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1. 350108
2. 100084

TU398

Bond behaviour in concrete-filled stainless steel hollow


sections
TAO Zhong1, Han Linhai2

20

25

(1. College of Civil Engineering, Fuzhou University, Fuzhou 350108;


2. Department of Civil Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084)
Abstract: This paper studies the bond strength between the stainless steel tube and concrete in
concrete-filled stainless steel tubes (CFSST). Push-out tests were conducted to compare the bond
strength in CFSST columns with that of reference specimens with carbon steel tubes. The test
results indicate that the internal surface of a stainless steel tube is usually smoother than that of a
carbon steel tube. For this reason, when stainless steel was used to replace carbon steel, significant
decrease in bond strength was observed. From the current test results, it is recommended that
suitable measures need to be taken to increase the bond strength if the column size is very large
and/or the concrete has a high shrinkage potential.
Key words: Structural Engineering; Concrete-filled steel tubes; Stainless steel; Bond strength;
Push-out

30

0 Introduction

35

40

45

The concept of concrete-filled stainless steel tubular (CFSST) construction was put forward
only a few years ago [1-3]. It can utilise the beneficial material properties of both stainless steel
and concrete. Thus, the durability and aesthetic appearance of the composite construction can be
greatly improved, whilst the increased initial cost of using stainless steel can be offset by the
relatively low cost of concrete and the reduced maintenance cost in the life-cycle of the structure.
For the above reason, the CFSST construction has received increasing interest from the
research community and construction industry recently. Previous studies were mainly focused on
CFSST columns, which were briefly reviewed by Tao et al. [4]. More recently, Feng and Young
[5] carried out both experimental and analytical studies on concrete-filled stainless steel tubular Xand T-joints. As far as the application of CFSST construction is concerned, filling concrete in
stainless steel hollow sections has been seen in several recent projects, including the Hearst Tower
in New York, USA (completed in 2006) and the Stonecutters Bridge in Hong Kong (completed in
2009). Another recent application of CFSST columns was seen in more than twenty bus shelters
built in Shenyang, China (Fig. 1). The utilisation of stainless steel in this project was designed to
significantly reduce the maintenance of the bus shelters. Another proposed project is the
(200803860005)
(1973)-FRP
. E-mail: taozhong@fzu.edu.cn

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Dorobanti Tower designed by Zaha Hadid Architects [6]. This 200 m tall high-rise building was
designed to establish an iconic presence in the heart of Bucharest, Romania. One of distinctive
features of this proposed building is that concrete-filled stainless steel profiles follow in sinusoidal
waves from the ground level to the top of the tower. Owing to the global financial crisis in 2008,
this building has not been built till now. But it reveals a fact that CFSST construction has the
potential to be accepted by more and more architects and engineers.

55

60

CFSST columns

65
Fig. 1

70

75

80

85

A bus shelter supported by CFSST columns in Shenyang, China

In the past few decades, numerous studies have been conducted to investigate the bond
strength between the steel tube and concrete in concrete-filled carbon steel tubes [7-8]. Compared
with the inner surfaces of carbon steel tubes, those of stainless steel tubes are generally smoother
since they are free of rust. Therefore, the bond strength in stainless steel tubes may be smaller than
that in carbon steel tubes. Since CFSST columns are still relatively new, no research has been
conducted to quantitatively study the influence of stainless steel on bond strength.
For concrete-filled steel tubular (CFST) columns, it is desirable if the dissimilar materials can
work together and develop the so-called composite action. Past studies have indicated that a
continuity of strains between steel and concrete can be assured if the concrete core and steel tube
at the column ends are loaded simultaneously [9]. In this case, the actual bond between the steel
tube and concrete has little or no significant influence on the performance of CFST columns.
However, bond stress demand is excessively high where longitudinal shearing stresses are likely
to be predominant. According to a study conducted by Roeder et al. [7], there are strong demands
in regions of geometric discontinuity such as connections and foundation supports, especially in
braced frames. In these regions, external forces are transferred mainly to the steel tube or the
concrete core only. To ensure that CFSST columns can be designed safely and economically, there
is a clear research need to study the bond behaviour between the stainless steel tube and concrete.
A test program is introduced in this paper to investigate the bond strength in CFSST columns.
Push-out tests were conducted to study the influence of the utilisation of stainless steel. The bond
strength of CFSST columns is compared with that of conventional CFST columns.

1 Experimental program
1.1
90

95

100

General

A total of 13 push-out tests were conducted, including tests on 9 CFSST specimens and tests
on 4 reference composite specimens with carbon steel tubes. The main purpose of the test program
was to identify the bond behaviour difference between stainless steel and carbon steel tubes.
Meanwhile, the influence of the section type (circular and square), the concrete strength and the
concrete type (normal concrete and recycled aggregate concrete) were also checked. Table 1
provides a summary of the testing parameters for all specimens, where specimen designations
starting with a C or S refer to specimens with circular or square cross-sections.
In Table 1, two specimens (i.e., C-3 and S-3) were fabricated using recycled aggregate
concrete (RAC), which refers that the new concrete was obtained by partially replacing natural
coarse aggregate with recycled coarse aggregate. Recycled aggregates (RA) are normally derived
from construction and demolition wastes of concrete rubble. The reuse of RA can reduce the need
for virgin materials as well as the volume of material disposed of in waste sites and landfills [10].
Currently, the structural applications of RA are still very scarce though using aggregate produced
by recycling methods is now even more economical than using natural materials in some countries
[11]. Tam [12] pointed out that several reasons may account for this: (a) high cost investment in
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making RA; (b) lack of management skill; (c) lack of experience on recycled products; (d) lack of
support. In spite of this, there is increasing demand and interest in using RA in structural concrete.
Table 1
Specimen
Specimen
No.
type
label
Circular
1
C-1
2
C-2
3
C-3
4
C-4

Square

110

115

120

125

130

135

140

CC

CS400N

CC400N

8
9
10

S-1
S-2
S-3

11

SC

12

SS1-U

13

SC1-U

Test specimen details

ri
tc
fy
Nu
Su
fc
u
Remarks
(mm) (MPa) (days) (MPa) (kN) (MPa) (mm)
48.4
110
362
213 1.01 0.64

81.8
111
362
121 0.57 0.69

50.6
110
362
304 1.44 0.90
RAC

48.4
110
362
99
0.47 0.41 Finer finish

Carbon
48.4
111
339
396 1.85 1.32
1203.6604

steel
42.0
31
316
326 0.23 0.49
4007.91200

Carbon
42.0
31
372
862 0.60 1.98
4007.81200

steel
0.7
48.4
108
521
192 0.71 0.73
1204.0603
0.7
81.8
109
521
113 0.42 0.69
1204.0601
0.7
50.6
109
521
159 0.59 0.67
RAC
1204.0600
Carbon
2.5
48.4
109
355
289 1.04 0.59
1203.6603
steel
6.0
40.4
35
378
77
0.12 0.30
2005.7850
Carbon
6.0
40.4
35
439
145 0.23 0.30
2005.7850
steel
DtsLi
(mm)
1204.0602
1204.0601
1204.0603
1204.0602

In the past few years, Yang, Han and some other researchers [13-15] conducted extensive
research on the behaviour of RAC-filled steel tubes. It was found that the RAC-filled steel tubes
had slightly lower but comparable ultimate capacities compared with the specimens filled with
normal concrete, whilst the concrete shrinkage and creep strains in RAC-filled steel tubes were
about 6% to 23% higher than those of the corresponding normal CFST specimens. In this paper,
the specimens C-3 and S-3 presented in Table 1 were designed to investigate the effect of RAC on
the bond behaviour.
As specified in EN 10088-4 [16], commercially available stainless steel can be supplied with
many different standard mill finishes and mechanically treated surfaces. For cold-formed stainless
steel tubes, the usual surface finish is the mill finish of 2B, which is the most widely used surface
finish and forms the basis for most polished and brushed finishes. Therefore, all stainless steel
specimens presented in Table 1 had a surface finish of 2B except the specimen C-4. The unique
specimen C-4 was cold-rolled from a stainless steel sheet which had been mechanically polished
to a finish of 2K (finer than 2B). Therefore, specimen C-4 was included to demonstrate the
influence of surface finish on the bond behaviour.
To compare the internal surface roughness of stainless steel with that of carbon steel, a
surface roughness tester was used to measure the arithmetic mean surface roughness (Ra) [17]. The
surface roughness tester used was SJ-201-NATA type made by Mitutoyo in Japan. Four
specimens were selected for measurements of the surface roughness, including CS400N, CC400N,
SS1-U and SC1-U.

1.2

Material properties

Austenitic stainless steel equivalent to Grade 304 specified in AS/NZS 4673:2001 [18] and
carbon steel of Grade Q235 [19] were used to fabricate the specimens. A series of coupon tests
were conducted to measure the material properties of the carbon and stainless steels, where the
tensile coupons for square tubes were extracted from their flat surfaces. The measured mechanical
properties are given in Table 2, where ts is the thickness of a steel tube, Es is the Youngs modulus,
and fy is the yield strength.
Four mixes of normal concrete and one mix of recycled aggregate concrete (RAC-I) were
used in the test program. The mix proportions and measured properties are presented in Table 3,
where fc is the cylinder compressive strength of concrete at the time of bond tests. The concrete
age (tc) at testing for each specimen is shown in Table 1.

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Table 2

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Steel type

Section

Stainless
Stainless
Stainless
Stainless
Carbon
Carbon
Carbon
Carbon

Circular
Circular
Square
Square
Circular
Circular
Square
Square

Material properties of stainless steel and carbon steel


Ultimate
Thickness ts Youngs modulus Es Yield strength fy
strength
2
2
(mm)
(N/mm )
(N/mm )
(N/mm2)
4.0
202,000
362.1
721.7
7.9
186,100
316.0
655.9
4.0
197,900
520.7
778.7
5.7
205,400
378.1
648.2
3.6
181,500
338.7
447.3
7.8
209,160
372.0
514.6
3.6
202,300
355.3
460.3
5.7
179,100
439.2
539.5

Elongation
percentage
(%)
49.7
54.0
45.3
62.5
20.7
40.7
18.6
28.8

For the mix RAC-I in Table 3, recycled aggregate (RA) was used as a 50% replacement of
natural coarse aggregate. Owing to the lack of local commercially produced RA, the RA used in
the current test program was made in the laboratory from discarded concrete specimens with an
original cube strength of 65 MPa. Details of the physical properties of both recycled and natural
aggregates used for the mix are given in Table 4. It should be noted that the same natural coarse
aggregate was also used for the concrete mixtures of NC-I and NC-II made in the laboratory,
whilst NC-III and NC-IV were commercial concrete and delivered directly to the laboratory. With
the existence of residual cement mortar attached to aggregate particles, the RA had marginally
lower density and much higher aggregate crushing values when compared with the natural
aggregate. Meanwhile, the RA had a comparatively high water absorption value at 3.24%.

155
Table 3

Mixture and material properties of concrete

Type

Water
(kg/m3)

Cement
(kg/m3)

Fly ash
(kg/m3)

Sand
(kg/m3)

Aggregate
(kg/m3)

NC-I
RAC-I
NC-II
NC-III
NC-IV

170
170
150
160
156

320
320
500
319
316

200
200
150
97
100

990
990
800
714
804

720
720
800
974
903

Water reducer
fc
3
(kg/m )
(MPa)
24
48.4
24
50.6
28.8
81.8
1.0
42.0
1.4
40.4

Table 4

Type

Properties of natural and recycled aggregates


Grading
Bulk density Water absorption Crushing value
Specific gravity
(mm)
(kg/m3)
(%)
(%)

Used in concrete
batch

Natural

520

2.61

1405

0.56

5.42

NC-I, NC-II

Recycled

525

2.41

1114

3.24

16.2

RAC-I

160

Interestingly, the produced recycled aggregate concrete RAC-I had a slightly higher strength
than that of its counterpart NC-I as indicated in Table 3. This is mainly owing to the fact that the
RA was produced from laboratory-crushed concrete which had a comparatively high original
strength, and did not have other construction wastes such as brick and ceramic tile in it. Similar
test results were reported by Yang et al. [14].

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1.3

170

Cold-formed steel tubes were used in the construction of all specimens. The overall
cross-sectional dimensions (D) of the steel tubes and the internal corner radii of square sections (ri)
are given in Table 1. The tubes were cut in a workshop and then delivered to the laboratory. Upon
the receipt of the tubes, it was found that the internal surfaces of all carbon steel tubes were
covered with a layer of rust except the specimen SC1-U. To follow the usual engineering practice,
no specific measures were taken to treat the inner surfaces of the tubes.
To allow the travel of the concrete during the push-out testing, the overall length of a tube
was designed to be 30 mm longer than the length of the steel-concrete interface (Li). Wooden
plugs were used to support the wet concrete during casting, which were removed prior to the bond

Specimen preparation

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testing. Following concrete pouring, the tops of the specimens were covered with thick plastic
sheets to minimise possible moisture loss.

1.4

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Test setup and instrumentation

The test setup used to conduct the push-out tests was shown in Fig. 2, where a specimen was
set up in a vertical position with the air gap at the bottom [8]. A similar test setup was widely used
by many other researchers [7]. A steel block was put on the top of the concrete core to push the
concrete downward when testing. All specimens were tested under a loading rate of about 0.3
mm/min. To obtain strain readings used for the analysis of the load transfer between the steel tube
and concrete, strain gauges spaced at 125 mm intervals were installed along the length of the steel
tube. Meanwhile, a total of 7 linear variable displacement transducers (LVDT) were used to
measure the slip at both the loaded (top) and free (bottom) ends. More details of the test setup and
instrumentation can be found in [8].
Loaded end

190

LVDT

Specimen

195

Strain gauge

200
Fig. 2

Push-out test setup

2 Test results and discussion


205

210

215

220

225

230

2.1

Test results

Measurements were made to determine the internal surface roughness of two stainless steel
tubes and two carbon steel tubes. These measurements were made at a variety of locations over the
full internal surface of the specimens. The values of the average surface roughness (Ra) were 5.79
m and 2.60 m for the two stainless steel specimens CS400N and SS1-U, respectively, whilst
those for the carbon counterparts CC400N and SC1-U were 9.88 m and 4.77 m, respectively.
As can be seen, Ra of the stainless steel was only about a half of that of its corresponding carbon
steel. Meanwhile, it was found that Ra of stainless steel can vary significantly among different
products. The value of Ra for CS400N was even higher than that of the carbon steel specimen
SC1-U. Another finding from the measurements is that, compared with carbon steel, the deviation
of the measurements for a stainless steel tube is much less since stainless steel is rust-free.
Prior to the bond tests, no visible gap was found between the steel tube and concrete for those
smaller specimens. However, for the specimens with a large diameter of 400 mm, a gap around
almost the entire perimeter was observed, as shown in Fig. 3. This indicates that the shrinkage of
concrete had much more significant influence on bigger specimens.
During the bond tests, no visible change in appearance was observed for the steel tubes since
they remained in elastic stage. The bond behaviour between a steel tube and concrete in this paper
is evaluated by the average bond stress (), which is the push load divided by the area of the
contact interface. Meanwhile, a slip (S) refers to the one measured at the loaded end unless
otherwise specified.
-S curves of all specimens are shown in Fig. 4. The measured ultimate bond strength u
along with corresponding push-out loads Nu and slips (Su) are presented in Table 1. In this paper,
u is the average bond stress calculated from the first peak load (Nu). Since no duplicate specimens
were prepared, the measured u of carbon steel CFST specimens are statistically compared in Fig.
5 with a total of 253 test results (including 182 circular specimens and 71 rectangular specimens)
reported elsewhere [7-8, 20-36]. It should be pointed out that most test results shown in Fig. 5(b)
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are for square specimens, whilst 17 test results are for rectangular specimens. For a rectangular
specimen, D given in Fig. 5(b) is the overall depth of its cross-section.

235
Concrete
Gap

240
Steel tube

Gap formed between the steel tube and concrete during curing

245

C-1
C-3
CC

250

Bond stress (MPa)

2
1.6

RAC

C-2
C-4
Carbon steel

1.2
0.8
0.4

Finer finish

High-strength concrete

2
Bond stress (MPa)

Fig. 3

1.6
1.2

RAC

0.4
High-strength concrete

12

18

24

30

12

CS400N

1.6

CC400N

Bond stress (MPa)

Bond stress (MPa)

1.2
Carbon steel

0.4

SS1-U

1.6

SC1-U

0.8
Carbon steel

0.4
0

12

18

24

30

12

18

24

Slip S (mm)

Slip S (mm)
(c)

(d)
Fig. 4

280

30

1.2

275

24

(b)

260

0.8

18

Slip S (mm)

(a)

270

SC

Carbon steel

Slip S (mm)

265

S-2

S-3

0.8

255

S-1

Measured -S curves

In Fig. 5, the trend lines as well as corresponding equations are shown for the test results
reported in the literature. From the comparison shown in Fig. 5, it can be seen that u of the current
carbon steel specimens are comparable to those of specimens with close overall cross-sectional
dimension reported in the literature. Relatively higher bond strength, however, was obtained for
the square specimen SC. The most likely explanation is that the internal surface of the steel tube
for this specimen was covered with heavy rust at the time when the concrete was poured.
Meanwhile, numerous small rust pits were spotted on the internal surfaces for this steel tube, as
shown in Fig. 6 (c). Therefore, the initial surface condition of this tube can be classified into
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30

Grade D according to the Australian Standard AS 1627.0 [37], which is the highest rust grade.
Further inspections indicated that the initial surface condition for the steel tubes used in circular
specimens CC and CC400N was Grade C (heavy rust with little visible pitting, as shown in Fig. 6
(a)), whilst that for SC1-U was Grade B (the steel surface began to rust, but did not have any
pitting).

290

295

Bond strengthu (MPa)

3.5

[20]
[22]
[23]
[25]
[27]
[8]

3
2.5
CC

[21]
[7]
[24]
[26]
[28]

2
1.5
CC400N

3.5

Bond strengthu (MPa)

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Trend line
u=2.417(D/100)1.625

0.5
0

300

[22]
[30]
[32]
[34]
[35]
[36]

3
2.5
2
1.5

[29]
[31]
[33]
[28]
[8]

SC
SC1-U

Trend line

u=0.547(D/100)0.691

0.5
0

120

240

360

480

600

720

Overall dimention D (mm)

120

240

360

480

600

720

Overall dimention D (mm)

(a) Circular tubes


(b) Rectangular tubes
Fig. 5 Bond strength in concrete-filled carbon steel tubes as a function of D

305

Steel

Concrete

Steel

Concrete

310

315

(a) Circular carbon steel specimen (CC)


Steel

(b) Circular stainless steel specimen (C-4)

Concrete

Steel

Concrete

Small rust pits

320
Mortar remainder

325

330

335

(c) Square carbon steel specimen (SC)


(d) Square stainless steel specimen (S-1)
Fig. 6 Surface conditions after the push-out tests

Although many factors can affect the bond in CFST columns, it looks like that the internal
surface condition is one of the major factors. The worse the initial surface condition of the carbon
steel tube, the higher the surface roughness. This is proved by the surface roughness
measurements reported earlier since the value of Ra for specimen CC400N was two times that of
SC1-U. The coefficient of friction () between the steel tube and concrete is also greatly affected
by the surface condition of the steel tube. Measurements were done by Xu [38] to check for steel
plates with different surface conditions. The values of were 0.618, 0.514, and 0.303 for Grade D,
Grade C and Grade B steel plates, respectively. For steel plates covered completely with adherent
mill scale and little rust (Grade A), the measured was only 0.282. From the results, it can be
postulated that the variation in the internal surface roughness contributes significantly to the
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variation in u, as shown in Fig. 5.


Bond stress versus free-end slip curves of two typical specimens are compared with the -S
curves obtained at the loaded end in Fig. 7. Clearly, obvious difference only existed before the
ultimate bond strength was attained where the rigid body slip of the concrete core relative to the
steel tube had not occurred. In the initial loading stage, there was very small slip at the free end.
After reaching a critical point as shown in Fig. 7, the slip at the free end increased significantly,
indicating the decay of the chemical adhesion between the steel and concrete. Compared with the
carbon steel specimens, the stainless steel specimens generally had much smaller bond stresses (cr)
at the critical points.

Bond stress (MPa)

350

1.6

Critical points

1.2
0.8

C-1 (Free end)


C-1 (Loaded end)
CC (Free end)
CC (Loaded end)

0.4
0

355

Slip S (mm)
Fig. 7

360

365

Based on the axial strains measured along the length of a specimen and the assumption that
the steel tube remained in elastic stage during the whole loading process, the bond stress
distribution along the length of the column can be derived [7]. The bond stress distributions of two
typical stainless steel specimens comprised of normal concrete are demonstrated in Fig. 8. For the
circular column C-1, higher bond stresses were observed near the top owing to the effective
transfer of bond stress along the whole perimeter of the circular tube. The bond stresses in the
square specimen S-1 distributed more evenly along its length. This observation is virtually the
same as that reported earlier by Tao et al. [8] for carbon steel CFST columns. More explanations
can be found in Tao et al. [8].

2.2
370

375

380

385

Comparison of slip at loaded end and free end

Effects of steel type and cross-section type

Compared with corresponding carbon steel specimens, the decrease in bond strength for
stainless steel specimens ranges from 34% to 62%. This is owing to the fact that stainless steel
tubes are generally much smoother than carbon steel tubes since the former is free of rust.
Although there are no test data available in the literature to measure the coefficient of friction ()
between stainless steel and concrete, it can be inferred that for the stainless steel was smaller
than that of corresponding carbon steel from the measurements of surface roughness. This is
further supported by the test result of the specimen C-4 which had a finer internal finish that that
of other specimens. As shown in Fig. 6(b), there was no remainder of mortar found on the internal
surface of the stainless steel tube after the push-out testing for this specimen. Meanwhile, the bond
stress distribution of this specimen is also different from that shown in Fig. 8(a). For the specimen
C-4, the bond stress increased with increasing distance from the top to the bottom indicating the
requirement of the whole length to transfer the push-out force. Compared with u of the specimen
C-1, u of the specimen C-4 decreased by 53.5%. Based on the comparison, polishing should be
avoided for the internal surface of a stainless steel tube used in engineering practice. A rough
internal surface helps in building bond strength between the steel tube and concrete.
According to the -S curves shown in Fig. 4, the carbon steel specimens had rapid declining
portion after reaching the peak strength. However, this is not the case for all the stainless steel
specimens (except C-3), which had a slowly declining portion, followed by a second ascending
branch. This is owing to the fact that the coefficient of friction between stainless steel and
concrete is smaller than that between carbon steel and concrete. According to Tao et al. [8], u is
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400

405

410

Distance away from the free end (mm)

395

mainly contributed by the friction between the steel tube and concrete, whilst the residual bond
strength is mainly contributed by the macro-interlocking, which may not be affected by the steel
type.
Distance away from the free end (mm)

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600
450

N=0.2Nu
N=0.4Nu
N=0.6Nu
N=0.8Nu
N=Nu

300
150
0
-0.5

0.5
1
1.5
2 2.5
Bond stress (MPa)

600
450

N=0.2Nu
N=0.4Nu
N=0.6Nu
N=0.8Nu
N=Nu

300
150
0
-0.5

0.5
1
1.5
2 2.5
Bond stress (MPa)

(a) Circular stainless steel specimen (C-1)


(b) Square stainless steel specimen (S-1)
Fig. 8 Bond stress distributions at different load levels

Fig. 9 shows the influence of cross-sectional size (D) on u for CFSST specimens. u
decreased significantly with increasing D. This is consistent with the observations made on carbon
steel specimens. Roeder et al. [7] explained this by concrete shrinkage. The larger the tube size,
the bigger the gap forms between the steel tube and concrete due to the shrinkage of concrete. This
is further confirmed by the observation reported earlier.

Bond strengthu (MPa)

415

420

Circular
Square

1.6
1.2
0.8
0.4
0
0

90

180

270

360

450

Overall dimention D (mm)

425

430

Fig. 9. Influence of cross-sectional dimension

For a square stainless steel specimen, it is found that its u is generally smaller than that of its
circular stainless steel counterpart. This phenomenon is also consistent with that shown in Fig. 5
for conventional carbon steel CFST columns. This can be explained by the fact that evenly
distributed friction can be provided by a circular tube and the friction provided by a square tube is
mainly concentrated near the vicinity of the corners [8].

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435

Effect of concrete type

For the circular specimen C-3 comprised of RAC, its ultimate bond strength u increased by
42.6% compared with that of the reference specimen C-1. However, u of the square specimen S-3
fabricated from RAC was 16.9% lower than that of its counterpart S-1a. A literature review
indicates that the bond strength between RAC and smooth rebars can be affected by many factors,
such as the RAC replacement percentage, the grade of RA, the water-to-cement ratio, and the
existence of additional mineral component [39-40]. The obtained bond strength between RAC and
smooth rebars could be higher or lower than that when normal concrete was used. However, when
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the compressive strengths of the RAC and normal concrete are the same, there is a trend that the
bond strength between RAC and smooth bars is higher than that developed by normal concrete.
This may be attributed to the increase in friction between RAC and steel rebars. This may also be
used to explain the increase of bond strength in the circular specimen C-3 since the compressive
strength fcu of the concrete RAC-I was slightly higher than that of NC-I. As far as the square
specimen S-3 is concerned, the friction increase had less influence on its bond strength compared
with the circular specimen C-3. Furthermore, the shrinkage of RAC is generally higher than that of
normal concrete [14]. This detrimental influence may outweigh the influence of the increase in
friction for the square tube filled with RAC.

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Effect of concrete strength

Fig. 10 illustrates the influence of concrete strength on measured u for CFSST specimens.
The ultimate bond strength decreased by 43.6% and 40.8% for the circular CFSST specimen C-2
and the square one S-2, respectively, as fc increased from 48.4 MPa to 81.8 MPa.
1.5
Normal strength concrete
High-strength concrete

1.01 MPa
0.9

0.71 MPa
0.57 MPa

0.6

S-1

0.3

S-2

0.42 MPa

C-2

460

1.2

C-1

Ultimate bond strength u (MPa)

455

Circular0 CFSST

Fig. 10

Square50CFSST

Influence of concrete strength on u

465

470

To check if there is a similar trend for the collected test data of conventional carbon steel
CFST columns, Fig. 11 shows the u values with respect to fc for these tests. Since u is also
greatly affected by the diameter and thickness of the steel tube, their influences should be
minimised in the comparison. Meanwhile, enough samples should be kept to ensure that the
comparison is statistically meaningful. Therefore, only test results of specimens with a value of D
ranged from 100 mm to 200 mm and a D/t ratio ranged from 30 to 40 were kept. In the end, test
results of 61 circular specimens and 25 rectangular specimens were shown in Fig. 11. Clearly, a
similar trend can be observed that u decreases with increasing fc.
1

3
2.5

Bond strengthu (MPa)

480

Bond strengthu (MPa)

475

2
1.5

Trend line

Trend line

0.6
0.4
0.2

0.5

485

0.8

30
40
50
60
70
80
90
Cylinder compressive strength of concrete fc

20
30
40
50
60
70
Cylinder compressive strength of concrete fc

(a) Circular cross-section


(b) Rectangular cross-section
Fig. 11 Bond strength in concrete-filled carbon steel tubes as a function of fc

The above phenomenon can also be explained by the shrinkage of concrete inside the steel
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tube. For a concrete-filled steel tube, autogenous shrinkage will be dominant since the concrete is
sealed in the tube. It is well known that autogenous shrinkage is more significant for high-strength
concrete since it usually has a smaller water/cement or water/binder ratio [41]. The higher the
concrete strength, the larger the possible gap between the steel tube and concrete is. For the
concrete mixes NC-I and NC-II used in the current tests, the measured values of cylinder strength
fc,28 at 28 days were 31.7 MPa and 68.5 MPa, respectively. The Australian Standard AS 3600
[42] gives the following equation to predict the autogenous shrinkage strain for concrete:
*
(1)
cse cse
(1.0 e 0.1t )

500

where t is the time (in days) after setting, and cse is the final autogenous shrinkage strain given
by
*
(2)
cse
(0.06 f c ',28 1.0) 50 106

505

Using this model, the calculated values of cse for the specimens C-1 and C-2 are 45.2 and
155.5 at the time of testing. It indicates that the gap size for C-2 with high-strength concrete is
three times that of C-1 with normal strength concrete. Considering the column size in real life, it is
highly likely that suitable measures need to be taken to increase the bond strength if concrete with
a high potential of shrinkage is used to fill a stainless steel tube.

3 Concluding remarks

510

515

520

525

An experimental investigation has been carried out to investigate the bond strength between
the stainless steel tube and concrete in concrete-filled stainless steel tubes. It was found that the
decrease in bond strength ranged from 34% to 62% when stainless steel was used to replace
carbon steel. This was directly associated with the decrease in surface roughness for stainless steel.
Therefore, stainless steel tubes with rougher internal surface are recommended to be used to
minimise this influence. The effects of section type, section size and concrete strength on the bond
behaviour in CFSST columns were found to be similar to these seen in conventional CFST
columns.
Considering the real column size used in engineering practice and the decrease in bond strength,
suitable measures may need to be taken to increase the bond strength in CFSST columns, especially
when concrete with a high potential of shrinkage, such as high-strength concrete and recycled
aggregate concrete, is used. Conventionally, three methods have been proved very successfully in
improving bond strength as follows:
(1) To add expansive additive in the concrete to reduce or eliminate the possible gap formed
between the steel tube and concrete.
(2) To weld shear studs onto the inner surface of the steel tube as shown in Fig 12(a).
(3) To weld internal ring(s) in the steel tube as shown in Fig. 12(b).
Though more research work need to be done to check if the first method is also effective for
CFSST columns, the second and third methods can certainly be used to increase the bond strength
in CFSST columns.
Shear stud

Internal ring

530

535

Stainless steel tube

Stainless steel tube

(a) Shear studs

540

Fig. 12

(b) Internal rings


Shear studs and internal rings

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Acknowledgements

545

This work is supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program)
(No.2009CB623200). It has also been partially supported by the Research Fund for the Doctoral
Program of Higher Education of China (200803860005). The financial support is gratefully
acknowledged.
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