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Advanced Materials Research Vols 264-265 (2011) pp 694-699 Online: 2011-06-30

© (2011) Trans Tech Publications, Switzerland




P.D.Pachpor1, a, Dr.N.D.Mittal2,b, Dr.L.N.Gupta3,c and Dr.N.V.Deshpande4,d

Civil Engg. Dept., S.R.K.N.Engg.College, Nagpur (India),
Applied Mechanics Dept. MANIT, Bhopal (India),
Applied Mechanics Dept.VNIT, Nagpur (India),
a, ,

KEY WORDS: Castellated beam, Finite element analysis, plastic analysis, midmost yielding,
vonmises stress.
The solid I section beam with creating hexagonal cavities (openings) has numerous
advantages over conventional rolled sections. As they are light weight, strong, cheap and elegant.
The opening in the web simplifies the work of the installer and the electrician, since taking pipes
across beams presents no problems.
A cellular beam (circular openings) is the modern version of the traditional castellated beam.
The beam comprises pronouncedly asymmetric cellular tees, to provide a wide bearing for either
pre-cast units or a profiled metal deck. The elastic finite element analysis of castellated beam and
cellular beam is carried out to understand its behaviour under load. The failure pattern and stresses
developed under same loading condition are studied.
Based on the various modes of failure, the applicable methods of analysis are studied which
includes plastic analysis, mid post yielding and buckling analysis.
From the previous experimental results, one beam is selected and analyzed. Then the no of openings
is varied as 2, 4 and 6 in selected beam. The shape of opening is considered as hexagonal and
circular of same cross sectional area. The support conditions are considered as fixed, hinged
&roller. Overall 18 cases are studied for same central point load & span with change of spacing of
openings. The maximum Deflection and the maximum VonMises stress are worked out. The
comparative study is carried out using software for finite element analysis ANSYS.


The structural engineers are always innovative to find new ways of designing lightweight cost-
effective structures. Due to constraint of strength and deflection, the material property and geometry
will paved the path of new designing of beams. The castellated beams were one of these solutions.
Due to limitations on maximum allowable deflections, the high strength properties of
structural steel cannot always be utilized to best advantage. Castellated beams were one of these
solutions (Fig 1).

Figure-1 Castellated beam

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Castellated (expanded) beams are fabricated from wide flange I-beams. The web of the
section is cut by flame along the horizontal x-x axis along a "zigzag" pattern. The two halves are
then welded together to produce a beam of greater depth with hexagonal openings in the web. The
resulting beam has a larger section modulus and greater bending rigidity than the original section,
without an increase in weight. However, the presence of the holes in the web will change the
structural behavior of the beam from that of plain webbed beams. Experimental tests on castellated
beams have shown that beam slenderness, castellation parameters and the loading type are the main
parameters, which dictate the strength and modes of failure of these beams.
As roof or floor beams, joists or purlins, these sections may replace solid sections or truss
members. Their aesthetic attributes produce an attractive architectural design feature for stores,
schools and service buildings. In structures with ceilings, the web openings of these members
provide a passage for easy routing and installation of utilities and air conditioning ducts.
Cellular Beam:
A cellular beam is the modern version of the traditional ‘castellated’ beam A cellular beam
is up to 2.5 times stronger than its parent section. Cellular beams invariably produce a more
efficient and economical solution than castellated beams, due to their greater flexibility. The three
flexible dimensions are: Finished Depth, Cell Diameter & Cell Spacing. The circular openings
possess on average 30 % more usable area than the openings of a castellated beam.
The experimental studies on castellated beams have reported six different modes of failure
Kerdal[2]. These modes are closely associated with beam geometry, web slenderness, hole opening,
type of loading, and provision of lateral supports. Under given applied transverse or coupling
forces, failure is likely to occur by one the following modes.
Vierendeel or Shear Mechanism:
This mode of failure is associated with high shear forces acting on the beam. Formation of
plastic hinges at the reentrant corners of the holes deforms the tee section above the openings to a
parallelogram shape. Beams with relatively short spans with shallow tee sections and longer weld
lengths are prone to this mode of failure. When a castellated beam is subjected to shear, the tee
sections above and below the opening carry the applied shear, as well as the primary and secondary
moments. The primary moment is the conventional bending moment on the beam cross-section. The
secondary moment, also known as the Vierendeel moment, results from the action of shear force in
the tee sections over the horizontal length of the opening. Therefore, as the horizontal length of the
opening decreases, the magnitude of the secondary moment will decrease. The location of this
failure will occur at the opening under greatest shearing force, or if several openings are subjected
to the same maximum shear, then the one with the greatest moment will be the critical one.
Flexural Mechanism:
Under pure bending, provided the section is compact, the tee sections above and below the
openings yield in tension and compression until they become fully plastic. The yielding in the tee
sections above and below the openings of a castellated beam was similar to that of a solid beam
under pure bending forces. Thus, the maximum in-plane carrying capacity of a castellated beam
under pure moment loading was determined to be Mp= Z' x Fy; where Z' is the full section plastic
modulus taken through the vertical centerline of a hole.
Lateral-Torsional Buckling:
As in solid web beams, out of plane movement of the beam without any web distortions
describes this mode of failure. Lateral torsional buckling is usually associated with longer span
beams with inadequate lateral support to the compression flange. The reduced torsional stiffness of
the web, as a result of relatively deeper and slender section properties, contributes to this buckling
mode, Kerdal [2] investigated this mode of failure.
Rupture of Welded Joints:
The mid depth weld joint of the web post between two openings may rupture when
horizontal shear stresses exceed the yield strength of the welded joint. Husain[3] investigated this
failure mode by testing six beams with short welded joints. This mode of failure depends upon the
length of the welded joint (e).
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Web Post buckling:

The horizontal shear force in the web-post is associated with double curvature bending over
the height of the post. One inclined edge of the opening will be stressed in tension, and the opposite
edge in compression and buckling will cause a twisting effect of the web post along its height.
Based on finite difference approximation for an ideally elastic-plastic-hardening material Redwood
[8] produced some graphical design approximations for a wide range of beam and hole geometries.
Some correlations between experimental and non-linear finite element analysis (FEM) estimations
were found in the works of Zaarour[6].An energy method to solve an elastic buckling problem by
treating the web post as a variable section rectangular beam in double curvature bending,
susceptible to lateral torsion buckling. In recent works of Demirdjian[1], Approximations of
buckling loads were derived based on elastic finite element analysis and good correlations between
experimental and theoretical estimations were found.
Web Post Buckling Due to Compression:
A concentrated load or a reaction point applied directly over a web-post causes this failure
mode. This mode was reported in the experiments conducted by Husain[3]. Buckling of the web
post under large compression forces is not accompanied by twisting of the post, as it would be
under shearing force. Such a failure mode could be prevented if adequate web reinforcing stiffeners
are provided.

Several theoretical approaches are considered to analyze the yielding and buckling failure
modes of castellated beams. Plastic analysis of the Vierendeel mechanism failure, as well as
analysis of mid web post yielding is summarized. Elastic finite element buckling analysis is used to
predict buckling loads.
Plastic Analysis:
The construction of an interaction diagram relating shear force and bending moment at mid-
length of an opening has been described by Redwood[8]. This diagram can be used to study failure
caused by the formation of a Vierendeel mechanism formed by the development of four plastic
hinges at the re-entrant corners of the tee section, above and below the hole. For the beam to attain
this plastic failure, the web and flanges are assumed to be stable and withstand the high shear load
until plastic hinges are formed at the reentrant corners of an opening in high shear region. As the
load increases, primary and secondary stresses resulting from combined effect of shear and moment
forces lead to complete yield at the four corners thus forming plastic hinges. This analysis is based
on the assumption of perfectly plastic material behavior with yielding according to VonMises
Mid-Post Yielding:
It is possible for yielding of the web-post at mid-height to occur before failure due to
formation of shear mechanism takes place. This mode of failure occurs particularly to beams with
closely spaced openings with low moment-to-shear ratio. The vertical shear force to cause mid-post
yielding is defined through.

and the basic approach to define this relationship Hussain[3] is derived by using equilibrium

Vh is defined as the difference between the to horizontal forces C1 & C2 . dg= total depth, s=
spacing of holes, tw= thickness of web. This equation is based on the assumption that the line of
action of forces C1 & C2 are acting at the centroid of the tee section above the openings. The web
post will yield when the minimum weld-post area is subjected to the shear yield stress Fy /√3, or Vh
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= e tw Fy /√3 .Due to the maximum shear stress being at the throat, the yielding is contained, and it
can be expected that strain hardening will develop leading to a significantly higher failure load than
that given by Eqn. 2.1. In the work of Hussain[3], the shear yield stress has been measured directly
and is significantly higher than based on Fy /√3. In view of this yield stress used, for this mode of
failure only, will be later increased by a factor β.
Buckling Analysis:
Based on a finite difference bifurcation analysis of the web post treated as a beam spanning
between the top and bottom of the openings, graphical results relating critical moments in the post
to different beam opening geometries were developed by Redwood [8]. The material was
considered to be an elastic-perfectly plastic linear strain-hardening material. For different hole
height to minimum width ratios, critical moments in the post at the level of the top and bottom of
the opening, divided by that section's plastic moment capacity, Mp = 0.25 tw (s - e)2 Fy.
Finite Element Analysis:
Finite element analysis (FEA) is a process, which predicts deflection and other effects of
stress on a structure. FEA divides the structure into a grid of elements, which forms a model of the
real structure. Each of the elements is a simple shape (such as square or a rectangular) for which the
finite element program has information to write the governing equation in the form of a stiffness
matrix. The unknowns for each element are the displacements at the node points, which are the
points at which elements are connected. The finite element program will assemble the stiffness
matrices for the simple elements together to form the global stiffness matrix for the entire model.
This stiffness matrix is solved for the unknown displacement at the nodes and the stress at each
element can be calculated.


Three-dimensional geometry of castellated & Cellular Beam was created by four node
tetrahedral element and tool of finite element method software ANSYS, A beam of G1, Husain[3]is
selected and analyzed for deflection and Von Mises stresses. The span of beam is 3.00m and point
load of 265.5KN is applied at the center. Flange width =101.60mm, flange thickness =6.83mm, web
thickness =5.84mm, depth of beam =381.00mm. Such beam is analyzed for hexagonal and circular
shape of openings of equal area. The no. of openings is 2, 4&6. The support conditions are taken as
fixed, hinged & roller. The openings are symmetrical with x and y-axis.

Figure-2 Two Hexagonal Opening Figure-3 Two Circular Opening

698 Advances in Materials and Processing Technologies II

Figure-4 Four and Six Hexagonal and Circular Openings


TABLE-1 Deflections And Stresses Of Beam with Number & Shape of Web Opening:

No.of End Deflection (mm) Max. VonMises Stress

openings condition (KN/mm2 )
Circular Hexagonal Circular Hexagonal
2 Fixed 12.42 12.36 3.94 4.08
Hinged 12.42 12.36 3.94 4.08
Roller 15.22 15.13 3.99 4.14
4 Fixed 13.86 13.71 3.95 3.96
Hinged 13.86 13.71 3.95 3.96
Roller 16.54 16.33 3.99 3.99
6 Fixed 15.33 15.22 4.20 5.14
Hinged 15.33 15.22 4.20 5.14
Roller 18.04 17.75 4.22 5.16


The results of deflection and von mises stresses are comparable with the beam of hexagonal
and circular shape web opening. The reflection in circular opening is more in comparison to
hexagonal openings of same area. As the no. of opening increases, the deflection also increases for
the same support conditions. The maximum deflection is observed under roller support then fixed or
hinged condition due to displacements at the ends. The maximum von mises stress is also less in
circular opening as compared to hexagonal opening of same area. The deflections and maximum
von mises stresses increases as the no. of opening increases. This is possible due to more openness
in web of beam and development of vierendeel mechanism, whereas the shared deformation is
affecting the results in other openings. For 6 opening geometry the increased in deflection and stress
is more for same support condition in comparison to 2 and 4 openings.
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[1] Redwood R.G. and Demirdjian S. Castellated beam web buckling in shear, Journal of
Structural Engineering, ASCE, No. 10 (1998), 124
[2] Kerdal, D., and Nethercot, D.A.“Failure modes for castellated beams”.Journal of
Constructional Steel Research. Vol. 4 (1984), 295-315.
[3] Galambos, A.R., Hussain, M.U., and Speirs W.G. . “Optimum expansion ratio of castellated
steel beams”. Engineering Optimization, London, Great Britain, Vol. 1(1975), 213-225.
[4] Omer W. Blodget Design of Welded Structures , published by The James Lincoln
Arc Welding Foundation, pages 4.7-8 and 4.7-9.
[5] Megharief, J.D. (1997). “Behavior of composite castellated beams”. , McGill University.
[6] Redwood R.and Zaarour W. “web buckling in webbed castellated beam” Journal of
Structural Engineering; 122(8),(1996),pp860-866.
[7] Liu T.C.H. and Chang K.F. “Steel beam with large web openings of various shape and size”,
Journal of constructional steel research 59(2003)pp1159-1176.
[8] Aglan, A.A. and Redwood R.G. “ Web Buckling Castellated Beams”, Proceeding of
Institute of Civil Engineering, Part two, vol.57(1974).

Figure-5 Deflection Distribution of Beam With Hexagonal And Circular Openings By FEM
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Finite Element Analysis and Comparison of Castellated and Cellular Beam