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Engineering Structures xxx (2012) xxxxxx

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Engineering Structures
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Strain rate dependent component based connection modelling for use

in non-linear dynamic progressive collapse analysis
E.P. Stoddart a, M.P. Byeld a,, J.B. Davison b, A. Tyas b
School of Civil Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK
Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, University of Shefeld, Shefeld S10 2TN, UK

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: This paper introduces the use of rate dependent springs to component-based joint models. This allows
Available online xxxx strain rate hardening as well as strain rate induced reductions in ductility to be included in component
spring models for inclusion in non-linear dynamic analysis. Experimental tests of n-plate connections
Keywords: are carried out under static and dynamic conditions with loading time as low as 32 ms to failure. The
Progressive collapse joints were tested under the combined effects of tensile load and rotation in order to simulate the com-
Steel construction plex conditions experienced by joints during catenary action. The strain rate modications to the compo-
nent models of the joint were observed to be able to accurately model strain rate induced hardening, as
Disproportionate collapse
well as reductions in failure rotation which occur in joints under dynamic conditions.
Impact The rate dependent component models were subsequently incorporated directly into sub-frame mod-
Connections els to simulate catenary action developed due to the loss of support to a column. The individual failure
Joints criteria of the joint components provide for an accurate simulation of the progressive fracture of joints
Structures during collapse. The results are compared with the conventional approach in which joints are modelled
Modelling using axial and rotational springs. The comparison reveals that, for the scenario investigated, the conven-
tional method leads to a 20% overestimation of load capacity, due to the lack of inclusion of dynamic
material property effects and moment capacity reductions resulting from prying action and catenary
action axial forces. Thus the approach goes some way to developing a more realistic approximation of
momenttensionrotation response through to fracture of joints in whole frame progressive collapse
computer simulations.
2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction tion, by redistributing the associated loads to adjacent members.

Recent studies have indicated that some semi-rigid steelwork con-
The importance of protecting buildings against progressive col- nections may lack the strength and ductility required to survive
lapse is well recognised with both US and UK design guidelines the demands imposed by catenary action [5,6].
including recommendations to ensure a minimum level of robust- Early work [7] investigated the ultimate axial capacity of steel
ness [1,2]. Progressive collapse occurs where local failure of a pri- connections subject to direct tension loading and subsequent stud-
mary load bearing elements leads to the collapse of adjoining ies of the ndings formed the basis for calculating tensile capacity
members which in turn leads to further collapse and thus the total to the present day [8]. However these calculations did not account
damage is disproportionate to the original cause [3]. A minimum for joint rotation or the prying action which can develop when the
level of robustness is attained by ensuring the structural elements lower beam ange contacts the supporting column (Fig. 1). This
are mechanically fastened together. By designing connections be- prying action generates a force couple between the lower beam
tween members to resist specied vertical and horizontal tensile ange and the connection, which horizontal equilibrium dictates
forces structural continuity is enhanced. This tying force method must reduce the axial capacity. This is extremely important when
was incorporated into British regulations following the 1968 pro- considering primary element loss of a column and the frame is re-
gressive collapse of a tower block at Ronan Point, London and sim- quired to support a double bay span with large connection
ilar requirements have been incorporated into the Eurocodes [4]. rotations.
These tying forces are intended to allow the structure to bridge Immediately following column removal, downwards movement
over the loss of a primary element, in what is termed catenary ac- of the damaged bay is resisted by a combination of forces in the
connections, beams, columns and oor system. This dynamic load
Corresponding author.
redistribution will increase the associated tying force at the con-
E-mail address: (M.P. Byeld).
nections making them more susceptible to premature failure.

0141-0296/$ - see front matter 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Please cite this article in press as: Stoddart EP et al. Strain rate dependent component based connection modelling for use in non-linear dynamic progres-
sive collapse analysis. Eng Struct (2012),
2 E.P. Stoddart et al. / Engineering Structures xxx (2012) xxxxxx

Fig. 1. Development of prying action in simple connection.

When analysing such an event, US guidance [3] limits removal used, the rotation is limited and the connection is subjected to ten-
time of the column to 1/10 of its natural period and recent work sion only to allow a comparison with the design tying capacity (in
has outlined the legitimacy of using instantaneous column loss which it is assumed that the load is applied axially notwithstand-
as an upper bound design limit to assess a structures potential ing the fact that catenary action, by denition, requires some de-
for progressive collapse [9]. Progressive collapse analysis proce- gree of end rotation). Alternatively a single loading ram can be
dures have developed greatly the past decade and now range in used to force the column section to rotate about the connection
complexity from modifying static analyses using dynamic load fac- and thus introduce prying action. An industrial compressor was
tors to full three-dimensional non-linear dynamic solutions. How- used to charge a pressure vessel and the pressure released by the
ever, the problem remains that the response of the structure is failing of a brass diaphragm. Different diaphragm thicknesses were
inuenced by the connection behaviour and this behaviour is rela- used to vary the failure load and thus the loading rates. Custom
tively unknown at the loading rates and rotations likely to occur as built load cells were attached perpendicular to the column with
a building sustains damage. a hemispherical bearing to record the applied normal forces.
The dynamic movement of the column ends was captured using
laser displacement gauges (LDGs) and a three dimensional digital
2. Experimental dynamic testing image correlation system to allow accurate calculation of the mo-
ment of inertia of the column section. In addition, an accelerometer
In order to examine the ability of typical connections to resist was installed at the centreline of the load cell. A 2 m long uniform
the loading and deformation likely to occur as a frame resists col- 254  254  167 UC section was used which had a total mass
lapse, a purpose built dynamic connection test facility has been de- (including stiffeners, load cell and roller bearings) of 402 kg. Where
signed and constructed at the University of Shefelds Civil one load ram was used, the inertial moment of resistance (MI) was
Engineering and Dynamics (CEDUS) laboratory (Fig. 2). The com- calculated by assuming it behaved as a homogenous innitely stiff
plete test methodology is available elsewhere [10] but a brief rod rotating about a variable pivot point. This pivot point was cal-
description is presented below. culated from the displacement gauge data.
The setup applies loads of up to 300 kN in loading rise times With reference to Fig. 3 dynamic force equilibrium was used to
from 5 ms to several hundreds of seconds, in either direct tension calculate the connection force (Fc) in terms of the applied force (FA),
or combined moment and tension. The test layout xes the beam inertial force (FI) and rotation (h):
in position and pneumatically driven loading rams force a column
section away thus loading the connection. Where dual rams are F C t F A t cos ht  F I t 1

Fig. 2. Experimental test setup.

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Fig. 3. (a) Free body force diagram. (b) Rotation/translation diagram.

From dynamic moment equilibrium about the centreline of the beam deections. As a consequence the connections can be subject
connection the moment connection (Mc): to simultaneous large rotations and high axial forces leading to the
possibility of connection fracture. In addition, the high tempera-
M C t F A tx2 x3  M I t  F I tx3 cos ht 2
tures can affect material properties often reducing the associated
At each time step h was calculated from the laser displacement yield and ultimate strength. Static testing of web cleat connections
gauge data: under these load combinations has been the subject of recent work
  [14] with the parameters studied including rotational capacity and
z1 t  z2 t
ht tan1 3 the tying capacity in the presence of other forces. Yu et al. [15] pre-
L  x5 x6
sented the use of the component method to model the connections
The rotational acceleration (a) was calculated by double differ- with good correlation against test results showing that the method
entiation of the laser displacement gauge data and veried against is able to account for non-linear material properties and load
the accelerometer readings which were used to calculate the iner- scenarios.
tial moment of resistance. The advantage of considering the deformable regions of the
connection separately is that failure criteria for each component
M I t htI 4 can be included. This makes it possible, once the model is assem-
The total mass (M) and the recorded displacement at the centre bled, to predict the occurrence and sequence of failure. This makes
of mass of the column (zcl) were used to calculate the inertial force. it particularly suitable to progressive collapse analysis conditions
in which local connection fracture can progress to complete joint
F I t zCL tM 5 fracture and the subsequent detachment of the supported member.
Validation trials conducted without a connection in place dem-
onstrated an error of less than 5% for calculation of the moment of 3.1. Strain rate dependent effects
inertia [10].
In the component models developed herein, dynamic increase
factors (DIF) were used to account for the variable material proper-
3. Component-based methods for connection modelling
ties at different loading rates using the work by Malvar and
Crawford [16]. The DIF for yield strength (U) is given by:
The component method is an approach to connection modelling
h iay
in which all regions of deformation are represented by an assembly e_
U 1104
of spring elements. The non-linear forcedisplacement behav- 6
iour of each component can be obtained by experimental testing ay 0:074  0:040 414
or numerical modelling. Eurocode 3 Part 1:8 Design of Joints
[11] makes use of the component method to predict the The DIF for ultimate strength (X) is found using:
momentrotation behaviour of common semi-rigid steel connec- h iau
X e_
tions by assuming all of the components act together as a single 1104
rotational spring. fy
au 0:019  0:009 414
Investigations into progressive collapse recognised the benet
of incorporating the joint component models into whole frame where fy is the yield strength of the steel and e_ is the strain-rate. All
progressive collapse models [12,13]. This allowed for the redistri- steel was S275 and the bolts were Class 8.8, with the static material
bution of forces between joint components and could account for properties as specied in Eurocode 3.
all loading conditions, including axial forces, whilst maintaining
global equilibrium of the system. This approach reduced computa- 3.2. Plate in bearing
tional time compared to full three-dimensional FEA connection
models. The behaviour of the plate in bearing is based upon experimen-
Axial forces are important in re conditions, where the variable tal work which concentrated on characterising the behaviour of a
temperatures can cause axial compression due to restraint of ther- single bolt bearing against a single plate [17]. Parameters include
mal expansion or axial tension due to catenary action from large end distance (e), plate thickness (tp) and bolt diameter (db). The

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sive collapse analysis. Eng Struct (2012),
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normalized deformation D is related to the bearing force (Fb) and

is a function of the plate yield (fyp) and ultimate (fup) stress:

Fb 1:74D
 0:009D 8
F b;Rd 1 D0:5

where the normalised deformation is calculated from the hole elon-

gation (Db) using:
D Db 9
F b;Rd
The nominal plate strength can be calculated from the plate
thickness (tp) and edge distance (e) using:
F b;Rd Xfup etp 10
The initial stiffness of the plate is calculated based upon the Fig. 4. Effect of bearing rate on DIF for S275 steel.
bearing (Kbr) bending (Kb) and shear (Kv) stiffnesses using Youngs
modulus (Ep) and shear modulus (Gp) of the plate steel.
above [19]. A three dimensional mesh consisting of rst order 8-
1 node brick elements was created with dimensions of
Ki 1
K br
K1 K1v 150  120  6 mm. The stiff bolt was modelled using 4-node rigid

shell elements. The velocity of the bolt bearing against the plate
The individual stiffnesses are calculated as follows.
was kept constant throughout the analysis with results for a veloc-
0:8 ity of 1.5 m/s presented. A bilinear material model was dened
K br 120t p Ufyp 12 using the strain-rate dependent criteria given in Eqs. (6) and (7).
 3 The resulting load-deformation behaviour indicates a good correla-
e tion with the prediction of dynamic enhancement however no
K b 32Ep t p  0:5 13
db material fracture criteria was specied so the FE model demon-
e strates a greater ductility than predicted (see Fig. 5)
K v 6:67Gp tp  0:5 14
The static values for yield and ultimate stresses of both the n 3.3. Bolt in single shear
plate and beam web were taken as 275 and 430 MPa respectively
[18], while a value of 205 kN/mm2 was adopted for the Youngs The bolt shear deformation model is developed from previous
modulus of the steel. Eqs. (8)(14) provide the forcedisplacement work by Sarraj [20] where a parametric study of nite element
behaviour of both the n plate and beam web subject to an applied models was used to investigate the shear behaviour of Grade 8.8
bearing force. The effect of strain rate is included by considering an bolts. The bolt shear deformation (Dv) is related to the applied
innitely stiff bolt moving at a constant bearing rate (Vbr). The time shear force (Fv) by:
taken to reach the yield bearing deformation (dbr) is used to predict  6
Fv Fv
the strain rate as follows: Dv 2:5 20
K v ;b F v ;Rd
e_ 15 The bolt shear stiffness (Kv,b) is dependent upon the shear mod-
ulus (G), shear stress area (As) and bolt diameter (db) and calculated
where using:
dbr fy 0:15GAs
ty and ey 16 K v ;b 21
V br E db

V br fyp where fub, As, G and db are the bolt ultimate stress, shear area, shear
e_ 17 modulus and diameter respectively. The value of 0.15 is a correction
Ep dbr
factor to account for the cross-sectional shape and material
This gives the following relationship from Eqs. (6) and (7): properties.
DIF for yield strength of plate in bearing The proposed bolt shearing strength (Fv,Rd) is a function of the
" #0:0740:040414
fyp shear area (As) and bolt yield strength (fyb): from connection design
V br fyp manual [8]
Ubr 18
Ep dbr  1  105
Bolt strength 0:6f yb As 22
DIF for ultimate strength of plate in bearing
For Grade 8.8 bolts:
" #0:0190:009414

V br fyp fub
Xbr 19 1:25 23
Ep dbr 1  10 4 fyb

The original investigation [15] determined a typical yield bear- F v ;Rd 0:6  1:25  fyb As 0:75Uv fyb As 24
ing deformation (dbr) of 0.102 mm which is used for both the n-
plate and beam web and allows the DIF to be plotted as a function where Uv is a shear rate dependent strength factor.
of the bearing rate (Fig. 4). Previous studies [21] of M20 bolts have shown that the yield
An FEA model of a single plate bearing against an innitely stiff stress and strain is achieved over an initial deformation of approx-
bolt was developed and compared against the analytical procedure imately 1/40 of the bolt diameter. This value is used to approxi-

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sive collapse analysis. Eng Struct (2012),
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Fig. 5. FEA model of plate in bearing and comparison with numerical prediction.

mate the strain rate by dividing the yield strain by the time taken 3.4. Friction
to reach the yield strain for a set shear rate (Vb).
Sarraj [23] presented a triangular friction model to represent
eyb the friction between the beam web and shear tab. The peak friction
e_ 25
ty force includes a slip factor (l) to account for the friction surfaces.

F s;Rd 0:28lfub As 29
ty The displacements at peak shear force and zero resistance are
40V b
calculated using the combined plate thickness (tT):
where 26
fyb Dsu 0:18db
eyb 30
Eb tT < 20 then Dsf 16

20 6 t T 6 38 then Dsf 16  0:3t T  0:5

40V b fyb 31
e_ 27 38 < t T then Dsf 4
db Eb
The shear rate is therefore directly proportional to the strain Dynamic friction is not accounted for in the model but could be
rate which is used to calculate the dynamic increase factor from included in future work.
Eq. (6).
3.5. Beam and column contact
" #0:0740:040414

4  105 V b fyb Beam column contact is often included through the use of an
Uv 28
db Eb additional spring whose stiffness is zero until the initial clearance
is taken up at which point it becomes innitely stiff. This method is
The DIF can then be plotted as a function of shear rate as shown a simple approximation which allows prying action to be included
in Fig. 6. but cannot account for any relative slip between the beam lower
In practice, 20 mm diameter bolts are installed in 22 mm diam- ange and column. Whilst this is often inconsequential for connec-
eter clearance holes and therefore, assuming the bolts are installed tion tests it was thought that in the case of progressive collapse
centrally, there is 1 mm of movement in either direction. This is ac- this slip could alter the rotation point and thus the overall behav-
counted for by offsetting the stiffness curve for each bolt. Experi- iour. Therefore a contact denition was made between the rigid
mental data of bolts tested at 20 C [22] indicates that once the elements representing the face of the beam and column ange.
bolt ultimate shear strength is achieved the bolt fractures with lit-
tle ductility.
4. Comparison between experimental and numerical results

The experimental tests presented were simulated using the

component-based method described above. In the experimental
test programme a 10 mm thick n plate connection (Fig. 7) was
loaded using a single load ram with results from both static and
dynamic tests presented. The connection was designed to BCSA
guidelines [8] using M20 Grade 8.8 bolts and S275 steel for all
Static behaviour of the component model was predicted using a
rotation-controlled analysis where the rotation was increased in
each step and the force solved for each bolt row as used in previous
work [15]. The total moment was then calculated as a resultant of
all the forces in the bolt rows.
Dynamic behaviour was obtained using the explicit solver in
ABAQUS with the input le for the pre-processing stage created
using ABAQUS/CAE. The column was modelled using rigid ele-
ments (R2D2) as was the face of the beam section. Each bolt row,
Fig. 6. Effect of shear rate on DIF for M20 Grade 8.8 bolt. consisting of n plate, beam web and bolt in single shear, was

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sive collapse analysis. Eng Struct (2012),
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The dynamic analysis was conducted using a 2.13 GHz Intel

Core 2 Duo processor with 2 GB RAM and the total run time was
approximately 6 min. The physical behaviour of the component
model showed good correlation against the experimental test data
(Fig. 10ad). The rotational acceleration and displacement of the
centre of mass are of particular importance in modelling this prob-
lem as these are used to calculate the dynamic inertial forces
which in turn are used to determine the actual moment and force
at the connection.
The dynamic behaviour is compared against the experimental
test data where connection failure was achieved in approximately
35 ms. From observation of the momentrotation curves, the initial
stiffness and yield moment is predicted well; however the model
appears to predict a stiffer response in the strain hardening or plas-
tic phase. This may be attributable to over estimation of the material
strength at this loading rate or the fact that the connection model
Fig. 7. Fin-plate connection detailing. does not account for web buckling or crushing of the lower ange,
which would allow further rotation at the respective moment.
When the column is loaded it is forced to rotate and the rate of
assembled into a global connection model using axial connector rotation causes the bolt row components to extend at different
sections. The forcedisplacement behaviour of each spring was de- velocities. As a result the individual forces are different for
ned for a range of deformation rates (Fig. 8) to allow the solver to dynamic and static loading leading to an increased moment at low-
calculate the behaviour throughout the analysis. The load recorded er rotations. The resistance gradually increases with rotation until
in the experimental test was tabulated and used as input for the FE the lower beam ange contact occurs at which point an increase in
model. stiffness is observed. The ultimate connection load is dictated by
In all experimental tests, the dominant failure mode was by bolt the failure of the upper bolt row which in all cases was predicted
shear as shown in Fig. 9a. Very little deformation was recorded in to be bolt shear; in agreement with the experimental data. This ini-
the n plate whilst the beam web showed signicant bolt hole elon- tial failure allowed further rotation and led to consecutive failures
gation (Fig. 9b) with a maximum of 4.72 mm recorded for bolt row 1. of the other bolt rows.

Fig. 8. Rate-dependent loaddeformation behaviour of components in n-plate model.

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Fig. 9. (a) Shear failure of all bolts. (b) Final bearing deformation of beam web.

Fig. 10. Physical behaviour of column for dynamic connection test.

The component-based model was able to predict static and dy- column loss were conducted using the same connections as the
namic connection behaviour, where the connection was taken to experimental investigation from the previous section. All struc-
failure in 35 ms, with reasonable accuracy, Fig. 11. Dynamically tural beams and columns were modelled with beam elements
loading the connection caused an increase in yield moment and using a bilinear material model whilst the component joint model
plastic stiffness combined with reduced failure rotation. The meth- developed previously was used for the connection. In addition a
od in general allows the inclusion of second-order geometric ef- shear element was included at each bolt row to maintain global
fects, caused by changing geometry, such as prying action at equilibrium.
large rotations. Alternative congurations, such as additional bolt The investigation compared the use of a component-based
rows, would require further validation before they could be imple- method against modelling the connections using rotational springs
mented with a similar level of condence. (yield elements) for a double span scenario following removal of
the central support (Fig. 12). The beams were 7 m long
356  171  45 UB sections made of S275 steel. The behaviour of
5. Frame modelling the rotational spring was dened using the static momentrotation
curve developed previously. In addition, an axial spring was in-
Following the validation of the component method for dynamic cluded to avoid overestimation of the lateral restraint, whose
conditions, a series of analyses for a steel frame structure subject to behaviour was obtained by assuming the connection was subject

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Fig. 11. Comparison of component model with test results.

Fig. 12. Simple column loss scenario using (a) component method (b) rotational spring method.

to direct tension. The behaviour of both the rotational and axial ing displacementtime history for each method was analysed
springs are shown in Fig. 12b. using ABAQUS/Explicit. Where the frame demonstrated sufcient
The component method model was able to explicitly account robustness, the point load was increased and the problem reanal-
for the dynamic effects and failure was based upon individual com- ysed until an ultimate failure load was achieved.
ponent behaviour whilst for the rotational spring method a rota- Results indicated that the component method model predicted
tional capacity and axial capacity were dened prior to analysis. a reduced ultimate failure load of approximately 80% compared to
A constant point load, W, was applied at the central column and using rotational springs (Fig. 13a). In addition, the sum of all bolt
the central column restraint instantaneously removed. The result- row forces was used to calculate the total horizontal reaction;

Fig. 13. Results from frame analysis.

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which indicated that failure occurred at less than the predicted di- iour and the method is computationally effective with reduced
rect tension axial capacity. running time when compared with modelling joints using full
The rotational spring acts in isolation from the axial spring and three dimensional FEA meshes.
therefore sufcient rotation capacity was always available at the
connections meaning that axial load was the dominating failure Acknowledgements
mechanism rather than excessive rotation capacity. In comparison
the component method model predicted ultimate failure at a lower The authors would like to thank the Engineering and Sciences
rotation due to inclusion of horizontal beam forces. These horizon- Research Council for funding this research.
tal forces in combination with the applied moment caused signi-
cantly higher loads to develop within the individual bolt rows at References
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the models can be readily incorporated into whole frame models to
provide a more realistic prediction of progressive collapse behav-

Please cite this article in press as: Stoddart EP et al. Strain rate dependent component based connection modelling for use in non-linear dynamic progres-
sive collapse analysis. Eng Struct (2012),