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Stainless steel joints in dissipative zones of earthquake resistant structures

   Department of Civil Engineering

About the Project

To accommodate the detrimental effects of severe earthquakes without collapse, earthquake resisting structures rely on energy dissipation via stable hysteretic response of ductile structural components. To this end, capacity design principles are applied, whereby non-dissipative zones are designed with sufficient overstrength to ensure that they remain elastic, while dissipative zones are allowed to yield and dissipate energy thus significantly reducing the load level for which the structure has to be designed. In steel moment resisting frames, dissipative zones are usually the beam ends or the connections and design equations are specified in EN1998-1-1 to ensure satisfactory structural response. 

Despite the very high ductility and significant strain-hardening of stainless steels, their use in earthquake resisting structures is currently not allowed by European design guidance. Owing to their excellent ductility and strain-hardening characteristics, austenitic and duplex stainless steels are ideal for seismic applications and experimental studies have shown that they possess satisfactory hysteretic response under cyclic loading. This project aims to study the structural behaviour of stainless steel connections in dissipative zones. An extensive experimental study, underpinned my material characterisation studies, will be conducted on stainless steel beams and beam-to-column connections to obtain their structural response under several symmetric and asymmetric cyclic loading protocols. The obtained results will be used to validate a numerical model, which will be further utilised to study a multitude of beam-to-column joints and devise design guidance for stainless steels in seismic applications, with the focus being on both ensuring satisfactory energy dissipation and obtaining suitable overstrength factors for capacity design of non-dissipative members.


Nip K.H., Gardner L., Davies C.M., Elghazouli A.Y. (2010). Extremely low cycle fatigue tests on structural carbon steel and stainless steel. Journal of Constructional Steel Research 66(1): 96-110.
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.
Gao J.D., Du X.X., Yuan H.X., Theofanous M. (2021). Hysteretic performance of stainless steel double extended end-plate beam-to-column joints subject to cyclic loading. Thin-Walled Structures, 164, 107787.
Yuan H.X., Liu X.H., Liu J.L., Theofanous M. (2021). Cyclic behaviour and hysteretic model of austenitic stainless steel bolted T-stubs. Journal of Constructional Steel Research, 182, 106659.
Hamauzu S., Skalomenos K., Kurata M. and Theofanous M. (in press). Inelastic behaviour of high strength steel tubular columns subjected to one-sided cyclic loading and implications in seismic design of steel MRFs. Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics.
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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