Behaviour of unstiffened flush end plate beam-to-column connections in structural steelwork

  • Zhi Min Wang

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    End plate connections are extensively used as moment resistant connections between members in steel frame. Surveys of the English and Scottish Steelwork Industry clearly indicate that the flush end plate connection is the most popular type of beam-to-column connection in steel-framed structures. The popularity of this connection can be attributed to the simplicity of the connection detail and economy associated with their fabrication and erection. Flush end plate connection is less rigid and has a lower moment capacity than that of an extended end plate connection. If a rigid joint is aimed extended end plate connection should be used, whereas if a semi-rigid joint is needed flush end plate can be employed.

    The main objectives of this project were to carry out in-depth investigation of the behaviour of this type of connection by applying finite element technique and experimental means.

    A three dimensional finite element prediction model of the unstiffened flush end plate beam-to-column connection was developed. Six full scale tests were conducted and the results were analysed. Comparison between analytical and experimental results was made. The analytical investigation into the contribution of the various connection components toward the moment rotation characteristics was carried out. The investigation of bolt force and prying force were also carried out. Comparison between analytical, experimental results and the results obtained by applying the design rules of Eurocode 3 was made.

    By comparing the experimental results with the analytical results using finite element method, it was found that the finite element method was quite capable of tackling the complex problem of flush end plate connections. Finite element computer models can be used to simulate structural behaviour of the connections, which can be useful to the design of the connections. By comparing the results of the tests, finite element analyses and the design rules of Eurocode 3, it was found that the Annex J of Eurocode 3 significantly underestimated the moment resistance capacity of many joints and appear to predict the failure type incorrectly. Recommendations on future work on column web buckling, the effect of bolt heads and nuts, the sectional fillets and the effect of welding are also made which should be carried out before a comprehensive design procedure could be developed.
    Date of AwardJan 1996
    Original languageEnglish

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