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Analysis of composite beams with web opening


Article January 2002

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Ezzat H. Fahmy
The American University in Cairo
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4e Confrence spcialise en gnie des structures


de la Socit canadienne de gnie civil
4th Structural Specialty Conference
of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering
Montral, Qubec, Canada
5-8 juin 2002 / June 5-8, 2002

ANALYSIS OF COMPOSITE BEAMS WITH WEB OPENING


Ezzat H. FahmyA, Ahmed A HassaneinB
A Department of Construction Engineering, The American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt
B Civil Engineering Department, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
ABSTRACT: The finite difference method was used to develop analytical model to investigate the
behavior of composite beams with web openings. The model accounts for material non-linearity, and the
slip at the interface between the steel beam and the concrete slab. The model can analyze composite
beams with concrete slabs on ribbed metal deck as well as composite beams with solid concrete slabs.
The shear resisted by the slab is considered in the model. Variation of the shear force along the opening
length can be accommodated in this model. Buckling and instability failures are not considered in the
present model. The validity of the model was verified by comparing the predicted analytical results with
some of the experimental results available in the literature. Good agreement was obtained between the
analytical and experimental results.
Study of the effect of opening length, opening height, and opening eccentricity on the behavior and
strength of the composite beam are also presented.
1.

INTRODUCTION

Composite beams are used in construction more often nowadays. The composite construction results in a
shallower beam depth and consequently smaller floor-to floor height.
Often, utility ducts are required to pass from one side to the other of the composite beam. Passing these
ducts under the composite beam results in a larger floor height and loss of the advantage gained by using
composite construction. The use of composite beams with web openings offers an engineering solution
for this problem by eliminating the space required under the beam. However, the presence of such
openings affects the behavior of the composite beam.
Before the engineer can make use of the tangible benefits of composite beams with web openings, the
behavior and strength of such beams should be thoroughly investigated and fully comprehended.
Several investigators studied experimentally and analytically the behavior and strength of composite
beams with web openings. Todd and cooper (1980) presented an analytical model to determine the
ultimate strength of composite beams with unreinforced rectangular openings assuming the shear to be
carried by the steel beam only.
Clawson and Darwin (1982) presented the results of an experimental investigation of six composite
beams with concentric rectangular web openings. In another paper, Clawson and Darwin (1982)
developed a method for strength computation of this type of beams in which the ability of the slab to resist
shear stresses was taken into account.
1

Fahmy (1988) presented analytical model for computing the ultimate strength and mode of failure of
composite beams with web openings. The contribution of the slab in resisting the shear was taken into
consideration in that model.
The ultimate strength of composite beams with unreinforced rectangular web openings was investigated
using the load and resistance factor design (LRFD) (Darwin and Donahey 1988) and (Darwin and Lucas
1990).
The truss analogy was used to determine the ultimate strength of the slab of the composite beam in the
region of the opening (Cho and Redwood 1992). They also presented in a second paper in the same year
the experimental results of six full scale composite beams with nine web openings to investigate the
validity of the above mentioned truss analogy.
This paper presents an analytical model based on the finite difference technique to study the behavior,
strength and mode of failure of composite beams with web openings. The model can accommodate the
slip at the interface between the steel beam and the concrete slab and takes the resistance of the slab to
shear into consideration.
2.

ANALYTICAL MODEL

A typical single span composite steel-concrete beam with web opening is shown in figure 1. The beam
has (n) panels and (n+1) shear connectors. The forces acting on the steel beam, the concrete slab, and
on the connectors are shown in figure 2.

Figure 1. Typical steel-concrete composite beam


with panel and connectors numbering

Figure 2. Forces on the steel beam, concrete


slab, and connectors

The basic assumptions used throughout the analysis are:


1. The concrete slab and the steel beam deflects equally at all points along the span.
2. The strain distribution in both the concrete slab and the steel beam is linear, even at the vicinity of the
opening.
3. Shear connection between the concrete slab and the steel beam is provided by shear connectors
placed at discrete points along the span of the beam.
4. Both concrete slab and steel beam resist the vertical shear.
The actual stress-strain relationship for the concrete and steel were idealized as elastic-perfect plastic
curve. The load-slip relationship of the connectors is presented by a smooth hyperbolic curve as shown in
figure 3 (Ma 1973) in the form:
C
+B
[1] Q =
-A
Where A, B, and C are three constants determined by three points on the curve.
2

Figure 3. Idealized load-slip curve for the connectors


The equilibrium conditions at the i th panel are given by:
[2]

Fs(i) + Fb(i) = 0

[3]

Fb(i) [

db(i)
2

+ dC + t S

D N(i)
2

] + Mb(i) + M s(i) = M (i)

The compatibility condition at the interface between the concrete slab and the steel beam is written as:
[4]

i+ 1 i =

[ bt (i) sb(i) ] ds

S(i)

From the equilibrium of the horizontal forces, the shear on the ith connector is given by:
[5]

Fs(i) Fs(i1) = Q i

If the concrete slab and the steel beam are both in the elastic range, the strain difference in equation [4]
can be expressed in terms of the applied forces Fb(i) and Fs(i) and the moments Mb(i) and Ms(i) as follows:
[6]
[7]

bt (i) =

Fb(i)
E b A b(i)
Fs(i)

Mb(i) db(i) /2

E b Ib(i)
M s(i) [d C + t S - dN(i) /2]
sb(i) =
+
E s A s(i)
E s I s(i)

When the stress-strain relationship for the steel or the concrete is not elastic, the strain difference can no
longer be expressed as a linear function of the applied moments and axial forces. A numerical method
was used to determine the strain difference in this case. The method is essentially an iterative process in
which a value is first assumed for the end slip, 1, and consequently the value of Q1 is obtained from the
load-slip relationship of the connectors. Knowing that Fs(0) = 0, the value of Fs(1) can be obtained from
equation [5]. The moments Mb(1) and Ms(1) and the strain distribution through the composite beam depth
can be determined in the 1st panel using the numerical technique developed by Ma (1973). Hence, the slip
2 can be determined from equation [4]. After computing Fs(1) and 2, the interaction forces, moments, and
strain distribution through the composite beam depth at each panel and the slip at each connector can be
computed successively by setting i =1, 2, 3..,n in the described process. If the computed slip at the
center of the beam, or the force at the other end of the beam in case of unsymmetrical beam, is close
enough to zero, a solution is obtained. Otherwise, a revised value for the end slip has to be assumed and
the computation is repeated until solution is obtained.
3

The stress in each panel is checked for cracking of concrete slab or yielding of steel beam. Cracking of
the concrete occurs if:
[8]

sb(i) fct

Von Misses yield criteria is used to describe yielding of the steel beam web under the combined action of
the axial and shear stresses. Thus, yielding of the steel beam web occurs if:
[9]

2
+ 3 2
Fyw
2
w (i)
w (i)

Where:
[10] w (i) =

k V(i)
A w(i)

The coefficient k defines the ratio of the shear resisted by the steel beam web to the total applied shear on
the beam and is defined as:
[11] k =

Vp
Vp + Vs

The ultimate shear resistance of the concrete slab, Vs, is considered to be:
'
[12] Vs = 0.9 t2
s fc

This resistance is based on an effective slab width in resisting shear be = 3 tS (Clawson et al 1982) and
ultimate shear strength under combined flexural and axial compression v s = 0.3 fC' (ACI 318M 1988).
The ultimate shear resistance of steel beam web at the vicinity of the opening, VW, is given by:
[13] Vp =

Fyw
3

t w dw

Yielding of the steel beam flange occurs if:


[14] F(i) FyF
If any of the panels has yielded and/or cracked, the computation steps have to be repeated under the
same load but with the corresponding material properties for the yielded panels and a reduced concrete
slab depth for the cracked panels. The same process has to be repeated until no further panels crack or
yield. Crushing of the concrete slab occurs if the top fiber strain exceeds the limiting value of 0.003.
A computer program coded in FORTRAN77 was developed to perform the computation incrementally in
both the elastic and inelastic stages of loading. The output of the program provides at each load
increment the slip at each connector, the strain distribution through the composite beam depth, the
interaction force, the moment resisted by the steel beam and by the concrete slab, the curvature, and
deflection at each panel of the composite beam. Details of the analytical method and listing of the
computer program are documented in the literature by Hassanein (1995).

3.

VERIFICATION OF THE ANALYTICAL MODEL

To verify the analytical model, it was used to analyze three composite beams similar to beams 2N, 3N,
and 3S experimentally tested by Lawson et al [1992]. The geometric and material properties of the
analyzed beams are given in tables 1 and 2. Comparison between the experimental results for the
ultimate moment, ultimate shear with the analytical results are given in table 3.
Table 3 shows that the analytical model underestimated the moment capacity at the low end moment of
the opening by about 5% while it underestimated the shear at the same location by about 10% for two of
the beams. The difference in the shear capacity may be attributed to neglecting the common part between
the web and the flange of the beam in resisting the shear.
Table 1. Geometric properties of the test beams (Lawson et al 1992)
Beam
Steel Beam Size
Opening Dimensions (cm)
Number
Height
Length
Location*
2N
533x210x82 UB
35
35
267.5
3N
533x210x82 UB
25
45
82.5
3S
533x210x82 UB
20
60
90

Concrete Slab Dimensions (cm)


Thickness Rib Height
Width**
6
6
200
6
6
200
6
6
200

Table 2. Material properties of the test beams (Lawson et al 1992)


Steel Beam
Concrete Strength
Beam
Flange
f c'
Numbe
Yield
Ultimate
Yield
(MPa)
r
(MPa)
(MPa)
(MPa)
2N
30.9
317
486
349
3N
34.4
309
481
341
3S
34.4
309
481
341
Table 3. Comparison between the experimental and the analytical results
Experimental Results
Analytical Results
Beam
Number
Vu (kN)
Mu (kN.m)
Vu (kN)
Mu (kN.m)
2N
652
174
623.3
166.2
3N
242
400
229.4
358
3S
242
400
230.1
358.3
4.

Web
Ultimate
(MPa)
501
495
495

Manal/Mexp

Vanal/Vexp

0.96
0.95
0.95

0.95
0.90
0.90

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

The developed analytical model was used to analyze 16 series of composite beams of the same
geometric properties but with varying web opening sizes and locations. The dimensions and material
properties of the analyzed beams were similar in all regards except for the dimension and location of the
opening. The composite beam consisted of W 310x28 steel beam supporting 100mm thick concrete slab
incorporating 25 mm ribbed metal deck. The slab width was considered as 1727 mm (16ts+bo). The yield
stress of steel beam was 300.9 MPa. All beams were over-connected to avoid failure of connector. The
geometric properties of the analyzed beams are given in table 4.
4.1

Interaction Diagram

The interaction diagram is a graphical representation for the relationship between the shear and moment
at the center of the opening at failure of the composite beam. In order to plot the interaction diagram for a
composite beam with a specified opening size, the opening was placed at different locations along the

beam span and the beam was analyzed for every case. At failure, the shear and moment were recorded.
The recorded values were normalized with respect to the moment and shear capacity of the steel section
of the composite beam, Mp and Vp. Results at each of these locations represents one point on the
interaction diagram.
Table 4. Geometric properties of the analyzed beams
Beam
Opening
Opening
Eccentricity
Numbe
Height
Length
(cm)
r
(cm)
(cm)
B1
B2
B3
B4
B5
B6
B7
B8
B9
B10
B11
B12
B13
B14
B15
B16
4.2

0
13.1
15.7
18.2
20.7
22.8
23.3
23.8
25.8
18.2
18.2
18.2
18.2
18.2
18.2
18.2

0
45
45
45
45
45
45
45
45
15
30
60
45
45
45
45

0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
+3.8
+2.5
-2.5
-3.8

%
Reduction
in Web
Area
0
45
54
62
71
78
80
82
89
62
62
62
62
62
62
62

Number of
Connectors

Degree of
Interaction

42
42
42
42
42
42
42
42
42
42
42
42
42
42
42
42

130%
130%
130%
130%
130%
130%
130%
130%
130%
130%
130%
130%
130%
130%
130%
130%

Effect of Opening Height

Figure 4 shows the interaction diagrams for beams B1 through B9. The only variable for these beams was
the opening height. It can be seen from this figure that increasing the opening height decreases the
moment capacity and shear strength of the composite beam. This reduction is due to the reduction in the
web area of the steel beam.
The figure also shows that the interaction curves for beams B2 and B3, with reduction in the web area of
45% and 54% respectively, coincides with that of the full beam when the opening is placed near the
support. This indicates that for the analyzed beam dimensions, placing an opening with height less than
about 54% of the beam depth near the end of the beam does not have effect on the moment or shear
capacity of the beam. Failure of the composite beam in this case occurred at mid-span. However, when
the opening was placed further from the support, the moment capacity of the beam was reduced.
For openings with height more than 54% of the beam depth, both moment and shear capacities of the
composite beam reduce with the increase of the opening height.
4.3

Effect of Opening Length

The effect of opening length can be investigated from the results of beam B1, B4, and beams B10 through
B12. Figure 5 shows the interaction diagrams for these beams.
Both ultimate moment and shear strength of the composite beam decrease with increasing the opening
length. When the opening is placed near the support (M/V 0), increasing the opening length reduces the
shear strength of the beam. This is due to the increase of the vierendeel moment caused by the increase
in opening length. When the opening is placed at mid span (M/V = ), the ultimate moment capacity of the
composite beams slightly decreases with increasing the opening length.

2.00

2.00

B1
B2
B3
B4
B5
B6
B7
B8
B9

1.60

M/MP

1.40
1.20
1.00

1.60
1.40

0.80

1.20
1.00
0.80

0.60

0.60

0.40

0.40

0.20

0.20

0.00
0.00

0.05

0.10

0.15

0.20

0.25

0.30

0.35

0.40

0.45

B1
B10
B11
B4
B12

1.80

M/MP

1.80

0.00
0.00

0.50

0.10

0.20

0.30

0.40

0.50

V/VP

V/VP

Figure 5. Effect of opening length

Figure 4. Effect of the opening height

On close inspection of figure 5, it can be seen that for certain range of M/V the opening length did not
have an effect on the beam behavior as the failure occurred at mid-span not at the location of the opening.
4.4 Effect of Opening Eccentricity
Beams B1, B4, and B13 through B16 were selected to study the effect of the opening eccentricity with
respect to mid height of the steel beam depth. The interaction diagrams for these beams are shown in
figure 6
2.00

B1

1.80

B13

M/MP

1.60

B14

1.40

B4

1.20

B15

1.00

B16

0.80
0.60
0.40
0.20
0.00
0.00

0.10

0.20

0.30

0.40

0.50

V/VP
Figure 6. Effect of opening eccentricity
When the opening is placed close to the beam end and the failure is mainly due to shear, changing the
opening eccentricity does not affect the behavior of the beam. This is attributed to the fact that shear
capacity of the composite beam is based solely on the available web area. However, when the opening
was placed at the center of the span, the moment capacity of the composite beam increases as the
opening gets closer to top of the steel beam. This increase is attributed to the increase in the arm of the
moment caused by the interaction force Fb(i).
4.5

Modes of Failure

The model exhibits four modes of failure depending on the dimensions and location of the opening. These
modes are:

4.6.1

Shear failure

The composite beam fails in shear when the concrete slab reaches its ultimate shear capacity and the
steel beam web yields due to the equivalent Von Misses stress. When an opening with large height is
placed near the end if the beam (low M/V ratio), the vertical shear is the main cause of the beam failure.
In this case, the steel beam web yields mainly due the component of the shear in the equivalent Von
Misses stress while the stresses in the beam flanges are well below the yield stress, figure 7. For short
opening, the difference in the shear stresses at both sides of the opening is very small and the steel beam
web yields at both sides of the opening forming four-hinge failure mechanism, figure 8(a).
4.6.2

Pure bending failure of the full beam section at mid-span

As the opening moves towards mid-span the shear force decreases while the applied moment increases
at the location of the opening. For some opening dimensions, the equivalent stresses at the opening do
not reach the yield stress of the material. However, failure occurs at mid-span where the beam has full
cross section due to pure bending. In this case, the load carrying capacity of the composite beam is not
affected by the presence of the opening.

Figure 7. Strain and stress distribution at M/V = 0.4 (Stress in MPa)

(a) Four-Hinge mechanism

(b) Three-Hinge mechanism

(c) Pure bending failure

Figure 8. Modes of failure


4.6.3

Three-Hinge mechanism

As the opening moves further towards the point of maximum moment (higher M/V ratio), the applied
moment at the location of the opening increases while the applied shear decreases. The strain and stress
distribution for the case of M/V= 4.7 is show in figure 9. For this case, the stress in the bottom flange of
8

the beam reaches the yield stress at both the low and high moment ends. At the same time, the
equivalent stress reaches the yield limit in the beam web at the high-end moment and in the portion of the
web below the opening at the low-end moment. Thus, a three-hinge mechanism forms at the location of
the opening as shown in figure 8(b).

Figure 9. Strain and stress distribution at M/V = 4.7 (Stress in MPa)


4.6.4

Pure bending failure at the opening

When the opening is located at the center of the beam, where the shear is zero, failure occurs due to
yielding of the steel beam above and below the opening and crushing of the concrete slab, figure 8(c).
5.

CONCLUSIONS

Based on the results presented in this paper, the following conclusions may be drawn:
1. The height of the opening affects the ultimate strength of the composite beam. When the opening is
placed in the low M/V region, the shear capacity decreases with the increase of the opening height.
When the opening is located at mid span of the beam, the ultimate moment decreases with the
increase of the opening height. Between these two extreme locations, the percentage of reduction in
the ultimate moment and shear capacities vary with the change in M/V ratio.
2. The opening length affects the capacity of the composite beam. At the low M/V region, the shear
capacity of the composite beam decreases with increasing the opening length. At mid span of the
beam, the ultimate moment capacity decreases with increasing the opening length. Between these two
extreme locations, the percentage of reduction in the ultimate moment and shear capacities vary with
the change in M/V ratio.
3. Eccentricity of the opening with respect to the steel beam mid-height does not affect the ultimate shear
capacity of the composite beam for low M/V locations. However, at high M/V locations, the ultimate
moment capacity increases as the opening approaches the top of the steel beam.

6 REFERENCES
Cho, S.H. and Redwood, R.G. (1992) Slab behavior I Composite Beams at Opening. I: Analysis, Journal
of Structural Engineering, ASCE, 118, 2287-2303.
Cho, S.H. and Redwood, R.G. (1992) Slab behavior I Composite Beams at Opening. II: Tests and
Verification, Journal of Structural Engineering, ASCE, 118, 2304-2322.
Clawson, W.C. and Darwin, D. (1982) Tests of Composite Beams with Web Opening, Journal of the
Structural Division, ASCE, 108: 145-162.
Clawson, W.C. and Darwin, D. (1982) Strength of Composite Beams at Web Opening, Journal of the
Structural Division, ASCE, 108: 623-641.
Darwin, D. and Donahey, R.C. (1988) LRFD for Composite Beams with Web Openings, Journal of the
Structural Engineering, ASCE, 114: 435-552.
Darwin, D. and Lucas, W.K. (1990) LRFD for Steel and Composite Beams with Web Openings, Journal of
the Structural Engineering, ASCE, 116: 1579-1593.
Fahmy, E.H. (1988) Strength of Composite Beams with Web Openings, CSCE 1988, 1, Calgary, Alberta,
Canada: 552-565.
Hassanien, Ahmed Abdel Baset (1995) Non-linear Analysis of Composite Beams with Web Opening,
Thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement of the Master of Science, The American
University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt.
Lawson, R.M. and Chung, K.F. (1992) Tests on Composite Beams with Large Web Opening to Justify
Existing Design Methods, Journal of the Structural Engineer, 70:1-7
Ma, K.P. (1973) Inelastic Analysis of Composite Beams with Partial Connection, M.Sc. Thesis, McMaster
University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Todd, D.M. and Cooper, P.B. (1980) Strength of Composite Beams with Web Openings, Journal of the
Structural Division, ASCE, 106: 431-444.
7

NOTATIONS

Ab(I) , As(I)
Aw(I)
db(i)
dN(i)
dc
dw
Eb, Es
Fb(I) , Fs(I)
FyF, Fyw
fct, f c
Ib(i), Is(I)
M
M(I), Mb(I) , Ms(I)
Mp
Qi
S(I)
ts
V
V(i)
Vp, Vs
bt(i), sb(I)
(i)
sb(I)
F(I), w(I),
w(I),

Cross-sectional area of the steel beam and the concrete slab at panel (i).
Cross-sectional area of the steel beam web at panel (i).
Depth of the steel beam at the panel (i).
Uncracked depth of the concrete slab at the panel (i).
Depth of the ribbed metal deck.
Depth of the steel beam web.
Modulus of elasticity of the steel beam and the concrete slab at panel (i).
Interaction force in the steel beam and the concrete slab at panel (I).
The yield stress of the steel beam flange and web.
Tensile and compressive strength of concrete slab.
Moment of inertia of the steel beam and the concrete slab at panel (i).
Moment at mid-length of opening.
Applied moment, moment resisted by the steel beam, and the slab at panel (i).
Plastic moment of the steel beam.
The shear force on the connector (i).
Length of the panel (i).
Thickness of the slab.
Shear at mid-length of opening.
Applied shear on the composite beam at the panel (i).
Shear strength of the steel beam and the concrete slab.
Strain at the top of the steel beam and bottom of the concrete slab at panel (i).
Slip at connector (i).
Stress at the bottom of the concrete slab at panel (i).
Normal stress in the steel beam flange and web at panel (i).
Shear stress in the steel beam web at panel (i).

10