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Robustness of steel joints under extreme loading

   Department of Civil Engineering

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  Dr M Theofanous, Dr S Dirar, Dr K Skalomenos  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Key to the resilience of steel-framed buildings under any form of extreme load is a robust and ductile structural frame, especially at the joints. These are required to undergo considerable inelastic rotations and accommodate high tying forces at large deflections during an extreme event, thus allowing beams to develop catenary action and provide alternative load paths in the case of a sudden column loss.

This project will study experimentally and numerically the strength and available ductility of steel joints subjected to extreme loading cases and generate alternative designs with improved response by utilising highly ductile stainless steel for the critical components of the connections. Extensive material characterisation studies on both carbon and stainless steel material under static and high strain rates will be undertaken to allow material fracture to be simulated. Thereafter, lap joints, T-stubs, bolted connections and subframes under a column loss scenario will be tested under both static and high strain rate loading consistent with the strain rates occurring during progressive collapse. Higher strain rates consistent with impact loading will also be considered. Numerical models will be developed and validated against the obtained test data and parametric studies will be conducted to study the influence of key parameters such as adopted material, bolt arrangement, end plate/angle cleat thickness and level of beam axial restrain, on the structural response of joints under extreme loading. Based on the obtained results, design recommendations will be developed that will lead to the enhancement of the overall structural robustness via optimising the joint design.


de Lima L.R.O., Simões da Silva L., da S Vellasco P.C.G., de Andrade S.A.L. (2004). Experimental evaluation of extended endplate beam-to-column joints subjected to bending and axial force. Engineering Structures 26, 1333–1347.
Byfield M., Mudalige W., Morison C., Stoddart E. (2007). A review of Progressive Collapse research and regulations. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Structures and Buildings 167(8): 447-456.
Culache G., Byfield M.P., Ferguson N.S. and Tyas A. (2017). Robustness of Beam-to-Column End-Plate Moment Connections with Stainless Steel Bolts Subjected to High Rates of Loading J Struct. Engr. 143(6)
Elflah M., Theofanous M., Dirar S., Yuan H.X. (2019). Behaviour of stainless steel beam-to-column joints – Part 1: Experimental investigation. Journal of Constructional Steel Research, 152, 183–193.
Yuan H.X., Hu S., Du X.X., Yang L., Cheng X.Y., Theofanous M. (2019). Experimental behaviour of stainless steel bolted T-stub connections under monotonic loading. Journal of Constructional Steel Research, 152, 213–224.
Yuan H.X., Gao J.D., Theofanous M., Yang L., Schafer B.W. (2020). Initial stiffness and plastic resistance of stainless steel bolted T-stubs in tension. Journal of Constructional Steel Research, 173, 106239.
Gao J.D., Yuan H.X., Du X.X., Hu X.B., Theofanous M. (2020). Structural behaviour of stainless steel double extended end-plate beam-to-column joints under monotonic loading. Thin-Walled Structures, 151, 106743.
Yapici O., Theofanous M., Yuan H.X., Skalomenos K., Dirar S. (2021). Experimental study of ferritic stainless steel bolted T-stubs under monotonic loading. Journal of Constructional Steel Research 183, 106761.
Bai Y, Wang S, Mou B, Wang Y, Skalomenos K (2021). Bi-directional seismic behaviour of steel beam-column connections with outer annular stiffener. Engineering Structures 227, 111443.
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