Xiu Feng of British Steel.


1. ABAQUS (1997) "Abaqus Theory Manual and Users Manual", Version 5.7, Hibbit, Karlsson and
Sorensen Inc., Pawtucket, Rhode Island, U.S.A.
2. Euler, L. (1744) "Methodus inveniendi lineas curvas maximi minimive proprietate gaudentes, sive
solutio problematis isoperimetrici latissimo sensu accepti", Lausanne & Geneva, Reprinted 1952
in Leonhardt Euleri Opera Omnia, Series 1, Vol. 24, Bern.
3. ENV 1994-1-2 (1995) "Design of Composite Steel and Concrete Structures: Structural Fire
Design", Eurocode 4 Part 1.2, CEN, Brussels.
4. Kirby, B.R. (1997) "British steel technical European fire test programme - Design, construction
and results", in Fire, Static and Dynamic Tests of Building Structures, eds G.S.T. Armer and T.
O'Dell, Spon, London, ppl 11-126.
5. Martin. D,M. (1995) "The behaviour of a multi-storey steel frame building subject to natural
fires", British Steel Technical Report No. 2.
6. Moore, D.B. (1997) "Full scale fire tests on complete buildings", in Fire, Static and Dynamic
Tests of Building Structures, eds G.S.T. Armer and T. O'Dell, Spon, London, pp3-15.
7. Newman, G.M. (1997) "Design implications of the Cardington fire research programme", in Fire,
Static and Dynamic Tests of Building Structures, eds G. Armer and T. O'Dell, Spon, pp 161-168.
8. Rotter, J.M., Sanad, A.M., Usmani, A.S. and Gillie, M. (1999) "Structural performance of
redundant structures under local fires" Proc., Interflam '99,8th Int. Fire Science and Engg Conf.,
Edinburgh, 29 June- 1 July, Vol. 2, pp 1069-1080.
9. Sanad, A.M., Rotter, J.M., Usmani, A.S. and O'Connor, M.A. (1999) "Finite element modelling
of fire tests on the Cardington composite building" Proc., Interflam '99,8th Int. Fire Science and
Engg Conf., Edinburgh, 29 June - 1 July, Vol. 2, pp 1045-1056.
Design Formulas for Stability Analysis
of Reticulated Shells

S. Z. Shen

Harbin University of Civil Engineering and Architecture

202 Haihe Road, Harbin 150090, China


The aim of the paper is to propose some kind of design formulas for stability analysis of single-layer
reticulated shells, reflecting the recent advances in theoretical study but simple in form for the
convenience of practical application. For this purpose a comprehensive parametrical analysis of
stability behaviors of single-layer reticulated shells of different types with various geometric and
structural parameters has been carried out based upon complete load-deflection response analysis
with consideration of the effects of initial imperfections and unsymmetrical distribution of loads..
More than 2800 examples of reticulated shells of prototype were analyzed, and the plentiful results
obtained were thoroughly studied. As a result, practical formulas for predicting limit loads of
reticulated domes, reticulated vaults with different supporting conditions, as well as reticulated
shallow shells, obtained by regression analysis, were proposed.


Stability analysis, Complete load-deflection analysis, Limit load, Design formula, Reticulated shells,
Reticulated domes, Reticulated vaults, Reticulated shallow shells, Reticulated saddle shells..


The stability analysis is known as the key problem for the design of reticulated shells. The stability
character of a complicated structure with numerous degrees of freedom such like reticulated shells
can be revealed clearly and accurately by complete load-deflection response analysis, in which the

52 S.Z. Shen
structural response under loading is regarded as a continuous process rather than some individual
structural properties such as critical load, buckling mode and etc.. The complete load-deflection
curves give a more perfect picture about the behaviors of the structure. The deformation shapes
varying with the loading process, and the possible buckling of different orders and of different
characters (over-all or local buckling, bifurcation or limit point), with the corresponding critical loads
and buckling modes, can be revealed in their proper order by the complete-process analysis. With the
development of non-linear finite element analysis and methods for tracing equilibrium path, it can be
said that the problem of stability evaluation of reticulated shells on the basis of complete load-
deflection response analysis has been well solved from the viewpoint of theoretical side.

However, engineers working in design practice still feel puzzled when dealing with stability
problems of reticulated shells. The theoretical method as discussed above seems to them too
complicated for direct application. So it's desirable to propose some kind of design formulas,
reflecting the recent advances of theoretical study but simple in form for the convenience of practical
application. For this purpose a comprehensive parametric analysis of stability behaviors of different
types of single-layer reticulated shells with varying geometric and structural parameters has been
carried out based upon complete load-deflection analysis with consideration of the effects of initial
geometric imperfections and unsymmetrical distribution of loads. The "Consistent Mode Method" is
proposed for the imperfection analysis. This method assumes the geometric imperfection of a
reticulated shell to be distributed in consistence with the buckling mode of first order of the structure,
which is supposed to be very likely the most unfavorable for the expected limit load of the reticulated
shell. More than 2800 examples of reticulated shells of prototype were analyzed, and the plentiful
results obtained were thoroughly studied. As a result, practical formulas for predicting limit loads,
obtained by regression analysis respectively for different types of reticulated shells, rather simple for
application but based upon accurate theoretical procedure as described, were proposed.

The complete-process analysis was carried out on the basis of geometrically non-linear finite element
method, without consideration of material non-linearity, because it would be too time-consuming and
hence very difficult at present to carry out such a large-scale parametric analysis with consideration
of both geometric and material non-linearity. Besides, the reticulated shells under service condition
are working in elastic range, and the material non-linearity would lead to some decrease of safety
reserve in load-capacity of the structure; the latter effect could be assessed by some independent
study [Wang]. A special computer program for complete load-deflection response analysis of
complicated structures based upon non-linear finite element method, compiled by the author's team,
was used for the parametric analysis and was proved to be effective.


The parametric analysis was carried out for single-layer reticulated domes, vaults, elliptical
paraboloid shells ( EP shells, or shallow shells ) and hyperbolic paraboloid shells ( HP shells, or
saddle shells ). For the purpose of practical application, all the reticulated shells analyzed are of
prototype with member sections determined by calculation as in practical design. As the usual case in
China, circular steel tube members and welded hollow spherical joints are used for these structures.
Design Formulas for Stability Analysis of Reticulated Shells 53
The reticulated domes analyzed have net systems of Kiewitt type ( K8 and K6 ), Schwedler type and
geodesic type. For the Kiewitt dome K 8 , which was taken as the typical system to be studied, four
different spans ( L = 40, 50, 60 and 70m ) and four different raise-span ratios ( f/L = 1/5, 1/6, 1/7 and
1/8 ) with four sets of member sections for each size, i.e. 64 different domes were analyzed. The
effects of initial imperfections of consistent mode and with a maximum value equal to L/1000 were
analyzed for each of the domes; besides, for part of the domes the effects of imperfections with
different values from L/1000 to L/100 were systematically studied. It's assumed that the dead load
( g ) is uniformly distributed over full span, while the live load ( p ) could also be distributed over
half-span (uniformly as well ); three different ratios of live load to dead load were considered: p/g =
0, 1/4 and 1/2. According to this plan, near 500 examples of K8 domes were analyzed, and, if
including the similar study for K6 domes, Schwedler domes and geodesic domes, the non-linear
complete-process analysis was carried out for 840 reticulated domes.

The reticulated vaults might have three kinds of supporting conditions: supported along the boundary,
supported along two longitudinal edges, or supported at two end cross-sections by means of rigid
diaphragms. The triangular net system, consisting of longitudinal and two sets of diagonal members,
as the most popular one is assumed for the reticulated vaults. The ratio of length to wave-span
( width ) of the vault ( L/b ) is a main factor effecting the structural behavior, and different ratios: L/b
= 1.0, 1.4, 1.8, 2.0, 2.2, 2.6 and 3.0 were considered in the parametric analysis, keeping the wave-
span of the vaults unchanged" b - 15m. Different raise-span ratios (f/b) and several sets of member
sections were assumed, and effects of different initial imperfections and unsymmetrical load
distributions were studied. Besides, relatively long vaults supported at two ends may be provided
with intermediate diaphragms, and the effects of these diaphragms were analyzed. In sum, 1220
examples of complete load-deflection response analysis were carried out for single-layer reticulated
vaults, including 350 examples for vaults with boundary supporting, 54 examples for vaults
supported along two longitudinal edges and 816 examples for vaults supported at two ends.

The elliptical paraboloid reticulated shells are usually used for rectangular or square plans, supported
along four sides by means of rigid diaphragms. The surface of a elliptical parapoloid is formed by a
vertical parabola (as the generatrix), moving along another vertical parabola in the transverse
direction. In engineering practice the parabolas are usually replaced with circle arcs, and the EP
shells are often called as known as the shallow shells. Three kinds of plan dimensions (30"30m,
40"40m and 30"45m), three different raise-span ratios (f/L = 1/6, 1/7 and 1/8) and four sets of
member sections for each size were considered. The raise-span ratio f/L is defined for each of the
two directions, and equal ratios are assumed for both directions. Two kinds of net systems: triangular
system and orthogonal system with diagonals were compared. As before, the effects of initial
imperfections and unsymmetrical distributions of loads were studied. There were in all 783 examples
of reticulated shallow shells to be analyzed.

The complete load-deflection behavior of hyperbolic paraboloid reticulated shells has its specific
characteristic. In this paper 14 HP shells of regular rhombic (square) plan with diagonal length equal
to 60m (taken as the span of the shell) were analyzed with consideration of the effects of different net
systems, different raise-span ratios and different rigidities of edge beams.

According to the plan of parametrical analysis as described above, more than 2800 examples of
54 S.Z. Shen
reticulated shells of different types were analyzed. For each of the examples the load-deflection
curve drawn for the joint with maximum deflection at the end of iteration was taken to represent the
analyzed structure. From the viewpoint of practical application, the critical point of first order and
the related structural properties (critical load, buckling mode, and etc.), as well as the effects of
different factors to these properties, are of primary interest. So it's usually sufficient to take the
beginning part of the load-deflection curve (just ensuring a certain post-buckling path to be reserved )
for investigation. After this part, the load-deflection curve could be varied and colorful, theoretically
very interesting but less practical significance because of the too large deflections. Due to the limited
length of the paper just some examples of the curves obtained will be shown in the later sections.


The buckling of reticulated domes in most cases has a form of local concave on the surface as shown
in Fig.l, starting from snap-through of some joint and gradually expanding its area to become a
concave. The concave emerges at different place for different type of reticulated domes: it starts from
some joint of a main rib for Kiewitt domes, from some joint of the third ring (from bottom) for
Schwedler domes, and from some joint on the triangular surface for geodesic domes. The first
buckling of a dome is characterized as a limit point of the load-deflection curve, and the
corresponding critical load is taken as the limit load of the dome.

Figure 1: Buckling modes of reticulated domes

Because of the excellent 3-dimensional behavior of dome structure the unsymmetrical distribution of
load shows very little effect to the limit load. For comparison, the load-deflection curves for three
different distributions of loads ( p/g = 0, 1/4 and 1/2 ), taking the total load ( p+g ) as the ordinate,
have been put together for each of the domes. It's surprise to find that these three curves nearly
coincide one with another.

Meanwhile, the reticulated domes are very sensitive to the initial geometric imperfections. As an
example, the load-deflection curves for a Kiewitt dome with L=60m,f/L=l/8 and with nine different
values of initial imperfections ( the maximum value of imperfections r = 0, 3, 6, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50
and 60 cm, respectively ) are shown in Fig.2a. It can be indicated that the imperfections studied
attain a rather big value (up to L/100), and the presented study is primarily of theoretical interest. The
nine corresponding curves are put together for comparison. It's noticed that the curves vary with the
increase of imperfections in a good regularity. Then, if studying the load capacity of the domes, the
Design Formulas for Stability Analysis of Reticulated Shells 55
variation of limit load with the increase of imperfection values is shown in Fig.2b. It's seen that the
limit load drops rapidly at beginning, reaches a minimum value (approximately 50% of the limit load
of the corresponding perfect dome) as r=20 cm (i.e. L/300). Afterwards, the curve somewhat lifts
again, which seems inconsistent with the normal idea we might have. In fact, as the initial
imperfections go beyond some limit, the dome seriously deviates from its spherical shape and would
become a " distorted" structure somewhat different from the original one. It can be seen from Fig.2a
the character of the load-deflection curves gradually varies with the increase of imperfection values:
the limit buckling for normal domes changes into bifurcation buckling for the domes with overlarge
imperfections. Besides, the" distorted" domes are less rigid, the deflections develop rapidly, and the
possible increase of critical load is meaningless in practice.

Figure 2 : a. Load-deflection curves of a dome with different imperfection values

b. Limit loads varying with increase of initial imperfection

The Schwedler domes with initial imperfections behave very similarly to Kiewitt domes, only the
limit load reaches the minimum value more rapidly ( as r = L/1000 - L/500 ). The response of
geodesic domes is somewhat different: the limit load, as well as the rigidity of the dome, drops
continuously with the increase of imperfection value within the studied range ( up to L/100 ), which
demonstrates the special significance of error control in erecting geodesic domes.

For practical purpose, it seems suitable to appoint a value of L/500 - L/300 as the acceptable
maximum error of erection for reticulated domes, and to assume the limit load of the practical domes
with imperfections equal to 50% of that of the corresponding perfect structures. The geodesic domes
can also satisfy such an agreement.

How to make use of the large number of results obtained from the parametrical analysis for the
purpose of practical design? As one of the possible ways, it's considered preferable to propose some
appropriate formulas for predicting limit loads of reticulated shells by regression analysis of the data
obtained from the parametrical analysis. For reticulated domes such a formula is perhaps not so
difficult to work out, because there exists analytical formula of linear theory for predicting limit
loads of continual thin domes, the form of which could be taken as a reference. The formula for
predicting limit loads of reticulated domes is then suggested in the form as follows :
56 S . Z . Shen

qcr=g ~

in which: R---radius of curvature of the dome ( m ); B---the equivalent membrane rigidity of the
dome ( kN/m ); D---the equivalent bending rigidity of the dome ( kN.m ); and K--- coefficient,
determined by regression analysis.

The rigidity of reticulated shells is not uniform over the surface. So the proper position for
calculating the value of B and D should be in consistence with the buckling mode of domes. For
example, the buckling of Kiewitt dome occurs, as described above, at some joint of a main .rib, i.e.,
the limit load of the dome is primarily determined by the rigidity of the area round this joint. So B
and D should be calculated according to the net size and member sections in this area. Similarly, for
Schwedler dome or geodesic dome the joint of the third ring or the joint on the triangular surface
should be taken as the calculated position, respectively. The formulas for calculating B and D are
given in the Appendix to the paper. Besides, the reticulated shells are usually an-isotropic, and B and
D in Eqn. 1 could be considered as the mean value of the rigidities in both main directions.

Due to the limited length of the paper the process of regression analysis is neglected, just indicating
that the coefficients K calculated for different types of reticulated domes are very close one to
another. This demonstrates that the formula in the form of Eqn.1 really reflects the characteristic
features of the stability behavior of reticulated domes, and that it's correct to select the position for
calculating B and D according to the buckling mode of different domes. It's finally suggested that the
limit load of practical reticulated domes of different types with initial imperfections to be controlled
within a limit less than L/500 can be determined by a unified formula as follows:

qcr = 1.05 R---T- (2)


Vaults supported along the boundary

a. Vault supported along boundary b. Vault supported on longitudinal edges

Figure 3 : Buckling modes of reticulated vaults
Design Formulas for Stability Analysis of Reticulated Shells 57
The buckling mode of reticulated vaults supported along the boundary in most cases has the form of
a concave with three half-waves in the cross-section as shown in Fig.3a. For relatively long vaults
(L/b >~2.6) unsymmetrical mode with two half-waves (Fig.3b) is also possible, as in the case of
vaults supported on two longitudinal edges. It demonstrates the restricting effect of the end
diaphragms for vaults with L/b<2.6. For short vaults with L/b~< 1.4, such restricting effect becomes
rather strong, and the buckling may have a mode of even higher order with four half-waves in the

The effect of length-span ratio L/b to the limit load of reticulated vaults supported along the
boundary is very obvious, as shown in Fig.4. The limit load drops rapidly with the increase of L/b at
beginning, but gradually reaches a limit, in most cases as L/b = 2.6, but for high vaults with f/b = 1/2
the curve becomes even more slowly, usually as L/b>~ 3.0.

Figure 4 : Limit load of reticulated vaults supported along boundary with increase of L/b

The reticulated vaults supported along the boundary are not so sensitive to the initial imperfections.
Systematical analysis shows that the reduction in limit load at most consists of 20%, even as the
range of initial imperfections studied approaches a value as big as b/100.

The unsymmetrical distribution of loads nearly does not affect the stability behavior of reticulated
vaults of this type. As revealed by comparative analysis, the limit load defined as the total load p+g
does not decrease under unsymmetrical loading, only with an exception for short vaults of L/b~< 1.2.
For practical application, the effect of unsymmetrical loading to the limit loads of these short vaults
can be considered by a coefficient K2 calculated as:

K2 = 0.6 + 0.4 / ( 1+2 p/g ) (applicable as p/g = 0-~2) (3)

It is somewhat difficult to derive the regression formula for the limit loads of reticulated vaults,
because there does not exist any theoretical form that could be referred to like the case with domes.
Anyway, some preliminary forms can be assumed based upon the ideas obtained from the
parametrical analysis. After repeated comparison by trial and error method, the following formula is
finally suggested for predicting the limit loads of reticulated vaults supported along the boundary:
58 S.Z. Shen

911 0-4 B22 029

qcr = 72.0 R3 L/b) 3 + 1.95 x 1 R(L/b) + 75.0 (R + 3f)b 2 (4)

in which the indexes 11 and 22 indicate the longitudinal and transverse direction, respectively. The
effect of initial imperfections has been considered in the formula. For short vaults with L/b 1.2
coefficient K2 as given by Eqn.3 should be multiplied to consider the effect of possible
unsymmetrical distribution of loads.

Vaults supported on longitudinal edges

To study the vault supported along the boundary, it can be imagined that, with the increase of length
of the vault, the effect of the end diaphragms to the behavior of center part of the vault would
decrease, and the behavior of the vault in general is gradually close to that of a vault supported only
on two longitudinal edges. It's seen now from Eqn.4 that the limit load decreases with L/b increasing,
and only the third term of the formula will be retained as L/b approaches infinitive. It leads to a very
interesting question: if the third term of the formula can be used to evaluate the limit load of the vault
supported on two longitudinal edges. This theoretical deduction was proved by the complete-process
analysis of 54 examples of reticulated vaults of such kind. It's then concluded that the limit load of
reticulated vaults supported on two longitudinal edges can be predicted by the formula as follows:

qcr =75.0 D22

(R +3f)b2 (5)

The effect of unsymmetrical distribution of loads need not be considered for vaults of this type.

Vaults supported at two ends

The vault supported at two ends has free longitudinal edges, but strengthened by edge beams with
certain rigidity. Such a vault is behaving like a huge beam with curve cross-section supported at two
end diaphragms. With the increase of length of the vault, the member forces in the vault, and hence
the cross-section of the members, increase as well, that is not like the vault supported along the
boundary. So, if keeping the other parameters unchanged, the member sections determined by
calculation as in practical design are different for vaults with different length. Under this condition,
the parametrical analysis shows that the limit loads of the vaults are rather stable for different values
of length-width ratio L/b. That is, the limit load does not depend evidently upon the ratio L/b.

The buckling mode of the vaults has more likely a form of overall deformation of the surface
together with the bending and torsion of edge beams. The raise-width ratio f/b has obvious effect to
the limit load of the vaults: the vault with bigger f/b ratio shows higher stability load-capacity.

The vaults supported at two ends are not so sensitive to initial imperfections. As revealed by
systematical analysis, if taking b/300 as the acceptable maximum value of initial imperfection, the
reduction in limit load does not exceed 18%.

The limit load is evidently affected by unsymmetrical distribution of loads. Such effect becomes
sufficiently developed as early as p/g = 0.5, and the further reduction in limit load is not evident for
Design Formulas for Stability Analysis of Reticulated Shells 59
the bigger values of ratio p/g. For practical application the effect of unsymmetrical loading can be
considered by the coefficient K2 determined as follows:
K2 = 1 . 0 - 0.2 L/b ( L/b = 1.0-2.5 ) (6)
K2 = 0.5 ( L/b = 2.5"`3.0 )
The intermediate diaphragms for relatively long vaults supported at two ends may be arranged at an
interval roughly equal to the width b in order to increase the overall rigidity of the surface and hence
to raise the limit load of the vaults. On the bases of systematical comparison it's suggested for
practical application that the effect of intermediate diaphragms can be considered by a coefficient K3
calculated by Eqn.7. For vaults with intermediate diaphragms unsymmetrical distribution of loads
does not affect the limit load any more.

K3 = 1.52- 0.12 L/b (applicable as L/b = 1.4--3.0) (7)

After repeated comparative analysis the regression formula for predicting the limit load of reticulated
vaults supported at the ends is proposed as follows:

qcr - 0.063 + 0.138 + 0.083 ~ (8)

in which the factor CL-- 0.96 + 0.16(1.8 - L/b )4 ; ih and Iv ---the horizontal and vertical linear rigidity
of the edge beam, respectively, which can be calculated as ( for latticed beams as usually used ): Ih,v=
E(Alr~2+A2rRR)/L, in which A~ and A2 are the cross-section areas of two chords of the latticed beam, r~
and r2 are the corresponding radiuses of inertia.

The effect of initial imperfections has been included in the formula. The effect of unsymmetrical
loading should be considered by the coefficient K2 given by Eqn.6. For vault with intermediate
diaphragms the limit load determined by Eqn.8 should be multiplied by coefficient K 3 given by
Eqn.7, but without consideration of coefficient K2 9


The stability behaviors of shallow shells with triangular net system and with orthogonal net system
are somewhat different each from other. In the comparative analysis the corresponding shells of these
two kinds were designed to have equal weight. Under this condition, the limit load of the shells with
triangular system is higher than that of the other. The buckling of the shells with orthogonal system
more likely has a form of local concave on the surface, but for shells with triangular system there
appears more evident character of overall deformation, i.e., more obvious deformations arise in a
much wider range of the surface. The shells with triangular system show higher sensitivity to initial
imperfections. According to the comparative analysis, if the maximum value of initial imperfection
is controlled as L/500"`L/300, the reduction in limit load of shells with triangular system and with
orthogonal system can be taken in practical application as 35% and 25%, respectively.

The shallow shells are very sensitive to unsymmetrical distribution of loads. As an example, the limit
loads of a shell with a plan of 30"30m and with orthogonal system varying with the increase of ratio
60 S.Z. Shen
p/g are shown in Fig.5. It's seen that the curves sustainedly go down, do not approach a limit even as
p/g=2, meanwhile the limit load has dropped to a rather low value of about 30% of the case of
symmetrical loading. Based upon regression analysis the coefficient K2 of considering the effect of
unsymmetrical loading can be given as Eqn.9. This formula is applicable for both net systems.
Kz = 1 / [ 1 + 0.956 p/g + 0.076 (p/g)2 ] (applicable for p/g=0-2.0) (9)
" . . . . . . . .

~ moveable hinge
15 N . . . . . . fixed hinge

z lO

.,.. .,~ .~ .~. ~'- ~ ...

5 - f/L = 1/6 ~ " - " - - ~ ~ . ~ ~ ~


f/L = 1/7
f/L= 1/8 ....... p/g
0 0 ...... 015 i ' ' 1.5 2
Figure 5 : Limit loads of reticulated shallow shells with increase of p/g

In reference to the analytical formula of linear theory for domes and based upon regression analysis,
the design formula for predicting limit load of reticulated shallow shell can adopt rather simple form:

For triangular system qcr = 1.29K2 ( 10 )

For orthogonal system qcr = 1"07K2

4"D ( 11 )
R1R 2

In which R1 and R 2are the radiuses of curvature in two directions, respectively, and the coefficient K 2
is given in Eqn.9. The effect of initial imperfections has been considered in the formulas.


The complete load-deflection response of the reticulated HP shells are varied with variation of
geometrical and structural parameters such as the raise-span ratio, the net system, the rigidity of edge
beams and etc.. Some load-deflection curves may rise sustainedly with no critical point emerging.
Some curves may have bifurcation point appearing, but the load continues up with the rigidity matrix
of the structure keeping positive definite. And in some other curves buckling of limit-point type may
occur, but the load rises again after certain post-buckling path downwards. HoweVer, there exists a
common character for the load-deflection curves of HP shells: the load has a general tendency to
keep going up, and from practical viewpoint the load-capacity of the shells is maintained. As an
example, the load-deflection curves of HP shells of L=60m with different raises (H = 6,9,12,15 and
18m) are shown in Fig.6a. It demonstrates the specific characteristics of the shells of negative
Gaussion curvature. Further more, it can be supposed that the feature of monotonous rise would be
revealed more obviously for load-deflection curves of the practical shells with initial imperfections.
Design Formulas for Stability Analysis of Reticulated Shells 61
It seems rational to conclude that the stability problem is not significant for reticulated HP shells, and
as a necessary substitutive measure the rigidity of the shell should betaken as a main structural
property to be checked in practical design. The maximum deflections of the shells with different
raises under service load (2kN/m 2) are shown in Fig.6b. It's seen that the rigidity of HP shells with
H=9m and 6m is obviously not enough.

Figure 6 : a. Load-deflection curves of reticulated HP shells with different raises

b. Maximum deflections under service load of these shells


1. Based upon the complete load-deflection analysis for more than 2800 examples of reticulated
shells of prototype the varied and colorful structural behaviors developing with the loading
process, the practical mechanism of structural instability and the complex effects of different
factors were revealed rather thoroughly for different types of reticulated shells.
2. Based upon the regression analysis of the plentiful data obtained from the parametrical analysis as
described above design formulas for predicting limit loads of reticulated domes, reticulated vaults
with different supporting conditions, as well as reticulated shallow shells, rather simple for
application but obtained on the basis of accurate theoretical procedure, were proposed.
3. For reticulated saddle shells it's suggested just to carry out routine rigidity check instead of the
complicated stability analysis.


Chen X. and Shen S.Z (1993). Complete Load-Deflection Response and Initial Imperfection
Analysis of Single-Layer Lattice Dome. International Journal of Space Structures 8:4, 271-278

Wang N., Chen X. and Shen S.Z. (1993). Geometric and Material Non-linear Analysis of Latticed
Shells of Negative Gaussion Curvature. Space Structures 4. London. 649-655

Shen S.Z. and Chen X. (1999). Stability of Reticulated Shells. The Science Publisher, Beijing, China
62 S.Z. Shen
APPENDIX: Formulas for Equivalent Rigidities of Reticulated Shells
The net systems used for reticulated shells can be classified into three basic types as shown in the
attached figure.

Attached Figure: Three typical net systems

The equivalent rigidities in two main directions can be calculated as follows:

1 .For net system ( a ) and system ( b ) with single diagonal

B11 = EA1 + EAc sin4 a Dll = EI1 + EIc sin4 a

A1 Ac A1 Ac

B22 = EA 2 + EA~ c o s 4 a 022 =

E12 + EZc cos 4 a
A2 A~ A2 Ac

2.For net system ( b ) with double diagonals

EA~ EAc E11 El c

Bll = + 2 sin 4 ct D~ = +2 sin 4 a
A1 Ac A1 Ac

= EA 2 + 2 EA c cos4 ct D22 = EI 2 + 2 EI cos 4 a
A2 A~ A2 Ac

3.For net system ( c )

Bll = EA 1 + 2 EAc sin4 a Dll = E11 + 2 Elc sin 4 ct

A1 Ac A1 Ac

B22 = 2 EAc cos4 a 022 = 2 EI c COS 4 a

Ac Ac

In the formulas A1,A 2 and A c are the cross-section areas of members in direction 1 and 2 and of
diagonals, respectively, I l, I 2 and Ic are the corresponding moments of inertia, the intervals between
members A 1 , A 2 and A c , as well as the inclination angle a are as shown as in the figure.

T. Usami 1, Y. Zheng 1, and H.B. Ge 1

1Department of Civil Engineering, Nagoya University, Nagoya, 464-8603, JAPAN


The ductility of thin-walled steel box stub-columns under compression and bending is studied in this
paper through extensive parametric analyses, and empirical ductility equations are developed. The
equations for isolated plates and pipe stub-columns proposed in the previous studies are also presented.
On this basis, a simplified ductility evaluation procedure is proposed for practical steel structures with
thin-walled box or pipe sections. An inelastic pushover analysis is employed and a failure criterion is
introduced. The implementation of the proposed procedure is demonstrated by application to some
cantilever columns and a one-story frame. Moreover, the computed results are compared with the
ductility estimations through cyclic analyses reported in the literature, which leads to the validation of
the proposed method.


Thin-walled steel structure, Ductility, Pushover analysis, Stub-column, Residual stress, Initial deflection,
Box section, Pipe section, Frame, Cyclic loading.


Thin-walled steel columns and frames have been widely used as substructures in urban highway bridges,
suspension and cable-stayed bridge towers in Japan as well as some other countries. But the need for
evaluating the seismic performance, such as the ductility capacity, of such structures has come into focus
following the damage and collapse observed d r ~ the 1995 Hyogoken-nanbu earthquake (Fukumoto
1997; Galambos 1998). Steel beam-column members employed in bridge structures are characterized by
the use of relatively thin plates, which makes these structures vulnerable to damages caused by the local
and overall interaction buckling. However, the task of accounting for such buckling can be formidable
for a practical use where the balance between reliability and simplicity is required.

64 T. Usami et al.
A simplified ductility evalUation method for steel columns and frames composed of box sections was
previously proposed by the authors (Usami et al. 1995). An inelastic pushover analysis is utilized in the
method and the structural ultimate state is assumed to be attained when the compressive flange strain of
the most critical part reaches its failure strain. However, the method employs an empirical equation
based on isolated, simply supported plate under compression (Usami et al. 1995) to calculate the failure
strain, and consequently leads to somewhat conservative predictions for structures composed of
moderately thin plates. This is for the reason that the interactive effects between adjacent component
plates at their junctions are neglected.

In this paper, aiming at proposing more refined empirical equations for failure strains, thin-walled steel
box stub-columns are studied under combined action of compression and bending. Extensive parametric
analyses are carried out to investigate the effects of some parameters on the behavior of stub-columns
with and without longitudinal stiffeners. An elasto-plastic large deformation FEM analysis is employed.
Based on the parametric analyses, empirical equations for the ductility of box stub-columns are
developed. Besides, the ductility equations for isolated plates in compression and short cylinders in
compression and bending proposed in the previous studies (Usami et al. 1995; Gao et al. 1998a) are also
presented. By using the equations based on stub-columns, the previous ductility evaluation procedure for
box-sectioned structures (Usami et al. 1995) is refined and meanwhile, is extended to both box and
pipe-sectioned structures. A one-story frame with stiffened box sections and several cantilever columns
with unstiffened box sections, stiffened box sections, and pipe sections are investigated as examples to
demonstrate the application of the procedure. Moreover, the computed results are compared with
previous results obtained through cyclic tests or numerical analyses (Usami 1996; Gao et al. 1998b;
Nishikawa et al. 1999). The comparison illustrates the validity of the proposed method.


Numerical Analytical Model

Both the box stub-columns with and without longitudinal stiffeners are studied. The analytical models of
such stub-columns are shown in Fig. 1, which represent a part of a long column between the diaphragms.
Due to the symmetry of geometry and loading, only a half or a quarter of the stub-column is analyzed. A
simply supported boundary condition is assumed along the column end plate boundaries to simulate the
local buckling mode of a long column, which would deforms into several waves along the length. To


Web I

(a) Unstiffened (b) Stiffened [ s.s.: simplySupportedEdge

Figure 1" Analytical model of box stub-columns

Ductility Issues in Th&-Walled Steel Structures 65

Figure 2: Residual stresses

impose a rotation of the edge, the end sections are constrained as rigid planes by using the multi-point
constraint (MPC) boundary conditions, and the rotation displacement is applied at any node on the
sections. The bending moment is obtained as the reaction force of the node. The general FEM program
ABAQUS (1998) and a type of four-node doubly curved shell element (S4R) included in its package are
employed in the elasto-plastic large deformation analysis.

An idealized rectangular form of residual stress distribution in each unstiffened panel, stiffened panel,
and stiffener plate, is adopted due to the welding (see Fig. 2). The initial geometrical deflections are also
considered. For unstiffened stub-columns, the shape is assumed to be sinusoidal in both flange and web
plates (see Fig. 3(a)). The maximum values ofthe initial deflections in the flange and web are assumed to
be B/500 and D/500 (where B and D are the breadth and depth of the box section), respectively. The
directions of the initial deflections are assumed inward for flange plates while outward for web plates.
The assumed initial deflection shape in the flange plate of stiffened stub-columns (Fig. 3(b)) are given by
following equations:

8=~5a+8 L (1)

a sinI;
150 s i n ~ ~Z y
~• Z
) (3)
in which cYc denotes the global initial deflections; CYLrepresents the local initial deflections; a is the
length of the stiffened stub-columns; n is the number of the subpanels divided by the stiffeners; m is the
number of half-waves of the local initial deflections in the longitudinal direction, which is assumed as an
integer giving the lowest failure strain and will be further discussed below. The initial deflections in the
web plates are calculated by replacing B and z in Eqs. (2) and (3) by D and x, respectively, but assumed
in opposite direction (outward).

A kind of steel stress-strain relation including a strain hardening part, proposed by Usami et al. (1995), is
utilized in this study to define the material characteristics (see Fig. 4). Here, % and 6y denote the yield
stress and strain, respectively; E is the elastic modulus (i.e., Young's modulus); 6,, is the strain at the
onset of strain hardening; E~ is the initial strain hardening modulus; and E' is the strain hardening
modulus assumed as
E ' = E,~ e x p ( - ~ s - o%t ) (4)
66 T. Usami et al.

Figure 3: Initial deflections

where 2j is a material coefficient. Mild steel SS400

(equivalent to ASTM A36) is utilized in the analysis of
stub-columns, for which Cry = 235 MPa, E = 206 GPa, t,'
= 0.3, e n = 10 e y, 2j = 0.06, and En=E/40.

In this study, the ductility of the stub-column is evaluated

by using the failure strain, 6u/zy, which is defined as a point
corresponding to 95% of the maximum strength after the
peak in the bending moment versus average compressive
strain curve (Usami and Ge 1998).
Figure 4: Material model
Parametric Study

The behavior of thin-walled box stub-columns subjected to compression and bending is considerably
affected by the magnitude of axial load, P/Py (Py is the squash load), and the flange width-thickness ratio,
RI, which is defined as

a~ B I 1 2 ( 1 - v2) IO'y
Ry : : t 4n2x 2 E (5)

in which O'cris the elastic buckling stress; n is the number of subpanels (for unstiffened plate, n = 1). For
stub-columns with stiffeners, the stiffener's slenderness ratio, 2 s , is another key parameter, given by:

- 1 a 1 ~-~y
A" = x/-Q r, n 3r E (6)

Q -- 2-~f [13- ~/13z- 4Rf ] (7)

13 - 1.33Rf + 0.868 (8)

in which rs is the radius of gyration of a T-shape cross section consisting of one longitudinal stiffener and
the adjacent subpanel and Q is the local buckling strength of the subpanel plate (Structural Stability
1997). An alternative parameter reflecting the characteristics of the stiffener plate is the stiffener's
relative flexural rigidity, y, which is interdependent on 2,. Thus, in the present study, only 2 s is
considered in the ductility equations.
Ductility Issues in Thin-Walled Steel Structures 67
Parameters of Thin-walled Parameters of Stiffened
Unstiffened Box Stub-columns Box Stub-columns

D/B at = a/B Rf D/B a = a/B Rf ?"/ y * ~s

3/4, 1.0, 0.5, 0.7, 0.2, 0.4, 0.45, 0.5, 0.67, 1.00, 0.5, 0.7, 0.3, 0.35, 0.4, 0.45, 1.0, 0.180 "~
4/3 1.0 0.55, 0.6, 0.8 1.33 1.0, 1.5 0.5, 0.55, 0.6, 0.7 3.0 0.751

Nevertheless, to propose ductility equations for comprehensive applications, the influence of box
cross-sectional shape (say, square or rectangle) and the aspect ratio (a =a/B) has to be surveyed. And for
stiffened stub-columns, the critical local initial deflection mode along the length direction giving the
lowest ductility should be first determined. The thickness of the plates is assumed as 20ram and the
considered axial force, P, ranges from O.OPy to 0.SPy. Other pertinent parameters are given in Tables 1
and 2, where 9" * represents the optimum value of 9"obtained from elastic buckling theory ("DIN 4114"

Through parametric analyses, following conclusions are drawn for unstiffened stub-columns: (1) The
effects of the cross-sectional shapes and column aspect ratios on the stub-column ductility are
insignificant and the present empirical equation is based on the models with square sections and aspect
ratios equal to 0.7; (2) Referring to the computed e,/ey versus Rz and P/Py relations presented in Fig. 5, it
is observed that the failure strain decreases as the increase of either Rz or P/Py; (3) Considering the
effects of axial loads, an equation of failure strain, eu/ey, versus flange width-thickness ratio, Rz, is fitted
as follows:
~;, 0.108(1- P / Py )1.09
~.~ : ( R f - 0 . 2 ) 3 " 2 ~ + 3 . 5 8 ( 1 - P / py)O.839 < 20.0 (9)

The applicable range of this equation is R/= 0.2 -- 0.8, D/B = 0.75 --- 1.33, and P/Py = 0.0 --- 0.5. It should
be noted that when the failure strain, 6u/ey (which is the average strain in the compressive flange),
exceeds 20.0, the local maximum strain would be very large (say, 5% or larger) and the numerical
analysis results would become unreliable. Thus, the upper bound of 6,,/6y is limited as 20.0 at present
time although the consequent prediction will be on the safe side for some cases.

As for the stiffened stub-columns, the observations from the parametric analysis can be concluded as: (1)
The critical local initial deflection mode along the length of stiffened stub-columns varies with different
aspect ratios and the corresponding number of half-waves (m) is found as 2, 3, 4 and 5 for aspect ratios of
0.5, 0.7, 1.0 and 1.5, respectively; (2) The buckling mode of stub-columns has almost same shapes as the
assumed initial deflection mode; (3) The influences of box cross-sectional shape and the aspect ratio on
the ductility of stub-columns are not obvious and for simplification, they can be neglected in the design
formulas of failure strain; (4) The effects of flange width-thickness ratio and stiffener's slenderness
~, ~0.1s
ratio should be considered together and a combined parameter *-/,~s is introduced. Inversely
proportional relations of the failure strains to this combined parameter and the axial load are found (see
Fig. 6). On this basis, an equation of eu/~yv e r s u s
Rye. s " , considering the effect of axial load, are fitted
as follows:

~'u _ 0 " 8 ( 1 - P / Py )0"94

/,• ~- 0.18
+ 2.78(1 - P / P, )0.68 ~_~ 20.0 (10)
~'Y ~"'~f"s - 0"168) lzzs

Here, R/ranges from 0.3 to 0.7, ~, is in a scope from 0.18 to 0.75, and P/Py is between 0.0 and 0.5. And
68 T. Usami et al.

Figure 5 Failure strains of unstiffened Figure 6 Failure strains of stiffened

stub-columns stub-columns

this equation is applicable to stiffened box stub-columns with a from 0.5 to 1.5 and B/D from 0.67 to
1.33. Moreover, it should be noted that this equation is fitted to give slightly smaller prediction of failure
strains for the cases with smaller K:%
-" = 0.~s. This is for the reason that the numerical results of present
study are based on monotonically loading conditions and when applied to long columns with small
R / ~ " , they are found to yield larger ductility predictions compared with the cyclic experimental and
-- 018

numerical results as presented later.


For comparison, this paper also presents the failure strain equations based on isolated plates under
uniaxial compression (Usami et al. 1995; Usami and Ge 1998). They are defined as follows:
Unstiffened olates: -~"
- = 0.07 + 1.85 _< 2 0 . 0 (11)
" % (R: - 0 . 2 y "~

Stiffened nlates: -e,

-: 0.145 + 1.19 < 2 0 . 0 (12)
6, (x-, - 0.2) TM
Equation (11) is plotted in Fig. 5 and some computed results of stiffened plates (Usami and Ge 1998) are
~.. ~'- o 18
also plotted in Fig. 6, in the form of E / E y versus K/~s " 9It is observed that the failure strains of
stub-columns subjected to compression and bending are larger than those of isolated plates under pure
compression. When the axial load is so large as to approach the pure compression state two procedures
will give similar predictions.


The ductility of thin-walled steel short cylinders in compression and bending has been also investigated
in a previous study (Gao et al. 1998a). Analytical models similar to those used for box stub-columns,
which have been presented above, were employed for the cylinders. Main parameters controlling their
behaviors are found to be the magnitude of the axial force and the radius-thickness ratio parameter, Rt,
which is in the form of
Rt = 6y = ~/3(1 - v 2) oy d (13)
o~, E 2t
Here d and t denote the diameter and thickness of the cylinder, respectively. And an empirical equation is
proposed as follows:
Ductility Issues in Th&-Walled Steel Structures 69

~,,, O.120+4P/Py)
6--f = ( R t - 0.03) 1"4s(1 + P / P,)5 + 3.6(1 - P / P,) <__20.0 (14)


By using the empirical equations of failure strains

given above, a ductility evaluation procedure is
proposed for practical structures composed of thin-
walled steel beam-column members. It is applicable
for the design of a new structure or evaluation of a
existing structure, which are in the form of
cantilever-typed columns or framing structures. The
procedure involves the following steps:
1. Based on the general layout and loading condition
of the structure, establish the analytical model as Figure 7: Pushover analysis model
shown in Fig. 7, by using beam elements, which
facilitate the FEM modeling procedure but do not
account for local buckling. Neither the residual stresses nor initial deflections are take into
consideration. The material model defined in Fig. 4 is also utilized for the pushover analysis.
2. Carry out a planar pushover analysis. This procedure involves applying the constant vertical loads
and incrementally increased lateral loads to represent the relative inertia forces which are generated
at locations of sustained mass. An elastoplastic large displacement analysis is employed to account
for the second-order effects.
3. The pushover analysis is terminated once the failure criterion is attained and this state is taken as the
ultimate state of the structure, based on which the ductility capacity, 8u/By, of the structure can be

Like the previous study (Usami et al. 1995), the failure of a structure composed of the thin-walled steel
box members is assumed when the average strain over an effective failure length in the compressive
flange (or in the maximum compressive meridional fiber for pipe sections) reaches its failure stain (Eqs.
(9), (10) and (13)). The effective failure length, I,, of a box-sectioned member is assumed as the smaller
one between 0.7 times of the flange width and the distance between two adjacent diaphragms (Usami et
al. 1995). For pipe-sectioned structures, based on the observations in the previous studies (Gao et al.
1999a and 1999b), an empirical equation is proposed here to define the effective failure length:
1 -1)d
It = 1.2(Rt--~.0s (15)

The critical parts could be more than one place in a framing structure and all of them should be checked
(see Fig. 7(b)). In a thin-walled steel structure, however, the excessive deformation tends to intensify in
a local part and consequently the redistribution of the plastic stress becomes unexpected. Thus, once the
failure criterion at any one of the critical parts is satisfied, the ultimate state of such a structure is though
to be reached.


To demonstrate its implementation, the proposed ductility evaluation procedure is applied to some
cantilever-typed columns with box or pipe sections and a one-story rigid frame composed of box section
70 T. Usami et al.


Specimen h a B D t Material
(mm) (mm) (mm) (mm) (mm) k RI P/PY Number
UU1 762 306 1 5 7 . 5 120.0 4.51 0.362 0.664 0.2 I
UU6 1035 394 202.5 154.0 4.51 0.381 0.854 0.2 I
UUll 853 312 1 7 1 . 5 127.0 10.5 0.406 0.297 0.2 I
U45-2513] 485 278 144.0 108.8 5.91 0.254 0.448 0.2 II
U45-4013] 781 278 145.0 108.8 5.91 0.404 0.451 0.2 II
U70-2513] 786 434 222.0 1 6 7 . 8 5.91 0.262 0.701 0.2 II
U70-4013] 1217 434 222.9 167.8 5.91 0.406 0.704 0.2 II
Notes: refer to Table 5 for details of material numbers.


h B t b, ts Material
Model (mm) (mm) (mm) (mm) (mm) RI A, A u P/P, Number
B1 4311 1344 20 121 20 0.46 0.51 0.20 1.0 0.15 III
B2 7543 1344 20 121 20 0.46 0 . 5 1 0.35 1.0 0.15 III
B3 7559 1344 20 121 20 0.46 0.28 0.35 0.5 0.15 III
B4 10776 1344 20 121 20 0.46 0.51 0.50 1.0 0.15 III
B5 3264 1023 20 105 20 0.35 0.21 0.20 0.5 0.15 III
B6 5712 1023 20 105 20 0.35 0.21 0.35 0.5 0.15 III
B7 5551 1023 20 179 20 0.35 0.23 0.35 1.0 0.15 III
B8 5777 1023 20 70 20 0.35 0.33 0.35 0.5 0.15 III
B14 3403 882 9 80 6 0.56 0.63 0.26 1.0 0.12 IV
B16 5712 1023 20 105 20 0.35 0 . 4 1 0.35 1.0 0.15 III
Notes" D = B; refer to Table 5 for details of material numbers.

members. Besides, the computed results are compared with those reported in previous studies (Usami
1996; Nishikawa, et al. 1996; Gao 1998; Gao et al. 1998b; Nishikawa et al. 1999), which are analyzed
under cyclic lateral loading through experimental or numerical techniques. The ABAQUS program
(1998) and a kind of beam element B21 are employed for the pushover analysis.

Cantilever Box Columns with and without Longitudinal Stiffeners

Recently extensive experimental study have been carried out to survey the behavior of steel cantilever
box columns with and without stiffeners, which are subjected to cyclic lateral loading as well as a
constant axial load (see Fig. 7(a)). A detailed summary of these studies has been reported in the literature
(Usami 1996). According to this reference, the local buckling is observed to occur near the column base
in the range of about 0.7B (B is the width of the flange) or between the transverse diaphragms, if any.
And the mode shapes of the global and local buckling are found in the form of half sine-waves. These
Ductility Issues in Thin-Walled Steel Structures 71

observations are in good T A B L E 5.

agreement with the effective M A T E R I A L P R O P E R T I E S OF E X A M P L E S
length assumed above and the Material E
buckling modes occurred in the Number (GPa) v (MPa) E/gst g st /[~y
analyses of stub-columns. By I 197 0.269 266 21.0 11.3
introducing an index of ductility, II 216
0.270 282 32.4 16.9
8 95/ 8 y (895 is the top lateral
displacement corresponding to III 206 0.300 314 30 7.0
95% of the maximum lateral load IV 206 0.300 379 30 10.0
after peak and 8y is the yield V 206
0.300 235 40 10.0
lateral displacement), empirical
equations of ductility related to VI 206 0.300 290 40 14.0
some main parameters has been VII 206 0.300 269 40 14.0
developed for both the columns
VIII 206 0.300 294 40 10.0
with and without longitudinal
stiffeners, which are defined as Notes: Refer to Tables 3, 4, 6, and 7. for material numbers
follows (Usami 1996):

Unstiffened columns: 69s - 0.0670 + 2.60 (S = 1.09) (16)

8y [(1 + e / Py )RI ~~ ] 3"~

Stiffened columns: -89s

- = 0.0147 + 4.20 (S = 1.40) (17)
6y [(1 + P / Py )gf~~ 3"s
where S is the standard deviation; and ~ is the column slenderness ratio parameter given by

_ ___2h
1 ,/o, (18)
r ~: V E
Here h is the column height and r is the radius of gyration of cross section. Equations (16) and (17) were
fitted corresponding to the average curve for test data (i.e., the M curve plotted in Fig. 8 by the solid line)
and the lower bound curves were also proposed as Eqs. (16) and (17) minus the standard deviation (S), as
the M-S curve shown in Fig. 8 by the dashed line.

Several specimens in the form of both unstiffened and stiffened columns reported in the reference
(Usami 1996) are adopted here to demonstrate the validity of the ductility evaluation method proposed in
this paper. The parameters of the columns are presented in Tables 3, 4 and 5. The computed ductility
estimations (8,,/8y) are presented in Fig. 8 compared with the empirical curves (Eqs. (16) and (17)), of
which 89s/dy is denoted by 8u/dy for the accordance. For unstiffened columns (Fig. 8(a)), it is observed
that the proposed method gives the ductility predictions very close to the lower bound curve (M-S
Curve), which has been recommended for the practical use considering the required safety (Interim
1996). In Fig. 8(b) which is for stiffened columns, good agreement of computed results with the test
curves is also observed. Aswell, the previous method proposed by Usami et al. (1995), where the failure
strain equations based on isolated plates (Eqs. (11) and (12)) are used, is also applied to these examples
and the obtained results are included in Fig. 8. It can been seen that the previous method underestimates
the column ductility for most cases.

Cantilever Columns with Pipe Sections

The behavior of thin-walled steel cantilever-typed columns with pipe section has been investigated by
some researchers (e.g., Nishikawa et al. 1996; Gao et al. 1998b). In the cyclic test on such columns by
Nishikawa et al. (1996), the so-called elephant foot bulge mode was found to occur in the range of about
3.0\/R t (R is the radius of the pipe section) from the column base (Nakamura 1997). This range is
72 T. Usami et al.
20 Present ] 20
] 9 Present
O Previous I .~ I O
( U s a m i et al. 1995) I 15 i\ I
( U s a m i et al. 1995)
15 I
, Cyclic Test ( U s a m i 1996) I ~ ]Cyclic Test ( U s a m i 1996)
M curve [
t M-S curve I ~.I0 \~, 0 l . . . . . . . M-S .....

5- ~ ~ ....................
o ....... _.
i , i i i , i , . i 0 , I , I , , ,
0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 0.] 0.2 0.3 01.4 01.5 01.6
(I+P/Py)R~~ (I+P/Py) 9Rr" ~ o.s
(a) Unstiffened columns (b) Stiffened columns

Figure 8 Ductility estimations of cantilever-typed columns with box sections

almost as same as the effective failure TABLE 6

length assumed in this study (Eq. 15). Parameters of Cantilever Pipe Columns
Through numerical cyclic analyses, some
researchers (Gao et al. 1998b) proposed an Speci h d t
-men (mm) (mm) (mm) Rt ~ e/ev MaterialNumber
empirical equation for the ductility of
cantilever-typed columns with pipe P1 3403 891 9.00 0.110 0.26 0.12 VI
sections, which is given by P2 4391 891 7.32 0.115 0.30 0.15 V
~9..__ff_5_. 0.24 (19) P5 4391 891 8.41 0.100 0.30 0.15 V
~iy (1 + P / Py )2,3-~,3Rt
P8a 2598 891 11.2 0.075 0.18 0.15 V
Nine such columns are investigated here,
P8b 1897 891 12.6 0.067 0.13 0.15 V
the parameters of which are presented in
Table 6. The computed ductility P8-15 4391 891 11.2 0.075 0.30 0.15 V
estimations are plotted in the Fig. 9 by P10 3303 580 20.0 0.031 0.37 0.09 VII
comparison with Eq. (19). It is found that Pll 4391 891 9.61 0.088 0.30 0.15 V
all the points corresponding to the results
of the present study lie in the vicinity of the P12 4391 891 16.8 0.050 0.30 0.15 V
equation curve. Thus, the applicability of Notes: see Table 5 for details of material properties
the proposed method to steel columns with
pipe sections is also verified.
12 \ " 9 P..... t I
One-story Rigid Frame 10 ~ " -- Empirical Curve I
, {Gao et al. 1998b~l

Although the behavior of thin-walled steel
cantilever columns has been extensively
investigated by researchers, available
research findings on the thin-walled steel 4
frames are too limited to supply sufficient
information on the ductility evaluation 2
(Nishikawa et al. 1999). The proposed 0 t I i I t I i I
method is expected to be a simple but 0 0.01 0.02 0.03 0.04
efficient ductility evaluation tool for such (l+P/Py)Rl'S~, ~
Figure 9: Ductility estimations of cantilever-
A one-story rigid frame, which has been typed columns with pipe sections
Ductility Issues in Thin-Walled Steel Structures 73

B t b~ t~ a 9 - -Material
Element Plate (mm) (mm) ( m m ) (mm) (mm) Rf 2~, No.
Column Flange 600 6 60 6
600 0.497 0.422 VIII
Web 600 6 60 6
Beam Flange 600 8 80 8 600 0.497 0.314 VIII
Web 600 6 60 6

tested in a recent study (Nishikawa et al.

1999), is analyzed through proposed
method. The general layout and some
pertinent parameters of the frame are
presented in Fig. 10 and Table 7. In the
beam-column connection parts, all the
panels of both beam and column
sections are strengthened by doubling
the thickness. The flame was tested
under cyclic lateral loading with the
constant vertical loads of P =0.12Py at
the top of the frame.

The afore-mentioned method is applied

to this structure, where it should be
noted that in a flame system, the axial
Figure 10 General layout of the frame
force of the columns varies with the
change of lateral load. And this makes
the trial and error method required for
calculating the failure strains (see Eq.
(7)). For this frame, the critical parts are
the regions marked by (~), (~), (~), @, (~)
and (~ in Fig. 10. And the place where
the average compressive strain first
reaches the corresponding failure strain
is found at part (~). Figure 11 illustrates
the normalized lateral force versus
displacement curve from the pushover
analysis compared by the normalized
hysteretic curve from the cyclic test
(Nishikawa et al. 1999). Both of the
points corresponding to the maximum
strength (6,.) and 95% of the maximum Figure 11 Force-displacement relation curve of the flame
strength after peak on the test envelop
curve (69s) are used to represent the
ultimate state of the flame. The failure points are denoted by different marks in Fig. 11. It is observed
that the computed ductility (ru/ry) of the proposed method is close to the 6~/~ from the cyclic test,
whereas the ductility prediction based on previous method (Usami et al. 1995) is too conservative. In the
light of safety required in practical design, the ductility capacity predicted by the proposed procedure is
74 T. Usami et al.

The ductility of thin-walled steel stub-columns with and without longitudinal stiffeners was investigated
through extensive parametric analyses. The key parameters affecting the ductility of box stub-columns
are found to be the flange width-thickness ratio, magnitude of the axial force, and the stiffener's
slenderness ratio. The effects of the cross-sectional shape and the columns aspect ratio were also
investigated and found insignificant for the ductility of stub-columns. On this basis, empirical equations
for the ductility in terms of the failure strain were developed. Besides, empirical equations of failure
strains proposed for isolated plates and short cylinders in previous studies (Usami et at. 1995; Gao et al.
1998a) were also presented in this paper.

Moreover, an evaluation procedure has been proposed to employ the ductility equations into the
ductility estimation of practical steel structures composed of thin-walled box or pipe sections. A
simplified pushover analysis was utilized and a failure criterion was defined. The procedure can be used
to evaluate the ductility of thin-walled steel structures in the form of not only cantilever-typed columns
but also framing structures. The proposed method was used to successfully evaluate the ductility of some
cantilever-typed columns and a one-story rigid frame. By the comparison with ductility estimations
obtained from cyclic tests or numerical analyses reported in the literature, the reliability of the proposed
method was verified.


ABAQUS/Standard User's Manual. (1998). Ver. 5.7.

"DIN 4114, Blatt2." (1953). Stahbau, Stabilitatsfalle (Knickung, Kippung, Beulung),
Berechnungsgrundlagen, Richtlinien, Berlin, Germany (in German).
Fukumoto, Y., ed. (1997). Structural stability design- steel and composite structures. Elsevier Science
Ltd., Oxford.
Galambos, T. V., ed. (1998). Guide to Stability Design Criteriafor Metal Structures, 5th Ed., John Wiley
& Sons, Inc., New York.
Gao, S. B., Usami, T., and Ge, H. B. (1998a). "Ductility of steel short cylinders in compression and
bending." ar. Engrg. Mech., ASCE, 124(2), 176-183.
Gao, S. B., Usami, T., and Ge, H. B. (1998b). "Ductility evaluation of steel bridge piers with pipe
sections." ar. Engrg. Mech., ASCE, 124(3), 260-267.
Nakamura, H. (1997). "Formulae for evaluating shear-bending buckling strength of steel piers with
circular cross section and applicability of the numerical buckling analysis method." Proc. of
Nonlinear Numerical Analysis and Seismic Design of Steel Bridge Piers, JSCE, 37-42. (in
Nishikawa, K., Yamamoto, S., Natori, T., Terao, O., Yasunami, H., and Terada, M. (1996). "An
experimental study on improvement of seismic performance of existing steel bridge piers." 3'. of
Struct. Engrg., 42A, 975-986 (in Japanese).
Nishikawa, K., Murakoshi, J., Takahashi, M., Okamoto, T., Ikeda, S., and Morishita, H. (1999)
"Experimental study on strength and ductility of steel portal frame pier." ar. Struct. Engrg., JSCE,
45A, 235-244 (in Japanese).
Usami, T., ed. (1996). Interim guidelines and new technologies for seismic design of steel structures.
Committee on New Technology for Steel Structures (CNTSS), JSCE (in Japanese).
Usami, T., Suzuki, M., Mamaghani, I. H. P., and Ge, H. B. (1995). "A proposal for check of ultimate
earthquake resistance of partially concrete-filled steel bridge piers." Struct. Mech./Earthquake
Engrg., JSCE, 508/I-31, 69-82 (in Japanese).

L.W. Lu, R. Sause and J.M. Ricles

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Lehigh University

Bethlehem, PA 18015-3176, USA


Much effort has been devoted in the recent years to the development of high-performance structures
for civil and marine construction. Emphasis of this effort has been on the use of high-performance
steels and innovative structural concepts to improve performance and reduce life-cycle cost. The
paper first gives a summary of the properties of high-performance steels available in the market.
This is followed by a description of research exploring application of such steels to I-girder bridges
and critical elements in building structures within the framework of the current construction
practice. Three innovative structural concepts are then presented: a post-tensioned connection for
building frames resisting seismic forces, use of high performance dampers for dynamic response
control, and unidirectional double hull structure for ships. Their potential applications are also


High-performance structure, high-performance steel, building, bridge, ship, weldability, fracture

toughness, connection, seismic resistance.


What is a high-performance structure? Presently, there is not a universally accepted answer to this
question and different people are likely to provide different answers which will depend on the types
of structures the individuals having in mind, the desired levels of performance and the performance
of structures built according to the present practice. No attempt, therefore, will be made to define
"high-performance." The following criteria are often used to judge the overall quality of a structure:

(1) Performance under service load,

(2) Performance under overload, and
(3) Life-cycle cost.

76 L . W . Lu et al.

For a structure to be considered as a high-performance structure it should have one or more

improvements related to these criteria. Different approaches may be adopted to achieve the desired
improvements. This paper is concerned with (1) the use of high-performance materials and (2) the
development of innovative structural concepts to enhance overall performance and to reduce life-
cycle cost.


A high-performance steel is defined as a steel that has the combined characteristics of high strength,
good ductility, high toughness, good weldability and fabricability. These are the properties essential
for successful construction of high-performance structures in a civil infrastructure system. For
exposed structures, such as bridges and ships, good corrosion resistance is also necessary. From
metallurgical composition and processing point of view, a yield strength above 450 MPa is
considered as high strength. The fracture toughness, weldability and formability of the steels should
be significantly better than those of the conventional steels. The key issue is the control of the
amount of carbon and carbon equivalent (Lu, Dexter, Fisher, 1994).

The early attempts of using the traditional high strength steels in bridge and ship construction
produced some unsatisfactory results. These steels were found difficult to fabricate due primarily to
susceptibility to hydrogen cracking and the risk of brittle fracture associated with materials having
inadequate fracture toughness. Other problems include: 1) welding defects other than hydrogen
cracking, and 2) potential for stress-corrosion cracking. Many bridges fabricated in the 1960's and
early 1970's from ASTM A514/A517 (690 MPa yield) steel suffered from hydrogen cracks which
occurred during fabrication (Fisher, 1984). Many of these hydrogen cracks occurred in the
longitudinal web/flange joint of welded built-up box sections used as tie girders in tied arch bridges
(Anon, 1979, Fisher, Pense and Hausammann, 1982) as well as welded built-up plate girders. One
example is the Gulf Outlet Bridge near New Orleans. Some bridges have also experienced hydrogen
cracking in transverse groove welds, e.g. the 1-24 bridge over the Ohio River near Paducah,
Kentucky (Fisher, 1984). Hydrogen cracking was also observed in the Navy's Seawolf submarine in
the 120-S weld metal used with the 690 MPa yield strength HY-100 steel (Anon, 1991).

Hydrogen cracking is most effectively avoided by using steel and weld metal with microstructures
that are not susceptible. It has been shown that susceptibility to hydrogen cracking increases
significantly as the carbon content exceeds 0.1 percent (Graville, 1976). The susceptible
microstructures are typically martensite. The new high-performance steels with low carbon contents
are not susceptible to hydrogen cracking.

Microalloyed steels with low carbon content, high manganese levels and microalloy carbide and
nitride formers have been available for sometime for use in construction of structures that require
high strength, high fracture toughness, and good weldability. Over the past 15 years, low-carbon,
age-hardenable steels have gained increasing usage in shipbuilding, heavy-vehicle manufacturing,
and offshore structure construction because of their excellent weldability and fracture toughness.
These steels have become known as High-Strength Low Alloy (HSLA) steels although their total
alloy content is generally around four percent. Another method of increasing strength without
increasing carbon and alloy content is controlled rolling combined with on-line accelerated cooling,
i.e. thermo-mechanical controlled processing (TMCP).

These high-performance steels offer some clear benefits when compared with the traditional high
strength steels (Bolliger, et al, 1988). Most are virtually immune to hydrogen cracking in the heat-
affected zone (HAZ) of welds. This superior resistance to hydrogen cracking allows these steels to
High-Performance Steel Structures: Recent Research 77
be welded without the application of preheat in most situations. The low-carbon, fine-grained
microstructure that results from typical processing yields a very favorable combination of high
strength and high toughness. The excellent fabricability, strength and toughness make high-
performance steel very attractive for use in many applications. For bridges, these advantages may
allow consideration of lifting the onerous requirements for fabrication of fracture critical members
(FCM). FCM are members subjected to tension which if fractured will cause failure of the structure.

The following are some examples of the currently produced high-performance steels:

Low Carbon Age-Hardening Nickel-Copper-Chromium-Molybdenum-Columbian and

Nickel-Copper-Columbian Alloy Steels, ASTM A710.

High Yield Strength, Age-Hardening Alloy, Structural Steels (HSLA 80 and HSLA 100),

Structural Steel for Bridges, ASTM A709 Grade HPS 485W.

There are several copper-nickel high-performance steels for bridge construction under development
at the ATLSS Center of Lehigh University (Gross, Stout, and Dawson, 1998).


A substantial number of studies have been carried out in the ATLSS Center and elsewhere to
explore the use of high-performance steels in bridges, buildings, offshore structures, and ships.
Brief descriptions of three of these studies are given below:

1-Girder Highway Bridges

The advantages of using high-performance steel in conventional I-girder highway bridges has been
investigated by Sause and Fisher (1995). The investigation involved redesign of recently
constructed highway bridges, using conventional steels with yield strengths of 250 MPa and 345
MPa, and using high-performance steels with yield strengths between 485 MPa and 825 MPa. The
normalized weight of minimum weight girder cross-sections designed for each steel is plotted
versus yield strength in Figure 1. The weight of the design using 345 MPa steel is taken as 100%,
and the weight of the designs using other steels are normalized by the weight of the 345 MPa
design. Three cases are considered: (1) design for strength and stability according to the AASHTO
specifications without considering fatigue, indicated by the dashed line with circles; (2) design for
strength and stability without considering fatigue and allowing the plastic moment to be used as the
nominal bending strength of compact girder cross-sections, indicated by the dashed line with
squares; and (3) design considering strength, stability, and fatigue indicated by the solid line with
solid boxes. As seen in Figure 1, if fatigue is not considered, a higher steel yield strength usually
results in a smaller weight per length. However, an exception occurs at 485 MPa because the
AASHTO specifications permit the use of the plastic moment as the nominal bending strength of
compact girder cross-sections only when the yield strength is no more than 485 MPa. As a result,
higher strength steel girder cross-sections must be designed with the yield moment (yield stress at
the extreme fiber) as the nominal bending resistance. This limitation in the design specifications is
based on concern about the ductility of structural members fabricated from high-strength steel.
Girders fabricated from high-performance steel may not require this limitation, although further
study of this issue is needed. The dashed curve with squares in Figure 1 represents the case when
the plastic moment is used as the nominal bending strength of all compact cross-sections. The solid
78 L. IV. Lu et al.
1 ................. 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . t ..... I .... i . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


-~ 80 --

60 , , I I ! ! I
40 60 80 1O0 120
(275) (415) (550) (690) (830)
Yield Stress, ksi (MPa)
Figure 1. Weight versus yield strength for minimum weight steel I-girder cross-sections

line shows that when fatigue of welds between transverse stiffeners and the web and flange plates is
considered in design, potential decreases in weight with increasing yield strength end at a yield
strength of 690 MPa, because of stress range limits for the details.

In addition to stability and fatigue, deflection under live load may also be a design constraint. The
elastic live load deflection of I-girder bridges designed using high-performance steel was
considered by Sause and Fisher (1995). AASHTO deflection criteria were applied to high-
performance steel bridge designs to investigate whether these criteria are constraints on the use of
high-performance steel. Live load deflections were calculated for minimum weight bridge designs
developed for each yield strength level, and plotted versus yield strength level in Figure 2. The
deflection limit is L/800. Figure 2 shows that the bridge designs at each strength level satisfy the
deflection limit. However, the assumptions made in computing the live load deflections according
to AASHTO may not be acceptable to many bridge engineers. With more conservative assumptions,
the computed deflections for bridge designs at the highest yield strength levels may exceed the
deflection limit.

75 I ! ............. 1..... I ....

I............... 3
9 Design for Mp
[] Design for My
E 50 2 .E
D e f l e c t i o n Limit
C .s


0 .... I . I ! I I
40 60 80 100 120
(275) (415) (550) (690) (830)
Vleid Stress, ksi (MPa)
Figure 2. Live load deflection versus yield strength for minimum weight bridge designs

Connections in Building Frames

The superior ductibility, toughness, and weldability of the high-performance steels make them ideal
High-Performance Steel Structures: Recent Research 79
material for critical elements in structural systems. Examples of critical elements, where such
properties are required, include connecting plates in beam-to-column connections, connectors or
connecting devices, shear links in eccentrically braced frames, tension members of structures in
severe service environments, etc. These steels are also attractive for large and complex structures
because of the possibility of requiring no pre- and post-weld treatment.
A study of the use of A710 steel plates as the flange connecting plates in a beam-to-column web
connection shown in Figure 3 was carried out. An identical connection, but with ASTM A572 (50)
steel plates, was tested at Lehigh University. It failed prematurely due to fracture of one of the
connecting plates. The fracture was predominately brittle in nature although there was evidence of
several crack arrests which indicate some ductility in the region. The factors contributing to the
fracture include: (1) a large amount of plastic strain imposed on the members, (2) strain
concentrations at design details, and (3) orientation of the plates with the applied strain in the least
fracture-resistant direction (the rolling direction was parallel to the fracture plane). A post-test
examination showed that the defects in the weldments were no greater in size than might be found
in typical structural welds. It is felt that this connection fractured in a brittle manner due to the large
applied tensile strain which was concentrated at the design detail.

Figure 3. Beam-to-column connection test details with A710 steel.

For the A710 tests, the flange plates was orientated so that the applied strain was not in the direction
of the least fracture resistant direction; the rolling direction of the plate was parallel to the applied
tensile strain. The strain concentrations at the design details were difficult, if not impossible, to
avoid in construction. The connection was, therefore, assembled as if in an actual construction
environment. This specimen behaved in a very ductile manner and the ultimate load exceeded the
calculated plastic limit load by about 20% (Lu and Fisher, 1990).

The ATLSS Center has developed a wedge and socket type joint for a beam-column connection in a
80 L.W. Lu et al.

Figure 4. ATLSS Connector

framed structure, as shown in Figure 4. This type of joint is designed for to be placed by a remote
operator eliminating the need for an ironworker to make the connection (Viscomi, Michalerya and
Lu, 1994). This concept could be used for many secondary bridge connections used for diaphragms
and bracing.
For ease of handling, it is necessary to make the wedge and socket as compact as possible. The
socket is either welded directly to a column flange or to a plate which is then bolted to a column
fange. A high-strength material that is easy to weld and cast is therefore required. Unfortunately,
most of the available high-strength cast steels are not readily weldable. This makes the high-
performance steels the ideal choice for the connector pieces. The ATLSS connectors, made with
HSLA 80 steel, has been found, in laboratory testing, to perform well either as a shear connection or
a part of a full or partial moment connection (Lu, et al 1995). These connectors have been
successfully adopted in the construction of industrial plant structures.

Ultra High-Strength Structural Members

Work is in progress on several investigations on high-strength structural members made of high-

performance steels with good weldability. One of these is a study on concrete filled tubular (CFT)
columns subjected to axial compression or combined axial compression and bending moment
(Varma, et al 1998). The tubes were made of A500 Grade 80 steel (550 MPa yield) and the concrete
had a compressive strength of 110 MPa. The A500 Grade 80 material is similar to the HSLA 80
steel and can be readily cold formed and welded with one-sided welding (within certain plate
thickness). The high-strength CFT members are ideal for use as columns in multi-story building

Another study is on the local and lateral buckling behavior of flexural members made of HSLA 80
steel, whose stress-strain relationships are different from those of the conventional structural steels
(Ricles, Sause and Green, 1998).


Post-Tensioned Connections for Seismic-Resistant Building Structures

The common practice of designing a seismic-resistant steel structure is to utilize its ductility and
High-Performance Steel Structures: Recent Research 81
inelastic energy adsorpbtion capacity. The structure is allowed to yield and deform plastically
under the design level of earthquake excitation. The individual members and connections must be
able to sustain large plastic deformations, while maintaining their resistance. Large plastic
deformations often result in excess damage to the structure, which may affect its function and

To improve the seismic response of building frames a new type beam-to-column connection has
been developed (Garlock, et al 1998). It is a post-tensioned (PT) connection and is similar to the
unbonded PT connection developed previously for precast concrete construction. The connection
can be easily incorporated into a conventional steel moment-resisting frame. One version of this
connection is shown in Figure 5. It consists of bolted top and seat angles and post-tensioned high-
strength strands running parallel to the beam and anchored outside the connection. The beam
flanges are reinforced with cover plates in order to limit local beam yielding. Also, bearing plates
are placed between the column flange and the beam flanges so that only the beam flanges and the
cover plates are in contract with the column. The deformed configuration of the interior PT
connection subjected to a pair of clockwise bending moments transmitted from the beams is shown
in Figure 6. The moment-rotation (M-er) relationship of the connection is shown in Figure 7(a) and
the load-deflection (P-A) relationship of a beam-column subassemblage containing such a
connection is shown in Figure 7(b).

The behavior of the connection is characterized by a gap opening and closing at the beam-column
interface. The moment to cause this separation is called the decompression moment. The connection
initially behaves as a fully restrained connection; but after decompression it behaves as a partially
restrained connection. The initial stiffness of the connection is the same as that of a fully restrained
connection, where 0r remains equal to zero until the gap opens at decompression. The stiffness of
the connection after decompression is associated with the flexrual stiffness of the tension angles and

Figure 5. Post-tensioned connection Figure 6. Deformed configuration of

post-tensioned connection
82 L.W. Lu e t al.



(a) (b)

Figure 7. Moment-rotation and load-deflection relationships of post-tensioned connection

the axial stiffness of the post-tensioned strands. With continued loading, yielding will develop in the
tension angles, which will cause further softening of the connection. Full yielding and strain
hardening of the tension angles will follow. At a later stage, the compression angles will also yield.
After yielding of the tension and compression angles, the M-0r curve becomes approximately linear
because the connection's stiffness is provided primarily by the axial elastic stiffness of the PT
strands. Upon unloading, the angles will dissipate energy until the gap between the beam flange and
column face is closed (when er is again equal to zero). A complete reversal in moment will result in
a similar behavior occurring in the opposite direction as shown in Figure 7. As long as the strands
remain elastic and no significant yielding occurring in the beams, the post tension force is preserved
and the connection and the subassemblage will remain self-centered upon unloading (Figure 7(b)).
Accordingly, a frame constructed with PT connections will suffer to permanent sway or drift after a
major earthquake event. Studies have shown that the behavior of the connection is controlled by the
level of decompression moment, flexural strength and stiffness of the angles, and the elastic
stiffness of the strands, while the amount of energy dissipation is related to the flexural strength of
the angles. Further work on PT connections is currently in progress at Lehigh University.

Viscoelastic Dampers for Seismic Response Control of Building Structures

A major research was carried out at the ATLSS Center to study the effectiveness of viscoelastic
(VE) dampers in reducing the earthquake response of building structures. The work included
analytical modeling of the VE material and dampers, experimental investigation of the local and
overall behavior of frames with VE dampers under simulated earthquake ground shaking and
development of design methodologies (Kasai, et al 1993, Kasai and Fu, 1995 and Higgins and
Kasai, 1998). The damping material was installed in V-braces of the frame, as shown in Figure 8.

A collaborative program which included shaking table tests three-story, single-bay steel frames with
and without dampers, was conducted at the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology
(Higgins, Chen and Chou, 1996). The test and analytical results demonstrate that a properly
High-Performance Steel Structures: Recent Research 83

Figure 8. Frame with viscoelastic dampers

designed VE damped flame can perform in a damage free manner under major earthquakes
generally considered in design codes. Recent work, however, has shown the undesirable effect of
temperature sensitivity of the high damping VE material, especially when it is used in exposed
structures (Fan, et al 1998). Material, such as natural rubber, whose damping and stiffness
properties are almost unaffected by temperature changes, may be more desirable. Research on
rubber damper is currently in progress at Lehigh University.

Double Hull Ship Structures

Another example of innovative design concept is the double hull structure for ships (Beach, 1990).
Most of the ships in service today are of the conventional hull type, which is basically a single skin
of steel plating stiffened by transverse web frames and longitudinal stiffeners. The double hull is
fundamentally different from the conventional hull in that it has twin skins (or shells) of steel
plating which are separated from each other and stiffened by longitudinal web plates or girders that
span between transverse bulkheads. Other transverse components are eliminated, thus creating a
simple unidirectional, longitudinal structure. Figure 9 compares the conventional hull and the new
double hull.

The simple, unidirectional structure gives rise to several important advantages over the conventional
hull. The redundant hull structure provides greater survivability for the ship when subjected to
collision or grounding forces. The inner hull also serves as an additional barrier against leakages in
case the outer hull is punctured. In the double hull the number of fatigue-critical details is
significantly reduced because the longitudinal girders are not interrupted by stiffeners, brackets, or
transverse frames between bulkheads. The long continuous welds may allow automatic welding and
other advantages in producibility with consequent cost savings. It is envisioned that these ships will
84 L . W . L u et al.

Figure 9. Conventional hull and double hull ship structures

be fabricated from high-performance steels which offer improved weldability, increased strength
and toughness relative to conventional ship steels. The new design and materials should lead to
safer and more affordable ships. Much of the research on double hull ships at Lehigh focused on
hulls made of HSLA 80 steel (Pang, et al 1993, Dexter, et al 1996).


Brief descriptions of some selected research to develop high-performance structures for civil and
marine construction have been presented. Two approaches are adopted to achieve improvements in
performance and life cycle cost. They are: (1) use of high-performance steels and (2) development
of innovative design concepts. Potential applications of the developed technologies to bridges,
buildings and ships have been discussed.


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Anon (1991). U.S. Navy Reports Welding Procedure Source of Cracks in First Seawolf Submarine,
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Beach, J.E. (1990). Advanced Surface Ship Hull Technology - Cluster B, ASNE Symposium on
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Bolliger, W., Varughese, R., Kaufmann, E., Qin, W.F., Pense, A.W., and Stout, R.D. (1988). The
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High-Performance Steel Structures: Recent Research 85
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Higgins, C., Chen, S.J., and Chou, F.C. (1996). Testing and Analysis of a Steel Frame with
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Higgins, C. and Kasai, K. (1998). Seismic Design, Analysis and Experiment of a Multi-Story
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86 L . W . L u et al.

Pang, A.A., Tiberi, R., Lu, L.W., Ricles, J.M., and Dexter, R.J. (1993). Measured Imperfections and
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Varma, A.H., Hull, B.K., Ricles, J.M., Sause, R., and Lu, L.W. (1998). Experimental Studies of
High Strength CFT Beam-Columns, Proc. Fifth Pacific Structural Steel Conference, Seoul, Korea,

Viscomi, B.V., Michalerya, W.D., and Lu, L.W. (1994). Automated Construction in the ATLSS
Integrated Building Systems, Automation in Construction 3:1, 35-43.

W.P. Howson and F.W. Williams

Cardiff School of Engineering, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF24 3TB, UK


Cheap computing has rightly eliminated tedious hand methods from taught courses. Unfortunately,
this has often unintentionally resulted in the elimination of procedures which give useful structural
behavioural insights into whole families of structures using simplified models which give good
approximate results. Such procedures help designers both to check that computer results are
reasonable and also to gain insight from parametric studies with a manageable number of parameters.
The present paper seeks to rescue one such procedure from relative obscurity and presents almost its
only recent extension. It is the use of substitute one bay (or alternatively Grinter) frames to obtain
results for unbraced and lightly braced multi-storey, multi-bay, sway frames which are exact when
they are unbraced, have inextensible members and obey the Principle of Multiples and otherwise are
good approximations. These results can incorporate cladding and are for : deflections caused by static
lateral (e.g. wind) loading; critical buckling and; natural vibrations. These three types of problem are
unified herein and, because adequate published results exist for the first two types, only (new) natural
frequency results are given. These show that, for unbraced frames, the substitute frame gives
acceptable accuracy for most purposes regardless of how closely the frame obeys the Principle of
Multiples. They also apparently justify a new application, namely to analyse multi-storey, multi-bay
frames with one or more braced bays by using a substitute frame which represents the bracing as
cladding. Exceptionally, when all bays are cross-braced, the Principle of Multiples may be obeyed.


Wind load, buckling, vibration, substitute frame, Grinter, Principle of Multiples.


Until the 1960's, the teaching and practice of structural engineering consisted mainly of understanding
the underlying principles, then learning hand methods and practising their use extensively. Because
hand solutions are tedious, engineers thought carefully about their initial design, both before analysing

88 W.P. Howson and F. IV. Williams
it and as the analysis gave intermediate results which were expected or otherwise. Experienced
designers bought much of their experience by performing such calculations for each design they were
responsible for, often including the analysis of several alternative structures before the design process
was completed. Hence designers and their teachers were keen to develop insights which would enable
them to choose a good design prior to computation commencing and/or to proceed from rejected
designs to acceptable ones via as few analyses of trial designs as possible. The Principle of Multiples
was one useful source of such insights.

The advent of computers and the rapid reduction in computing costs has required a different approach
to the teaching of structures and to how designers obtain experience. The basic principles which need
to be taught and understood have altered little but their implementation in computer programs has led
to new (usually stiffness matrix based) methods being taught. Numerous hand methods are no longer
taught because designers no longer require them and hand calculations are used only to confirm that
students understand the underlying principles and how computer methods work. They are also used
by designers to perform 'spot checks' and simple 'back of the envelope' type calculations to ensure
that computer generated designs and/or analyses are reasonable, both to guard against data errors and
an inappropriate choice of computer program. Therefore methods previously obtained to give insight,
such as the Principle of Multiples, remain valuable instruments in the designer's armoury.

Computing is now so cheap that students and design engineers can build up experience very quickly
by designing and/or analysing a large range of structures. However, it is tempting to overestimate the
extent to which this enables insight and experience to be developed, because a complete structure
usually involves so many design variables that, even if the required large number of computer runs
could be afforded, designers would suffer from information overload unless structural insight can be
used to categorise the results or to reduce their number. Here again, the Principle of Multiples can be
of value.

In the authors' opinion, methods giving insight have often been removed from undergraduate courses,
and hence largely lost to the profession, in the mistaken belief that their value has disappeared.
Therefore, the Principle of Multiples is presented in this paper, starting with the static lateral (wind)
load and critical buckling calculations with which it has historically been principally associated and
then proceeding to examine its value in the vibration context.



The Principle of Multiples applies to unbraced, rigidly jointed, multi-bay, multi-storey plane frames
and is exact on the basis of inextensible member theory. Since hand methods of analysis nearly all
assume inextensible members this assumption is acceptable, although most computer programs use
extensible theory both for convenience and to obtain additional accuracy. Numerous authors have
dealt with the use of the Principle of Multiples and associated simple methods for lateral load and
buckling calculations for such frames, e.g. Bolton (1976), Grinter (1936), Home and Merchant (1965),
Home (1975), Lightfoot (1956, 1957, 1958, 1961), Naylor (1950), Williams (1977a, 1977b, 1979),
Williams and Howson (1977), Williams and Butler (1988), Wood (1952,1974), Wood and Roberts

Figure 1 applies to lateral load calculations when F r 0, whereas it refers to buckling problems when F
= 0 and W r 0. It is usual to perform the lateral load calculations with W = 0, but non-zero values of
W can be used if the designer wishes to allow for the magnifying effect that vertical loads have on
Unified Principle of Multiples for Lateral Deflection, Buckling and Vibration 89
W W 2W 2W 4W 4W

4F~l 4k
k l, k, k2 1 / ;!
2F .1~3 w 3
2k 2
ll w wll 1 2k 2
4k2 1112W 12Wl 4k 2
j- 8F ,14' ~
4F > ~ 2k3 ~_
k3 " 4k 3
k4 k4 2 k4 4 k 4 1.5L

(a) (b) (c)


| 12k 1
8k2 [ 124w ~f"~,~ L
,f , . 8F .IJ,
k3 k3 2k 3
k4 2k 4 3 2k 4 .5L

(d) (e)

Figure 1" Frames (a) - (d) comply with the Principle of Multiples
and (e) is the corresponding Grinter frame

horizontal deflections caused by lateral loading. The Grinter frame of Figure 1(e) is required later, but
should be ignored for the time being. The Principle of Multiples proves that the frames of Figures
1(a)-(d) share the same horizontal deflections for lateral loading problems and share the same critical
value of W for buckling problems. The reasons are as follows.

In Figure 1, the k's are values of EI / g for the members, where EI is the flexural rigidity and g is
length. Additionally, values are identical when the subscripts are identical, so that the frame of Figure
1(a) is symmetrical. Note also that the vertical loading is symmetric. Therefore, considering buckling
first, the frame must buckle with a symmetric or an anti-symmetric mode and it is easily proved that
the anti-symmetric mode gives the lowest possible critical load. Hence any frame which is identical to
frame (a) must have the same critical load Wc and the same deflected shape. Therefore any frame
90 W.P. Howson and F.W. Williams

obtained by superposing N (which need not be integer) such frames, in the sense implied by flames (b)
and (c), must also share the critical load W c and the deflected shape of frame (a), even if the frames are
all clamped together. Hence putting N=2 and N=4 gives the required proofs for frames (b) and (c),
respectively. Moreover, frame (d) can be obtained by fastening together two frame (a)'s and a frame
(b), which are situated side by side in the appropriate way. Since frames (a) and (b) share the same
critical load Wc and sway with an anti-symmetric deflection pattem, the process of fastening them
together to form frame (d) leaves the critical load We and the deflections unaltered.

The proof that frames (a)-(d) share the same deflections under lateral loading is essentially identical to
the proof for buckling given above, if it is noted that the lateral loads of Figures (a)-(c) can be replaced
by an anti-symmetric load pattern, which must cause an anti-symmetric deflection pattem, because the
beams are assumed to be inextensible. For example, the F of Figure (a) can be replaced by F/2 at the
left hand end of the top beam and F/2 at the right hand end of the top beam. Similarly, the 4F at the
top left hand joint of Figure (d) can be replaced by loads of F/2, F, 3F/2 and F at the four top storey
joints, etc.

Most multi-bay frames do not obey the Principle of Multiples, Home and Merchant (1965), Lightfoot
(1956). However, a well established method exists for reducing multi-bay multi-storey frames to
single bay multi-storey 'substitute' frames which can then be used to obtain approximate lateral
loading or critical buckling results for the multi-bay case. The substitute frame has the same number
of storeys and the same storey heights as the actual frame, but differs in that it has only one bay, is
symmetric and carries symmetrical vertical loads. The required details of the substitute frame are
found from the actual frame as follows: the substitute column k is equal to half the sum of the k's for
all actual columns at the same storey level; the substitute beam k is equal to the sum of the k's for all
beams at the same storey level; the horizontal loads at the nodes at both ends of a beam are equal to
half of the sum of the horizontal loads at all actual nodes at that storey level; and the values of p for
the substitute columns are equal to the sum of the axial forces in all actual columns at the same storey
level divided by the sum of the n2EI / g2 for all actual columns at the storey level. Hence p is equal
to the axial force in a substitute column divided by the value of its Euler load, n2EI / g2.

Applying the above rules to the flame of Figure l(d) gives the flame of Figure l(c), on which the
forces 4F and 8F can be replaced by anti-symmetrical pairs of forces. Hence it can be deduced that
when a frame obeys the Principle of Multiples the rules yield a substitute frame which gives exactly
correct results for the actual frame, remembering that inextensible member theory is assumed.

The Grinter frame of Figure 1(e) has been advocated as a means of obtaining approximate results for
use in codes and has been known for a very long time, Grinter (1936), Wood (1974). Rules for
obtaining it from the actual frame are identical to those given for the substitute frame above, except
that, as can be seen by comparing Figures 1(c) and (e), the vertical loads and column k's are twice as
large and the beam k's are three times as large. Note that the rolling supports at the right-hand ends of
the beams of the Grinter frame prevent rotation while leaving horizontal motion unrestrained. The
Grinter frame has been favoured due to its computational simplicity, because computation only
involves one node per storey and they are connected to form a chain, so that the stiffness matrix has
the minimum possible bandwidth, i.e. it is tri-diagonal. Because of the symmetry, the substitute frame
of Figure l(c) can be analysed by considering only half of the frame, which looks like the Grinter
frame of Figure l(e) except that the beams are now of half length and are pinned to the rollers.
Therefore, for buckling problems there is no horizontal force in the columns and so the stability
functions n and o, Home and Merchant (1965), can be used to obtain an overall stiffness matrix with
only one degree of freedom, the joint rotation, at each storey level. If the refinement of the n and o
Unified Pr&ciple of Multiples for Lateral Deflection, Buckl&g and Vibration 91
functions is not introduced, the problem is still very simple because it has only two degrees of
freedom, rotation and horizontal deflection, at each storey level. Similarly, the lateral load
calculations require only two degrees of freedom at each joint, or one degree of freedom if the
Principle of Superposition is used to first apply the lateral loads with rotation prevented at the joints
and then to calculate the clamping moments at the joints and apply them with reversed sign, so that the
ensuing calculations are for a problem with no horizontal force in the columns and hence can again
use the n and o functions. Thus the nodes form a chain and there is only one degree of freedom
(rotation) at each storey level if the n and o functions are used (so that the overall stiffness matrix is
tri-diagonal) and otherwise there are two degrees of freedom per node, i.e. rotation and horizontal
displacement. Therefore, the substitute frame and the Grinter frame give identical results with
identical computational effort.

The authors have always considered the substitute frame to be preferable to the Grinter frame because
it gives much greater physical insight. In particular, as can now be seen, the substitute frame relates in
an obvious way to the Principle of Multiples whereas the Grinter frame does not. For example, when
an actual frame does not obey the Principle of Multiples, a 'feel' for the probable accuracy of results
given by a substitute frame can be obtained by a quick estimate of how close an approximation to the
actual frame can be obtained by applying the Principle of Multiples to the substitute frame.

The substitute frame has many fewer design variables than the actual frame. Therefore, parametric
studies undertaken with the substitute frame can give the designer insights into the behaviour of the
full range of possible actual frames, i.e. the full range of multi-storey multi-bays frames, with very
small computational effort and without the designer overload referred to in the Introduction occurring.



Figure 2: Simple system used to represent cladding for a Grinter frame, where the dashed line
represents one storey (with flexural rigidity EI) of its column

A simple established way of allowing for cladding when using Grinter frames, Wood (1974), which
can also be used for substitute frames, Williams (1979), is shown in Figure 2. The effect of the
system shown is to resist relative horizontal movement of adjacent storeys with stiffness S, which is
usually expressed in the dimensionless form

= Sg 3 / EI (1)
92 W.P. Howson and F.W. Williams

The preceding sections have established a case for using substitute frames for wind load and buckling
calculations, despite the availability of massive and cheap computer power, both for frames which do
or do not obey the Principle of Multiples. Therefore, the focus is now changed to examine the extent
and usefulness of the corresponding applications to vibration problems, to which very little attention
has been given, Bolton (1978), Roberts and Wood (1981), Williams et. al. (1983). It is assumed that
'exact' member theory is used in the sense that the distributed mass of the members and the attached
floors are incorporated when calculating the member stiffness matrices, which are therefore
transcendental functions of both frequency and load per unit length. Hence, there are two restrictions
to the application of the Principle of Multiples to vibration problems which were not there for the
lateral load and buckling problems. These are that members sharing the same subscript on Figure 1
must have the same mass per unit length as well as the same value of k and that all bays must have
identical spans. The second requirement occurs because, whereas a beam (because it is in
contraflexure) contributes 6k to the overall stiffness matrix of the half substitute frame analysed for
the lateral loading and buckling cases, in vibration problems the stiffness contributed depends both on
k and on a dynamic stability function which is a transcendental function of both the beam span and the
mass per unit length.

Therefore rules must be adopted to establish the values of g and la for the beams of the substitute
frame. The rules adopted herein are that L is taken as the average value of the bay widths of the actual
frame, so that EI can be calculated from the substitute beam k yielded by the rules given in the
previous section, while l.t for the substitute beam is obtained by dividing its g into the total mass of all
beams at the same storey level of the actual frame.

Arguments essentially identical to those in the previous section then show that frames (a)-(d) of Figure
1 have identical sway natural frequencies. It is impossible to devise a Grinter frame of the type shown
in Figure l(e) which will share exactly the natural frequencies of the actual frame even when the
actual frame obeys the Principle of Multiples. This is because the dynamic stability functions for a
member built-in at its far end do not behave identically to those of a member which crosses an axis of
anti-symmetry of the mode. Of course, this could be overcome by modifying the Grinter frame of
Figure 1(e) such that the right-hand ends of the beams, as well as being on rollers, are free to rotate.
However, as well as this modified frame no longer strictly being a Grinter frame, it is essentially half
of the substitute frame used previously with all flexural rigidities and loads doubled. Hence it shares
exactly the computational advantages of the substitute frame without giving the insight advantages.
Therefore, the authors consider that their preference for the substitute frame as opposed to the Grinter
frame is additionally vindicated when vibration, as opposed to just lateral load and critical buckling
problems, is considered.


To keep the description of the results concise, they were all obtained for variants of the four bay, eight
storey frame with built-in foundations shown in Figure 3. This frame has sensible properties, as
follows. Young's modulus (E) = 200 GN/m 2. The beams are all identical, with length 7.2m, second
moment of area (I) 6,000cm 4, cross-sectional area (A) = 52.5cm 2 and mass per unit length (~t) = 3,500
kg/m, which includes an allowance for floor mass and the mass of live floor loading. The columns are
all of length 4.0m and their other properties were identical for any chosen storey i (i = 1,2 ..... 8), such
Unified Principle of Multiples for Lateral Deflection, Buckling and Vibration 93
4 @ 7.2m



e ,,J
I @
f ,a

Figure 3" The datum frame. The diagonals shown dashed are absent
except for case 6 of Table 1

that Ii = 15,000 Yi cm4, Ai = 131.25~f~ cm2 and ~i = 1 0 0 ~ ] - k g / m , which is for columns with no
allowance for cladding, where

Yi = 1 + 0.35 ( 8 - i) (2)

Table 1 gives the first three natural frequencies of this structure as case 1, i.e. as the datum problem.
The beams and columns were represented by Bernoulli-Euler member theory, with distributed mass
allowed for exactly, Howson et. al. (1983). The results given by the substitute frame are compared
with those given by the actual frame using inextensible and extensible member theory. Table 1
additionally contains the corresponding natural frequency results for all the remaining cases, each of
which is a variant of the datum problem or of the substitute frame used to represent it, as briefly
defined in the second column of the Table and more fully described as follows.

Cases 2 and 3 give altemative substitute frames for case 1, for instructional reasons. For case 2 the
beams were analysed as massless and hmaped masses equal to half to the mass of the beam were added
at each end of the beam. For case 3, the Grinter frame of Figure 1(e) was used.

Case 4 used 'exact' theory, Howson et. al. (1983), to allow for the effect of axial force, as well as of
distributed mass, on the flexure of the columns. The axial forces were obtained as if half of the mass
of each beam had been lumped at its ends, both for the substitute and actual frames, but the beam
94 W.P. Howson and F.W. Williams


Case Description of Problem Frame

Substitute Actual Actual
(EA--->oo) (True EA)
0.234 0.234 0.233
Datum problem 0.756 0.753 0.752
1.437 1.432 1.431
Datum with the masses of beams of 0.758 as case 1 as case 1
substitute frame lumped at their ends 1.446
Grinter frame results for datum 0.754 as case 1 as case 1
0.208 0.207 0.206
Datum and allow for effect of axial 0.708 0.705 0.698
forces on column flexure 1.374 1.369 1.350
0.557 0.557 0.543
Datum with cladding added (~ = 5) 1.504 1.503 1.479
2.518 2.515 2.486
0.172 0.172 0.171
Datum with both central bay spans 0.565 0.563 0.562
doubled 1.095 1.086 1.084
0.240 0.239 0.238
Datum with EI of second column 0.783 0.779 0.779
from the left doubled 1.510 1.505 1.503

Datum with stiff cladding (g = 15) 0.901 0.901 0.633

for substitute frame, to represent 2.363 2.362 1.893
structural bracing of one bay of actual 3.054 3.004 2.991

As case 5, except that g = 5 is 0.557

represented exactly as in Figure 2, not 1.504 as case 5 as case 5
by an equivalent diagonal 2.519

10 As case 8, except that g = 15 is 0.901

represented exactly as in Figure 2, not 2.364 as case 8 as case 8
by an equivalent diagonal 3.054

stiffnesses were still calculated using distributed mass. It should be noted that the axial forces were
22.6% of those which would have caused buckling of the substitute frame, i.e. the critical load factor
for the substitute frame was 1/0.226 = 4.42.

Case 5 gives results when cladding (the mass of which was neglected) represented by bracing
equivalent to ~ = 5 at every storey was added to the actual (i.e. multi-bay) datum problem. The
Unified Principle of Multiples for Lateral Deflection, Buckling and Vibration 95
authors deliberately chose software which does not have coding to represent the spring and rigid
cranked beam system of Figure 2 when representing the substitute frame because such a feature is
unlikely to be available to a designer seeking to use the substitute frame to undertake a parametric
study. Instead the authors used approximately equivalent massless diagonal bracing in each of its
bays. By assuming that the beams and columns were inextensible (which is reasonable because the
cross-sectional area A of the beams and columns far exceeds that of the bracing) the bracing members
for storey i were readily shown to have

A i = 1.263 yi ~ cm 2 (3)

for the substitute frame and one quarter of this value for each bay of the actual frame, for which all the
diagonals were parallel to each other, so that the structure was not symmetric.

Cases 6 and 7 were included to show the effects of further deviation from the requirements of the
Principle of Multiples. In case 6 the span of the two central bays was doubled, with the substitute
beam length being taken as the average of the sum of the actual beam lengths. In case 7 the EI of the
second column from the left was doubled at every storey level.

Case 8 was solved in order to see to what extent ~ (again modelled by diagonal bracing) could be
used in the substitute frame to represent an actual frame which was braced only in the one bay
indicated by the dashed lines on Figure 3. These diagonals and those of the substitute frame all have
the value of A given by Eqn. 3.

Cases 9 and 10 are identical to cases 5 and 8 respectively, except that ~ for the substitute frames was
modelled as shown in Figure 2, instead of by the equivalent diagonals of Eqn. 3.


All cases of Table 1 (except cases 8 and 10 which are discussed later) demonstrate good agreement
between the substitute frame results and those obtained for the actual frame when using extensible
member theory, i.e. the true EA' s. This strongly suggests that the first three modes of the actual frame
were sway dominated anti-symmetric ones, since these are the only modes which the substitute frame
can find. The correctness of this conclusion was verified by calculating the natural frequency for the
lowest non-sway (i.e. symmetric) mode and, in case 6, eliminating anti-symmetric modes between
0.562 Hz and 1.084 Hz for which the mode could be seen upon inspection to be a 'local' mode, i.e.
one dominated by flexure of individual members with very little sway occurring.

By comparison with case 1, it can be seen from cases 2-6, respectively, that : the horizontal beam
inertias are important but their transverse inertias have negligible effect; the Grinter frame results are
very close to the substitute frame ones, so that the use of Grinter frames for structures which obey the
Principle of Multiples may only cause very small errors; allowing for the flexural magnification due to
axial forces of practical magnitudes causes significant reductions of the fundamental (12% in this
case) and higher natural frequencies and these reductions can be calculated very accurately from the
substitute frame; allowing for the stiffening effect of cladding can greatly increase the fundamental
(by 133% in this case) and higher natural frequencies and again the substitute frame can be used to
calculate these increases very accurately.
96 W.P. Howson and F.W. Williams

Note that none of the cases 1-5 of Table 1 obey the Principle of Multiples because the outer two of the
five columns have twice the required properties, but that nevertheless the excellent agreement of the
final two columns of results confirms that the inextensible assumption of the Principle of Multiples is
extremely accurate. Cases 6 and 7 show that this agreement remains good for frames which depart
more radically from obeying the Principle of Multiples.

The reason for the substitute frame results for cases 8 and 9 differing so much (by up to 42%) must
principally be the extensibility of the beams and columns, because the actual frame with EA--->oo gave
results almost identical to those of the substitute frame. Physical reasoning suggests that, because
only one bay of the actual frame is braced, the extensions and contractions of beams and columns
caused by the forces in the diagonal bracing will be largely confined to the beams in the braced bay
and the two columns bounding the bay. This further suggests that the beams and columns of the
substitute frame should not be treated as inextensible but should instead be given the EA values of an
individual beam and column of the braced bay of the actual frame. When this was done the values of
0.901, 2.363 and 3.054 in Table 1 were replaced by 0.607, 1.861 and 2.777, i.e. the maximum
difference of +42% from the 'full frame with actual EA' results was reduced to -7% for the third
natural frequency and the fundamental was in error by only -4%. (Note that if the bracing of the
actual frame is evenly distributed between the four bays, so that each bay has one quarter of the A, the
substitute frame is unaltered but the actual frame results of 0.835, 2.248 and 2.992 are much closer to
them, as would be expected because the columns of the actual frame will then change length very
little.) Hence, the results of cases 8 and 10 lead to the tentative but important new result that the
substitute frame method, with an appropriate value of ~ (modelled either via Figure 2 or the diagonals
of Eqn. 3) and with appropriate values of EA, gives a useful indication of the natural frequencies for
the sway modes of frames which have bracing in a minority of their bays.

Finally, comparison of the results of cases 9 and 10 with those of cases 5 and 8 justifies the use of the
equivalent diagonal of Eqn. 3 when software incorporating the model of Figure 2 is not available.


An unbraced frame is usually one of a set of similar frames which are parallel to it and are connected
to it by beams perpendicular to it, e.g. to form a building of rectangular planform. The first author,
together with a Master's student, have made a very promising preliminary investigation of predicting
the sway modes of such structures which sway parallel to the frames, by applying the rules given
earlier to obtain a substitute frame, but with the modification that all the frames are used when
applying the rules, e.g. the substitute column k is equal to half of the sum of the k's for all actual
columns at the same storey level, regardless of which frame the column lies in, etc. This concept is
derived from the fact that floors can reasonably be regarded as being rigid in their own planes, so that
all frames share the same horizontal displacements. Of course, such substitute frame results will be
exact if the frames are identical to one another, are identically loaded and individually obey the
Principle of Multiples. This is clearly true, because the frames would then deflect identically to one
another even in the absence of floors and the substitute frame would share exactly the behaviour (i.e.
lateral displacements, buckling load factor or natural frequencies) of the substitute frame yielded by
one frame alone, since all the stiffnesses and loading of the latter substitute frame would be multiplied
by the number of frames to give the former one.
Unified Principle of Multiples for Lateral Deflection, Buckl&g and Vibration 97

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See also correspondence 54:11,457-462.

Bolton A. (1978). Natural frequencies of structures for designers. Struct. Engr. 56A:9, 245-253.
See also correspondence 59A:3, 109-111.

Grinter L.E. (1936). Theory of Modern Steel Structures, Vol. 2. Macmillan, New York.

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Home M.R. (1975). An approximate method for calculating the elastic critical loads of multi-storey
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Howson W.P., Banerjee J.R. and Williams F.W. (1983).Concise equations and program for exact
eigensolutions of plane frames including member shear. Adv. Eng. Software, 5:3, 137-141.

Lightfoot E. (1956). The analysis for wind loading of rigid-jointed multi-storey building frames.
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corresponding modal shapes of multi-storey frames. Struct. Engr. 59B:1, 1-9.
See also correspondence 59B:4, 64-65.

Williams F.W. (1977a). Simple design procedures for unbraced multi-storey frames. Proc. Inst. Civ.
Engrs, Part 2 63, 475-479.

Williams F.W. (1977b). Buckling of multi-storey frames with non-uniform columns, using a pocket
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Williams F.W. (1979). Consistent, exact, wind and stability calculations for substitute sway frames
with cladding. Proc. Inst. Civ. Engrs. 67:2, 355-367.

Williams F.W., Bond M.D. and Fergusson L. (1983). Accuracy of natural frequencies given by
substitute sway frames with cladding. Proc. Inst. Civ. Engrs. 2:75, 129-135.
98 W.P. Howson and F.W. Williams
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sway frames. Proc. Instn. Cir. Engrs., Part 2 85, 551-565.

Wood R.H. (1952). Degree of fixity methods for certain sway problems. Struct. Engr. 30:7, 153-

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244; 52:8, 295-302; 52:9, 341-346.

Wood R.H. and Roberts E.H. (1975). A graphical method of predicting sidesway in the design of
multi-storey buildings. Proc. lnstn. Civ. Engrs., Part 2 59, 353-372.
Beams and Columns
This Page Intentionally Left Blank

Lizhi Jiang and Yoshiaki Goto

Department of Civil Engineering, Nagoya Institute of Technology,

Gokiso-cho, Showa-ku, Nagoya, 466-8555, Japan


An empirical hysteretic model is presented to simulate the three-dimensional cyclic behavior of

cantilever-type thin-walled circular steel columns subjected to seismic loading. This steel column is
modeled into a rigid bar with multiple vertical springs at its base. Nonlinear hysteretic behavior of
thin-walled columns is expressed by the springs. As the hysteretic model for the spring, we modify the
Dafalias and Popov's bounding-line assumption in order to take into account the degradation caused
by the local buckling. The material properties for the vertical spring are determined by using curve-
fitting technique, based on the in-plane restoring force-displacement hysteretic relation at the top of the
column obtained by FEM analysis. By properly increasing the number of springs, the homogeneity of
thin-walled circular columns is maintained. Finally this model is used in three-dimensional earthquake
response analysis.


Hysteretic model, Three-dimensional behavior, Local buckling effect, Steel, Thin-walled column,
Empirical model, Earthquake response analysis


In the three-dimensional earthquake response analysis for thin-walled steel columns used as elevated
highway piers shown in Fig. 1, FEM analysis using shell elements is the only direct procedure that can
consider both axial force and biaxial bending interaction and local buckling effect. However, it
requires a large amount of computing. Herein, we propose a simple three-dimensional hysteretic model
for thin-walled circular steel columns. To consider the three-dimensional interaction, Aktan And
Pecknold (1974) developed a filament model. However, their model cannot consider the effect of the
local buckling, since they adopt the bilinear relation for the hysteretic model of each filament. The
model we propose herein is alike the filament model but uses fewer springs which simulate the three-
dimensional interaction. As the hysteretic model for each spring, we modify the Dafalias and Popov
(1976) bounding-line model in order to take into account the degradation caused by the local buckling.
The force-displacement relationship for each spring is determined by using curve-fitting technique,

102 L. Jiang and Y. Goto
based on the in-plane restoring force-displacement hysteretic relation obtained by the FEM shell
analysis. Liu et al (1999) also proposed an empirical hysteretic model ,but the application of this
model is restricted to in-plane case. The validity of our model is examined by comparing with the
results of the three-dimensional nonlinear dynamic response analysis using shell element.

Fig. l:Thin-walled steel columns of elevated highways in Japan


In-plane Hysteretic Behavior of Thin-Walled Circular Steel Columns

From the elastic theory, Timoshenko and Gere (1961), the elastic buckling of columns with circular
section is governed by two structural parameters R, and 3, .

R, = R. __.ayX/3(1 - v 2) (1)
t E
~ _ 2L 1 ~-~
.... (2)
r ~

where R and t are the radius and the thickness, respectively, of the thin-walled circular column; cry is
the yield stress of steel ; E is Young's modulus;v is Poisson's ratio; L is the height of column and r is
the radius of gyration of cross section. In the plastic range, we assume that the hysteretic behavior of
thin-walled circular steel columns is influenced by the axial load ratio P/Py (Py -Cry,, A and A is the
cross-sectional area) in addition to the two structural parameters R t and X. As a result of FEM
analysis, hysteretic behavior of thin-walled circular steel columns is classified into three types,
depending on the value ofR t , as illustrated in Fig. 2 (a), (b) and (c).Herein, the material behavior of
steel is assumed to be represented by the three-surface cyclic plasticity model proposed by Goto et al
(1998). The material constants used for the three-surface model is shown in Table 1.

Considering the sizes as well as the design loads of real columns, three parameters take the values as
0.1 ___P/Py <_0.3,0.06 < R t < 0.12, and 0.2 < 3. < 0.5. These ranges for the three parameters indicate
that the hysteretic behavior of our concern corresponds to that shown in Fig. 2 (b). This hysteretic
behavior is characterized by the gradual strength degradation with the increase of cyclic plastic
Three-Dimensional H y s t e r e t i c M o d e l i n g o f T h & - W a l l e d Circular C o l u m n s 103

Parameter E (Gpa) Cry (MPa) cru(MPa) v eyp" L/Cry [3 t~ H&i/E HmPo.

SS400 (No.8) 206.0 289.6 495.0 0.3 0.0183 0.581 100 2 0.05 Note

Note: For details see Goto et al (1998).

Fig. 2: Classification of hysteretic behavior (P/Py = 0.1, A, = 0.2 )

Modified Bounding-Line Model

Dafalias and Popov (1976) presented a bounding-line constitutive model to express the cyclic
plasticity of metals. We modify this model to express the in-plane force-displacement relation of steel
columns. As shown in Fig. 3, F and X e denote restoring force and plastic horizontal displacement at
the top of the column respectively. XX and YY are bounding-lines. In order to express the strength
degradation under cyclic loading, the gradient K Bof the bounding-lines are assumed to be negative,
being different from the original Dafalias-and-Popov model that adopts a positive gradient for the
bounding-lines. The incremental force-displacement relation for the in-plane behavior of steel columns
is expressed as follows, depending on whether the current state belongs to the elastic range or the
plastic range.

(Elastic range) AF = K e ~ AX (3)

(Plastic range) AF = K e K e / ( K e + K e) 9A X (4)

where K E is the elastic tangent stiffness and Kp is the plastic tangent stiffness. Based on the
bounding-line model, K p is give by
Kp = K B + H ~ ~ (5)
6in --6
where K B is the slope of the bounding-line; H is the hardening shape parameter; 6 is the distance
from the current force state to the corresponding bound; 6in is the value of 6 at the initiation of each
loading process. In the elastic range represented by the straight lines OA and CD in Fig. 3, K e is zero;
when the force reaches the bounding-line BC , K e becomes the same as K B;on the curves AB and DE,
K p is expressed by Eq. 5.
104 L. Jiang and Y. Goto



Y ~in

Fig. 3: Bounding-line model

E m p i r i c a l E q u a t i o n s to D e t e r m i n e P a r a m e t e r s

Five parameters are included in our hysteretic m o d e l : F e , K e , 6 i , , K B and H . Among them, two are
elastic parameters: F e is the elastic yielding force;K e is the elastic stiffness. The other three are
related to bounding-line model as mentioned in the previous sub-section. From Fig. 2 (b), it is
observed t h a t F E , K E , 6i, and K B all change with the increase of the plastic deformation. Thus, it is
assumed that these four parameters are extrapolated from their initial values F e , K e , 6i, andKB
following the same rule as
F e = f 9F e (6)
K e = f. Ke (7)
~,. = f . o ~ ~ (8)
K B =f~ B (9)

where f = 1 - logo + W p C/ W e )" We =-21 " F e ~ X e is the elastic work. W e is the accumulated plastic

work. C is an empirical function given by

C = 37.75 - 33 ~ )~ - 25 ~ P/Py - 125. R, (10)

The initial value of the four parameters: F e , K e ,(~in ,KB and H are given by

Fe - ~ ' ~
1o (O'y - ~P- ) (11)

3EI 1
KE - L 3 ~ (1+ 5.85 ~ ( R / L ) 2 ) (12)

K B / K E = (-0.155" PIPe + 0 . 1 6 1 6 ) + ( - 0 . 5 0 8 5 " P/Py -0.1317) ~ ~, + ( 1 . 0 6 . P/Py - 2.3) ~ R t (13)

6i,,/Fe = (2.7" P/Py + 0.48) + (-0.12" P/Py - 0.012)" X + (-22.967 ~ P/Py - 0.95)" R t (14)
Three-Dimensional Hysteretic Modeling of Thin-Walled Circular Columns 105
H = - 5 . E l 0 8 9)~ + 3.E10 8 (15)

where A and I are the cross-sectional area and the second moment of inertia, respectively, of the steel
columns; P is the vertical dead load. The other variables have the same meaning as in Eq. 1 . F E
andK E are directly obtained from elastic theory;KB/KE, -~i,/FE and H are so determined by the
least square method that our model best fits the force-displacement relationship obtained by FEM
analysis using shell elements under monotonic loading.

A comparison of the hysteretic loops between the present empirical hysteretic model and the FEM
shell model is shown in Fig. 4 for the steel column with P/Py = 0.1,R, = 0.07 and ~, = 0.5. The
present model will yield an acceptable result when applied to the practical design.

Fig. 4: Comparison between FEM model and empirical hysteretic model


Modeling of Thin-Walled Steel Columns

To express the three-dimensional hyteretic behavior, the steel column is modeled into a rigid bar with
multiple vertical springs at its base, as illustrated in Fig. 5. At the column base, no horizontal relative
displacement is assumed to occur.
y -,,,, <i- x

Rigid body

Multiple springs
os n ofspring

Fig. 5: Modeling of steel column

Based on the three-dimensional modeling of steel columns, the following incremental force-
displacement relation is obtained.
106 L. Jiang and Y. Goto
R2 n R 2 n R "
7 9 c~ 0i) 9 i.cosO/.sinOi - .cosOi
R2 n
L 2 9(~~.k i 9sin20i) ---oR
L ( ~ k i~
AFr = 2v 9( .~ k i 9cos0/ 9sin 0 i)
- ~-. (~" ~i. cosO,) - - -L 9 ki 9sinOi) ki

where AF x ,AFr,AF z and AX,AY, AZ are force and displacement increments, respectively, at the
top of the columns; k i is the tangent stiffness for the ith spring ; 0 i is the angle that specifies the
location of the ith spring; n is the total number of springs.

The least number of springs that can have three-dimensional interactive effects is four. But this number
of springs can not ensure the homogeneity. Fig. 6 (a) shows the non-homogeneous force-displacement
relations for the column model with four springs under horizontal force directions: 0~176 ~and
45 ~. However, if we increase the number of springs, the column comes to exhibit homogeneity as
illustrated in Fig. 6 (b). The least number of springs that is required for homogeneity is 16.

Fig. 6: Homogeneity of multiple spring model

Constitutive Relation for Multiple Springs

The constitutive relation for the multiple springs is determined, based on the in-plane hysteretic model.
From Eq.16, the in-plane force and displacement relation in the X direction is derived as
R2 n
l~i'X -" "-~" ( E ki " cOS20i)AX (17)

By comparing Eq.17 with Eq.4, the multiple spring model parameters FE.,.pri,,g, Kespring, 6i,,.,.p,.i,,g,
KBvr,,g, and H.,r,ri,,g can be related as follows to the parameters of the in-plane hysteretic model.

FEspring - F e 9( ~ , g" a) (18)
KEspring -. Ke . (._RT. g) (19)
6i,.,prZ,g = 6 i " (-R " g " a) (20)
K Bspring = K . 9(--RT " g)
Three-Dimensional Hysteretic Modeling of Thin-Walled Circular Columns 107
Hspring = H o (-R5-o g ~ a) (22)

where g = 1 / ' ~ cos 2 0 i and a = 0.87 .


Steel Column Model

In order to demonstrate the validity of the multiple spring model, a dynamic response analysis is
carried out under the N-S, E-W and U-D components of the Kobe earthquake ground acceleration
recorded by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA). Under the same ground acceleration, FEM
analysis using shell elements illustrated in Fig. 7 is also conducted to examine the accuracy of our
model. For the column material property, we adopts the three-surface model with the material
constants summarized in Table 1.

Fig. 7: FEM shell model

Earthquake Response

The results of the earthquake response analysis obtained by the empirical hysteretic model are shown
in Figs. 8-10, in comparison with those obtained by the FEM shell model. Figure 8 illustrates the loci
of the response sway displacement at the top of the column. Figure 9 shows the E-W component of the

Fig. 8: Loci of response sway displacement

108 L. Jiang and Y. Goto
sway displacement history, whereas Fig. 10 shows the hysteresis loops expressed in terms of the force-
displacement relation. From Figs. 8-10; it is confirmed that the empirical hysteretic model can
simulate the three-dimensional seismic behavior of the FEM shell model with an acceptable tolerance.

Fig. 9: Sway displacement history of the column (East-West)

Fig. 10: Comparison of hysteretic force-displacement relation (East-West)


In view of the application to the practical design analysis, a three-dimensional hysteretic model for the
thin-walled circular column is presented. This model is represented by a rigid bar with multiple
vertical springs at its base. These multiple springs are used to consider both the axial force and biaxial
bending interaction and the local buckling effect. The constitutive relation for each spring is
determined by the curve-fitting technique, based on the in-plane hysteretic behavior of the FEM shell
model. In order to examine the validity of the proposed hysteretic model, a three-dimensional
earthquake response analysis is carried out for a steel column by using both the hysteretic model and
the FEM shell model. As a result, it is confirmed that the proposed hysteretic model can simulate the
three-dimensional seismic behavior of the FEM shell model with an acceptable tolerance.


Aktan A. E. and Pecknold A. (1974). R/C Column Earthquake Response in Two Dimensions. Journal
of the Structural Division.ASCE. ST10, 1999-2015.
Dafalias Y. E and Popov E. E (1976). Plastic Internal Variables Formalism of Cyclic Plasticity.
Journal of Applied Mechanics. ASME. 43:12, 645-651.
Goto Y. and Wang Q. Y. (1998). FEM Analysis for Hysteretic Behavior of Thin-Walled Columns.
Journal of Structural Engineering. ASCE. 124:11, 1290-1301.
Liu Q. Y. and Kasai A. (1999). Parameter Identification of Damage-based Hysteretic Model for Pipe-
section Steel Bridge Piers. Journal of Structural Engineering. JSCE. 45A:3, 53-64.
Shing-Sham L. and George T. W. (1984). Model for Inelastic Biaxial Bending of Concrete Members.
Journal of Structural Engineering ASCE. 110:11, 2563-2584.
Timoshenko S. P. and Gere J. M. (1961). Theory of Elastic Stability, McGraw-Hill Kogakusha, LTD.

J.G. Teng, S.T. Smith and L.Y. Ngok

Department of Civil and Structural Engineering

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, P.R. China


Thin-walled polygonal section columns are a popular form of construction due mainly to aesthetic
considerations. Limited literature exists, however, on the stability of the component plate elements of
these columns. A finite strip model is used in this paper to investigate the local buckling behaviour and
strength of these columns subject to either axial compression or uniform bending. Cross-sections of
square, pentagonal, hexagonal, heptagonal and octagonal profiles are considered. Elastic local buckling
coefficients are presented for a variety of plate width-to-thickness ratios. It is shown that the
dimensionless buckling stress coefficient is influenced by two parameters: the nature of the applied
loading and the number of sides of the section. The buckling stress coefficient is higher for bent
sections than axially compressed ones, and this difference can be quite significant. Sections with an
odd number of sides have an enhanced buckling capacity over those with an even number of sides,
with pentagonal sections being the strongest under either axial compression or bending.


Buckling, stability, columns, finite strip method, local buckling, polygonal sections.


Thin-walled polygonal section columns are a popular form of construction due mainly to aesthetic
considerations. Common polygonal sections include square, pentagonal, hexagonal, heptagonal and
octagonal shapes. These columns are generally subjected to axial and lateral loads. Limited literature
exists on the stability of the component plate elements of these columns. This paper thus considers the
elastic local buckling capacity of polygonal column sections subjected to axial compression or

The local buckling of thin-walled columns of box sections has been quite extensively investigated.
Few studies on local buckling in polygonal columns, however, are found in the literature. The local
buckling of long polygonal tubes in combined bending and torsion was investigated by Wittrick and
Curzon (1968) using an exact finite strip method. Bulson (1969) undertook a comprehensive test

110 J.G. Teng et al.
programme on thin walled columns with consisting of between four to forty sides. Only even numbers
of sides were considered. The mode of collapse observed was elastic buckling of the fiat plate
elements followed by plastic collapse of the junction between adjacent elements. Columns with more
than eighteen sides were found to collapse in a manner similar to that of a circular tube.

Avent and Robinson (1976) conducted an elastic stability analysis of thin-walled regular polygonal
columns by expanding nodal displacements into Fourier series. They derived buckling curves for
axially loaded pin-ended columns with polygonal cross-sections. The buckling curves describe local
plate buckling for short columns and Euler column buckling for longer ones. An increase in the local
buckling capacity for sections with odd numbered panels was noted. The local buckling stress for
sections with an even number of sides was found to match that of uniaxially compressed simply
supported plates. As the number of sides is increased to 16, the critical local buckling load approaches
that of a cylinder.

Kurt and Johnson (1978) considered imperfections in axially loaded pin-ended columns of polygonal
sections. In their study they distorted the sides of a polygon by applying a midpoint lateral
displacement and then utilised the same analytical solution technique as Avent and Robinson (1976).
Similar buckling curves were produced to those of Advent and Robinson and it was found that as the
number of sides increases, the polygon behaviour approaches that of a cylinder. In the Euler buckling
range of response, initial imperfections decrease the predicted buckling strength. In the local buckling
range of response, the buckling strength is increased by the imperfections.

More recently Koseko et al. (1983) undertook an experimental and theoretical study of the local
buckling strength of thin walled steel members of octagonal cross-section. The finite strip method was
employed for the theoretical work. Aoki et al. (1991) have since conducted experiments on columns
varying from square to octagonal in cross-section. Residual stresses and geometric imperfections were
measured and an empirical design formula was calibrated from the experimental results. Polygonal
cross-sections appeared to be better than box sections in respect to the ultimate strength considerations.
The most recent significant contribution to local buckling in polygonal section columns appears to
have been made by Migita et al. (1992), who considered the interaction between local and overall
buckling in polygonal section steel columns.

No study to date appears to have conducted a comparison between the buckling capacity of regular
polygonal columns subjected to axial compression and that under bending. This in turn has prompted
the current study. Five different thin-walled polygonal section forms are considered in this study.
These are square, pentagonal, hexagonal, heptagonal and octagonal sections with four to eight sides
respectively. These sections are shown in Figure 1 where their principal axes are indicated. It should
be noted that while all sections are symmetric about the vertical or y axis, only sections with an even
number of sides are symmetric about the horizontal or x axis. The width of a plate element is denoted
as b while the thickness is represented by t. Thirteen different width-to-thickness ratios are considered
for each section form and a summary of the dimensions of the sections investigated here are given in
Table 1. The total cross-sectional area is kept constant for all five sections for each thickness. The
number of sides of each section is denoted by n in Table 1.


The program THIN-WALL (THIN-WALL 1996, Papangelis and Hancock 1995), developed by the
University of Sydney, is used to study the local buckling of columns with polygonal sections subjected
to axial compression or bending. The program is based on the well-established finite strip method of
analysis (Cheung, 1976, Hancock 1978). In the finite strip method, thin walled sections are subdivided
into longitudinal strips. The displacement functions, which are used to describe the displacement
Local Buckling of Thin-Walled Polygonal Columns 111
variation in the longitudinal direction, are assumed to be harmonic. Polynomial functions are used to
describe the displacement variation in the transverse direction. The finite strip buckling analysis can be
represented in matrix format as follows:

[K]{D}- A[G]{D} = O (1)

where [K] and [G] are the stiffness and stability matrices of the structure being investigated. The
solution produces the eigenvalue, or the critical buckling load factor represented by t , and the
eigenvector given in [D]. Substitution of the eigenvector into the assumed displacement functions
gives the buckled shape of the plate assembly.

ly y X

/ y X

/J X

Square Pentagon Hexagon Heptagon Octagon

Figure 1" Polygonal Shapes


t Section
(mm) Square Pentagon Hexagon Heptagon Octagon
n=4 n=5 n=6 n=7 n=8
b =126 mm b = 100.8 mm b = 84 mm b = 72 mm b = 63 mm
b/t A b/t A b/t A b/t A b/t A
(mm2) (mm 2) (mm 2) (mm 2) (mm 2)
0.5 252.0 252 201.6 252 168.0 252 144.0 252 126.0 252
0.7 180.0 353 144.0 353 120.0 353 102.9 353 90.0 353
0.9 140.0 454 112.0 453 93.3 453 80.0 453 70.0 453
1.0 126.0 504 100.9 504 84.0 504 72.0 504 63.0 504
1.5 84.0 756 67.2 756 56.0 756 48.0 756 42.0 756
2.0 63.0 1008 50.4 1008 42.0 1008 36.0 1008 31.5 1008
2.5 50.4 1260 40.3 1260 33.6 1260 28.8 1260 25.2 1260
3.0 42.0 1512 33.6 1512 28.0 1512 24.0 1512 21.0 1512
4.0 31.5 2016 25.2 2016 21.0 2016 18.0 2016 15.8 2016
5.0 25.2 2520 20.2 2520 16.8 2520 14.4 2520 12.6 2520
6.0 51.0 3024 16.8 3024 14.0 3024 12.0 3024 10.5 3024
7.0 18.0 3528 14.4 3528 12.0 3528 10.3 3528 9.0 3528
8.0 15.8 4032 12.6 4032 10.5 4032 9.0 4032 7.9 4032
112 J.G. Teng et al.


Figure 1 and Table 1 show the configurations and dimensions of the polygonal sections considered in
this study. Two different loading scenarios were investigated: axial compression and bending. All
results were generated for mild steel plate assemblies with an elastic modulus of 200,000 MPa and a
Poisson's ratio of 0.3. The elastic local buckling capacity is given in terms of the dimensionless
buckling stress coefficient kcr which is related to the critical stress ~ , through the following familiar
expression (Bulson 1970, Trahair and Bradford 1998):

n-:E 1
O'cr =kcr 121"-v2x'z/'tx2~l j[b ) (2)

where E is the elastic modulus and v the Poisson's ratio. In the parametric study described below, the
plate slenderness (width-to-thickness ratio) was varied from a minimum of about 10 to a maximum of
252. For each plate slenderness, a corresponding elastic local buckling capacity was determined.

4.4 -

.3 --
~ ' A A A
O &
, o square

# i _r r
o .'. pentagon
[] hexagon

m 4.1 e heptagon
x octagon
~9 4-


3.8 I I I I t
50 100 150 200 250
slenderness, b/t
Figure 2" Local Buckling Stress Coefficient versus Slenderness for
Polygonal Sections Subjected to Axial Compression

Axial Compression

Figure 2 shows the elastic local buckling stress coefficient for the five polygonal sections investigated
as a function of the plate slenderness or b/t ratio. Here the sections are subjected to uniform axial
compression. From this figure it can be observed that the square, hexagonal and octagonal section
columns have approximately the same buckling capacity. The heptagonal and pentagonal columns
have a markedly increased buckling resistance. This increase can be attributed to the local buckling
configuration of the individual plate elements. For a plate slenderness greater than about fifty, the
buckling stress coefficient stays virtually constant. However, when the slenderness drops below about
Local Buckling of Thin- Walled Polygonal Columns 113
fifty, the buckling stress coefficient starts to reduce. The square, hexagonal and octagonal sections
have a buckling stress coefficient of about four and this is consistent with that of a plate simply
supported on all four edges and subjected to uniaxial compression (Bulson 1970).

Representative buckling modes are shown in Figure 3 for the five polygonal sections subjected to axial
compression. The dotted lines in this figure represent typical buckled configurations while the
continuous lines represent the original shapes. The square, hexagonal and octagonal sections all buckle
in a similar manner with each plate element buckling in an opposite direction to the adjacent plate
elements. These three sections have an even number of sides, that is, four, six and eight sides
respectively. For sections with an odd number of sides, this alternating inward-outward bucking mode
is incompatible with the number of sides. For these sections, two consecutive plate elements must
buckle in the same direction, be that inward or outward or two half waves have to appear in one of the
plate elements. These variations in buckling modes lead to a higher buckling capacity as seen for the
pentagonal and heptagonal columns.

............. " "--"" f"-"i

i t ',\ /: ' )

Figure 3" Typical Local Buckling Modes under Axial Compression

f A A A A .8. -0

5.5 ^
0 0 0 0
[] [] [] []
.~ex[l X .'< o square (x,y- axis)
-'- pentagon (y- axis)

x~ 4.5 [] hexagon (y- axis)

e heptagon (y- axis)
x octagon (x,y- axis)
4 I I I I
0 50 100 150 200 250
slenderness, b/t
Figure 4: Local Buckling Stress Coefficient versus Slenderness for
Polygonal Sections Subjected to Bending


Figure 4 shows the elastic local buckling stress coefficient for the five polygonal sections in bending as
a function of the plate slenderness. For each section, a buckling analysis was carried out for bending
about the x-axis in a positive and negative direction, and bending about the y-axis. The lowest of the
114 J.G. Teng et al.
three buckling stresses is taken as the critical buckling stress. Figure 4 shows that the octagonal section
has the lowest buckling resistance followed by the hexagonal, square, heptagonal and pentagonal
section. The critical axis of bending for each section, which produces the lowest buckling coefficient is
also reported in Figure 4. Figure 5 shows typical buckling modes of the five polygonal sections when
subjected to bending in the weakest of the three directions.

. . . . J! ...... Y

Figure 5: Typical Local Buckling Modes under Bending

Comparison between Axial Compression and Bending

The calculated buckling coefficient for bending is greater than the corresponding value for axial
compression. This is as expected and is also reflected in the buckling modes of Figures 3 and 5. All
sections subjected to bending experienced about a 25% increase in the buckling stress compared to
axial compression.

For low b/t ratios the buckling capacity of all sections, subjected to axial compression or bending,
reduces. This is believed to be due to membrane deformations in the plates which are not accounted for
in classical theories for plate buckling.


The elastic local buckling capacity of polygonal sections has been investigated in this paper. Square,
pentagonal, hexagonal, heptagonal and octagonal sections have been investigated, with elastic local
buckling coefficients presented for a variety of plate width-to-thickness ratios. It has been shown that
the dimensionless buckling stress coefficient is influenced by two parameters: the nature of the applied
loading and the number of sides of the section. The buckling stress coefficient is higher for bent
sections than axially compressed ones, and this difference can be quite significant. Sections with an
odd number of sides have an enhanced buckling capacity over those with an even number of sides,
with pentagonal sections being the strongest under either axial compression or bending. It should be
noted that for sections subject to bending, the bending moment was applied in three different directions
to find the weakest axis of bending. Further work should be carried out to establish if another axis of
bending exists which leads to an even lower buckling stress.


The authors gratefully acknowledge the contribution to this work made by Mr K. K. Wong who carried
out the initial calculations for the results presented here during his final year project supervised by the
first author. The second author wishes to thank The Hong Kong Polytechnic University for providing
him with a Postdoctoral Fellowship.


Aoki, T., Migita, Y and Fukumoto, Y. (1991). Local Buckling Strength of Closed Polygonal Folded
Section Columns. Journal of Constructional Steel Research 20, 259-270.
Local Buckling of Thin-Walled Polygonal Columns 115
Avent, R.R. and Robinson, J.H. (1976). Elastic Stability of Polygonal Folded Plate Columns. Journal
of the Structural Division, ASCE 102(ST5), 1015-1029.
Bulson, P.S. (1969). The Strength of Thin Walled Tubes Formed from Flat Elements. International
Journal of Mechanical Sciences 11, 613-620.
Bulson, P.S. (1970). The Stability of Flat Plates, Chatto & Windus, London, U.K.
Cheung, Y.K. (1976). Finite Strip Method in Structural Analysis, Pergamon Press, Oxford, U.K.
Hancock, G.J. (1978). Local, Distortional, and Lateral Buckling of I-Beams. Journal of the Structural
Division, ASCE 104(ST11), 1787-1798.
Koseko, N., Aoki, T. and Fukumoto, Y. (1983). The Local Buckling Strength of the Octagonal Section
Steel Columns. Proceedings of Structural Engineering~Earthquake Engineering, JSCE 330, 27-
Kurt, C.E. and Johnson, R.C. (1978). Cross Sectional Imperfections and Column Stability.
Proceedings of the Structural Division, ASCE 104(ST12), 1869-1883.
Migita, Y., Aoki, T. and Fukumoto, Y. (1992). Local and Interaction Buckling of Polygonal Section
Steel Columns. Journal of Structural Engineering, ASCE, 118(10), 2659-2676.
Papangelis, J.P. and Hancock, G.J. (1995). Computer Analysis of Thin-Walled Structural Members.
Computers and Structures, 56(1), 157-176.
THIN-WALL (1996), Cross-Sectional Analysis and Finite Strip Buckling Analysis of Thin Walled
Structures: Users M a n u a l - Version 1.2, Centre for Advanced Structural Engineering,
Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.
Trahair, N.S. and Bradford, M.A. (1998). The Behaviour and Design of Steel Structures to AS 4100,
Third Edition, E&FN Spon, London, U.K.
Wittrick, W.H. and Curzon, P.L.V. (1968). Local Buckling of Long Polygonal Tubes in Combined
Bending and Torsion", International Journal of Mechanical Sciences 10, 849-857.
This Page Intentionally Left Blank

H. Unterweger

Department of Steel Structures, Technical University Graz

Lessingstrasse 25, A- 8010 Graz, Austria


The ultimate load capacity of symmetric columns, which are strengthed under preload using steel
plates, is presented. The analytic calculation model is an ideal column with geometric imperfections
including second order effects. The decrease of the bending stiffness, due to the development of plastic
zones in the cross section, is taken into account by a modification factor, based on comprehensive FE-
calculations. By using modified buckling reduction factors it is possile to find out directly the extent of
strengthening steel plates, depending on preload and type of cross section.


strengthen of steel columns, flexural buckling, strengthen steel plates, ultimate load capacity


Due to increasing loads or changing of service conditions sometimes members of existing structures
must be strengthen. Examples for primary compressed members are:
- columns of buildings

- chords of truss girders of old bridges, due to increased traffic loads

The strengthening design of the cross section of the member (base - section), using steel plates (welded
or bolted to the member) has to consider the preload in the member due to at least permanent actions. In
actual codes in Europe (e.g. Eurocode (1993), DIN (1990)) no procedures for strengthening of mem-
bers are included.

118 H. Unterweger
For members without risk of stability failure the determination of the extent of the strengthening plates
gives no problems (see also Fig. 2). But for members, whrere flexural buckling is relevant, the design
procedure seems not clear at all. Publications in this field are very small and limited to the counties of
Eastern Europe, summed up by Rebrov & Raboldt (1981). This paper presents the main results of a
comprehensive study by the author (1996).


The presented results refer to columns with pinned ends on both sides (Figure 1). In the following only
axial loading (constant axial force N) is taken into account. Additional limited bending moments can be
also taken into account as shown in Unterweger (1996).

Figure 1 : System and type of cross sections of the presentation.

The base sections are universal rolled columns with H - shape. The strengthening plates are situated
either on the outsides of the flanges (type 1) or on both sides of the web (type 2) and they have the same
length as the columns. The result are also applicable to other section types like welded H - sections, hol-
low sections or channels, if they are symmetric to the buckling axis (see figure 1). The slenderness ratio
of the individual parts of the cross section is limited in such way that local buckling is not possible until
the plastic cross section resistance is reached (classified as class 1 and 2 in Eurocode).


Columns without buckling failure mode

For columns with small slenderness, e. g. short columns or columns which are supported by walls or
bracings, the cross section resistance is relevant for design. The determination of the extent of the
strengthening plates AA for a given axial force Nv+ AN, as shown in Figure 2, is very simple. If only the
elastic resistance is taken into account the preload N v acts on the base section A 0 and only the additional
load AN acts on the whole section A (Eqn. 1). That means that yielding of the base section limits the
loading capacity. If the plastic resistance of the cross section is taken into account the whole section also
acts for the preload N v (Eqn. 2). Therefore stress redistribution between base section and strengthening
plates, due to plastification of the base section, is necessary (~,f, ~'m are partial safety factors).
Ultimate Load Capacity of Columns Strengthened under Preload 119

Figure 2 : Stress distribution due to axial force N and verification procedure for elastic
(Eqn.1) and plastic cross section resistance (Eqn. 2).

With increasing preload the differencies between elastic and plastic resistance grow. At the theoretical
border line case - yielding of the base section under preload - the strengthening plates are completely
ineffective. Therefore the design procedure based on plastic resistance is simpler and much more eco-
nomic, but leads to more or less plastifications of the base section.

The aim of this study is to show that also for slender columns plastification of the base section can be
taken into account to exploit the full bearing capacity of the strengthening plates.

Columns under flexural buckling

In general for columns flexural buckling is the relevant failure mode for design, which will be discussed
in the following. The partial factors are omitted (Tf, Tm).

Engineering solution

Considering the design procedure for columns, based on slenderness depending buckling reduction fac-
tors K:(e.g. European buckling curves a § d in Eurocode) the design procedure for determining the load
capacity N R of a strengthen column follows Eqn. 3 (stress equation)

+ <fy NR = Nv+AN (3)
K:o . Ao ir A- '
120 H. Unterweger
The first term considers the base section (A 0, v~0 for slenderness ratio 7~) under preload and the second
term considers the strengthen section (A, 1<for slenderness ratio ~). The acting stresses are limited by
the yield stress.

For short columns (~:-> 1,0) the verification procedure is equal to the elastic cross resistance (Eqn. 1).
Therefore this procedure also seems uneconomic with increasing preload, because the capacity of the
strengthening plates cannot be taken into account. This statement will be confirmed in the following.

Suggested solution

The extent of preload and strengthening is characterized by the preload ratio o~ - referred to the load
capacity NR,0 of the base section (Eqn. 4), and the strengthening ratio ~ (Eqn. 5, AA is the area of
strengthening plates).

Nv Nv
(~ - - (4)
NR, o Ao" too" fy


The simple analytic calculation model with the essential assumptions is shown in Figure 3. For determi-
nation of deformations and moments second order theory is used, including equivalent initial geometric
bow imperfections (sine curve). This leads to increasing factors including the ideal elastic buckling load
Nki,0 (base section) and Nki (strengthened section) respectively. The individual calculation steps are:
- calibration of the simple model in form of determining the initial bow imperfections e 0 to fulfil
the ultimate load capacity of the base section according to the code buckling curves. Using the
European buckling curves leads to Eqn. 6 for e 0, where a* is a constant depending on the relevant
buckling curve (a* = 0,21 § 0,76 for curves a § d) and W 0 is the section modulus.

e0 = a*. (~0-0,2) 9 A--o (6)

- determination of deformation w v under preload N v of the base section.

- unloading of the strengthed section leads to the deformation w 0 - neglecting the residual stress
distribution in the section
- Determination of the ultimate load N R of the strengthed section, with elastic cross resistance of
the cross section.
Regarding a practical design procedure the resulting load capacity N R is expressed in form of a modi-
fied buckling reduction factor •* referred to the base section (Equ. 7 - 9). Doing this, the efficiency of
the strengthening plates can be seen immediately.

NR = tc*.Ao.fy (7)


1 / wo < (9)
K* = ~. 1+~-• o~';Co) x ( l _ { x . ; C o . ~ o 2 ) . ~ 2 +
Ultimate Load Capacity of Columns Strengthened under Preload 121
The resulting load capacity N R depends on the following parameters:
- cross section parameters, slenderness and buckling reduction factor of the base section
(Ao, WO, I 0 - > ~ 0 - > r'O)
- cross section parameters, slenderness and buckling reduction factor of the strengthed section
(A,W, I - > ~ )
preload ratio o~, strengthening ratio

Figure 3 : Calculation procedure for N R of the strengthed column under preload.

To determine the extent of the strengthening plates AA an iteration process is necessary, because W and
depends on AA.

Reduction of load capacity due to welded strengthen plates

Due to the welding process of the strengthening plates residual stresses are introduced, which lead to a
decrease of the buckling load capacity. Their quantities and distribution are in general hardly predic-
table, due to the high scatter of influence factors. Therefore the influence of the welding process on the
load capacity is estimated in an engineering manner. Following the Europian buckling curves the effect
of welding on the bearing capacity can be estimated in form of an additional geometric imperfection
ev = 0,5. e 0 . Considering this effect in the analytic model (working with Wv* = w v + ev) leads to a ma-
ximum decrease of the load capacity of about 12 % for medium slenderness ratios, shown in Figure 4.
122 H. Unterweger

Figure 4 : Reduction fweld of the calculated ultimate load N R due to welding of the
strengthening plates for careful execution.

Comparison of suggested and engineering solution

To evaluate the suggested load capacity (Equ. 7 - 9 -> NR, ex) with the engineering procedure (Equ. 3
-> NR, ing ) a comparison for practical columns is useful. In Figure 5 the increase of the load capacity
using the suggested solution referred to the engineering procedure is shown for the two border line
cases. On the one hand type 1- buckling about y- axis, which is the most effective case for the strength-
ening plates; and on the other hand type 2 - buckling about z- axis. In the first case the differencies in
load capacity are given for all slenderness ratios, whereas in the latter case with increasing slenderness
ratio the results are more and more equal. The differencies increase with growing preload ratio t~ and
strengthening ratio ~. For the theoretical case of a preload ratio of t~ = 1,0 and small slenderness we get
the highest difference AN = ~ . NR,ing, which is equal to the difference between elastic and plastic
section resistance (Eqn. 1, 2). This example shows the economic advantages of the suggested solution.

Figure 5 : Increase of the ultimate load N R using the proposed solution compared to the
engineering approach for two border line cases; a.) type 1, y - axis, b.) type 2, z- axis.
Ultimate Load Capacity of Columns Strengthened under Preload 123

Overestimation of load capacity due to plastification of the base section

The analytical model neglects the effect of plastification of the base section, which grows with increa-
sing preload ratio o~ and also with higher material strength, because of increased plastic zones. To find
out the extent of reduction of the load capacity comprehensive finite element calculations with
ABAQUS (1996) were made. The web was modelled with shell elements and the flanges and strength-
ening plates with special beam elements, including progressive plastifications in thickness direction.
The highest reduction of load capacity due to plastification are obtained for type 1 - buckling about y-
axis. Fortunately the decrease of load capacity is very small, e.g. 2 - 5 % for a preload ratio ct = 0,5.
From the results a simplified conservative procedure for practical use in form of a reduction factor
fNR, plast (Figure 6) can be given.

Figure 6 : Reduction factor fNR,plast of the calculated ultimate load N R due to plastification
of the base section.

Figure 7 : Load bearing capacity N R of strengthen columns using European rolled sections,
expressed in form of a modified buckling factor •* a.) type 1 - y ; b.) type 2 - z.
124 H. Unterweger
Improved solution for practical design

For practical design a direct determination of the extent of strengthening plates AA, expressed by the
strengthening ratio ~, is desirable. A comprehensive study shows that for every type of strengthened
base section the ratios W / W 0 and ~ / 7~0 can be expressed in form of a linear relationship of ~. Intro-
duction of these information in Eqn. 8 and 9 leads to equivalent buckling factors K:* depending on the
slenderness of the base section, the preload ratio t~ and the strengthening ratio ~. In Figure 7 for type 1-
buckling about y- axis and type 2 - buckling about z- axis, using European rolled sections, the load
capacities in form of •* are given. The effectiveness of the strengthening plates is easy to survey.

In Figure 8 the suggested simple design procedure for direct determination of the extent of the
strengthening plates, based on design charts for the global buckling reduction factors K:*, is shown.

In Unterweger (1996, 1998) the design charts for rolled European universal columns for type 1 and 2
are presented.

Figure 8 : Starting position and procedure of a practical design of column strengthening

(partial factors omitted).


DIN 18800, Teil 1 und 2 (1990). Stahlbauten - Bemessung und Konstruktion. Deutsches Institut f'dr

Eurocode 3 (1993). Design of steel structures; Part 1.1: General rules. CEN.

Rebrov and Raboldt (1981). Zur Berechnung von Druckst~iben, die unter Belastung verst~kt werden.
Informationen des VEB MLK 20.

Unterweger H. (1996). Berechnung von unter Belastung verstarkten stahlernen Druckstaben,


Unterweger H. (1998). Druckbeanspruchbarkeit von unter Vorbelastung verst~kten Stiitzen.

Stahlbau 68: 3, 196- 203.


Zhang Nianmei 1 Yang Guitong 2 Xu Bingye ~

1Department of Engineering Mechanics, Tsinghua

University, Beijing, China
2Institute of Applied Mechanics, Taiyuan University
of Technology, Taiyuan, China


The chaotic motions of axial compressed nonlinear elastic beam subjected to transverse load
P = 8P 0( f + coscot)sin rex are studied in this paper. The constitutive equation of the beam is
threefold multinomial. The damping force in the system is nonlinear. Considering material and
geometric nonlinearity, nonlinear governing equation of the system is derived. By use of nonlinear
Galerkin method, differential dynamic system is set up. Melnikov method is used to analyze the
characters of the system. The results show that chaos may occur in the system when the load

parameters P0 and f satisfy some conditions. The zone of chaotic motion is belted. The route from

subharmonic bifurcation to chaos is analyzed in the paper. The critical conditions that chaos occurs
are determined.

126 Z. Nianmei et al.

chaos, bifurcation, heteroclinic orbit, periodic orbit, dynamic system, saddle


The chaotic phenomena in solid mechanics fields bring more and more interesting. In 1988, F.C.Moon
analyzed the chaotic behaviors of beams experimentally first. Then he studied the dynamics response
of linear elastic beam subjected transverse periodic load. The chaotic motions of linear damping
beams have been studied by many scholars at home and abroad in resent years. The dynamic

behaviors of nonlinear damping beams subjected to transverse load P = S P o ( f + coscot)sin m~rx a r e


studied in this paper. The critic conditions that chaos occurs in the system are determined by use of
Melnikov method. The results show that the chaotic areas may be limited ribbon zones.


The dynamic behavior of a simply supported nonlinearly elastic beam is studied. Two constant
compressive loads N are applied at its two ends. The length of the beam is l. The constitutive
relation of beam material satisfies:

o- =Eo~ +E16 2) (1)

where, E and E 1 are material constants.

We assume that deformation of the beam is still small deformation after buckling. The buckling
critical load of the beam is:


Here AI = 1 + 3E1602 . 11 stands for inertia moment, 11 = ~ y 2 d A . A is the cross section area of the

beam. 60 is the strain at neutral surface, it satisfies:

Chaotic Belt Phenomena in Nonlinear Elastic Beam 127
( 3~2El/a I ~'211
E1Eo4 + E18o 3 + 1 - ~ 602 + 60 =0 (3)
AI 2 AI 2

The beam is subjected to transverse load P =6Po( f +coscot)sin ~r___x_xafter buckling. Then the
governing equation of the system is:

c32M c32w 02w c3w Ow

+N ~ +m = 8 P o( f + coscot)sin ~rx _ 6 / . t ~ ~ (4)
ax ~ Ox ~ ~ T at at

where 8/~ is damping coefficient, m is the mass of unit length of the beam.

The boundary conditions of the system are:

w(o): wq)-o (5)

w"(0) = w"(l)=O (6)

Following formula can stand for the strain at the point which distancement from neutral plain is y:

c = 60 - y c3x (7)

where 0 is the rotating angle of cross section of the beam at x. It satisfies:

1 Ow
sin 0 = (8)
1+~" 0 0 x

Submitting geometric relations and physical relations into eq.(4) and omitting the higher order items
than three, follow formula can be obtained:

c, 4w_+c212 2 3+6 w 4wl

128 Z . N i a n m e i et al.

V6(t~3W~ 2 {~2W q_,3~2W~ 2 04W 1 N m a2w

+ ~ ~ (9)

E11 E11 O t 2

=EI & ( f + cosco ,,sin""

--/-- ~,

-- X m W

Eq.(9) is turned into dimensionless form using dimensionless amounts x = - w= r =COot

t' 7' '

, cOO = '

coo ml4 "

According to boundary conditions (5) and (6), we suppose follow displacement mode:

n m
w = c,o(v)sin rcx (10)

Applying Galerkin method to the dimensionless governing equation, differential dynamic system can
be obtained:

=-,~q,- p~' +,~o (," +,:os-,)- ~ ~]

~-~(-~+~,~), p-,.,.,,(c,_- ~)
C1 = A1 , Cz = A1 , C4= 3ELI2
l+eo 2(1+ eo) 3 212(1+6o)312

P = ~ ISc~176 -~o - P~ , -N = N 12
Ell Ell EI1

If system (11) is not perturbed, g = 0. Then eq. (11) is integrable Hamilton system:

'r = v'

Hamilton function means the total energy of kinetic energy and potential energy. The energy keeps
constant on the same orbit:

h =~ + + = const (13)
2 2 4
Chaotic Belt Phenomena in Nonlinear Elastic Beam 129
The phase trajectory of undisturbed system may be determined by following formula:

d(p =+-~ 2h - aq92 ~(p4

2 (14)

The formula (14) shows that the phase trajectory has closed relation with the value of a, ft. The

dynamic response of the system in the case of stable post-buckling path (a > 0) and fl <0 are

studied in this paper.


The unperturbed system have three balance states in real space. (0,0) is a center. (- ~]a/- fl,O) and

(~/a/- fl,O) are hyperbolic saddles. The heteroclinic orbits passing though two saddles are:


The Melnikov function ofheteroclinic orbits is as follows:


: - ; ~0 + ~(,~ + ~ cos~,~0) (16)


~o : f ~ d ~ : . ; - seth ~ ~- a ~ - : - ; (17)
_0o 2 15r r

2a - ~ ( o d r - 2 - (18)

130 Z . N i a n m e i et al.

The eq. (16) shows that constant load f and loading frequency ~ have great effect on the

conditions that there exists Smale horseshoe in the system.

1) When x/-a-f > 1, the conditions that Melnikov function has simple zero points is:

2o Poo ;to
<_--< (20)
2fRa + 22 ,u 2 f & + 22


R 1 < P-~-~<R 2 (21)

8a: 4 ~

2 1+ ocosechI ol
R 1 =

8a: x/-a
R 2 =

The eq.(20) means that there exists a limited belted zone in P o - c o plane. When R 1 < ~P~<R2,

there is Smale horseshoe in the Poincare map of the system.

2) When 0 < f < ---~, there exists sole nr*. It should satisfy:

- nr c o s e c h zc~ =f

a. If 0 _<w _<w*, the critical condition chaos occurs is:

Chaotic Belt Phenomena in Nonl&earElastic Beam 131

r~ > R 1 (22)

The above formula shows that chaotic area is half-infinite.

b. If nr > w*, the representative of critical condition that chaos occurs is the same as formula (21).
The above analyzation shows that the critical conditions there exists Smale horseshoe in the dynamic
system have closed relations with loading way and frequency.


There is a set of periodic orbits circling the center (0,0)"

~Pk(Z')=+ - 0 + k 2 ) f l s n l+k2V, k

l+k 2 l+k 2
v,k dn l+k 2
v,k (23)

The periods of the orbits are:

T = 4~ l + k 2 K
where K is first type Jocabi elliptic integration.
Melnikov functions of subharmonic orbits are:

+ COS ~7(2" + T O ))

- -Po + (24)

16a 2 __2~-- nk3(5 - k____:)

Po (m,.)- (25)
15p O+k F
fO~%m [ / (KK) n~l~ miseven
Pz(m,n)= 2 ct rc ' (26)
- - ~ fll+k2 sh n = l and m is odd

here K ' = K~/1 - k 2

The threshold that odd order subharmonic bifurcation occurs is:

132 Z. Nianmei et al.
~0> 8k3etS/2 (5-k 2) sh(mZK'
1 5 p z ~ O + k 2 ) 5n \ 2K ) : Rm

When m --->oo, that is k --->1, following formula can be obtained:

limRm =R o : - ~ s h zw (28)
m---~oo 15/~rW

Comparing R1 ,R 2 with Ro, we know:

R 0 > R 1, Ro > R 2

So the system will enter chaos status by limited odd order subharmonic bifurcation.


1.Only when the undisturbed differential dynamic systems possess heteroclinic orbits, the chaotic belt
phenomena may occur after the system is perturbed.
2.The chaotic areas are affected by not only the ratio of constant load to the amplitude of periodic load
but also loading frequency co. If the ratio of constant load to the amplitude of periodic load is
greater than 1, the chaotic area is belted at any loading frequency co. If the ratio is smaller than 1,

the area in which Smale horseshoe occurs is belted when nr > nr*. But the threshold is lower limit

only when 0 _<nr ___m *

3.If the constant load equals to zero the area that chaos occurs is half infinite.
4.The system may enter chaos status by limited odd order subharmonic bifurcation.

Moon F. C. (1988). Experiments on Chaotic Motions of A Forced Nonlinear Oscillator: Stranger
Attractors. J. Appl. Mech. 55, 190-196.
Panida Dinca Baran (1984). Mathematical Modes Used in Study The Chaotic Vibration of
Buckled Beams. Mechanics Research Communications 29:2, 189-196.
Zhang Nianmei and Yang G.T. (1996). Dynamic Subharmonic Bifurcation and Chaos of
Nonlinear Elastic Beam. J. Nonlinear Dynamic 3:2, 265-274.(in Chiness)
Frames and Trusses
This Page Intentionally Left Blank

T C H Liu and L J Morris

Manchester School of Engineering, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK


Most of the portal frames are designed these days by the application of plastic analysis, with the normal
assumption being made that the column bases are pinned. However, the couple produced by the
compression action of the inner column flange and the tension in the holding down bolts will
inevitably generate some moment resistance and rotational stiffness. Full-scale portal frame tests
conducted during a previous research program had suggested that this moment can be as much as 20%
of the moment of resistance of the column. The size of this moment of resistance is particularly
important for the design of the tensile capacity of the holding down bolts and also the bearing
resistance of the foundation. The present research program is aiming at defining this moment of
resistance in simple design terms so that it could be included in the design of the frame. The
investigation also included the study of the semi-rigid behaviour of the column base/foundation, which,
to a certain extent, affects the overall loading capacity and stiffness of the portal frames. A series of
column bases with various details were tested and were used to calibrate a finite element model which
is able to simulate the action of the holding down bolts, the effect of the concrete foundation and the
deformation of the base plate.


Column Base, Holding down bolts, Column flexibility, Portal Frame


Steel portal frames, similar to most other structures, tend to be designed almost independent of the
foundation condition, mainly because most practicing engineers cannot readily appreciate or quantify
this interaction. While the design of column bases of most of the multi-storey frame structures is
govemed by the large axial forces, column bases in portal frames are subjected to a relatively larger
lateral shear (Bresler & Lin, 1959). Though there have been some studies recently, the interaction
between the soil/foundation block/structural frame is probably the least understood aspect of the whole
building. An on-going project was designed to investigate the effect of foundation to the overall

136 T.C.H. Liu and L.J. Morris
behaviour of steel portal frames following the series of full-scale tests. The research program had been
divided into three phases, aiming to quantify the rotational and moment capacities of the column bases
in order to check their effects on the overall frame behaviour and to recommend a suitable design for
column base details. The first part, which is to be reported in this paper, was to look into the effect of
various geometric parameters of the column bases such as the thicknesses of the base plates, column
sizes, and size and length of holding down bolts. The study consists of a series of laboratory testing
and computational modelling.

In the design of a typical portal frame, it is generally assumed that the bases are "pinned" for purposes
of analysis, i.e. column does not transfer any moment to the foundation. A typical base consists of a
base plate fillet welded to the end of the column member. The base is then attached to the concrete
block by means of holding down bolts, anchored within the block. The normal detail for a "pinned"
base is to locate two holding down bolts along the neutral axis of the column, one on either side of the
web in an attempt to simulate a "pinned" base with the minimum cost. After completion of alignment
the plate is grouted into position. In a previous research program, three three-dimensional full-scale
pitched-roof portal frames of spans 12m, 12m and 25m respectively were tested. In additional to
normal vertical load applied from the roof as in all the three frames, one of the columns in the second
frame was also subjected to a horizontal load. In all cases, the columns, designed with "pinned bases",
were built as mentioned above except that the concrete blocks were rest on floor. Table 1 shows the
bending moment measured in the column just before the frames failed. Only the second frame failed
with a plastic hinge formed near to the column head (Engel,1990; Liu, 1988).

Column size Height Bending Moment near Bending Moment at
(m) to column head (kNm) column base (kNm)
Frame 1 203x133x25UB 3.7 58 13.5
Frame 2 305x165x40UB 2.7 185 35
Frame 3 406xl 78x54UB 3.65 323 64

Though designed and constructed as "pinned", the bases had inevitably attracted some moments. Such
moments might be about 20% of the column moment capacity (Liu, 1988) and have to be resisted by
the coupled generated by the bearing compression of the base plates against the concrete blocks and the
tension developed in the bolts. Since the bases were designed as "pinned", the size of the bolts were
determined largely by the applied shear forces (Morris & Plum, 1995).


The objective of the isolated column base tests was primarily to calibrate the finite element model.
The main feature in the set-up was to ensure that the numerical model was able to reveal a sufficiently
accurate interaction between the column base plate and the concrete block. The column in the
Yield stress Modulus of Ultimate strength
(N/mm 2) Elasticity (N/mm 2) (N/mm 2)
Flange 348.20 187710 500.00
Web 401.00 189365 526.37
HD bolts 675.00 195200 845.00
Concrete feu=30N/mm2 28500
Rotational Characteristics of Column Bases of Steel Portal Frames 137

Figure 1 Experimental set-up

arrangement was laid horizontal for the convenience of load application. It was loaded as a simple
cantilever. The whole column base was 'rest' on a 500x1200x1500 concrete block. The whole set-up
was geometrically symmetrical about the bottom of the concrete block as shown in Figure 1. A pair of
one-metre long M24 holding-down bolts went through the two concrete blocks and held the two sides
in position. The type of HD bolts used in the tests was of higher strength Grade 8.8 with an ultimate
strength of 845N/mm 2. The material properties were shown in Table 2.

A well-established finite element package was previously developed (Liu, 1988) particularly for the
analysis of the full-scale portal frame tests. It was also proved to be very successful for the analysis of
various types of connections (Liu & Morris, 1991, 1991). In the finite element model, the steel
columns were descretised into 8-noded shell elements and the concrete blocks were refined into 8-
noded brick elements. The part of the concrete blocks beyond the tension flange of the columns was

Figure 2 F.E. mesh of the column base + concrete foundation block

138 T.C.H. Liu and L.J. Morris

Figure 3 Moment-rotation curves of the column

not modelled in order to reduce the problem size. Due to symmetry about the web plate, only half of
the assembly was modelled. Link interface elements were placed in between the two components in
order to determine whether or not they were in contact. The holding down bolts were modelled by line
elements following the stress-strain characteristic which was obtained from a separated tension test.
The bonding between the HD bolts and the concrete would quickly vanish after once or twice of
loading and unloading. Therefore, it was assumed that the bolts were free to extend in tension from the
beginning of the loading. Also, the pre-loads in the bolts, about 25kN, were ignored in the model. The
base of the concrete block was assumed to be fixed. A point load was applied at a distance of 2m from
the base plate. A typical mesh showing the deformation is shown in Figure 2. One of the crucial
factors that can determine the accuracy the model is the effect of the base plate. Two thicknesses were
used in the test, 12mm and 20mm representing two possible stiffnesses of the same column base.

Figure 4 Bolt forces vs. Applied Bending Moment

Rotational Characteristics of Column Bases of Steel Portal Frames 139

Figure 5 Effect of base plate thickness on bolt force

The moment-rotation characteristic and the bolt force vs. applied bending moment curves obtained
from the F.E. models and the tests were plotted in Figures 3 and 4 respectively for the two different
thicknesses of base plates. The comparison was excellent except that the F.E. models depicted a stiffer
behaviour. This is mainly due to the in-accurate assessment of the compression stiffness of the
concrete block. However, it is interested to note that, though there is a large difference in the
stiffnesses between the two cases, the bolt forces do not differ a lot. The column base with a thicker
base plate rotated about the toe of the base plate, i.e. about 220mm from the centroid. The bolt force
would therefore be,
1 Mapp = 2.27M
Pbolt - 2 0.22m app

where Mapp is the applied bending moment. This agrees very well with the results obtained for the
20mm case from the tests and F.E. modelling. For a more flexible base plate of thickness 12mm, the
plate was able to bend and part of it was in contact with the concrete block. The prying action
increased the forces in the bolts. However, after the bolts extended further, the prying action faded
away and hence the bolt forces came back to a similar level as found with thicker plates. Since the
centroids of the couple formed by the tension force in the bolts and the compression force by the
reaction should normally be very close to the compression toe of the column, the bolt forces were fairly
independent of the base plate thickness and bolt size. Figure 5 shows that the prying action increased
the bolt forces by about 20% for thinner base plate.


Further computational analysis were carried out to examine the effect of various geometric parameters.
The computational models were analysed upto a complete collapse, mainly due to bolt failure. Figure
6 shows the effect due to a variation of the base plate thickness. In general, a full range moment-
rotation curve consists of four parts. The first part is the elastic regions where every component
remains elastic. However, the behaviour is not linear, as a result of the moving centroid of the reaction
from the concrete block. With high strength HD bolt, the elastic portion is followed by a static growth
in moment of resistance due to an extensive flexural yielding in the base plate. Thereafter, the tensile
140 T.C.H. Liu and L.J. Morris

Figure 6 Effect of base plate thickness on rotational characteristics

membrance action of the base plate is able to support a further increase in the bolt force until the
behaviour comes to a final stage where the bolts eventually fail.

The diameter of the holding down bolts affects directly the initial elastic rotational stiffness as shown
in Figure 7. The moment carrying capacity at the second stage and the in-plane membrane stiffness in
the third stage are basically not affected as they depend largely on the thickness of the base plate.
Figure 8 summaries the effect on the elastic rotational stiffness due to the HD bolt diameter and the
base plate thickness. In the range of consideration, the variations seem to be fairly linear. However,
when the bolt diameter becomes very large, the stiffness of the column base with 12mm plate should
approach a magnitude of about 12000kNrn/rad. When the base plate becomes very thick, the stiffness
due to the pair of 24mm HD bolts would be 17000kNm/rad. Obviously, if similar analysis is extended

Figure 7 Effect of diameter of HD bolts on rotational characteristics

Rotational Characteristics of Column Bases of Steel Portal Frames 141

Figure 8 Factors affecting Rotational stiffness of column bases

to some smaller or weaker HD bolts, e.g. Grade 4.6, the ultimate moment capacity would be
substantially reduced, as shown in Figure 7, by shortening the third stage.


Apart from the study on various geometric factors, a series of parametric analyses was also carried out.
The objective of this was to establish and quantify the effect of each of the components in the column
base on its rotational flexibility of the column base. The components of interest include the stiffness of
the concrete block, HD bolt and the base plate.

Five different cases were considered:

9 Case 1: Rigid concrete block with infinitely rigid HD bolts;
9 Case 2: No concrete block, but the base rotates about the toe with infinitely rigid HD bolts;
9 Case 3: Rigid concrete block with normal HD bolts;
9 Case 4: No concrete block, but the base rotates about the toe with normal HD rigid bolts;
9 Case 5: Normal concrete block and HD bolts

The F.E. analyses were carried out until the base plates had yielded extensively. For the cases where
the thicknesses of base plates were 20mm, the average rotational stiffness upto 30kNm were noted;
whereas in the cases of 12mm, the stiffnesses upto 15kNm were recorded. The results are tabulated in
Tables 3 and 4.

Comparing cases 4 and 5, the flexibility due to compression of the concrete block is 23.27• .6
rad/kNm for the 20mm case and 16.87x 10 -6 rad/kNm when the thickness if 12ram. This is because the
bearing area for the thinner plate is much larger than the thicker one. The difference between cases 2
and 3 shows that the flexibility due to extension of bolts are about 55x10 "6 rad/kNm from the two
thickness cases. This agrees very well with the elastic flexibility obtained by simple calculation
(58x 10-6 rad/kNm) assuming all other components rigid. The flexibility due to base plate deformation
is expected to dominate the difference between the two cases. The flexibility due to the bending of the
12mm plate together with the end-portion of the column is found to be 110.71x10 6 rad/kNm and that
of the 20mm plate is only 34.68x 10.6 rad/kNm.
142 T.C.H. Liu and L.J. Morris
(Test result = 7800 kNrn/radI
Rotation Single Bolt equivalent Stiffness Flexibility
(x 10"3 radian) force (kN) eccentricity (mm) (kNm/rad) (~trad/kNm)
Case 1 0.805 98.1 152.9 35104.0 28.49
Case 2 1.040 68.2 220.0 28837.6 34.68
Case 3 2.110 74.7 201.0 14221.4 70.32
Case 4 2.683 68.2 220.0 11181.6 89.43
Case 5 3.381 69.0 217.3 8873.3 112.70

(Test result = 5300 kNm/rad'
Rotation Single Bolt equivalent Stiffness Flexibility
(x 10"3 radian) force (kN) eccentricity (mm) (kNrn/rad) (~trad/kNm)
Case 1 0.960 59.8 125.4 15624.1 64.00
Case 2 1.660 34.1 220.0 9032.6 110.71
Case 3 1.820 38.2 196.5 8248.8 121.23
Case 4 2.458 33.9 221.4 6102.6 163.86
Case 5 2.711 36.8 204.0 5533.2 180.73


In this paper, a few design parameters have been considered and their effects on the rotational stiffness
been examined. They include the thickness of the base plate, bolt size and the stiffness of the concrete
block. The contribution of flexibility by the concrete block is about 20% on the 20mm thick base plate
whereas that on the 12mm thick base plate is only 8%. The stress distribution within the toe region is
very complex. It requires further investigation. A factor, which is not considered here, is the reduced
effective column section. The tensile stress transmitted from the bolts would diffuse gradually into the
column. The effective stiffness of the column at the plate-column junction could probably be halved
the normal value and thereby increases the rotational flexibility.

It is also not included in this part of the research the behaviour of the underlying soil. Any moment
reversal could produce differential settlement causing possible rotation of the foundation block. This
might lead to a reduction of the column base moment. While it is essential to quantify the possible
stiffness and the moment capacity of the column base for their detail design, it is not recommendable
to take this into account when designing the portal frame.


Bresler, B. & Lin, Y.Y. (1959), Design of steel structures, John Wiley & sons, N.Y.

Engel, P. (1990) The Testing and Analysis of Pitched Roof Portal Frames, Ph D Thesis, University of
Rotational Characteristics of Column Bases of Steel Portal Frames 143
Liu, T.C.H. (1988), Theoretical Modelling of Steel Portal Frame Behaviour, Ph D Thesis, University of

Liu, T.C.H. & Morris, L.J., The development of a shear hinge and the effect on connection flexibility,
Proc. Of the Asian-Pacific Conf on Computational Mechanics, Hong Kong, Dec 1991

Liu, T.C.H, & Morris, L.J., The effect of connection flexibility on portal frame behaviour, Int
Workshop on connections in steel structures, AISC/Eurcom, Pittsburgh, April 1991

Morris, L.J. and Plum, D.R. (1995) Structural Steelwork Design to BS5950, Longman Scientific &
Technical, 2no Edition, U.K.
This Page Intentionally Left Blank

B.H.M. Chan, L.X.Fang and S.L. Chan

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hunghom, Hong Kong SAR, PR China.


This paper presents a numerical procedure for practical design and elasto-plastic large deflection
analysis of semi-rigid steel frames under non-proportional loads. Most structures are first under a
set of vertical loads such as self-weight and live load before the application of the lateral loads
due to wind or seismic forces. The response of a structure under this load sequence cannot be
obtained by the principle of super-imposition of these two loading cases due to the non-linear
structural behaviour. However, it is often treated in a non-linear analysis as proportional loads
for simplicity, which contains a certain degree of uncertainty in accuracy. In this paper, the
effects of load sequence are studied and a comparison is made between the case for a structure
under proportional and non-proportional loads. It was found that the two results are considerably
different that an accurate analysis should allow for this effect.


Steel frames, Semi-rigid Frames, Elasto-plastic analysis, Second-order inelastic analysis,

Ultimate strength, Proportional and Non-proportional Loads


Currently most of the second order inelastic analyses of steel-flamed structures are performed
under the assumption of proportional extemal loads. However, real structures are often subjected
to non-proportional loads. The objective of this paper is to study the load-deflection behaviour of
steel flames under proportional and non-proportional loads. A numerical example with a portal
flame of steel I-sections is analysed for this purpose using a geometric and material nonlinear
finite element computer program, GM-NAF (Geometric & Material Non-linear Analysis of

146 B.H.M. Chan et al.

In the second-order inelastic analysis of steel frames, the first-yield moment, Mer, accounting for
the residual stress, (Yres, Can be determined as,

Mer ._(O.y__O.res FIZ (1)

where cry is the specified yield strength, F is the axial load of the member, A is the cross-sectional
area and Z is the elastic sectional modulus.

In this paper, the Section Assemblage Concept (Chan& Chui 1997) is adopted to determine the
yielded zone, 2~, which is shown in Figure 1, for a section as,

F for ~ < d .
2Cryt 2
~ : ~(F-crytd)
+ - -
d for -d- < ~ < - - +dT (2)
2Bcry 2 2 2

in which B is the overall breadth of the flanged section, d is the depth of the web, T and t are the
thickness of flange and web, respectively.

' ..... i ..... loy

Stress Block

Figure 1" Stress distribution for wide-flange section under combined axial force and moment

Once the extent of the plastic region 2 ~ is known, the reduced moment capacity Mpr of the
section under combined axial force and bending moment are obtained as follows,

Mpr =[BT(D_T)+I(d)2 _~//2/t]o.y for d"


Upr = I(O/2 _ ~br ~O.y for d

d (3)
2 2

A spring is employed for simulation of yielding and the formation of plastic hinge. When no
yielding occurs, the spring stiffness is infinite and, when a plastic hinge is formed, the spring
stiffness is zero. The spring stiffness, ks, of sections between the first-yield and the fully plastic
moments is then taken as,
Ultimate Strength of Semi-Rigid Frames under Non-Proportional Loads 147

6EI Mpr -M for Mer < M < Mpr (4)

ks= Z ]M-Mer]

where E is the elastic modulus of elasticity, I is the second moment of inertia and L is the
member length and the strain hardening effect is ignored.


The exponential model as follows and proposed by Lui and Chen (1988) is used in this paper to
demonstrate the moment-rotation behaviour of semi-rigid connections and is given by,

g c =nj~.lCj{1-expl-lOr]ll+kcf]Orl+g 0 (5)
.: 2ja)J

In equation (5), Mc is the moment applied at the connection; Or is the relative rotation
corresponding to the moment Mc; Mo is the initial moment; kcf is the connection stiffness at the
strain-hardening stage; a is the scaling factor; and Cj are the curve-fitting constants given in Lui
and Chen (1988).


For non-proportional loading, the Newton-Raphson method is used for the vertical loads in the
first load sequence whilst the Minimum Residual Displacement method (Chan 1988) is used for
lateral loads in the second load sequence. This arrangement is needed since the vertical loads can
only be confined to the designed level by the Newton-Raphson method.

To detect the hysteretic behaviour of the plastic hinges and semi-rigid connections during
loading stages, one can determine the sign of the incremental moment, AM, and then compared
with that of the total moment, M. For the virgin loading path it can be sensed by

AM.M>0 (6)

while for the unloading path,

aM.M_<0. (7)


The double-bay pitched-roof portal frame illustrated in Figure 2 is adopted for this example.
Three types of semi-rigid beam-to-column connections are assumed. These connections are of
the extended end plate (EEP), flush end plate (FEP) and top-and-seat angle (TSA) types. The
out-of-plumbness for each column is taken as 1/200(EC3 1993) and the residual stress pattern is
considered according to E.C.C.S. (1983). To illustrate the effects of proportional loads (PL) and
148 B . H . M . Chan et al.

non-proportional loads (NPL) in the semi-rigid portal frame, the applications of the loading in
PL and NPL cases for each type of semi-rigid connections are as follows:

1. PL: The vertical loads P and the lateral load H, which are described in Figure 2, are applied
to the portal frame simultaneously with the same load factor (i.e. ~,v=~,h) until the frame
collapses; and
2. NPL: The vertical loads P are firstly applied to the corresponding value of ~.v at which the
frame collapses in the PL case (see Figure 3). Then, the lateral load H is applied until the
frame collapses. This procedure is to ensure that the same vertical load level is maintained as
a basis for comparison of the PL and NPL cases.

~,vP LvP

.~ ~ 20 ~ 20 ~ ~

[. 4mL" 4m ..I. 4m ..I.. 4m ..I

E = 200 kNm -2
(Yy =275 N m m 2
P = 200 kN; H = 40 kN
Column: 203x203x46UC
Rat~er : 254x 146x31UB

Figure 2: Double-bay pitched-roof portal frame.

The load deflection curves for the semi-rigid frames are shown in Figures 3 and 4, and the
maximum values of P, H with corresponding values of u are also given in parentheses in the
figures. Note that, for the NPL cases, curves in Figure 3 are with respects to the first load
sequences while Figure 4 for the second load sequences. Therefore, it is reminded that the curves
for the NPL cases in Figure 4 do not start from the origin.

In Figure 4 it can be found that the ultimate lateral loads for the portal frame with EEL
connections under PL and NPL are very close and the differences in ultimate lateral loads and
displacements are within 5%. On the other hand, for the frame incorporated with TSA
connections, the ultimate lateral load in the NPL case is about 14.6% greater than that in the PL
case. However, for the frame with FEL connections, the behaviour in the PL and NPL cases is
totally different. The ultimate lateral load in the NPL case is only 7.9% of the value in the PL
case. It is because as observed in Figure 3 the stiffness of the portal frame with FEP commences
to decrease from its elastic value, at which the prescribed vertical load level has been applied.
Ultimate Strength of Semi-Rigid Frames under Non-Proportional Loads 149



z 60

40 a EEP-PL(P=107.27kN; u=5.724cm)

_- EEP-N PL(P--107.27kN; u=-3.063cm)

FEP-PL(P=100.52kN; u=8.177cm)

20 ~, FEP-N PL(P=100.52kN; u=-4.112cm)

: TSA-PL(P=74.227kN; u=l 1.23cm)

- - - e- - - TSA-NPL(P=74.227kN; u=-3.419cm)

l l i , | , , ! ,

-6 -4 -2 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18
u (cm)

Figure 3" Vertical loads P versus lateral displacement u.







-6 -4 -2 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18
u (cm)

Figure 4" Lateral load H versus lateral displacement u.

150 B . H . M . Chan et al.


From the numerical example illustrated above shows that the ultimate strengths and the
deformations of semi-rigid steel frames can be load-sequence dependent when both the
geometric and material non-linearities are accounted for. Analysis based on proportional load
approach can result in an under-estimation of the load-carrying capacity of structures.


Chan, S.L. (1988). Geometric and Material Nonlinear Analysis of Beam-Columns and Frames
using the Minimum Residual Displacement Method. Int. J. Num. Meth. in Engrg, 26, 267.

Chan, S.L. and Chui, P.P.T. (1997). A generalised design-based elastoplastic analysis of steel
flames by section assemblage concept. Engrg. Struct., 19:8, 628.

EC3 (1993). Eurocode 3: Design of steel structures: Part 1.1 General rules and rules for
buildings, European Committee for Standardization, Brussels.

ECCS (1983). Ultimate Limit State Calculation of Sway Frames with Rigid Joints, European
Convention for Constructional Steelwork, Rotterdam.

Lui, E.M. and Chen, W.F. (1988). Behavior of braced and unbraced semi-rigid frames. Int. J.
Solids. Struct., 24:9, 893.

Peter Pui-Tak Chui ~ and Siu-Lai Chan 2

Ove Arup & Partners (Hong Kong) Ltd., HONG KONG

2 Dept. of Civil & Structural Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, HONG KONG


A second-order refined-plastic-hinge method for determining the ultimate load-carrying capacity of

steel frames is presented. Member imperfection and residual stress in hot-rolled I- and H-sections
are considered. Second-order effect due to the geometrical nonlinearity is accounted for. In the
present inelastic model, gradual degradation of section stiffness is allowed for simulating a more
realistic and smooth transition from the elastic to fully plastic states. The developed model has been
verified to be valid through a benchmark calibration frame.


It has been long recognized that the second-order effects due to geometrical changes and inelastic
material behaviour can dominate the load-carrying capacity of steel structures significantly, as shown
in Fig. 1. However, the first-order elastic analysis is usually employed to estimate the member
forces in conventional engineering design. In pace with the advent in computer technology, the
sophisticated analysis is feasible. Recently, a refined method of analysis, which is called the
Advanced Analysis, has been coded in the Australian limit states standard for structural steelwork
(AS4100 1990). The basis of the Advanced Analysis is to consider initial imperfections and second-
order effects so as to estimate the member forces and the overall structural behaviour accurately.
This should result in more economical and safe selection of member size. The existing models for
second-order plastic analysis can be broadly categorized into two types, namely the plastic-zone
(Ziemian 1989) and the plastic-hinge (Gharpuray and Aristizabal-Ochoa 1989) models. In the
plastic-zone method, the beam-column members are divided into many very fine fibres. Its results
are generally considered as the exact solutions. However, it is much costly and, therefore, its
solutions are usually used for calibrating of various plastic-hinge models. In the plastic-hinge
method, a plastic hinge of zero-length is assumed to be lumped at a node. This eliminates the
tedious integration process on the cross-section and permits the use of less elements per member.
Therefore, it reduces computational time significantly. Although it can only predict approximately
the strength and stiffness of a member, it is more suitable and practical in engineering design
practice. In this paper, a refined-plastic-hinge model is proposed and studied.

152 P. P.- T. Chui and S.-L. Chan

In the present refined-plastic-hinge analysis, a function is employed to mathematically describe a

limiting surface which is used to check whether or not the interaction point for axial-force and
bending-moment lying outside this yield surface. As the name implies, a full-yield surface and an
initial-yield surface are here used to define the ultimate strength surface and the initial yield surface
respectively on the plane of normalized force diagram for a cross-section. The functions of these
surfaces employed in this paper are defined as follows.

Full- Yield Surface

A full-yield surface is a strength surface of a section to control the combination of normalized axial
force and moment. In other words, it represents the maximum plastic strength of the cross-section
in the presence of axial force. Based on the British Standard BS5950 (1985), the Steel Construction

M/Mp = 1-2.5(P/Py) 2 when P / Py < 0.2 (1)

M/Mp = 1.125(1-P/Py) when P / Py > 0.2

Institute (1988) has recommended a full-yield surface of hot-rolled 1-section for compact section
bending about the strong axiS, as,
in which M and P are moment and axial force acting on the section, Mp is the plastic moment
capacity of the section under no axial force and Py is the pure crush load of the section.

Initial- Yield Surface

The European Convention for Constructional Steelwork (ECCS 1983) has provided a detailed and
comprehensive information with regard to appropriate geometric imperfections, stress-strain
relationship and residual stress for uses in the plastic zone analysis. The pattern of ECCS residual
stress for hot-rolled I- and H-sections is shown in Fig. 2. The residual stress will result in the early
yielding of a section and the initial-yield surface can be defined as,

Mer = Z e ( Oy - Ores - P / A ) (2)

in which Mer is the reduced moment elastic capacity under axial force P, Ze is the elastic modulus,
(Yy is the yield stress, Crres is the residual stress and A is the cross-section area. In case of no residual
stress and axial force, the M~r will become the usual maximum elastic moment (i.e. Mer = Zr Cry).
As the normalized force point is within the initial yield surface, the member behaves elastically.
The effect of residual stress on the moment-curvature relationship is illustrated in Fig. 3.


In the traditional plastic-zone (P-Z) method, beam-colunm members are divided into a large number
of elements and sections are further subdivided into many fibres. The solutions by this method are
generally considered as the exact solutions. However, the computation time required is much
heavier and it is usually for research study, but not for practical design purpose. To simplify the
inelastic analysis, a refined-plastic-hinge method is proposed because of its efficiency.
Second-Order Plastic Analysis of Steel Frames 153
Refined-Plastic-Hinge (R-P-H) Method

The proposed refined-plastic-hinge method is a plastic-hinge based inelastic analysis approach

considering the stiffness degrading process of a cross-section under gradual yielding for the
transition from the elastic to plastic states. In the proposed method, material yielding is allowed
at nodal section only and can be represented by a pseudo-spring. The stiffness of the spring is
dependent on the current force point on the thrust-moment plane. When the force point does not
exceed the initial-yield surface, the section remains elastic and the spring stiffness is infinite. If the
point reaches on the full-yield surface, the section will form a fully plastic hinge and the value of
the spring stiffness will be zero. To avoid computer numerical difficulties, the limiting values of
oo and zero will be assigned as 101~ and 10I~ respectively. When the force point lies
between the surfaces, section will be in partial yielding and the function of the spring stiffness, t,
is proposed to be given by,

t - 6 E I IMpr-M I when Mer<M<Mpr (3)

L I M - M rl
in which EI is the flexural rigidity, L is the element length, and Mer and Mpr are the reduced initial-
and full-yield moments in the presence of axial force, P, shown in Fig. 4.

Movement Correction of Force Point

After a fully plastic hinge is formed at a section, correction of forces must be considered to insure
the force point is not outside the maximum strength of section. As the axial force increases, the
moment capacity will be reduced and hence the value of bending moment would decrease. If the
force point is outside the full-yield surface, the point is assumed to shift orthogonally back onto the
yield surface.


Assuming the section spring stiffness at the ends of an element to be t~ and t 2, an incremental form
of element stiffness can be expressed (see Fig. 4) as,


AiM: /

AIM1[ = -t I 4EI/L +t 1
4EI/L +t 2 -t 2
-t~ t~

in which the subscript "1" and "2" are referred to the node 1 and node 2, AeM and AiM are the
incremental nodal moments at the junctions between the spring and the global node and between
the beam and the spring and, Ae0 and Ai0 are the incremental nodal rotations corresponding to these
moments. It is assumed that the loads are applied only at the global nodes and hence both AiM1
and AiM2 are equal to zero, we obtain,
154 P. P.-T. Chui and S.-L. Chan

Ai01) 1 (s)
A i02) = --~ -2EI/L 4EI/L +t 1 tAeO2)

in which 13 = (4EI/L+t0(4EI/L+t2) - 4(EI/L) 2. Eliminating the internal degrees of freedom by

substituting the equation (5) into (4), the final incremental stiffness relationships for the element can
be formulated as,

EA/L 0 0
0 tl -t12(K22 + t2)/13 tlt2K12/13 Ae01 (6)
0 tlt2K21/13 t2-t~(K11+t1)/~ t ao~

in which A is section area, AP is axial force increment and AL is axial deformation increment.


The two-bay six-storey European calibration frame subjected to proportionally applied

distributed gravity loads and concentrated lateral loads has been reported by Vogel (1985). The
frame is assumed to have an initial out-of-plumb straightness and all the members are assumed to
possess the ECCS residual stress distribution (ECCS 1983). The paths of load-deformation curves
shown in Fig. 5 are primarily the same by the plastic-zone and the plastic-hinge analyses. The
maximum capacity is reached at a load factor of 1.11 for Vogel's plastic-zone method (Vogel 1985),
1.12 for Vogel's plastic-hinge method (Vogel 1985), and 1.125 for the proposed refined-plastic
hinge method. The maximum difference between these limit loads is less than 1.4%. This example
shows the adequacy of the plastic hinge method for large deflection and inelastic analysis of steel

The same frame has also been studied by the Cornell University inelastic program: the CU-
STAND (Hsieh et al. 1989). The force diagrams of the frame with key values at specified locations
and at the maximum load of the frame are plotted in Fig. 6. The ultimate load factors are 1.13 for
the CU-STAND and 1.125 for the present study. The force distribution and the plastic hinge
location obtained by the analyses are essentially similar. The CU-STAND hinge analysis detects a
total of 19 plastic hinges while the present study detects 16 plastic hinges. The difference may be
explained by the fact that the present limit load, which is less than that obtained by Hsieh et al.
(1989), is not high enough to produce further fully plastic hinges at these three locations. Referring
to the figure, the present bending moments at the three locations are very close to the fully plastic
moment capacity of section just before structural collapse.


A plastic-hinge based approach for inelastic analysis of steel frames, the refined-plastic-hinge
methods, is presented. The inelastic behaviour of a beam-column member can be simulated by a
spring model allowing for degradable stiffness of sections between the elastic and plastic states.
From the example, the inelastic behaviour of frame controls the ultimate load and should be
Second-Order Plastic Analysis of Steel Frames 155
considered. Generally speaking, based on the simplified numerical model employed, the proposed
refined-plastic-hinge analysis is more suitable and practical in design practice when compared with
the plastic-zone analysis.


The authors gratefully acknowledge that the work described in this paper was substantially
supported by a grant from the Research Grant Council of the Hong Kong Special Administration
Region on the project "Static and Dynamic Analysis of Steel Structures (B-Q 193/97)". The support
of the first author by Ove Arup and Partners(Hong Kong) Ltd. is also acknowledged.


1. British Standard Institution (1985), BS5950: Part I." Structural Use of Steelwork in Building,
BSI, London, England.
2. European Convention for Constructional Steelwork (1983), Ultimate Limit State Calculation of
Sway Frames with Rigid Joints, ECCS, Technical Working Group 8.2, Systems, Publication No.
3. Gharpuray, V. and Aristizabal-Ochoa, J.D. (1989), "Simplified Second-Order Elastic Plastic
Analysis of Frames", J. of Computing in Civil Engng., 3:1, pp.47-59.
4. Standards Australia (1990), AS4100-1990 Steel Structures, Australian Institute of Steel
Construction, Sydney, Australia.
5. Steel Construction Institute (1988), Introduction to Steelwork Design to BS5950: Part 1, SCI
Publication No. 069, Berkshire, England.
6. Ziemian, R.D. (1989), Verification Study, School of Civil and Environmental Engng., Cornell
Univ., Ithaca, N.Y.
7. Vogel, U. (1985), "Calibrating frames", Stahlbau, 54, October, pp.295-311.
8. Hsieh, S.H., Deierlein, G.G., McGuire, W. and Abel, J.F. (1989), "Technical manual for
CU-STAND", Structural Engineering Report No. 89-12, School of Civil and Environmental
Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., U.S.A.
156 P. P.-T. Chui and S.-L. Chan
Unur Analym /
Bmtlr BifurcationLoad




oo%AotualB e h ~ o u r
Torsional 8eoond-orderPlmtlcZone

Generalised Displacement
Fig. 1 General Analysis Types of Framed Structures

03 ~i'~ "-~ o a o~a

I 0.5 I

D 0.5 3

I 0.5
B _1 03
~/~=os ~/~=oa
D / B < 12 D/B > 12
Fig. 2 ECCS residual stress distribution for hot-rolled I-ssctlons

M/Mp ~ - - Idealizedelastic-perfectlyplasUc behaviour

or~ r-- W'ithout residualstresses

9 IT ,"

, , hW
t.i residual
~ / stresses

/%, o-< : (Ty = yield stress

o ~ +/+y
Fig, 3 Moment-curvature relationship for I-ssctlon
with and without residual stresses
Section spring of stiffness, t2
Node1 ~ Node2~.M2
P "'--2,.0,

Fig. 4 Internal forces of an element with end-ssction springs accounting

for cross-ssction plsstlflcatlon employed by the present study
Second-Order Plastic Analysis of Steel Frames 157
1.2 Umiting load factor,)~
1.11 1.12 1.125

1.0 _ ~ k N / m


2LS?2I =
,.z 0.7
0 / -I '"'=~ ~' I
I ~L..L . . . . ~.l.~.,..~.,m
,.~ 0.6 / - ~ F ;~-~ ~ T M ~ ~
_9 0.5 / ,, .L .... ~,L~M_
F~ ~IWN/m

/ -I "'= ~ I
I E = 205 KN/mm < ~ ;" -"-'_~, . . . . ~_'-"

0.3 / ~= ~ ~mr~ ~ ~ ~ ~' ~i

/ ~ = 1/450 (_P!astic zone) /7~ ~/'~/7 7-/
0.2 = 1/300 (Plastic hinge) l< 2xe 112m __l I

..... D9 Plastic zone (Vogel 1985)

0.1 ...... 0 Plastic hinge (Vogel 1985)
Refined-plastic hinge (this study) (56 (cm)
0.0 I I I I l I I
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35

Fig. 5 Inelastic load-deflection behsvlour of Vogel six-storey frame

~ 81.4

255 I I 547 II ~
[2 ]
L [~:6:3][147~
f 142.7 .
[147.6] [147.6]

4O7 I I 879 II 4 I 146.5 [147.6]A 145.5 [147.5]

[147.5] /

! ~ 8 . ; 152.4[1

L/~.4"/'q-__J~30.g 7
I 154.-g--- [230.3]/ 125.4P~.4]
$]/ ~ [3o,.1]/ 112.5 [2~.s] 7
~69] ~914] ~ ,j/W~.111.6 / [~2204.7
] / ~10~:59]

(a) Axial force (kN) (b) Bending moment (kN-m)

Values: Symbols:
This study, k u =1.125 0 Plastic hinge location by CU-BTAND
[CU-STAND, Xu =1.1 3] ~ Plastic hinge location by this study
9 Common plastic hinge location by CU-STAND and this study
Fig, 6 Comparslon of member forces of Vogel frame by
Cornell studies and this study
This Page Intentionally Left Blank

P. Makel~iinen and O. Kaitila

Laboratory of Steel Structures, Helsinki University of Technology,

P.O.Box 2100, FIN-02015 HUT, Finland


The Rosette thin-walled steel truss system presents a new fully integrated prefabricated alternative to
light-weight roof truss structures. The trusses will be built up on special industrial production lines
from modified top hat sections used as top and bottom chords and channel sections used as webs
which are jointed together with the Rosette press-joining technique to form a completed structure easy
to transport and install. A single web section is used when sufficient and can be strengthened by
double-nesting two separate sections or by using two or several lateral profiles where greater
compressive axial forces are met.

A series of laboratory tests have been carried out in order to verify the Rosette truss system in practice.
In addition to compression tests on individual sections of different lengths, tests have also been done
on small structural assemblies, e.g. the eaves section, and on actual full-scale trusses of 10 metre span.
Design calculations have been performed on selected roof truss geometries based on the test results,
FE-analysis and on the Eurocode 3, U.S.(AISI) and Australian / New Zealand (AS) design codes.


Rosette-joint, truss testing, light-weight steel, roof truss, cold-formed steel, steel sheet joining.


The Rosette-joining system is a completely new press-joining method for cold-formed steel structures.
The joint is formed using the parent metal of the sections to be connected without the need for
additional materials. Nor is there need for heating, which may cause damage to protective coatings.
The Rosette technology was developed for fully automated, integrated processing of strip coil material
directly into any kind of light-gauge steel frame components for structural applications, such as stud
wall panels or roof trusses. The integrated production system makes prefabricated and dimensioned
frame components and allows for just-in-time (JIT) assembly of frame panels or trusses without further
measurements or jigs.

160 P. Mdkeldinen and O. Kaitila
This paper presents the first extended test programme performed on the ROSETTE light-weight steel
roof truss system. Results of tests on individual members and full scale roof trusses are presented.


The Rosette-joint is formed in pairs between prefabricated holes in one jointed part and collared holes
in the other part. First, the collars are snapped into the holes. Then the Rosette tool heads penetrate the
holes at the connection point, where the heads expand, and are then pulled back with hydraulic force.
The expanded tool head crimps the collar against the hole. Torque is enhanced by multiple teeth in the
joint perimeter. The joining process is illustrated in Figure 1 and the finished Rosette-joint is shown in
Figure 2.

Figure 1: Rosette-joining process Figure 2: The Rosette-joint


Rosette - trusses are assembled on special industrial production lines from modified hat sections used
as top and bottom chords and channel sections used as webs, as portrayed in Figure 3, which are joined
together with the Rosette press-joining technique to form a completed structure. The profiles are
manufactured in two size groups using strip coil material of thicknesses from 1.0 to 1.5 mm. A single
web section is used when sufficient, but it can be strengthened by double-nesting two separate sections
and/or by using two or several lateral profiles where greater axial loads are met. At the present time,
the application of the Rosette truss system is being examined in the 6 to 15 metre span range.

Figure 3: Cross-sections of the 89 mm Rosette chord and 38 mm web members

Study on the Behaviour o f a New Light-Weight Steel R o o f Truss 161

Tests on Web Members

Axial compression tests were carried out on four differently arranged sets of 38 mm web sections of
measured cross-sectional thickness 0.94 mm in order to verify their actual failure mode and load. The
specimens in groups 1 to 3 were prepared for testing by casting each end in concrete, thus providing
rigid end conditions. All specimens, including group 4, were placed firmly on solid smooth surfaces
and the compressive force was applied axially on the gravitational centroid of the members.

The test results are summarized in Table 1. In test groups 1 and 2, they are quite consistent with
analytical values determined according to Eurocode 3 , Part 1.3. Group 3 consists of two specimens of
web members with two profiles freely nested one inside the other. The analytical compression capacity
was obtained by simply multiplying the capacity of a single profile by two. The average maximum
load from the tests was approximately three-fold the test value for a single profile. This high value is
due to the greater torsion resistance of the nested profiles when compared to single profiles.

Test-group 4 differs from the first three groups in its overall arrangement and motives. The idea was to
examine the way the joints connecting the web profile to the chord profiles perform under axial
loading, and how much rotational support they give to the web profile that has been initially
considered hinged at both ends. Each of the three test specimens consisted of a 1 060 mm long web
profile element connected by Rosette-joints at each of its ends to a 400 mm long piece of chord profile.
The length of the specimens was chosen great enough to prevent the failure of the joints before
buckling occured. The distance between the midpoints of the joints was then 1 003 mm for all three
specimens. The average maximum test load value was approximately 39 % larger than the analytical
value calculated with an effective buckling length reduction factor of Kb = 1.0. The test load value
corresponds to an analytical buckle half-wavelength of 780 mm (Kb = 0.78). This indicates that it
would be safe to use an effective buckling length reduction factor ofKb = 0.9, as is quite usual practice
in roof truss structures.


Test Testpi~.e Total length Theoretical Analytical Test Ratio between Failure
Group number after setup Buckle Compression Result test result Mode
Half-wavelength Capacity and analytical
# mrn mm kN kN result
1 660 330 33.44 34.24 1.02 T+D
2 660 330 33.44 36.02 1.08 T+D
3 660 330 33.44 36.80 1.10 T+D
Average: 35.69 1.07
1061 530.5 25.56 23.04 0.90 T
1060 530 25.56 25.06 0.98 T
1060 530 25.56 26.94 1.05 T
Average: 25.01 0.98
1063 531.5 45.14 1.66 F+T
1061 530.5 45.14 1.68 F+T
Average: 1.67
1000 I000 9.27 1.42
1000 I000 9.27 1.43
1000 I000 9.27 1.32
Average: 1.39
162 P. Mdkeldinen and O. Kaitila
Tests on Chord Members

Similar compression tests to those carried out on individual web profiles (test-groups 1 and 2) have
been performed on chord profiles. The actual structure will include continuous chord members that are
connected to web members at different intervals and laterally supported by braces at 600 mm intervals.


Test Test piece Total length Theoretical Analytical Test Ratio between Failure
Group number after setup Buckle Compression Result test result Mode
Half-wavelength Capacity and analytical
# # mm mm kN kN result
1 1 1258 629 52.68 47.28 0.90 TF
2 1255 627.5 52.68 46.92 0.89 TF
3 1255 627.5 52.68 49.85 0.95 TF
Average: 48.02 0.91
St. deviation: 1.60
4 1754 877 32.95 34.65 1.05 TF
5 1751 875.5 32.95 34.54 1.05 TF
6 1755 877.5 32.95 34.37 1.04 TF
Average: I 34.52 1.05
St. deviation:

It can be concluded that the design procedure used for the evaluation of the compression capacities is
quite compatible with the test results. The analytical calculations and FE-analyses performed predicted
a torsional-flexural buckling mode with a stronger deflection in the y-direction and the test results
supported this prediction. Also the maximum loads observed in the tests comply with the analytical
values to an acceptable degree.

T E S T S ON F U L L - S C A L E T R U S S E S


Two full scale 10 metre span trusses have been tested according to the testing procedure described in
Eurocode 3: Part 1.3 Appendix A4. The first truss passed the first phase of testing, i.e. the 'Acceptance
Test', but failed during the load increase phase of the next test round, i.e. the 'Strength Test'. This
failure was due to manufacturing difficulties and insufficient detail design of the truss (Kaitila 1998a).
The information received from the first test was analysed and used to improve the details of the second
truss while preserving the original basic geometry. The different phases and the results of the second
truss test are given in the present chapter.

Test Set-Up

The test truss was manufactured from steel plate with cross-sectional wall thickness tobs = 0.95 mm (+
zinc coating), yield stressfy, obs = 368 N/mm ~, and modulus of elasticity E = 189 430 N/mm 2 (all values
taken for steel in the direction of cold-forming).

The profiles used were a modified 89 mm chord and a new 29 mm web profile, as shown in Figure 4.
The vertical web profiles on the supports were designed so that they rest against the bottom flange of
the bottom chord and could thus directly transmit the load from the structure onto the support as
compression, without the chord member having to support unneccessary shear force which would
Study on the Behaviour of a New Light-Weight Steel Roof Truss 163
cause strong distortion in the lower part of the chord member, as observed in the tests on eaves

Figure 4: The profiles used in the second truss test

The nominal geometry of the tested truss is outlined in Figure 5. The truss was symmetrical about its
centre line with a top chord inclination of 18 degrees. The height at the support was approximately 490
mm, which gave the truss a total height of about 2100 mm. The top chords were connected to each
other at mid-span using a short web member and specially manufactured jointing plates. The total mass
of the actual truss was 75.5 kg.

Figure 5: Nominal geometry of the test truss with load cylinders

The truss was supported at the ends of the bottom chord with pinned supports. All horizontal
displacements were prevented at the lefthand support and free in the plane of the structure at the
righthand support. The support plates were long enough to allow for a sufficient support area for both
web members at the support. The lateral supports were made at the top chord every 600 mm by simply
bolting the top flange of the chord to the c 600 loading rig. The load cylinders were hinged in the plane
of the structure but fixed in the plane perpendicular to that of the truss.

The dimensions of the actual truss differed quite little from the nominal values. The actual dimensions
of the manufactured profiles differed from the nominal cross-sections by less than 5 %. The formation
of the joints was done successfully this time without the problems that occurred in the manufacturing
of the first test truss.
164 P. Mdikeldinen and O. Kaitila
Outline o f Test Procedure

The testing was performed according to the procedure described in Eurocode 3 Part 1.3 Appendix A4:
Tests on Structures and Portions of Structures. This method includes three distinct phases, an
'Acceptance Test', a 'Strength Test' and a 'Prototype Failure Test'. The loading was applied at eighteen
distinct points (nine on each side of the truss's midline) with c 600 mm space between them so, that at
mid-point there was no load and thus the space between the two middle load cylinders was 1 200 mm.

Only symmetrical evenly distributed loading was considered in this test. The load was pumped into a
hydrostatic pressure cylinder using a handpump and subsequently evenly divided between all 18 load
cylinders. Each load cylinder had a 420 mm long loading pad which transmitted the load from the
cylinder onto the structure. The loading pad is 80 mm wide which made it possible to place the 63 mm
wide top chord profile centrally under the pad and leave a minimum space of approximately 8 mm for
distortional or other deformation of the cross-section on both sides of the profile. Vertical deflections
were measured with displacement bulbs at the mid-point and the quarter points of the bottom chord,
and at the ends and the mid-point of the top chords. Horizontal displacement of the supports was also

Computer Model o f the Test Truss

A STAAD III-analysis was performed for the design of the truss. The material values used for the
model were:
9 wall thickness t = 0.96 mm
9 yield strengthfy =fyb = 350 N/mm 2
9 modulus of elasticity E = 210 000 N/mm 2
The connection (i.e. two joints) capacity used in the analysis was taken as Fc,conn= 10.8 kN.

Progression and Results o f t he Full Scale Truss Test

The second test truss successfully passed all phases of testing and the maximum load reached was 48.5
kN. The course of the test can be most simply explained with the aid of the diagram given in Figure 6
showing the deflection of the truss at mid-span measured from the bottom chord. The graph is
complemented with numbers showing the different phases of testing.

Figure 6: Deflection at mid-span of the truss (see text for notes)

Study on the Behaviour of a New Light-Weight Steel Roof Truss 165
1. The test was begun at zero load and the load was steadily increased up to 25.16 kN, where it was
held for one hour. The nonlinearities in the curve during load increase were caused by the
movement in the joints due to production tolerances. Point 1 marks the beginning of the one hour
period. During load increase or decrease, displacement values were taken at 5 second intervals.
During the constant load phases, they were recorded every 30 seconds.
2. Point 2 marks the end of the one hour period. The maximum deflection at this stage was 11.28 mm
or L / 850. The load was then gradually taken off.
3. The residual deflection after the 'Acceptance Test' phase was 1.74 mm (15 % of the maximum
recorded). The allowable value is 20 %, so the truss passed this first phase successfully. The
behaviour of the truss was very good during this first phase.
4. The test load was initially evaluated as 32.0 kN due to a miscalculation. Therefore a quick decision
was made at the beginning of the one hour period of this second phase of testing, to increase the
test load by 10 % up to 35.2 kN. Point 4 marks the small escalation caused by this mistake before
the 10 % increase.
5. Point 5 shows the beginning of the one hour period of the 'Strength Test' phase at load 35.2 kN.
6. Point 6 marks the end of this one hour period. The maximum deflection recorded at this stage was
18.06 mm or L / 550.
7. Point 7 marks the residual deflection at mid-span after the removal of the load. This total residual
deflection was 4.51 mm, i.e. the deflection was decreased by 75 %, much more than the 20 %
needed at this stage. No actual tear was observed, but a slight beginning of local deformations
could be seen in the chord members in the area of the most heavily loaded joints, i.e. beginning
shear deformations like the ones portrayed in Figure 7 were starting to appear, but in a much
smaller scale than in the photographs.

Figure 7: Deformations at the left side support area of the top chord
just before failure (left) and after failure (right)

The free edges of the top chord deformed into slight sine-shaped curves under loading, as
expected. The deformation happened in such a way, that consecutive portions separated by web
members were deformed in opposite directions, i.e. the first one towards the inside, the second one
towards the outside etc. A similar deformation occurred in the bottom chord, although this part of
the structure should primarily be under tensile stress. The effect of bending moment caused the
deformation of the free edges of the bottom chord profiles. The individual web members did not
show indication of insufficiency.
8. After the truss had satisfactorily passed the 'Strength Test'-phase, the last stage with loading up to
failure was begun. During the increase of the load, the longer webs were considerably deformed in
torsion and flexure. Nevertheless, the final failure did not occur directly due to this but to the joints
in the first tension webs counting from outside, as expected from the computer analysis. The
166 P. Mgikelgiinen and O. Kaitila
failure load was 48.5 kN, although it can be argued that the load-bearing capacity of the truss was
reached around a total load value of 46 kN, because of the strong torsional-flexural deformations of
the longer web members.


This paper presents the general results of the first analysis including a test programme on the Rosette -
steel roof truss system and individual members. The behaviour of the truss was linear and predictable
throughout the testing procedure. The structure successfully passed the first and second stages of the
Eurocode 3 testing procedure, 'Acceptance Test' and 'Strength Test', respectively. The manufacturing
of the truss was carried out with a much better standard of quality than in the first test, where several
imperfections caused the truss's early failure (Kaitila 1998a). The individual members acted well in
this test. There was no significant plastic deformation before the last stages prior to failure.

The partial safety factors for the joints are considerably larger than those used for the members (t, =
1.25 compared with 1' = 1.1, respectively). Therefore it is not surprising that it is the joints that tend to
become critical in the truss design. Furthermore, because the chord members did not cause any
problems in this test, it might be concluded that the chord profile has unnecessary extra capacity and
reasons for reducing the chord profile in size might exist. However, it is perhaps too early to draw such
a conclusion, since the effects of this type of change need to be examined on the level of a complete

The connection technique used to join together the top chords at mid-span should be studied and
designed in a more efficient manner with an analysis extending to the effect of a suggested solution on
the behaviour of the complete structure.

The truss passed the requirements set by the European design standard. Further optimization and more
detailed design is needed for the application of the Rosette system to high-quantity production, but a
strong confidence in the abilities of the system can be justified by this test.


The authors would like to acknowledge Mr. Kimmo J. Sahramaa (FUSA Tech Inc., Reston, VA,
USA), the innovator of the Rosette-joint technology, and Mr. Juha Arola (Rosette Systems Ltd,
Kauniainen, Finland) for the initiation and support of this research project.


Kaitila O. (1998a). Design o f Cold-Formed Steel Roof Trusses Using Rosette - Connections, Master's
Thesis, Helsinki University of Technology, Espoo, Finland
Kaitila O. (1998b). Second Full Scale Truss Test on a Rosette - Joined Roof Truss, Research Report
TeRT-98-04, Helsinki University of Technology, Espoo, Finland
Kesti J., Lu W., M~.kel/iinen P. (1998). Shear Tests for ROSETTE Connection, Research Report TeRT-
98-03, Helsinki University of Technology, Espoo, Finland
M~kel~inen P., Kesti J., Kaitila O., Sahramaa K.J. (1998a). Study on Light-Gauge Roof Trusses with
Rosette Connections, 14 th International Specialty Conference on Cold-Formed Steel Structures,
St.Louis, Missouri, USA
M/J.kel~inen P., Kesti J., Kaitila O. (1998b). Advanced Method for Light-Weight Steel Truss Joining,
Nordic Steel Construction Conference 98, Bergen, Norway

Shojiro Motoyui and Takahiro Ohtsuka

Department of Built Environment, Tokyo Institute of Technology,

4259 Nagatsuta, Midori-ku, Yokohama, 226-8502, Japan


It is necessary for evaluating true safety of structures to evaluate the safety by using an analytical
method which can simulate the behavior to collapse. And a collapse of steel frames is due to local
buckling, fracture, etc., we consider a collapse behavior caused by only elastoplastic local buckling in
this paper. However, in present situation of computer performance, it is not realistic to analyze
dynamically the whole frames with the finite element method which can express the influence of local
buckling. Besides, as far as we know, none of the reports clarified the strength degradation behavior
with local buckling considering the influence of applied axial force and bending moment equivalently.
Then, we show a generalized plastic hinge model which is able to pursue the strength degradation
behavior governed by local buckling to collapse, according to evaluating equivalently axial force and
bending moment on N-M interaction relationships based on plasticity theory.


generalized plastic hinge model, local buckling, strength decrease behavior, collapse, plasticity theory,
steel frames, numerical analysis, finite element method


There are few studies on the response analysis of steel frames which have members with strength
decrease governed by local buckling. The simplified model proposed in those studies, L. Meng et
al.(1991), Yoda et al.(1991), Yamada and Akiyama(1996) are not clarified about evaluation axial force
in local buckling, that is, those models don't evaluate equivalently axial force and bending moment
for the influence of local buckling. Then, in order to propose a generalized plastic hinge model which
can pursue the strength decrease behavior governed by local buckling based on plasticity theory, we
clarify the following establishments according to the numerical results calculated with finite element
method for simple structural model of steel member subjected to relatively high axial force.
9 Strength function which correspond to yield function in plasticity theory
9 Plastic potential which define a condition of plastic flow
~ Hardening and softening rule which define a movement of strength function of post yielding and
post buckling

168 S. Motoyui and T. Ohtsuka

Analytical model
In this section, we consider previous establishments by the material and geometrical nonlinear
analysis with finite element method. Table 1 shows measurement of model, and Table 2 shows
material properties. Stress-strain relationship is elastic-perfectly plastic material. Analytical model
shown in Fig. 1. We calculate in two kind of loading, one is that P,, and Pv are loading in the ratio of
constant ( N/Q = 3,10,30 ), other is that P, is loading constantly ( N = 0.4Ny ) and P,, is loading variably.

L b/tf d/t w A Aw I Ny Mv
(mm) (1) (1) (mm2) (mm2) (mm') ( M N ) (kN- m)
1000 8.3 33.3 3900 1200 3.1 x 107 1.5145 128.15

Cry E v G 6y
(MPa) (GPa) (1) (GPa) (%)
388.34 206 0.3 79.2 0.1886
Figure 1: Analytical model
Strength function

Axial displacement u and rotation angle at fixed end 0 are given by Eqn. 1, and axial force n, shear
force q and fixed end moment m are given by Eqn. 2.

~-~/(L+8~)~+(8.)~-,~. o--8.1L (I)

n = N cos 0 - Q sin 0, q = N sin 0 + Q cos 0, m= M (2)

where 8,,, 8v are horizontal and vertical displacement at free end, L is the member length, shown in
Fig. 1. Then the relationship ~ and m for each loading pattern is shown in Fig. 2, in which
~=n/Ny ,Nyis the fully plastic axial force capacity, m=m/Mp,Mpis the full plastic moment. The
initial full yield surface a~ in Fig. 1 is expressed as:

- ~ + ~1~1-1 - 0 Zone I (3)

= ~= +1~1-1= 0 Zone II (4)

where N,~is the fully plastic force capacity of web, Mp:is the full plastic moment of flange, cr, r are
constants obtained from N,~ and M p:.

Figure 2: ~ - ~ interaction curve

Generalized Plastic Hh~ge M o d e l f o r the Collapse Behavior o f Steel Frames 169
Progress o f plastic displacement

Each displacement u, 0 are divided in terms of the elastic displacement and plastic one as follow:

u=u e +u p, 0 = 0 ~ +0 p (5)

where raising index e , p a r e expressed elastic and plastic component respectively, and ue,oeare
obtained as:
nL mL m
u e = m 0 ~ = + ~ (6)
EA ' 3 EI GAw L

where E, G , / , A and A, are the Young's modulus, shear modulus, moment of inertia, section area and
web area respectively. However, shear deformation behaves elastically. Considering energy
dimensional generalized plastic displacements ~p and Op are defined as Eqn.7, the relationship
~-~and O~ is shown in Fig. 3. As shown in Fig. 3, the relationship ~-p and o~ is linear. Furthermore,
diagramming the vector in Fig. 3 which cross at initial full yield surface in Fig. 2, the numerical
results correspond to these vectors. Then, in the post buckling, the vectors of plastic displacement
cross at initial full yield surface.
uP = NyU p, Op = MpO p (7)

Figure 3: Generalized plastic displacement Figure 4: S - ~-p relationship


Equivalent strength p a r a m e t e r

According to the plastic work ratiodWp which is defined by Eqn. 8, the relationship ~TM and equivalent
strength parameter S which is defined by Eqn. 9 is shown in Fig. 4.

dWp ~ n Au p + m A@p (8)

_ dw,,_Aw,,
S - -- _ -- (9)
d-ffp A~-p

where auP,AO p are incremental plastic axial displacement and incremental plastic rotation angle at
fixed end. Awp,A~-Pare incremental plastic work and incremental generalized plastic axial
displacement respectively. As shown in Fig. 4, regardless of loading types, s of each loading type in
Zone I are plotted in the same figure according to gP. Furthermore, as shown in Fig. 2, the points
( s =0.95,0.9,0.85,0.8) are plotted ( o A s . ) for each loading type and linked that points for each s , the
strength surface is moving parallel to the initial full yield surface in Zone I.

Therefore, associate flow rule in plasticity theory can be applied in yielding and post buckling
location. We assume that the shape of strength surface is equal to the full yield surface. And it is
considered that plastic potential which define a condition of plastic flow is equal to strength surface.
170 S. Motoyui and T. Ohtsuka


The development of plastic displacements conforms to associate flow rule. In this paper, we consider
the strength surface for Zone I in Fig. 2 which is moving parallel to the initial full yield surface
according to equivalent strength parameter. The relationship equivalent strength parameter and
equivalent plastic displacement parameter is obtained from the results calculated with finite element
method. And the relationship hysteresis characteristic under monotonic loading and that under cyclic
loading is modeled by Kato and Akiyama (1973). However, structural member behaves without shear
yielding and shear buckling.

Evaluate plastic and damage progress

Considering strength decrease governed by local buckling, the strength function for Zone I defined in
Eqn. 3 for plus and minus ff is rewritten as follows:

~(~,m,~): I~1+,lml- g : o (10)

Assuming associate flow rule, the incremental generalized plastic displacement vector A~P can be
expressed as:

where aa~/~=~/lffl= v,8~/dm=~/Iml= ~, and a2p is energy dimensional incremental equivalent

plastic displacement parameter, is condition OnA2p >__0, ~0_ 0, A2p~0- 0 and A2pzx~o- o.

Then, we lead nodal displacement, nodal force and tangent stiffness matrix by using return mapping
algorithm, M. Oritz and J.C.Simo (1992). Fig. 5 shows the properties of a element with plastic hinge
at its two ends.

The displacement vector, its elastic vector and generalized plastic displacement vector at time
t + At are 1+~'u ,'+~'u eand '+~'~Prespectively. If we know plastic displacement vector'u p and equivalent
plastic displacement parameter'2pat timet, elastic displacement vector'+~'ueand equivalent plastic
parameter .... 2p are expressed as follows:
'+AtAp='2p + A2p (13)

where At is incremental time. Firstly, we try to obtain a trial force vector 'n~ according to freezing
incremental plastic displacement during At.

Figure 5: Nodal displacement and nodal force

G e n e r a l i z e d Plastic H i n g e M o d e l f o r the Collapse B e h a v i o r o f S t e e l F r a m e s 171
Elastic predictor Au p = O, trialgle t+Atl,l tl,ip, t.... N = K e tnalue (14)
AAv = 0 2,p = )tp = 'ri~t/lv

where elastic stiffness matrix K, is given as follows:

-~.. 0 o -k.. o o
kqq kqm 0 -kqq kqm kn n EA 12EI 1 EI (4 +y)
kii 0 - kqm kii =T' kqq-- L3 (l+r)' k,, = - - ~ L(1+7)

Ke= k.. 0 o
SYM. kqq - kq~ k q,, 6E1 1 E1 (2- Z) 12E1 L
-L O+r) ' L (1+7") , r= GA.,

If plastic displacement don't develop during At, 'ri~N and 'ri'S obtained from Eqn. 14 satisfy Eqn. 15.
That is, when'ri"tN and 'ri"tg;don't satisfy Eqn.15, plastic displacement develop, we evaluate
development of plastic displacement and correct trial force.

trial(~9( trial--l.l,trial~m,trial-~t_~
j <~O (15)

Plastic corrector '+~'ue='ri~'U ~ - - ~ P , Aid p = A2,pP-1t~}, '+~'N = Ke(trialtle -All p) (16)

'+~';tp = t~,p + AA.p , '+~'g = ~('ri~ 2p + A/].p )

These correct forces at time t + At should conform the strength function, therefore

'+A'q)('+A'~,'+*'~,'+~'S) = 0 (17)

This equation is nonlinear for A2~ so that we solve this by Newton method. To put it concretely, since
the values of iteration step k are, Eqn. 17 can be expressed for node i and j at iteration step k + 1 as:

,ri~tn _k,~ (k) +k,,, (k)Vj (k)A~.pj tri~Zmi - k~i (~) ' (k)A/]'pi--~pk~J(k) (k)A2pj
' ~ vi (X')A)~'Pi Ny
(k+l)~/ = +'C - Si ( .... l A pi + (k)mApi )
Ny Mp
,ri,t +k,~ (k) V~(k)A2,v;-k,,,, (1,) ,ri~tm ) _ --CT--.
k o. (k)iu i (k)AApi _ k~ (k) /-I) (k ) AA'vj
nj Ny -~y v j (k) AA.pj
(k+l)~j Ny Mp

Considering to the first order term ofTaylor's series ofEqn. 18 for SAip which is a variation OfAA, p

(k+l)~, =(k)~. a,; (k)6&,Zp, a,j (k)6A2pj

_ - (19)
(k+l)q) =(k)q)j _aii (k)gA2"pi-- air (k)gA2pj
_ k~ +r: k~ + ((k)Api , k,~ v: ku k,, v: kq k,~ +v: k;~
Ny Mp Ny Mp Ny Mp Ny Mp
172 S. M o t o y u i a n d T. O h t s u k a

Equating Right-hand of Eqn. 19 with zero, then '"'8A2,,iand '"'"At,,, are obtained as follows:

/,,),s,,,x,,, = p , , In ~ _ p,~/',) aS, (k+,)At,,i =(k)A2,,,+ (k)6At,,, (2 0 )

/',),SAX,,j = _p,, I,,)~ +p,/,,)r (k+,)/~,,j =(k)A~,N +(k)6A]~,,,j
p,= a,, , p,j__ ~ij
, p.,= aji
, p,.= l~,jj
~ ii l~, jj -- t~,O.~ j i ~ ii ~ jj -- ~ ij ~ j i l~ Hl~ jj -- ~ ij ~ j i ~ ii ~ jj -- ~ O.l~ j #

And elastic displacement vector and force vector of iteration step k + 1are given in Eqn. 21, then we
repeat that until accuracy reach a established value.

(k)/xJ'v~ (k+l)N
(k+,)u" =(~)u"- (k)6At, P -' { (k) = K.(k+')u" (21)
Tangent stiffness matrix

We will have tangent stiffness matrix as follow. Rewriting elastic displacement as shown in Eqn. 16-a
to the mention of rate, we have
du" = d f tri~u " -
then the rate of nodal force vector is expressed as follow:

trialv e 0

'ri:' " 0 (23)

dN:KedllLe-'gedtrialu;[ i

L {'o'o; /,,/M,

Beside, conforming to the rule as shown in Eqn. 24 during plastic flow.

a ~ = ~__a~ + ~___am + ~__a~ : o (24)

drd cGm OS
Then Eqn. 25 is given from Eqn. 23 and 24.

'ria'ue [V,/oNY 0
I 1 (j) t'Va'v~ :
"dNZ-dS2 __ i "Lei d -dZ~pi ~.~li/Mp -dA~pj -HidA~pi =0 (25)

' '~~ [~,,/M,

"~ [~/oN o
9dNj - dSj _ dA2v ~ v _ dA&z - Hj dA& z = 0
t(o-:-:-:-~/8-~)./ 1 c~ 'ri'u; v.j .,,

where dS={;;;}, g. =[~:7

Generalized Plastic Hinge Model for the Collapse Behavior of Steel Frames 173
Rearranging Eqn. 25, we obtain the following equations:

aii(k)6A~,pi+aO.(k)6A,~,pj= "Leidtriatlle, aji(k)6A~,p#+ajj(k)6A~,pj= "Lejdtriallle (26)

t~..IM, ta. IM,

[ ] [ ]
therefore, we can solve Eqn. 26 for dA2p~and dA2pj :

dSXp, = fls, .L.,-fl,j "Les d "~ , dA2, : -fl,, "L., +fl,, "L u d""u (27)
{s'.IM, J t'.l M. {I'.IMpJ t~'.IM,
Substituting Eqn. 27 into Eqn. 23 and tangent stiffness matrix is given as follow:

[fljjVio/NY [Vi/oNY [-flJioi/NY 1 [ 0

aN= x. ~"%,-~I -fl~vOINy
p..~,./M.. .K, dt,~Q,u~l,61Mp_~-p..../M,.L .K, dt,~,u~ 0 (28)

t-n..~.lM, t P..s,.IM, J t~./M,

:[".- - | +P,,".:,| ....
where /.:{../u. o ..IM. o o o}'. :.:{o o o ".1". o ..IM.}"
Comparison the numerical results
Fig. 6 compares load-displacement curve subjected to static loading given by the proposed model and
the finite element method in which 0p is an elastic rotation angle corresponding to M~. It can be seen
that two solutions agree well regardless of loading types. What is more important is that the
relationship ~ and ;tv using in Fig. 6 is the same one for each loading type.

Figure 6: Load-displacement curve (static)

In dynamic loading, using Newmark solution scheme and the Newmark's parameters/7 and 7"taken as
0.25 and 0.5, without considering effect of damping. A mass point mm=O.1046[MN.s2/m]is added to
the free end, and mass density p= 7.81xlO-9[N.s2/mm4].Firstly, only Pvis loading at the almost static
rate until Pv is equal to 0.4Ny. Secondly, P~ keeps constant, P,, is cyclic loading as shown in Fig. 7 in
which Qpc = Mpc/L where Mvc is the full plastic moment in the present of axial force, P,, and Opcis the
elastic rotation angle corresponding to M v~, and T is the elastic first natural period of this structure. In
this situation, time increment At is 1.286 x 10-3[sec]. The vertical displacement and restoring force time
174 S. Motoyui and T. Ohtsuka
history are shown in Fig. 8 and Fig. 9. Fig. 10 shows the hysteresis characteristic under dynamic
loading given by the proposed model and finite element method. Though external vertical force Pv is
constant, the vertical restoring force N is variable, as shown in Fig. 9. Involving this, the hysteresis
characteristic is not smooth like in static but waving, as shown in Fig. 10. As shown in Fig. 8,9 and 10,
the results given by the proposed model correspond to the results given by finite element method.

Figure 7: Loading program

Figure 8: Vertical displacement

Figure 10: Load-displacement curve (dynamic)

Figure 9: Vertical force


We clarify the establishment which is to give the effect of local buckling based on plasticity theory
according to the numerical results calculated with finite element method for simple structural model
of steel member subjected to relatively high axial force ratio. Then according to these establishments,
we propose a generalized plastic hinge model which takes local buckling into account, and we
confirmed the proposed model can express the effect of local buckling by means of comparing with
the results calculated with finite element method.


Ohi K., Takahashi K. and Meng L.H. (1991). Multi-Spring Joint Model for Inelastic Behavior of Steel
members with Local Buckling. Bulletin of Earthquake Resistant Structure Research Center, Institute
of lndustrial Science, Univ. of Tokyo 24:March, 105-114
Yoda K., Kurobane Y., Ogawa K. and Imai K. (1991). Hysteretic Behavior and Earthquake Resistant
Design of Single Story Building Frames with Thin-Walled Welded I-Sections. Journal of Struct.
Constr. Engng, AIJ 424:June, 79-89 (in Japanese)
Yamada S. and Akiyama H. (1996). Inelastic Response Analysis of Multi-Story Frames Based on the
Realistic Behaviors of Members Proc. ICASS'96 1, 159-164
Kato B. and Akiyama H. (1973). Theoretical Prediction of the Load-Deflexion Relationship of Steel
Members and Frames IABSE Symposium on Resistance and Ultimate Deformability of Structures
Acted on by Well Defined Repeated Loads, 23-28
Oritz M. and Simo J.C. (!986). An Analysis of a New Class of Integration Algorithms for
Elastoplastic Constitutive Relations. Int. J. Num. Mech. 23:3, 353-366

J Y Richard Liew, H Chen and L K Tang

Department of Civil Engineering, National University of Singapore

10 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119260


This paper describes the methodology of an advanced analysis program for studying the large-
displacement inelastic behaviour of steel frame structures. A brief review of the advanced inelastic
analysis theory is provided, placing emphasis on a two-surface plastic hinge model for steel beam-
columns, a thin-walled beam-column model for core-walls, and a four-parameter power model for
semi-rigid connections. Numerical examples are provided to illustrate the acceptability of the use of
the inelastic models in predicting the ultimate strength and inelastic behaviours of spatial


With the advancement of computer technology in the recent years, research works are currently in
full swing to develop the advanced inelastic analysis methods and computer packages which can
sufficiently represent the behavioural effects associated with member primary limit states such that
the separated specification member capacity checks are not required. This paper presents the
nonlinear inelastic models that can be used for analysing space frame structures within the context
of advanced inelastic analysis. In the proposed approach, each steel framing member is modelled as
one beam-column element. Plastic hinges are allowed to form at the element ends and within the
element length. To allow for the gradual plastification effect, a two-surface model is adopted. The
initial yield surface bounds the region of elastic sectional behaviour, while the plastic strength
surface defines the state of full plastification of section. Smooth transition from the initial yield
surface, as the force state moves to the plastic strength surface, is assumed. Core-walls provide a
major part of the bending and torsional resistance in a building structure. They are modelled by
thin-walled frame elements. The centre line of the core-wall is located on the shear centre axis.
Any significant twisting action should be analysed to include both warping and torsional effects.
Beam-to-column and beam-to-core-wall connections are modelled as rotational spring elements
having the moment-rotation relationship described by the four-parameter power model. At last, the
advanced analysis program is applied to investigate the collapse of a roof truss system, and perform
nonlinear inelastic analysis of a core-braced frame with semi-rigid connections.

176 J . Y . R . L i e w et al.


The basic feature of the proposed plastic hinge formulation is to use one beam-column element per
member to model the nonlinear inelastic effects of steel beam-columns. The element stiffness
matrix is derived from the virtual work equation based on the updated Lagrangian formulation. The
elastic coupling effects between axial, flexural and torsional displacements are considered so that the
proposed element can be used to predict the axial-torsional and lateral-torsional instabilities. By
using the stability interpolation functions for the transverse displacements, the elastic flexural
buckling loads of columns and frames can be predicted by modelling each physical member as one
element. The member bowing effect and initial out-of-straightness are also considered so that the
nonlinear behaviour of frame structures can be captured more accurately (Liew et al., 1999).

Material non-linear behaviour is considered by introducing plastic hinges at the element ends and
within the element length if the sectional forces exceed the plastic criterion, which is expressed by
an interaction function. If a plastic hinge is formed within the element length, the element is divided
into two sub-elements at the plastic hinge location. The internal plastic hinge is modelled by an end
hinge at one of the sub-element. The stiffness matrices for the two sub-elements are determined.
The inelastic stiffness properties of the original element are obtained by static condensation of the
"extra" node at the location of the internal plastic hinge. To allow for gradual plastification effect,
the bounding surface theory in force space is adopted. Two interaction surfaces representing the
state of the stress resultants on a section are employed (Liew and Tang, 1998). The yield surface
bounds the region of elastic al behaviour, while the bounding surface defines the state of full
plastification of the section. The bounding surface encloses the sectional force state and the yield
surface at any stage during the plastic process. To avoid intersection of the surfaces, the yield and
bounding surfaces are given the same shape. When the section is loaded, the force point travels
through the elastic region and contacts the yield surface, which is given by
1-'y = f ( S - [ 3 / = f ( P-j31 QY-[32 Qz-~3 Mx_.~_..~4 My-J35 M z - [ 3 6 / _ l = 0 (1)
~ZySp ) ZyPy ' ZyQpy 'zyQp z ' ZyMpx ' ZyMpy ' ZyMpz
in which P, Qy, Qz, Mx, My, Mz are the sectional forces, Py, Qpy, Qpz, Mpx, Mpy, Mpz are the plastic
capacities for each force component, j3 is the position vector of the yield surface's origo in the force
space, and Zy is the yield surface size. The function Fy is defined that Fy = -1 corresponding to a
stress-free section, while Fy < 0 corresponds to a initial yielding or any subsequent yielding state.
When the further loading takes place, the yield surface starts to translate so that the current force
state remains on it during subsequent loading. For the advanced plastic hinge analysis, the plastic
hardening parameter and transition parameter, which are specific for each force component, are
crucial for the elasto-plastic behaviour of the element. They may be determined from experiments
or numerical calibrations, and the details of such calibration work and further verification studies are
demonstrated in Liew and Tang (1998).

Core-walls are modelled by the thin-walled beam-column element for their proportional similarity to
Vlasov's thin-walled beams and for their computational efficiency in the inelastic analysis (Liew et
al., 1998). As shown in Fig. 1, the thin-walled beam-column element has an additional warping
degree-of-freedom over the beam-column element at each end. The local coordinate is chosen: axis
x lies on the shear centre axis, and y and z axes parallel to the principal y and ~, axes. Some force
and displacement components are referred to the shear centre, whereas the remaining ones are
referred to the centroid of the section. However, before the element stiffness matrices are
transformed into the global coordinate, it is necessary that all the forces and displacements are
referred to a single point. The shear centre can be selected as the reference point. The detailed
derivation for the elastic and geometric matrices of the thin-walled beam-column element is given
Advanced Inelastic Analysis of Spatial Structures 177
by Liew et al. (1997). Because the height-to-width ratio of core-walls is large and the axial force
respective to the sectional area is small in practical building frames, material nonlinearity of core-
walls is considered approximately, assuming that the plastic strength is controlled by the bending
action only. The locations of the shear centre and the centroid of cross-section are assumed not to
change due to the inelastic effects.


Beam-to-column connections can be modelled as rotational spring elements in the nonlinear analysis
of semi-rigid frames (Hsieh, 1990; Chen et al., 1996). Many connection models have been proposed
to describe the moment-rotation relationships of connections used in building steelworks (Liew et
al., 1993). The present work adopts a four-parameter power model to represent the moment-rotation
relationship of typical beam-to-column connections (Hsieh, 1990). The selection of this model is
guided by its simplicity and robustness for representing the basic behaviour of typical connections,
and for ease of implementation in the nonlinear inelastic analysis program. The four-parameter
power model has the following form:
(Ke - K p ~
M - [ I + I ( K _Kp)O/Moln]/n+KpO (2)

in which I~ is the initial stiffness of connection, Kp is the strain-hardening stiffness of connection,

M0 is a reference moment, and n is a shape parameter as shown in Fig. 2. The four-parameter model
can easily encompass the more simple models. For examples, Eq. 2 becomes a linear model if I~ =
Kp, a three-parameter power model if Kp=0, and a bilinear model when n is large.

In the structural design, it is unlikely that specific connection details will be known during the
preliminary design until the structural members have been sized in the final design. Since
connection flexibility will affect the structural response and therefore the required member sizes,
there is a need to develop some means to account for connection behaviour during the analysis and
design process before the final member sizes are selected. One solution is to use the standard
connection reference curves which are based on the connection test database. An optimisation
approach utilising the conjugate-gradient method is first used to find a set of parameters (M0, Ke, Kp,
and n) which gives the best curve-fit to the experimental connection response data. The moment-
rotation curves are then normalised with respect to the nominal connection capacity Mn, which
equals to the moment at a rotation of 0.02 radian as shown in Fig. 2. The standard reference curve is
calibrated by fitting a curve through the average of the normalised curves. The average values of
M'=M/Mn, K'e=Ke/Mn, K'p=Kp/Mn and n in the standard reference curves for nine types of
commonly used connections subjected to in-plane moment have been established (Hsieh, 1990).
Then, for the analysis of the overall structure, only the connection type and nominal connection
capacity would need to be defined without unnecessary concern over the final connection details.
Based on the connection test database, a survey of the ratio of Mn/Mpb for different types of
connections have been carried out, in which Mpb is the plastic bending capacity of beam where the
semi-rigid connection is located. The standard reference curve parameters and values of Mn/Mpb for
several types of connections are listed in table 1.


An accident took place when a roof truss system was assembled on site. Advanced analysis was
carried out to investigate the cause of collapse. The roof truss system includes seven trusses
connected by eight purlins at their top chords and its plan view is shown in Fig. 4. The span and
height of each truss are L = 35.05m and h = 2.45m respectively, as shown in Fig. 5. All trusses are
restrained from the displacement at the supports of bottom chord. The truss at axis 1 is laterally
restrained at the mid-span of the top chord, while the other trusses are connected by purlins only.
178 J . Y . R . Liew et al.

The truss at axis 1 consists of initial out-of-straightness of double-curvature shape at the top chord,
with maximum magnitude of (0.5L)/500 = L/1000 =.35 mm. The top chords of other trusses (from
axes 2 to 7) consist of single-curvature initial out-of-straightness with a maximum magnitude L/500
= 70 mm at the mid-length. The lateral restraint and initial out-of-straightness of the top chords of
all trusses are illustrated in Fig. 4. The supporting ends of all trusses are constrained from
displacements in all directions and out-of-plane rotation, except that the rotational restraint of
support A, whose position is shown in Fig. 4, is released to simulate a careless mistake made during
the installation of the trusses.

The truss system is analysed for two loading conditions. Firstly the system is assumed to be
subjected to only vertical load, so that the safety factor for the overall system under gravity can be
evaluated. The vertical load at every truss includes (1) its self-weight, (2) eight concentrated load of
602.4N each on the connection with purlins to simulate the purlin weight, and (3) two concentrated
load of 2530N each at mid-span of the truss, one at the top chord and the other at the bottom chord,
to simulate the weight of Gusset plates and connections. This can be seen in Fig. 5. Subsequently
the system is studied under full self-weight plus horizontal surged force created by the crane. A
horizontal point load is applied at nodes B and C on the top chords of the truss at axis 7. Nodes B
and C are located at nearly one third of the truss span, as shown in Figs. 4 and 5. This is to evaluate
the horizontal surged forces required to cause the structural failure.

A separate analysis is also carried to evaluate the resistance of individual truss under two load
situations: (1) gravity only, and (2) both the gravity and the horizontal surged force created by the
crane. For the truss at axis 1, which has a lateral restraint at mid-span, its resistance is 1.49 times the
gravity or 1.0 times the gravity plus a horizontal load, supplied at nodes B and C, of 29.5kN each.
In contrast, for the truss at axis 2, without the lateral restraint, its capacity is only 0.38 times the total
gravity. In other words, during the erection, the individual truss cannot resist its self-weight if
lateral restraint is not provided. Since the restrained truss at axis 1 is required to provide the lateral
restraint to the other six trusses by purlins, the maximum resistance of the truss is expected to be less
than when it is acting alone.

When the gravity is applied progressively, the truss system collapse at the load factor 1.15. Fig. 6
shows the plots of applied load ratio versus lateral displacement at node B. The deformed shape of
the truss system at collapse is shown in Fig. 7. This safety factor appears to be very small for the
safe erection of steel structures. To investigate the effect of crane surge, the full self-weight of the
structure is applied first, followed by two horizontal surged forces each at nodes B and C. Fig. 8
shows the horizontal load - displacement plots at node B for the truss at axis 1. The total maximum
horizontal force that can be applied to cause the collapse of the overall truss system is 9.6 kN. The
deformed shape of the trusses at collapse is shown in Fig. 9. This lateral load resistance is
considered to be too small for practical viewpoint. Hence, a single point bracing at the mid-length
of truss at axis 1 is not adequate in providing lateral restraint against normal impact load due to
crane surge. The analysis concludes that more lateral restraints to the compression chord are
necessary for safe erection of the roof trusses.


Figures 10 &l 1 show a 24-storey core-braced frame with storey height h = 3.658 m and total height
H = 87.792 m (Liew et al., 1998). Thickness of concrete core-walls is 0.254 m. Depth of concrete
lintel beam is 1.219 m. A36 steel is used for all sections. Material properties of concrete are:
modulus of elasticity Ec = 23,400 N/mm 2, and compressive strength f~ = 23.4 N/mm 2. The
structure is analysed for the most critical load combination of gravity loads and wind loads that act
in the Y-direction. Core-walls are mainly subjected to the bending moment about the principle ~-
Advanced Inelastic Analysis of Spatial Structures 179
axis, which is parallel to the global X-axis. The bending moment about the principle ~-axis is
small. The plastic section modulus about the principle ~. axis of the channel-shaped core-wall
section is Z = 2.549 m 3. In this example, the height-to-width ratio of core-walls is 24:1. It is
assumed that the plastic resistance of core-walls is dominated by the plastic bending resistance about
the principle 7.-axis, Mz = 0.8Z f" = 4.8x 104 kNm, only. The plastic resistance of core-walls has
been reduced to approximately account for the tensile cracking and axial force interaction effect.

In the nonlinear inelastic analysis, each steel column is modelled as one plastic hinge beam-column
element, and each beam is modelled as four beam-column elements. Core-walls are modelled as
thin-walled beam-column elements. Concrete lintel beams are rigidly connected to core-walls for
resisting the lateral and torsional loads. All floors are assumed to be rigid in plane to account for the
diaphragm action of concrete slabs. The gravity loads, which are equivalent to a uniform floor load
of 4.8 kN/m 2, are applied as concentrated loads at the beam quarter points and at core-walls of every
storey. The wind loads are simulated by applying the horizontal forces in the Y-direction at every
frame joints of the front elevation, and are equivalent to a uniform pressure of 0.96 kN/m 2.

Firstly, inelastic analysis is performed on rigid core-braced frame. The loads are proportionally
applied until the frame collapses at a load ratio of 1.787 when plastic hinges form at the bottom and
the top of core-walls in the first storey. To study the lateral resistance capacity of core-walls,
inelastic analysis is performed on core-braced frame with pin-connections. In this case, the whole
building relies core-walls to provide the lateral resistance only. The limit load and initial lateral
stiffness of the frame with pin connections are only 36% and 21% of those of the rigid frame.
Similarly, to study the lateral resistance capacity of the pure steel frameworks, the elastic modulus
and the compressive strength of concrete are assigned to be very small values. The frame collapses
at a load ratio of 0.654, which is similar to that of the frame with pin-connections. It is noted that
the inelastic lateral deflection behaviour of steel framework is more ductile than that of the frame
with pin-connection. It can found that the building frame cannot only rely on core-walls or steel
frameworks to provide the lateral resistance. Core-walls and steel frameworks must act together to
withstand the external loads.

Semi-rigid construction is faster and cheaper than rigid construction. For high-rise building design,
service wind drift is always the main concern. In order to reduce the number of moment
connections in high-rise building construction, the use of core-braced frames with semi-rigid
connections may provide optimum balance between the dual objectives of buildability and
functionality (Chen et al., 1996). Different types of beam-to-column and beam-to-core-wall
connections in the steel frameworks are assumed to study the connection effect on the inelastic limit
loads and lateral deflections of the frame. The connection properties are given in table 1. The
proposed semi-rigid formulation can model the torsional and both major- and minor-axis flexibility.
However, in this analysis, only the relative rotations about the major-axis of beam section are
allowed at the semi-rigid connections. This is due to two reasons: (1) at present there is little
experimental information on the torsional and out-of-plane behaviours of semi-rigid connection, and
(2) for typical framed structures with rigid floor, the torsional and out-of-plane effects of semi-rigid
connections are not significant.

Inelastic analyses are performed on core-braced frames with 'DWA', 'TSAW' and 'EEP'
connections. The inelastic limit loads and load - deflection curves are shown in Fig. 12. It can been
seen from table 2 that if 'EEP' connections are adopted, the load and lateral stiffness can reach to
93% and 81% of those of the rigid frame. The limit load and inelastic stiffness of frame with
'DWA' connections are only a little higher than those of the frame with pin-connections. The limit
load and inelastic behaviour of the frame with 'TSAW' connections are between those of the frame
180 J.Y.R. Liew et al.
with 'EEP' connections and the frame with 'DWA' connections. It can be concluded that if proper
semi-rigid connections are used, the frame can be constructed much faster and cheaper than the rigid
frame, at the same time satisfying the strength and serviceability limit states.

The basic principles of the proposed advanced inelastic analysis program have been presented.
Inelastic analysis has been applied to study the roof truss system and emphasises the importance of
lateral brace to assure the system's stability, which is important for the safe erection of such
structure. Inelastic analyses on core-braced frame with semi-rigid connections show that
construction with proper selection of connections can satisfy limit states design and achieve fastrack
construction. When properly formulated and executed, the advanced analysis can be used to assess
the interdependence of member and system strength and stability, the actual failure mode and the
maximum strength of the overall framework, and, hence, efficient and cost-effective design
solutions can be obtained. This is in line with the modem design codes such as Eructed, which
allows the use of advanced analysis for designing steel structures.

Chen, W.F., Goto, Y., and, Liew, J.Y.R. (1996), Stability Design of Semi-Rigid Frames, John
Wiley& Sons, NY.
Hsieh, S.H. (1990), Analysis of three-dimensional steel frames with semi-rigid connections,
Structural Eng. Report 90-1, School of Civil and Environmental Eng., Comell University, NY.
Liew, J.Y.R., White, D.W., and Chen, W.F. (1993), Limit-states design of semi-rigid frames using
advanced analysis: Part 1: Connection modelling and classification, J. Construct. Steel Res., 26,
Liew, J.Y.R., Chen, H., Yu, C.H., Shanmugam, N.E., and Tang, L.K. (1997), Second-order inelastic
analysis of three-dimensional core-braced frames, Research Report No: CE024/97, Dept. of Civil
Eng., National University of Singapore.
Liew, J.Y.R., Chen, H., Yu, C.H., and Shanmugam, N.E. (1998), Advanced inelastic analysis of
thin-walled core-braced frames, Proc. of the 2nd International Conference on Thin-Walled
Structures, Dec. 2-4, 1998, Singapore.
Liew, J.Y.R., Chen, H., and Shanmugam, N.E. (1999), Stability functions for second-order inelastic
analysis of space frames, Proc. of 4th International Conference on Steel and Aluminium
Structures, June 20-23, 1999, Espoo, Finland.
Liew, J.Y.R., and Tang, L.K. (1998), Nonlinear refined plastic hinge analysis of space frame
structures, Research Report No: CE029/99, Dept. of Civil Eng., National University of

Table 1. Parameters and Mn/M values for connections under in-plane bending moment
Mo' Ke' Kp' n Mn/Mpb
Connection At the beam framing At the beam framing
type M0/Mn ~ n Kp/Mn about the major-axis about the minor-axis
of column (see Fig. 3) of column (see Fig. 3)
DWA 1.03 301 5.0 1.06 0.05 0.025
TSAW 0.94 363 6.9 1.11 0.4 0.2
EEP 0.97 309 5.5 1.20 1.0 0.5
DWA: Double web-angle connection
TSAW: Top- and seat-angle connections with double web angles
EEP: Extended end-plate connection without column stiffeners
Advanced Inelastic Analysis of Spatial Structures 181

Fig. 2 Four-parameter power model

Fig. 1 Thin-walled beam-column element

Fig. 3 Beam-to-column connections

Fig. 4 Plan view of roof truss system Fig. 5 Elevation view of truss

Fig. 6 Load-lateral displacement curve under Fig. 7 Deformed shape of roof truss system at
gravity load collapse under gravity load
182 J . Y . R . L i e w et al.

Fig. 9 Deformed shape of roof truss

system at collapse under the horizontal
Fig. 8 Horizontal load-lateral displacement curve surge forces

Fig. 10 Plan view of core-braced frame

Fig. 11 Elevation view of core-braced

frame: (a) at axes 1, 2, 5, 6 (b) at axes 3, 4

Table 2. Comparison of limit loads and

initial lateral stiffness
Connection Limit Initial lateral
types load stiffness
Pin 36% 21%
DWA 40% 30%
TSAW 65% 68%
EEP 93% 81%
All % values are compared with the core-
Fig. 12 Top-storey load-deflection curves braced frame with rigid connections


Chen Haojun and Wang Jiqing

Department of Construction Engineering,

Changsha Communications University
45 Chiling Road, Changsha 410076 China


Problems of overall stability in a multistory framework become significant with the increase in its
height. This paper presents the stability analysis to a one-bay multistory framework under uniformly
distributed load by means of continuum model. Continuum model is a substituting column converted
from multistory framework. So, the analysis to multistory frame, which is an indeterminate structure,
is reduced to that to a determinate one. The formula of critical load is developed by Galerkin method.
The effect of the axial compressive deformation of framework column is taken into consideration.


Multistory framework, overall stability, continuum model, uniformly distributed load, critical load,
substituting column.

In the analysis to a multistory framework structure, one pays more attention to analysis to internal
forces of a multistory framework at vertical and horizontal loads, than to analysis to overall stability.
However, the problems of overall stability in a multistory framework become significant with the
increase in height. Generally, the exact stability analysis of multistory frames can be solved by finite
element method. This is an extremely complex procedure, even with the help of computer. The
higher the structure is, the more complicated the problem is to handle. The critical load is usually
obtained by determination of effective length factor of each framework column. In this paper, the
framework structure will be taken as a whole for determination of the critical load. A critical load for

184 C. Haojun and IV. Jiqing
a one-bay multistory framework subjected to uniformly distributed load at floor level is developed by
Galerkin method. The effect of axial compressive deformation on the critical load is taken into
account in following analysis.


During the analysis, following assumptions will be used.

A). The material of the structure is homogeneous, isotropic and obeys Hook's law.
B). The loads are applied statically and maintain their direction during buckling.
C). The structure develops small deformation and the axial deformation in the beam is negligible when
the axial framework buckles.
D). All stories have the same height and the structure are at least four story high.
E). The structure has a rectangular net work with elements attached by rigid joints to each other.
F). The stiffness (El/l) of beams is the same.
G). The inflection point is on the middle of the beam when the framework buckles.


The continuum model of multistory framework is a substituting column converted from the framework.
The substituting column is obtained from the original framework (Fig. 2.1a) in several steps. First,
the UDL on the beam is transferred to the columns at floor levels (Fig. 2.1b) in the form of
concentrated forces (the reactions on the beams). These concentrated forces are then distributed
along story height (Fig. 2.1 c), in fact along the height of the framework. The beams are cut through
at inflection points (Fig. 2.1 d) and finally the columns are added up into a single substitute cantilever
(Fig. 2.1 e).

p 4 4 t~ !4
4 4~
P 4)
t ~ q= ql)m
q:F 4q= qx4 ' I 144 4)
4F4F4~4~41 1

l t 4)
(D | @
1 ,' l
(~) (b) (c) (d) (e)

Fig. 2.1 Continuum Model

The bending stiffness of the substituting column is the sum of the bending stiffness of columns of the
framework. The load on the substituting column equals the total load on the original framework.
The distributed force along the height of substituting column is converted from the uniformly
Stability Analysis of Multistory Framework 185
distributed load at floor levels. The distributed moments along the substituting column are induced
from deformation of the framework during buckling. In doing so, the framework is converted into a
fixed-free column on which a distributed force and a distributed moment act. It should be noted that
the difference of axial compressive deformation between two framework columns makes the
framework have sway. This phenomenon is not shown in substituting column. Comparing actual
column with substituting column, it is known that the restraint moment acting at floor level due to
beam bending makes the column double-curvature between two beams for an actual framework. But
for a substituting column, the restraint moment due to beam bending is distributed along the
substituting column and does not make the substituting column double-curvature.


There is a one-bay multistory framework as shown in Fig. 3.1. The stiffness of beam of each floor
level is Eblb except the top one of Eblb/2; and the stiffness of framework columns is Eclc. There are
uniformly distributed loads at each floor level. According to preceding procedure, the substituting
column is shown in Fig. 3. lb. When the framework buckles, it can be in equilibrium both in original
configuration (undeformed configuration) and in slightly deformed configuration. Now, let us
consider the equilibrium of framework in slightly deformed configuration.

Edj2 I
Edb l
Edb EcIc/2 h ql ) m
Edb h I
E~b I
h I )
~y ~y

(a) 0o)
Fig.3.1 Substituting Column

3.1 Distributed M o m e n t When Framework Bends

The separated body for analysis may be taken as shown in Fig. 3.2 when the framework bends. It is
cut at the middle point of beams (inflection points) and replaces with a shear force T. This shear
force T can be obtained by the condition that the deformation at the middle point of beams (inflection
points) is equal to zero,
y, l TM (t/2) 3
- . - + ~ = 0 (3.1)
2 3Ebl b

in which TM is the shear force in beams due to framework bending; l is the distance between the axes

of columns; Eb is the elastic modulus of beams; Ib is the moment of inertia of beam; Yb~ is the first
186 C. Haojun and W. Jiqing
derivative of framework. Eqn. 3.1 gives
12EbIb ,
TM = l 2 YM (3.2)

The distributed force along the framework column due to bending is

tM TM 12Ejb , (3.3)
=-~-= h----~yM
Transfer of the shear forces at inflection points TM to the axis of the columns produces the concentrated
moments acting on the column at floor level,

l 6Eblb , (3.4)
M M = TM x - = ~ YM
2 l
Distribution of the concentrated moment M i along the column height leads to

mM -- MM 6Eblb ' (3.5)

-----if--= hl YM

3.2 Consideration o f Axial Deformation o f Column

Shear force TM at beams makes the axial forces in two columns different. The axial force increases in
TM in right column and decreases in left column. This variation of axial force causes an additional
axial deformation in left and right columns. It is denoted by the sign AN. This deformation consists
of two parts (Fig. 3.3). One (denoted by AN1) makes the beams bend and the other (denoted by Am)
makes the columns bend. Hence,

or A~ = AN1 + AN2

Y~v = Y~vl+ Y~v2 (3.6)

The bending moment at beam end due to AN1 is

12Eblb (3.7)
MN1 = /2 AN1

Fig. 3.2 Separated Body When Buckling Fig. 3.3 Compressive Deformation

Letting 2AN1/I=y'N1, one obtains the distributed moment along column

Stability Analysis o f Multistory Framework 187
MN1 6Eblb , (3.8)
mN1 = ~ h = - - ~ lhY N 1

Variation of axial force in column due to AN~is

TN1 = MN____A_I= _ 12Eblb (3.9)


Distribution of the force TN1along the column leads to

TNI 12EbI b ,
tN1 = h = - - ~hlY N
21 (3.10)

According to Figs. 3.3 and 3.4, the compressive deformation distant to z from original O is

AN(Z)-- ~ ~(tM-~'tN1)d(dz (3.11)

E cAc

where A c is the cross-section area of column. Substitution of Eqns. 3.3 and 3.10 into Eqn. 3.11 leads
AN(z ) = f ~ 12Eblb ( y ~ -- y'N,)d(dz
EcI c (3.12)

Making use of Y'N=2AN/l, Ir=2Ac(l/2)2, and differentiating twice, Eqn. 3.12 may be written in the form
,, 12Eblb
YN = Eclrhl (Y~vl-YM) (3.13)

Integrating Eqn. 3.13 once and making use of the boundary condition, y"N(0)=0 and yN~(0)=yN2(0)=0,
one obtains
" 12Eblb(YNl_yg2 )
Y U - Eclrhl (3.14)

3.3 Equilibrium Differential Equation of Substituting Column

The Equilibrium differential equation is

E c l c y " + ~ q ( y - rl)d ~ - ~m(~:)d~: = 0 (3.15)

It is known that m=2(mM+mN0, and making use of Eqns. 3.5 and 3.8, one obtains

m-- 12Eblb (Y~ - Y'~I)

Substituting Eqn. 3.16 into Eqn. 3.15, one obtains

Ec lc Y " + f q (Y - rl )d ~ - ~ 12 E bl b (Y " - Y 'N1)dz = 0

hl (3.17)
188 C. Haojun and W. Jiqing
The bending deformation of the substituting column is

Y = YM + YJv2

3.4 Solution of Differential Equations

Y Y o Y o

I q


Fig. 3.4 Coordinate for Calculation of Fig. 3.5 Coordinate and Separated Body
Compressive Deformation of Substituting Column

Combination of Eqns. (3.17), (3.13), (3.6) and (3.18) gives

Eclcy" + ~ q(y - ~7)dr - ~ 12Eblb (Y'M - YN1)d~ = 0

hl (3.19a)

. 12EbIb ,
YN Eclrhl (Ym - Y~t ) =0 (3.19b)

Y~ = YN1 + Y~v2 (3.19c)

Y'= YM + YN2
t p

Arrangement of above equations and letting Kb=12Eblb/hl leads to the equilibrium differential equation

Eci~ ] " Kbq

Eclcy + qz-x y (3.20)

Eqn. (3.20) is solved by Galerkin method. Letting the approximate deflection curve be

y = 6 sin~
2H (3.21)

which satisfies the geometric and mechanic boundary conditions

Stability Analysis of Multistory Framework 189

y(O)= y'q): y"(O)= y"(l)=O (3.22)

one obtains the Galerkin equation

f L ( y ) s i n az dz=O
2H (3.23)

in which

Eclc ~ . Kbq
L(y)= EclcY'V + qz- Kb - Kb ~cI~ ) y + qY'-~l~ ~(y- rl)dr (3.24)

Substituting Eqns. (3.24) and (3.21) into Eqn. (3.23) and making use of the integration

~ sin 2 2Haz d z = H2
f z sin 2 nz dz = ( 1 I___]H
2H 4 + r e 2)

c o s ~7tz
sin 7tz
dz = H
2H 2H n"

1 - cos ~
sin = d z = m

one obtains

I ~r 14H (rcl2(1 1--~]H2 ( Eclcl(rc ]2H

8Eclc ~ -~ - &t ~ + rc2 ) + 6 K b + K b ~ ) k,-~ ) -2

+~ ---a + +a =o
E~I, EcI, rc zc (3.25)


Fc =rc2EcI~//(2H)2
Fo =rc2Ej,.(2H) 2

and substituting these into Eqn. 3.25, one obtains

(qH)o. Fc + Kb + Kb Fc/Fo (3.26)

= 0.279(1+ Kb/Fo)

Eqn. 3.26 is the critical load of the one-bay multistory framework according to Galerkin method by
190 C. Haojun and W. Jiqing
assuming the approximate deflection, y=Ssin('rrz/2H).


Consideration of Eqn. 3.26 leads to

(1) If the stiffness of beams are equal to zero, that is, EbIb=0, then Kb=12Eblb/hl=0 and Eqn. 3.26

(qH)cr = Fc _ :rt"2 E cI ~ 8.299Ec1~

0.29----~- x-----------~"
0.297 -----5-
H = H2 (4.1)

The exact value for Kb=0 is

(qH)cr = H 2

Comparison of Eqn. (4.1) with Eqn. (4.2) leads to the error less than 6%.
(2) If the stiffness of beams tends to infinite, that is, EbIb---~o0, then Kb-~ oo and Eqn. 3.27 becomes

(qH)~r = (F0 + Fc)= 8.299(E~/~ + EcI r) (4.3)

0.297 H2

The exact value for Kb--->oo is

7.837(Ecl c + Eclr)
(qH)~ r = H2 (4.4)

(3) Eqn. (3.27) may be also written in the form

(qH)cr = Fc + K b + KbF ~ / F o
rO+X/Fo) (4.5)

If it is taken that 3,=0.315, a more accurate value of the critical load may be obtained.


1 Zalka, K.A. and Armmer, G.S.T. (1992). Stability of Large Structure, Butterworth Heinmann Ltd.
2 Bao Shihua and Fang Ehua. (1994), Structural Design of Tall Building. Qinhua Publishing Housing,
3 Chen Haojun. (1996), Stability Analysis of Multistory Framework under Vertical Loading.
Proceedings of International Conference on Advances in Steel Structures, 257-262.
4 Timoshenko, S.E and Gere, S.M. (1958), Theory of Elastic Stability, Chinese Science Publishing
Space Structures
This Page Intentionally Left Blank

S. L. CHAN and J.X. GU

Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University,
Hong Kong, CHINA


Imperfect beam-column element for second-order analysis of two- and three-dimensional frames is
derived in this paper. Initial imperfection of element is restricted to a curvature in the form of a
single sinusoidal half-wave. Force deformation equations and tangent stiffness matrix in Eulerian
local coordinate system have been obtained using stability function method, as an extension of
Oran's equations for straight element. Comparison is made between the present element and the
cubic Hermit element by two numerical examples. The obtained results show accuracy and
practicality of presented beam-column element.


Steel Frame, Structural analysis, Initial Imperfection, Finite element methods, Stability function
method, Second-order analysis, Geometric nonlineality


Second-order nonlinear analysis of steel frame has been studied extensively over the past few
decades and is referred in modern design codes of practice such as the American Load and
Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) specification (1986), the Australian Standard 4100 (1990) and
the British Standard 5950 (1990). The finite element method and the method of stability function
are the two main approaches.

The simplest and most typical stiffness matrix method of analysis is to extend the cubic Hermite
element to the nonlinear case by inclusion of the geometric stiffness to the linear stiffness matrix to
form the tangent stiffness matrix. This approach has been used by many researchers( for example,
Barosum and Gallagher[ 1970], Meek and Tan[ 1984], and Chan and Kitipornchai[ 1987] ) and have
been quite successful. However, the result by using a single element for each member was noted to

194 S.L. Chan and J.X. Gu
be somewhat different from the more accurate equilibrium curve obtained by using more elements.
Using a single cubic element for each member has been demonstrated by So and Chan (1991) to
contain an error of more than 20% for the simple case of a column with both ends pinned. The
cause is due to the displacement function independent of the axial force, thus violating the
equilibrium condition along the element. Albermani and Kitipornchai (1990) proposed an improved
analysis technique to allow less elements to be used via the addition of some terms for large
displacement effects. Izzuddin (1991) suggested the use of a higher order element for highly non-
linear analysis of frame. The element, although reported to be more accurate than the cubic Hermite
element, does not consider the inter-dependence of the axial force and the element displacement.
Recently, Chan and Zhou (1994, 1995) developed a pointwise equilibrating polynomial (PEP)
element for slender frames. Their element includes initial imperfection and good results were
obtained for second-order analysis using a single element to model each member.

As an exact solution of the beam-column, the method of Stability function has been widely studied
(Livesley and Chandler [ 1956], Oran [ 1973], and Chen and Lui[ 1987]). The method develops the
element matrix by solving the differential equilibrium equation of a beam-column under the action
of axial load. Unlike the finite element approach, which assumes a displacement shape function.
The accuracy of the analysis using stability function is affected only by the numerical truncating
error. Although it has the disadvantage of inconsistency in stiffness expression and numerical
problem when the axial force is close to zero, it enables only one beam-column element per
member to capture the second-order effect. Satisfactory accuracy can generally be achieved without
resorting to a fine discretization. Therefore, it can be used for analysis of structures accurately and
economically. McConnel (1992) proposed force deformation equations for initially curved laterally
loaded beam column, but his element was only for compression and the tangent stiffness matrix was
not derived.

This paper presents an exact beam-column element allowing for second-order effect due to axial
force and initial imperfection. Force deformation equations and tangent stiffness matrix in Eulerian
local coordinate system have been obtained using the stability function method, as an extension of
Oran's (1973) equations for straight element. Whilst all codes require the consideration of initial
imperfection and the equivalent notational force is difficult to quantify, straight element may not be
useful in practice. The correctness and effectiveness of presented beam-column element are
demonstrated by several numerical examples.


The present theory is based on the assumption of Timoshenko's beam-column. The cross-section of
the element is doubly symmetric and the material is linearly elastic. The applied loads are
conservative and nodal. Shear deformations and warping effects are neglected. Small strain but
arbitrarily large deflections is considered. The initial shape of the element is assumed to in a half
sine curve as follows,

9 7/'x
V0 -- Vmo sm ~ (1)

in which v0 is the lateral initial imperfection, Vmo is the magnitude of imperfection at mid-span, x is
the distance along the element longitudinal axis and L is the element length.
Stability Function and Finite Element for Second-Order Analysis 195

For a given axial compressive force, the equilibrium equation along the element length can be
expressed as,

EI ~dzV1
= - P(vo + VI) + M1 + M2 x- M~ (2)
dx 2 L

in which EI is the usual flexural rigidity of the element, M1 and M2 are the nodal moments and vl is
the lateral displacement induced by loads. Making use of the boundary conditions that when x=0
and x=L, v 1=0, we have,

Vl-- V [ j r ] --KL~
M~ sin(c~-kx)
M2 sinkx x + q
L 1-~q Vm~
. :,rx

Superimposing the deflection to the initial imperfection, we have the final offset of the element
centroidal axis from the axis joining the two ends of the element as,

V -- VI + VO

L-xI Esin xl+• sin'X


P ' sin~) -~ - sin~ L 1-q vm~

in which,
~-~ P PL 2
k= P '9 r ' q--Per ----5----
~ EI (5,6,7)

Pcr is the buckling axial force parameter given by Pcr-

Differentiation Eqn. 3 with respect to x, and expressing the rotations at two ends as the nodal
d Vl . dvl
rotations as, ~ x=0= 01 ~ x=L= 02, we have,

MI=--L-- C, Ol + c 2 0 2 +cOl---L--- ~
Vmo] (8)

M z = - - L - - c281 + c l O 2 - c 0 (VII (9)

Axial strain can be expressed in terms of the nodal shortening, u and the bowing due to initial
imperfection and deflection as

u 1 ;L r.vo
= ~ + -- 1 [ dv ] dx (10)
L 2 l_dx ] --2]'L ~X
196 S.L. Chan and J.X. Gu

P = EA s = EA
- bl (8~ + 82 )2_ bE (81- 82 )2_ bus-Z- (8~- 82)- bvv (11)

In Eqn. 8, 9 and 11, Cl, C2 and co are stability functions and bl, b2, bvs and bvv are curvature
functions. They are required to be derived for the case of positive, zero and negative values of axial
force parameter, q. in which, Cl, c2, bl, bE are correspondent to the terms by Oran (1973). The term
co, can be expressed in terms of q, as,

za/r r
- - for compression, q>0 (12)
c~ (1-q)(1-cosr '

c 0 = 0, for no axial force, q=0 (13)

Co = - nqgsinhg/ , for tension, q<0 (14)

(1 - q)(cosh ~ - 1)

bvs and bvv, can be expressed in terms of q, el, C2 and co as follows,

bvs= cl-c~ + c2co (15)

n"(1 - q)2 2(c~+ c2)(c~ - c2)

BVV= z2q(2-)q) + 2Co )2 + C2Co )2 (16)
4(1 - q n'(1 - q 2(Cl + c2)(cl - c2

the axial force parameter, q, can be written as,

~2Fu )2 )2 VmO ] (17)

q=~-L~-b~(Ol+02 -b2(0,-02 -bvs--~(O~-O2)-bvv(~) 2

in which ~. is the slendemess ratio given by A= L/~I//A .


To complete the procedure for the Newton-Raphson type of incremental-iterative method, the
tangent stiffness is required to formulate for the prediction of displacement increment subjected to
an incremental force. Defining [Fi] and [ui] as the basic nodal variables at two ends of an element,
we have,

[F] = [M,, M2, p]T (18)

[U] -" [01, 02, U]T (19)

The tangent stiffness equation for the incremental forces and displacements can then be written as,
Stability Function and Finite Element for Second-Order Analysis 197

[AF] =[ke][Au] (20)

in which the element tangent stiffness matrix in local coordinate system is obtained from,

OFi OFi Oq (21)

kij = + ~ ~
Ouj c3q Ouj

Operating Eqn. 21, we have the following entries for the tangent stiffness matrix,

0 q _ Gl 9 0q_ o G2 _0q
.. 1
' 2 '
001 x2H 002 X H 0u LH

in which,

t t t VmO t Vm0
Gl = Cl 0~ + c2 02 + Co ~ ; G2 = c2'01 + Cl'02-co (25, 26)

H =7~
~ +b1,(01+02)2
+ bz , (0l- 02 )2 "+bvs , V"-~\U1-
02) "+b,,v, (--L--)
VmO 2 (27)

The resulting tangent stiffness matrix about a principal axis can be determined as,

G12 G1G 2 GI
Cl + rt 2H C2 + rt 2H LH
EI G1G z G2 2 G2
[ke ] = ---L-- C 2 + rc2H C1 + (28)
~:2H LH
Gl G2 71;

Eqn.28 can be very easily extended to three-dimensional space by repeating the process for the
other principal axis. The element-stiffness matrix, [ke] in Eqn. 28 will than be 6 by 6. The tangent
stiffness in the local coordinate system can be evaluated as,

[kE] = [T][ke ][T ]T + [N] (29)

in which [T] is the internal to external transformation matrix relating the six independent internal
force and moments to the external 12 forces and moments, [ke] is the element tangent stiffness
matrix derived above and [N] is the matrix allowing for work done due to nodal displacements and
initial stress (Ho and Chan, 1991). The complete element stiffness matrix in global coordinate
system, [kG], can finally be determined as,

[kG] = [L][kE][L ]T (30)

in which [L] is the standard local to global transformation matrix (Gere and Weaver,1965).
198 S.L. Chan and J.X. Gu

The derived element stiffness matrix is incorporated into the computer program NAF-NIDA (Chan,
1999). In smaller scope where the axial force is close to zero, the stability functions are expressed
by interpolation in order to avoid numerical instability. The bucking behavior of column with both
ends fixed is used to verify newly presented element. Fig. 1 shows the response of the column due
to axial load and different value of initial imperfection. The load versus axial shortening curves for
column obtained by the present single element and by 8 cubic straight elements are very close. The
error arises since a smoothly curved member is replaced by eight segments.



1 present element
,-" 2.0 ...... 8 cubic elements

o~ P - - ~ ~[ "~P
.~ 1.0
E=le7, 1=0.8333, A = I , L=100
(units: Ib, inch)
0.0 I t i

0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0

Axial shortening, u (in)

F i g u r e 1. B u c k l i n g A n a l y s i s o f f i x e d - f i x e d C o l u m n

The second example is a 90 member hexagonal shallow dome, and its dimensions and properties
are shown in Fig.2. Members with initial imperfections of various magnitudes and in the direction
of the deflection caused by the external loads are assumed and the dome is analyzed. Their load
deflection curves for these imperfections are plotted in Fig.2. In all cases, only a single element is
used to model a member. It can be seen in the Figure that the cubic element over estimates
considerably the buckling load of the structure than the presented element due to member under
high axial force. Another observation gained from the analysis is that imperfection affects the
buckling loads of the structure. When a member has a larger initial imperfection, the buckling load
of the complete structure is reduced significantly. This observation cannot be found in bifurcation
type of analysis.


Methods for analyzing large deflections and stability of frame structures in the past have been based
on either the finite element approach or the stability function. The cubic finite element is inaccurate
when a single element is used to model member under high axial load. The stability function is
assumed straight in previous work. The exact stiffness matrix of an imperfect member under large
Stability Function and Finite Element for Second-Order Analysis 199
86.9 ~ ~ / ~ - - - . . Vmo/L =
,58., ...~. ~ ~ .
-*- 0.0 cubic element
1500 -- 0.0 /
'*- .001 present element
.005 J
-*- .010"

624 Z
"-" 1000

7200 500

Unit: mm 9 Loaded node

E = 1.95e5 N/mm 2 Iy = 1.44e4 mm 4 I I I I

G = 0.80e5 N/mm 2 Iz = 1.44e4 mm 4 0 -10 -20 -30 -40 -50
A = 142.3 mm 2 J = 2.89e4 1TIn'I4
Displacement, v (mm)

Figure 2. Buckling Analysis of Hexagonal Shallow Dome

axial force is derived in this paper and incorporated into a second-order analysis computer program
NIDA for analysis of skeletal structures. The element is accurate even when the axial force is four
times the Euler's buckling load, which refers to the extreme case of the buckling of a column with
both ends fixed in direction and in rotation. Whilst all practical member possess initial
imperfection, the derived element will be of great practical use.


The authors are thankful to the financial support by The Research Grant Council, Hong Kong SAR
Government under the project "Analysis and design of steel frames allowing for beam warping and
lateral-torsional buckling (B-Q233)"


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Izzuddin, B. A. (1991). Nonlinear dynamic analysis of framed structures, Ph.D. thesis, Imperial
College, London, England.
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University Press, Manchester, 1956.
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column, J. Engrg. Mech., ASCE, 118:7, 1287-1302.
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incremental iterative technique, Computer Methods in Appl. Mech. and Engrg., 47, 261-282.
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Co., Inc., New York.

Ce Wang 1and Shizhao Shen 2

1Department of Civil Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, 100084

2Harbin University of Civil Engineering and Architecture, 150008


The present paper is concerned with dynamic stability of single layer reticulated domes. The updated
Lagrangian formulation is employed to develop three dimensional beam elements nonlinear analysis
which includes joints large displacements, large rotations and nonlinear material constitutive relation.
Dynamic stability of latticed domes under step load are studied through various parameters such as
span, rise-span ratio, elastic or elastic-plastic constitutive relation, including damping and without
damping. The influence factors of material non-linearity, damping, initial geometry imperfection and
initial static load for structure dynamic stability is analyzed. The simplified dynamic critical load
calculating method is also suggested.

KEYWORDS: Dynamic Stability, Dynamic Stability Critical Load, Nonlinear Analysis, Reticulated
Dome, Step Load, Updated Lagrangian Formulation


Single layer reticulated dome is imperfection sensitive structure which may lose its stability
under strong earthquake action and strong wind load. There are several methods that are adopted by
numerous investigators to solve latticed dome static stability but few concerned with dynamic stability.
Dynamic stability means structural stability under dynamic disturbance which is a research field
closely related to stability theory and vibration theory. In the paper members of reticulated dome
assumed as three dimensional beam element, the non-linearity of latticed domes include geometric
non-linearity caused by joint large displacement, large rotation and nonlinear material
constitutive relation. Nonlinear dynamic finite element method is the basis of latticed dome
dynamic stability analysis. According to the continuum mechanics principle, the updated

202 C. Wang and S. Shen
Lagrangian formulation is employed to develop three dimensional beam element geometry
nonlinear analysis which include joints large displacements and large rotations (Wang(1997)).
The joint large rotation is modified because it doesn't accord with law of exchange so that Euler
angle which describes rigid body motion around fixed point is used to simulate large joint
rotation. In material nonlinear analysis the Mises yield criterion and Prandtl-Reuss flow rule are
adopted to describe elastic-plastic constitutive relation. The Newmark integration combined with
Newton-Raphon equilibrium iteration are used to solve structural nonlinear vibration equation
that can improve the calculation precision and numerical stability.

The first task in structure dynamic stability analysis is to determine structure dynamic stability
critical load which is very time consuming while structural geometry and material non-linearity
considered in each numerical integration procedure. Trial calculations have to be employed in
order to exactly judge dynamic critical load which makes the work more difficulty. The critical
criterion which have theory basis and convenient in practical application is very important. The
equation of motion approach is a famous method adopted by Budiansyk (1967). Structure vibration
equations are numerically solved for various of the load parameters, thus obtaining the system
responses. The load parameter at which there exists a large change in the response is called critical.
Budiansyk criterion failed in some cases when structure dynamic response isn't sensitive to load
changes. According to the concept of Liapunov stability, a motion is said to be stable if all of other
neighbor motions stay close to it at all time; otherwise it said to be unstable. If structure tangent
stiffness matrix is negative definite then structure transient response exponentially diverge. During
Newmark integration procedure structure tangent stiffness matrix is triangle decomposed if there are
negative values found in the diagonal elements the tangent stiffness matrix is negative definite.
In the present paper the dual criterion is used to determine the critical load (Wang(1993)): if structure
tangent stiffness matrix remains negative definite during several time steps and structure transient
responses diverge then the load is called dynamic stability critical load.

Step load is the simplest dynamic load with constant amplitude at all time. Structure stability
under step load represents its resistance to dynamic disturbance, it's also the basis for studying
structure dynamic stability under strong earthquake. The are many factors which influence
structure dynamic stability such as geometric parameters, material constitutive relation, damping,
initial imperfection, initial static load, etc. The various influence factors including material non-
linearity, damping, initial geometry imperfection are studied through a numerical example. By using
parameter analysis method, structural dynamic stability critical load of various spans and rise-span
ratio are calculated when material constitutive relation being elastic, elastic-plastic, including damping
and without damping. Finally, a simplified dynamic critical load calculating method is suggested.


Trial calculation is only valid method for structure dynamic stability critical load analysis.
Increasing load step by step then calculating structure nonlinear dynamic response, structure
vibration amplitude increased with the load. When structure vibration time history curve
bifurcate and diverge, at the same time structure stiffness matrix is negative definite structure
vibrate from stable state to unstable state, the load is called dynamic stability critical load. A 90
members dome is analyzed by various parameters which may influence structure dynamic
Dynamic Stability of Single Layer Reticulated Dome under Step Load 203
stability including material nonlinear, mass quantity, damping, half span load, impulsive load
and initial geometry imperfection. The K6 type reticulated dome of 10 meters span which is
modeled as space frame with 1:10 rise to span ratio, shown in Fig. 1. The supports of the dome are
assumed to be pinned and restrained against translational motion. Vertical uniformly distributed
pressure load is applied at the nodes symmetrically. The members are steel tube ~60mm • 3.5mm.

Fig. 1 Geometry of 90-member shallow dome

For static case, structure elastic stability load is 36.9 KN/m 2 solved by spherical constant arc-length
method. Assuming material is elastic perfect plastic with yield stresses 2.35e5 KN/m 2, the static
stability load reduced to 16.1 KN/m 2, the critical load reduced about 56% when material non-linearity
is included. Because elastic stability critical load of reticulated dome is high, the steel tubes became
plastic before the structure reached its elastic critical load. Material non-linearity must be considered in
reticulated dome stability analysis.

For dynamic case, step load distributed as static case is applied at the dome and uniformly distributed
mass 500kg/m 2 lumped to the nodes. Structure fundamental period Tf=0.21s, time step At=0.005s,
damping matrix is neglected. Several levels of load are calculated, Fig. 2 shows node 3 displacement
history at elastic stage. Structure dynamic stability is sensitive to small load perturbation when
applied load is 14.70 KN/m 2 structure tangent stiffness matrix remains positive definite structure
vibrate stable, when the load reached 14.75 KN/m 2 structure tangent stiffness matrix became
negative definite at 0.39 seconds structure vibrate curve bifurcate, structures vibrate unstable
dynamic responses increase very fast. Assuming elastic perfect plastic material with yield stress
2.35e5 kN/m 2 structure dual nonlinear dynamic response is calculated again. When step load is
9.0KN/m 2 structure vibrate stable, until the load reached 9.1KN/m 2 structure lost stability (Fig.
3). If only material nonlinear is considered and geometric non-linearity neglected structure
dynamic critical load is 11 KN/m 2 compare with only geometric non-linearity considered the
critical load 14.75KN/m 2. According to the numerical example, material nonlinear influence is
large then geometric non-linearity. Structure dynamic stability load is smaller than that of static
stability load no matter material is elastic or elastic perfect plastic.

Damping influence is important in structure dynamic analysis which can largely reduces
vibration peak value and maintaining structure dynamic stability. The Rayleigh damping is used
with damping ratio ~=0.05. Elastic dynamic stability critical load increase from 14.75KN/m 2 to
23KN/m 2, elastic-plastic dynamic stability load increase from 9.1 KN/m 2 to 15.5 KN/m 2, the
increase ratio is 56% and 70%, respectively. Node 3 elastic and elastic plastic time history with
damping is shown in Fig. 4.
204 C. Wang and S. Shen

Fig. 2 Node 3 elastic displacement history Fig. 3 Node 3 elastic-plastic displacement history

Fig. 4 Node 3 displacement history with damping Fig. 5 Node 3 elastic-plastic response

Fig. 6 Response with different load distribution Fig. 7 Node 3 response under impulsive load

Assuming two uniform distribution mass M=300kg/m 2, M=100kg/m 2, the other parameter is
the same as previous analysis. The dynamic stability critical load is 9.5 KN/m 2 compare with
9.1KN/m 2 of M=500kg/m 2 (Fig. 5). It can be seen that the quantity of mass have less influence
in structure dynamic stability. Load distribution is also important in structure dynamic analysis
assuming only half span applied uniform load with mass of M=300kg/m 2, elastic-plastic critical
load is 11.8 KN/m 2 large then full span load distribution critical load of 9.1KN/m 2, but the total
load is half of full span load distribution. Increasing left half span load 50% and reduce right half
span load 50% the total load remain the same, the critical load is 7.6KN/m 2 which reduce 16%
compare with full span load distribution (Fig. 6).

Loading time also should be considered, infinite loading time is step load, very short loading
Dynamic Stability of Single Layer Reticulated Dome under Step Load 205
time is impulsive load. There are two loading case calculated with time duration t o = 0.05 s and
t o = 0.025s, respectively. Structure elastic-plastic critical loads are 9.7 KN/m 2 and 14.4KN/m 2
while step loading case is 9.1KN/m 2. The critical load decreased when loading time increased,
under impulsive loading structure lost stability during free vibration state (Fig. 7).

Reticulated dome is imperfection sensitive structure with lower load bearing capacity than perfect
structure. The imperfection distribution and values are impossible to predict, here structure static
buckling modes are used to simulate initial geometry imperfection. Buckling mode is the tendency
of structure displacement at critical status, if imperfection mode is the same as buckling mode it
will cause the worst influence to structure vibration. The first tenth static linear buckling modes
are calculated from which choosing the detrimental imperfection mode. Assuming the maximum
imperfection value is 5cm for each buckling mode then calculating structure static linear buckling
load, the lowest buckling load with corresponding mode is chosen as imperfection mode. Without
damping the elastic dynamic critical load and elastic-plastic critical load are 10KN/m 2 and 6KN/m 2,
the reduction ratio is 32% and 34% compare with perfect dome. Dynamic buckling mode is
different from perfect structure, the perfect dome buckling mode is symmetric large area collapse
on whole structure, but the imperfect structure buckling mode is part collapse near the maximum
imperfection point (Fig. 8).

Fig. 8 Maximum imperfection point time history and collapse mode


In parameter analysis there are total 12 latticed domes fixed at the edge with spans 30m, 40m,
50m, 60m, each span have three rise to span ratio 1/10, 1/8, 1/6, respectively. The tube material
assumed as perfect elastic-plastic with yield stress 235KN/m 2. From previous analysis mass
quantity have few influences on stability so that the mass distribution is chosen constant
200kg/m 2 lumped at each joint. Rayleigh damping ratio is ~=0.05, time step At = 0.02. The
members for each span are tube 90 nos. q~140 • 5, 156 nos. q~159 • 5,240 nos. ~180 • 8, 342
nos. 00194 • 10, respectively. Structure static stability load is also calculated using load
incremental method. There are total 48 cases with different spans, elastic or elastic-plastic
constitutive relation, including or without damping, the results are shown in table 1.
206 C. Wang and S. Shen

Span Rise to Static Static Elastic Dynamic Plastic Dynamic

(m) Span Elastic Plastic damp no damp damp no damp
1/10 7.91 6.09 7.4 5.0 5.4 3.4
3O 1/8 9.88 7.56 8.4 6.0 6.0 4.2
1/6 11.85 9.50 9.8 7.3 6.5 5.0
1/10 7.56 4.86 7.3 4.6 4.6 2.8
40 1/8 9.80 6.16 8.4 5.6 6.0 3.4
1/6 11.52 7.84 9.7 6.8 6.8 4.0
1/10 9.50 6.65 9.5 7.0 5.8 4.2
50 1/8 14.70 8.42 13.1 9.3 7.5 5.0
1/6 19.53 10.50 15.5 11.0 10.0 6.0
1/10 9.20 6.68 9.1 8.0 5.8 5.0
60 1/8 13.95 8.82 13.6 10.8 7.3 5.2
1/6 22.28 11.38 18.6 13.2 10.5 6.2

It can be seen from table 1 that structure dynamic stability critical load is less than static critical
load no matter material is elastic or elastic-plastic, elastic critical load is less than elastic-plastic
critical load. If damping is included then the critical load increase 4 0 % ~ 50% when material is
elastic or elastic-plastic. The critical load increase with the rise to span ratio at the same span.
Structural dynamic stability is closely related to static stability, dynamic to static ratio is defined as
dynamic stability load divided by static stability load. Without damping elastic dynamic to static
ratio is 0.56 "-~ 0.87, elastic-plastic dynamic to static ratio is 0.28 ~ 0.54. With damping elastic
dynamic to static ratio is 0.79 ~ 1.0, elastic-plastic dynamic to static ratio is 0.47 "~ 0.68. In order
to assess the reasonable range of dynamic to static ratio the follow simplify is proposed: without
damping elastic dynamic to static ratio is 0.6, elastic-plastic dynamic to static ratio is 0.3; with
damping elastic dynamic to static ratio is 0.8 and elastic-plastic dynamic to static ratio is 0.5.

The influences of initial geometry imperfection change with different imperfection mode and
values. The imperfect 40m span dome with rise to span ratio 1/10, 1/8, 1/6 are analyzed, the
imperfection mode is chosen from the first tenth static buckling mode as previous analysis with
maximum imperfection values 4cm, 8cm, 12cm, respectively. The influence of material non-
linearity and damping are considered, the results shown in table 2. Structure static and dynamic
stability loads decrease a lot with increasing imperfection value. With imperfection value 4cm
12cm, including damping, elastic dynamic critical load decrease about 35%'~ 62% , elastic-
plastic dynamic critical load decrease about 41%~- 59% compare with perfect dome. Without
damping, elastic dynamic critical load decrease about 2 1 % ~ 38%, elastic-plastic dynamic
critical load decrease about 13%~- 36%. Including damping the dynamic stability load is 0.4
0.6 times of perfect structure, 0.6 ~- 0.8 times without damping. With damping elastic imperfect
structure dynamic to static ratio decrease from 0.8 to 0.4, elastic-plastic dynamic to static ratio
decrease from 0.6 to 0.4. Without damping elastic imperfect structure dynamic to static ratio
decrease from 0.6 to 0.25, elastic-plastic dynamic to static ratio decrease from 0.4 to 0.25.
Dynamic Stability of Single Layer Reticulated Dome under Step Load 207

Rise to Imperfec Static Static Elastic Dynamic Plastic Dynamic

Span :tion (cm) Elastic Plastic damp no damp damp no damp
0.0 7.56 4.86 7.3 4.6 4.6 2.8
1/10 4.0 4.62 3.50 4.5 4.0 3.0 2.7
8.0 3.10 2.50 3.1 3.0 2.5 2.1
12.0 2.88 1.90 2.8 2.9 1.9 1.8
0.0 9.80 6.16 8.4 5.6 6.0 3.4
1/8 4.0 7.94 4.92 7.7 5.2 4.0 3.2
8.0 5.11 3.70 5.0 4.5 3.5 3.0
12.0 3.60 2.80 3.6 3.5 2.8 2.5
0.0 11.52 7.84 9.7 6.8 6.8 4.0
1/6 4.0 11.70 6.72 9.1 6.3 6.0 3.9
8.0 9.60 5.52 8.7 6.0 5.0 3.8
12.0 6.48 4.32 6.3 5.4 4.0 3.5

In practical engineering application there are initial static loads before suddenly applied dynamic
load. The 40m span dome with rise to span ratio 1/6 applied initial static load P0 = 2.0KN/m2,
P0 = 5-0KN/m2, P0 = 7.5KN/m2, other parameters is the same as previous analysis. First calculate
structure static nonlinear response under P0, second calculate structure dynamic response after
suddenly applied step load. The critical load is the sum of initial static load and dynamic load.
When static load P0 increase the newly applied step load PD decrease, but the total load P
approach to structure static stability load Ps = 7.84KN/m2 (Fig. 9).

Fig. 9 Apex time history with initial static load


Solving dynamic stability critical load is time consuming because it is dual nonlinear dynamic
analysis using many times trail calculation so that the simplify calculation method is needed for
practical engineering application. If structure dynamic critical load can be assumed among the
reasonable value then it can save much time during nonlinear FEM analysis. Referring to the
quasi-shell method in static stability analysis the simplified calculating method for structure
dynamic critical load is suggested as follows:
208 C. Wang and S. Shen
Pz~ = K~ x Kz x Ps (1)

Where Kl is dynamic to static ratio, without damping elastic K1 =0.6, elastic-plastic K1 =0.3,
with damping elastic K1 =0.8, elastic-plastic K1 =0.5. K2 is modified factor of imperfection,
with damping K2=0.4 ~ 0.6, without damping K2=0.6 ~- 0.8. Ps is static linear buckling load,

Ps: 0.8• ~ ~ : (2)

Where R is radius of dome, E is modulus of elasticity, t is average equivalent member

2A -
thickness t = - ~ - , A is average member area, l is average member length, 6 is average
- 1

equivalent bending thickness 6 - (12~f3/) ~ , ] is average member moments of inertia.


Under step load structure dynamic stability critical load is less than static critical load no matter
material is elastic or elastic-plastic, elastic critical load is less than elastic-plastic critical load.
The influence of material non-linearity is large than geometric non-linearity, when elastic-plastic
is considered dynamic critical loads reduce 40%'~ 50%. Including damping structure dynamic
critical loads increase 4 0 % ~ 50% compare with no damping case. Initial geometry imperfection
largely decrease structure dynamic stability load, the decrease ratio vary with different
imperfection mode and increasing with imperfection values. With damping imperfect structure
dynamic stability critical load is only 0.4 ~ 0.6 times of perfect dome and 0.6 ~ 0.8 times
without damping. Initial static load also should be considered in structure dynamic stability
analysis. The proposed simplify method can be used in assessing structure dynamic stability load
in practical engineering application.


Bathe K. J. and Bolourchi S. (1979). Large Displacement Analysis of Three Dimension Beam
Structures. International Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering Vol. 14, 961-986.
Budiansky, B. (1967). Dynamic Buckling of Elastic Structures: Criteria and Estimates. Dynamic
Stability of Structures, Pergamon, New York.
Simtses G. J. (1990). Dynamic Stability of Suddenly Loaded Structures. Springer-Verlag New
York Inc.
Wang Ce and Shen Shizhao. (1993). Nonlinear Dynamic Response and Collapse Analysis of
Spatial Truss Structures. Symposium on nonlinear analysis and design for shell and spatial
structures. Tokyo.
Wang Ce, Shen Shizhao and Chen Yunbo. (1996). Dynamic Stability of Reticulated Dome.
Proceedings of International Conference on Advances in Steel Structures. ICASS'96, Hong
Kong. Pergamon, Oxford, UK, Vol II, 1065-1070.
Wang Ce. (1997). Dynamic Stability of Single Layer Reticulated Dome. PhD Dissertation.
Harbin University of Civil Engineering Civil Engineering and Architecture.

Liu Xiliangl, Zhang Yongl, Zhang Fuhai 2

1. Department of Civil Engineering, Tianjin University, Tianjin, 300072, China

2. Beijing Milky Way Metal Roof Forming Technology Institute, Beijing, 100021, China


Nine full-sized models of arched corrugated metal roof were tested to failure under static loads,
and four of these specimens were modeled using two different kinds of finite elements separately.
Through the description of the experimental processes and the analysis of the experimental results,
the load bearing performance and the failure model of this kind of structure could be seen clearly.
Based on theoretical and experimental results, some valuable conclusions were summarized and
some recommendations for further studies were proposed.


Arched Corrugated Metal Roof, full-sized model test, load bearing performance, thin-walled
structure, arch, shell, finite element method


Arched corrugated metal roof is an alternative to stressed skin diaphragm structures. It is composed
of a series of arched trough plates which are made of color-coated galvanized steel sheets
(thickness ranges from 0.6mm to 1.5mm) and coldly formed by special cold roll forming machine.
The steel sheets are firstly rolled into straight trough plates, and to obtain the desired curvature of
an arched roof, straight trough plates are cold-rolled again. With their lower sidings rolled out

210 L. Xiliang et al.
many tiny cross corrugations, they become curved, forming arched trough plates. Because arch
structure can translate the applied loads mainly into forces in the plane of its surface, so such
arched trough plate can be employed in larger span buildings (more than 30m) not only as an
accessory material to be used for simple coating, but also as load bearing skeleton. With the plate-
skeleton-combined structural style and the highly mechanized construction procedure, arched
corrugated metal roof possesses such advantages as strong spanning ability, light self-weight, fast
and easy construction, good waterproofing quality and attractive appearance etc. The combination
of these advantages certainly can result in cost saving. It is very suitable to be used in single layer
buildings, and if hoisting condition permits, it can also be used in multistory buildings. According
to the different sectional configurations of arched trough plates, this kind of structure can be
classified into several types. In China there are mainly three kinds of sectional configurations, so
there are three types of this kind of structure, which are respectively named MMR-118, MMR-178
and MMR-238. Figure l shows the outlines of their cross sections.

Figure 1

Design specifications and recommendations for cold-formed steel structural members are now
available in many countries, but none of the rules for the design and construction of arched
corrugated metal roof have been published all over the world till now. Even though it is a typical
kind of thin-walled steel structure, because of its peculiar characteristics, its performance under
load differs in several significant respects from that of ordinary cold-formed structural members.
As a result, design specifications for cold-formed steel structural members cannot possibly cover
the design features of this kind of structure completely, so it needs an appropriate design
specification. With no provision of certain design code, engineering accidents will be inevitable. In
the winter of 1996, a heavy fall of snow in the northeast of China caused more than 30000 m 2 of
this kind of roof to collapse.

According to former research work, there are mainly two kinds of mechanic models for this kind of
structure, namely arch and shell. However, for some reasons, none purely theoretical analysis on
this kind of structure can make satisfactory results [1 ], so experimental studies are essential here.
Nevertheless, just because of its special construction characteristics, it is almost impossible to
carry out scale model test, full-sized model tests are indispensable to the research of this kind of

After the engineering accidents mentioned above, the authors had carried out nine groups of large-
span model experiments on the spots of these accidents. Through these model tests the cause of
Study on Full-Sized Models of Arched Corrugated Metal Roof 211
these accidents and the load bearing performance of this kind of structure could be understood. By
comparing the theoretical results with the testing results, the great divergences between them could
be seen clearly. Aiming at reducing these divergences, some recommendations for further studies
are proposed.


2.1 Model specimens

All of these tests were on-the-spot tests. The models studied here were the very structures that
survived from that heavy fall of snow. The steel plate used in these models had the yield strength
of 280Mpa and Young's modulus of 2.00 • 105 MPa. The sectional configurations of these trough
plates of these models were the same as that shown in, namely trapezoid section. Five of
these models spaned 33m and the others spaned 22m. For the convenience of the application of
load, only one model was made up of six pieces of arched trough plates, the others were all made
up of four pieces. The cross section is shown in fig.2. In order to search for an effective measure to
raise the load bearing capacity of this kind of structure, three models were reinforced with tension
chords. The reinforcing pattern is shown in fig.3. The geometrical size and load patterns of these
models are described in tab.1. Because the width-to-span ratios of these models were very small,
their lateral rigidity was quite low. To avoid lateral buckling and something unwanted scaffolds
were placed under and by both sides of these models. The outlook of a model after being put in
order is shown in fig.4

Figure2: The cross section of models

Figure 3: The reinforcing pattern Figure 4: Testing ground

212 L. Xiliang et al.

No. Arch span Arch rise Plate thick, Lateral Load pattern Remarks
1 33(m) 6.6(m) 1.25(mm) 2440(mm) Full span
2 33(m) 6.6(m) 1.25(mm) 2440(mm) Half span
3 33(m) 6.6(m) 1.25(mm) 3660(mm) Half span Local distributed load
4 33(m) 6.6(m) 1.25(mm) 2440(mm) Full span Reinforced
5 33(m) 6.6(m) 1.25(mm) 2440(mm) Half span Reinforced
6 22(m) 4.4(m) 1.00(mm) 2440(mm) Full span
7 22(m) 4.4(m) 1.00(mm) 2440(mm) Half span
8 22(m) 4.4(m) 1.00(mm) 2440(mm) Half span Triangular load distribution
9 22(m) 4.4(m) 1.00(mm) 2440(mm) Half span Reinforced

2.2 Loading method

As a kind of thin-walled structure, arched corrugated metal roof is very sensitive to concentrated
load which may cause local buckling of the structure at a relatively low load lever. In actual
engineering, large concentrated load should be avoided. To simulate the actual load-bearing pattern,
distributed loads were applied by using sandbags. From tab.1 we can see that No.3 model bore
local half-span distributed load, which means that only four out of the six trough plates bore half-
span distributed load, while the two edge trough plates were free from any external direct loads.
Tab.1 tells us that No.8 model bore triangularly distributed load. This loading pattern is to imitate
non-uniformly distributed snow load.

2.3 Observation method

Because this is a kind of flexible structure, its deformations are so large that any displacement
measuring instruments with conventional precision can not cover its deformation scope, therefore
levelling instruments were used to survey the vertical displacements, and theodolites were used to
measure the rotary angles of those surveying points. Through the values of these rotary angles, we
can figure out the horizontal displacements. 7V08 static electrical resistance strainometer was
employed to observe the distribution of strains in the models. The surveying points of
displacements and strains were arranged at such locations as two springs, L/8 section, L/4 section,
L/2 section, 3L/4 section and 7L/8 section.
Study on Full-Sized Models of Arched Corrugated Metal Roof 213

The ultimate load, maximum horizontal displacement (U) and its location, maximum vertical
displacement (V) and its location of each model are listed in tab.2


No. U l t i m a t e load U Location V Location

1 0.87kN/m 2 38cm L/8 43cm L/2
2 0.56kN/m 2 52cm 3 L/4 57 cm 3 L/4
3 0.27kN/m 2 53cm L/4 54cm L/4
4 0.92kN/m 2 36cm L/8 42cm L/2
5 1.02kN/m 2 19cm L/4 23cm L/4

6 1.06kN/m 2 18cm L/8 27cm L/2

7 0.54kN/m 2 32cm 3 L/4 41 cm 3 L/4
8 1.02kN/m 2 31 cm 3L/4 39cm 3 L/4
9 1.28kN/m 2 1lcm L/4 16cm L/4

Studying the data got from electric resistance strainometer, it's hard to find the laws of the stress
distribution in these models' sections. Although the cross sections of the models and patterns of
external load were symmetric, the stresses in one section didn't show symmetry. The direction of
principal stress of a certain point changed form time to time with the load added. The tiny ripples in the
trough plates and the out door wind load may account for this to a certain extend. Certainly the stresses
measured couldn't reflect the laws of the distribution of the actual stresses, but as few of them exceeded
the yield point stress of the material, so they could qualitatively tell us it isn't strength that determines
this kind of structure's load bearing capacity. Though the width-to-thickness ratios of the trough plates
in these models are very large, local buckling models which is common for thin-walled members didn't
appear during these tests. This demonstrates clearly that the tiny ripples can strengthen the local
stability of the plates.

Both No.1 and No.6 models bore full-span uniformly distributed load, so their performances were
similar. When the load level wasn't high, their deformations were symmetric, as shown in fig.5. But
when the load was close to the ultimate load (shown in tab.2), a sudden change from symmetric
deformation to non-symmetric deformation happened, which caused the internal forces around L/8 in
this side to increase steeply. With a little more loads, the model lost its stability and buckled.

The failure model of this kind of structure under half-span distributed load was shown in fig. 6. I t ' s
easy to understand that the stability bearing capacity of this kind of structure under half-span load is
214 L. Xiliang et al.
much lower than that under full-span load, while the stresses and displacements were much bigger. The
reason accounted for this was that the deviation between arch axis and pressure line in the half-span
load model was much larger than that in the full-span load model, so bending moments were prominent
here, which was very disadvantageous to any structures. According to the data provided by the local
meteorological department, after that fall of snow the basic snow load of the zone where the
accidents happened was about 0.521kN/m 2, and the gale also blow snow from windward side to
leeward side during the snow-fall. So the uneven half-span snow load was close to ultimate half
span load listed in tab.2. It's quite sure that half-span load pattern is the most dangerous load
pattern for this kind of structure.

Original shape Original

~--L/ 8--4---L/ 8-~L--L/ 8---~L / 8--4--L/ 8-~L--L/ 8---4--L/ 8--4---L/ 8--*J I,--L.I B -'-4-- L I B--J---L I B--I--L I B--J'-- L I B - ' - ~ L I B---I---L I B---J'--L I B"-~

Figure5: Deformation Shape of Full Span Load Model Figure6:Deformation Shape of Half Span
Load Model
Though there were two pieces of
trough plate free from direct
external load, the ultimate load of
No.3 model is not bigger than that
I~'--L/ 8--"#- L / 8--Jr--L / 8"-"IL- L / 8----i-- L / 8~L--L / 8 --J,"-'L / 8---l--- L / 8--4
of No.2 model. This model test
Figure7: Deformation Shape of Reinforced Half-Span Load
indicates that as a kind of thin-
walled member with open cross
section, the trough plate's torsional rigidity was very small and its capacity of resisting torsional load
was poor. From this test we also can see that the coordination between two pieces of plates was bad,
and the lateral widths of other models had little effects on their load bearing capacity.

Fig.7 shows the deformation shape of the models reinforced with tension chords subjected to half
span load. Tab.2 tells that the reinforcing pattern shown in fig.3 has little effect on the load bearing
capacity of the structure under full span load, while under half span load the load bearing capacity
of the same structUre can be doubled. From fig.7 we can see that two chords restrain the 3L/4
section, where the largest deformation will take place without these chords. The tension chords can
make the distribution of the internal forces even more uniform.


Because of the symmetry of the configuration and the load distribution along the longitudinal
direction of this kind of structure, it can be looked as a kind of arch structure and modeled with
thin-walled beam elements. The material constants, such as bending rigidity, axial rigidity, etc, are
Study on Full-Sized Models of Arched Corrugated Metal Roof 215
calculated according to the geometric size of unit width of its cross section.

To reflect such structure characteristics as thin wall, tiny ripples, doubly curved space
configuration, shell element is the most ideal one. The shell element used here is a kind of
generalized conforming quadrilateral flat shell element [2]. A piece of arched trough plate is
chosen as calculating model. Because the length-to-width ratio of the trough plate is very big, in
order to avoid deformed grid dividing, the size of shell element should be very small. So the
number of the shell elements in a piece of trough plate is great. This of course increases the amount
of calculation, while on the other hand this also can raise the calculating precision. In general, the
steel material used in this kind of structure is isotropic. But because of the ripples on the webs and
flanges of the trough plate, the webs and flanges will respond to load orthotropically. To analyses
the effect of the ripples an equivalent orthotropic fiat sheet is defined for the shell FEA model. The
material constants of the equivalent flat sheet can be acquired according to the equivalent condition [3].

The above experiments had indicated that it is global stability, not material strength, that control
the load bearing capacity of this kind of structure, so only geometric nonlinearity is considered in
this paper. For the same reason, local buckling isn't considered. To avoid the problem of material
nolinearity in theoretical analysis, yield criterion is adopted as the failure criterion. By the
programs based on above mentioned theory, specimen 1, 2, 6 and 7 had been calculated. The
ultimate loads of theoretical analysis and experiments and the errors of theoretical results
compared with experimental results are listed in tab.3.


Model No. Experiment Arch model Error Shell model Error

1 0.87kN/m 2 2.17kN/m 2 149.4% 1.26kN/m 2 44.83%
2 0.56kN/m 2 1.06kN/m 2 89.29% 0.67kN/m 2 19.64%
6 1.02kN/m 2 5.76kN/m 2
. . . . . . . . . .
. .
3.23kN/m 2 216.7%
0.54kN/m 2 1.89kN/m 2 250.0% 1.14kN/m 2 111.1%

As a kind of thin-walled steel structure, it is very sensitive to defects. Because the models used in
these experiments were the survivors of accidents, initial deformation and initial stress were
inevitable. In addition, all the tests were carried out outdoor, wind load will bring harmful effect on
the tests too. So from tab.3 we can see all the theoretical results are much higher than the
corresponding experimental results. But compared with half-span loading models, the errors of
full-span loading models are even larger, which indicates that this kind of structure under full-span
load is more sensitive to defects than that under half-span load.

It's obviously that the results calculated with shell FEA model are much closer to the experimental
216 L. Xiliang et al.
results than that calculated with arch FEA model. This indicates that even though it's symmetric
along longitudinal direction, the arched trough plate, the structure's components have the property
of space load carrying because of its characteristics of thin wall and local ripple shape. The
construction of ripples on the plates certainly can strengthen the stiffness along longitudinal
direction, which makes the structure free from wavelike local buckling, but they weaken the
stiffness along span direction which is very disadvantageous for this kind of bearing structure.
Shell FEA model can reflect these factors to a certain extend.

From the analysis above, it's not difficult to find out that purely theoretical analysis on this kind of
structure has a distance from real application. Model test is indispensable here. But experimental
study requires testing of full-sized models, which are very expensive and the result is only
applicable for some special situations. So studying the relation between theoretical analysis and the
experimental results and finding out the appropriate calculating constants from experiments so as
to revise the calculation programs have great significance for the research of this kind of structure.
The authors of this paper are now preparing several groups of member tests in order to observe the
material constants of the arched corrugated trough plate. The material constants got from
experiments will be used in FEA.


Through the description of these full-sized model tests, the load bearing performance and the
failure model of arched corrugated metal roof are clear now. After pointing out that local buckling
and material strength are not the control factors to its load carrying capacity, two kinds of FEA
models were established for the its theoretical analysis. Though the theoretical results didn't agree
well with the test results, these deviations indicate that such structural characteristics of this kind
of structure as thin wall and local ripple shape have great effect on its load bearing performance.
To reduce the difference between theory analysis and experiment study, recommendations for
further research are proposed.


1. Zhang Yong, Liu Xiliang and Zhang Fuhai (1997) Experimental Study on Static Stability
Bearing Capacity of Milky Way Arched Corrugated Metal Roof. J. of Building Structures, 18:6,
2. Zhang Fuhai, Zhang Yong and Liu Xiliang (1997) A Generalized Conforming Quadrilateral
Flat Shell Element for Geometric Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis. J. of Building Structures
18:2, 66-71
3. Erdal Atrek, Arthur H.Nilson (1980) Nonlinear Analysis of Cold-Formed Steel Shear
Diaphragms, J. of the Structural Division 3,693-710

Liu Yuxin 1 and Lti Zhitao 2

1Nanjing Architectural & Civil Engineering Institute; Nanjing 210009, China

2Southeast University, Nanjing 210018, China


Tensegric system is an optimum structural form in which the behavior of high strength in steel cable
can be utilized, but the reliability of this system is not very good because of the quasi-variable
characteristics. Cable-nets are also an effective structure that could span large space. This paper
proposes a new concept of spatial structure in which we combine tensegrity with cable-nets to form a
quasi-tensegric system. So we can make use of the advantages of these two systems. A construction
manner is developed. A quasi-tensegric system could be formed by the tensegric elements. This paper
divides the equilibrium state of quasi-tensegric system into two states: one is geometrical stable
equilibrium state, the other is elastic state equilibrium state. A method is developed to calculate the
form and internal forces in the geometrical stable equilibrium state and the convergence is provided.
The results of calculating show that the method proposed has a good convergence and a high precision.
Comparing incremental iterative method with dynamic relaxation method, the two methods are
effective and reliable in engineering design.


Quasi-tensegric system, tensegrity, cable-nets, geometrical stability, equilibrium state, prestressed

force, incremental iterative method, dynamic relaxation method


Among reticulated structures composed of struts and cables, which require formfinding processes a
specific class can be defined as funicular system's class (Liu and Motro,1995). Their stable shape is
directly related to a set of external actions. Two equilibrium states are defined. The first one which
doesn't take into account the member deformations corresponds to geometrical stable equilibrium state
(GSES), the second one is related to a computation of the equilibrium in the deformed shape under

218 L. Yuxin and L. Zhitao
extemal actions and is named the elastic state equilibrium state (ESES). A method for computing the
coordinates for the GSES was obtained by using the theory of generalized inverse matrix (Liu and Lu
et a1,1995). In order to determine the ESES leading to the value of node coordinates and internal forces,
an alternate method was put forward. Computed results are compared with those obtained with a
Newton Raphson method. We shall introduce briefly these main results in this paper. After giving the
method of unstable systems, we discuss calculating procedure of cable-nets and simple tensegric
system. And finally give the construction rule of quasi-tensegric systems.


Kinematic Relationship

Static and kinematic equations are established assuming classical hypothesis for reticulated structures
with struts and cables. Assuming that free nodal displacements there are b members and n degreeS of
freedom, the kinematic relationship can be expressed in matrix as follows

{e} = ([B] + [AB]){d} (1)

{e } is elastic deformation vector, [B] is the compatibility matrix and [AB] an increment of [B], {d} is
the displacement vector in which boundary condition being included by deleting the corresponding
values. When II {d} II is very smaller, the second term can be neglected, then

[B] {d} = {e} (2)

For an unstable structure, there is no elastic deformation until the geometric stable equilibrium state
and Eqn.2 become
[B] {d} = {0} (3)

Static Equilibrium Relationship

Static equilibrium equation can be derived from principle of virtual work. For a set of extemal actions
{f} and a virtual displacement {rid}, corresponding elongation {de } and internal forces {t} must satisfy

{f} r {d} = {t} r {e} (4)

Substituting Eqn.2 into Eqn.4 yields

({f}r _{t}r [B]){fd} = {0} (5)

It holds for arbitrary {6at}, so that

Quasi-Tensegric Systems and Its Applications 219
[B] r {t}= {/} or [A]{t}={/} (6)

The constitutive law can be expressed in matrix form as follows

{e} = [F]{t} (7)

Where [F] is b-order diagonal matrix with

F, = (L / EA) , i=l,b (8)

Stability Criterion and Convergence

When analyzing the form in geometric stable equilibrium state, we use the compatibility Eqn.3 instead
of static equilibrium equation Eqn.7. At equilibrium the total potential YI of the structure takes a local
minimum value. The necessary and sufficient conditions for equilibrium are

oTI=0 (9)

521--I --- 0 (10)

Where 5 is a variational symbol related to the displacement space. The equilibrium is arbitrary or
stable according to the value of 6 2H. Condition expressed by Eqn.9 will be used in next section in
order to choose a parameter leading to the stable equilibrium state. For the problem of GSES, we use
linear incremental method to solve the system of linear homogenous equation 3. That is to say an
iterative procedure will be used. As the incremental {d} is small, in each iterative step (say i-l), take
the first order approximation, then

{d},_ 1 = { x ' } i _ l t (11)

Where t is a small parameter, {x'},_~ is the first order derivation of the displacement vector with regard
to t. If {d},_~ have been found out, [B]i. 1 can be calculated[2]. So we have

IN]i_ 1{ d I i -- {0) (12)

Based on the generalized inverse theory of matrix algebra, thesolution of Eqn.12) is

{d}, =([I]-[Bl+[B]{y},_l = [D],_I {a},_~ (13)

where {y}t-1 as well as {a} ,_~ are n and (n-r) dimension algebra vector, respectively. In this paper we
chose { 1 }-inverse, so {c~} i-1 is a (n-r) dimension vector. [D] ~-1will be called as a displacement model
matrix. Hence from i-1 step to i step, nodal position coordinate vector is
220 L. Yuxin and L. Zhitao
{X}, - - { X } ,-1 q- [D],_, {a},_l (14)

in which {o~},-1 is unknown. According to the criteria of energy, we can select

{a}~_1 = -~b[D] i-1

T {f} (15)

Here, it is clearly that ~bis a size parameter that controls the size of displacement increments in the
gradient direction. Substituting Eqn. 15 to Eqn. 13 yields

{d}t = ~b[D]~_1[D][, {f} (16)

Repeating the procedure from Eqn. 13 to Eqn. 16, we shall find out the nodal coordinates in GSES step
by step. Finally, the final space coordinates of nodes can be expressed as follows


{x}= {X}o + ~--'{d}, (17)


The convergence of Eqn. 17 depends on the extemal wind force {f}. This is the same behavior for any
unstable structure (Liu and Motro,1995).


Eqn.6 which describe the kinematic and static relations in a reticulated system connect two vectorial
spaces, namely the node space R, and the member space Rb. External forces and displacements are
related to the first one, internal forces and elongation to the second one. If we call r the rank of the
equilibrium matrix [A], a Gaussian elimination procedure on the augmented matrix [A:I], [/] being a
diagonal unit matrix, leads to the transformation below (Pellegrino and Calladine,1986)

Gaussian transformation ~- ~-
[A:I] >[A:I] (18)

which can be put in the form

[A'I]= Im (19)

Applying the transformation to static relationship Eqn.6, we get

Quasi- Tensegric Systems and Its Applications 221
The external force space {f} can be split in two subspaces: one is r-dimensioned and is a fitted external
force subspace (forces can be equilibrated), the second one, of m-dimension with m--n-r corresponds
to the forces which activate the mechanisms. Similar derivation (with [J] being a diagonal unit matrix)
can be achieved on the compatibility equation 2 and lead to

The deformation space is composed of two subspaces, a "fitted" and a "non-fitted" subspace. Only the
former is compatible with the displacements. If we consider Eqns.19, 20 under an energy view, each
row of [It] and [lm], can be assimilated to displacements and each row of [Jr], [Js] to internal forces. In
Eqn.20, when components of {d} belong to the mechanism subspace, corresponding values of {e} are
equal to zero and corresponding rows of [Br], which are related to the external forces are orthogonal to
the displacements. The m mechanism vectors are included in [lm] from Eqn.19 and the corresponding
displacements can be computed by

{am } = [im IT {a} (21)

with {a} being composed of arbitrary constants combining elementary mechanisms.[D]=[lm] r is

known as the displacement mode matrix. Similar analysis leads to the computation of any self-stress
vector by
{t, } : [J~ ]r {/3} (22)

with {/3} being composed of arbitrary constants combining elementary self-stress states.[D]=[J,] r is
known as the self-stress mode matrix. We note that for a structure that verifies compatibility condition,
the self-stress subspace is orthogonal to the elastic deformation one. If the structure is in equilibrium,
the mechanism displacement space is orthogonal to the external force space.

Governing Equations for GSES

Considering the compatibility equation, the matrix [B] is a bxn matrix, and generally this is not a
square and even in this case its rank is not equal to n (=b); we can't use traditional procedures to solve
it. We must introduce the Moore Penrose inverse and more precisely the { 1 }-inverse [B]-. With this,
the general solution of the compatibility equation can be put in the form

{d} = [B]- {e} + ([I] - [B]-[B]){y} (23)

Where {7"} is a n-dimensional vector. The second term in Eqn.23 belongs to the mechanism
displacement space and Eqn.23 is equivalent to

([I]- [B]-[B]){y} = [D] {a} (24)

222 L. Yuxin and L. Zhitao
When {e}={0}, i.e. for a rigid displacement of the structure, the space coordinates can be found either
by general inverse method or by an iterative altemate method (Liu and Motro,1995), [D] is called as a
displacement model matrix.. Similar derivations give access to the intemal forces as

{t} = [A]- {f} + [S] {fl} (25)

Matrix [S] is called as a self-stress model matrix, {fl} is an unknown vector.

Elastic Stable Equilibrium State

In order to reach the ESES with a known GSES, it is necessary to determinate the values of vectors { a}
and {fl} in Eqns.24, 25. Assuming that {t}0 is the initial value of internal forces in GSES, we can
obtain the elastic deformation vector {e} by combining Eqn.25 and 7 which describes the constitutive
{e} = [F]([A]- {f} - {t}0 ) + [F] [S] {/3} (26)

From the previous discussion, for an incompatible structure, the deformation space is orthogonal to the
self-stress space. This condition gives the needed equation for computing {fl}

[S] v {e} = [S] r [F]([A]- {f} - {t}0) + [S] r [F][S]{fl} = {0} (27)

Since the product [S] T [F][S] is not singular and the first term of Eqn.27 is known, we can find out {fl}
,and the relevant internal force {t} (Eqn.25) and {e} with the constitutive law (Eqn.7). The second term
can be equated by considering the orthogonality between the mechanism displacement and the non-
fitted external forces, when structure is in equilibrium. Matrix [D] is a base of non-fitted external force
space, so we get with Eqn.23 and 24

[D] ~ {d} = [D] r [B]- {e} + [D] T[D] {a} = {0} (28)

where [D] r [D] is not singular, so we can find out { a} and simultaneously {d}. Then the position
vector {x} is calculated with the GSES coordinates as first value. A new matrix [B] is derived and the
process is repeated until the increments become close to zero. Hence the ESES is found. The
convergence depends on the properties of the structure. If the rank is equal to the number of members
there is no self-stress state and the elastic deformation {e} is compatible with {d}: the process is
always convergent. When r<b, {e} doesn't fit with {d}. In this case, the external forces must be
divided into small increments, so that the fitting between {e } and {d} can be nearly satisfied.


Unstable Cable
Quasi-Tensegric Systems and Its Applications 223
The first example is an unstable cable that has been researched by F. Baron and M.S. Vendatesan
(1971). The sectional area of the cable is 1.465 cm 2 and the stiffness is EA=12119.51kN. The initial
ESES is reached under two symmetric loads 17.8kN and an added 13.3kN local load applied to node 2.
Comparison with Baron's results is done for the GSES and the ESES. Coordinates of nodes are listed
in Table 1 and internal forces in Table 2. Baron's results are derived from a Newton-Raphson method.


Direction Node 1 Error(%) Node 2 Error(%)

xl (m) 31.1475 61.5544
F. Baron
x2 (m) 13.9172 16.4714
xl(m) 31.1611 0.04 61.5217 -0.05
x2(m) 13.7810 -0.98 16.3073 -1.00
xl(m) 31.1540 0.02 61.5609 0.01
x2(m) 13.8517 -0.47 18.4969 0.15


Member No. Baron 1971 GSES Error(%) ESES Error(%)

1 367.908 371.255 0.91 365.276 -0.71
2 337.479 340.707 0.96 335.032 -0.73
3 383.088 386.694 0.94 381.266 -0.48

Our results are close to those of Baron. It can be noticed that the difference between GSES and ESES
is very small and could be neglected: a non-extension hypothesis could be acceptable.

Tensegrity System

A tensegric system (see Figure 1) is analyzed, in which an initial state is shown in Figure l a. The
calculating results by the method proposed in this paper are Shown in Figure lb and c. The initial nodal

6 i 2

X2 ~1 x2


8,7 5,6
0.5m 0.5m
(a) Initial state (b) Final State: verticalview (c) Final State: elevation
Figure 1" Tensegric element
224 L. Yuxin and L. Zhitao
coordinates are listed in Table 3. The nodal 5,6,7,8 are fixed, the nodal 1,2,3,4 are free. The final free
nodal coordinates are listed in Table 4. In dynamic relaxation method (Liu, 1998), the coefficient
damping takes 500kg-m/s, the time incremental is 0.2s, nodal mass is 5000kg at each node. After
73695 times iteration get the final form. For incremental iterative method, the coefficient ~b=0.001,
iterate 14166 times get the final results. Finally we reach the results which show in Table 4 and Table 5,
respectively. The two methods are effective for calculating tensegric system.


Nodal No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
xl(m) -0.35355 -0.35355 -0.35355 0.35355 0.5 -0.5 -0.5 0.5
x2(m) 0.35355 0.35355 -0.35355 -0.35355 0.5 0.5 -0.5 -0.5
x3 (m) 0.97832 0.97832 0.97832 0.97832 0 0 0 0


Methods Dynamic Relaxation (Liu, 1998) Incremental iterative

Nodal No. 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
x,(m) 0.0000 -0.50000 0.00000 0.50000 -0.00001 -0.50023 -0.00001 0.50021
x2(m) 0.5000 0.00000-0.50000 0.00000 0.50022 0.00000 -0.50022 -0.00000
x3(m) 0.86603 0.86603 0.86603 0.86603 0.86701 0.86701 0.86701 0.86701


Methods Dynamic Relaxation Incremental iterative

Members 12,23,34,41 15,26,37,48 18,25,36,47 12,23,34,41 15,26,37,48 18,25,36,47
Stresses(kN) 0.50000 0.70711 -1.00000 0.49952 0.70673 -1.00000


Cable net is a good structural system that has ability to span large space, but the stiffness is a big
problem. Tensegric system is a maximum economic form of structure, but its construction is very
complicate. This paper tries to combine the advantages of the two systems to form quasi-tensegric

According to the area to be covered, we at first design a cable-net, for example as shown in Figure 2a.
Of cause, in practical engineering the plan of structure may not be a rectangular. Then using the
tensegric element of Figure lb,c, we connect the tensegrity to cable-net one element by one element,
as shown in Figure 2b. Finally we can form a double-layer quasi-tensegric spatial frame. In
construction, the key problems are the application of prestressed force technology and the connecting
Quasi-Tensegric Systems and Its Applications 225
form at nodes. These will be researched further in the future. And the whole structural analysis after
integrating quasi-tensegric system is also important.

O Cable

Tensegric element


Tensegric element

Tensegric element Tensegric element Tensegric element

Cable Cable Cable ' Cable

(a) Cable-net (b) Tensegricelementsbuild on cable-net

Figure 2: Quasi-tensegric system


The results of our numerical examples assess the validity of the iterative alternate method we
developed. As far as unstable system are concerned this method could be useful and specifically in the
field of tensegric systems. Quasi-tensegric system is a new system that has the advantage of cable-net
and tensegrity. It will be applied widely large span structure in practice.


This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Project number
59508010 ). We express heartfelt thanks.


Liu Y. (1998). Analysis of unstable systems and of tensegrity by dynamic relaxation. Chinese Journal
of Spatial structures, 4:3, 26-30
Liu Y. and Motro R.(1995). Shape analysis and internal force in unstable structures. Journal of
Southeast University, No.IA, 262-267
Liu Y., Lu Z., Han X., Jing J. (1995). Analysis for unstable cable-nets under static wind loads. Journal
of Southeast University, No.IA, 531-535
Pellegrino S. and Calladine C.R.(1986). Matrix analysis of statically and kinematically indeterminate
frameworks, lnt. J. Solids Structures, 22:4, 409-428
Baron F. and Vendtesan M.S. (1971). Nonlinear analysis of cable and truss structures. Journal of the
structure Division, ASCE, 97:2, 679-710
This Page Intentionally Left Blank
This Page Intentionally Left Blank

R.Q. Bridge

School of Civic Engineering and Environment, University of Western Sydney, Nepean,

Kingswood, NSW 2747, Australia


There has been a recent upsurge in the use of pins, particularly in architectural steel structures with
visible tension and compression members. However, the rules for the design of pins vary quite
considerably from code to code and this has caused some confusion amongst consulting structural
engineers operating internationally. A comprehensive testing program has examined the influence of
such parameters such as pin diameter, material properties of the pin, thickness of the loading plates,
material properties of the loading plates and the distance of the pin to the edge of the loading plates.
Modifications to current design procedures are proposed that take into account the different possible
modes of failure.


Bearing, design, failure, pins, shear, steel structures, strength, tests


As they have no head and are not threaded, pins cannot carry any axial forces and can only carry shear
forces transverse across the pin. Despite this limitation, they are often used in structural applications
by designers and architects for steel structures with visible tension and compression members,
particularly in applications such as canopies, sporting stadiums, convention centres and bridges. In
these cases, the pins are essentially subjected to static conditions and rotations are generally small.

The design procedures for pins can be found in most structural steel codes, standards and
specifications. However, there is some disparity in the design values for three major of the major
design conditions: shear of the pin; bearing on the pin; and bearing on the plies (plates) that load the
pin. For instance, the Australian Standard AS4100-1998 has an apparently high design value for the
strength of a ply (plate) in bearing and yet a low value for the strength of a pin in shear whereas
Eurocode 3-1992 has a low value for plate bearing strength but a high value for pin shear strength. To
explore this disparity, the behaviour of pins under load has been examined experimentally to determine
the effects of the material and geometrical properties of both the pin and the loading plate on the

230 R.Q. Bridge
strength and mode of failure of the pin or plate. The results have been compared with design values
from steel design standards and modifications to the design procedures have been proposed.


The first series of test specimens consisted of a snug-fit single pin loaded in double shear by an interior
plate between two exterior cover plates as shown in Figure 1. The lower half of the specimen was
bolted and was designed to have a greater capacity than the pin. The specimens were tested to failure
under load control in a 580 kN capacity tensile testing machine. Deformations of the interior pin plate
relative to the exterior cover plates were measured. The main variables tested were the pin diameter df
(10, 16 and 27mm), the interior plate thickness tp (3, 6, 10, 16 and 20mm) and the material properties
of the pin. The pins were cut from two types of commercially available steel rod: black rod with a high
ductility and low ratio of yield strength fyp to ultimate tensile strength fuf; and bright rod with a lower
ductility. Typical stress-strain curves are show in Figure 2. The plate steel had a similar behaviour to
the black pin. The distance from the pin to the edge of the plate in the direction of loading was kept
generally within the limits of AS 4100-1998 for end plate tear-out to limit this mode of failure.

'.] t ~ -

Top interior test plate

Width = 100mm

Test pin

Cover plates t = 12mm


70 [ [ [ 1[ ~ Two M20 8.8 bolts


Bottom interior plate

All dimension in mm

Figure 1. Test specimen for double shear

The Design of Pins in Steel Structures 231



r~ 16mm black pin

\ 16mm bright pin
m 200

0.0 1.0 2.0 3.0

Strain %

Figure 2. Stress-strain curves for the two types of steel

Hayward and van Ommen (1992) conducted the tests. The geometrical properties, material properties,
test results and modes of failure for the 18 test specimens are shown in Table 1. The primary mode of
failure was either shearing of the pin (shear deformation of the pin generally being 25% of the pin
diameter or greater) or large bearing deformations of the plate (63% of the pin diameter or greater). In
some cases, large plate bearing deformations were observed prior to final shearing of the pin. In other
cases, fracture of the plate occurred at the cross-section through the pin. These failures have been
labelled as secondary modes of failure. Pin bearing failures were not observed.


Test Pin Pin Pin Plate Plate Plate Max. Hole Primary Secondary
No. df ~f ~f thick f~ ~p Load Elong. Failure Failure
Innl MPa MPa mm MPa MPa kN %
1 10.06 250 455 3.12 360 496 53.6 63.4 Pin shear Plate beating
2 10.04 250 455 5.97 310 469 54.0 7.9 Pin shear
3 10.06 250 455 9.85 260 485 54.3 0.4 Pin shear
4 16.13 300 499 3.23 360 496 97.0 126.4 Plate bearing
5 16.14 300 499 10.05 260 485 150.8 7.5 Pin shear
6 16.13 300 499 15.86 250 460 146.5 2.3 Pin shear
7 26.95 270 485 3.12 360 496 113.0 69.7 Plate bearing Plate fracture
8 26.95 270 485 9.9 260 485 346.0 68.6 Pin shear Plate bearing
9 26.95 270 485 19.93 250 446 344.0 4.6 Pin shear
10 9.97 480 558 3.14 360 496 53.6 72.3 Pin shear Plate bearing
11 10.09 480 558 6.12 310 469 56.8 8.9 Pin shear
12 10.00 480 558 10.11 260 485 56.4 1.5 Pin shear
13 15.97 460 523 3.16 360 496 92.5 167.6 Plate bearing
14 15.97 460 523 9.85 260 485 137.0 7.0 Pin shear
15 15.97 460 523 15.9 250 460 131.0 9.2 Pin shear
16 26.90 450 524 3.12 360 496 110.0 78.7 Plate bearing Plate fracture
17 26.90 450 524 10.17 260 485 352.0 125.7 Plate bearing Plate fracture*
18 26.90 450 524 19.87 250 446 350.0 5.7 Pin shear
*Pin also sheared 25% of diameter
232 R.Q. Bridge
Typical load-deformation curves are shown in Figure 3 for 10mm and 16mm diameter bright pins in
three different thicknesses of plate. The 16mm diameter pin in 3mm plate (specimen 13) exhibited a
primary plate bearing failure whereas the 10mm pin in 3mm plate (specimen 10 exhibited a secondary
bearing failure. With plate bearing failures, hole elongations in excess of 60% of the hole diameter are
attained. The other specimens shown in Figure 3 exhibited pin shear failures. Pin shear failures are
associated with shear deformation through the pin itself of 25% of the pin diameter or more prior to
failure, even for the pins manufactured from bright steel with a lower ductility than the black steel.

3mm piate, 16mm pin
- 10mmplate, 16mm pin
x 16mmplate, 16mm pin
=-- 3mm plate, 10mm pin
o-- 6mm plate, 10mm pin
lOO ,,- - 10mm plate, 10mm pin

o ....- ~ f
50 -- "- . . . . 9


0 5 10 15
Deformation (ram)
Figure 3. Typical load-deformation behaviour for pin shear and plate bearing failures

The second test series under deformation control was conducted by Sukkar (1998). This examined the
effect of the shape of eye-bars (see Figure 4), typically used at the end of tension members, on end tear-
out failures. Standards such as AS4100-1998, BS5950-1990 and Eurocode 3-1992 require an elongated
end on the eye-bar (D3 > D2) whereas AISC-1993 permits a simpler circular eye bar end (D3 = D2).
The eye-bar dimensions, material properties and test results are shown in Table 2.



Figure 4. Typical shape of eye-bars at end of pinned tension members

The Design o f Pins in S t e e l S t r u c t u r e s 233

Test Head Pin Plate

Eye-bar dimensions Pin Pin Plate Plate Max. Failure
No. Type df tpD1 DE O3 fyf fuf fyp fup Load mode
ITlln mm
mnl mm mm MPa MPa MPa MPa kN
19 Elong. 20.00 5.0 22.5 15.0 22.5 730 870 280 440 46.9 Tear-out
20 Circ. 20.00 5.0 22.5 15.0 15.0 730 870 280 440 44.4 Tear-out
21 Elong. 20.00 6.0 22.5 15.0 22.5 730 870 280 440 52.6 Tear-out
22 Circ. 20.00 6.0 22.5 15.0 15.0 730 870 280 440 47.0 Tear-out
23 Elong. 20.00 8.0 22.5 15.0 22.5 730 870 280 440 53.6 Deform*
24 Circ. 20.00 8.0 22.5 15.0 15.0 730 870 280 440 52.7 Deform*
25 Elong. 27.00 5.0 30.0 20.0 30.0 730 870 280 440 51.4 Tear-out
26 Circ. 27.00 5.0 30.0 20.0 20.0 730 870 280 440 53.0 Tear-out
27 Elong. 27.00 6.0 30.0 20.0 30.0 730 870 280 440 54.4 Tear-out
28 Circ. 27.00 6.0 30.0 20.0 20.0 730 870 280 440 54.0 Tear-out
29 Elong. 27.00 8.0 30.0 20.0 30.0 730 870 280 440 62.2 Deform*
30 Circ. 27.00 8.0 30.0 20.0 20.0 730 870 280 440 63.1 Deform*
*Failure not reached. Instron 6027 testing machine disabled by frame error under deformation control.


The possible of modes of failure considered by most design codes are shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5. Modes of failures in pin connections.

The dimensions of eye-bars and the design strengths for the conditions of pin shear, pin bearing and
plate bearing according to Australian, European, British and American practice are listed in Table 3.


Steel code tp D2 D3 D4 Pin shear Pin bearing Plate bearing

AS4100-1998" _>0.25D2 2 0 . 6 7 D , 2 1.OD1 _>1.ODI VI = 0.62fyiA I Vb = 1.4frrdrt p Vb = 3.2f, pdrt p
Eurocode 3-1992 n.a. _>0.75dp _>1.1dp 21.1dp Vr = 0.60furAr Vb = 1.5f~rdrtp Vb = 1.5fypdrt p
BS5950-1990 !_>0.25D2 20.67D~ 2 1.OD~ _>1.OD~ Vr = 0.60frrAr Vb = 1.2fedrtp Vb - 1.2fypdrt p
AISC-1993 20.12D~ 20.67D~ =l.OD2 n.a. Vt = 0.60feAr Vb = 1.4f~rdrtp Vb = 1.4fypdtt p
*In addition, AS4100-1998 requires Vb - f , paetp for plate tear-out where ae is the clear distance from the pin to
the edge of the plate in the direction of loading.
234 R.Q. Bridge
In Table 3, Ay is the cross-sectional area of the pin, df is the diameter of the pin, frY is the yield stress of
the steel in the pin, fuy is the ultimate tensile strength of the steel in the pin, tp is the thickness of the
load-bearing plate, fyp is the yield stress of the steel in the plate, and f,p is the ultimate tensile strength
of the steel in the plate. Most codes are similar with two major exceptions: Eurocode 3 uses the
ultimate tensile strength of the pin in calculating the shear strength of the pin (similar to that for bolt
strength in most steel codes); and AS4100-1998 uses the ultimate tensile strength of the plate (and a
large factor of 3.2) in calculating the bearing strength of the plate. Therefore only AS4100-1998 and
Eurocode 3-1992 are considered in the following comparisons of codes with the test strengths.


Test Max Vf Load/Vf Vb Load/Vb Vb Load/Vb Vb Load/Vb

No. Load Pin Pin Pin§ Pin§ Plate Plate Tear-out Tear-out
, kN , kN , kN kN ~ , kN ,
1 53.6 24.6 2.18" 11.0 4.88 49.8 1.08 139.2 0.38
2 54.0 24.5 2.20* 21.0 2.57 90.0 0.60 251.9 0.21
3 54.3 24.6 2.20* 34.7 1.57 153.8 0.35 429.8 0.13
4 97.0 76.0 1.28" 21.9 4.43 82.7 1.17 139.3 0.70
5 150.8 76.1 1.98" 68.1 2.21 251.7 0.60 423.7 0.36
6 146.5 76.0 1.93" 107.4 1.36 376.6 0.39 634.2 0.23
7 113.0 191.0 0.59 31.8 3.56 133.5 0.85* 126.2 0.90
8 346.0 191.0 1.81" 100.9 3.43 414.1 0.84 391.4 0.88
9 344.0 191.0 1.80" 203.0 1.69 766.6 0.45 724.7 0.47
10 53.6 46.5 1.15" 21.0 2.55 49.7 1.08 140.2 0.38
11 56.8 47.6 1.19" 41.5 1.37 92.7 0.61 258.2 0.22
12 56.4 46.7 1.21" 67.9 0.83 156.9 0.36 i 441.3 0.13
13 92.5 114.3 0.81 32.5 2.85 80.1 1.15" 136.4 0.68
14 137.0 114.3 1.20" 101.3 1.35 244.1 0.56 415.7 0.33
15 131.0 114.3 1.15" 163.5 0.80 373.8 0.35 636.4 ! 0.21
16 110.0 317.1 0.35 52.9 2.08 133.2 0.83* 126.2 0.87
17 352.0 317.1 1.11" 172.4 2.04 424.6 0.83 402.2 0.88
18 350.0 317.1 1.10" 336.7 1.04 762.8 0.46 722.7 0.48
19 46.9 284.4 0.16 102.2 0.46 140.8 0.33 49.5 0.95*
20 44.4 284.4 0.16 102.2 0.43 140.8 0.32 33.0 1.35"
21 52.6 284.4 0.18 122.6 0.43 169.0 0.31 59.4 0.89*
22 47.0 284.4 0.17 122.6 0.38 169.0 0.28 39.6 1.19"
23 53.6 284.4 0.19 163.5 0.33 225.3 0.24 79.2 0.68*
24 52.7 284.4 0.19 163.5 0.32 225.3 0.23 52.8 1.00"
25 51.4 518.3 0.10 138.0 0.37 190.1 0.27 66.0 0.78*
26 53.0 518.3 0.10 138.0 0.38 190.1 0.28 44.0 1.20"
27 54.4 518.3 0.10 165.6 0.33 228.1 0.24 79.2 0.69*
28 54.0 518.3 0.10 165.6 0.33 228.1 0.24 52.8 1.02"
29 62.2 518.3 0.12 220.8 0.28 304.1 0.20 105.6 0.59*
30 63.1 518.3 0.12 220.8 0.29 1304.1 0.21 70.4 0.90*
* Asterisk indicates mode of failure predicted by the AS4100-1998
+Pin bearing ignored in predicting failure as none was observed in tests

The predicted failure modes from Table 3 compare well with actual failure modes in Table 1.
However, for test specimens 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 1 l, 12, 14, 15 and 18 where the actual primary
failure was by pin shear, the strength of the pin in shear predicted by AS4100-1998 was markedly
lower than the test strengths, particularly for the ductile pins made from black steel rod. For the test
specimens l, 4, 7, 8, 10, 13, 16 and 17 where the primary or secondary failure was by bearing of the
The Design o f Pins in Steel Structures 235
plate, the strength predicted by AS4100-1998 was close to the actual test strengths. The predicted
bearing strengths for specimens 7, 16, and 17 appear a little high because the full bearing strength of
the plate was not attained in the test due to premature fracture of the plate adjacent to the hole. For the
eye-bars where plate tear-out was both the predicted and the actual mode of failure, AS4100-1998
provided a reasonable estimate of the test strength taking the edge distance a3 = D3. However, it is
interesting to note that the elongation of the eye-bar as used by AS4100-1998, BS5950-1990 and
Eurocode-1992 did little to improve the strength of the eye-bar and its use should be questioned.

When Eurocode 3-1992 is compared with the test results in a similar manner to that shown in Table 4
for AS4100-1998, it is found that the failure modes predicted by the code strengths do not compare
well with actual test failure modes shown in Table 1. However, for the test specimens 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8,
9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15 and 18 where the primary failure was by pin shear, the strength of the pin in shear
predicted by Eurocode 3-1992 was close to the actual test strengths. For the test specimens 1, 4, 7, 8,
10, 13, 16 and 17 where the primary or secondary failure was by bearing of the plate, the strength
predicted by Eurocode 3-1992 was significantly lower than the actual test strengths.


From the comparisons with AS4100-1998 and Eurocode 3-1992, it was clear that the AS4100-1998
provided the best model for plate bearing strength based on the ultimate strength of the steel in the
plate whereas Eurocode 3-1992 provided the best model for the pin shear strength, again based on the
ultimate strength of the steel in the pin. It is therefore proposed that the strength Vf of a pin in shear
should be given by

Vf = 0.62fqAf (1)

This is similar to the strength of a bolt in shear as given in AS4100-1998. The shear factor of 0.62 on
the ultimate tensile strength is used to give the shear strength of the steel in the pin. In the tests, the
mean value of this factor for the ductile black steel pins was 0.71 with a coefficient of variation of 0.08
with factors ranging from 0.74 for the 10mm diameter pins to 0.62 for the larger 27mm diameter pins.
For the lower ductility bright steel pins, the mean value of the factor was 0.63 with a coefficient of
variation of 0.03 with factors ranging from 0.65 for the 10mm diameter pins to 0.59 for the larger
diameter 27mm pins. It is also proposed that the strength of the plate in bearing should be given by

v~ = 3.2Lpdjtp (2)

This is identical to the current requirements in AS4100-1998 for both pins and bolts. The bearing
factor of 3.2 on the ultimate tensile strength is used to give the bearing strength of the steel in the plate.
In the two tests that had primary bearing failures without plate fracture, the mean value of the factor
was 3.74. In the other three bearing failure tests where premature plate fracture occurred, the mean
value of this factor was still 2.67, a value close to 3.2.

It is proposed that a new serviceability condition for plate bearing be included in design codes. As
shown in Figure 2 for the 3mm plate that failed in bearing, the bearing deformations of the plate at
maximum load are very large and typically exceed 60% of the hole diameter. Using a proof load at 2%
of the hole diameter as the basis to define the maximum service load Vs that can be sustained prior to
the onset of large plate bearing deformations, a mean design value of bearing strength Vb~ for
serviceability conditions has been determined as

Vbs = 1.6fypdftp (3)

236 R.Q. Bridge
The value of the factor 1.6 was derived from the eight tests that had primary and secondary bearing
failures. It is close to the factors shown in Table 3 for plate bearing strengths based on the yield
strength, indicating that this should be a serviceability condition, not a strength condition.
Comparisons of the proposals with the test results are given in Table 5. Values are shown for both
primary and secondary failure modes and indicate reasonable agreement over the test range.


Test Max Vf Load/Vf Load/Vb Service Vb~ VflVbs Predicted

Load Pin Pin Plate Load Vs Plate Failure
kN i i
kN kN
1 53.6 44.8 1.20 1.08 20 18.1 1.11 Pin shear*
2 54.0 44.7 1.21 Pin shear
3 54.3 44.8 1.21 Pin shear
4 97.0 126.4 1.17 30 30.0 1.00 Plate bearing
5 150.8 ! 126.6 1.19 Pin shear
6 146.5 126.4 1.16 Pin shear
7 113.0 343.1 0.85 38 48.4 0.78 Plate bearing
8 346.0 343.1 1.01 0.84 125 111.0 1.13 Pin shear*
9 344.0 343.1 1.00 Pin shear
10 53.6 54.0 0.99 1.08 20 18.0 1.11 Plate bearing
11 56.8 55.3 1.03 Pin shear
12 56.4 54.3 1.04 Pin shear
13 92.5 129.9 1.15 i 29 29.1 1.00 Plate bearing
14 137.0 129.9 1.05 Pin shear
15 131.0 i 129.9 1.01 Pin shear
16 110.0 369.3 0.83 42 48.3 0.87 Plate bearing
17 352.0 369.3 0.95 0.83 130 113.8 1.14 Pin shear *+
18 350.0 369.3 0.95 Pin shear
*Plate bearing (+pin shear) was a secondary failure mode in the tests.


Tests have highlighted some deficiencies in current codes that are used to predict the strength of pins in
plated structures. Modifications have been proposed that better model the modes of failure. Plate tear-
out is an important consideration. A new serviceability condition is proposed. Bearing of the pin was
not identified as a mode of failure and this aspect needs further examination.


American Institute of Steel Construction AISC-1993, Load and resistance factor design specification
for structural steel buildings - Second edition. American Institute of Steel Construction, Chicago.
Australian Standard AS4100-1990. Steel structures, Standards Australia, Sydney.
British Standard BS5950-1990. Structural use of steel in buildings, British Standards Institution,
Eurocode 3-1992. ENV 1993-1-1 Design of steel structures- Partl.l: General rules and rules for
buildings, European Committee for Standardization, Brussels.
Hayward, I.G.and Van Ommen, M.(1992). Pins in steel structures. B.E. Thesis, University of Sydney.
Sukkar, T. (1998). Pins in steel Structures. B.E.Thesis, University of Western Sydney, Nepean.

A. T. Wheeler 1, M. J. Clarke 2 and G. J. Hancock 2

1 Department of Civic Engineering and Environment, The University of Western SydneymNepean,
Kingswood, N.S.W., 2747, Australia
2 Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Sydney,
Sydney, N.S.W. 2006, Australia


This paper describes the finite element modelling philosophy employed to analyse bolted moment
end plate connections joining square and rectangular hollow sections which are subjected to pure
bending. The ABAQUS finite element package (HKS, 1995) is used to simulate the experimental be-
haviour observed in tests performed at the University of Sydney. The parameters varied in both the
experiments and the ABAQUS simulations include the end plate thickness, the section shape (square
or rectangular), and the position of the bolts. The results obtained from the finite element analyses are
evaluated and the appropriateness of the model assessed by comparing the numerically predicted ul-
timate loads and moment-rotation responses with those of the corresponding tests. Overall, it is con-
cluded that the numerical analysis is effective in modelling the behaviour of the connections, al-
though there are some failure modes observed experimentally which could not be directly reproduced
in the finite element models.


Bolted connections, end plate connections, tubular sections, moment-rotation behaviour, ABAQUS.


The increase in the use of rectangular hollow sections in mainstream structures coupled with the eco-
nomics of prefabrication have highlighted the need for simple design methods that produce economi-
cal tubular connections. Although tubular connection design handbooks have been published recently
(Syam and Chapman, 1996; AISC, 1997), the eight-bolt moment end plate connection described in
this paper is one configuration for which a design model is not widely available. A suitable model is
described in the companion paper by Wheeler et al. (1999). The eight-bolt connection described in
this paper and depicted in Figure la represents one of two fundamental bolting arrangements studied
by Wheeler (1998). The other bolting arrangement utilises four bolts, as shown in Figure lb. The
eight-bolt detail described in this paper is superior to the four-bolt variant from the point of view of
connection strength and stiffness, but is nevertheless more costly.

238 A.T. Wheeler et al.

Figure 1: Typical applications of bolted moment end plate connections using RHS
Realistic modelling of bolted end plate connections is highly complex because the problems are
three-dimensional in nature, and involve the added complications of geometric and material nonline-
arities, and contact/separation between various components (Bursi and Jaspart, 1997a, 1997b). Bursi
and Jaspart (1997a, 1997b) also highlight the importance of correct element selection to obtain accu-
rate solutions, and have endeavoured to establish benchmarks that can be used to calibrate finite ele-
ment models.

This paper describes the finite element modelling philosophy employed to analyse eight-bolt moment
end plate connections joining square and rectangular tubes subjected to pure bending. The ABAQUS
finite element package (HKS, 1995) is used to simulate the behaviour observed in tests performed at
the University of Sydney (Wheeler et al., 1995). The parameters varied in both the experiments and
the ABAQUS simulations include the end plate thickness, the section shape (square or rectangular),
and the position of the bolts. The results obtained from the finite element analyses are evaluated and
the appropriateness of the model assessed by comparing the numerically predicted ultimate loads and
moment-rotation responses with those of the corresponding tests.



The generation of a three-dimensional finite element model of the bolted tubular end plate connection
was carried out using the PATRAN pre-processor (PDA Engineering, 1994). The connections were
analysed using the ABAQUS finite element software package (HKS, 1995). The analysis incorpo-
rated the effects of both material and geometric nonlinearities.

The finite element model of a typical eight-bolt end plate connection is shown in Figure 2, with the
vertical axis of symmetry along the beam length being utilised to reduce the size of the model. To aid
the model verification process, the connection was divided into five individual sub-models, each of
which represents a specific component of the connection. These components are labelled in Figure 2.

The model employed solid three dimensional brick elements for each of the components, with addi-
tional interface elements used to model the contact/separation between various surfaces. The material
properties used for the various components of the model were determined from the engineering
stress-strain curves obtained through tensile tests (Wheeler et al., 1995). It should be noted that the
incorporation of material nonlinearity in an ABAQUS model requires the use of the true stress (Otrue)
versus the logarithmic plastic strain ( elpl ) relationship.
Finite Element Modell&g of Bolted Moment End Plate Connections 239

Beam Section
To model the beam section, eight-noded linear brick elements were utilised as shown in Figure 2.
These elements are of type C3D8 in ABAQUS terminology. Two section sizes were employed in the
tests: a square hollow section (SHS) of nominal dimensions 150x150• mm, and a rectangular
hollow section (RHS) of nominal dimensions 200•215 mm.

Figure 2: Finite element model of eight-bolt connection

The tubular sections employed in the bolted end plate connections were manufactured using a cold-
forming process. As a result, the material in the comers of the section was of higher strength than the
material in the fiats. Consequently, different material properties were assigned to the comer and fiat
regions of the sections in the finite element analysis. The relevant stress-strain curves are depicted in
Figure 3.

Figure 3: Typical section material properties

End Plate

The general layout and the corresponding dimensions of the end plates are given in Figure 1 and Ta-
ble 1 of the companion paper (Wheeler et al., 1999). For all tests, the edge distance (ae) to the centre
of the bolt holes was 30 mm, and the diameter of the holes was 22 mm for M20 bolts.

In the finite element simulations, the end plate was modelled using eight-noded linear hybrid bricks,
corresponding to element type C3D8H in ABAQUS. This element type was selected to prevent pos-
sible problems of volume strain locking, which can occur in the C3D8 linear elements (HKS, 1995).
Following a convergence study, it was decided to use four elements through the thickness of the end
plate for all analyses. A typical layout is shown in Figure 2.
The measured stress-strain relationships of the end plates follow the classic elastic-plastic-strain
hardening pattem. Since the measured yield stresses (fy) and ultimate tensile strengths (fu) for the dif-
240 A.T. Wheeler et al.
ferent end plate thicknesses (12 mm, 16 mm and 20 mm) were all within 3 percent, an average stress-
strain relationship was used for all plate thicknesses. This average stress-strain curve was based on a
yield stress of 351 MPa and an ultimate tensile strength of 492 MPa.


In many cases, the ultimate strength of the connection was limited by tensile fracture of the bolts
rather than end plate or section failure. Therefore, to simulate the connection behaviour accurately,
each bolt was modelled as a separate entity using the nominal cross-sectional areas and measured
material properties. Reflecting the experimental behaviour of a bolt in tension, in the finite element
analyses the bolts were deemed to fracture when the strain reached 3 percent (Wheeler, 1998).

The interaction (i.e. contact and separation) between the bolt and the end plate was modelled using
the INTER4 cubic interface elements (HKS, 1995). These assemblages were positioned between the
underside of the bolt head and the end plate, and also between the bolt hole in the end plate and the
bolt shank. The interface elements between the underside of the bolt head and the end plate were im-
plemented as a "rough" interface to prevent slipping between the surfaces. The assemblages of inter-
face elements between the bolt shank and the bolt hole modelled a frictionless interface to prevent the
"penetration" of the bolt into the end plate at high rotations.


The connection between the tubular section and the end plate consisted of a combination butt-fillet
weld. The weld was modelled as an individual component using eight noded linear brick elements
(C3D8) and six noded linear triangular prism elements (C3D6) to encompass the butt and fillet por-
tions, respectively. The specified nominal material properties of the weld metal (fy = 428 MPa,
fu = 528 MPa) exceed those of the tubular section and the end plate.

Initial Stresses and End Plate Deformations

The cold-formed tubular sections used in the end plate connections contain residual stresses as a re-
sult of the manufacturing process. Welding the end plate to the tubular section induces residual
stresses and bowing deformations in the end plate. Bolt pre-tensioning introduces further initial
stresses in the connection. These heat induced distortions and the consequent initial stresses in the
end plate may have a significant effect on the stiffness of the connection as the subsequent bolt pre-
tensioning induces stresses into the end plate through the clamping action.

In the finite element analyses, the heat-induced deformations of the end plate were modelled by sim-
ply displacing the initial geometry as shown in Figure 4. The internal residual stress state resulting
from welding was not modelled. An initial transverse displacement of 80, the magnitude of which
depends on the end plate thickness and is based on measurements of test specimens, is applied to all
four edges of the end plate with a linear variation to zero initial displacement at the flanges and webs.

Although initial end plate deformations were incorporated in the finite element model, verification
studies have shown that the initial deformations have only a minor effect on the overall moment-
rotation response for the eight-bolt connections (Wheeler, 1998).
End Plate Thickness Initial Deformation
tp (ram) 80 (mm)
12 2.0
16 1.0
20 0.75

Figure 4: Imposed initial end plate deformations

Finite Element Modelling of Bolted Moment End Plate Connections 241
To model the complete behaviour of the connection, the loading was carried out in five steps as
shown in Figure 5. In the first two steps, displacements are applied to close the nominal gap between
the solid elements and the appropriate rigid surfaces. In the third step, a concentrated load was ap-
plied to the end of the bolts to produce the pre-tension of 145 kN as specified in AS4100 for a fric-
tion grip connection employing high strength bolts (SA, 1998). In the fourth step, the bolts ends were
fixed in their pre-tensioned position and equilibrium re-established. In the fifth and final step, the
rigid end cap was rotated, thus applying a moment to the beam section and the connection.

Initial State Step 1 Step 2

Close bolt rigid surfaces Close end plate rigid surfaces

Step 3 Step 4
Pre-tension bolts (load P) Fix bolt ends in pre-tensioned position Rotate end cap

Figure 5: Schematic representation of loading procedure


The experimental and numerical results for the eight-bolt connections are given in Table 1. Graphical
comparisons for all tests are presented in Wheeler (1998). When comparing the results, it should be
noted that in the experimental study the tests were terminated when either a punching shear failure
had occurred (Wheeler et al., 1999), when the load cells indicated a drop in bolt load, or when the
section formed a plastic hinge. In the numerical analysis, the ultimate load was deemed to occur
when the bolts reached their predefined fracture strain (3 percent) or when the section failed plasti-
cally. Consequently, punching shear failure was not considered in the finite element model.

The agreement between the experimental (Mcu) and numerical (ABAQUS) (mab) ultimate moments is
excellent as indicated in Table 1, with the mean and standard deviation of the experimental-to-
numerical ratio (mcu/Mab)being 0.96 and 0.07, respectively. Furthermore, if the tests that failed as a
result of punching shear are ignored in the comparisons (Tests 2, 5, 8, 9, and 10), the mean and stan-
dard deviation are improved to 1.01 and 0.03, respectively. The comparison of experimental and nu-
merical overall moment-rotation responses was generally good for the RHS (see Figures 6 and 7), but
only fair for the SHS. The numerical predictions of the theoretical model (Mth) which considers yield
line analysis, the stub tee analogy, beam section plasticity and punching shear (Wheeler et al., 1999),
are also given in Table 1. With a mean theoretical-to-experimental ratio (Mcu/Mth) of 1.03 and a stan-
dard deviation of 0.05, the theoretical model is evidently very effective (Wheeler et al., 1999).
242 A.T. Wheeler et al.

Test ABAQUS Theoretical

Test Mcu Mab Mth Mcu/Mab MeulMth
(kNm) (kNm) (~qrn)
1 (SHS) 116.0 (S) 110.8 116.3 (S) 1.05 1.00
2 (RHS) 124.5 (P) 131.5 116.8 (P) 0.95 1.07
3 (SHS) 93.9 (B) 95.7 92.8 (B) 0.98 1.01
4 (SHS) 116.0 (S) 111.9 116.3 (S) 1.04 1.00
5 (RHS) 92.7 (P) 114.7 87.6 (P) 0.81 1.06
6 (RHS) 136.7 (S) 137.4 128.4 (S) 0.99 1.06
7 (SHS) 113.2 (B) 115.1 116.3 (S) 0.98 0.97
8 (SHS) 97.6 (P) 105.6 104.9 (B) 0.92 0.93
9 (RHS) 133.0 (P) 136.0 123.2 (P) 0.98 1.08
10 (RHS) 119.3 (P) 133.3 110.0 (P) 0.89 1.08
(P) = Punching shear failure Mean 0.96 1.03
(S) = Section capacity failure S.D. 0.07 0.05
(B) = Failure by yield line formation
and bolt fracture

Figure 6: Effect of variation in end plate thickness for RHS connections

The numerical analyses demonstrate that the flexibility and strength of the connection depends on the
flexibility of the end plate. This flexibility is a function of the thickness of the end plate and the posi-
tion of the bolts relative to the section perimeter.

The effect of varying the end plate thickness is shown in Figure 6, in which the connection moment-
rotation behaviour is presented for Tests 5, 2 and 6 which comprise end plate thicknesses of 12 mm,
16 mm and 20 mm, respectively. These three tests differ only in end plate thickness. A significant
increase in the overall stiffness and strength is observed with an increase in the end plate thickness.
In both the physical test and the ABAQUS model, the 20 mm end plate connection (Test 6) failed
through the attainment of full plasticity in the beam section rather than the failure occurring in the
connection itself. Conversely, the 16 mm and 12 mm end plate connections (Tests 2 and 5) failed
through punching shear in the physical experiments, but are predicted to fail as a result of the bolts
attaining their assumed fracture strain of 3 percent in the ABAQUS model. The ramifications of the
inability of the ABAQUS model to consider the punching shear failure mode are particularly appar-
ent for Test 5 (12 mm end plate) as indicated in Figure 6.
Finite Element Modelling of Bolted Moment End Plate Connections 243

Figure 7: Effect of bolt position on moment-rotation behaviour for RHS connections

The stiffening effect of the position of the bolts relative to the section perimeter is illustrated in Fig-
ure 7. The three simulations presented in this figure have a constant end plate thickness of 16 mm,
with the distance to the perimeter of the section (So) being varied. Increasing the value of So reduces
the stiffness of the end plate, thus resulting in a more flexible moment-rotation response and lower
ultimate strength (compare Tests 10 and 2 for which So = 45 mm and 35 mm, respectively).

As can be seen in Figures 6 and 7, the finite element analysis is reasonably effective in simulating the
experimental moment-rotation response for the RHS connections. Generally the computed response
is marginally stiffer than the experimentally measured one. However, the SHS connections (Tests 1,
3, 4, 7 and 8) are generally significantly stiffer in the finite element simulations than in the tests
(Wheeler, 1998). It is believed that the additional stiffness in the SHS connections is associated with
inadequate modelling of the bolts and their interaction with the end plate. The bolts in the SHS con-
nection are positioned such that they restrain the comers of the section (i.e. the line of restraint be-
tween adjacent bolts passes through the comer of the section). Conversely, the positioning of the
bolts in the RHS connections offers less restraint to the comers of the section, thus enabling a greater
degree of flexibility within the end plate.

As can be seen in Figure 8, the yield mechanisms in the end plates vary depending on the shape of
the beam section (SHS or RHS), which defines the positions of the bolts. For both the SHS and RHS,
the pitch of the four bolts above and below the axis of bending is approximately constant. The dis-
tance between the bolts adjacent to the section webs varies according to the depth of the section. This
distance was generally either 90 mm for the SHS or 170 mm for the RHS. The close proximity of the
bolts in the SHS models causes high concentrations of stresses to form around the perimeter of the
section and between the tensile bolts (Figure 8a). On the other hand, the additional spacing between
the bolts in the RHS allows the formation of a horizontal yielded zone in the end plate at mid-depth
(Figure 8b). These areas of high stress concentration observed in the finite element results are con-
sistent with the yield line patterns observed experimentally and determined theoretically (Wheeler,


A numerical study of the behaviour of tubular bolted moment end plate connections has been de-
scribed in this paper. The analyses were conducted using the commercially available finite element
package ABAQUS. Brick elements were chosen to form the basis of the models used for this study as
244 A . T . Wheeler et al.

Figure 8: Von Mises stresses (MPa) illustrating end plate yield line patterns
this type of element is easily adapted to model the interfaces between the connecting surface and the
end plates and bolts.

Overall, the models simulated the behaviour of the eight-bolt connections well, with the mean and
standard deviation of the ratio of the experimental and numerical ultimate moments being 0.96 and
0.07. Comparisons of the experimental and numerical moment-rotation responses of the connections
were excellent for the eight-bolt connections comprising the RHS. The eight-bolt connections utilis-
ing the SHS were generally predicted to be stiffer than the corresponding test results. Although not
fully investigated in this paper due to time constraints, it is thought that this additional stiffness may
be due to the inadequate modelling of the bolts.

Although the predicted ultimate loads generally corresponded well with the experimental results, the
numerical analyses did not specifically model the effects of punching shear (although the effects of
shear yielding were of course modelled in the nonlinear material behaviour). The deformation and
yielding patterns developed in the models correlated well with the experimental results and the yield
line analyses developed in the corresponding theoretical models (Wheeler et al., 1999).

AISC (1997). Hollow Structural Sections Connections Manual, American Institute of Steel Construction, Inc.
Bursi, O. S. and Jaspart, J. P. (1997a). Benchmarks for Finite Element Modelling of Bolted Steel Connections. Journal of
Constructional Steel Research, Elsevier, 43:1, 17-42.
Bursi, O. S. and Jaspart, J. P. (1997b). Calibration of a Finite Element Model for Isolated Bolted End Plate Steel Connec-
tions. Journal of Constructional Steel Research, Elsevier, 44:3, 225-262.
HKS (1995). ABAQUS/Standard Users Manual, Version 5.5, Hibbitt, Karlsson and Sorensen, Inc.
PDA Engineering (1994). PATRAN 3, PDA Engineering, Costa Mesa, California.
SA (1998). AS 4100-1998: Steel Structures, Standards Australia, Sydney.
Syam, A. A. and Chapman, B. G., (1996). Design of Structural Steel Hollow Section Connections. Volume 1: Design
Models, 1st Edition, Australian Institute of Steel Construction, Sydney.
Wheeler, A. T. (1998). The Behaviour of Bolted Moment End Plate Connections in Rectangular Hollow Sections Sub-
jected to Flexure. PhD Thesis, Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Sydney.
Wheeler, A. T., Clarke, M.J. and Hancock, G.J. (1995). Tests of Bolted Flange Plate Connections Joining Square and
Rectangular Hollow Sections. Proceedings, Fourth Pacific Structural Steel Conference, Singapore, 97-104.
Wheeler A. T., Clarke M. J. and Hancock G. J. (1999). Analytical Model for Eight-Bolt Rectangular Hollow Section
Bolted Moment End Plate Connections. Proceedings, Second International Conference on Advances in Steel Structures,
Hong Kong, December.

K.F.Chung 1 and K.H.Ip 2

t Departmentof Civil and StructuralEngineering; 2Departmentof MechanicalEngineering,
the Hong KongPolytechnicUniversity,HungHorn,HongKong.


In a complementary paper 1, it was reported that a finite element model with three-
dimensional solid elements was successfully established to investigate the bearing failure o f
bolted connections between cold-formed steel strips and hot rolled steel plates under static
shear loading. Non-linear material geometrical and contact analysis was carried out to
predict the load-extension curves o f bolted connections with cold-formed steel strips of high
yield strength and low ductility. The predicted load-extension curves were found to follow
closely the measured load-extension curves, and both the maximum load carrying capacities
and the initial extensional stiffness were satisfactorily predicted

In this paper, the finite element model is further extended to examine the structural behaviour
of bolted connections with two bolts, or double bolted connections between cold-formed steel
strips and hot rolled steel plates under static shear loading. The effects of strength
degradation, hole clearance and bolt spacing on the load carrying capacity of double bolted
connections are discussed. Comparison on the predicted load carrying capacity of the finite
element model with the bearing resistances given by the design rules from both BS5950: Part
5 2 and Eurocode 3: Part 1.3 3 is also presented.


Cold-formed steel, bearing failure, double bolted connections, high strength steel with low


Galvanized cold-formed steel strips are commonly used in building construction, such as
sections for secondary steel frames and purlins, and sheetings for roof cladding and floor
decking. Cold-formed steel sections and sheetings are effective construction materials due to
their high strength to weight ratio, high buildability during construction and also long-term
durability against environmental attack. In building construction, cold-formed steel sections
are usually bolted to hot rolled steel plates or members to form simple and moment

With the development of material technology, high strength cold-formed steel products are
available for building applications, but concern has been raised on the reduced ductility of the
high strength steel (< 5%). Existing codified design rules 2-5 may not be necessarily

246 K.F. Chung and K.H. Ip
applicable for high strength low ductility steel, as the design rules are developed with low
strength high ductility steel 6,7. Consequently, a close examination s on the resistance and the
associated failure modes of bolted connections with high strength low ductility steel strip was
carded out.

Three distinct failure modes were identified 1 from the finite element modelling, namely, (i)
the bearing failure, (ii) the shear-out failure, and (iii) the net-section failure. Parametric
runs 9 were also carded out to reveal the effects of geometrical and material properties on the
resistances of different failure modes. It is found that while the existing design rules are
sufficient for bolted connections with low strength steels, such as steel with yield strength at
280 N/mm 2 and 350 N/ram 2, they may not be conservative when applying to high strength
low ductility steel.

In this paper, the finite element model is further extended to examine the structural behaviour
of bolted connections with two bolts, i.e. double bolted connections between cold-formed
steel strips and hot rolled steel plates under static shear loading as shown in Figure 1. The
effects of strength degradation, hole clearance and bolt spacing on the load carrying capacity
of typical double bolted connections are presented. The predicted load carrying capacity of
the finite element model is also compared with the bearing resistances given by the design
rules from both BS5950: Part 5 and Eurocode 3: Part 1.3; comparison with test data 10 is also


The finite element package ANSYS (Verison 5.3) is used to predict the bearing behaviour in
double bolted connections between cold-formed steel strips and hot rolled steel plates under
static shear loading, and the following areas of interest are examined in detail:

a) Stress-strain curves

Two different stress-strain curves are proposed for the model as illustrated in Figure 2:
9 bi-linear elastro-plastic curve for low strength high ductility steel, designated as FEA-
9 multi-linear elastro-plastic curve with strength degradation at large strain for high
strength low ductility steel, designated as FEA-pr.

b) Deformation Sequences

Due to the presence of clearance in bolt holes for easy installation, it is possible that the
two bolts may not always come into contact with the cold-formed steel strips at the same
time. The bolts may have a hole clearance of 1 mm to 2 mm typically. In order to
examine the effect of hole clearance to the structural performance of the double bolted
connection, three deformation sequences are considered as follows:

9 Deformation sequence IA where Bolt 1 is always in direct contact with the cold-
formed steel strip while Bolt 2 only comes into contact with the cold-formed steel strip
aRer I mm (or 2 mm) extension.
9 Deformation sequence IB which is similar to that of Deformation sequence 1,4 but with
reverse order of bolts in contact, i.e. where Bolt 2 is always in direct contact with the
cold-formed steel strip while Bolt 1 only comes into contact with the cold-formed steel
strip after 1 mm (or 2 mm ) extension.
Finite Element Modelling of Double Bolted Connections 247
9 Deformation sequence 11where both Bolts 1 and 2 always come into contact with the
cold-formed steel strip together.

c) Bolt spacing

In BS5950: Part 5, the minimum bolt spacing Sp is recommended to be not less than 3 d,
and the total load carrying capacity of a connection with multiple bolts may be obtained
directly as the sum of the bearing resistances of all the bolts. No adverse interaction
between bolts should be allowed for and this design method seems satisfactory for low
strength high ductility steel. However, for high strength low ductility steel, it is necessary
to investigate the minimum bolt spacing to avoid any adverse interaction of yield zones
of the two bolts.

As the connection contains a plane of symmetry, the half model shown in Figure 3 is
incorporated. The cold-formed steel strip, the hot rolled steel plate and the two bolt-washer
assemblies are represented three-dimensionally by eight-node iso-parametic solid elements
SOLID45, as they allow both geometric and material non-linearities. Contact between the
various components is accomplished by employing contact elements CONTACT49. Shear
load is applied to the finite element model by imposing incremental displacement to the end
of the cold-formed steel strip, along the longitudinal direction of the model. Throughout the
entire deformation range, the hot rolled steel plate and the root of the bolt are fixed in space.
At present, only the bearing failure of double bolted connections is considered.

In typical fmite element models, there are over 3724 nodes, 2422 solid elements and 2022
contact elements. As the model is highly non-linear, the full Newton-Raphson procedure is
employed to obtain solution after each displacement increment. For detail of the finite
element model, see Reference 8.


The load-extension curves for the double bolted connection with different stress-strain curves,
deformation sequences and bolt spacings are presented in Figure 4. The von Mises stress
distribution of the double bolted connections at various extensions are presented in Figure 5
while the deformed mesh of the double bolted connection is presented in Figure 6.

a) Stress-strain curves

With Sp = 3 d and Deformation sequence 11, the load carrying capacity of the connection is
estimated to be 31.10 kN with material curve FEA-py, and 28.08 kN with material curve
FEA-pr, as illustrated in Figure 4a. It is thus shown that the strength of the connection
may be reduced by 10% when strength degradation is considered in high strength low
ductility steel.

b) Deformation sequences

In Figure 4b, it is shown that the load-extension curves derived from both Deformation
sequences IA and 1B follow each other fairly closely along the entire deformation range.
By plotting the load-extension curve derived from Deformation sequence 11 on the same
graph for direct comparison, it is shown that both the load carrying capacity and the
extensional stiffness of the connection will be reduced approximately by half if only one
bolt is in contact with the cold-formed steel strip. However, at 3 mm extension, the load
248 K.F. Chung and K.H. Ip
carrying capacity with Deformation sequences IA and IB are found to be 26.69 kN with
1 mm gap and 24.10 kN with a 2 mm gap, corresponding to a strength reduction of 0.95
and 0.85 respectively.

c) Bolt spacing

In Figure 4c, it is shown that with Deformation sequence 11, the load carrying capacity of
the double bolted connection is found to be increased from 28.08 kN at Sp = 3 d or 36 m m
to 31.82 kN at Sp = 4 d or 48 mm, i.e. an increase of 13% in strength. A close
examination on the von Mises stress distribution of the cold-formed steel strip in Figure 5
reveals that under low applied loads, the yield zones in the cold-formed steel for both
bolts are fairly localized around the bolt holes. However, under large applied load at 3
mm extension, it is evident that the yield zones of both bolts overlap, leading to significant
reduction to the total load carrying capacity of the connection. Consequently, in bolted
connections with high strength low ductility steel, it is recommended that the minimum
bolt spacing should be 4 d.


In order to provide simple design rules in assessing the bearing resistance, P b , of double
bolted connections with high strength low ductility steel, a number of existing design rules are
examined as follows:

Pb = (1.64 + 0.45 t) t dpy from clause of BS5950:Part 5 (A)

= 2.5tdpy from clause 8.4(4) with Table 8.4, EC3: Part 1.3 03)
= (4-0.1 d/t) tdpy from page 133 & Table 4.12, Volume 1 of Reference 10 (C)

Substituting the numerical values of t = 0.99 mm, d = 12 mm and replacing py with f~ =

592 N/mm" (where py and f~ are the yield strength and the tensile strength respectively) into
the above design rules, the beating resistances are summarized in Table 1 together with the
f'mite element results. Based on the results from the present research project, it is shown that

a) Existing design rules tend to over-estimate the bearing resistances of bolted connections
with high strength low ductility steel up to 30 % for both single and double bored
connections when compared with test results.

b) The results from the finite element models are found to be conservative when compared
with test results.

c) R is necessary to allow for adverse interaction of yield zones around boR holes indouble
bored connections. At a boR spacing of 3 d, the reduction factor is estimated to be 27.13 /
(2 x 14.43) or 0.94 based on test results, or 26.72 / (2 x 14.54) or 0.92 based on finite
element results. Thus, a value of 0.90 is recommended for design purpose. Alternatively,
the minimum boR spacing, Sp, for no adverse interaction should be increased and Sp = 4 d
is recommended as appropriate.


A finite element model is presented to examine the structural performance of the bearing
failure in double bolted connections between cold-formed steel strips and hot rolled steel
plates under static shear loading. By incorporating bolt solid and contact elements, the model
Finite Element Modelling o f Double Bolted Connections 249
is demonstrated to able to capture non-linearities associated with geometry, material and
contact (boundary) conditions. It is shown that existing design rules may not be applicable
for high strength low ductility steel and new design rules are required to ensure structural
adequacy. The bearing resistances of double bolted connections may be reduced by 10 % to
30 % due to strength degradation, hole clearance, and also adverse interaction of yield zones.


The research project leading to the publication of this paper is supported by the Hong Kong
Polytechnic University Research Committee (Project A/C code G-$565).


1. Ip K.H. and Chung, K.F.: Failure modes of bolted cold-formed steel connections under static
shear loading, Proceeding of the Second International Conference on Advances in Steel
Structures, Hong Kong, December 1999.
2. BS5950: Structural use of steelwork in buildings: Part 5 Code of practice for the design of cold-
formed sections, British Standards Institution, London, 1998.
3. Eurocode 3: Design of steel structures: Part 1.3: General rules - Supplementary rules for cold-
formed thin gauge members and sheeting, ENV 1993-1-3, European Committee for
4. Cold-formed steel structure code AS/NZ 4600: 1996, Standard Australia/Standards New Zealand,
Sydney, 1996.
5. Toma, A.W., Sedlacek, G., and Weynand, K.: Connections in cold-formed steel, Thin Walled
Structures, Vol. 16, pp219-237, 1993.
6. Holcomb, B.D., LaBoube, R.A., and Yu, W.W.: Tensile and bearing capacities of bolted
connections, Final Summary Report, Civil Engineering Study 95-1, Cold Formed Steel Series,
Centre for Cold Formed Steel Structures, Department of Civil Engineering, University of
Missouri-Rolla, MO, U.S.A.
7. Rogers, C. A. and Hancock, G. J.: New bolted connection design formulae for G550 and G300
sheet steels less than 1.0 mm thick, Research Report No. R769, the Centre for Advanced Structural
Engineering, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, 1998.
8. Chung, K.F. and Ip, K.H.: Finite element modelling of bolted connections between cold-formed
steel strips and hot rolled steel plates under shear, Engineering Structures (to be published).
9. Chung K.F. and Ip, K.H.: Finite element modelling of cold-formed steel bolted connections,
Proceedings of the Second European Conference on Steel Structures, Praha, May 1999, pp503 to
10. Rogers, C. A.: Structural behaviour of thin sheet steels, Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Civil
Engineering, the University of Sydney, Australia, 1998.

Table 1 Summary of bearing resistances - Design rules vs Finite element analysis

Single bolts Double bolts

e~(w0 Pr/Pb Pb (ld~ Pr / Pb
(A) 14.77 0.977 29.54 0.918
03) 17.58 0.821 35.16 0.772
(C) 19.61 0.736 39.21 0.692
Finite element model (15.90 1.36) = 14.54 0.992 (28.08-1.36) = 26.72 1.015
+Test value, Pr I 14. 43 I - I 27.13 ] -

Note: * The model incorporates FEA-pr stress-strain curve, Deformation sequence 11 and Sp at 3d. A
frictional force of 1.36 kN at zero extension is deducted from the load carrying capacity of
the predicted resistance for direct comparison.
+ Averaged values from three test data in Table B55, Page 331 of Volume 2, Reference 10.
250 K.F. Chung and K.H. Ip
Double bolted connection : 100-G550-B2- 48 • 95 -M12 (page 38 of Reference 7).

Thickness, t = 0.99mm; Bolt diameter, d = 12mm, and Bolt spacing, Sp = 36mm.

Figure 1 Geometry of a double bolted connection

Figure 2 Proposed stress-strain curves for high strength low ductility cold-formed steel
strips, FEA-pr and FEA-pr
Finite Element Modelling of Double Bolted Connections 251
. oo ~ ; ~ ~ - ' - - 28.08kN
-~9 20
m 15
-J 10
J /

FEA-pr L
5 .... FEA-py I
0 / i
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3
Extension (mm)

Figure 4(a) Load-extension curves for double bolted connections

with different stress-strain curves
(Bolts 1 and 2 in contact with CFS at the same time)

35- L

30 2 mm gap 28.08kN
25 1 mm gap~ ~ 24.10kN
"O 15.90kN
m 15
O FEA-pr
_! 10 i r ~ .... Bolt 1 first in contact
5 ~ Bolt 2 first in contact
Single bolt
0 i J
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5
Extension (mm)

Figure 4(b) Load-extension curves for double bolted connection

with different deformation sequences

o 31.82kN
30 .....
_ ~

A 25

m 15
,_1 10 ] Sp=36m m
5 .... Sp=48mm
0 , 1
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5
Extension (mm)

Figure 4(c) Load-extension curves for double bolted connection

with different bolt spacing, Sp
(Bolts 1 and 2 in contact with CFS at the same time)
252 K.F. Chung and K.H. Ip
Figure 5 Distribution of von Mises stress of the double bolted connection

Figure 6 Deformed mesh of double bolted connection at 3mm extension

(Failure mode - bearing failure of CFS strip)

A. T. Wheeler l, M. J. Clarke 2 and G. J. Hancock 2

~Department of Civic Engineering and Environment, The University of Western Sydney--Nepean

Kingswood, N.S.W., 2747, Australia
2Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Sydney,
Sydney, N.S.W., 2006, Australia


The increase in the use of rectangular hollow sections in mainstream structures has highlighted the need
for simple design methods for the production of economical connections. This paper presents a new
model for the determination of the serviceability limit moment and the ultimate moment capacity of
bolted moment end plate connections utilising rectangular hollow sections and eight bolts positioned in
an approximately equidistant sense around the perimeter of the section. The model considers the
combined effects of prying action due to flexible end plates, and the formation of yield lines in the end
plate. Failure modes involving plate yielding, bolt fracture, punching shear and beam section capacity are

The model has been calibrated and validated using experimental data from an associated test program.
The model constitutes a relatively simple method for predicting the serviceability limit moment and
ultimate moment capacity of moment end plate connections utilising square and rectangular hollow
sections and eight bolts.


Tubular, connections, moment end plate, structural design, prying, yield line.


The use of moment end plate connections joining I-section members and their corresponding structural
behaviour has been well documented (Murray, 1990). Contrastingly, research on end plate connections
joining rectangular and square hollow sections has been limited and consequently few design models are
available for routine use. Furthermore, documented studies have concentrated primarily upon pure tensile
loading, or combined compression and bending, as in a column-to-column bolted flange splice
connection (Packer et al., 1989; Kato and Mukai, 1991).

The eight-bolt moment end plate connection described in this paper and depicted in Figure I has a similar
layout to that used by Kato and Mukai (1991), and represents one of two fundamental bolting
arrangements studied by Wheeler (1998). The other bolting arrangement utilises four bolts, with the
corresponding design model described in Wheeler et al. (1998).

254 A . T . Wheeler et al.

Figure 1" Typical eight-bolt end plate application and layout

The theoretical model presented in this paper pertains to tubular eight-bolt end plate connections
subjected to flexural loading. The model determines the yield moment of the connection using yield line
analysis, and combines the yield line analysis with stub-tee analysis to predict the ultimate strength of the
connection. Two additional failure modes observed in the experimental program, namely section capacity
and punching shear, have also been included in the theoretical model. Full details of the derivation of the
model are given in Wheeler (1998). The predictions of the model are compared with the results obtained
from an associated experimental program (Wheeler et al., 1995).

An experimental program in which ten eight-bolt connections were tested has been conducted at the
University of Sydney (Wheeler et al., 1995). The connections were loaded in pure flexure by subjecting a
beam, with a splice connection at mid-span, to four-point bending. As the sections were not susceptible
to local buckling, the ultimate load of the specimen was limited to connection failure, which occurred
due to tensile bolt fracture, excessive end plate deformations, section failure or punching shear failure.
The experimental ultimate moment (Mcu) and the failure mode for each test are listed in Table 1. The end
plate material properties of yield stress (fy) and ultimate tensile strength (fu), and the beam section
dimensional details and measured ultimate moment capacity (Mus) are given in Table 2.

The parameters varied in the experimental program are also given in Table 1 and include the plate size
(Wp, Dp), the plate thickness (tp), the section shape, and the positions of the bolts with respect to the
section flange and web (So and g). The bolt and nut assemblies were M20 structural grade 8.8 (Grade


Specimen Section Pla~ Dimensions(mm) Mcu Failure

No. Type Wp Dp So ~ (kNm) Mode*
SHS 16 280 280 35 30 116.0 Bolt
2 RHS 16 230 330 35 15 124.5 Punching
3 SHS 12 280 280 35 30 93.9 Bolt
4 SHS 20 280 280 35 30 116.0 Bolt
5 RHS 12 230 330 35 15 92.7 Punching
6 RHS 20 230 330 35 15 136.7 Bolt
7 SHS 16 260 260 25 35 113.2 Bolt
8 SHS 16 300 300 45 25 97.6 Punching
9 RHS 16 210 310 25 20 133.0 Punching
10 RHS 16 250 350 45 10 119.3 Punching
* Punching = Failure by section tearing away from plate at toe of weld (punching shear).
Bolt = Failure by bolt fracture.
Analytical Model for Bolted Moment End Plate Connections 255

End Plate Properties Beam Section Details

tp (mm) fy (MPa) fu (MPa) Section Depth d (mm) Width b (mm) Thickness ts (mm) Mus (kNm)
12 354 499 SHS 151.0 150.9 9.0 119
16 349 482 RHS 199.5 101.5 9.1 138
20 351 496
8.8/T), with a measured yield strength and ultimate tensile strength of 195 kN and 230 kN, respectively.
The connections were prefabricated using a combination fillet/butt weld joining the section to the end
plate, with a nominal fillet leg length of 8 mm.


The yield line analysis serves primarily to determine the failure mode of the end plate, with prying action
of the bolts ignored. As a secondary function, the analysis provides an estimate of the yield moment of
the connection (Mcy). To determine the critical yield line pattern, numerous plastic mechanisms were
considered. Most of these entailed relatively complicated patterns and resulted in lengthy expressions for
the collapse moment (Myl). The derivations of the collapse moments for the different mechanisms
considered are given in Wheeler (1998). The three most critical end plate mechanisms are presented in
Figure 2. For each test, the experimental yield moment (Mcy) and the corresponding calculated yield
moments (My0 are presented in Table 3, with the critical mode highlighted. The yield mechanism termed
"Mode 8" in fact corresponds to beam yield capacity, determined using the measured yield stress of the
tubular section.

Figure 2: End plate yield line mechanisms

256 A.T. Wheeler et al.
It can be seen in Table 3 that the majority of the tests were govemed by section yielding (Mode 8).
Additionally, the calculated yield moments for Modes 4 and 5 are virtually identical.


To consider both the combined effects of bolt prying and end plate yielding on the ultimate capacity of
the connection, a modified version of the stub-tee analogy is employed. Stub-tee analogies have been
used extensively to determine the strength of end plate connections in I-sections (Nair et al., 1974;
Kennedy et al., 1981). Generally the stub-tee utilises a simple rigid plastic analysis of an analogous beam
that represents the one-dimensional behaviour of the end plate, with yield lines parallel to the axis of
bending only. However, in the eight-bolt tubular end plate connections bending occurs about two axes,
with the yield lines not necessarily being parallel to either axis of bending. The model presented in this
paper is consequently termed the "cumulative modified stub-tee method", and is based on the analysis of
analogous beams in both orthogonal directions. The principle of superposition is then used to obtain the
resultant connection behaviour.

Figure 3: Analogous beams for cumulative stub-tee model

Simple representations of the analogous beams used in the cumulative modified stub-tee method are
shown in Figure 3. The beam referred to as "in-plane bending" models the effect of the bolts below the
flange of the section, with plastic hinges forming at points 1, 2 and 3 as shown in Figure 3a. The beam
referred to as "out-of-plane bending", models the effect of the bolts lying on either side of the section
webs. In this case, plastic hinges are assumed to form at points 4 and 5 on both sides of the hollow
section, as indicated in Figure 3b. To simplify the problem, the bolts above the neutral axis are assumed
to have a negligible effect on connection strength and are ignored.

As defined by Kennedy et. al, (1981) the behaviour of the end plate may be defined as thick plate
behaviour, intermediate plate behaviour and thin plate behaviour, depending on the thickness of the end
plate (tp) and the magnitude of the applied load. In the cumulative stub-tee model, these categories are
Analytical Model for Bolted Moment End Plate Connections 257
identified by the position and number of yield lines. Thick plate behaviour occurs when the connection
fails due to bolt fracture, with a yield line forming only at point 1. Intermediate plate behaviour occurs
when the bolts fracture after the formation of yield lines at points 1, 2 and 4 (i.e. plastic mechanism 5).
Thin plate behaviour corresponds to the formation of yield lines at points 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 in the end plate
(i.e. plastic mechanism 2), without deformation of the bolts.
To determine the moment capacity for the thick, intermediate and thin modes of behaviour, the analogous
beams are analysed using statics as described by Wheeler (1998). The resulting capacities are given by
Equations 1-3 following, in which it is assumed that the moment generated by the bending of the bolts is
m b = ~Td~b3fyb/32 (where db = bolt diameter, fyb = bolt yield stress), and Mip is the plastic moment for the
ith yield line. It is also assumed that the bolts below the flange reach their ultimate load, while those
beside the webs of the section only reach a proportion (h) of their ultimate load based on their distance
from the axis of rotation, h = (d- g)/(d +Soi).

/Mlp +2.B~ "(d +Soi +h.d)l.(d_ts ) (l)

M Cthick = d

Mcint = (ap + Soi) +2. (ap+Soo) Jr d .(d-t~) (2)

Mlp +M2p Msp +M2p +M b M3p +M2p +2.M b /

Mcthi" = d +2. Soo + ~:So: .(d-t,) (3)
Since the yield lines invariably undergo significant rotations prior to the ultimate strength being reached,
much of the material is stressed into the strain-hardening range. Consequently, the plastic moment Mip is
defined in terms of a "design stress" (fp) rather than the yield stress (Packer et al., 1989).

1 2 fy + 2" fu (4)
M i p = ---4" tp " f p " I i f P : 3

The stub-tee analogy assumes that the yield lines form in a linear fashion, transversely across the end
plate. However, the yield line analysis for the eight bolt end plates indicates that such patterns rarely
occur in practice. To compensate for this inconsistency, "equivalent lengths" (for in-plane and out-of-
plane bending) are determined for the yield lines such that the total amount of internal work involved in
the mechanism remains unchanged. The equivalent lengths of the yield lines used for the cumulative
stub-tee analysis depend on the assumed plastic collapse mechanism. Furthermore, these yield line
lengths represent the cumulative length of the x or y components of several yield lines. Full details are
given in Wheeler (1998). The theoretical connection capacities based on the cumulative modified stub-
tee method are listed in Table 4 (presented later).


The plastic section capacity of the tubular member may also govem the ultimate moment that the
connection can attain. For compact cross-sections, design specifications generally define the plastic
section capacity as the yield stress (fy) times the plastic section modulus (S). Although appropriate for
design, this method of calculating the section plastic capacity does not usually reflect the experimentally
measured ultimate moment as the cold working of the section produces significant strain hardening of the
material. A more accurate method to predict the experimental plastic section capacity is to use the design
stress (fp) as defined in Equation 4, fumishing
M s = S.fp (5)
258 A . T . Wheeler et al.

Punching shear failure (tearing of the end plate) occurs when the concentrated loads transferred from the
section to the end plate exceed the shear capacity of the end plate over a localised region. To model
punching shear failure, a simple approach is used in which it is assumed that shear failure planes are
defined by the geometry of the connection. It is also assumed that the punching shear capacity of the end
plate is not affected by any concomitant bending moment. The connection is considered to have failed in
punching shear when the load in the tensile flange and adjacent regions of the section (Figure 4) exceed
the shear capacity of a predefined "nominal shear length" of the end plate. The nominal shear length is
the length around the perimeter of the section that is assumed to fail as a result of the section pulling out
from the end plate. As shown in Figure 4, the nominal shear length is divided into two regions,
corresponding to flange failure (/sf) and web failure (lsw).

Figure 4: Punching shear failure regions

In Figure 4, s denotes the fillet weld leg length, dbh is the diameter of the bolt head, and it is assumed that
the tubular section has an extemal comer radius of 2.5 times the wall thickness. Using the von Mises
yield criterion, the moment capacity of the connection with respect to punching shear failure is given by

Mp s (6)
The theoretical capacities of the connections tested in the experimental program with respect to the
punching shear are shown in Table 4.


The model described in this paper identifies three modes of failure, namely connection capacity
(cumulative modified stub tee model), plastic section capacity, and punching shear. The computed
capacities for each mode of failure are presented in Table 4, with the critical one highlighted.

Failure modes determined using the cumulative modified stub-tee model may be govemed by bolt
capacity or end plate capacity. Bolt capacity (fracture of bolts) is associated with either thick or
intermediate plate behaviour, while plate capacity occurs with thin plate behaviour and is independent of
the bolt loads.
The results shown in Table 4 indicate that for the ten experimental tests carried out, four of these were
limited in strength by punching shear and a further four were govemed by plastic section capacity. Only
two tests were govemed by failure of the bolts according to the stub tee model. While the ultimate failure
mode of the specimens was generally punching shear, bolt failure or section failure, substantial yielding
in the end plates was observed in the experimental program. The failure criteria and failure loads for the
standard SHS tests (Tests 1, 3, 4) and the RHS tests (Tests 2, 5, 6) are presented in Figures 4 and 5,
Analytical Model for Bolted Moment End Plate Connections 259

Figure 5: Failure criteria for SHS connections (So = 35 mm)

Figure 6" Failure criteria for RHS connections (So = 35 mm)

260 A . T . Wheeler et al.
The failure criteria for the SHS (Figure 5) demonstrates that for the given end plate dimensions, an end
plate thicker than 16 mm will result in plastic section failure, while an end plate thinner than 12 m m
forms a mechanism (thin plate behaviour). Punching shear failure never governs for this configuration of
SHS. In the case of the RHS (Figure 6), the depth-to-width aspect ratio results in punching shear failure
becoming the dominant failure mode for end plate thicknesses in the range of 9 mm to 17 mm.
Connections comprising end plates thicker than 17 mm will attain full plastic section capacity, while end
plates thinner than 9 mm will fail as a result of a plastic mechanism forming in the end plate. The
theoretical results depicted in Figures 4 and 5 are consistent with the experimental findings.

The analytical models presented in this paper constitute simple methods of predicting the ultimate
strength of eight-bolt moment end plate connections joining square and rectangular hollow sections
subjected to pure flexure. The model considers three failure modes which are end plate/bolt failure,
plastic failure of the connecting beam section, and punching shear (tear out) failure. Plastic mechanism
analysis comprising complex two-dimensional patterns of yield lines is employed for the investigation of
end plate failure modes, and a modified version of stub tee analysis provides the means through which
the effects of prying forces are incorporated in the model. The stub tee analysis is termed the "cumulative
modified stub tee model" since it considers prying effects independently in the "in-plane" and "out-of-
plane" bending directions for the end plate.

The experimental and analytical results indicate that for the SHS connections, plastic section capacity
failure dominates, with end plate failure occurring only for the most flexible end plates. For the RHS
connections, the failure mode is predominantly that of punching shear, with plastic section capacity
limiting the strength for the thicker end plates. The model demonstrates excellent correlation with the test
results and is effective in its consideration of all relevant failure modes that can occur.

Kato, B. and Mukai, A. (1991). High Strength Bolted Flanges Joints of SHS Stainless Steel Columns. Proceedings
International Conference on Steel and Aluminium Structures, Singapore, May 1991.
Kennedy, N. A., Vinnakota, S. and Sherbourne A. N. (1981). The Split-Tee Analogy in Bolted Splices and Beam-Column
Connections. Joints in Structural Steelwork, John Wiley & Sons, London-Toronto, 1981.
Nair, R. S., Birkemoe, P. C. and Munse, W. H. (1974). High Strength Bolts Subject to Tension and Prying. Journal of the
Structural Division, ASCE, 100:2, 351-372.
Murray, T. M. (1990). Design Guide for Extended End Plate Moment Connections, Steel Design Guide 4, American Institute
of Steel Construction.
Packer, J. A., Bruno, L. and Birkemoe, P. C. (1989). Limit Analysis of Bolted RHS Flange Plate Joints. Journal of Structural
Engineering, ASCE, 115:9, 2226-2241.
Wheeler, A. T., Clarke, M. J. and Hancock, G. J. (1995). Tests of Bolted Flange Plate Connections Joining Square and
Rectangular Hollow Sections. Proceedings, Fourth Pacific Structural Steel Conference, Singapore, 97-104.
Wheeler A. T., Clarke M. J., Hancock G. J. and Murray, T. M. (1998). Design Model for Bolted Moment End Plate
Connections Joining Rectangular Hollow Sections. Journal of Structural Engineering, ASCE, 124:2, 164-173.
Wheeler, A. T. (1998). The Behaviour of Bolted Moment End Plate Connections in Rectangular Hollow Sections Subjected to
Flexure, PhD Thesis, Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Sydney.

Tim Wilkinson and Gregory J. Hancock

Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Sydney,

Sydney, NSW, 2006, Australia.


This paper describes finite element analysis of cold-formed RHS beams, to simulate a set of bending tests,
and predict the rotation capacity of Class 1 and Class 2 beams. Introducing geometric imperfections into
the model was essential to obtain rotation capacities that were close to the experimental results. A perfect
specimen without imperfections achieved rotation capacities much higher than those observed.
Introducing a bow-out imperfection, constant along the length of the beam, as was (approximately)
measured experimentally, did not affect the numerical results significantly. To simulate the effect of the
imperfections induced by welding the loading plates to the beams in the experiments, the amplitude of the
bow-out imperfection was varied sinusoidally along the length of the beam. The magnitude of the
imperfections had an unexpectedly large influence on the rotation capacity of the specimens. Larger
imperfections were required on the more slender sections to simulate the experimental results.


Finite element analysis, beams, RHS, cold-formed steel, rotation capacity, local buckling.


Wilkinson and Hancock (1997, 1998) describe tests on cold-formed RHS beams to examine the Class 1
flange and web slenderness limits. The sections represented a broad range of web and flange slenderness
values, but it would have been desirable to test a much larger selection of specimens. A more extensive
test program would have been expensive and time consuming. Finite element analysis provides a relatively
inexpensive, and time efficient alternative to physical experiments

In order to model the plastic bending tests, the finite element program should include the effects of
material and geometric non-linearity, residual stresses, imperfections, and local buckling. The program
ABAQUS (Version 5.7-1) (Hibbit, Karlsson and Sorensen 1997), installed on Digital Alpha WorkStations
in the Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Sydney, performed the numerical analysis.

262 T. Wilkinson and G.J. Hancock

A typical RHS has dimensions d, b, t, r e, referring to the depth, width, thickness and external corner radius.
The depth refers to the larger of the dimensions of the rectangular shape. The rotation capacity, R, of a
beam is defined only when the section can sustain its plastic moment, Mp. R is defined as R = K1/Kp -1,
where r,p=Mp/Elis the plastic curvature, and K1 is the curvature (K) at which the moment drops back below
the plastic moment.

Figure 1 shows the simplified testing arrangement for the RHS beams. The RHS were supplied by BHP
Steel Structural and Pipeline Products, in either Grade C350 or Grade C450 (DuraGal). All beams were
bent about the major axis, and most reached the plastic moment, Mp, and continued to deform plastically
until a local buckle formed adjacent to the loading plate. A typical finite element mesh, replicating the test
arrangement, is shown in Figure 2. The two relevant symmetry planes, at the mid-length of the beam, and
through the minor principal axis of the RHS, have been used to reduce the size of the model.

Figure 1: Physical Model

Figure 2: Typical Finite Element Mesh


The most appropriate element type to model the local buckling of the RHS was the shell element. The
$4R5 element, defined as "4-node doubly curved general purpose shell, reduced integration with hourglass
control, using five degrees of freedom per node" (Hibbit, Karlson, and Sorensen 1997), was used. The
loading plates attached to the RHS beam were modelled as 3-dimensional brick elements, type C3D8
(8 node linear brick). The weld between the RHS and the loading plate was element type C3D6 (6 node
linear triangular prism). The RHS was joined to the loading plates only by the weld elements. Details on
the mesh refinement process have been omitted for brevity.


The cold-formed RHS have stress-strain curves that include gradual yielding, no distinct yield plateau, and
strain hardening. There is variation of yield stress around the section, due to different amounts of work
on the flat faces and corners during the production process, with higher yield stresses in the corners.
Details of the material properties can be found in Wilkinson and Hancock (1997). The finite element
model used three sets of material properties, as shown in Figure 3. Figure 4 compares the responses of a
150 x 50 x 3.0 C450 RHS from the experiment and for a geometrically perfect finite element. The post
yielding moment in the ABAQUS was lower than in the experiment by approximately 3 %. The numerical
model assumed the same material properties across the whole flange, web or corner, with discontinuity
Rotation Capacity of RHS Beams Us&g Finite Element Analys& 263
of properties at the junctions of the regions. In reality, there is a smooth increase of yield stress from the
centre of a flat face, to the comer. The numerical model assigned the measured properties from the coupon
cut from the centre of the face (which were the lowest across the face) to the entire face, resulting in a
small underestimation of the moment. The slight error in predicted moment was not considered important,
as the main aim of the analysis was to predict the rotation capacity. Figure 4 also shows that buckling
occurred at much higher curvatures in the geometrically perfect model, compared to the experiment.

Figure 3: Different material properties around RHS Figure 4: Comparison of results

from experiment, and perfect mesh


The initial numerical analyses were performed on geometrically perfect specimens. It is known that
imperfections must be included in a finite element model to simulate the true shape of the specimen and
introduce some inherent instability into the model, in order to induce buckling.

Bow-out Imperfection

Measurement of the imperfections indicated that most RHS had an approximately constant "bow-out"
along the length of each beam. For most cases, the web bulged outwards and the flange inwards. The
magnitude of the bow was approximately d/500 (for the web), and -b/500 for the flange. Imperfection
profiles are graphed in Wilkinson and Hancock (1997). However, the nature of the imperfection
immediately adjacent to the loading plate was unknown, as it was not possible to measure the
imperfections extremely close to the loading plate. The process of welding a flat plate to a web with a
slight bow-out imperfection is certain to induce local imperfections close to the plate.

Figure 5 shows a typical mesh with the bow-out imperfection included. Figure 6 shows the moment
curvature relationships obtained for a series of analyses on 150 x 50 • 3.0 C450 RHS with bow-out
imperfections. The magnitude of the imperfection was either d/500 and -b/500 (approximately the
magnitude of the measured imperfections), or d/75 and -b/75 (very much larger than the observed

Compared to a specimen with no imperfection, the magnitude of the bow-out imperfection had a minor
effect on the rotation capacity. In fact, the rotation capacity increased slightly as the imperfection
increased. Even when the bow-out imperfections were included, the numerical results exceeded the
observed rotation capacity by a significant amount. The conclusion is that the bow-out imperfection was
not a suitable type of imperfection to include in the model.
264 T. Wilkinson and G.J. Hancock

Figure 5: Mesh incorporating "bow-out" Figure 6: Results for "bow-out" imperfection

Sinusoidal Varying Imperfection

It is more common to include imperfections that follow the buckled shape of a "perfect" specimen, such
as by linear superposition of various eigenmodes. The approach taken was to vary the magnitude of the
bow-out imperfection sinusoidally along the length of the specimen. The half wavelength of the
imperfection is defined as L w. A typical specimen with the sinusoidally varying bow-out along the length
is shown in Figure 7.

Figure 8 shows the results of selected analyses for a variety of imperfection wavelengths. The code "cont"
in the legend to Figure 8 indicates the continuously varying imperfection. The specimen analysed was
150 x 50 x 3 RHS. A half wavelength of approximately d/2 (d is the depth of the RHS web) tended to
yield the lowest rotation capacity and most closely matched the experimental behaviour (refer to the
specimen with Lw = 70 mm). A half wavelength of d/2 was approximately equal to the half wavelength
of the local buckle observed experimentally and in the ABAQUS simulations.

In Figure 8, the specimen with Lw = 70 mm experienced a rapid drop in load after buckling, and had a
buckled shape as shown in Figure 9 which matched the location of the local buckle in the experiments.
A specimen with a slightly different imperfection profile, Lw = 60 mm, had a much flatter post buckling
response, and the buckled shape include two local buckles, as shown in Figure 10. Both specimens buckle
at approximately the same curvature.

To force one local buckle to form, and in the desired location, the imperfections were imposed only near
the loading plate, as shown in Figure 11. Figure 8 includes the response of an additional specimen, with
L w = 60 mm, but only the single imperfection. The curvature at which buckling initiated was barely
unchanged, but the buckled shape changed, producing the desired shape of one buckle (Figure 9).

Imperfection Size

A variety of imperfection magnitudes was considered. The magnitude of the imperfections was varied
from 6w = d/2000 to 6w = d/250, and 6f = -b/2000 to 6f = -b/250. Figure 12 shows the moment curvature
graphs for a section with varying magnitudes of imperfection. It can be seen that increasing the
imperfection size decreases the rotation capacity. For this example of a 150 x 50 x 3 RHS, applying an
imperfection of 1/500 most closely matches the experimental response.
Rotation Capacity of RHS Beams Using Finite Element Analysis 265

Figure 7: Mesh with sinusoidal imperfection Figure 8: Results for sinusoidal imperfection

Figure 9: Specimen with one local buckle Figure 10: Specimen with two local buckles

Figure 11: Single imperfection Figure 12: Effect of imperfection magnitude

266 T. Wilkinson and G.J. Hancock

A large range of sections was then analysed. The sizes considered were either 150 • 150 (d/b = 1.0),
150 x 90 (d/b = 1.66), 150 x 75 (d/b = 2.0), 150 x 50 (d/b = 3.0), and 150 x 37.5 (d/b = 4.0), with a variety
of thicknesses, and different imperfection sizes: d/250, d/500, d/lO00, d/1500, or d/2000 (for the web), and
b/250, b/500, b/lO00, b/1500, or b/2000 (for the flange). The material properties assumed were those for
specimen BS02 (see Wilkinson and Hancock 1997).

Figures 13 to 16 plot the relationship between web slenderness and rotation capacity for each aspect ratio
considered and each imperfection size. The results are compared with the tests of Wilkinson and Hancock
(1997, 1998), Hasan and Hancock (1988), and Zhao and Hancock (1991). It needs to be reinforced that
the ABAQUS analyses were all performed on RHS with web depth d = 150 mm and material properties
for specimen BS02 (Grade C450). The experimental results shown in comparison were from a variety of
RHS with varying dimensions and material properties. Figure 17 compares the effect of aspect ratio with
a given imperfection size. Some analyses were repeated using the material properties of a Grade C350
(Specimen BS 11) specimen, and the comparison between steel grades is shown in Figure 17. Note that
the following figures use the AS 4100 definition of web slenderness (~.w), where Xw = (d- 2t)/rd'(fy/250).

Figure 13: Results for d/b = 1.0 Figure 14: Results for d/b = 1.66

Figure 15: Results for d/b = 2.0 Figure 16: Results for d/b = 3.0

Figure 17: Comparison of aspect ratio Figure 18: Comparison of steel grade
Rotation Capacity of R H S Beams Using Finite Element Analysis 267

Several observations can be made from the results:

Imperfection size had a lesser effect on the rotation capacity of the more slender sections (R < 1), and had
a greater effect for stockier sections. For a given aspect ratio, the band of results encompassing the varying
imperfection sizes widens as the slenderness decreases. This is an unexpected result of the study.

There is a clear non-linear trend between the web slenderness and rotation capacity for a given aspect ratio
and imperfection size. The shape of the trend is similar regardless of aspect ratio and imperfection size
(eg Figure 17). It may be possible to simplify the trend by a bi-linear relationship: a steep line for lower
slenderness, and a line of less gradient at higher slenderness values. Sully (1996) found a similar bi-linear
trend when comparing the critical local buckling strain of SHS (under pure compression and pure bending)
to the plate slenderness.

No single line is a very good match for the experimental results. For example, the ABAQUS results for
d/b = 3.0 and imperfection of 1/250 match the experimental results well when ~.w = 48, while in the range
58 < Xw < 65, the results for an imperfection of 1/500 provide a reasonable estimation of the experimental
results, and for 75 < ~.w < 85 an imperfection of 1/2000 gives results closest to the experimental values.
For d/b = 1.0, the ABAQUS results for an imperfection of 1/250 are close to the experimental results in
the range 37 < Xw < 48, while in the range 25 < ~.w < 35, an imperfection of 1/2000 most accurately
simulates the test results. This suggests considerable variability in the imperfections with changing aspect
ratios and slenderness, and that as the slenderness increases, larger imperfections are required to simulate
the experimental behaviour. There is no reason why the same magnitude of imperfections should be
applicable to sections with a range of slenderness values. A possible explanation is that the true
imperfections in the specimen were caused by the welding of the loading plate to the RHS. A thinner
section was deformed more by a similar heat input, hence larger imperfections were induced. The
sinusoidally varying bow-out imperfections simulated the effect of the imperfections caused by the weld,
and hence greater imperfections were required as the slenderness increased.

Using the material properties of either Grade C350, or Grade C450 steel does not make a significant
difference to the relationship between rotation capacity and web slenderness (Figure 18). However, both
the Grade C350 and Grade C450 steel comes from the same virgin strip steel, and extra strength in the
C450 specimens is obtained via the proprietary in-line galvanising process referred to as DuraGal. There
is no reason to assume that the steel from a different supplier with different properties (eg a hot-formed
steel) would produce the same relationship between rotation capacity and web slenderness.

For sections with d/b = 1.0, the values of R predicted by ABAQUS are consistently below the observed
experimental values of Hasan and Hancock (1988) and Zhao and Hancock (1991), even when small
imperfections are imposed. The ABAQUS simulations were performed with material properties taken
from the specimens of Wilkinson and Hancock (1997), since the exact material properties from Hasan and
Hancock, and Zhao and Hancock were unknown. Preliminary parametric studies showed that increasing
strain hardening modulus increased the rotation capacity. If the strain hardening portion of the material
properties assumed was different from tile "true" response of the sections of Hasan and Hancock, and Zhao
and Hancock, the numerical simulations are likely to produce inaccurate results. In particular, Zhao and
Hancock used Grade C450 specimens from a different supplier, Palmer Tube Mills Australia Pty Ltd,
which were not in-line galvanised, so it is reasonable to assume that the material properties were different
to those used in the ABAQUS simulations. The significance of material properties is a notable finding
of the finite element study.
268 T. Wilkinson and G.J. Hancock

This paper has described the finite element analysis of RHS beams. The finite element program ABAQUS
was used for the analysis. The maximum loads predicted were slightly lower than those observed
experimentally, since the numerical model assumed the same material properties across the whole flange,
web or comer of the RHS In reality, the variation of material properties is gradual, with a smooth increase
of yield stress from the centre of a flat face, to a maximum in the comer.

A perfect specimen without imperfections achieved rotation capacities much higher than those observed
experimentally. Introducing a bow-out imperfection, constant along the length of the beam, as was
(approximately) measured experimentally, did not affect the numerical results significantly. In order to
simulate the effect of the imperfections induced by welding the loading plates to the beams in the
experiments, the amplitude of the bow-out imperfection was varied sinusoidally along the length of the
beam, and limited to be just near the loading plates. The size of the imperfections had an unexpectedly
large influence on the rotation capacity of the specimens.

It is likely that the imperfection caused by welding the loading plates to the RHS was a major factor
affecting the experientially observed behaviour. The sinusoidally varying imperfections in the ABAQUS
model simulated the effects of the localised imperfections in the physical situation. Larger imperfections
were required on the more slender sections to simulate the experimental results, since for the same type
of welding, larger imperfections are induced in more slender sections.


Hasan, S. W., and Hancock, G. J., (1988), "Plastic Bending Tests of Cold-Formed Rectangular Hollow
Sections", Research Report, No R586, School of Civil and Mining Engineering, The University
o f Sydney, Sydney, Australia. (also published in Steel Construction, Journal of the Australian
Institute of Steel Construction, Vol 23, No 4, November 1989, pp 2-19.)
Hibbit, Karlsson and Sorensen, (1997), "ABAQUS", Version 5.7, Users Manual, Pawtucket, RI, USA.
Sully, R. M., (1996) "The Behaviour of Cold-Formed RHS and SHS Beam-Columns", PhD Thesis, School
of Civil and Mining Engineering, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.
Wilkinson, T. and Hancock, G. J., (1997), "Tests for the Compact Web Slenderness of Cold-Formed
Rectangular Hollow Sections", Research Report, No R744, Department of Civil Engineering,
University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.
Wilkinson T. and Hancock G. J., (1998), "Tests to examine the compact web slenderness of cold-formed
RHS", Journal of Structural Engineering, American Society of Civil Engineers, Vol 124, No 10,
October 1998, pp 1166-1174.
Zhao, X. L. & Hancock, G. J., (1991), "Tests to Determine Plate Slenderness Limits for Cold-Formed
Rectangular Hollow Sections of Grade C450", Steel Construction, Journal of Australian Institute
of Steel Construction, Vol 25, No 4, November 1991, pp 2-16.


This paper describes part of a research project is funded by CIDECT. The first author is funded by an
Australian Postgraduate Award from the Commonwealth of Australia, supplemented by the Centre for
Advanced Structural Engineering at The University of Sydney.

K. H. Ip 1 and K. F. Chung2

1Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University,

Hung Hum, Hong Kong
2Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University,
Hung, Hum, Hong Kong


Three failure modes of bolted cold-formed steel (CFS) connections were predicted
using a three-dimensional finite element (FE) model with material geometric and
contact nonlinearity. The connections were under static shear loading up to 3 mm
end extension, which is appropriate for the design of moment connections. The model
can predict the propagation of yielding in the CFS strips, which characterizes the
connection failure mode. Three distinct failure modes were observed from the
simulation results, namely, (i) the bearing failure, (ii) the shear-out failure and (iii)
the net-section failure. Through parametric runs, the effects of geometry and material
properties on the failure modes were studied The results were also compared with
the bearing resistances based on design rules in BS5950: Part 5.


Bolted connections, cold-formed steel, failure modes


Galvanized cold-formed steel (CFS) sections can be found in various building

applications, ranging from purlins and steel framing, to roof sheeting and floor
decking. The advantages of using CFS sections are derived from their long-term
durability together with high yield strengths and high buildability. In building
construction, CFS sections are usually bolted to hot rolled steel (HRS) members to
form shear and moment connections. With the development of material technology,
high strength CFS sections are available for building applications. The established

270 K.H. Ip and K.F. Chung
design codes 1-3, however, may be inappropriate for CFS sections with high yield
strength but low ductility (< 5%). Consequently, a close examination on the
resistance and the associated failure modes of bolted connections with high strength
low ductility CFS strip is essential before the established design codes can be applied
with confidence.

With the advent of computer hardware and software, numerical simulation has drawn
the attention of researchers in many areas of engineering and science. In the field of
solid mechanics, finite element (FE) method is perhaps the one having the greatest
impact. The method is particularly useful in solving boundary value problems where
large strains, nonlinear materials and contact surfaces are involved. Results from FE
analysis provide a clear picture on the stress and the strain distributions in a structure,
which is not easily obtained from physical tests. Besides, extensive parametric studies
can be carried out to reveal the effects of geometrical and material properties on the
performance of a structure.

The present study 4 concerns with finite element simulation on bolted connections
between CFS strips and HRS plates under static shear loading. Emphasis is given to
predict the possible failure modes, namely, (i) the bearing failure, (ii) the shear-out
failure and (iii) the net-section failure aider calibration. Parametric runs will be
carried out to reveal the effects of geometrical and material properties on the
resistances of different failure modes. The results are then compared with design
values to reveal the applicability of codified design rules 5.


The ANSYS (ver 4.3) finite element package is used to predict the load-extension
curves of bolted connections between cold-formed steel strips and hot rolled steel
plates under static shear loading. As the connection contains a plane of symmetry, the
half model shown in Figure 1 is sufficient, where the edge distance Se and the
specimen width W are indicated. The CFS strip, the HRS plate and the bolt-washer
assembly are represented three-dimensionally by eight-node iso-parametic solid
elements SOLID45, as they allow both geometric and material nonlinearities. Contact
between the various components is accomplished by employing contact elements
CONTACT49. The contact stiffness and the friction coefficient for all interfaces are
assigned the values of 2 x 103 N/mm and 0.2, respectively. In a typical FE model,
there are 1878 nodes, 1197 solid elements and 981 contact elements.

Plasticity in the CFS strip is considered by incorporating the von Mises yield criterion,
the Prandtl-Reuss flow rule together with isotropic hardening rule. However, for
simplicity, the bolt-washer assembly is linear elastic with Young's modulus, E, at
205 kN/mm 2 and Poisson's ratio v at 0.3.

Shear load is applied to the FE model by imposing incremental displacements to the

end of the CFS strip, along the longitudinal direction of the specimen. Throughout the
course of loading, the HRS plate and the root of the bolt are fixed in space. As the
model is highly nonlinear, the full Newton-Raphson (N-R) procedure is employed to
obtain the solution atter each displacement increment.
Failure M octes oj t~olted Cold-Formed Steel Connections 271

Figure 1 Finite element model of a bolted connection

between CFS strip and HRS plate

True Strain (%)

Figure 2 Proposed stress-strain curves for cold-formed steel strips


The FE model is first calibrated with the results from lap shear tests. Both G300 and
G550 cold-formed steel strips of different yield strengths py and thicknesses t are
considered. Their material curves as deduced from standard coupon tests and they are
presented in Figure 2. A negative slope is appended to each curve to simulate the
effect of strength degradation at high tensile or compressive strains. The CFS strip is
bolted to the HRS plate by a grade 8.8 bolt of 12mm diameter. Comparison between
the predicted and the measured load-extension curves associated with bearing failure
is given in Figure 3. Close agreement between the experimental and simulation
results indicates the accuracy of the finite element model as well as the proposed
material curves.
272 K.H. Ip and K.F. Chung

Figure 3 Theoretical and experimental load-extension curves

for bolted connections with 12mm diameter bolts

By changing the dimensions of the CFS model, i.e. the edge distance Se and the
specimen width W, three distinct failure modes are identified:
(i) Bearing failure

It prevails for strips having sufficiently large Se and W, as shown in Figure

4(a). The yield zone emerges from the bearing edge of the CFS strip owing to
highly localized compressive stresses.

O0 Shear-out failure

It occurs when the edge distance Se of the specimen is small, as shown in

Figures 4(b). Such failure is characterized by large shear stresses between the
hole and the edge of the strip. Protrusion of the edge of the strip can be

(iii) Net-section failure

It takes place for narrow specimens as shown in Figure 4(c). In contrast to

bearing failure, the yield zone is developed from the tensile edges of the hole,
accompanied by necking of the net-section.

The deformed meshes of each failure mode are also presented in Figure 5 for
Failure Modes of Bolted Cold-Formed Steel Connections 273

Figure 4 Failure modes of G550 CFS strip at 3ram extension

(t - 1.60 m m with 12mm diameter bolts)
274 K.H. Ip and K.F. Chung

Figure 5 Deformed meshes of G550 CFS strip at 3mm extension

(t = 1.60 mm with 12mm diameter bolts)
Failure Modes of Bolted Cold-Formed Steel Connections 275
A strength coefficient is established to compare the resistances of a bolted connections
from finite element models to basic resistances of the connections, and the strength
coefficient is defined as follows:

R e s i s tan ce at 3ram
Strength coefficient = (1)
tdU s

Through parametric runs, the effects of Se and W on the normalized resistance of the
FE model are summarized in Figures 6 and 7 for the G300 and G550 strips,
respectively. These figures also present the capacities of the connections based on the
design formulae in Section 8.2 in BS5950: Part 5 [1 ]. A glance at these plots reveals
that the FE predictions exhibit a similar trend with the design values. Maximum
connection resistance is found to occur in the bearing mode. The results also
demonstrate the independence of bearing resistance to Se and W when the bolt hole is
sufficiently far from the sides of the strip. Inspection of Figure 6 shows that the
design rules is conservative for predicting the resistance of G300 strips under net-
section and bearing failures. In the FE model, transitions from the shear-out and the
net-section failures to the bearing failure are found to occur at larger Se / d and W / d .
In other words, sufficient distances, say Se / d > 4 and W / d > 5, should be provided
for the CFS strip in order to secure the maximum connection resistance. Refer to
Figure 7 for G550 strips, the design formulae are unsafe when applying to high
strength steels.

Figure 6 Strength coefficient of bolted connection with

G300 CFS strip ( t = 1.50 mm and d = 12 mm )

Figure 7 Strength coefficient of bolted connection with

G550 CFS strip ( t = 1.60 mm and d = 12 mm )
276 K.H. Ip and K.F. Chung

A finite element model was employed to determine the resistance of bolted

connections between cold-formed steel (CFS) strips and hot rolled steel (HRS) plates
subject to static shear loading. By incorporating both solid and contact elements, the
model is able to capture nonlinearities associated with geometry, materials and
boundary conditions. T h e von Mises stress distributions in the CFS strips under
different types of connection failure are also predicted. Results from parametric runs
indicate that the existing design formulae are sufficient only for bolted connections
with low strength steels, such as 280N/mm 2 and 350N/mm2. However, the existing
codified design rules may not to conservative when applying to high strength low
ductility steel.


The research project leading to the publication of this paper is supported by the Hong
Kong Polytechnic University Research Committee (Project A/C code G-$565).


1. BS5950: Structural use of steelwork in buildings: Part 5 Code of practice for the
design of cold-formed sections, British Standards Institution, London, 1998.

2. Cold-formed steel structure code AS/NZ 4600: 1996, Standard Australia/Standards

New Zealand, Sydney, 1996.

3. Eurocode 3: Design of steel structures: Part 1.3: General rules- Supplementary

rules for cold-formed thin gauge members and sheeting, ENV 1993-1-3, European
Committee for Standardization.

4. Chung, K.F. and Ip, K.H.: Finite element modelling of bolted connections between
cold-formed steel strips and hot rolled steel plates under shear, Engineering
Structures (to be published).

5. Chung~ K.F. and Ip, K.H.: Finite element modelling of cold-formed steel bolted
connections, Proceedings of the Second European Conference on Steel Structures,
Praha, May 1999, pp503 to 506.

Yongjiu Shi Jun Jing

Department of Civil Engineering, Tsinghua University,

Beijing 100084, China


The end plate connection, either flush end plate or extended end plate, bolted with high strength friction
fasteners, is one of the moment resistant connections recommended for steel portal frame design, and
can be used for rafter to column connection or rafter splice. Current design rules specify that the tension
force produced by the bending moment is triangularly distributed among the bolt rows in tension zone,
if the end plate is stiff enough and its deformation is negligible. The engineering practice demonstrates
that the end plate thickness usually varies from 12 to 36mm and its flexible deformation can not be
neglected. In this paper, a finite element model is constructed to analyze connection behaviour under the
applied bending moment and the model is verified by the available test results. The bolt tension force
distribution and end plate deformation for connections with different configurations are compared.
Finally, a modified design method is proposed.


Steel structures, End plate connection, High strength fastener, Portal frame design


In design of steel portal frame, end plate connection is the most widely recommended economic
moment-resistant joint with the advantage of fast erection and no field welding(Fig 1). The bolted end
plate connection can be used for beam splice or beam to column connection and can be detailed as either
flush or extended with or without stiffeners(CECS102:98, 1998). The moment resistance of end plate
connections largely depends on the component behaviour in the tension zone, compression zone and
shears zone, such as the bolt tension resistance, end plate yielding resistance and column web buckling
resistance, etc. The traditional design guides(JGJ82-- 91,1992) suggest that the tension force produced
by the bending moment is triangularly distributed among the bolt rows in tension zone under the
assumption that both the flush and extended end plate is adequately stiff and its flexible deformation and
prying force can be neglected(Fig. 2). The outermost row of bolts are assigned with the maximum

"Supportedby NationalNatural ScienceFoundationof China

278 Y. Shi and J. Jing
tension and the forces resisted by any row of bolts can be given by
Nti = Myi / E yi2 ( 1)
It is required in Chinese code of practice that Nt~ should be limited to Na<~O.8P, where P is the bolt
Ntl .

..... tit
Figure 1: End plate connections for portal frame Figure 2: Traditional design model

However, the end plate applied in the steel portal frame design may be just 20mm or less in thickness
and the assumption described above may not be applicable. It is necessary to further investigate the
design model that would be appropriate for connections in steel portal frame. In this paper, a finite
element model is established to analyze the bolt force distribution for the beam to column connections.
The contact pressure between end plate and column flange under different bending moment is also
investigated. A revised design model is proposed for portal frame end plate connections.


Traditionally, the T-stub or yielding line theory is used for analyzing the end plate deformation (Brown
et al, 1996), and later, the 2D/3D finite element model was introduced(Sherbourne and Bahaari, 1994,
Gebbeken et al, 1994). In this paper, a hybrid 2D/3D model was developed. The beam web and flange
were modeled with plate element, while the end plate, bolt heads and nuts were represented by 3D block
elements. A number of bar elements were adopted to simulate the bolt shank. The contact elements,
which could resist compression but not tension, were used to simulate the interface between the end
plate and the column flange. In establishing the finite element model, the bolt pretension were well
simulated by temperature action, that is, a temperature stress were applied to the bolt shank, leading to
the bolt to contract and subject to pretension. The established finite element model is shown in Fig. 3.
The connection model is analyzed by loading increment method and the material properties are assumed
remaining elastic.

Figure 3. Finite element model Figure 4: Tested connection and result comparison

To verify the finite element model, an end plate connection tested by Jenkins et al(1986) were analyzed
again. The bolt tension force produced by the applied bending moment is compared in Fig. 4. It is noted
that the finite element model simulates the tension force development very well, but gives higher value.
Since calculated results are obtained in the elastic range of material properties, while partial plasticity
Design Moment Res&tance of End Plate Connections 279
may be developed under large bending moment during the tests, it is understandable that the calculated
tension is larger than the measured tension. Both the experiment and calculation reveal that the tension
force on the first row of bolts is well below that on the second row of bolts. The traditional design
model(Fig 2) is inappropriate to the extended end plate connection.


Based on the establishedmodel, some typical joints with flush or extended end plates(Fig. 5a) were
investigated. The end plate thickness varies from t = 10mm to t = 40mm, and the high strength bolts are
M20, Grade 8.8 with pretension P = 110kN. The extended part can be stiffened or unstiffened.

Figure 5: Bolt force versus applied bending moment

280 Y. Shi and J. Jing
The end plate connection can fail with the following failure modes: (i)Fracture of bolts in tension zone;
(ii)end plate yielding; and (iii)compression between the bolted plates diminishing. The moment
resistance and failure modes may vary with the connection configuration. In this study, the compression
C between the contact surfaces and the bolt tension T at the tension zone versus applied bending
moment were obtained around each bolt. It should be noted that when there is no bending moment
applied, the compression C and the bolt tension T is equal, that is C = T. It is also noted that with the
increase of bending moment, the bolt tension T will increase, but compression C will reduce. The
variations of the tension T and compression C with applied moment for different connections were
shown in Fig. 5b-~5f.

It can be seen that for the flush end plate(Fig. 5b), the higher tension was developed in the first row of
bolts even the applied moment is small and the connection fails with bolt fracture. The maximum
moment resistance of the flush end plate connection is much less than that o f the corresponding
extended end plate connection(Fig. 5d). Fig. 5c to 5e compares the effects of end plate thickness. When
the thin plate is applied(Fig. 5c, t = 0.5d, where d is the bolt diameter), the end plate deformation and
prying force is significant and connection fails with end plate yielding. When medium thickness of end
plate is applied(Fig. 5d, t = d), the connection resistance largely depends on the tension resistance of the
second row of bolts, where the maximum tension force is developed. However, if the extended part is
stiffened(Fig. 5f), the maximum tension can be developed in both the first and the second rows of bolts
and the higher moment resistance is achieved. When the thick plate is applied(Fig. 5e), the compression
between the bored plates diminishes very quickly and the connection may fail by the separation of the
bolted plates.

However, it is difficult or impossible to calculate the bolt tension T and/or compression C by a simple
method. From the compression C and bolt tension T, the force Nt produced by bending moment and
resisted by each bolt can be given by Nt = T - C. The distribution of Nt among the bolt rows are
compared under the maximum bending moment(Table 1 and Fig. 6). It is noted that for the flush end
plate connection(Fig. 6a), the tension force distribution is similar to traditional design model. For the
extended end plate connection, the tension force between the beam flanges more or less distributed
triangularly, but on the extended part, the tension force Ntl varies with the plate thickness and stiffening.
The maximum Nt appears at the second row of bolts instead of the first row of bolts(Fig. 6b). Since the
actual tension force on the extended part is far less than that calculated from the traditional design
model(Fig. 2), the end plate yielding may more likely happen around the second row of bolts, rather
than the first row of bolts as predicted by the current code of practice (CECS102:98, 1998). Even the
extended part is stiffened(Fig. 6c), the tension force on the first row unlikely exceeds the force on the
first row, unless the end plate is extremely thick.

(a)Flush (b)Unstiffened (c)Stiffended (a)Unstiffened (b)Stiffened

Figure 6: Bolt force distributions Figure 7: Proposed design model

Design Moment Resistance of End Plate Connections 281

First row Second row

Extended End-plate Ntl/Nt2
Ntl(kN) No(kN)
Unstiffened, t = 10mm 26.3 42.2 0.62

Unstiffened, t=20mm 97.5 139.0 0.70

Unstiffened, t=40mm 105.3 130.9 0.81

Stiffened, t=20mm 137.9 141.2 0.98


From the above analysis, itis concluded that the traditional tension distribution model may not be
applicable to the extended end plate connections. The necessary revision is proposed and recommended
in this paper. Since the tension distribution Art for the flush end plate connection is close to the
traditional design model, the force resisted by any row of bolts can still be calculated by Eq.(1), while
for the extended end plate connections, the following design procedures were proposed"

(1)When the extended part unstiffened, the bolt force distribution can be assumed as Fig. 7a and the
second row of bolts is supposed subject to the maximum tension, and tension force on any row in the
tension zone can be given by

Nt2 = m YlY2~l 2 + Z Yi 2 +Y,,Y,-1 (2a)


Utl = Nt2~:l/~:2 (2b)

Nt~ = Nt2 Y,/Y2 (2c)
w h e r e ~:1 = (ha + h2 - Ya )/ha and ~z = Y2/h2
y,----distance from the ith bolt row to the center of bolt group;
M--bending moment applied on the connection;
n--number of bolt rows;
5O 5O
m--number of bolt columns; u u L

hi, h/--length of the extended part and the distance from the beam i,i i
flange to the center of bolt group respectively. I I 1
.4. 4 -
(2) When the extended part stiffened, the bolt force distribution can be I I
assumed as Fig. 7b and the tension force on the bolt rows adjacent to the beam
i. i
flange in tension is equal. Tension force on any row in the tension zone can be ~
given by
Nt2 "- m YlY2 + E Yi 2 +Y.Y,-1 (3a) Ir
[ oo [ o

Ntl = Nt2 (3b)

N~ = Nt2 Yi/Y2 (3e) Figure 8. Example
282 Y. Shi and J. Jing
The proposed design model by this paper is compared with the traditional design model, taking a typical
extended end plate connection as an example(Fig 8). The applied bending moment is M = 160kNm, and
the design results are listed in Table 2. It can be seen that because the maximum tension Art is assumed
on the first row of bolts in the current code of practice, the larger flexible moment generated in the end
plate happens on the extended part. Therefore, thicker end plate is required to prevent the connection
failing in end plate yielding mode. However, if the bolt tension force is calculated by the proposed
method where larger tension force appears on the second row of bolts instead of the first row, the
moment generated in the end plate is reduced significantly. As the results, less thick end plate is


Current Code This Paper

First row(Nt0 95.2 60.0

Bolt Tension(kN)
Second row(Nt2) 60.3 91.2

Bolt Parameters Grade 8.8, M22 Grade 8.8, M22

End Plate Thickness(mm) 27 22


A 3D finite element model was established in this paper to investigate the end plate connection
behaviour. The analysis model is verified by the test results. Based on the comparison results obtained
from analyzing some typical connections, it is concluded that the traditional design model may not be
applicable to the end plate connection design. A revised model is proposed for end plate connection
design and a formula is derived for evaluating the bolt tension distribution.


Brown, D. G., Fewster, M. C., Hughes, A. F. and Owens G. W.(1996). A New Industry Standard for
Moment Connection in Steelwork. The Structural Engineer 74:20, 335 - 342.
CECS102:98 (1998). Technical Specification for Light Gauge Steel Structure of Low Rise Buildings
with Portal Frames. Association of China Engineering Construction Standard, Beijing.
Gebbeken, N., Rothert, H. and Binder B.(1994). On the Numerical Analysis of End-plate Connections.
Journal of Constructional Steel Research 30, 177 - 196.
Jenkins, W. M., Tong, C. S. and Prescott, A. T. (1986). Moment-transmitting Endplate Connections in
Steel Construction, and a Proposed Basis for Flush Endplate Design. The Structural Engineer 64A:5,
121 - 132.
JGJ82--91 (1992). Specification for Design and Construction of High Strength Bolt in Steel Structures.
Ministry of Construction, Beijing.
Sherbourne, A. N. and Bahaari, M. R.(1994). 3d Simulation of End-plate Bolted Connections. Journal
of Structural Engineering 120:11, 3122 - 3136.

T. F. Nip 1 and J. O. Surtees 1

1 School of Civil Engineering, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK.


A new means of providing local column reinforcement in the compression zone of high moment
capacity end plate connections, using threaded bars, has been developed. Conventional welded plate
stiffening is difficult to fabricate by automatic processes and is particularly expensive when used on
site in structural upgrading schemes. In the new approach, a system of threaded bars is locked against
inner flange faces of the column to transmit the horizontal compression force from incoming beams.
Joint performance has been studied in a programme of tests on simple compression specimens and full
scale beam/column/beam joints. The influences of concrete encasement and steel .sleeving on
threaded rod capacity have also been investigated. In a typical connection using high strength
threaded bar only, enhancements of column web bearing capacity in the order of 300% have been
demonstrated. The validity of using simple compression tests to represent the compression zone of
beam/column joints is examined by comparison with full scale connection tests. It is concluded that
serviceability and ultimate conditions can be met fully by the proposed form of connection.
Experience of fabricating and assembling the test specimens indicates that significant savings are
possible in comparison with the true cost of providing welded stiffeners.


Steel frames, moment connections, bolted joints


Beam-to-column end plate connections have been used extensively in multi-storey construction for
resisting moments from wind and gravitational loading. UK and European design codes now provide
the necessary 'continuous construction' background for member and connection design but magnitude
of bending moment which may be transmitted by conventional end-plate connections is somewhat
limited. This arises from the inherent incapacity of typical column flanges to resist normal force, even
when reinforced locally by conventional welded stiffening. Demands for longer clear spans and lower

284 T.F. Nip and J.O. Surtees
floor construction depths have almost outstripped the capability of such connections. For instance, the
maximum moment resistance of connections appropriate to a beam of depth 650mm is likely to be only
25% of the moment capacity of the beam.
Moment capacity may be increased by increasing either the bolt diameter or the total number of bolts
in the tension cluster. The former of these has been explored at Leeds University, using backing angles
to reinforce the column flange (Grogan and Surtees (1995) and Grogan and Surtees (1999)). The
second approach entails increasing the number of bolt rows or the number of bolts per row. Several
investig-ators have examined these options (Grundy et al (1980), Murray and Kukreti (1988) and
Murray (1988)). The second option was explored without recourse to column stiffening but has been
investigated more recently at Leeds University in a Science and Engineering Research Council (now
EPSRC) supported project (Surtees and Yeung (1996)). In the latter investigation, which applied
particularly to double-sided connections, local bending of the column flange was reduced by linking
beam tension flange forces across the column via socketed couplers placed between opposing tension
bolts. In tests on full-scale specimens, improvements in moment capacity up to 200% were observed,
compared with less than 40% when using conventional welded reinforcement in the tension zone.
The work reviewed above has focused on tension zone stiffening and a principal feature has been the
use of bolted forms of stiffening. Recently at Leeds University, the potential use of bolted
compression zone stiffening was examined in depth and this paper presents details of tests on a
particular form of stiffening element developed in that investigation, namely, the threaded bar


The term threaded bar is used to describe continuously threaded stock material readily available in
various diameters and material grades at lengths up to 3m. It is usually cut to precise shorter lengths in
the manufacturing process. In the present context, plain round bar with minimum threading to satisfy
installation requirements is equally acceptable, though not necessarily cheaper than threaded bar.

Two forms of threaded bar compression stiffening element were used in the tests. The first consists of
a short threaded bar with end nuts which fits between, rather than passes through, the column flanges.
Blind flange holes may be used to locate the stiffener or, alternatively, thin punched retaining plates
may be suspended from nearby end plate fixing bolts. The second form also has internal nuts but
passes through the flanges to engage outer nuts and is therefore able to act as tension zone stiffening in
the event of moment reversal.

Figure 1: Forms of threaded bar compression stiffening.

Threaded Bar Compression Stiffening for Moment Connections 285
This latter form must be positioned with appropriate installation clearance from beam flange surfaces.
Both forms may be combined to provide compression zone stiffening in non-reversing or partially
reversing moment connections. Figure l(a) shows a possible configuration for a non-reversing
moment connection. Four threaded bar stiffeners are placed in line with the compression flange. On
the tension side, a larger number of (off-line) stiffeners is necessary because of weaker participation of
the web and presence of prying. In the full moment reversal connection shown in Figure 1(b), tension
zone requirements determine stiffener provisions at both flange levels.


The primary objectives of the tests were (i) to verify the feasibility of threaded bar stiffening and (ii)
to investigate the force distribution in the connection elements in order to establish design guidelines.
To this end, the following aspects were studied in the tests:
9 threaded bar properties
9 bar configuration and size effects
9 influence of concrete encasement

Because of the large number of tests, all involving heavy sections, it was decided to confine testing
mainly to compression zone specimens. Some tests on full connection specimens were, however,
carried out for comparison purposes.

Compression tests

Compression zone check calculations invariably require that column web stiffening be provided.
When this is done, the available compression zone capacity is usually much in excess of requirements
and connection failure occurs elsewhere. In devising a new form of stiffening, the possibility of a
more balanced provision for compression and tension zone failure might be allowed to advantage.
However, most specimens tested in the present series had strengths and stiffnesses well in excess of
what might be termed a minimum compression zone performance.

A full description of the isolated compression zone test specimens is given in Table 1. A threaded bar
diameter of 24mm was used for most of the tests in recognition of the fabrication industry preference
for M20 and M24 bolts. Larger sizes of threaded bar were tested both to examine their efficiency as
concentrated compression stiffening and to detect potential assembly difficulties. In all cases except
CB2 the threaded bar stiffening was prepared from plain material, leaving a small unthreaded central
portion to accommodate ER strain gauges for direct force measurement. Test CB2 used commercial
threaded bar. All bars were calibrated prior to testing and the characteristics of the two forms were
compared for control purposes.

The compressive test load was restricted to 4110kN maximum by the capacity of the loading frame.
The full connection tests described below used UB533x210x101kg (Grade 50) beam material
throughout, corresponding to a nominal maximum compression flange force of 1730kN. Rather than
represent the beam flange thickness correctly in the test rig and thereby limit the maximum test load, a
40x40x215 steel block and curtailed 25 thick end plate was used to load each side of the specimen. In
this way, the true capacity of the stiffened column web was measured, rather than that of the beam
flange. Dial gauges, LVDT deflection gauges and ER strain gauges were used to measure
displacements and strain distributions in the test specimens. The spread of yield was monitored using
heat applied resin coatings on the columns. A typical set up is shown in Figure 3.
286 T.F. Nip and J.O. Surtees

Test Column description Stiffener details Further reinforcement

Size Length (mm) Dimension Type (Fig. 2)
CB 1 UC 254x254x73 700 ~24 HTS bars A
CB2 UC 254x254x73 460 M24 grade 8.8 A
threaded bar
CB3 UC 254x254x73 460 ~24 HTS bars A
CB4 UC 254x254x89 700 ~24 HTS bars B
CB5 UC 305x305x118 700 ~24 HTS bars B
CB6 UC 305x305x118 700 ~24 HTS bars C
CB7 UC 305x305x118 700 ~24 HTS bars C 25 mm thick backing plates
CB8 UC 305x305x118 700 ~30 HTS bars A(HP)
CB9 UC 305x305x118 700 ~t~45mild steel D(HP)
CB 10 UC 305x305x 118 700 ~24 HTS bars B 1.5" (0.25" thick ) HTS tubes
CC4 UC 305x305x118 700 ~24 HTS bars A Grade C60 concrete
UC 305x305x 118 700 ~24 HTS bars A Grade C20 concrete

HP: with Hanging Plate

Figure 2: Threaded bar configurations in Table 1

Threaded Bar Compression Stiffen&g.for Moment Connections 287

Figure 3: Typical setup for isolated compression test

Cruciform tests

Two full size beam/column/beam connections, FB2 and FB4, were tested. The direct compression
tests excluded interaction from nearby shear or tension zone forces and the whole-connection tests
allowed the effect of these omissions to be studied. FB2 was an over-stiffened specimen with 8
threaded bars in the compression zone whereas FB4, with only 4 threaded bars placed directly against
the incoming beam flanges, was marginally under-stiffened in relation to the tension capacity of the
connection. Specimen FB2 was the whole-connection equivalent of CB5. Both specimens were
constructed from UC305x305x118kg/m, UB533x210x101kg/m and 705x305x35 endplate (see Figure

Figure 4: Test specimen FST4

288 T.F. Nip and J.O. Surtees

Table 2 summarises the isolated compression zone test results. Column web bearing capacity was
increased substantially by the stiffening. Specimen CB5, which would be typical for beam depths of
up to 600mm, was able to sustain a force equivalent to this order of beam plastic moment capacity
using 8 M24 bars. The highest resistance recorded in the series was 4110kN, which would satisfy the
required compression zone bearing capacity for all connections up to a beam depth of 900mm.

The general pattern of behaviour was similar in all the tests. Inter-crossing shear yield lines inclined at
45 ~ to the horizontal first occurred in the centre of the web panel. Heavy yielding then occurred at the
flange/web junction near to the load and support points. As this spread into the web, the threaded bars
absorbed an increasing proportion of the load and eventually buckled after substantial yielding. In the
uncased Type A specimens (see Figure 2), a sidesway buckling mode occurred. In the remaining
uncased specimens, stiffeners buckled without sidesway and were partially restrained at their ends.


Nominal web
Test bearing Failure load Fc Fc + Few Failure mode
capacity (1~)
F~w ( ~ )
CB 1 507 1575 3.107 Web sidesway
CB2 507 1425 21811 Web sidesway
CB3 ,j 507 1425 2.811 Web sidesway
CB4 n
651 2250 3.456 Stiffeners yielding
CB5 ||
1063 2780 2.615 Stiffeners yielding
CB6 1063 2400 2.258 Stiffeners yielding
CB7 |l
1063 3200 3.010 Stiffeners yielding
CB8 ,, 1063 3308 3.112 Web sidesway
CB9 ||
1063 2515 2.366 Stiffeners yielding
CB 10 1063 4000 3.763 Web sidesway
CC4 1063 4110+ 3.866 Concrete cracking
CC5 1063 3500 3.293 Concrete cracking

+ capacityof loading rig reached before failure of specimen

The relationship between applied load and flange to flange displacement is shown in Figure 5. The
compressibility of the connection was higher in the case of slender off-line stiffeners but was still well
below an acceptable maximum value. Use of internal backing plates for the above case improved
stiffness and strength significantly. In case of in-line stiffeners, concrete encasement prevented
buckling and enabled them to develop their full yield capacity supplemented by the compression
resistance of the concrete. The results in Table 2 show significant improvements in this respect.

It was established for in-line stiffeners that the total bearing resistance could be taken as the nominal
web bearing capacity plus the compressive capacity of the stiffeners based on standard column design
procedures with effective length equal to actual length and cross-section based on tensile stress area.
For off-line stiffeners, the total bearing resistance is dependent on stiffener position and relative
material strength.
Threaded Bar Compression Stiffening for Moment Connections 289

Figure 5" Deformation stiffeners in isolated compression zone tests (305x305xl 18kg/m UC)

Figure 6: Moment rotation relationship for whole-connection tests

290 T.F. Nip and J.O. Surtees
Moment rotation curves for whole-connections FB2 and FB4 are presented in Figure 6. These display
a rigid initial characteristic but are sufficiently ductile to develop 30 x 10-3 rad rotation before failure.
A summary of cruciform connection test results is shown in Table 3. A maximum applied moment of
1.2 Mp was recorded for both tests. The compressibility of the connections at compression flange level
correlated well with corresponding values obtained from test CB5. Although FB4 is not fully
equivalent to tests CB 1,CB2 or CB3, it was clear in the case of whole connections that sidesway
buckling of the compression zone is totally inhibited by several factors. The carrying capacities
obtained in the isolated compression tests understated the true capacities of whole connections


Test l[ Stiffening method Failure moment + Mp Failure mode

FB2 8 (4 off-line) ~24HTS bars 1.229 Beam flange and web local buckling
FB4 4 ~24 HTS bars 1.2715 Beam flange and web local buckling


Threaded bar compression stiffening has been shown to be an effective and viable alternative to
traditional welded plate stiffening. Tests have confirmed that bearing strengths much in excess of
those required for current typical end plate connections are possible. Use of threaded bar as an
effective form of tension stiffening has been considered incidentally in this paper because of its
application to the whole-connection tests. The case for tension stiffening is strong and its eventual
practical acceptance will undoubtedly increase the appeal of threaded bar compression stiffening.


The research described herein was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
and British Steel. Further support and advice was provided by the Steel Construction Institute and
British Constructional Steelwork Association Ltd.


Grogan W. and Surtees J. O. (1995) Column flange reinforcement in end plate connections using
bolted backing angles. Nordic Steel Construction Conference, Malm6, Sweden, pp 87-94.
Grogan W. and Surtees J. O. (1999) Experimental behaviour of end plate connections reinforced with
bolted backing angles. J. construct. Steel Research, vol. 50, pp71-96.
Grundy P., Thomas I. R. and Bennetts I.D. (1980) Beam-to-column moment connections. J. Struct.
Div., Am Soc. Civ. Engnrs, pp313-330.
Murray T. M. and Kukreti A. R. (1988) Design of 8-bolt stiffened moment end plate. Engineering
Journal, AISC, Vol.25, Pt. 2, pp45-53.
Murray T. M. (1988) Recent developments for the design of moment end-plate connections.
J. Construct. Steel Research, Vol. 10, pp 133-162.
Surtees J.O. and Yeung K.W. (1996) A new form of high moment beam-to-column connection.
EPSRC Final Report, Grant reference GR/J70758, University of Leeds.
Experimental Study of Steel I-Beam to CFT Column Connections

S.P. Chiew & C.W. Dai

School of Civil and Structural Engineering, Nanyang Technological University,
50 Nanyang Avenue, Singapore 639798.


This paper focused on the experimental study of the composite behavior of steel
universal beam to concrete-filled tube (CFT) column connections. Eight specimens were
designed and tested to failure, of which four specimens are simple beam-column
connections and the rest are rigid connections with different type of stiffening details. For
simple connections, the parameters investigated are the thickness and diameter of the
steel tube and the beam size. For the rigid connections, the stiffening details investigated
include cover plate, shear plate, extemal ring and re-bar respectively. Experimental
results showed that the simple connections have weaker ultimate strength, ductility and
stiffness, and their behaviors are influenced by the parameters investigated. All stiffening
details improved the composite behavior, but to different extent. The specimen with the
re-bar detail that is easy to fabricate and costs effective exhibited excellent behavior in
terms of ultimate strength, stiffness and ductility.

KEYWORDS: composite behavior, CFT column, re-bar stiffening detail.


In the building construction industry, composite construction is gaining

widespread popularity in recent years. Its better structural performance and relatively
lower costs compared to conventional reinforced concrete construction makes it
especially attractive for high-rise building projects. In this connection, structural

292 S.P. Chiew and C.W. Dai

engineers have been experimenting with different types of composite columns in a hope
to produce the most aesthetically impressive and futuristic buildings. Undoubtedly, new
breakthroughs with this form of construction will usher a new and exciting era into the
building construction industry.
Basically, there are two types of composite columns: concrete-encased structural
steel section and concrete-filled tube (CFT) columns. CFT column has many advantages
over other types of column. Architecturally, CFT columns have many attractive features;
for example, the concrete filling has no visual effect on their external appearance. The
advantages from a structural point of view are, firstly, the triaxial confinement of the
concrete within the section, and secondly, the fire-resistance of the column which largely
depends on the residual capacity of the concrete core. During construction, the steel tube
will dispense with the need for formwork and prevents spilling of the concrete. Although
the CFT column is an economical form of composite construction, their uses to date have
been limited due to the lack of design information on the beam-to-column connections
and to the limited construction experience. While extensive data is available on CFT
column behavior under different loading conditions, relatively less work has been done
on the connections to these columns.
Experimental results on CFT column connections can vary significantly
depending on the tube shape and other connection requirements. Broadly speaking,
details can be generalized into two categories, i.e. connections with the beams attached to
the face of the steel tube only and connections that use elements embedded into or passed
through the concrete core. Connections to the face of the steel tube include welding the
beam directly to the tube surface, using fin-plate [ 1 ] or cover plate to connect the beam to
the tube and providing diaphragms or external tings [2,3] to stiffen the connections.
Connections with embedded or passed elements include through bolting beam end plates
and continuing structural steel shapes into and through the column [4,5].
This paper summarized an experimental investigation to study the connection
details to circular CFT columns. The objectives are: a) to investigate the effect of
different parameters on the composite behavior of the steel ~JI-beam to CFT column
connections, and hence, an strength and stiffness prediction for this type of connection
can be given; b) to compare the effect of different stiffening details on the composite
Experimental Study of Steel I-Beam to CFT Column Connections 293
behavior, so that a relatively good stiffening detail can be recommended and c) to provide
test results to verify the finite element model built for this kind of composite connection.
Experimental results showed that the simple connections have weaker ultimate strength,
ductility and stiffness, and their behaviors are influenced by the parameters investigated.
All stiffening details improved the composite behavior, but to different extent. The
specimen with the re-bar detail exhibited excellent behavior in terms of ultimate strength,
stiffness and ductility. This detail which is easy to fabricate and cost effective proved to
be the most promising of all.


2.1 Specimen Details

A total of eight specimens were tested in this study. All specimens are modeled to
89 scale of the real size. Fig. 1 and Tables 1-2 show dimensions and details of the test
specimens. The materials used in the specimens are equivalent to BS4360 grade 43A
steel. Specimens consist of simple and rigid composite connections. For simple
connections, the parameters investigated are tube thickness (6.3mm and 8.0mm), tube
extemal diameter (219.1mm and 273mm) and beam size (203mm x 133mm x 31.3kg/m
and 254mm x 146mm x 31.25kg/m). For the rigid connections, the stiffening details
investigated include cover plate, shear plate, external ring and re-bar respectively.

Table 1. Details of Test Specimens

Specimen Beam size Column size Stiffener type
(mm x mm x kg/m) . (mm x mm )
UCN'I 203 x 133 x 31.3 219.1 x 6.3 No stiffener
Simple ucN-2 203 x 133 x 31.3 d~219.1 x 8.0 No stiffener
Connection UCN-3 203 x 133 x 31.3 d~273 x 6.3 No stiffener
UCN-4 254 x 146 x 31.25 qb219.1 x 6.3 No stiffener
, , ,

UCN-5' "203 x 133 x 31.3 d~219.1 x 6.3 Cover plate

Rigid UCN-6 203 x 133 x31.3 ~ 219.1 x 6.3 Shear plate
Connection UCN-7 203 x 133 x 31.3 (~219.1 x 6.3 External ring I
UCN-8 ' 203 x 133'x'31.3 d~219.1 x 613 Re-bar
294 S.P. Chiew and C. I41. Dai

Fig. 1 Overall Dimensions of Test Specimens

2.2 Load Application and Instrumentation

Monotonic static loads were applied as shown in Fig.2. Bonded strain gauges
were installed to observe the stress distribution in the flange, web and stiffeners (if
available). Also, 14 linear variable displacement transducers (LVDT) were used to
measure the vertical displacement, lateral displacement and the rotation of the 1-beam as
shown in Fig.3. In addition, two inclinometers were installed on the upper flange of the
steel 1-beam (near column) to measure the rotation of the steel I-beam. Loading was
terminated when the deformation was already excessive or when the composite
connection lost its ultimate capacity altogether.

Fig.2 Test Set-up Fig.3 Beam Rotation Measurement

Experimental Study of Steel I-Beam to CFT Column Connections 295
Table 2. Details of Rigid Connection


3.1 Material Properties

Material tests were performed to determine the mechanic properties of steel and
concrete used in this experiment program. For concrete material, the 28 days cube
296 S.P. Chiew and C.W. Dai

strength is 39.88 N/mm 2 and the cylinder strength is 34.4 N / m m 2. The properties of the
structural steel are summarized in table 3.
Table 3 Steel Mechanical Properties
Coupon Thickness Gy 6y E o. o]o. Ob EIo.
(mm) (N/mm2) (xl0 "6) (N/mm2) (N/mm2) (%) (N/mm2) (%)
BF(203x133) 9.86 355.9 1725 206357 498.1 71.5 371.0 25.9
BW(203x133) 6.34 385.0 1867 206201 507.2 75.9 401.2 26.4
BF(254x146) 8.76 351.2 1709 205560 483.8 72.6 362.2 27.8
BW(254x146) 5.98 407.3 2030 200620 503.5 80.9 404.6 21.6
CL(219. lx6.3) 6.19 357.4 1716 208290 443.8 80.5 321.07 26.4

CL(219. lx8.0) 7.98 409.5 1962 208764 499.3 82.0 377.0 24.4
CL(273x6.3) 6.21 347.7 1665 208850 455.87 76.3 357.6 24.9
steel plate 10.47 283.0 1363 207566 429.9 65.8 336.13 37.0
Re-bar ~30 479.4 2601 184338 596.8 80.3 430.6 25.1

BF: beam flange BW: beam web CL: column Cy: yield stress
Ou: ultimate stress Elo.: elongation

3.2 Load carrying capacity

The moment-rotation relationships of all specimens are shown in Fig.4 and Fig.5.
Table 4 shows the experimental and numerical analysis results. The yield load in table 4
was determined as the value at an intersection point between an initial tangential line
from the origin point and a tangential line with a 1/3 slope of the initial tangential line [6]
as shown in Fig.5. The yield loads of all specimens are compared with the numerical
analysis results. In order to evaluate the load carrying capacity of the connection, the
yield moment of the test result is also compared with the plastic moment capacity of the
steel I-beam.
For simple connections, except specimen UCN-2, all other specimens had a weak
load carrying capacity. This was reflected on the coefficient a - the value of ot is just
between 0.40-0.48. This means these connections can not even achieve half the beam' s
capacity. The specimen UCN-2 had a higher load carrying capacity and this illustrated
that the thickness of the steel tube is an important parameter on the load carrying
capacity. It is also found that the load carry capacity will decrease when the outside
Experimental Study of Steel I-Beam to CFT Column Connections E 297

Fig.4 Moment-Rotation relationship of Simple Connections

Fig.5 Moment-Rotation relationship of Rigid Connections

diameter of the steel tube increased by comparing specimens UCN-1 and UCN-3. Under
the same cross-section area, the selection of the higher and wider, but thinner steel I-
beam can improve the yield load of the connection about 42%, however, the value of the
coefficient c~ is almost the same (0.45 and 0.48 respectively). This means that the load
carrying capacity of the connection depends on the properties of the composite column,
the steel I-beam has lesser effect on it.
For rigid connections, all specimens have a higher load carrying capacity when
they are compared with the standard one (specimen UCN-1). This means the different
298 S.P. Chiew and C.W. Dai

Table 4 Comparison of Numerical and Experimental Results

Specimen Test result FEA result My1/My2 1% o~= M , , , / ~ ,
M~ (kN.m) My, ( ~ . m ) M . (kN.m)
UCN-1 95.2 62.3 64.4 0.967 i37.95 0.45
UCN-2 128.2 87.8 90.7 0.968 137.95 0.64
UCN-3 96.1 54.8 55.3 0.991 137.95 0.40
UCN-4 140.4 88.5 91.7 ' 0.965 184.4 0.48
UCN-5 123.8 78.8 81.9 0.962 137.95 0.57

UCN-6 118.8 78.8 88.8 0.887 137.95 0.57

UCN-7 138.8 90.8 86.1 1.054 137.95 0.66
UCN-8 229.4 175.5 189.9 0.924 137.95 1.27
, .

Mu: ultimate moment Myl, My2: yield moment

Mp: plastic moment capacity of steel I-beam

113 initial stiffness

Initial sty"



Fig. 5 Determination of yield load

stiffeners are useful on improving the connection' s load carrying capacity, but their
effects are different. The yield load of specimen UCN-5 and UCN-6 are 1.26 times of that
of the specimen UCN-1. The external ring stiffener can enhance 46% of the yield load
and the degree can be higher if the external ring had a higher strength (the yield strength
is only 283N/mm 2 in this experimental project). The re-bar stiffener is the most effective
one in improving the load carrying capacity--the yield load is 2.82 times of the specimen
The numerical analysis was carried out with MARC version K7.0 software
Experimental Study of Steel I-Beam to CFT Column Connections 299
package--a general purpose finite element analysis program for nonlinear or linear stress
analysis in the static and dynamic regimes [7]. Three kinds of element are used in the
analysis: the 8-node doubly curved thick shell element is used to model the steel tube and
beam, the 8-node isoparametric three dimensional elements is used for the concrete and
the friction and gap link element is used to model the interaction between the steel tube
and the in-filled concrete. The Von Mises yield criterion and Buyukozturk yield criterion
are adopted for steel and concrete material respectively. The Newton-Raphson iterative
procedure is used in the analysis. The yield load was obtained by inputting actual material
properties into the program.
From table 4, it can be found the numerical results agree well with the test results
for all simple connections. For rigid connections, the prediction by numerical analysis is
acceptable, except specimen UCN-7, where the prediction is not so good--11% lower
than the test result. The good agreement between the numerical and test results shows that
it is feasible to use finite element analysis to predict the load carrying capacity of this
kind of composite connection.

3.3 Initial Stiffness and Ductility

Initial stiffness and ductility of each specimen is represented in table 5. They are
all compared with specimen UCN-1. For simple connections, from the table, it can be
found that the investigated parameters affect the initial stiffness and ductility in different
ways. When the thickness of the steel tube wall was increased, both the initial stiffness
and ductility of the connection were improved. The increase in the diameter of the steel
tube caused the increase of ductility, but it decreased the initial stiffness. The selection of
higher and wider but thinner beam (having the same cross-section area with UCN-1)
improved the initial stiffness of the connection, but it almost had no effect on ductility.
For rigid connections, the use of cover plate stiffener (UCN-5) improved the initial
stiffness of the connection, but it had no effect on ductility. Shear plate stiffener (UCN-6)
increased the ductility greatly, also had some useful on improving the initial stiffness.
The use of external ring stiffener (UCN-7) improved the ductility of the connection
obviously, but the initial stiffness decreased. The reason caused the reduction in initial
stiffness may be the use of lower strength steel plate (refer to table 3) in fabricating the
300 S.P. Chiew and C.W. Dai

external ring. The connection that used re-bar as the stiffener (UCN-8) performed very
well in terms of initial stiffness and ductility. Compared with UCN-1, its initial stiffness
and ductility are 2.09 and 2.13 times respectively.

Table 5 Initial Stiffness and Ductility

Specime UCN-1 UCN-2 UCN-3 UCN-4 UCN-5 UCN-6 UCN-7 UCN-8

Stiffness 1.0 1.30 0.73 1.52 1.31 1.11 0.78 2.09
Ductility 1.0 1.31 1.38 0.95 0.99 2.23 1.63 2.13

3.4 Failure Modes

Figure 6 shows the failure modes of some specimens. For all simple connections,
the failure began with the tube tearing at the beam flange attachment point on the tension
zone and then, with the increment in load, buckling appeared on the beam flange near
joint. For rigid connections, the failure modes of specimen UCN-5 and UCN-6 were
similar to those of the simple connections, but no buckling can be observed on
compression zone. The failure of the specimen UCN-7 began with the external ring
rupture at the beam flange attachment point, with the increment in load, the crack
developed through the external ring and finally the tube tore at the web attachment
position. Buckling can also be observed on the flange near the external ring (Fig.6 (c)).
The failure of the specimen UCN-8 began with the buckling near the end of the re-bar
(Fig.6 (d)). The twisting of the beam can be observed on the later stage (Fig.6 (e)). In
order to check the inside condition of the concrete core, specimen UCN-4 and UCN-8' s
steel tube skin around the joint were cut away after test. It was found that the concrete
core behind the connection exhibited no signs of crushing or distress even though it has a
lower compressive strength (Fig.6 (f)).


The following conclusions can be obtained from the tests:

1) Simple connections have weaker stiffness, ductility and strength. In this experiment,
their yield moment had only 40%-48% of the beam cross-section plastic moment
except UCN-2. The change of the thickness of the steel tube obviously influence the
Experimental Study of Steel I-Beam to CFT Column Connections 301

Fig.6 Failure Modes

302 S.P. Chiew and C. HI. Dai
composite behavior of the connection.
2) With the same cross-section area, the selection of deeper and wider, but thinner steel
1-beam can improve the connection moment transfer capacity, but the ratio of the
yield moment to beam' s plastic moment capacity is almost the same.
3) Stiffeners have some effect on improving the connection' s stiffness, ductility and
strength. The degree of improvement on strength varies from 26% to 46% for shear
plate, cover plate and external ring.
4) Re-bar can greatly improve the composite behavior of the connection. The ultimate
strength of the connection with the re-bar stiffener is about 2.4 times of the
connection without stiffener. The main reasons are, firstly, the re-bar can improve the
boundary condition, eliminate the stress concentration point that appeared on the
column wall at the connections without stiffener; secondly, the re-bar can improve the
beam' s cross-section bending stiffness; and finally, the re-bar can move the plastic
hinge away from the column face.
5) Test results proved that the finite element models built up for the composite
connections are feasible to be used for the strength predictions.


The authors wish to Nanyang Technology University, Singapore for their

financial support in this project. The authors would also like to thank the technical staff
of the CSE Construction Lab and CSE Heavy Structures Lab for their assistance in
fabricating and testing all the specimens.


1. Shakir-Khalil. H. (1992), "Full Scale Tests on Composite Connection" ASCE

Proceedings, Composite Construction of Steel and Concrete II, pp. 539-554.
2. Kato, B., Kimura, M., Ohta, H. and Mizutani, N. (1992), "Connection of Beam
Flange to Concrete-filled Tubular Columns" ASCE Proceedings, Composite
Construction of Steel and Concrete II, pp. 528-538.
Experimental Study of Steel I-Beam to CFT Column Connections 303
3. Gang, H.G., Chung, I.Y., and Hong, S.G. (1998), "Performance of Concrete Filled
RHS Column-to-Beam Connections with Exterior Plate Diaphragm" Structural
Steel PSSC' 98 Vol.2, pp. 729-734.
4. Schneider, S.P. and Alostaz, Y.M. (1998), "Experimental Behavior of Connections
to Concrete-Filled Steel Tubes" . Journal of constructional steel research, Vol. 45,
No. 3, pp. 321-352, 1998.
5. Oh, Y.S., Shin, K.J. and Moon, T.S. (1998), "Test of Concrete-filled Box Column to
H-Beam Connections" . Structural Steel PSSC' 98 Vol.2, pp. 881-886.
6. Oh, Y.S., Shin, K.J., Lee, M.J. and Moon T.S. (1995), " A Study on the Bending
Behaviour of Connections for Empty and Concrete-Filled Box Steel Column and H-
Beam by Stiffened Triangular Plates" , Proceedings of 4th pacific Structural Steel
Conference, V.2, Singapore, pp. 57-64.
7. MARC analysis research corporation, MARC manual Vol. A, 1995.
This Page Intentionally Left Blank

M. Saidani, M. R. Omair, and J. N. Karadelis

School of the Built Environment

Coventry University, Priory Street, Coventry CV 1 5FB


This paper is concerned with investigating the behaviour of welded T-end plate connections to
rectangular hollow sections when subjected to tension. A series of static tests were conducted to
failure with varying parameters for the tube wall thickness and the cap plate thickness. The cleat
plate thickness was kept constant for all tests. Stresses, strains and deflections at different locations
in the connection were recorded and plotted against the applied load. Numerical modelling of the
connection was undertaken using the finite element suite ANSYS as discussed in the companion


Hollow sections, T-end plate connection, tests, tension, stresses, deformations, design.


The excellent properties of structural hollow sections have long been known Cran (1977), CIDECT
(1984), and Packer et al (1992). Connections made with hollow sections are often said to be
complex and expensive. In reality they can be made simple and cost-effective. This is to add to their
e,:cellent aesthetic appearance making them the ideal choice in many elegant structures.

Rectangular hollow section (RHS) members are often used as compressive members due to their
good buckling stiffness. Often such members are also required, and indeed should be designed, to
take also tensile forces. One of the simplest ways to connect tubular members is by cutting the ends
and welding together. However, depending on joint configuration and number of members
connected, this may result in complex and expensive connections. The alternative would be to
connect the members together through some other means. Figure 1 shows types of end connection
details for hollow tubes and which are used in practice. One of the most economic solutions is to
weld a cap plate to the tube (CHS or RHS) and then weld on to it a cleat plate (Figure 2). The
connection could be made entirely in the workshop, thus reducing labour work on site.

306 M. Saidani et al.

Figure 1: Type of end-connections

In the UK there is very little guidance on the design of welded T-end connections. Elsewhere,
research work was mainly carded out by Kitipornchai and Traves (1986), Stevens and Kitipornchai
(1990), and Granstrom (1979). The absence of design recommendation very often leads designers to
specify uneconomical solutions.

Figure 2: Welded T-end plate connection

Research has shown that welded T-end connections subjected to uniform tension may fail in
different ways. The failure mode is dictated by parameters such as:

9 Tube wall thickness tw;

9 Cap plate thickness te;
9 Cleat plate thickness to;
9 Weld size and quality.

The possible resulting modes of failure are as follows:

9 Tube yielding;
9 Local fracture in tube (in the region adjacent to weld);
9 Fracture of the weld;
9 Yielding of the cap plate;
9 Shear failure of the cap plate;
9 Yielding of the cleat plate.

Combination of more than one mode of failure is possible. In a truss environment (when the
connection forms part of the truss assembly), there is also the possibility of the bolts failing.
Behaviour of T-End Plate Connections to R H S Part I 307
The problem being investigated in this research programme is to answer the fundamental question:
how does the cap plate thickness influence the mode(s) of failure of the connection? In order to
answer this question, an experimental programme was conducted on a series of specimens with
varying parameters. In the companion paper, Karadelis et al (1999), a finite element model is
developed, analysed and results are compared with the test results.


The experimental programme followed a similar procedure adopted by Stevens and Kitipornchai
(1990) so that useful comparison could be made. The testing work included 8 specimens with
varying tube wall and cap plate thickness. Each specimen was loaded in tension, taking all
precautions to avoid any accidental eccentricity. Strains and deformations were also measured. The
test arrangement for the strain gauges and LVDT's is shown in Figure 3. The programme of tests is
summarised in Table 1. In order to keep the investigation manageable, only one cleat plate
thickness was used and kept equal to 15mm for all specimens.

The test programme was devised to concentrate on the yielding of the tube wall and the deformation
of the cap plate as these were found to be the main causes of failure. Strain gauges were located on
the tube wall (four faces), the cap plate, and the cleat plate with the aim of closely monitoring strain
(and stress) variations across the specimen. The LVDT's will give readings of the deformations and
an indication of any in-plane and/or out-of-plane movements.


Test Cap plate thickness Cleat plate thickness Tube size Steel grade Comments
No. (mm) (mm)
1 10 15 60x60x4.0 $275 test No.1 was
2 10 15 60x60x4.0 $275 repeated due
3 15 15 60x60x4.0 $275 to premature
4 20 15 60x60x4.0 $275 failure of the
5 30 15 60x60x4.0 $275 weld
6 10 15 80x80x4.0 $275
7 15 15 80x80x4.0 $275
8 20 15 80x80x4.0 $275

It is important that the strain gauges are kept far enough from welds in order to avoid any influence
from the residual stresses on readings. The total length of the tube is 500mm again for the same
raison. Strain gauges were placed on opposite sides so that in-plane and out-plane bending moments
could be monitored and calculated. The general arrangement for the testing is shown in Figure 4. In
total 12 stain gauges and 5 LVDT devises were used to monitor the joint behaviour and obtain the
necessary information. In some locations (at some distance from the welds) rosette gauges were
used with the aim of obtaining strains at different angles at a point. This was decided after the first
two tests when it became evident that strains (stresses) were not uniaxial, but were in fact
developing at an angle to the longitudinal axis of the tube.

British Steel was used for all the tests. Samples were cut out from each specimen and were tested in
accordance with British Standards for testing in order to check the material properties (Young's
modulus, yield strength, and ultimate tensile strength). Accurate material properties are important to
308 M. Saidani et al.
obtain since these are needed for accurate numerical modelling of the specimens as described in the
companion paper, Karadelis et al (1999).

Finally, although two tube sizes were tested, the tube thickness was kept constant at 4mm, again
with the aim of keeping the investigation manageable.

Figure 3: Specimen dimensions (all in mm)

Figure 4: Joint testing arrangement


The DENISON machine with a capacity of 500kN was used for the testing of the joints. A tensile
load is applied in increments of 10kN up to failure. The strains and deformations are recorded for
Behaviour of T-End Plate Connections to R H S Part I 309
each load increment into a computer logged to the testing machine. Using a simple spreadsheet
program, stresses are calculated and various graphs are plotted.

Table 2 summarises the results from the specimen testing. For test No. 1, the failure was due to weld
fracture. On close examination of the specimen it was discovered that weld penetration was not
adequate. As a result, it was decided that welding should be done very carefully making sure it is
evenly spread with sufficient material penetration. In the subsequent specimens, failure was mainly
due to tube yielding. Yielding was also noticeable in the cap plate.


Test Cap plate Tube size Failure mode Full tension First yield Ultimate Pu/Py
No. thickness capacity Pc Py (kN) load Pu
(kN) [theo] [exp] (kN) [exp]
10 60x60x4.0 Weld fracture 409.6 190 260 1.37
10 60x60x4.0 Tube yielding 409.6 230 313 1.36
15 60x60x4.0 Tube yielding 409.6 280 350 1.25
20 60x60x4.0 Tube yielding 409.6 280 385 1.38
30 60x60x4.0 Tube yielding 409.6 240 350 1.46
10 80x80x4.0 Local fracture 559.2 230 329 1.43
in tube
15 80x80x4.0 Tube yielding 559.2 320 450 1.40
20 80x80x4.0 Tube yielding 559.2 370 490 1.32

In all the tests, the determination of the first yield point was proven very difficult to do accurately.
The values shown in Table 2 were obtained by considering the load-axial deflection curve and
taking the point where departure from the initial elastic path became measurable. The load-stress
curves were also used to help with the determination of the first yield point. Figures 5 and 6 show
typical load-deformation and load-stress curves for specimen No.2.

Using the strain gauge readings, in-plane and out-of-plane bending moments were calculated in
order to check their relative significance. Again, typically, results for specimen No.2 are shown in
Figures 7 and 8 respectively. For each specimen, the following graphs were plotted:
i. Strain vs. stress
ii. Load vs. deformation
iii. Load vs. in-plane bending moment
iv. Load vs. out-of-plane bending moment
v. Load vs. axial force in the tube

Only samples of these graphs are shown for specimen 2.

As can be seen from Table 1, at the exception of specimen No.5, both the ultimate loads and
observed first yield loads increase with the cap plate thickness. Similarly, with increased tube size,