Computational Mechanics and Design Group

Department of Civil & Structural Engineering

Dynamic behavior of steel connections under fast and non-cyclic loading


Connections have a very important role in preventing structural progressive collapse. For example, in the case of loss of a column connection behaviour is critical in permitting beams to bridge over the lost element and allowing transfer of the vertical loads through catenary action. To develop this catenary action in the beam it is essential to have high rotation capacity and tensile resistance in the connection.

In this study the aim is to model the behaviour of connections subjected to relatively high rates of loading, similar to the rates arising as a result of impact loading which typically is slower than blast and faster than earthquake. Understanding of connection behaviour under this type of loads is very limited.

This paper addresses the question what are the key elements in connections which influence their resistance under combined tension and rotation. It also explains how finite element modelling of these connections has been conducted with two different software programs: ANSYS which has been used as a pre-processor and Ls-Dyna as a solver. These complex models were validated against experimental data form a series of tests conducted at University of Sheffield.

The outcome of these studies will help to develop understanding of the limitations in finite element methods for modelling these connections and how to improve connection resistance against this kind of loading to prevent the structure from progressive collapse.



Project dates

Start date: 
January 2010