School of Civil Engineering Sydney NSW 2006 AUSTRALIA http://www.civil.usyd.edu.

au/
Centre for Advanced Structural Engineering

Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems
Research Report No R896

Tayakorn Chandrangsu BSc MSc Kim JR Rasmussen MScEng PhD

June 2009
ISSN 1833-2781

School of Civil Engineering Centre for Advanced Structural Engineering http://www.civil.usyd.edu.au/

Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems
Research Report No R896 Tayakorn Chandrangsu, BSc, MSc Kim JR Rasmussen, MScEng, PhD

June 2009

Abstract:
In this report, accurate three-dimensional advanced analysis models are developed to capture the behaviour of support scaffold systems, as observed in full-scale subassembly tests consisting of three-by-three bay scaffold systems with combinations of various lift heights, number of lifts and jack extensions. The paper proposes methods for modelling spigot joints, semi-rigid upright-to-beam connections and base plate eccentricities. Material nonlinearity is taken into account in the models based on the Ramberg-Osgood expression fitted to available experimental data. Actual initial geometric imperfections including member out-ofstraightness and storey out-of-plumb are also incorporated in the models. The ultimate loads from the nonlinear analyses were calibrated against failure loads and load-deflection responses obtained from full-scale subassembly tests. The numerical results show very good agreement with tests, indicating that it is possible to accurately predict the behaviour and strength of highly complex support scaffold systems using material and geometric nonlinear analysis. The report is a milestone in the ongoing development of a design methodology for support scaffold systems based on advanced analysis currently undertaken at the University of Sydney.

Keywords:
Advanced analysis, Formwork subassemblies, Support scaffold systems, Steel scaffolds, Falsework, Subassembly tests, Structural models, Calibrations

Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems

June 2009

Copyright Notice School of Civil Engineering, Research Report R896 Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems © 2009 Tayakorn Chandrangsu and Kim JR Rasmussen T.Chandrangsu@usyd.edu.au and K.Rasmussen@usyd.edu.au ISSN 1833-2781 This publication may be redistributed freely in its entirety and in its original form without the consent of the copyright owner. Use of material contained in this publication in any other published works must be appropriately referenced, and, if necessary, permission sought from the author.

Published by: School of Civil Engineering The University of Sydney Sydney NSW 2006 AUSTRALIA June 2009 This report and other Research Reports published by the School of Civil Engineering are available on the Internet: http://www.civil.usyd.edu.au

School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896

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................................................. Conclusions...........5 1..........................................20 3..........................................................36 School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 3 .............................................20 3.........................................................................................................................................................19 3...........1 Scaffold Systems............................................................17 3...35 5..............................................................12 2.18 3..... Discussion ..........................6 Geometric Imperfections ...................Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 Table of Contents 1.............................................................2 Test Configurations..............5 1.7 Geometric and Material Nonlinearities...................................................................................20 3....................21 3..................................36 References .....................................................10 2..................................................................................................................................1 Test Setup and Procedures .................................................17 3...36 Acknowledgement ........................................... Introduction...............................................................................................................................................................................................3 Brace Connections ......................................................4 Base Plate Eccentricity ............................................................... Finite Element Models..............................................................................8 Calibrations ...................15 3. Full-Scale Subassembly Tests..................3 Test Results ..................................................1 Spigot Joints...........2 Advanced Analysis .....................................................................................25 4..7 2......................6 1....................................................................3 Previous Scaffold Models .......................................................2 Semi-Rigid Standard-to-Ledger Connections....5 Load Eccentricity ......10 2...........................

Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 4 .

ledgers (horizontal members). Support scaffolds are the main focus in this research. The base of scaffolds consists of threaded adjustable jacks. scaffolds must also be designed to withstand lateral loads. Introduction 1. including wind loads. and earthquake loads. Support scaffolds normally consist of standards (vertical members). formworks.1 Scaffold Systems Scaffolds are temporary structures commonly used in construction to support various types of loads. also sometimes called falsework. The top of scaffolds consists of threaded adjustable jacks with U-heads which support timber bearers and ensure the levelling of the formwork. The connections for diagonal brace members are usually made of hooks for easy assembling. An example of a support scaffold system is shown in Figure 1. also known as spigot joints (Figure 2). impact loads. in some systems manually adjusted pin-jointed couplers are still being used.Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 1. Depending on their use. though. Access scaffolds are used to support light to moderate loads from labourers. for example. are subjected to heavy loads. and braces. and construction materials. Figure 1: Typical support scaffold School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 5 . concrete weight in the formwork. construction equipment. scaffolds may be categorised as access scaffolds or support scaffolds. The scaffold standards are connected to each other to create a lift via couplers. In order to connect ledgers to standards. wedge-type or Cuplok joints (Figure 3) are usually preferred for the connection because no bolting or welding is required. They are usually attached to buildings with ties and only one bay wide. which can be extended up to typically 600 mm by a wing nut to accommodate irregularity of the ground. small construction material and equipment for safe working space. The vertical loads on scaffold can be from labourers. Commonly. Support scaffolds.

School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 6 . For example. In the research by Gylltoft and Mroz [1]. in many cases research on scaffold systems has focused on elastic nonlinear geometric modelling associated with second-order effects. [2]. Geometric nonlinear analysis is also a common practice in design offices. Nonlinear analysis allows researchers and practitioners to more accurately predict the failure load and deformation of scaffold systems. The model was further applied to determine the ultimate load of a typical access scaffold considering various configurations and load combinations. Nevertheless. [5]. However. [4]. Advanced analysis involves the modelling of changes of the geometry of structures as a result of loading and inelastic material behaviour. a three-dimensional geometric and material nonlinear finite element model was verified against the results of a full scale test scaffold. geometric and material nonlinear structural analysis has become feasible and practical. advanced analysis method can usually fulfil the design requirement with no tedious separate member capacity checks. with accurate finite element model.2 Advanced Analysis With the ready availability of powerful computers and sophisticated structural analysis software packages. whereas the use of inelastic analysis is still rare. elastic geometric nonlinear analyses were reported by Peng et al.Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 Top Standard Spigot Insert Bottom Standard Figure 2: Schematic of spigot joint 3 Locking pin 2 Top cup Ledger blade 1 Bottom cup Standard Ledger Figure 3: Schematic of Cuplok joint 1. and Weesner and Jones [6]. Prabhakaran et al. Chu et al. Yu et al. [3].

the joints become stiffer [13]. Milojkovic et al. the spigot can create out-of-straightness of the standards. and Godley and Beale [13]. The IGI method consisted of applying an initial sway of the frame and an out-of-straightness to each column in the frame. Figure 4 shows typical moment-rotation curves for cuplock [13] and wedgetype [18] joints. three-dimensional advanced structural analysis models are proposed in order to develop a new design methodology for support scaffold systems. For scaffold systems. For example. additional lateral point loads were applied at the top of each column in one direction of the frame and initial member out-ofstraightness could be represented by lateral distributed forces along each member. initial geometric imperfections.Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 AS4100 [7] allows the application of advanced analysis for the design of steel frames in which the members are of compact cross-section with full lateral restraint. actual connection behaviour.1% to 0. including the scaling of eigenbuckling modes (EBM). EBM was performed by carrying out an eigenbuckling analysis on the structural model. [4] and Chu et al. and interaction with the foundations [8]. and then scaling and superimposing the lowest eigenmode onto the perfect geometry to create an initial imperfect structural frame for the second-order structural analysis. In other research on scaffold systems by Peng et al. Some past models proposed by Huang et al. School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 7 . As to spigot joints. Yu et al. [5] integrated EBM with the magnitude of the column out-of-straightness of 0. these same approaches can be applied to model the effects of initial imperfections in the analysis. Moreover. In the NHF approach. LUSAS [10]. the NHF approach was incorporated in the model by applying a horizontal notional force of 0. There are many ways of taking geometric imperfection effects into account. [12]. and Peng et al. Yu and Chung [17] investigated a method called critical load approach where initial imperfections were integrated directly into a Perry-Robertson interaction formula to determine the failure loads of the scaffolds in the analysis. Wedge-type joints are generally more flexible and closer to pinned connections. In each of these approaches. Scaffold joints are complex in nature due to need for rapid assembly and reassembly in construction. [14]. 1. construction methods. instability effects. [15] were created in two dimensions for simplicity and computational efficiency. The Cuplok connections behave as semi-rigid joints.001 of the height of the scaffold units into the model. Advanced analysis models should include related material properties.3 Previous Scaffold Models By means of available commercial finite element softwares such as ANSYS [9]. thus preventing local buckling and flexural-torsional buckling. Two types of geometrical imperfections are typically required to be considered in an advanced analysis for steel framed systems to capture the second-order effects: the initial member out-of-straightness of the standard and the initial story out-of-plumb of the frame. and the direct modelling of initial geometric imperfections (IGI). Once the joints lock into place under applied load. [2]. In the research described herein. Godley and Beale [18] adopted an IGI approach by imposing a sinusoidal bow to the members and angular out-of-plumb to the frame. careful calibration against test results or numerical reference values is required. residual stresses. the application of notional horizontal forces (NHF). [3]. many new studies on scaffold behaviour were carried out through threedimensional models such as those presented by Prabhakaran et al. and NIDA [11]. and show looseness with small rotational stiffness at the beginning of loading. They also often display substantial looseness at small rotations [18]. Three methods of modelling imperfections were trialled in [16]. Three-dimensional structural analysis is beneficial in describing complex failure modes such as those observed when the combined effects of in-plane and out-of-plane bending are present.5% of the vertical loads at midheight of the scaffold lift.

Yu found that for MSS1 the failure loads for Free-Fixed and Pinned-Pinned conditions are reasonably close to test results. Subsequently.0 1. and categorised them into four cases. [3] modified the stiffness matrix for the end points of the beam to include connection flexibility.20 Figure 4: Typical moment-rotation curves for Cuplok and wedge-type joints Yu [20] studied the effects of boundary conditions of scaffold systems. Prabhakaran et al. and Free-Pinned. and the second term being the rotational restraint at the base of the scaffold. with the first term being the translational restraint at the top of the scaffold. A stiffness of 100 kN/m for the top translational spring and stiffness of 100 kNm/rad for the bottom rotational spring gave comparable results to the tests. Yu suggested that since the top of the scaffolds normally has lateral restraints then joints at the top can be modelled as translational springs. Free-Fixed. 3-storey. and for the bottom rotational spring can be applied.0 0.10 Rotation (radian) 0. i.903 kNm/rad (50 ton cm/rad) and 8. however. for which the joint stiffness exhibits different response under clockwise and counterclockwise rotations.Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 and the possibility of the joint to open up due to the gap between the standard and the spigot can produce complexity in modelling [19]. These conditions were incorporated into the models of one bay of onestorey modular steel scaffolds (MSS1).05 0.e.5 3. Pinned-Fixed.5 0. and occasionally exhibits looseness in connections with low stiffness. [2]. In all analyses.826 kNm/rad (90 ton cm/rad) with the average of 6. and two-storey modular steel scaffolds (MSS2).5 2. Consequently.00 Wedge-type joint 0. the modelling of boundary conditions of scaffold systems is crucial because the top and bottom restraints can significantly influence the stability and strength of the system [20]. 3. the rotation at the top was assumed to be free. analysis models of wedge-type jointed. Pinned-Pinned. School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 8 .0 Cuplok joint Moment (kNm) 2. Moreover. using a piecewise linear curve to model the momentrotation response. and 5-row scaffold system were presented.5 1. for MSS2 the model results are considerably higher than the test results.0 0. Experimental tests on scaffold joints showed that the joint stiffness varied between 4. 3-bay. In recent research by Peng et al. Godley and Beale [18] found that scaffold connections are frequently made of wedge-type joints.865 kNm/rad (70 ton cm/rad) being adopted for all joints into their model.15 0.

the model adopted two vertical members connected by pin joints representing the standards. The researchers found that both Pinned-Pinned and Pinned-Fixed conditions gave higher load carrying capacities than the experimental results. the modelling of spigot joints was studied for the stability analysis of scaffold systems. the top and base were modelled with various boundary conditions. The spring School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 9 . Due to the axial load in the standards. cantilever arm tests were carried out on scaffold wedgetype joints. [22]. [19]. and pin joints for the top and the bottom boundary conditions. the entirely rigid spigot member was connected at the top. From research of Harung et al. and bottom to the standard via short and axially stiff members capable of transferring only lateral forces. Research on the stability of single storey scaffold systems by Vaux et al. The nonlinear moment-rotation curve from the tests showed joint looseness and different values of rotational stiffness under positive (counter-clockwise) rotation and negative (clockwise) rotation. and the scaffold connections were assumed to be rigid. In the work by Enright et al. and the amount of bending would depend on the amount of axial load and the degree of out of straightness. Weesner and Jones [6] studied the load carrying capacity of three-storey scaffolds assuming rigid joints between the stories. Given that the neutral axes of the connections were offset by 50 mm. The authors suggested the use of a multi-linear or nonlinear moment-rotation curve for scaffold joint modelling. it was found that if the spigot joints are modelled as fully continuous joints. the authors modelled the eccentric joint with a finite spring of length equal to the eccentricity of 50 mm. as shown in Figure 5. on the other hand. and the connections of the top and bottom jacks to the standards are assumed as rigid with the topbottom boundary conditions taken as Pinned-Pinned. good agreement can be achieved between numerical and experimental failure loads. [21] found that when Cuplok connections are represented by pin joints. In the presence of restraints on the loading beam and the jack bases. The spigot insert (Figure 2) was considered to have bending resistance. [5] studied single storey double bay scaffolds. the analysis would overestimate the load carrying capacity of the system. and on the side. the Free-Fixed condition gave satisfactory result compared to the tests. but not to transmit axial load. The results of their elastic buckling analysis were higher than the test values with the percentage differences ranging from 6% to 17%.Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 Chu et al. In the analysis of large access scaffold systems by Godley and Beale [18]. the spigot would be in bending. [23] studied eccentricity in the modelling of scaffold connections. Axial load Pin joint Standards Spigot Figure 5: Spigot joint model Milojkovic et al. centre. therefore.

2. The grade 350 MPa ledgers with end blades were of nominal outside diameter of 48. The telescopic braces with hook ends were made of 48. and North-South direction only) and different jack extension heights (300 mm or 600 mm) at both top and bottom. A total of sixteen hydraulic jacks attached to the top loading beams (four hydraulic jacks per loading beam) were used to load the (150 mm x 77 mm) timber bearers running in the East-West direction that applied loading to the top of each standard via (210 mm clear width) U-heads. then the effects of joint eccentricity are insignificant. The authors concluded that for large frames.3 mm and thickness of 4 mm. In all tests. Peng et al. the Cuplok joints showed signs of wear from frequent use and were therefore representative of joints used in practice in terms of joint stiffness and strength [24]. The results of Test School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 10 .2 mm x 3. this condition produced excessive lateral displacements and rotations of the adjustable jacks and was deemed non-representative of construction practice. and was assumed to be axially stiff. unless torsion failure occurs. The first fourteen tests were systems of three lifts with equal nominal lift height of 1. the formwork subassembly. Four sets of cross-bracing were installed to prevent sway of the top loading beams. Full-Scale Subassembly Tests 2. However. Consequently. As a result. The standards. 1 were discarded and in subsequent tests.1 Test Setup and Procedures A total of 18 support scaffold subassembly tests were conducted at the University of Sydney in 2006 [24] to study the behaviour and ultimate load-carrying capacities of such systems. and the connections between other members were modelled as short finite elements with nonlinear stiffness in all directions. The adjustable jacks were made of 36 mm diameter threaded steel rod of grade 430 MPa. All testing components were taken from stocks of used material. Figure 6 illustrates a typical test frame showing primary and secondary bearers and bracings. These secondary bearers elastically restrain displacements and rotations of the primary bearers. [15] applied rigid links with pinned supports at both ends. perimeter. To model the shores of the scaffold system. A test frame was constructed specially for the subassembly tests consisting of four loading beams at both the top and bottom running in the North-South direction.Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 had specific rotational stiffness. The base plates were 180 mm x 180 mm x 10 mm in dimension with nominal yield stress of 250 MPa [24]. Ball bearings were inserted between the jacks and timber bearers in the first test. In the last four subassembly tests. core. The systems featured different bracing arrangements (full. systems with 1 m and 2 m lift heights with full bracing were tested with the variation in the number of lifts from 2 to 4 and jack extension heights of 300 mm or 600 mm. secondary bearers spaced approximately at 600 mm were attached at the top of primary bearers. given that actual shores were connected loosely by nails at the top and bottom. where the bearers support a series of closely spaced secondary bearers running orthogonally to the main bearers. the results of Test No. was constructed as a grid frame of three-by-three bays with a constant nominal bay width of 1829 mm in both directions. also known as Cuplok scaffold system. none.5 m.2 mm. In the scaffold study by Gylltoft and Mroz [1] the braces were represented as truss members with pinned joints connected to the standards. were made from cold-formed circular steel tube grade 450 MPa with nominal outside diameter of 48.2 mm inner tube with nominal yield stress of 400 MPa. attached with Cuplok joints.0 mm outer tube and 38.3 mm and thickness of 3.3 mm x 4. particularly in regard to the out-of-straightness of the standards. Besides. the testing materials showed some geometric imperfections representing those encountered in practice.

7 were also discarded since the hydraulic jacks accidentally moved out of positions during the test. Figure 6: Typical test frame from top view School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 11 .Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 No.

as per AS3610 [25]. the base plates in the row of eccentrically loaded standards were placed on 3 mm diameter circular steel rods at a nominal eccentricity of 15 mm. test date. 14 where the loads applied to the corner. type of loading. position of spigot. The applied loads were recorded at each increment of loading until failure occurred. number of lifts. 6. and centre jacks were in the ratio of 1:2:4 respectively. the loads were applied at an eccentricity of 25 mm in the NorthSouth direction to the top adjustable jacks (Figure 7(a)) along the second row in the EastWest direction while for the rest of the standards the loads were applied concentrically. School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 12 . In addition. bracing arrangement.2 Test Configurations A summary of the test configurations which includes test number. perimeter. Hydraulic jack Primary bearer S N U-head Base plate Unit: mm 3 mm steel rod (b) (a) Figure 7: Enlarged view of (a) top eccentricity and (b) bottom eccentricity 2. top and bottom jack extension length. The loads were applied equally by hydraulic jacks on each standard through primary bearers. lift height. The load eccentricities applied at the top and bottom of the system were arranged such that the standards were bent in single curvature. as shown in Figure 7(b).Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 In all tests except Test No. except in Test No. and theodolites were employed to measure initial geometric imperfections of all the standards before the test began and the displacements of six selected standards during loading [24]. and loading eccentricity is presented in Table 1.

5 m 1. The bracing arrangement is according to the labelling in the figure showing core and perimeter braces.5 m 1. Full bracing arrangement includes both core and perimeter braces.5 m 2m 1m 1m 1m Jack extension 600 mm 600 mm 600 mm 600 mm 600 mm 600 mm 300 mm 300 mm 300 mm 300 mm 300 mm 300 mm 300 mm 300 mm 300 mm 600 mm 300 mm 300 mm Spigot (lifts) 2nd & 3rd 2nd & 3rd 2nd & 3rd 2nd & 3rd 2nd & 3rd 2nd & 3rd 2nd & 3rd 2nd & 3rd 2nd & 3rd 2nd & 3rd 2nd & 3rd 2nd 2nd & 3rd 2nd & 3rd 2nd 3rd 3rd 3rd Bracing Loading 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 17/1/06 31/1/06 8/2/06 13/2/06 16/2/06 22/2/06 3/3/06 10/3/06 17/3/06 24/3/06 30/3/06 7/4/06 13/4/06 3/5/06 15/5/06 19/5/06 7/6/06 30/6/06 full full full none uniform uniform uniform uniform perimeter uniform perimeter uniform full full none core full full N-S only core full full full full uniform uniform uniform uniform uniform uniform uniform 1:2:4 uniform uniform uniform uniform A schematic of a typical test configuration is shown in Figure 8.5 m 1.5 m 1. of lifts 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 3 4 4 Load eccentricity in 2nd row standards 25 mm top & 15 mm bottom 25 mm top & 15 mm bottom 25 mm top & 15 mm bottom 25 mm top & 15 mm bottom 25 mm top & 15 mm bottom 15 mm bottom 25 mm top & 15 mm bottom 25 mm top & 15 mm bottom 25 mm top & 15 mm bottom 25 mm top & 15 mm bottom 25 mm top & 15 mm bottom 25 mm top & 15 mm bottom 25 mm top & 15 mm bottom 25 mm top & 15 mm bottom 25 mm top & 15 mm bottom 25 mm top & 15 mm bottom 25 mm top & 15 mm bottom 25 mm top & 15 mm bottom Test Date Lift height 1.5 m 1.5 m 1.5 m 1.5 m 1. The figure also shows a temporary support deck for access to the test frame.5 m in a full bracing arrangement being loaded by hydraulic jacks attached to the test frame.5 m 1.5 m 1.5 m 1.5 m 1.5 m 1.Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 Table 1: Summary of test configurations No. N-S bracing arrangement consists of braces running in the School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 13 . The figure shows a typical 3lift support scaffold system with a lift height of 1.

Figure 8: Schematic of typical test configuration in plan and elevation view School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 14 .5 m lift height and 300 mm jack extension subassembly test with full bracing arrangement including top and bottom eccentricities in 2nd row. 8 setup consisting of a 3-lift. As an example. 1. Figure 9 shows the actual Test No.Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 North-South direction.

and thus not shown in the summary. 1 and 7 are unrepresentative.Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 Figure 9: Test No. ultimate load from hydraulic jacks at 3 different locations (corner.3 Test Results A summary of the test results consisting of test number. 8 setup 2. As noted earlier. and observed failure mode is shown in Table 2. School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 15 . the results of Tests No. perimeter. and centre).

Also. final failure of top jacks and spigot Some N-S sway. the higher lift height reduces the ultimate load. failure of standards and spigot at top lift N-S sway mode. final failure of top jacks and top standards N-S sway mode. final failure of perimeter spigots in 2nd lift Some N-S sway. as School of Civil Engineering 16 Research Report No R896 .Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 Table 2: Summary of test results Ultimate load at corner jacks (kN) 87 91 50 60 60 130 65 70 120 119 70 40 105 100 140 150 Ultimate load at perimeter jacks (kN) 86 90 50 60 60 130 65 70 120 120 70 80 105 100 140 150 Ultimate load at centre jacks (kN) 89 91 50 60 60 130 65 70 120 120 70 160 105 100 140 150 Test Observed failure mode 2 3 4 5 6 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 N-S sway mode. final failure of top and bottom jacks N-S sway of centre bay. especially at the corner where there is no bracing and only two ledgers are connected. failure of top spigots and centre standards Failure of corner spigot and top standard N-S sway mode. final failure of corner standard at top lift The test results suggest that the failure modes are controlled by the jack extension length since when 600 mm top and bottom extensions are used the failure mode is North-South sway with final failure at the jacks. failure of jacks Bearer broke off before final failure of top jacks Some N-S sway. The test results show that the bracing arrangement significantly influences the ultimate load of the system. failure of corner standards and spigots Some N-S sway. Noticeably. final failure of top jacks N-S sway of centre bay. when 300 mm extensions are used. failure of top and bottom jacks. final failure of top and bottom jacks N-S sway mode. Moreover. failure occurs mainly in the standards and spigots with only small sway displacements. On the contrary. the standards tend to fail at the top lift and around the perimeter region. and spigot N-S sway mode. the ultimate load decreases as the jack extension increases. final failure of top spigots and standards Some N-S sway. Final failure occurred in spigots and jacks in most cases. failure of top spigots and corner standards Some E-W sway.

and connection elements. stub column and bending tests are available in [24]. (a) (b) Figure 10: Failure in (a) spigot and (b) jack 3. The top standard can slide over the insert. base plate eccentricities. including tensile coupon. Complete data on initial geometric imperfections and displacements as well as supplementary tests on components of Cuplok scaffold systems.1 to 3. [19] is adopted. School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 17 . 3. The spigot modelling suggested by Enright et al. including contact. standard-to-ledger connections.8. 3. and 300 mm in total length. initial geometric imperfections and material nonlinearity of all components of the system are incorporated in the models. are used as described in sections 3.2 mm outside diameter. which is fastened to the bottom standard by a fixed pin. the spigot joint consists of an insert made from a circular hollow steel tube with 38. In modelling the structural elements of the scaffold system. as shown in Figure 11. three-dimensional finite element models have been developed for analysing support scaffold systems. and load eccentricities. The models are compared with the subassembly tests [24] and calibrated against the ultimate loads and displacement responses in section 3. nonlinear beam elements. as shown in Figure 2.Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 shown in Figure 10. link. The insert feeds into the abutting top and bottom standards to create a required lift height. Also. The analyses include geometric and material nonlinearities and are performed using the commercial finite element software package Strand7 [26].1 Spigot Joints In the studied systems. The models present efficient and accurate methods for representing spigot joints.7. Finite Element Models In this research.2 mm in thickness.

the spigot model is arranged in the direction perpendicular to the primary bearers which is in the same direction as that of the load eccentricity. The connection element in Strand7 [26] is used to model the relation between moment and rotation. β2. When the standard bends under vertical load. The degree of bending of the spigot depends on the amount of initial geometric imperfection of the standard and vertical force. It was observed that the more ledgers connected. and k3 for different joint configurations and bending axes (Figure 13) are presented in Table 3. k3. the spigot is forced to bend because of the lateral forces acting oppositely at the top/bottom and centre of the spigot. as illustrated in Figure 12. β3) were obtained from laboratory tests. the rest are assumed to be rigid. the 4-way. School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 18 . reflecting the number of ledgers connected at the joint. and hence the greater stiffness. 3-way and 2-way configurations. It requires that a multi-linear moment-rotation table is specified for bending about vertical and horizontal axes. the spigot model is applied at mid height of the lift. β2 and β3 are presented for different joint configurations and bending axes in Table 4.2 Semi-Rigid Standard-to-Ledger Connections The connections between standard and ledger in this research consist of a semi-rigid Cuploktype joint that can join up to four ledgers to the standard. the vertical force travels through the standards and only horizontal forces transfer to the spigot via the pinned links. As a result. the less movement in the joint itself. β1. and bending about 3 axes). k2. The spigot beam element is connected to the standards by three pinned stiff links capable of only transferring lateral forces from the standards to the spigot. k2. This arrangement is reasonable since it was observed from the subassembly tests [24] that the spigot joint tends to fail in the same direction as the load eccentricity. shear in 2 directions. 3. The relation between the moment and rotation of the Cuplok connections is modelled by a tri-linear curve. only bending about vertical and horizontal axes is incorporated in the multi-linear table.e. The parameters that describe the tri-linear curve (k1. Three different joint configurations were tested in bending about vertical and horizontal axes. even though the spigot is often located at little below or above mid height in actuality. in this case. In three-dimensional analyses. For simplicity. The connection element is used to supply stiffness for any of the six degrees of freedom (axial. The average joint rotation values for β1.Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 Load Pinned link Top Standard 150 mm Pinned link Spigot Pinned link Bottom Standard 150 mm 0 Figure 11: Schematic of spigot joint model The top and bottom standards are modelled as nonlinear beam element connected to the spigot via pinned connections. The average joint stiffness values for k1. i.

5 5 1.16 0. They are modelled using two rigidly connected elements with different cross-sections.02 0.Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 Table 3: Average Cuplok joint stiffness (kNm/rad) Bending about horizontal axis k1 k2 k3 80 102 5.16 Bending about vertical axis β1 β2 β3 0.6 Bending about vertical axis k1 k2 k3 15 7.3 Brace Connections The braces are made of telescopic members with hooks at the ends.007 0.04 0.014 0.036 0.02 0.1 70 77 4.04 0.3 75 87 5.04 0.036 0. Connection elements with only School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 19 .036 0.5 Joint configuration 4-way 3-way 2-way Table 4: Average rotation for Cuplok joints (rad) Bending about horizontal axis β1 β2 β3 0.1 Joint configuration 4-way 3-way 2-way Moment k3 k2 k1 β1 β2 β3 Rotation Figure 12: Tri-linear moment-rotation for the Cuplok joints Figure 13: Bending axes of the Cuplok joints 3.8 14 7 1 7.1 0.02 0.16 0.5 0.1 0.012 0.

Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 axial stiffness form the connection between the brace member elements and the ledgers. that is when the gap closes. AS3610 [25] specifies an expected base eccentricity of no more than 40 mm or bp/4. The axial spring stiffness is taken as 1. therefore. stiff cantilever that introduces vertical force and additional moment into the jack. Load Standard Base plate 1 1 Standard e Uneven ground Base plate Contact element bp (a) (b) Figure 14: (a) base plate on uneven ground and (b) base eccentricity model 3. in which the base eccentricity is labelled as “e”.” implying that when the load transfers from the standard to the base plate causing the far end of the base plate to rotate and touch the ground. as shown in Figure 14(a). The standard and the base plate are modelled using nonlinear beam elements with their corresponding cross-sectional and material properties. whichever is less. The contact element is set to provide stiffness only in compression. the point of contact becomes infinitely stiff representing solid ground or other hard surface. 3. In order to model the eccentricity. therefore.4 Base Plate Eccentricity The placement of the base plate of scaffold systems on an uneven or sloped ground can create eccentricity.8 kN/mm as obtained from test calibrations on braced scaffold systems.5 Load Eccentricity A load eccentricity can occur between the timber bearer and the U-Head since the bearer is not always positioned such that its centre line coincides with the centre line of the jack. The braces are offset 60 mm from the nodal points between the standards and ledgers because in actual construction the braces are connected to ledgers at about this distance away from the joints. and the vertical point load is applied at the far end of the link. The rigid link behaves as a short. the expected base eccentricity of the system is no more than 17 mm. and only when the nodes to which it is connected come into contact. A contact element is used to model a gap between the base plate and the ground. even though in good construction practice the U-head is twisted against the bearer so as to reduce the amount of eccentricity. bp/4 is 17 mm for the scaffold system in the study which is less than 40 mm. The base eccentricity model proposed is illustrated in Figure 14(b). For example. A common approach to incorporate geometric School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 20 .6 Geometric Imperfections Scaffold systems are generally slender and sensitive to stability effects. where bp is the stiff portion of bearing of an end plate. initial geometric imperfections producing member P-δ and frame P-∆ effects (Figure 15) must be considered in the analysis model. a rigid link with length equal to the load eccentricity is connected to the top of the jack in the direction perpendicular to the bearer. 3. The amount of base eccentricity depends largely on ground surface irregularities as shown in Figure 14(a). The stiffness is specified as “infinity.

brace. where H is the total height. For other studies on the scaffold systems. From the measurements. the Australian steel design standard [7] specifies a maximum out-of-straightness of L/1000. brace and spigot. Figure 15: P-δ and P-∆ effects 3. For example. Full details of the initial geometric imperfections of the subassembly tests are available in [24]. for the purpose of calibrating the analysis model. the nonlinear relationship between stress and strain is applied.Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 imperfections is to scale one or more critical elastic buckling modes and apply the scaled displacements to the perfect geometry. The member out-of-straightness (δ) is applied at mid height of the standard in each scaffold lift and the frame out-of-plumb (∆) is applied at each ledger-standard connection point and at the U-head at the top of the scaffold. Alternatively.7 Geometric and Material Nonlinearities In geometric nonlinear analysis. Nevertheless. where Lh is the lift height. In the present beam element based analysis. Figures 16 to 21 show the Ramberg-Osgood stress-strain curves used in the material modelling of the experimental standard. how many buckling modes should be included and what scaling factors should be applied? One alternative is to use the maximum allowable imperfection values from available structural codes. the average out-of-straightness of the standards is Lh/820 mm for the lifts with spigot joint and Lh/1700 mm for the lifts without spigot joint. and spigot respectively. In material nonlinear analysis. ledger. Another approach is to apply notional horizontal forces. base plate. the stress-strain relations for these components are obtained by scaling the Ramberg-Osgood stress-strain relation used for the standards to their School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 21 . and the average out-of-plumb of the frames is H/470 mm. where L is the member length. For instance. in this research the magnitudes of the member out-of-straightness and the frame out-of-plumb are implemented directly at the nodes of the finite element models from acquired initial imperfection measurements taken as part of the subassembly tests [24]. real data on initial geometric imperfections is procured from construction sites around the Sydney area. Nonetheless. several issues remain unanswered in this method. Since there is no stress-strain data for the ledger. the deformed geometry is used to establish the equilibrium equation and the element’s local reference system is updated at each load increment to capture the load deflection characteristics. 28] fitted to experimental data obtained from supplementary tests on components of the subassembly tests [24]. an accurate determination of the displacements is attained which is particularly important in slender structures such as scaffold systems. but some doubt remains as to the magnitude of force to use. this method often produces conservative predictions of the strength of systems. jack. The stress-strain relations for the scaffold components used in the models are based on the Ramberg-Osgood expression [27.

the ledger.2 38.00E+08 5.0100 Strain 0.00E+08 2.0200 0.0000 0.2 (MPa) Standard Ledger Jack Base plate Brace Spigot 200 200 200 200 200 200 530 380 495 260 430 430 n 38.0 38.00E+00 0.Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 nominal yield stress. This method is referred to as plastic-zone analysis [8]. E0 is the initial Young’s modulus.00E+08 1.0150 0. brace and spigot insert are expected to be loaded only in elastic range.0050 0.2 16. As a result of this section and length-wise integration.2 The Ramberg-Osgood stress-strain relations are applied to the beam elements of each scaffold component.0250 Ramberg-Osgood Test result Figure 16: Stress-strain curve for standard School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 22 .2 is the 0. the material nonlinearity effects of these components are negligible. and n is a parameter which determines the sharpness of the knee of the stress-strain curve. Table 5: Ramberg-Osgood parameters for scaffold components Component E0 (GPa) σ0. and therefore. However. In the table.2 38. 6. The Ramberg-Osgood parameters (E0.2% proof stress as the equivalent yield stress.00E+08 4. σ0.2. σ0.00E+08 0.0 25. As the beam cross-section and length are subdivided. n) for each scaffold component are summarised in Table 5. The axial and bending stiffness are coupled as the neutral axis on the yielded beam shifts [26]. sampling points on the cross-section and integration points along the length of the beam are utilised to numerically integrate the stiffness characteristics of the beam.00E+08 Stress (Pa) 3. the propagation of yielding through the cross-section and along the beam element can be included.

0150 0.00E+08 0.00E+08 2.00E+08 5.00E+08 4.0100 Strain Ramberg-Osgood Test result 0.00E+00 0.Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 5.0200 0.0100 Strain Ramberg-Osgood 0.0050 0.00E+08 2.00E+08 1.00E+00 0.00E+08 Stress (Pa) 4.0150 0.0200 0.00E+08 6.00E+08 0.00E+08 1.0250 Figure 17: Stress-strain curve for ledger 7.0000 0.0250 Figure 18: Stress-strain curve for jack School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 23 .00E+08 Stress (Pa) 3.00E+08 3.0050 0.0000 0.

00E+08 0.00E+00 0.0100 Strain Ramberg-Osgood 0.00E+08 1.0150 0.0200 0.Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 4.0200 0.0250 Figure 20: Stress-strain curve for brace School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 24 .0250 Figure 19: Stress-strain curve for base plate 5.00E+08 2.00E+08 0.0000 0.00E+08 1.00E+08 4.00E+08 3.00E+00 0.0050 0.0150 0.00E+08 Stress (Pa) 3.0100 Strain Ramberg-Osgood Test result 0.0050 0.0000 0.00E+08 Stress (Pa) 2.

0100 Strain Ramberg-Osgood 0. the latter was changed after the calibrations were performed on unbraced systems for the top and bottom rotational stiffness. the translational stiffness is assumed to be rigid in the x and y directions.8 kN/mm capable of transferring only axial forces to the ledgers. Figure 22 shows the finite element model for Test No.00E+08 Stress (Pa) 3. as well as the axial spring stiffness of the brace connections. The translational stiffness at the base is taken as rigid in all directions. As an example. The bottom rotational stiffness is applied to all uprights except the uprights with bottom eccentricity for which base plate modelling is applied.0250 Figure 21: Stress-strain curve for spigot 3. However. The bottom rotational stiffness about the x and y axes is calibrated as 100 kNm/rad. The ultimate loads and displacements obtained from the nonlinear analyses accounting for both material and geometric nonlinearities were calibrated against failure loads and load-deflection responses obtained from the full-scale subassembly tests [24].00E+08 2.00E+08 0.0150 0.0000 0.0050 0.00E+08 1. At the top. and R represents rotational stiffness with subscript showing the axis of bending according to Figure 22. but 0 in the z direction. 3 of the subassembly tests [24]. the y-axis bending stiffness is taken as 40 kNm/rad since bending about this axis occurs during failure as observed in the tests [24]. The calibrations were achieved by changing the stiffness of the elastic restraints applied at the U-head and base plate.0200 0. The brace end connections have an axial stiffness of 1. School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 25 . The mean of the measured dimensions of components were used for cross-sectional properties in the finite element models.8 Calibrations The commercial software package Strand7 [26] was used to create a finite element model for each of the full-scale subassembly tests using the actual frame dimensions and measured values of imperfections.00E+08 4. It should be noted that the top rotational stiffness about the x-axis is assumed to be rigid.Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 5. In the table. Table 6 shows the results of the stiffness parameters obtained from the calibrations. corresponding to the negligible strong axis bending of the bearer. K represents translational stiffness with subscript showing its direction corresponding to Figure 22.00E+00 0.

8 Rz (kNmm/rad) 0 Rz (kNmm/rad) 0 Table 7: Load calibration results Ultimate load from Test failure advanced load (kN) analysis (kN) 96 89 91 91 45 50 60 60 66 60 138 130 50 65 64 70 127 120 129 120 68 70 160 160 105 105 100 100 147 150 Average STD COV Test 2 3 4 5 6 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 18 Test load / Advanced analysis result 0.942 1.111 1.014 with standard deviation (STD) and coefficient of variation (COV) of 0. Table 6: Parametric calibration results Bottom boundary conditions Kx (kN/mm) Ky (kN/mm) Kz (kN/mm) Rx (kNmm/rad) Ry (kNmm/rad) Rigid Rigid Rigid 100.000 Top boundary conditions Kx (kN/mm) Ky (kN/mm) Kz (kN/mm) Rx (kNmm/rad) Ry (kNmm/rad) Rigid Rigid 0 Rigid 40.0966.020 1. respectively.000 1. Figures 23 to 37 compare the finite element analysis results with the experimental loaddeflection responses at certain point of the frame.000 1.930 1.000 1.909 0. The average of the ratio of test failure load to ultimate load from advanced analysis is 1.945 0.Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 Table 7 shows the calibration results for the failure loads and their statistics.094 0.014 0.0980 0.300 1.0966 School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 26 .000 1.029 1.0980 and 0.000 100.927 1. as indicated for each test in the titles of the figures.000 0.000 Brace end connections Axial stiffness (kN/mm) 1.

2 School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 27 . 3 showing axes 120 100 80 Load (kN) 60 40 20 0 0 5 10 15 20 Deflection (mm) Test result FE result 25 30 35 40 Figure 23: Calibration of load-deflection responses at mid-height of the standard in the 3rd lift of the 2nd row of the frame for Test No.Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 Figure 22: Finite element model of Test No.

Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 100 90 80 70 Load (kN) 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 0 5 10 15 20 Deflection (mm) Test result FE result 25 30 35 40 Figure 24: Calibration of load-deflection responses at mid-height of the standard in the 3rd lift of the 2nd row of the frame for Test No. 4 School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 28 . 3 50 45 40 35 Load (kN) 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 0 5 10 15 Deflection (mm) Test result FE result 20 25 30 Figure 25: Calibration of load-deflection responses at mid-height of the standard in the 3rd lift of the 2nd row of the frame for Test No.

6 School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 29 . 5 70 60 50 Load (kN) 40 30 20 10 0 0 2 4 6 Deflection (mm) Test result FE result 8 10 12 Figure 27: Calibration of load-deflection responses at mid-height of the standard in the 3rd lift of the 2nd row of the frame for Test No.Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 70 60 50 Load (kN) 40 30 20 10 0 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 Deflection (mm) Test result FE result Figure 26: Calibration of load-deflection responses at mid-height of the standard in the 3rd lift of the 2nd row of the frame for Test No.

9 School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 30 . 8 60 50 40 Load (kN) 30 20 10 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Deflection (mm) Test result FE result Figure 29: Calibration of load-deflection responses at mid-height of the standard in the 3rd lift of the 2nd row of the frame for Test No.Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 160 140 120 Load (kN) 100 80 60 40 20 0 0 5 10 15 Deflection (mm) Test result FE result 20 25 30 Figure 28: Calibration of load-deflection responses at mid-height of the standard in the 3rd lift of the 2nd row of the frame for Test No.

10 140 120 100 Load (kN) 80 60 40 20 0 0 2 4 6 8 Deflection (mm) Test result FE result 10 12 14 16 Figure 31: Calibration of load-deflection responses at mid-height of the standard in the 3rd lift of the 2nd row of the frame for Test No.Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 70 60 50 Load (kN) 40 30 20 10 0 0 0.5 3 Figure 30: Calibration of load-deflection responses at mid-height of the standard of the 3rd lift of the 2nd row of the frame for Test No. 11 School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 31 .5 1 1.5 Deflection (mm) Test result FE result 2 2.

5 5 Figure 33: Calibration of load-deflection responses at the 2nd lift of the 1st row of the frame for Test No.5 Deflection (mm) Test result FE result 3 3. 13 School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 32 .5 1 1.Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 140 120 100 Load (kN) 80 60 40 20 0 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 Deflection (mm) Test result FE result Figure 32: Calibration of load-deflection responses at mid-height of the standard in the 3rd lift of the 2nd row of the frame for Test No.5 4 4.5 2 2. 12 80 70 60 Load (kN) 50 40 30 20 10 0 0 0.

15 School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 33 .Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 180 160 140 120 Load (kN) 100 80 60 40 20 0 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 Deflection (mm) Test result FE result Figure 34: Calibration of load-deflection responses at mid-height of the standard in the 3rd lift of the 2nd row of the frame for Test No. 14 120 100 80 Load (kN) 60 40 20 0 0 2 4 6 8 Deflection (mm) Test result FE result 10 12 14 16 Figure 35: Calibration of load-deflection responses at mid-height of the standard in the 2nd lift of the 2nd row of the frame for Test No.

18 School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 34 .Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 120 100 80 Load (kN) 60 40 20 0 0 5 10 15 Deflection (mm) Test result FE result 20 25 30 Figure 36: Calibration of load-deflection responses at mid-height of the standard in the 3rd lift of the 2nd row of the frame for Test No. 16 160 140 120 Load (kN) 100 80 60 40 20 0 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 Deflection (mm) Test result FE result Figure 37: Calibration of load-deflection responses at mid-height of the standard in the 3rd lift of the 2nd row of the frame for Test No.

014) with a relatively small COV of 0.0966. as one exhibiting an Sshape member buckle (Figure 38) and the other a lateral frame buckle with large lateral displacements at the top story (Figure 39). the average of the ratios between failure test load and predicted ultimate load is very close to 1 (1. Test No. In addition. It can be noticed that in some tests there are no deflection values available for the failure load. where 600 mm jack extension produces lateral frame buckling with main failure in the jacks and 300 mm jack extension produces S-shape buckling of the standards with predominant failure deformations in the spigots. In fact. Most of the predictions are within 10% of the actual failure loads. Figure 38: S-shape member buckling School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 35 . Discussion The calibrations show that advanced analysis using geometric and material nonlinear finite element models gives very good predictions of the ultimate loads of the systems. The finite element analysis results of the load-deflection responses fit the test results [24] reasonably closely with most of the values within 20% of one another. The failure modes are noticed to be sensitive to the jack extension length. Also.Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 4. 4 only provides three measured deflections during loading. These failure modes were also observed in the tests [24] suggesting that advanced analysis is capable of accurately predicting the behaviour and failure mode of support scaffold systems. Two distinct failure modes are observed from the advanced analysis. and has been ignored in the comparison. advanced analysis gives good results in predicting deformation responses of support scaffold systems.

Engineering Structures 2004. comparisons of load-deflection responses also show close agreement. Mroz K. [2] Peng JL. Models for various components of the systems including spigot joints. Godley MHR. Structural instability of multi-storey door-type modular steel scaffolds. Beale RG. Effects of geometrical shape and incremental loads on scaffold systems. Journal of Constructional Steel Research 2007.50(SPEC ISS):187-194.63(4):448-459. jack extension. demonstrating that advanced analysis is able to accurately predict the behaviour and strength of highly complex support scaffold systems. Load carrying capacity of scaffolds. Structural Engineering International 1995. and lift height are achieved by adjusting the top and bottom boundary conditions as well as the brace connection stiffness. semi-rigid upright-to-beam connections and base plate eccentricities are proposed. Conclusions In this paper. moreover. Calibrations of these models to the full-scale subassembly tests [24] consisting of three-by-three bay formwork systems with the combinations of different numbers of lifts. Wu CL. Chan SL. [4] Yu WK. Welding in the World 2006. School of Civil Engineering Research Report No R896 36 .26(7):867-881.1:37-42. The ultimate loads obtained from advanced analysis are in close agreement with the failure loads of the tests. Chung KF. [3] Prabhakaran U.Structural Modelling of Support Scaffold Systems June 2009 Figure 39: Lateral frame buckling 5. Acknowledgement The authors would like to thank Boral Formwork & Scaffolding Pty Ltd for providing subassembly test data and support of this research project. nonlinear finite element analysis models for support scaffold systems have been developed. Three-dimensional second order analysis of scaffolds with semi-rigid connections. Chan SL. References [1] Gylltoft K. The development of a design methodology for support scaffold systems based on advanced analysis is in progress at the University of Sydney.

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