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Partial Release:
How to model in S-FRAME and a case study
By
Dr. Siriwut Sasibut
(Application Engineer)
S-FRAME Software Inc. S-FRAME Software Inc. S-FRAME Software (UK) Ltd.
#275 13500 Maycrest Way #282, 800 Village Walk 4
th
Floor, Rex House
Richmond, BC V6V 2N8 Guilford, CT 06437 10 Regent Street, London
CANADA USA UK, SW1Y 4RG
Phone: 1-604-273-7737 Phone: 1-203-421-4800 Phone: +44 (0) 20 3287 7825
Fax: 1-604-273-7731
Please visit us at www.s-frame.com to request more information about this publication.
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Table of Contents
1 Introduction .......................................................................................................................................... 3
1.1 Using Partial release feature. ........................................................................................................ 3
1.2 Using Elastic/Plastic Link Beam feature. ....................................................................................... 3
2 How to go about calculating a percent release .................................................................................... 4
3 A Case Study (2-bay 11-storey steel frame) .......................................................................................... 5
3.1 Basic model details ....................................................................................................................... 5
3.2 Comparison of results ................................................................................................................... 8
4 Summary ............................................................................................................................................... 9
5 References ............................................................................................................................................ 9
Copyright by S-FRAME Software Inc. Version: 1.0 December 6th, 2013
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Partial Release: How to model in S-FRAME and a case study
1 Introduction
S-FRAME Release 11 supports two types of member end releases, namely, full release and
Partial release. As opposed to the full release where a members end is idealized as perfectly
pinned, a Partial release can be used to model, for instance, a semi-rigid connection. This will
allow a partial transfer of moment between the column and the beam with some degree of
a connections rotational stiffness to be modeled.
There are two ways to model semi-rigid connections in S-FRAME:
1.1 Using Partial release feature.
The degree of release is specified as a percent, where 100% means full release or
pinned connection, 0% means no release or rigid connection, and anything between
0% and 100% is a Partial release. The rotational stiffness of a connection, which
characterizes the connections moment-rotation () relationship, is then
calculated by S-FRAME based on the flexural stiffness of the connected member and
the percent release. This approach is particularly useful if an exact value of a
connections stiffness may not be established at this design stage or if the engineer
wants to study the effects on the structural responses of varying connections stiffness
which is defined in relative terms of its rigidity/flexibility. However, given a
connections stiffness is known, the exact percent release can also be determined.
This will be discussed in more detail in Section 2.
1.2 Using Elastic/Plastic Link Beam feature.
This more general approach requires that the connections moment-rotation
relationship be defined using either a Multi-linear elastic or Multi-linear plastic
material model. More information on this feature can be found in a document,
Application Brief: Elastic/Plastic Link Beam, also available on S-FRAMEs Online
Resources.
This documents main objective is to illustrate S-FRAME Analysis R11s Partial release result
accuracy by comparing to results published in a reputable reference as well as 3
rd
party
software.
Copyright by S-FRAME Software Inc. Version: 1.0 December 6th, 2013
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2 How to go about calculating a percent release
The percent release or its counterpart, namely, end-fixity factor (

) is defined as follows [1]:

=
1
1+3/

; ( = 1,2) (1)
where,

is the connections rotational stiffness at the members respective end and EI/L is
the flexural stiffness of the attached member. A percent release is then determined by, %
release = 100* (1 -

).
From equation (1), it is implied that the relationship of a connection is defined by a
linear model, i.e., = , which is the simplest way of modeling a connection. This is the
approach that most steel design codes have adopted and is being used in S-FRAMEs Partial
release feature.
From experiments, a relationship of most types of connections is nonlinear. Figure 1
shows a schematic of typical curves for various types of connections commonly used
in practice. A number of mathematical models for connections with varying complexity,
which are based on experimental testing of connections, had been proposed by various
researchers. These models can be used to establish the rotational stiffness of connections
under design consideration. Interested readers may refer to references [1]-[3] for a list of
published documents and related topics on modelling of connections.
Figure 1. Typical curves for various types of connections (Courtesy of ref. [1])
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3 A Case Study (2-bay 11-storey steel frame)
A number of models of 2-bay 11-storey steel frame, shown in Figure 2 with varying degrees
of Partial release at the beam-column connections, are analyzed in S-FRAME using the first
and second-order elastic analyses. The analysis results for each case are then compared with
those from reference [1], i.e., Handbook of Structural Engineering, second edition, and a 3
rd

party software.
3.1 Basic model details
The geometry of the frame, the sections of structural members, and the applied loads
are as shown in Figure 2. All of the beam-column connections of the frame are assumed
to be identical and of semi-rigid type. The semi-rigid connections are then modelled
using S-FRAMEs Partial release feature. An S-FRAME model with the semi-rigid
connections being modeled as a 10% Partial release is shown in Figure 3.
Note that to compare the results with the 3
rd
party software, where the rotational
stiffness of a connection is required to be entered by the user, equation (2) is used to
determine the corresponding connections stiffness from a specified percent release.
For instance, to model a 10 % Partial release connection of a W530 x 123 beam, a
stiffness of 471,261.5 kN-m/rad has to be entered.

=
3

(1

)
; ( = 1,2)
(2)
where,

= 1 (
%
100
)
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Figure 2. 2-Bay 11-Storey Steel Frame (Courtesy of ref. [1])
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Figure 3. S-FRAME 2-Bay 11-Storey Steel Frame Model
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3.2 Comparison of results
The lateral deflections obtained at the roof level for the first and second-order analyses
are compared between the reference [1], the 3
rd
party software and S-FRAME in Figure
4. Using the references results as base values, Figure 5 illustrates these differences in
percent. This clearly indicates a very high accuracy of analysis results of S-FRAMEs
Partial release feature considering the maximum difference in results for all the cases
is only about 0.75%.
Figure 4. Comparison of Roof Deflections
0
200
400
600
800
1000
1200
1400
1600
1800
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80
R
o
o
f

L
a
t
e
r
a
l

D
e
f
l
e
c
t
i
o
n

(
m
m
)
% Partial Release
Comparison of Roof Deflections
Ref.- 1st Order
3rd Party Software- 1st Order
S-FRAME- 1st Order
Ref.- 2nd Order
3rd Party Software- 2nd Order
S-FRAME- 2nd Order
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Figure 5. Deflection Difference in percent
4 Summary

The Partial release feature in S-FRAME allows the design engineers to model semi-rigid
connections with an evidently high confidence on the accuracy of results. As recommended
by the references, more appropriate and economical designs could be achieved when this
type of connection is considered in the design. A tutorial video on this feature can be found
from our web site at www.S-FRAME.com.

5 References

1. Handbook of Structural Engineering, Second Edition edited by W.F. Chen and E.M. Lui,
New York, 2005.
2. W.F. Chen and E.M. Lui (1991), Stability Design of Steel Frames
3. Faella et al. (2000), Structural Steel Semirigid Connections: Theory, Design and Software.
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80
D
e
f
l
e
c
t
i
o
n

D
i
f
f
e
r
n
c
e

(
%
)
% Partial Release
Deflection Difference (%) vs Reference
3rd Party Software- 1st Order
S-FRAME- 1st Order
3rd Party Software- 2nd Order
S-FRAME- 2nd Order
Copyright by S-FRAME Software Inc. Version: 1.0 December 6th, 2013