Static Analysis of Frame by Localized Representation of Tubular Joint

W. Pan, S.B. Leen, T.H. Hyde
School of Mechanical, Materials, Manufacturing Engineering and Management,
University of Nottingham, UK









ABSTRACT

In this paper, an experimentally-validated three-dimensional brick
element model of a non-overlapped, tubular YT joint is employed to
determine a local joint stiffness behaviour. The latter behaviour is then
represented as an equivalent joint element with four nodes, two on the
chord and one on each brace. Comparisons are made between the
predicted framework behaviour using three different modelling
approaches. The first employs beam elements away from the joints
along with the new 4-noded joint elements. The second approach uses
3D brick elements throughout and the third employs beam elements
throughout with rigid connections at the joint. The first and second
approaches are shown to give very similar results, with the third (beam
element) model predicting significantly lower deformation generally. A
range of modelling issues important for accurate framework simulation
of local joint behaviour via the local joint stiffness matrix approach are
addressed, including the effects of mesh refinement and the necessary
chord and brace lengths for the local joint model.

KEY WORDS: Joint element, tubular frame, beam element, brick
element.

INTRODUCTION

Tubular structures are widely used as offshore oil and gas steel jacket
platforms and also as large-scale stadium and building roof supports.
The static strength is vital for the design of the structure. It is not
generally possible to simulate the collapse behaviour of complete
tubular structures using three dimensional brick or shell elements.
Normally, therefore, simplified beam element models are used to
analyse such tubular structures including the joints. The two most
common methods are: (1) assume a rigid connection between the chord
and the braces; (2) consider the joint flexibility. The behaviour of the
joint may have a significant influence on the failure of the frame due to
the complex geometry and stress concentration around the joints. The
second method, which addresses the effect of joint flexibility, is clearly
better than the first since it models the joint deformation. After the
conception of joint flexibility was presented from the 1980’s, there
have been numerous publications on the calculation of joint flexibility
and its effect on framework behaviour. Fessler et al. (1986) and Hu et
al. (1993) developed parametric equations for the flexibility matrices
for different types of joints, both uniplanar and multiplanar, based on
experimental results. A semi-analytical method was presented by Chen
et al. (1990) to obtain the joint flexibility matrices. Romeijn et al.
(1991) used three different models to consider the effect of joint
behaviour on uniplanar and multiplanar frames. Both beam and shell
elements were employed in their finite element simulations. Martin et
al. (1991) analysed a rectangular hollow section truss. Hu et al. (1993)
established the joint stiffness matrix based on the definition of joint
flexibility, equilibrium equations and compatibility. A modified
formulation, based on the definition of joint flexilibilty and elastic
superposition, and for a range of platform types, was presented by the
Underwater Engineering Group (1984).
In general, although the effects of including the local joint flexibility
(LJF) were not found to lead to dramatic changes in structural
behaviour, some global results variables were significantly affected.
For example, Bouwkamp et al. (1980) reported chord moments five
times higher on inclusion of the LJF; the Underwater Engineering
Group (1984) reported 10% lower predicted brace buckling loads;
Souissi (1989) reported predicted up to 30% difference in axial forces
and bending moments due to the inclusion of LJF and Chen et al.
(1990) reported that predicted displacements were up to 10% higher.
Numerical analysis shows that the joint behaviour also affects the
dynamic behaviour of the framework, e.g. mode shapes and natural
frequencies.

A review of previous investigations has shown that most cases dealt
with d/L and D/L ratios greater than about 8, where d and D are the
brace and chord diameters and L is the chord or brace length between
joints. It is likely that this comparatively high structural slenderness
will reduce the effect of joint flexibility on the framework results. If the
d/L and D/L ratios are smaller than 8, as in the framework analyses
here, accurate incorporation of the joint behaviour is more critical.
More importantly, the effect of non-linear, elastic-plastic local joint
behaviour could reasonably be expected to have even greater impact on
global displacement and force distributions, especially in terms of
framework collapse analyses. In this context, Ueda et al. (1990)
presented an elastic-fully plastic joint model. On the other hand, Choo
et al. (2001) considered the nonlinear joint behaviour by using a
phenomenological spring instead of the joint. The joint behaviour was
19
Proceedings of The Twelfth (2002) International Offshore and Polar Engineering Conference
Kitakyushu, Japan, May 26–31, 2002
Copyright © 2002 by The International Society of Offshore and Polar Engineers
ISBN 1-880653-58-3 (Set); ISSN 1098-6189 (Set)
prescribed by a piecewise linear spring element and the nonlinear
ultimate strength software, USFOS, was used to predict the nonlinear
behaviour and the ultimate strength. Their simulation results were good
for the frameworks considered. The use of beam elements with plastic
hinges, spring elements or shell elements in analyses may not reflect
the complex tubular joint geometry and behaviour.

Hyde and Leen (1997) extended Castigliano’s theorem, which is not
limited to linear elasticity, to a typical YT tubular joint. By establishing
the relationship between non-linear brace end displacements and the
normality to the non-linear complementary work level curve, a
prediction procedure was developed for the joint deformation and
failure load; this gave results quite close to that of finite element
simulation and experiment. This prediction procedure was based on
three-dimensional brick element models. However, it is not entirely
clear how this can be implemented in framework analyses and the
present work is concerned with the initial step towards this objective.

An experimentally-validated, three-dimensional brick element model of
a non-overlapped, tubular YT joint (Leen, 1999) is employed to
determine a local joint stiffness behaviour. The latter behaviour is then
represented as an equivalent joint element with four nodes, two on the
chord and one on each brace, each node having three degrees of
freedom for plane frameworks, namely horizontal and vertical
displacements and in-plane rotation. The generalised unit displacement
method is employed to determine the joint stiffness matrix. The
significance of the present work is (a) that the plane framework chosen
gives rise to a deformation behaviour with significantly more joint
deformation contribution than previous work, due to the low
slenderness ratios of the tubular members and (b) the comparison
against a detailed brick element model of the framework.

Comparisons are made between the predicted framework behaviour
from three different modelling approaches. The first employs beam
elements away from the joints along with the new 4-noded joint
elements. The second approach uses 3D brick elements throughout and
the third employs beam elements throughout with rigid connections at
the joint.

FINITE ELEMENT MODELLING

Framework Geometry And Loading

The framework employed here to investigate the local joint modelling
approaches is based on that described by Hyde and Fessler (1994) and
is shown in Figure 1. The objective of the latter study was to
investigate the use of a model material, tin-lead alloy (50% Sn, 47% Pb
and 3% Sb), to predict the failure loads of both individual joints and
model frameworks using standard laboratory testing machines. As
shown in Figure 1, the framework is a plane N type structure consisting
of two ‘bays’. The framework was fabricated by welding together six
YT-joint castings and using two other joint castings for additional
framework components. The dimensions of the YT-joint models are
shown in Figure 2. The chord diameter D was chosen so as to have a
length of plain chord of approximately 2D between the joint and each
support. The plain lengths of the braces are greater than 3d where d is
the brace diameter. The dimensionless parameters defining the joint
geometry (as shown in Figure 2) are typical of offshore joints. These
are: d/D = 0.49, d/2T = 18.3, g/D = 0.18, t/T = 1 and e/D = 0.227. The
structure is modelled as built-in at one end (End B) and the other end is
subjected to a transverse force, which is applied via a steel loading
plate. Two configurations are considered here for the loading plate, in
order to test the local joint element behaviour under contrasting
boundary conditions. The first configuration is referred to as Case I
and, as shown in Figure 1a, corresponds to the chord and brace ends at
End A being attached to the loading plate. By contrast, the second
configuration, which is referred to as Case II, corresponds to the
loading plate only being attached to the upper chord at End A. In both
cases, the load P is applied as a distributed pressure along the edge of
the loading plate. The tin-lead alloy material has a Young’s modulus of
33GPa and a Poisson’s ratio of 0.4.

Figure 1 Geometry of framework, showing (a) Case I and (b) Case II
loading plate configurations and also points R, S and T for framework
displacement presentation(unit: mm).

















Figure 2. Dimensions (mm) and dimensionless parameters of YT-joint
model.


Joint Element

The main purpose of the present work is to develop a linear elastic joint
element modelling approach, as a first step towards an elastic-plastic
joint element. This section describes the development of the linear
elastic joint element for the framework discussed above. Figure 3a





(b)
R
S
T



(a)
R
S
T
1170
378
End B End A
498
P
β = d/D = 0.49
γ = D/2T = 18.3
τ = t/T = 1
ξ = g/D = 0.18
e/D = 0.227
θ = 45
o
20
X
Y
Z
Model : WKJ NTC
Anal ysi s: FS2
3- J AN- 2002 10: 07 FEMGV 6. 1- 02 : Not t i nghamUni ver si t y
shows a simplified schematic of the YT-joint element, including the
node numbering scheme and associated degrees of freedom. The
element consists of four nodes, labeled i, j, k and l, with k and l as the
chord end nodes and i and j as the T- and Y-brace ends, respectively, as
shown in Figure 3a. Each node has three degrees of freedom, namely,
global X- and Y-direction translations and in-plane rotation (see Figure
3a).

Figure 3a. Schematic of YT-joint element, showing nodal connectivity
and nodal degress of freedom.



















Figure 3b. Schematic showing typical end section brick element node
and associated nodal forces for calculation of equivalent beam element
nodal forces and moment.

Figures 4a and b shows two levels of mesh refinement for the joint
models which are used to study the effect of mesh refinement below.
The high mesh refinement model is identical to that employed by Leen
(1999) to study and predict the non-linear, elastic-plastic joint
behaviour, which has also been validated against experiments (Leen,
1999). Clearly, each joint element node is intended to simulate the
average behaviour of the brick element cross section of the associated
chord or brace. In order to determine the coefficients of the joint
element stiffness matrix, the generalized unit displacement method was
applied to the chord and brace end faces of the joint models of Figure 4.
These end faces were constrained to translate and rotate as rigid
sections and the equivalent beam-node rotational and translational
reactions at each joint element degree of freedom were obtained by
integration over the complete brace and chord end face sections. Figure
3b shows the resultant forces on the end faces of joint chord or brace,
where point C is the geometrical center of the end face, and point i is a
typical node on the chord/brace end face. The formulation of the
resultant forces and moments are as follows.

=
=
nds
i
xi x
F F
1
(1)

=
=
nds
i
yi y
F F
1
(2)

=
− + − − =
nds
i
c i yi c i xi
x x F y y F M
1
) ( ) ( (3)

where nds is the total node numbers on the section and F
xi
, F
yi
are the
reaction forces at each node. The joint stiffness coefficients are then
obtained as the resultant nodal forces and moments from Eqs. 1 to 3 for
the complete range of unit displacement cases.


























Figure 4. (a) High and (b) medium mesh refinement brick element
models of Type C YT-joint for local stiffness matrix determination.

Framework Models

In order to assess the accuracy of the joint modelling approaches
studied, three different framework models were developed. The first is
a hybrid model consisting of beam elements away from the joints with
the local joint behaviour incorporated via the joint element stiffness
matrices. The second framework model is a 3D brick element model
and the third is a beam element model. The results from the hybrid
model are assessed via comparison with the results from the other two
framework models. The objective is to determine the optimum
techniques for modelling the joint, in particular with respect to brace
and chord lengths and mesh refinement. Clearly the hybrid model has
significantly fewer degrees of freedom than the brick element model. In
the hybrid and beam element framework models, the loading plate is
modeled using beam elements. The brick element framework and joint
models employ symmetry to reduce the model to half-size. In all cases,
the brick elements employed are the 20-noded, reduced integration
variants while the beam elements employed are the two-dimensional, 3-
noded, Timoshenko type (HKS Inc., 2001).

Node i Node j
Node l Node k
Joint
element
Chord
T-brace
Y-brace
CV CV
CV
CV
CV = conventional beam element
CV
CV
Node i Node j
Node l Node k
Joint
element
Joint
element
Chord
T-brace
Y-brace
CV CV
CV
CV
CV = conventional beam element
CV
CV
Joint
element
F
ix
M
i
F
iy
F
kx
M
k
F
ky
F
lx
M
l
F
ly
F
jx
M
j
F
jy
Joint
element
Joint
element
F
ix
M
i
F
iy
F
ix
M
i
F
iy
F
kx
M
k
F
ky
F
lx
M
l
F
ly
F
lx
M
l
F
ly
F
jx
M
j
F
jy
F
jx
M
j
F
jy

X
Z
Y
c
Fxi
Fyi
Fzi
Typical brick
element node i
Geometric center of
end section
(a)
X
Y
Z
Model : WKJ TB3
Anal ysi s: FS2
3- J AN- 2002 10: 09 FEMGV 6. 1- 02 : Not t i nghamUni ver si t y
(b)
21
ANALYSIS AND RESULTS

Effect Of Brace And Chord Lengths For Joint Model

It is not clear what chord and braces lengths should be included in the
FE model of the joint for determination of the joint stiffness matrix.
Clearly, this may have a significant effect on the resulting hybrid model
framework response and therefore it was necessary to investigate this
issue. In addition due to the low slenderness of the present framework
members, these joint element dimensions are particularly critical for
accurate joint modelling. In relation to the chord length, a chord length
of 4.5D was found to give satisfactory results (see below) whereas a
chord length of 2.5D gave unsatisfactory results. In relation to brace
length, three different joint models were developed, each with different
brace lengths, as shown in Figure 5. These are referred to as Type A,
Type B and Type C, respectively, in order of increasing brace lengths.
Type A has Y and T brace length of 1.2d and 0.6d, respectively, Type
B has Y and T brace lengths of 1.9d and 1.25d, respectively and Type
C has Y and T brace lengths of 2.7d and 1.9d, respectively.



Figure 5. (a) Type A, (b) Type B and (c) Type C alternatives for
joint element model with different brace lengths incorporated.

These three different brace-length joint models have been employed,
via analyses using the high mesh refinement joint (as shown in Figure
4a for the Type C joint, for example), to obtain the local joint stiffness
matrices for each case. Table 1 shows the calculated Y- and T-brace
diagonal elements of the joint stiffness matrix for the Type A, Type B
and Type C joint models. For each of these three stiffness matrices, the
hybrid framework model has then been employed to assess the effect of
different brace-lengths on the hybrid model response. Table 2 shows a
comparison between the hybrid model brace and chord-end
displacements for points R, S and T of End A (see Fig. 1a) for these
three cases and the corresponding brick element and beam element
framework results for Case I.

Effect Of Mesh Refinement

Another important parameter in FE modelling is the element size and
again, as for the brace and chord lengths above, it was not clear what
degree of mesh refinement was necessary for satisfactory elastic
framework results, using the hybrid model. Thus, it was decided to
determine the local joint stiffness matrices for the two joint mesh
refinements of Figure 4, using the Type C joint model, since this gave
the most accurate hybrid model framework results. These joint stiffness
matrices were then implemented in the hybrid framework model to give
hybrid model results corresponding to the high and medium joint mesh
refinment. In addition, corresponding high and medium mesh
refinement variants of the brick element framework models, i.e. using
identical mesh refinements at the joints to those of the individual joint
models, were developed and analysed. Tables 3, 4 and 5, as discussed
in the next section, summarise the comparison of these results. Note
that since only half of the geometrical model is simulated for the joint
element, the individual stiffness coefficients need to be doubled when
the stiffness matrix is implemented within the hybrid framework
model.

DISCUSSION

The results of Table 1 show that longer brace lengths in the joint model
and thus in the framework joint elements give smaller values of
stiffness coefficients in the stiffness matrix, while Table 2 clearly
shows that the hybrid framework model which uses the Type C joint
element, i.e. with the longest brace lengths, gives the best correlation to
the brick element framework results.

Table 1. Diagonal elements of joint stiffness matrices for Type A, Type
B and Type C joint models with high mesh refinement (units: N/mm).

Joint brace-
length model
K
jj,xx
K
jj,yy
K
ii,xx
K
ii,yy

Type A 3.08×10
4
1.29×10
4
3.04×10
4
1.22×10
4

Type B 1.96×10
4
1.12×10
4
1.33×10
4
1.11×10
4

Type C 1.46×10
4
1.01×10
4
0.65×10
4
1.03×10
4


Table 2. Comparison of displacement results of chord and brace ends at
End A of framework model for hybrid model based on Type A, Type B
and Type C joint models with 3D brick element framework model and
2D beam element framework model for Case I (units: mm).

Displace
ment
variable
Hybrid
model
(Type A
joint)
Hybrid
model
(Type B
joint)
Hybrid
model
(Type C
joint)
Brick
element
frame-
work
Beam
element
frame-
work
u
R
-0.04271 -0.06126 -0.06172 -0.06229
-
0.06373
v
R
-0.4338 -0.4234 -0.4271 -0.4338 -0.3639
u
S
-0.00202 0.00136 0.00133 -0.00067
-
0.00149
v
S
-0.4338 -0.4233 -0.4270 -0.4339 -0.3638
u
T
0.02562 0.04509 0.04537 0.04655 0.04329
v
T
-0.4338 -0.4233 -0.4270 -0.4334 -0.3638
(a)
(b)
(c)
22
X
Y
Z
Model : WKFM05
L1: STATI C, DI RECT
St ep: 1 TI ME: 0
Nodal DI SPLACE ALL
Max = . 443
Mi n = 0
Fact or = 100
14- MAR- 2002 19: 16 wk FEMGV 6. 1- 02 : Not t i nghamUni ver si t y
Displacement Magnification factor=100
X
Y
Z
Model : BEAMAL
L1: STATI C, DI RECT
St ep: 1 TI ME: 0
Nodal DI SPLACE ALL
Max = . 369
Mi n = 0
Fact or = 100
14- MAR- 2002 19: 23 be FEMGV 6. 1- 02 : Not t i nghamUni ver si t y
Displacement Magnification factor=100
Displacement Magnification factor=100
X
Y
Z
Model : WKBMPM
L1: STATI C, DI RECT
St ep: 1 TI ME: 0
Nodal DI SPLACE ALL
Max = . 432
Mi n = 0
Fact or = 100
14- MAR- 2002 19: 24 wk FEMGV 6. 1- 02 : Not t i nghamUni ver si t y
Joint
Element
Joint
Element
Joint
Element
Joint
Element
Joint
Element
Joint
Element

The latter can be assumed to be definitive, for present purposes, with
respect to framework joint behaviour since three-dimensional brick
elements can model the complete structural behaviour of the joint.
Therefore, the subsequent analyses of this paper employ the Type C
joint model stiffness matrices.

Figures 6, 7 and 8 show the Case I framework deformed and
undeformed shapes for the three framework modelling approaches
employed.












Figure 6. Deformed and undeformed mesh of hybrid framework model
for Case I with Type C, coarse mesh joint stiffness matrix.

















Figure 7. Deformed and undeformed mesh of brick element framework
model for Case I, using coarse mesh refinement for joints.














Figure 8. Deformed and undeformed mesh of beam element framework
model for Case I.

Note that the hybrid model joint stiffnesses have been obtained from a
Type C, medium mesh refinement joint model. Similarly, the brick
element framework model employs the medium mesh refinement of
Figure 4b at the joints. Table 3 shows a comparison of some of the
diagonal coefficients of the high and medium mesh refinement joint
stiffness matrices. It can be seen that the values agree to within 1.7%.
Table 4 shows a comparison of the End A, brick element framework
high and medium mesh refinement displacements, both horizontal (u)
and vertical (v). The relative error of the dominant displacement along
the y direction at End A is about 0.6%, while the relative error of the x-
direction displacement at the top and bottom chords (points R and T) is
only 0.2%. The x-direction displacement of the middle Y-brace (point
S) on End A is again very small. This clearly demonstrates the
negligible effect of the difference in mesh refinement between the
medium and high refinement brick element framework models, which
contrasts significantly with the observed effect of mesh refinement on
the non-linear, elastic-plastic failure loads and displacements (Saad,
1997 and Leen, 1999). Finally, Table 5 shows excellent agreement
between the Type C hybrid framework model, using the medium mesh
for the joint stiffness matrix, and the medium mesh, brick element
framework model. In summary, it is clear that the medium mesh joint
model of Figure 4b is entirely satisfactory for joint element stiffness
determination and thus for accurate linear elastic framework results,
provided a Type C brace-length configuration is employed.

Table 3. Comparison of high and medium mesh refinement diagonal
elements of joint stiffness matrix for Type C joint model (units: N/mm).

Mesh
refinement
K
jj,xx
K
jj,yy
K
ii,xx
K
ii,yy

High 14629 10098 6545 10316
Medium 14772 10272 6581 10471

Table 4. Comparison of high and medium mesh refinement displacement
results for brick element framework model for Case I (units: mm).

Displacement
variable
Medium mesh
refinement
High mesh
refinement
u
R
-0.06219 -0.06229
v
R
-0.4314 -0.4338
u
S
-0.00069 -0.00067
v
S
-0.4315 -0.4339
u
T
0.04654 0.04655
v
T
-0.4310 -0.4334


Table 5. Comparison of hybrid (with Type C joint) framework model
and brick element framework model for medium mesh refinement
(units: mm).

Displacement
variable
Hybrid model Brick element
model
u
R
-0.06127 -0.06219
v
R
-0.4209 -0.4314
u
S
0.0013 -0.00069
v
S
-0.4208 -0.4315
u
T
0.04500 0.04654
v
T
-0.4208 -0.4310

23
X
Y
Z
Model : WKFM06
L1: STATI C, DI RECT
St ep: 1 TI ME: 0
Nodal DI SPLACE ALL
Max = . 854
Mi n = 0
Fact or = 100
14- MAR- 2002 19: 18 wk FEMGV 6. 1- 02 : Not t i nghamUni ver si t y
Displacement Magnification factor=100
X
Y
Z
Model : BEAMA2
L1: STATI C, DI RECT
St ep: 1 TI ME: 0
Nodal DI SPLACE ALL
Max = . 625
Mi n = 0
Fact or = 100
14- MAR- 2002 19: 22 be FEMGV 6. 1- 02 : Not t i nghamUni ver si t y
Displacement Magnification factor=100
X
Y
Z
Model : WKJ TBM
L1: STATI C, DI RECT
St ep: 1 TI ME: 0
Nodal DI SPLACE ALL
Max = . 788
Mi n = 0
Fact or = 100
14- MAR- 2002 19: 25 wk FEMGV 6. 1- 02 : Not t i nghamUni ver si t y
Joint
Element
Joint
Element
Joint
Element
Joint
Element
Joint
Element
Joint
Element
The Case II analyses are based on the use of Type C joint elements and
the medium mesh for the joints. Figures 9, 10 and 11 show the
predicted deformed and undeformed shapes of the Case II framework
for the three different modelling approaches.














Figure 9. Deformed and undeformed mesh of hybrid framework model
for Case II with Type C, coarse mesh joint stiffness matrix.
















Figure 10. Deformed and undeformed mesh of brick element
framework model for Case II, using coarse mesh refinement for joints.

















Figure 11. Deformed and undeformed mesh of beam element
framework model for Case II.

Figure 10 shows that the top left YT joint is heavily deformed. It is
clear that the deformation behaviour around this joint area cannot be
modelled using beam theory, so that this case is a suitable test of the
advantages of the hybrid framework model over the beam element
framework model. Table 6 shows the comparison of the u and v
displacements at point R for the three different framework modelling
approaches. Again, as shown in Tables 2 and 5 for the Case I results,
Table 6 shows excellent agreement between the hybrid framework
model results and the brick element framework results, with the beam
element model showing a significantly stiffer response. In particular,
comparison of the differences between the End A beam element v-
displacement, which is the dominant framework displacement, and the
corresponding hybrid and brick element model values for Cases I and
II, show that, as expected due to the severe local joint deformation of
Case II, the beam element model gives an increased error of about 22%
for Case II, as compared to a 16% error for Case I. Note that the latter
differences between the hybrid framework model and the beam element
framework model displacements are more substantial than the 10%
obtained previously by other investigators, thereby emphasising the
importance of including local joint flexibility effects for the present
framework.

Table 6. Comparison of the results of the three models for case II (with
medium refinement mesh for joint and frame with Type C joints, units:
mm).

Displacement
variable
Hybrid model
(Type C joint)
Brick element
model
Beam
element
model
u
R
-0.1665 -0.1663 -0.1503
v
R
-0.7697 -0.7779 -0.6072

Depending on available computational resources (i.e. disk space) and
framework complexity, brick element modelling, even for linear elastic
response prediction, may not be possible. However, even if brick
element modelling of the complete framework is possible, the major
advantage of the hybrid model approach is significantly shorter central
processing unit (CPU) times. In the present study, the beam element
and hybrid element framework models both required less than one
second CPU time whereas the brick element framework model required
about 50 seconds CPU time. For non-linear analyses, the advantages of
a hybrid element model in terms of CPU time, would be even greater.
Current work is focused on the extension to elastic-plastic, non-linear
joint behaviour.

CONCLUSIONS

A local joint stiffness approach has been investigated using a
commercial FE program to simplify the linear elastic behaviour
prediction of a framework with non-slender members. The joint
stiffness matrices have been determined from isolated joint analyses for
different brace lengths, chord lengths and degrees of mesh refinement.
These local joint stiffness matrices have been combined with
conventional beam elements to give a hybrid framework model the
results of which have been compared to a brick element model of the
framework and a beam element model of the framework. For linear
elastic behaviour, it was shown that the degree of mesh refinement
around the chord brace intersection region is not critical and a medium
level of refinement is satisfactory for accurate results. However, it was
also shown that both brace and chord lengths of the isolated joint model
are more important for accurate framework results. The incorrect
choice of these dimensions can give less accurate results, by up to 30%,
for some important displacement variables. More considered choice of
these dimensions for the hybrid model gave extremely accurate hybrid
model framework results when compared to the brick element
framework results; specifically, the results for significant displacement
variables agreed to within about 1% for the two load cases considered.
The beam element framework models, by contrast, were found to
underpredict the deformations by up to 22%, depending on the
Displacement Magnification factor=100
24
framework load case, due to the local deformation of the joint regions.
In summary, guidance is given on the accurate determination and
modelling of local joint behaviour for simplification of linear elastic
framework response prediction and the methods employed have been
successfully validated against three-dimensional brick element models
of the framework.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: The authors would like to thank the
Engineering and Physical Science Research Council for funding this
research.

REFERENCES

Bouwkamp et al., “The effects of joint flexibility on the response of
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