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EVALUATION OF DUCTILITY IN STEEL AND COMPOSITE BEAM-TOCOLUMN JOINTS: ANALYTICAL EVALUATION

Lus Simes da Silvaa, Lus Caladob, Rui Simesa, Ana Giro Coelhoc
a Civil Engineering Department, Universidade de Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
b Civil Engineering Department, Instituto Superior Tcnico, Lisboa, Portugal
c Civil Engineering Department, Instituto Superior de Engenharia de Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal

Abstract
The current trend towards the use of partial strength, semi-rigid joints requires
that enough ductility (rotation) is available, and thus the prediction of the full
(non-linear) moment-rotation response of the joint. The component method
currently provides independent procedures to evaluate the strength and initial
stiffness of steel and composite joints. A unified, closed-form, analytical approach
is presented in this paper that gives the full non-linear moment-rotation response
of steel and composite joints, and, consequently, its strength, initial stiffness and
maximum rotation.
1

INTRODUCTION

The current trend towards the use of partial strength, semi-rigid joints requires that enough
ductility (rotation) is available, and thus the evaluation of the full (non-linear) moment-rotation
response of the joint. The component method, currently widely accepted as the practical
approach at predicting the behaviour of such joints (1), provides independent procedures to
evaluate the strength and initial stiffness of steel and composite joints. These procedures,
already incorporated in codes of practice (2, 3), were shown to reproduce satisfactorily these
properties, while maintaining a relative ease of application.
The evaluation of ductility presents two added difficulties, when compared to strength and initial
stiffness:
(i)
knowledge of the non-linear force-deformation response of each component;
(ii)
knowledge of the full (non-linear) moment-rotation response of the joint.
The first item still remains quite unexplored in the literature, most of the research effort being
directed in the past towards the consistent evaluation of strength and initial stiffness of the
various components (4); the second involves iterative numerical procedures, given that
phenomena such as plasticity and instability are necessarily present.
Assuming that the non-linear behavior of the components is known, a unified, closed-form,
analytical approach is presented in this paper that gives the full non-linear moment-rotation
response of steel and composite joints, and, consequently, its strength, initial stiffness and
maximum rotation. Also, the yielding sequence of the various components is identified.

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EVALUATION OF DUCTILITY

2.1 Component characterisation


As stated above, a key aspect to the component method relates to the characterisation of the
force-deformation curves for each individual extensional spring. In practical terms, the nonlinear force-deformation curve may be approximated by several idealisations (5), as shown in
Figure 1. Common to all is the identification of four sets of properties, namely elastic stiffness
(ke), post-limit stiffness (kp), limit load (FC=PB/2) and limit displacement ('f).

APPROXIMATION

EQUIVALENT ELASTIC MODEL

F
ke

ke

'

a) Linear aproximation

F
1 1
+
ke kp

FC

ACTUAL
BEHAVIOUR

F
ke

kp ; PB = 2FC

'

ke

b) Bi-linear approximation

'

F C,2
F C,1

1 1
+
k e k p1

ke

1 1 1
+
+
k e k p1 k p 2

'

kp1 ;
P 1 B =2FC,1

kp2 ;
P 2 B =2FC,2

ke

c) Tri-linear approximation

FC

Q2
ke

'

ke

kp ; PB = 2FC
F
L

k p = kp1+4Lkp2(1-cosQ2)+12L 2k p3(1-cosQ2)2+...

d) Non-linear approximation
to the post-limit behaviour

Fig. 1. Various idealisations of component force-deformation curves.


Following Kuhlmann et al (6), the various components may be classified according to ductility in
three main groups: (a) components with high ductility, (b) components with limited ductility and

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(c) components with brittle failure. Components with high ductility present a nearly unlimited
deformation capacity, not imposing any bounds on the overall rotation ability of the joint, and
include, for example: (i) column web panel in shear, (ii) end-plate in bending and (iii) column
flange in bending. Components with limited ductility are characterised by a force-deformation
curve exhibiting a limit point and a subsequent softening response, comprising: (iv) column web
in tension and (v) column web in compression. Finally, components with brittle failure behave
linearly until collapse, with very little deformation before failure, being adequately modelled with
a linear approximation, typical examples being: (vi) bolts in tension, (vii) bolts in shear and (viii)
welds.
2.2 Analytical models
To overcome the numerical complexity of the evaluation of the moment-rotation response of
steel and composite joints, an equivalent elastic model was developed (7), able to yield closedform analytical expressions. With reference to Figure 2, the proposed methodology (8)
comprises the following steps, here illustrated for an extended end-plate steel joint:
(i)
for each bolt row in tension and shear and compression zones, association of all
springs (components) in series into one single equivalent spring;
(ii)
association of all resulting tensile springs in parallel into an equivalent tensile
spring
(iii)
application of the equivalent elastic model of Figure 2c, that yields identical
results to the original elastic-plastic model of Figure 2b.
z1

k3, 1 k4, 1 k5, 1 k10, 1

z2

k3, 2 k4, 2 k5, 2 k10, 2

Kt

h
z

k1

k2

Kc
Centre of
rotation

a) Original component model

b) Basic non-linear model

kpt, PTB
Lt

ket

Lt

z
kpc, PCB
kec

Lc

Lc

c) Equivalent elastic model

Fig. 2. General substitute model for steel joints.


As shown in Figure 1, both the spring transformations (series and paralel) and the equivalent
elastic model require the choice of an adequate approximation for each resulting spring. Here,
four possibilities are considered:

225

(i)
(ii)
(iii)
(iv)

linear (L), the corresponding elastic model being simply an elastic spring with
stiffness ke;
bi-linear (BL), the post-limit stiffness being reproduced by an elastic spring with
stiffness kp and pre-compression 2FC;
tri-linear (TL), with two post-limit branches characterised by stiffnesses kp1 and
kp2 and corresponding pre-compressions 2FC1 and 2FC2;
non-linear (NL), where the initial elastic part is followed by a polynomial nonlinear branch given by:

kp

k p 1  4Lk

p2

1  cos q 2  12L 2 k p 3 1  cos q 2 2

(1)

Next, the resulting equivalent elastic models are solved in the context of a post-buckling stability
analysis using an energy formulation, further details of the mathematical derivation being found
in (7,8). With reference to Figure 3, two basic models are considered, for steel (Figure 3a) and
composite (Figure 3b) joints, the latter case including a specific tensile row for the reinforcement
(9).

k t1

kt

k t2

kc

kc
a) Steel joints

b) Composite joints

Fig. 3. Basic non-linear models.


For each case, several possibilities must be considered, corresponding to the various
combinations of equivalent spring idealisations:
(a) Steel models
(a.1) Model BL-BL: bi-linear idealisation of equivalent tensile and
compressive/shear springs;
(a.2) Model TL-BL: tri-linear idealisation of equivalent tensile spring and bi-linear
idealisation of equivalent compressive/shear spring;
(a.3) Model TL-NL: tri-linear idealisation of equivalent tensile spring and non-linear
idealisation of equivalent compressive/shear spring;
(b) Composite models
(b.1) Model BL-BL-BL: bi-linear idealisation of reinforcement, equivalent tensile
and compressive/shear springs;
(b.2) Model TL-BL-NL: tri-linear idealisation of reinforcement, bi-linear idealisation
of equivalent tensile spring and non-linear idealisation of compressive/shear
spring.
It is noted that all these combinations yield closed-form analytical solutions for the momentrotation response of steel and composite joints that identify the yield rotation of all relevant
levels of component deformation. Its application to typical examples of steel and composite
joints is illustrated in the next section.

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APPLICATION TO BEAM-TO-COLUMN JOINTS

3.1 Beam-to-Column Welded Steel Joint


7 FW

(3)

I
HE 140 B

IPE 300

(1)

(2)

S235

a) Connection geometry

b) Mechanical model

Fig. 4. Welded steel connection


In order to illustrate the application of the equivalent elastic models, one joint configuration was
chosen from the database SERICON II (Klein 105.011) (10), corresponding to a welded beamto-column steel joint, described in Figure 4, which was tested by Klein at the University of
Innsbruck in 1985.

Component
1
2
3

FC (kN)
218.17
258.30
258.30

ke (kN/m)

kp (kN/m)

3.608u10
1.803u106
1.803u106

6.013u10
4.624u103
4.624u103

(mm)
0.605
0.143
0.143

Table 1. Component characterisation


Figure 5 compares the experimental results with the analytical results, obtained using a bi-linear
approximation for the components, the various stiffness and strength values being reproduced
in Table 1.

Compone
nt

Component yielding sequence


Absolute displacement

1
2
3

i (mm)

-0.607
-1.372
-4.817
-0.121
-0.143
-38.640
0.121
0.143
38.640
2.94
5.73
151.63
Absolute joint rotation (mrad)

Relative displacement ' i / 'yi


1.000
2.261
7.940
0.847
1.000 269.798
0.847
1.000 269.798
1.00
1.95
51.65
Joint ductility index

Table 2. Ductility indexes for welded steel joint

227

Failure

7.940
269.798
269.798
51.65

The moment-rotation curve of Figure 5 shows yielding of the first component (column web
panel in shear), followed by simultaneous yielding of the column web in compression and in
tension, at a joint rotation of about 0.006 radian. The ductile behavior of this joint is obvious,
maximum rotation of 0.151 radians being reached without failure at the end of the test. Table 2
summarises the yield sequence of the various components and the corresponding levels of
ductility.
M (kNm)
125.0
112.5
100.0
87.5
75.0

Experimental results

62.5
50.0

A nalytical results

37.5

Yielding o f co mpo nent 'co lumn web panel in


shear'
Yielding o f co mpo nents 'co lumn web in
co mpressio n' and 'co lumn web in tensio n'

25.0
12.5

I (mrad)
156.0

144.0

132.0

120.0

108.0

96.0

84.0

72.0

60.0

48.0

36.0

24.0

12.0

0.0

0.0

Fig. 5. Welded steel connection: moment-rotation curve (model BL-BL)


Figure 6 illustrates the application of two alternative models, TL-BL and TL-NL, using the same
value of kp1., highlighting the good adjustment of the non-linear model.
M (kNm)
125,0
112,5
100,0
87,5
75,0

Experimental results

62,5

A nalytical results (mo del TL-NL assuming linear


kpt)
cws

50,0
37,5

cwc & cwt

25,0

A nalytical results (mo del TL-NL assuming


quadratic kpt)

12,5

I (mrad)
156,0

144,0

132,0

120,0

108,0

96,0

84,0

72,0

60,0

48,0

36,0

24,0

12,0

0,0

0,0

Fig. 6. Welded steel joint: moment-rotation curve (model TL-NL)


3.2 Extended End-Plate Bolted Beam-to-Column Steel Joint
The second example corresponds to an extended end-plate bolted steel joint tested by Humer
at the University of Innsbruck (Humer 105.009), illustrated in Figure 7.

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(3,1) (4,1)

(3,2)

(5,1) (10,1)

(4,2) (5,2) (10,2)

I
HE 240 B

IPE 450

M
M

(1)

553 240 41

S275

a) Connection geometry

(2)

b) Mechanical model

Fig. 7. Bolted extended end-plate steel joint


Table 3 indicates the chosen values for the various components. Using model BL-BL, Figure 8
compares the experimental results with the analytical results.

Component
1
2
3.1
3.2
4.1
4.2
5.1
5.2
10.1
10.2

FC (kN)
529.33
576.13
510.78
510.78
476.21
476.21
635.40
635.40
635.40
635.40

ke (kN/m)

kp (kN/m)

6.363u10
2.474u106
1.426u106
1.426u106
5.601u106
5.601u106
2.315u107
5.571u107
1.199u106
1.199u106

7.122u10
3.022u104
2.513u104
2.513u104
3.131u103
9.131u103
8.446u103
8.446u103

(mm)
0.832
0.233
0.358
0.358
0.085
0.085
0.027
0.011
0.530
0.530

Table 3. Component characterization


Yielding starts at the compression zone (column web in shear (1) followed by the column web in
compression (2)). Next, the first row of bolts of the joint becomes critical, as seen in Table 4, the
following components yielding in succession: column flange in bending (4.1), column web in
tension (3.1), the joint reaching 0.058 radians at the end of the test.

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M (kNm)
400.0
360.0
320.0
280.0
240.0
200.0

Experimental results

160.0

A nalytical results

120.0

Yielding o f co mpo nent 'co lumn web panel in shear'


Yielding o f co mpo nent 'co lumn web in co mpressio n'

80.0

Yielding o f co mpo nent 'co lumn flange in bending - ro w 1'

40.0

Yielding o f co mpo nent 'co lumn web in tensio n - ro w 1'

I (mrad)
60.0

54.0

48.0

42.0

36.0

30.0

24.0

18.0

12.0

6.0

0.0

0.0

Fig. 6. Bolted extended end-plate steel connection: moment-rotation curve


Component

Absolute displacement
1
2
3.1
3.2
4.1
4.2
5.1
5.2
10.1
10.2

Failure

Component yielding sequence

-0.832
-0.214
0.209
0.162
0.053
0.041
0.013
0.004
0.248
0.193

-1.562
-0.233
0.227
0.177
0.058
0.045
0.014
0.005
0.270
0.210

i (mm)

Relative displacement

' i / 'yi

-5.776 -6.724 -7.212 1.000 1.878 6.943


8.083
8.669
8.669
-9.271 -11.305 -12.352 0.919 1.000 39.808 48.543 53.038 53.038
0.334 0.358 1.083 0.583 0.635 0.932
1.000
3.022
3.022
0.259 0.278 0.287 0.453 0.493 0.724
0.775
0.801
0.801
0.085 11.134 16.851 0.625 0.681 1.000 130.946 198.187 198.187
0.066 0.071 0.073 0.486 0.529 0.777
0.831
0.860
0.860
0.021 0.022 0.023 0.469 0.510 0.749
0.804
0.832
0.832
0.007 0.007 0.007 0.364 0.397 0.582
0.623
0.644
0.644
0.397 0.426 0.441 0.469 0.510 0.749
0.804
0.832
0.832
0.308 0.330 0.341 0.364 0.397 0.582
0.623
0.644
0.644

3.43 7.25 29.26 48.35 58.24


Absolute joint rotation (mrad)

1.00

2.11
8.52
14.08
Joint ductility index

16.96

16.96

Table 4. Ductility indexes for bolted extend end-plate steel connection

3.3 Flush End-Plate Bolted Beam-to-Column Composite Joint


In order to illustrate the application to composite joints, a double-sided bolted flush end-plate
beam-to-column joint tested in bending by Simes at the University of Coimbra in 1998 (11) was
selected, shown in Figure 7.

230

(13)

(3)

IPE 270

IPE 270

(4)

(5)

(8)

(10)

(2)

HE 220 A

(7)

S235
C35/45; A400NR

a) Connection geometry

b) Mechanical model

Fig. 7. Bolted flush end-plate composite joint


Table 5 reproduces the adopted component properties for model TL-BL-BL.

Component
2
3
4
5
7
8
10
13

FC (kN)

ke (kN/m)

kp (kN/m)

1550.20
504.00
346.20
293.70
578.50
462.10
444.53
124.99
477.28

3.244u10
9.404u105
2.982u106
2.322u106
f
f
2.257u106
6.006u105

1.000u10
1.000u101
1.000u104
1.000u104
3.600u104
f
1.000u104
2.310u105
1.200u103

(mm)
0.478
0.536
0.116
0.126
0.000
0.000
0.197
0.208

Table 5. Component characterization


Figure 8 compares the experimental and analytical results, The moment-rotation curve shows
yielding of the first component (reinforcement), corresponding to the cracking of concrete in
tension that occurs for relatively low values of bending moment and joint rotation (55 kNm and
0.8 mrad). It is noted that current Eurocode specifications for composite joints

231

M (kNm)
220.0
200.0
180.0
160.0
140.0
120.0
100.0
80.0
60.0
40.0
20.0
0.0

Experimental results
Analyt ical solut ion
Yielding of component 'concret e in
t ension'
Yielding of component 'beam web
and flange in compression'
Yielding of component 'longit udinal
slab reinf orcement in t ension'

15.0
16.0
17.0

11.0
12.0
13.0
14.0

7.0
8.0
9.0
10.0

3.0
4.0
5.0
6.0

0.0
1.0
2.0

I(mrad)

Fig. 8. Bolted flush end-plate composite joint: moment-rotation curve


(3) disregard the cracking moment of the joint. Next, at a rotation of 5.1 mrad, yielding of the
beam web and flange in compression takes place, followed by yielding of the reinforcement.
Table 6 summarises the yield sequence of the various components and the corresponding
levels of ductility.

Component

Absolute displacement
2
3
4
5
7
8
10
13

Failure

Component yielding sequence


i (mm)

-0.055 -0.178 -0.212 -0.213


0.058 0.188 0.223 0.224
0.018 0.059 0.070 0.071
0.024 0.076 0.090 0.091
0.000 0.000 -3.007 -3.111
0.000 0.000 0.000 0.091
0.024 0.078 0.093 0.000
0.208 2.053 2.554 4.729
0.76 5.07 11.55 16.53
Absolute joint rotation (mrad)

Relative displacement

' i / 'yi

0.116 0.373 0.443 0.445 0.445


0.109 0.350 0.416 0.418 0.418
0.158 0.510 0.605 0.608 0.608
0.187 0.601 0.713 0.717 0.717
0.311 1.000
f
f
f
0.119 0.382 0.453 0.456 0.456
0.123 0.397 0.471 0.474 0.474
1.000 9.866 12.274 22.724 22.724
1.00 6.72 15.29 21.88 21.879
Joint ductility index

Table 6. Ductility indexes for bolted flush end-plate composite joint

CONCLUDING REMARKS

A simple analytical procedure for the evaluation of the moment-rotation response of steel and
composite joints was presented in this paper. It allows the consistent evaluation of strength,
initial stiffness and ductility. Additionally, depending on the choice of component idealisation,
this methodology is able to to approximate, as closely as desired, the true moment-rotation
response of the joint, further identifying all relevant changes in joint response.

232

Finally, it should be noted that proper application of the component method requires the
adequate prediction of the post-limit stiffness of the various components, a task yet to be done.
5

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Finantial support from Ministrio da Cincia e Tecnologia - PRAXIS XXI research project
PRAXIS/P/ECM/13153/1998 is acknowledged.
6

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