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Journal of Constructional Steel Research 62 (2006) 12441249 www.elsevier.

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Behaviour of semi-rigid steel beam-to-beam joints under bending and axial forces
Ke stutis Urbonas , Alfonsas Dani unas
Department of Steel and Timber Structures, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, Sauletekio aleja 11, LT-10223, Vilnius-40, Lithuania Received 27 March 2006; accepted 28 April 2006

Abstract This paper presents an analysis of semi-rigid beam-to-beam end-plate bolted joints that are subjected to bending and tension or a compression axial force. Usually the inuence of axial force on joint rotational stiffness is neglected. According to EC3, the axial load, which is less than 10% of plastic resistance of the connected member under axial force, may be disregarded in the calculation of characteristics of a joint. Actually, the level of axial forces in joints of structures can be signicant and has a signicant inuence on characteristics of semi-rigid joints. One of the most popular practical methods permitting the determination of rotational stiffness and moment resistance of a joint is the so-called component method. The extension of the component method for evaluating the inuence of bending moment and axial force on the rotational stiffness and moment resistance of a joint are presented in the paper. The numerical results of calculations of characteristics of joints and calculations of steel framework are presented in this paper as well. c 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Steel structures; Semi-rigid joints; Knee joints; Bending moment; Axial force; Component method; Initial rotational stiffness; Moment resistance; Momentrotation curve; Calculations of steel framework

1. Introduction One of the possibilities to improve the accuracy of steel structures analysis can be an evaluation of the actual behaviour of joints. For such purposes the semi-rigid joint conception was introduced. The most relevant inuence on characteristics of the joint is produced by bending moments. In this case, the behaviour of a semi-rigid joint is described by the momentrotation M curve of the joint. This conception is adopted by most researchers [19] and EC3 [10]. Joints are also inuenced by axial and shear forces. These forces are not usually evaluated in calculating the rotational stiffness and moment resistance of the joints. There are many different types of joints in which axial forces may be signicant and the inuence of joint rotational stiffness and moment resistance. The inuence of an axial force on characteristics of the joint has not been analysed widely and it is not yet completely investigated [1113]. All researchers
Corresponding author. Tel.: +370 52745230; fax: +370 52370569.

who had investigated this topic made the same conclusion, i.e. the axial force inuences the behaviour of the joint and this inuence must be taken into account. Various methods may be used for the establishment of momentrotation M curves of semi-rigid joints: empirical, analytical, mechanical, numerical and experimental tests [3]. The most common method applied in practice is the socalled mechanical component method. It estimates mechanical properties of the material and geometrical properties of the joint and allows one to calculate the rotational stiffness and moment resistance of the joint [3,10,14]. The component method is basically developed only for evaluation of the bending moments inuence. The advantage of this method is that it can be extended for solving more complex problems, such as for calculations of joint characteristics taking into account the total action of bending moments and axial forces. 2. Description of the object The structural joints of steel are acted on by bending moments and axial and shear forces. The inuence of these forces to the joints behaviour depends mostly on the type

E-mail address: kestutisur@centras.lt (K. Urbonas). 0143-974X/$ - see front matter c 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.jcsr.2006.04.024

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Nomenclature E Modulus of elasticity Fc Compression force in components Fc,i , Rd Resistance of the weakest component i in compression Fc,max Maximal compression force in components Fc,max,i , Rd Resistance of the weakest compressed component i Ft Tension force in components Ft ,max Maximal tension force in components Ft ,max,i , Rd Effective tension resistance of bolt row r in tension part of the joint, where acts maximal tension force Ft ,max Minimal tension force in components Ft ,min,i , Rd Resistance of the weakest component i in tension part of the joint, where acts minimal tension force Ft ,r, Rd Effective tension resistance of bolt row r M Bending moment M j , Rd Moment resistance N Axial force S j ,ini Initial stiffness of the joint V Shear force hr Distance from bolt row r to the centre of compression keq Equivalent stiffness coefcient zc Distance between the centre of the connection and the centre of compression z eq Equivalent lever arm zt Distance between the centre of the connection and the centre of tension zt Distance between centre of connection and bolt row in the lower part of connection Rotation of joint t ,eq Equivalent tension deformation t ,max,eq Equivalent tension deformation of components under maximal tension force t ,min,i Tension deformation of components under minimal tension force

moment and axial force. This evaluation is based on the component methods application to steel joints. The evaluation of the joints behaviour in the component method consists of three main steps: identication of the component, evaluation of the mechanical properties of the components and assembling active components to one mechanical model [13]. According to the component method, characteristics of the joint must be determined by the basic components of the joint. The component method allows one to characterise all components of the joint independent from the type of loading applied to the joint. Each component is represented by an elastic stiffness coefcient, which belongs only to mechanical and geometrical data of the joint. A key aspect of the component method relates to the characterisation of the force-deformation relationship for each component of the joint [15]. 3. Modelling of semi-rigid end-plate joints by component method under bending and axial forces For joints that are subjected to bending moments and axial force partition into components, calculation of components rigidity and resistance are the same as in making calculations of the joints characteristics taking into account only the bending moment. A difference prevails only in forces that fall on components of the joint. These forces determine the variation of rotational stiffness and moment resistance of the joint. Axial force increases or decreases the force in components from the bending moment. The mechanical model of the joint depends on values and directions of acting forces (Fig. 2) [16]. In the case of compression of both sides of the joint there were no components under tension. In the case of tension on both sides of the joint, all components are under tension. Components are under compression or under tension when one part of the joint is in tension and the other part is in compression. Tension and compression force in components i , when one part of the joint is under tension and the other under compression force (Fig. 2(c)) can be expressed by the formula: M N cos z c + ; z eq z eq M N cos z t Fc = . z eq z eq Ft =

(1)

of joint. From the practical point of view, the investigation of total bending moment and axial force inuence on joint characteristics is important for end-plate beam-to-beam knee, beam-to-column knee and column-to-column joints (Fig. 1). For these types of joints axial forces may be signicant and may strongly inuence joint rotational stiffness and moment resistance. Notice that column-to-column and beam-to-beam joint behaviour under bending moment and axial force is very similar. Usually the title of joint depends on its position in the whole structure. The aim of the investigation is to compound the procedure, which evaluates the behaviour of these joints under the bending

For all formulas in this section positive axial force N is the tension axial force. Equivalent deformation of components under tension can be found by the formula: t ,eq =
M z eq

N cos z c z eq

E keq

M + N cos z c . E keq z eq

(2)

The rotation of the joint depends on the deformation of all tensed components i : = t ,eq . z eq (3)

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Fig. 1. Semi-rigid end-plate joints under bending and axial forces: (a) beam-to-column knee joint; (b) column-to-column joint; (c) beam-to-beam joint.

Fig. 2. Loading schemes and mechanical models of joint: (a) beam-to-beam knee joint; (b) beam-to-beam joint; (c) upper part of joint in tension and lower part in compression; (d) both sides of joint in compression; (e) both sides of joint in tension.

The initial stiffness of the joint is expressed by the ratio between bending moment and rotation of the joint: S j ,ini = M z eq M = . t ,eq (4)

Deformation of components under maximal and minimal tension forces can be found by the following expressions:
N cos z t (z t +z t ) N cos z t (z t +z t )

t ,max,eq = t ,min,i =

M (z t +z t )

E keq
M (z t +z t )

; (7)

Maximal compression force in components, when both sides of the joint are under compression forces (Fig. 2(d)), can be expressed by: Fc,max = M N cos . 2z c 2 (5)

E kt ,i

The initial stiffness of the joint for this case of loading can be expressed by: S j ,ini = M (z t + z t ) M = . t ,max,eq t ,min,i (8)

In this case, tension deformations are equal to zero. This means that there are no components in tension and the joint in such type of loading behaves as ideally rigid. Maximal and minimal tension forces in components i , when both sides of the joint are under tension forces (Fig. 2(e)) can be expressed by: Ft ,max = Ft ,min N cos z t M + ; (z t + z t ) (z t + z t ) M N cos z t . = (z t + z t ) (z t + z t )

(6)

The above procedure for stiffness calculation is only applicable in the case, when the behaviour of the structure is elastic; consequently the momentrotation M curve is up to such a bending moment where physical non-linearity does not occur. The moment resistance of the joint loaded by bending and axial forces can be expressed as a function of axial force and resistance of the components. When one part of the joint is under tension and the other is under compression force

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Fig. 3. Beam-to-beam joint.

(Fig. 2(c)), the moment resistance can be expressed by formula: M j , Rd = min ( Ft ,r, Rd h r ) N cos z c . Fc,i , Rd z eq + N cos z t (9)

When both sides of the joint are under compression forces (Fig. 2(d)), the moment resistance can be expressed by the formula: M j , Rd = z c 2 Fc,max,i , Rd + N cos . (10)

When both sides of the joint are in tension (Fig. 2(e)), the moment resistance can be expressed by the formula:
M j , Rd = min ( Ft ,max,r, Rd (h r z c + z t )) N cos z t . N cos z t Ft ,min,i , Rd (z t + z t )

(11) Only the axial force N has been considered in this section. In the case of signicant shear force V in knee joints the component of shear force has to be estimated. Then in a calculation by the above-presented formulas the value of ( N cos ) should be changed into ( N cos V sin ). Where + or depend on the direction of shear force. 4. Calculations of joints This section presents numerical experiments, performed by a nite element method and calculation results according to the procedure presented in Section 3. Tests of a beam-to-beam (Fig. 3) joint were performed by applying the nite element method. Modelling of bolted joints is a rather complex problem because it involves geometrical and material non-linearity, and the contact problem between components of the connection as well as a selection of suitable type of nite elements for modelling of joint components. The numerical tests were carried out by the nite element code Cosmos/M [17]. A three-dimensional nite element model was generated to represent the joints behaviour. End plates of joints were modelled by TETRA4 4-node threedimensional tetrahedral solid elements. Beam and column webs and anges, bolts, screws and washers were modelled by applying SOLID 8-node isoparametric three-dimensional solid elements. Preloading of bolts was not evaluated. The contact and separation problem between the end plates of the

beam and the column is estimated in numerical tests. The modelling of contact problem is achieved through the use of node-to-surface GAP elements. The weld strength between I sections with end plates is assumed to be not less than a parent metal and has no effect on the joints characteristics. It allows one to simplify the modelling and assumes direct agglutination of the beams to end plates. The material of all joint components is assumed as being elastic-perfectly-plastic. The plasticity model is based on the von Mises yielding criteria. To reduce the computational effort, only half or quarter of each joint was modelled, taking advantage of the symmetry of the modelled joint. The symmetry was ensured by restraining of displacements. Testing of nite element mesh density for accuracy of the results was performed for the analysed joint. Most inuential to the accuracy of results was the nite element mesh density of end plates [18]. The bending moments and axial forces are added to outside cross-sections of the beams. The bending moment is replaced by a uniformly distributed load on the beam anges and the axial force is replaced by a uniformly distributed load on web and anges. Axial forces of xed magnitude are applied in a compression or tension direction. When the joint is loaded only by the bending moment, one part of the joint is in tension and the other in compression. The same character of behaviour appears in cases when the joint is under the bending moment and tension or compression axial force is of negligible magnitude. When the axial force increases, both parts of the joint may be in compression or tension. Deformed shapes of beam-to-beam joint when both sides are in tension and beam-to-beam joint is loaded only by bending moment are shown in Fig. 4. According to calculation results achieved by the extended component method and results of numerical tests, the momentrotation M N curves of analysed beam-to-beam joint were received at a different level of axial force (Fig. 5). N in Fig. 5 means axial force, index c compression, and index t tension. Percentages indicate the level of axial force compared to axial load-bearing capacity of a joint. Curves marked with the sign FEM are obtained by applying the nite element method. Results of beam-to-beam rotational stiffness calculations according to the presented procedure and the results obtained according to the nite element method, are very similar and

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Fig. 4. Deformed shapes and distribution of Von Mises stresses: (a) both parts of beam-to-beam joint are in tension; (b) upper part of joint in tension and lower part in compression.

Fig. 5. Momentrotation M N curves for different level of axial force.

Fig. 6. Roong structure.

their numerical values are very close (Fig. 5). Major differences appear under the effect of compression force and relatively small values of bending moment. The obtained momentrotation M N curves show that the rotational stiffness depends on the values and directions of acting forces. The smaller the axial force, the less inuence is made on the rotational stiffness of the joint. Tension axial forces decrease the rotational stiffness of the joint, but compression axial forces increase it. 5. Practical use of semi-rigid joints in calculation and design of steel frameworks The suggested procedure for calculation of steel frameworks with semi-rigid joints can be used as a part of a design iterative process of steel frames. The calculation of steel frames can be performed with commonly used software in design, which allows one to evaluate rotational stiffness of joints. When the inuence of the axial force is taken into account, the joints characteristics and magnitude of acting forces are interdependent. In this case, the joints characteristics and frame forces and displacements have to be calculated by an iterative

approach till changes of the joints characteristics and forces in structure between two iterations are very small. When the inuence of the axial forces is disregarded, then no iteration is needed for determination of the characteristics of the joints and behaviour results of steel frame. An investigation of a roong structure is presented in Fig. 6. Beams were loaded by a uniformly distributed vertical load and simply supported. Beams were connected by the bolted endplate knee joint, A. Four cases of end plates of a thickness with 12, 16, 20 and 26 mm were analysed. The calculations were performed when the characteristics of the joint A are calculated by taking into account the inuence of the axial force or disregarding it. This example shows the case when acting tension axial force in beams decreases the rigidity of the joint A and changes the behavioural results of the whole roong structure. Some obtained results (Table 1) of the analysed roong structures behaviour have shown a signicant inuence of the axial force to the internal forces of the structure. Also, internal forces and displacements of the structure are signicantly inuenced by the thickness of the end-plates of the joint A.

K. Urbonas, A. Dani unas / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 62 (2006) 12441249 Table 1 Bending moment M , axial force N and vertical displacement u v of joint A and point B for different thickness of end-plates in joint A Thickness of the end-plate (mm) 26 A B The inuence of the axial force is estimated M (kN m) N (kN) u v (mm) 117.9 483.7 6.97 111.8 513.0 12.07 109.7 478.7 6.90 115.9 508.0 12.44 97.0 471.0 6.80 122.3 500.4 12.99 70.1 454.8 6.58 20 A 16 A 12 A

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135.7 484.1 14.17

The inuence of the axial force is disregarded M (kN m) N (kN) u v (mm) 127.9 490.0 7.05 106.8 519.0 11.64 122.8 486.6 7.01 109.3 516.0 11.86 115.0 482.0 6.94 113.3 511.2 12.21 97.4 471.3 6.80 122.1 500.6 12.98

From the presented results it is clearly seen that the estimation of axial force inuence on a joints characteristics has signicant inuence on the distribution of axial and moment forces and displacements of the steel framework. 6. Conclusion In this article the authors have suggested that the extension of the component method for estimation of the total inuence of axial force and bending moment allows one to obtain more accurate characteristics of the joint. The performed investigations have shown that the axial force inuences the rotational stiffness and moment resistance of the joints. Tension axial force decreases the rotational stiffness of the joints and compression axial force increases it. Calculations of a steel framework have shown that calculation results, when total inuence of bending moment and axial force on characteristics of the joints had been estimated, differ from calculation results of steel frameworks, when only the inuence of bending moments had been taken into account. Therefore, joints in which signicant axial forces occur have to be designed by estimating the total inuence of bending moment and axial force. References
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