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Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural

Section Connections

ANDREW PETER VOTH

A thesis submitted in conformity with the


requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
Graduate Department of Civil Engineering
University of Toronto

Copyright Andrew Peter Voth 2010


Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections

Andrew Peter Voth


Doctor of Philosophy
Department of Civil Engineering
University of Toronto
2010

Abstract

Although branch plate connections with circular hollow section (CHS) members are simple to fabricate
and cost-effective, they are generally very flexible under low load application resulting in the limit states
design resistance being governed by an imposed deformation limit. Restricting the ultimate capacity of a
branch plate connection by a deformation limit results in the inherent strength of the CHS member being
under-utilized, highlighting the need to develop connection stiffening methods. Two methods to stiffen
branch plate-to-CHS connections are examined: a through plate connection and a grout-filled CHS branch
plate connection. Further, the current design guidelines of various plate-to-CHS connection types are re-
examined including the effect of chord axial stress and chord length on connection behaviour. Finally, the
behaviour of connections with non-orthogonal or skew plate orientation, which has not previously been
examined, was studied in depth.

The behaviour of these uniplanar connection types under quasi-static axial loading was studied through
16 large-scale laboratory experiments and 682 numerical finite element analyses, as well as an extensive
review of all previous international experimental and numerical findings. The extensive study formed the
basis for a complete set of proposed design guidelines and provided insight into plate-to-CHS connection
behaviour. For all plate-to-CHS connection types, the plate thickness is shown to effect connection capac-
ity, though previously this was thought not to have significant impact on connection behaviour. The exist-
ing ideology of using the same design recommendations for tension- and compression-loaded connections,
which was developed from compression results, under-utilizes an inherent increase in capacity provided by
a connection primarily loaded in tension. As such, the recommended design guidelines split the two load
senses into separate expressions that reflect the difference in behaviour. Stiffened through plate connection
behaviour was determined to be the summation of branch plate behaviour in compression and tension,
leading to a significant increase in capacity and identical behaviour regardless of branch load sense. The
skewed branch plate connection behaviour was found to relate directly to the established behaviour of lon-

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Abstract iii

gitudinal and transverse plate connections. A design function was developed that interpolates the capacities
of intermediate angles by using the proposed design recommendations of the two extreme connection
types. Finally, the examination of chord axial stress and chord length for plate-to-CHS connections yielded
results similar to previous international studies on CHS-to-CHS connections. The effect of chord length,
however, has wide-reaching implications as to how experimental and numerical FE research programs are
developed.

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Acknowledgements

First and foremost I would like to thank Professor J.A. Packer for his guidance, experience, and dedica-
tion. I appreciate the countless hours he has invested in this project as well as in my professional and per-
sonal development; I have learned a great deal.

I would like to thank and acknowledge the contributions of my colleagues and friends Matt Wood-
beck, Dr. Gilberto Martinez Saucedo, Carlos de Oliveira, Michael Gray and Lydell Wiebe, as well as many
officemates and research group members. I valued the discussions, advice and motivation that was gener-
ously and graciously offered. I am grateful to Dr. Silke Willibald as well as the structural laboratory staff at
the University of Toronto - John MacDonald, Giovanni Buzzeo, Joel Babbin and Renzo Basset - for their
assistance with the experimental phase of this project.

Financial support was provided by CIDECT (Comit International pour le Dveloppement et lEtude
de la Construction Tubulaire) Programme 5BS, the Steel Structures Education Foundation (SSEF), the
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Ontario Graduate
Scholarships in Science and Technology (OGSST). Circular hollow sections used in this project were pro-
vided by Atlas Tube Inc., plate material was supplied by IPSCO Inc. and construction grout was donated by
Degussa. Fabrication of all plate-to-CHS experimental test specimens was provided by Walters Inc. (Ham-
ilton, Ontario, Canada).

Finally, I would like to express my profound appreciation to my family, in particular my wife Amanda,
for their love, encouragement and patience. Their unwavering support has allowed me to complete this
project and aspire to excellence.

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Table of Contents

Abstract . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ii
Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iv
Table of Contents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . v
List of Tables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . x
List of Figures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xiii
Symbols and Abbreviations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xx

Chapter 1: Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
1.1 Structural Application of Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Section Connections and
Discussion of Inherent Inefficiencies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
1.2 Connection Classification ........................................... 4
1.3 Research Program Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8


2.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
2.2 Ultimate and Serviceability Limit States . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
2.2.1 Deformation Limit States . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
2.2.2 Origins and Development of the 3% Ultimate Deformation Limit . . . . . . . 10
2.2.3 Other Methods for Determining Connection Serviceability and Ultimate Limit
State . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
2.3 Branch Plate-to-CHS Connection Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
2.3.1 Chord Plastification Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
2.3.2 Branch Plate and Weld Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
2.3.3 Chord Punching Shear Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
2.4 Stiffened Tubular Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
2.4.1 Ring Stiffened Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
2.4.2 Concrete Filled Chord Stiffened Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
2.4.3 Doubler or Collar Plate Stiffened Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
2.4.4 Through Plate-to-Hollow Section Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

Chapter 3: Experimental Program with Empty CHS Chords . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43


3.1 Introduction and Experimental Program Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
3.2 Experimental Specimen Description . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
3.3 Experimental Connection Geometric and Material Properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

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Table of Contents vi

3.3.1 Geometric Properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46


3.3.2 Tensile Behaviour of Connection Material . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
3.3.3 Compressive Behaviour of CHS Stub Column . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
3.4 Experimental Method and Instrumentation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
3.5 Experimental Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
3.5.1 Influence of Plate Skew Angle on Connection Behaviour . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
3.5.2 Influence of Load Sense on Branch Plate Connection Behaviour . . . . . . . . 59
3.5.3 Comparison of Branch and Through Plate-to-CHS Connection Behaviour 59
3.5.4 Assessment of X- and T-type Longitudinal Plate-to-CHS Connections . . . 60

Chapter 4: Experimental Program with Grout Filled CHS Chords . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62


4.1 Introduction and Experimental Program Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
4.2 Experimental Specimen Description . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
4.3 Experimental Connection Geometric and Material Properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
4.3.1 Geometric Properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
4.3.2 Compressive Strength Test of Standard Cylinders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
4.3.3 Full Scale Steel-Confined Grout Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
4.4 Experimental Method and Instrumentation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
4.5 Experimental Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
4.5.1 Influence of Chord Grout Filling on Connection Behaviour . . . . . . . . . . . 72

Chapter 5: Finite Element Connection Modelling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76


5.1 Introduction and General Finite Element Modelling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
5.2 Finite Element Material Properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
5.3 Connection Modelling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79
5.3.1 Model Sensitivity Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
5.3.2 Model Fracture Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
5.4 Finite Element Models Evaluated Against Experimental Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
5.4.1 T-type Branch Plate-to-CHS Connections in Tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88
5.4.2 T-type Through Plate-to-CHS Connections in Tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90
5.4.3 X-type Branch Plate-to-CHS Connection in Tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90
5.4.4 T-type Branch and Through Plate-to-CHS Connections in Compression . . 92

Chapter 6: Finite Element Modelling with respect to Numerical Parametric Studies . . . . . . . . 94


6.1 Overview of Numerical Parametric Studies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
6.2 General Analysis Method for Numerical FE Parametric Studies and Chord Normal Stress
Compensation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95
6.2.1 X-type Plate-to-CHS Parametric Connection Modelling . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95
6.2.2 X-type Skew Plate-to-CHS Parametric Connection Modelling . . . . . . . . . 96
6.2.3 T-type Branch and Through Plate-to-CHS Parametric Connection Modelling
with Compensating End Moment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97

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6.3 Effect of the Number of Through-Thickness Chord Elements on the Behaviour of X-


type Plate-to-CHS Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
6.3.1 Introduction and Research Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
6.3.2 Results and Observations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
6.4 Chord Length and Boundary Condition Effect on the Behaviour of Plate-to-CHS
Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
6.4.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
6.4.2 Research Program and Connection Modelling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
6.4.3 Results and Observations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106
6.4.4 Chord Length Study Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110

Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type Branch Plate Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . 111


7.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
7.2 Research Program and Connection Modelling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112
7.3 Parametric Study Results and Comparison with International Database . . . . . . . . 114
7.3.1 Transverse X-type Branch Plate Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
7.3.2 Longitudinal X-type Branch Plate Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
7.4 Design Recommendation Development for Transverse X-type Branch Plate Connections
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
7.4.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
7.4.2 Regression Analysis Using CIDECT Equation Form and Evaluation Against
International Database . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
7.4.3 Verification of Finite Element Modelling Techniques Through Re-analysis of de
Winkel (1998) Numerical Parametric Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
7.4.4 Regression Analysis and Proposed Design Recommendations as a Function of
Plate Thickness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
7.5 Design Recommendation Development for Longitudinal X-type Branch Plate
Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134
7.5.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134
7.5.2 Regression Analysis Using CIDECT Equation Form and Evaluation Against
International Database . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
7.5.3 Regression Analysis and Proposed Design Recommendations as a Function of
Plate Thickness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137
7.6 X-type Parametric Numerical Study Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138

Chapter 8: Skew Angle Effect on the Behaviour of X-type Branch Plate Connections . . . . . . 140
8.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140
8.2 Research Program and Connection Modelling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140
8.3 Parametric Study Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142
8.4 Design Recommendation Development for Skew X-type Branch Plate-to-CHS
Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143
8.4.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143

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8.4.2 Regression Analysis Using Effective Box Section-to-CHS . . . . . . . . . . . . 143


8.4.3 Analysis Using Interpolation Between Longitudinal and Transverse Design
Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
8.5 X-type Skew Angle Effect Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148

Chapter 9: Numerical Study of Chord Axial Stress Effect on Transverse X-type Connections . 149
9.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149
9.2 Research Program and Connection Modelling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150
9.3 Results and Observations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151
9.4 Chord Stress Study Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153

Chapter 10: Parametric Numerical Study of T-type Branch Plate Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . 154
10.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154
10.2 Research Program and Connection Modelling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154
10.3 Parametric Study Results and Comparison with International Database . . . . . . . . 157
10.3.1 Transverse T-type Branch Plate Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157
10.3.2 Longitudinal T-type Branch Plate Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164
10.4 Design Recommendation Development for Transverse T-type Branch Plate Connections
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167
10.4.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167
10.4.2 Regression Analysis Using CIDECT Equation Form and Evaluation Against
International Database . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168
10.4.3 Regression Analysis and Potential Design Recommendations as a Function of
Plate Thickness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 171
10.5 Design Recommendation Development for Longitudinal T-type Branch Plate
Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173
10.5.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173
10.5.2 Regression Analysis Using CIDECT Equation Form and Evaluation Against
International Database . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173
10.5.3 Regression Analysis and Potential Design Recommendations as a Function of
Plate Thickness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175
10.6 T-type Parametric Numerical Study Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177

Chapter 11: Parametric Numerical Study of Through Plate Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179


11.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179
11.2 Research Program and Connection Modelling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179
11.3 Parametric Study Results and Comparison to Branch Plate-to-CHS Connections . 182
11.4 Design Recommendation Development for T-type Through Plate Connections . . 184
11.5 T-type Through Plate Parametric Numerical Study Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187

Chapter 12: Evaluation of Proposed Design Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189

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12.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189


12.2 Potential Reduction Factors from a Lower Bound Approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190
12.3 Potential Resistance Factors from a Simplified Reliability Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . 192

Chapter 13: Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 196


13.1 Summary of Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 196
13.2 Impact of Design Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200
13.3 Recommendations for Further Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207
Appendix A: Ring Model Derivation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221
Appendix B: Material Properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 235
Appendix C: Experimental Results and Numerical FE Correlation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 238
Appendix D: Numerical Parametric Study Properties and Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 257

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


List of Tables

Table 1.1 CHS connection classification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5


Table 2.1 Design resistance of uniplanar branch plate-to-CHS connections under axial load . . 18
Table 3.1 Average measured geometric properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
Table 3.2 Measured material properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
Table 3.3 CHS stub column properties and test results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Table 3.4 Experimental results for plate-to-CHS connections with empty chords . . . . . . . . . . 55
Table 3.5 Comparison of T-type branch and through plate-to-CHS connections . . . . . . . . . . 60
Table 4.1 Average measured geometric properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
Table 4.2 Measured unconfined grout material properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
Table 4.3 Confined grout properties and test results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
Table 4.4 Experimental results for grout filled T-type connections loaded in tension . . . . . . . 71
Table 5.1 Finite element model mesh sensitivity study results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84
Table 5.2 Finite element model fracture study results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
Table 5.3 Finite element model fracture study results (maximum equivalent strain of 0.20) . . . 87
Table 6.1 Geometric parameters for X-type element study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
Table 6.2 Geometric parameters for X-type boundary condition study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106
Table 6.3 Geometric parameters for T-type boundary condition study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106
Table 7.1 Geometric parameters investigated for longitudinal X-type connections and connection
ID numbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112
Table 7.2 Geometric parameters investigated for transverse X-type connections and connection ID
numbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112
Table 7.3 Statistical comparison for Figure 7.20 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127
Table 7.4 Statistical comparison for Figure 7.21 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128
Table 7.5 Geometric and material properties and normalized connection capacity for transverse
branch plate-to-CHS study by de Winkel (1998) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130
Table 7.6 Statistical comparison for Figure 7.23 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133
Table 7.7 Statistical comparison for Figure 7.24 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134
Table 7.8 Statistical comparison for Figure 7.25 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
Table 7.9 Statistical comparison for Figure 7.26 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136
Table 7.10 Statistical comparison for Figure 7.27 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137
Table 7.11 Statistical comparison for Figure 7.28 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138
Table 8.1 Geometric parameters investigated for skew X-type connections and connection ID
numbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141
Table 8.2 Statistical comparison for Figure 8.4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
Table 8.3 Statistical comparison for Figure 8.5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146
Table 8.4 Statistical comparison for Figure 8.6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147

x
List of Tables xi

Table 8.5 Statistical comparison for Figure 8.7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147


Table 9.1 Geometric parameters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151
Table 9.2 More accurate chord stress functions for transverse X-type connections . . . . . . . . 152
Table 10.1 Geometric parameters investigated for longitudinal T-type connections and connection
ID numbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155
Table 10.2 Geometric parameters investigated for transverse T-type connections and connection ID
numbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155
Table 10.3 Effective chord length parameter for transverse T-type plate-to-CHS connections
(compression) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156
Table 10.4 Effective chord length parameter for transverse T-type plate-to-CHS connections
(tension) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157
Table 10.5 Effective chord length parameter for longitudinal T-type plate-to-CHS connections
(compression) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157
Table 10.6 Effective chord length parameter for longitudinal T-type plate-to-CHS connections
(tension) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157
Table 10.7 Statistical comparison for Figure 10.18 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169
Table 10.8 Statistical comparison for Figure 10.19 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 170
Table 10.9 Statistical comparison for Figure 10.20 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172
Table 10.10 Statistical comparison for Figure 10.21 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172
Table 10.11 Statistical comparison for Figure 10.22 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174
Table 10.12 Statistical comparison for Figure 10.23 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175
Table 10.13 Statistical comparison for Figure 10.24 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176
Table 10.14 Statistical comparison for Figure 10.25 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177
Table 11.1 Geometric parameters investigated for longitudinal T-type through plate connections and
connection ID numbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180
Table 11.2 Geometric parameters investigated for transverse T-type through plate connections and
connection ID numbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180
Table 11.3 Effective chord length parameter for transverse T-type through plate-to-CHS
connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 181
Table 11.4 Effective chord length parameter for longitudinal T-type through plate-to-CHS
connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182
Table 11.5 Statistical comparison for Figure 11.5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 184
Table 11.6 Statistical comparison for Figure 11.6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185
Table 11.7 Statistical comparison for Figure 11.7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185
Table 11.8 Statistical comparison for Figure 11.8 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186
Table 11.9 Statistical comparison for Figure 11.9 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186
Table 12.1 Simplified reliability analysis for plate-to-CHS connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 194
Table 13.1 Proposed design resistance of uniplanar branch and through plate-to-CHS connections
under tension and compression axial load . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197
Table D.1 Geometric properties for longitudinal X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections . 258
Table D.2 Material properties, applied loading and parametric FE results for longitudinal X-type
branch plate-to-CHS connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 263
Table D.3 Geometric properties for transverse X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections . . . 272

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


List of Tables xii

Table D.4 Material properties, applied loading and parametric FE results for transverse X-type
branch plate-to-CHS connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 276
Table D.5 Geometric properties for transverse X-type connections tested in compression with
applied chord stress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 284
Table D.6 Material properties, applied loading and parametric FE results for transverse X-type
connections tested in compression with applied chord stress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 284
Table D.7 Geometric properties for transverse X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in
tension with variable chord length . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 288
Table D.8 Material properties, applied loading and parametric FE results for transverse X-type
branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in tension with variable chord length . . . 292
Table D.9 Geometric properties for longitudinal X-type connections with variable chord through
thickness elements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 298
Table D.10 Material properties, applied loading and parametric FE results for longitudinal X-type
connections with variable chord through thickness elements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 299
Table D.11 Geometric properties for skew X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in
tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 301
Table D.12 Material properties, applied loading and parametric FE results for skew X-type
connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 304
Table D.13 Geometric properties for longitudinal T-type branch plate-to-CHS connections . . 310
Table D.14 Material properties, applied loading and parametric FE results for longitudinal T-type
branch plate-to-CHS connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 312
Table D.15 Geometric properties for transverse T-type branch plate-to-CHS connections . . . . 316
Table D.16 Material properties, applied loading and parametric FE results for longitudinal T-type
branch plate-to-CHS connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 318
Table D.17 Geometric properties for transverse T-type branch connections tested in compression
with variable chord length . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 322
Table D.18 Material properties, applied loading and parametric FE results for transverse T-type
branch connections tested in compression with variable chord length . . . . . . . . . . 323
Table D.19 Geometric properties for T-type through plate connections tested in tension . . . . 325
Table D.20 Material properties, applied loading and parametric FE results for T-type through plate
connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 326

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


List of Figures

Figure 1.1 Longitudinal plate connections to I-section and HSS members . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2


Figure 1.2 Example of a transverse plate-to-CHS tension connections (Humber Bay Arch Bridge,
Toronto, Canada - Montgomery & Sisam, Architects; Delcan Corp., Structural Engineer,
1994) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Figure 1.3 Reinforced plate-to-CHS tension connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Figure 1.4 Example of a skew-inclined plate-to-CHS tension connection (Pedestrian bridge,
Singapore) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Figure 1.5 CHS connection geometric parameters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Figure 2.1 Finite element load-deformation curves for transverse branch plate-to-RHS column
connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Figure 2.2 Alternative definitions and approximations for yield and ultimate load . . . . . . . . . . 14
Figure 2.3 Yield load approximation method by Kosteski (2001) and Kosteski et al. (2003) . . . 16
Figure 2.4 Analytical model for axially loaded X-type connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Figure 2.5 Analytical model for axially loaded T-type connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Figure 2.6 Variation of stress distribution in full width transverse plate-to-RHS connection . . . 31
Figure 2.7 Variation of stress distribution in CHS-to-CHS X-type connection . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Figure 2.8 Bearing force dispersion model for RHS connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Figure 2.10 Through plate-to-EHS connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
Figure 2.9 Through plate-to-RHS connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
Figure 3.1 Skew angle influence test series . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Figure 3.3 Comparison of X- and T-type behaviour test series . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Figure 3.2 Load sense influence test series . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Figure 3.4 Experimental connection geometric properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
Figure 3.5 CHS and plate average engineering stress-strain behaviour . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
Figure 3.6 CHS stub column strain gauge location and failure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Figure 3.7 Experiment setup for T-type connections (2700 kN capacity frame) . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Figure 3.8 Experiment setup for X-type connections (1000 kN capacity frame) . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Figure 3.9 Standard experimental instrument arrangement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
Figure 3.10 Instrument arrangement for inclined X-type connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
Figure 3.11 Experimental connection global and local failure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
Figure 3.12 Load-deformation behaviour for plate-to-CHS connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
Figure 3.13 Connection face deformation profile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Figure 3.14 Plate surface stress distribution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
Figure 4.1 Influence of grout filled chords test series . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
Figure 4.3 Grout average engineering stress-strain behaviour . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
Figure 4.2 Experimental connection geometric properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

xiii
List of Figures xiv

Figure 4.4 Confined grout test strain gauge location and failure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
Figure 4.5 Confined grout average engineering stress-strain behaviour . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
Figure 4.6 Experimental setup for grout filled T-type plate-to-CHS connections . . . . . . . . . . . 68
Figure 4.7 Experimental instrumentation for grout filled T-type plate-to-CHS connections . . . 68
Figure 4.8 Grout filled experimental connection global and local failure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
Figure 4.9 Load-deformation behaviour for grout filled plate-to-CHS connections . . . . . . . . . 70
Figure 4.10 Connection face deformation profile comparison for grout filled and unfilled
connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
Figure 4.11 Plate surface stress distribution comparison for grout filled and unfilled connections 73
Figure 5.1 Determination of CHS post-necked response using the Matic (1985) procedure . . . 78
Figure 5.2 CHS and plate FE engineering stress-strain behaviour . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
Figure 5.3 Non-skew T-type through plate-to-CHS connection model with mesh layout and
boundary conditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
Figure 5.4 Non-skew X-type branch plate-to-CHS connection model with mesh layout and
boundary conditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
Figure 5.5 Skew T-type branch plate-to-CHS connection model with mesh layout and boundary
conditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
Figure 5.6 Standard experimental and numerical FE measurement locations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
Figure 5.7 Typical one-quarter FE model mesh arrangements used in mesh sensitivity study . . 83
Figure 5.8 Experimental and FE comparison of T-type branch plate-to-CHS connections in tension
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
Figure 5.9 Experimental and FE comparison of T-type through plate-to-CHS connections in
tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
Figure 5.10 Experimental and FE comparison of X-type branch plate-to-CHS connection in tension
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92
Figure 5.11 Experimental and FE comparison of T-type branch and through plate-to-CHS
connections in compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
Figure 6.1 General parametric longitudinal X-type connection configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
Figure 6.2 General parametric transverse X-type connection configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
Figure 6.3 General parametric skew X-type connection configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97
Figure 6.4 General parametric longitudinal T-type connection configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
Figure 6.5 General parametric transverse T-type connection configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
Figure 6.6 T-type loading to exclude chord axial stress at joint face . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99
Figure 6.7 Connection geometric properties for X-type finite element models . . . . . . . . . . . 102
Figure 6.8 Effect of the number of through-thickness chord elements, for longitudinal X-type
connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
Figure 6.9 Connection geometric properties for transverse X-type branch plate finite element
models . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106
Figure 6.10 Connection geometric properties for transverse T-type branch plate finite element
models . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106
Figure 6.11 Effect of chord length for transverse X-type plate-to-CHS connections loaded in tension
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
Figure 6.12 Effect of chord length for transverse T-type plate-to-CHS connections loaded in
compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


List of Figures xv

Figure 7.1 Parametric longitudinal X-type connection configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113


Figure 7.2 Parametric transverse X-type connection configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
Figure 7.3 Typical stress and deformation profile for transverse X-type plate-to-CHS connection
tested in compression with plate width ratio of 0.6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
Figure 7.4 Typical stress and deformation profile for transverse X-type plate-to-CHS connection
tested in tension with plate width ratio of 0.6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
Figure 7.5 Typical stress and deformation profile for transverse X-type plate-to-CHS connection
tested in compression with plate width ratio of 1.0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
Figure 7.6 Typical stress and deformation profile for transverse X-type plate-to-CHS connection
tested in tension with plate width ratio of 1.0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
Figure 7.7 Parametric FE results for transverse X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in
compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
Figure 7.8 Parametric FE results for transverse X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in
tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
Figure 7.9 Parametric FE results for transverse X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in
compression compared to international database . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118
Figure 7.10 Parametric FE results for transverse X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in
tension compared to international database . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118
Figure 7.11 Comparison of CIDECT design recommendations (Wardenier et al., 2008a) with
parametric FE results and the international database for transverse X-type plate-to-CHS
connections tested in compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119
Figure 7.12 Comparison of CIDECT design recommendations (Wardenier et al., 2008a) with
parametric FE results and the international database for transverse X-type plate-to-CHS
connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120
Figure 7.13 Typical stress and deformation profile for longitudinal X-type plate-to-CHS connection
tested in compression (depth ratio of 1.0 shown) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
Figure 7.15 Parametric FE results for longitudinal X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in
compression and tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122
Figure 7.14 Typical stress and deformation profile for longitudinal X-type plate-to-CHS connection
tested in tension (depth ratio of 1.0 shown) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122
Figure 7.16 Parametric FE results for longitudinal X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in
compression compared to international database . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123
Figure 7.18 Comparison of CIDECT design recommendations (Wardenier et al., 2008a) with
parametric FE results and the international database for longitudinal X-type plate-to-
CHS connections tested in compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124
Figure 7.17 Parametric FE results for longitudinal X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in
tension compared to international database . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124
Figure 7.19 Comparison of CIDECT design recommendations (Wardenier et al., 2008a) with
parametric FE results and the international database for longitudinal X-type plate-to-
CHS connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
Figure 7.20 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 7.6, and the
international database for transverse X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in
compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


List of Figures xvi

Figure 7.21 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 7.7, and the
international database for transverse X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in
tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128
Figure 7.22 Comparison of de Winkel (1998) and re-analysis results for transverse X-type branch
plate-to-CHS connections tested in compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
Figure 7.23 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 7.8, for transverse X-
type plate-to-CHS connections tested in compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133
Figure 7.24 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 7.9, for transverse X-
type plate-to-CHS connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134
Figure 7.25 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 7.13, and the
international database for longitudinal X-type plate-to-CHS connections tested in
compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
Figure 7.26 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 7.14, and the
international database for longitudinal X-type plate-to-CHS connections tested in
tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136
Figure 7.27 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 7.15, for longitudinal
X-type plate-to-CHS connections tested in compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137
Figure 7.28 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 7.16, for longitudinal
X-type plate-to-CHS connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138
Figure 8.1 Parametric skew X-type connection configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141
Figure 8.2 Parametric FE results for skew X-type plate-to-CHS connections tested in tension 142
Figure 8.3 Effective geometry for skew X-type plate-to-CHS connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144
Figure 8.4 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 8.6, for skew X-type
plate-to-CHS connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
Figure 8.5 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 8.7, for skew X-type
plate-to-CHS connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146
Figure 8.6 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 8.8, for skew X-type
plate-to-CHS connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
Figure 8.7 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 8.9, for skew X-type
plate-to-CHS connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
Figure 9.1 Geometric connection properties for FE models . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151
Figure 9.2 Comparison of numerical chord stress to CIDECT DG No. 1 (Wardenier et al., 2008a)
and regression analysis of chord stress function . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152
Figure 10.1 Parametric longitudinal T-type connection configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155
Figure 10.2 Parametric transverse T-type connection configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156
Figure 10.3 Typical stress and deformation profile for transverse T-type plate-to-CHS connection
tested in compression with plate width ratio of 0.6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
Figure 10.4 Typical stress and deformation profile for transverse T-type plate-to-CHS connection
tested in compression with plate width ratio of 1.0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
Figure 10.5 Typical stress and deformation profile for transverse T-type plate-to-CHS connection
tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
Figure 10.6 Parametric FE results for transverse T-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in
compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


List of Figures xvii

Figure 10.7 Parametric FE results for transverse T-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in
tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161
Figure 10.8 Parametric FE results for transverse T-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in
compression compared to international database . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162
Figure 10.9 Parametric FE results for transverse T-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in
tension compared to international database . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162
Figure 10.10 Comparison of CIDECT design recommendations (Wardenier et al., 2008a) with
parametric FE results and the international database for transverse T-type plate-to-CHS
connections tested in compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
Figure 10.11 Comparison of CIDECT design recommendations (Wardenier et al., 2008a) with
parametric FE results and the international database for transverse T-type plate-to-CHS
connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
Figure 10.12 Typical stress and deformation profile for longitudinal X-type plate-to-CHS connection
tested in compression and tension (depth ratio of 1.0 shown) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164
Figure 10.14 Parametric FE results for longitudinal T-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in
compression compared to international database . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165
Figure 10.13 Parametric FE results for longitudinal T-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in
compression and tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165
Figure 10.15 Parametric FE results for longitudinal T-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in
tension compared to international database . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166
Figure 10.16 Comparison of CIDECT design recommendations (Wardenier et al., 2008a) with
parametric FE results and the international database for longitudinal T-type plate-to-CHS
connections tested in compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167
Figure 10.17 Comparison of CIDECT design recommendations (Wardenier et al., 2008a) with
parametric FE results and the international database for longitudinal T-type plate-to-CHS
connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167
Figure 10.18 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 10.6, and the
international database for transverse T-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in
compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169
Figure 10.19 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 10.7, and the
international database for transverse T-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in
tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 170
Figure 10.20 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 10.8, for transverse T-
type plate-to-CHS connections tested in compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172
Figure 10.21 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 10.9, for transverse T-
type plate-to-CHS connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172
Figure 10.22 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 10.13, and the
international database for longitudinal T-type plate-to-CHS connections tested in
compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174
Figure 10.23 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 10.14, and the
international database for longitudinal T-type plate-to-CHS connections tested in tension
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175
Figure 10.24 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 10.15, for
longitudinal T-type plate-to-CHS connections tested in compression . . . . . . . . . . 176

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


List of Figures xviii

Figure 10.25 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 10.16, for
longitudinal T-type plate-to-CHS connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177
Figure 11.1 Parametric longitudinal T-type through plate-to-CHS connection configuration . . 181
Figure 11.2 Parametric transverse T-type through plate-to-CHS connection configuration . . . 181
Figure 11.3 Parametric FE results for transverse T-type through plate-to-CHS connections . . . 182
Figure 11.4 Parametric FE results for longitudinal T-type through plate-to-CHS connections . 183
Figure 11.5 Comparison of through plate and the summed branch plate connection capacities . 184
Figure 11.6 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Table 11.6, for transverse T-
type through plate-to-CHS connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185
Figure 11.7 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Table 11.7, for transverse T-
type through plate-to-CHS connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185
Figure 11.8 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Table 11.8, for longitudinal T-
type through plate-to-CHS connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186
Figure 11.9 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Table 11.9, for longitudinal T-
type through plate-to-CHS connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186
Figure 13.1 Comparison of CIDECT Design Guide No. 1, 2nd Edition (Wardenier et al., 2008a) and
Voth for transverse X-type connections tested in compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201
Figure 13.2 Comparison of CIDECT Design Guide No. 1, 2nd Edition (Wardenier et al., 2008a) and
Voth for transverse X-type connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201
Figure 13.3 Comparison of CIDECT Design Guide No. 1, 2nd Edition (Wardenier et al., 2008a) and
Voth for longitudinal X-type connections tested in compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . 202
Figure 13.4 Comparison of CIDECT Design Guide No. 1, 2nd Edition (Wardenier et al., 2008a) and
Voth for longitudinal X-type connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 202
Figure 13.5 Comparison of CIDECT Design Guide No. 1, 2nd Edition (Wardenier et al., 2008a) and
Voth for transverse T-type connections tested in compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203
Figure 13.6 Comparison of CIDECT Design Guide No. 1, 2nd Edition (Wardenier et al., 2008a) and
Voth for transverse T-type connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203
Figure 13.7 Comparison of CIDECT Design Guide No. 1, 2nd Edition (Wardenier et al., 2008a) and
Voth for longitudinal T-type connections tested in compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204
Figure 13.8 Comparison of CIDECT Design Guide No. 1, 2nd Edition (Wardenier et al., 2008a) and
Voth for longitudinal T-type connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204
Figure A.1 Analytical model for axially loaded X-type connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 222
Figure A.2 Analytical model for axially loaded T-type connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 227
Figure A.3 Components of shear flow at any point using sign convention of point i . . . . . . . . 229
Figure B.1 CHS engineering stress-strain behaviour from tensile coupon tests . . . . . . . . . . . . 235
Figure B.3 CHS stub column engineering stress-strain behaviour . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 236
Figure B.2 Plate engineering stress-strain behaviour from tensile coupon tests . . . . . . . . . . . . 236
Figure B.4 Grout engineering stress-strain behaviour for 28 day moist cured cylinders . . . . . . 237
Figure B.5 Grout engineering stress-strain behaviour for 81 day field cured cylinders . . . . . . . 237
Figure C.1 Standard experimental and numerical FE instrument arrangement . . . . . . . . . . . . 239
Figure C.2 Instrument arrangement for inclined X-type connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239
Figure C.3 Longitudinal T-type branch plate connection loaded in tension results . . . . . . . . . 241
Figure C.4 Skew (45) T-type branch plate connection loaded in tension results . . . . . . . . . . . 242
Figure C.5 Transverse T-type branch plate connection loaded in tension results . . . . . . . . . . . 243

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


List of Figures xix

Figure C.6 Longitudinal T-type through plate connection loaded in tension results . . . . . . . . 244
Figure C.7 Skew (45) T-type through plate connection loaded in tension results . . . . . . . . . . 245
Figure C.8 Transverse T-type through plate connection loaded in tension results . . . . . . . . . . 246
Figure C.9 Longitudinal T-type branch plate connection loaded in compression results . . . . . 247
Figure C.10 Transverse T-type branch plate connection loaded in compression results . . . . . . . 248
Figure C.11 Longitudinal T-type through plate connection loaded in compression results . . . . . 249
Figure C.12 Transverse T-type through plate connection loaded in compression results . . . . . . 250
Figure C.13 Longitudinal X-type branch plate connection loaded in tension results . . . . . . . . . 251
Figure C.14 Inclined longitudinal X-type branch plate connection loaded in tension results . . . 252
Figure C.15 Grout filled longitudinal T-type branch plate connection loaded in tension results . 253
Figure C.16 Grout filled transverse T-type branch plate connection loaded in tension results . . 254
Figure C.17 Grout filled longitudinal T-type through plate connection loaded in tension results 255
Figure C.18 Grout filled transverse T-type through plate connection loaded in tension results . . 256
Figure D.1 Parametric FE load-deformation behaviour for longitudinal X-type branch plate-to-CHS
connections tested in compression, CX0EC- . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 268
Figure D.2 Parametric FE load-deformation behaviour for longitudinal X-type branch plate-to-CHS
connections tested in tension, CX0ET- . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 270
Figure D.3 Parametric FE load-deformation behaviour for transverse X-type branch plate-to-CHS
connections tested in compression, CX90EC- . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 280
Figure D.4 Parametric FE load-deformation behaviour for transverse X-type branch plate-to-CHS
connections tested in tension, CX90ET- . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 282
Figure D.5 Parametric FE load-deformation behaviour for transverse X-type connections tested in
compression with applied chord stress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 287
Figure D.6 Parametric FE load-deformation behaviour for transverse X-type branch plate-to-CHS
connections tested in tension with variable chord length . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 296
Figure D.7 Parametric FE load-deformation behaviour for longitudinal X-type connections with
variable chord through thickness elements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 300
Figure D.8 Parametric FE load-deformation behaviour for skew X-type branch plate-to-CHS con-
nections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 307
Figure D.9 Parametric FE load-deformation behaviour for longitudinal T-type branch plate-to-CHS
connections tested in compression, CB0EC- . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 314
Figure D.10 Parametric FE load-deformation behaviour for longitudinal T-type branch plate-to-CHS
connections tested in tension, CB0ET- . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 315
Figure D.11 Parametric FE load-deformation behaviour for transverse T-type branch plate-to-CHS
connections tested in compression, CB90EC- . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 320
Figure D.12 Parametric FE load-deformation behaviour for transverse T-type branch plate-to-CHS
connections tested in tension, CB90ET- . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 321
Figure D.13 Parametric FE load-deformation behaviour for transverse T-type branch connections
tested in compression with variable chord length . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 324
Figure D.14 Parametric FE load-deformation behaviour for longitudinal T-type through plate-to-
CHS connections tested in tension, CT0ET- . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 327
Figure D.15 Parametric FE load-deformation behaviour for transverse T-type through plate-to-CHS
connections tested in tension, CT90ET- . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 328

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Symbols and Abbreviations

w0
h1 or bp 1 1 h1 or tp
bp
w0
b1 or tp w0 b1 or bp
w0 tp w0 w0

Longitudinal (1 = 0) Skew (0 < 1 < 90) Transverse (1 = 90)

N1

Branch h1 = 2(l0/d0)
Crown Point
Chord w1 Fillet Weld
w1 1 = b1/d0
Saddle Point
1 = h1/d0
1 t0
d0 p = bp/d0
p = tp/d0
20 = d0/t0
l0

ACI = American Concrete Institute


AISC = American Institute of Steel Construction
API = American Petroleum Institute
ASCE = American Society of Civil Engineers
ASTM = American Society for Testing and Materials
CEN = Comit Europen de Normalisation, European Committee for Standardization
CIDECT = Comit International pour le Dveloppement et lEtude de la Construction Tubulaire
CSA = Canadian Standards Association
IIW = International Institute of Welding
ISOPE = International Society of Offshore and Polar Engineers
SSRC = Structural Stability Research Council

CHS = circular hollow section


CoV = coefficient of variation
EHS = elliptical hollow section
FE = finite element
HSS = hollow structural section
RHS = rectangular hollow section

xx
Symbols and Abbreviations xxi

SOLID45 = an 8-node solid element with large deformation and strain capabilities and three
translational degrees of freedom per node
SOLID95 = a 20-node solid element capable of plasticity, creep, stress stiffening, large deflection, and
large strain

A = area
A b = loaded bearing area
A d = dispersed bearing area
A g = gross cross-sectional area
A i = cross-sectional area of member i
B e = ring model effective length
C = dispersion constant used in the expression for effective width
C 1 = chord stress function coefficient
C 1 , C 2 , C 3 = integration constants
C SC = Stub column ultimate compressive strength
E = Youngs modulus, modulus of elasticity
I = second moment of area
K = the rate of change of the tangent modulus: used by Matic (1985)
K 0 = connection load-deformation curve initial stiffness
M = bending moment
M i = bending moment applied to member i or bending moment at plastic hinge i
M p = plastic moment capacity of a rectangular cross-section
M i, pl , M pl, i = plastic moment capacity of member i ( M pl, i in CIDECT Design Guide No. 1, 2nd
Edition; Wardenier et al., 2008a)
M ( i ) = bending moment at plastic hinge i due to shear flow function, q ( )
N = axial force
N i = axial force applied to member i or axial force at plastic hinge i (force tangential to the
ring surface)
N i, 1% = axial force applied to member i at a connection deformation of 1% d 0 or 1% b 0
N i, 3% = axial force applied to member i at a connection deformation of 3% d 0 or 3% b 0
N i, 3%FE = axial force applied to member i at a connection deformation of 3% d 0 or 3% b 0 from
finite element analysis
N i, gm = global maximum axial force applied to member i (resulting from fracture or punching
shear failure)
N i, gmFE = global maximum axial force applied to member i (resulting from fracture or punching
shear failure) from finite element analysis
N i, lm = local maximum axial force applied to member i (prior to CHS shell snap through) for
connections tested in compression
N i, lmFE = local maximum axial force applied to member i (prior to CHS shell snap through) for
connections tested in compression from finite element analysis
N i, max = maximum axial force applied to member i

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Symbols and Abbreviations xxii

N i, pl , N pl, i = yield capacity or squash load of member i = A i f yi ( N pl, i in CIDECT Design Guide
No. 1, 2nd Edition; Wardenier et al., 2008a)
N i, plFE = yield capacity or squash load of member i = A i f yi from finite element analysis
N i, u = connection ultimate capacity expressed as an axial force in member i; minimum of (i)
the load at a deformation of 3% d 0 , N i, 3% , if this deformation precedes the deformation
at N i, max , (ii) the maximum connection load, N i, max (either N i, lm or N i, gm ) and (iii)
branch plate yielding, N i, pl
N i, uFE = connection ultimate capacity expressed as an axial force in member i; minimum of (i)
the load at a deformation of 3% d 0 , N i, 3%FE , if this deformation precedes the
deformation at N i, max , (ii) the maximum connection load, N i, max (either N i, lmFE or
N i, gmFE ) and (iii) branch plate yielding, N i, plFE from finite element analysis
N i = connection resistance expressed as an axial force in member i
N i API = connection resistance against punching shear, expressed as an axial force in member i,
for concrete or grout filled CHS connections (API, 2007)

N i CP = connection resistance against chord plastification, expressed as an axial force in member i
N i PS = connection resistance against punching shear, expressed as an axial force in member i
N p = axial plastic capacity of a rectangular cross-section
N u,Kamba = connection ultimate load defined by Kamba and Taclendo (1998)
N u,Kurobane = connection ultimate load defined by Kurobane et al. (1976, 1984)
N y = connection yield load
N yi = connection yield load expressed as an axial force in member i
N y,Bi-linear = connection yield load defined using classical bi-linear approximation
N y,Akiyama = connection yield load defined by Akiyama et al. (1974)
N y,Kamba = connection yield load defined by Kamba and Taclendo (1998)
N y,Kosteski = connection yield load defined by Kosteski (2001) and Kosteski et al. (2003)
N y,Kurobane = connection yield load defined by Kurobane et al. (1976, 1984)
N y, rigid-plastic = connection yield load based on a rigid, perfectly-plastic FE model by Kosteski et al.
(2003)
N y, yield-line = connection yield load based on a yield-line model by Kosteski et al. (2003)
N ( i ) = axial force at plastic hinge i due to shear flow function, q ( )
Q = first moment of area
Q f = chord stress function
Q u = design strength partial function
R i = ring model regression constant for term i
V = shear force
V i = shear force at plastic hinge i (force normal to the ring surface)
V p = shear plastic capacity of a rectangular cross-section
V w = weld shear resistance
V ( i ) = shear force at plastic hinge i due to shear flow function, q ( )

a = weld throat thickness

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Symbols and Abbreviations xxiii

b e = uniform stress block effective width: 90 to chord longitudinal axis


b ep = effective punching shear width of branch member: 90 to chord longitudinal direction
b i = external width of a rectangular hollow section (RHS) or plate branch member i: 90 to
chord longitudinal direction
b i = effective external width of a rectangular hollow section (RHS) or plate branch member
i: 90 to chord longitudinal direction (b 1 = b 1 + 2w , b 0 = b 0 t 0 )
b i, eff = effective external width of branch member i from skewed plate projection,
b i, eff = ( b p sin 1 + t p cos 1 )
b p = external width of plate or larger of plate cross-section dimensions for any plate
orientation
dF = incremental force tangential to the ring surface resulting from the shear flow function,
q( )
dF N = axial component of incremental force dF taken with respect to the local axis at plastic
hinge i
dF V = shear component of incremental force dF taken with respect to the local axis at plastic
hinge i
d i = external diameter of a circular hollow section (CHS) member i
dM = incremental bending moment about plastic hinge i due to the force dF
ds = incremental section of ring
d = angle associated with incremental section ds
f i = normal stress applied to member i
f ( n ) = chord axial compressive stress function (Wardenier, 1982)
f ( n ) = chord axial stress function in CIDECT Design Guide No. 1, 1st Edition (Wardenier et
al., 1991)
f 0p = chord prestress term in CIDECT Design Guide No. 1, 1st Edition (Wardenier et al.,
1991)
f c = specified compressive strength of concrete or grout at 28 days
f c = compressive strength of concrete
f cc = confined compressive strength of concrete
f u = ultimate stress
f uc = ultimate stress of confined concrete
f ui = ultimate stress of member i
f u(base metal) = ultimate stress of base metal
f u(weld metal) = ultimate stress of weld metal
f y = yield stress
f yi = yield stress of member i
h e = effective length of branch member: 0 to chord longitudinal axis
h i = external depth of a rectangular hollow section (RHS) or plate branch member i: in
plane with chord longitudinal axis
h i = external depth of a rectangular hollow section (RHS) or plate branch member i: in
plane with chord longitudinal axis ( h i = ( h i sin i + 2w 0 ) sin i )

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Symbols and Abbreviations xxiv

h i, eff = effective external depth of branch member i from skewed plate projection,
h i, eff = ( b p cos 1 + t p sin 1 )
i = denotes member of hollow section connection. Subscript i = 0 denotes chord
member; i = 1 denotes the branch member for T, X and Y connections and the
compression branch member for K and N connections; i = 2 denotes the tension
branch member for K and N connections. Also denotes plastic hinge number for ring
model derivations.
k a = approximates the elliptical connection perimeter of a CHS branch member inclined at
angle 1 ( k a = ( 1 + sin 1 ) ( 2sin 1 ) )
l c = length of concrete core for RHS concrete filled connections
l i = length of member i
l 0 = effective chord length
m R = mean of the Q u, Actual to Q u, Predicted ratio
n = chord stress ratio n = N 0 N 0,pl + M 0 M 0,pl
n = chord stress ratio = f 0p f y0 in CIDECT Design Guide No. 1, 1st Edition (Wardenier et
al., 1991)
q = shear flow
q ( ) = shear flow distribution along ring as a function of angle defined by Togo (1967) and
derived in Appendix A
t f = thickness of flange
t i = thickness of hollow section or plate member i
t p = plate thickness
t sp = stiffening or doubler plate thickness
t w = thickness of web
w = nominal weld size (leg length = w = a 2 for a 90 weld)
w i = measured weld size (leg length) along member i
y = centroid location of an area

= chord length parameter ( = 2l 0 d 0 or coefficient of separation (= 0.55)


= effective chord length parameter ( = 2l 0 d 0 )
+
= safety (reliability) index (3.0 for ductile connections and 4.0 for brittle connections)
, i = nominal width ratio between branch member i and the chord ( i = b i d 0 )
, i = effective width ratio between branch member i and the chord ( i = b i d 0, b i b 0 )
i, eff = effective width ratio between branch member i and the chord for skewed plate
projection i, eff = b i, eff d 0
= effective connection width ratio for plate stiffened RHS connections
p = nominal width ratio between the plate and the chord ( p = b p d 0 ) for any plate
orientation
, i = radius-to-thickness ratio of member i ( i = d i 2t i )
M = partial safety factor for connection resistance (approximate inverse of )
0 = effective width-to-thickness ratio for plate stiffened RHS connections

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Symbols and Abbreviations xxv

= connection face deformation


u = connection face deformation at the ultimate load
= engineering strain
ef = maximum equivalent strain: used to activate element death feature
T = true strain
u = ultimate, fracture strain
= reduction factor for design recommendations
, i = nominal depth ratio between branch member i and the chord ( i = h i d 0 )
, i = effective depth ratio between branch member i and the chord ( i = h i d 0 )
i, eff = effective depth ratio between branch member i and the chord for skewed plate
projection i, eff = h i, eff d 0
p = nominal depth ratio between the plate and the chord ( p = t p d 0 ) for any plate
orientation
i = included inclination angle between branch member i and the chord
= engineering stress
T = true stress
= resistance factor (approximate inverse of M )
c = concrete resistance factor
w = weld resistance factor
= location angle within a ring model
i = location angle of plastic hinge i within a ring model
i = included skew angle of branch member i and the chord longitudinal axis

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 Structural Application of Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Section


Connections and Discussion of Inherent Inefficiencies

Hollow structural section (HSS) members are a popular alternative to traditional open section members
due to their aesthetic appeal and efficiency. The clean lines and smooth surface of HSS members have
allowed architects to create light, open spaces that incorporate exposed steelwork. From a structural
stand-point, HSS members are very efficient, leading to economic advantages. Unlike open I-sections, cir-
cular and square HSS members have no weak axis and have a high radius of gyration: an ideal distribution
of steel for a compression member. The resulting HSS compression member has a lower unit weight and
lower surface area than its I-section counterpart. Despite the higher price of HSS members per unit weight
relative to I-section members, the high HSS efficiency, leading to lower weight, results in a lower cost for
HSS compression members compared to an I-section member with similar properties. This makes HSS
ideal and cost-effective for use as columns or as truss members - where approximately 50% of the members
are in compression. The lower weight of HSS also results in reduced transportation costs, lower erection
costs, smaller foundation sizes and reduced consumption of resources providing sustainability benefits. The
reduced surface area of HSS, again relative to I-sections, implies lower painting costs and generally lower
fire and corrosion protection costs. In addition, HSS members have lower drag coefficients affecting wind
and water forces; the internal space can be utilized for connection stiffening or internal fire protection to
develop multi-function members; and HSS members, being a closed section, have an inherent torsional
strength far in excess of an open section - about 200 times for members of similar mass (Packer and Hend-
erson, 1997; Wardenier, 2002; Wardenier et al., 2010).

A simple and cost effective way to connect to HSS members is to use a branch plate connection, partic-
ularly when the HSS member is used as a column. Longitudinal branch plate connections were originally
used to connect brace members to I-section columns. For these connections the branch plate is welded
along the centre line of the flange, thereby introducing the force applied by the branch plate directly to the
web of the I-section, as shown in Figure 1.1. Although branch plate connections with HSS members are
simple to fabricate and are cost-effective, the behaviour of branch plate-to-HSS connections differs from
branch plate-to-I-section connections. With the former, the force applied to the branch plate must flow
from the connecting face through the side walls of a Rectangular Hollow Section (RHS) or around the cir-

1
Chapter 1: Introduction 2

cumference of a Circular Hollow Section (CHS). An example of an axially loaded transverse plate-to-CHS
connection in shown in Figure 1.2.

Plate-to-I-section Plate-to-CHS Plate-to-RHS


T-type Connection T-type Connection T-type Connection

Figure 1.1 Longitudinal plate connections to I-section and HSS members

Figure 1.2 Example of a transverse plate-to-CHS tension connections (Humber Bay Arch Bridge,
Toronto, Canada - Montgomery & Sisam, Architects; Delcan Corp., Structural Engineer, 1994)

As thin walled HSS members are generally very flexible, this arrangement causes significant deforma-
tions in the hollow section for relatively low loads, often reaching practical deformation limits well before
ultimate failure or peak strength - dictating that the ultimate limit state be governed by a deformation crite-
rion rather than an ultimate load criterion. By imposing a deformation limit on the ultimate capacity of a
branch plate connection, the strength of the HSS member is limited, often facilitating the need to stiffen
these connections to increase their capacity. Many methods to stiffen branch plate-to-HSS member con-
nections have been proposed: a through plate connection, which connects to two opposite HSS surfaces; a

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 1: Introduction 3

concrete- (or grout) filled HSS branch plate connection; an external or internal annular ring stiffened con-
nection and plate stiffened connections, to name a few. A significant amount of research has been com-
pleted on stiffened branch plate-to-RHS connections (Kosteski, 2001; Kosteski and Packer, 2001a, 2001b,
2002, 2003a, 2003b); however, limited or no research has been completed on stiffened branch plate-to-
CHS connections. As such, if the un-reinforced capacity of a plate-to-CHS connection is not sufficient,
cumbersome and likely expensive reinforcement details are often used. Two heavily reinforced plate-to-
CHS connections are shown in Figure 1.3.

Figure 1.3 Reinforced plate-to-CHS tension connections


(left - Awning support column, Epcot Centre, Florida, USA, right - Lateral bracing system, OHare
International Airport, Chicago, USA)

Figure 1.4 Example of a skew-inclined plate-to-CHS tension connection (Pedestrian bridge, Singapore)

Complicated structural systems often have elements that intersect each other at non-orthogonal angles
necessitating rotated and complex connection geometries. Connections with branch members inclined to

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 1: Introduction 4

the longitudinal axis of the chord or rotated about their own axis (or skewed) have become commonplace,
within truss and space-frame systems, cable stayed roof systems and bridges (see Figure 1.4). Although
plate-to-HSS connections are now often designed with a full range of skew and inclination angles, research
and recommendations into the effect of non-orthogonal connections have been limited, necessitating fur-
ther research to fill the gap in the current design knowledge base.

The research presented herein is threefold. First, this research sets out to examine current design guide-
lines for branch plate-to-CHS connections, to study their basis and to propose modifications, where neces-
sary. Second, the behaviour of skewed branch plate-to-CHS connections will be determined along with the
development of corresponding design guidelines. Finally, the behaviour of stiffened branch plate-to-CHS
connections will be examined, with the aim of developing design recommendations for through plate-to-
CHS connections.

1.2 Connection Classification

The connection types that are examined herein are of four main groups: X-type, T-type, through plate
and grout filled. Each connection type can have various branch plate orientations: transverse, where the
plate is oriented at 90 to the chord longitudinal axis; longitudinal, where the plate is in line with the
chord longitudinal axis; skew, when the plate is rotated at some angle between longitudinal and transverse
orientations; and inclined, when the plate is not perpendicular to the chord longitudinal axis. Plate inclina-
tion combined with plate rotation is possible for connections with complex geometry but is not discussed
within this research. The specific connection geometry can be described by connection dimensions (chord
diameter, d 0 , branch plate width, b p , etc.), but the geometry is typically presented using non-dimensional
parameters that can be easily compared regardless of connection scale (see Figure 1.5). The basic plate-to-

w0
h1 or bp 1 1 h1 or tp
bp
w0
b1 or tp w0 b1 or bp
w0 tp w0 w0

Longitudinal (1 = 0) Skew (0 < 1 < 90) Transverse (1 = 90)

N1

Branch h1 = 2(l0/d0)
Crown Point
Chord w1 Fillet Weld
w1 1 = b1/d0
Saddle Point
1 = h1/d0
1 t0
d0 p = bp/d0
p = tp/d0
20 = d0/t0
l0

Figure 1.5 CHS connection geometric parameters

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 1: Introduction 5

CHS connection types and their classification, including non-orthogonal connection geometries, are
shown in Table 1.1, including some of which are not explicitly discussed in this research.

Table 1.1 CHS connection classification


Transverse Skew Longitudinal Inclined
( 1 = 90 ) ( 0 < 1 < 90 ) ( 1 = 0 ) ( 1 < 90 )
X-type
T-type
Through plate
Grout filled T-type

1.3 Research Program Overview

This research project aims to verify and/or enhance current design guidelines for branch plate-to-CHS
connections, then extend these design guidelines to connection orientations currently not addressed such as
skewed plate connections and through plate-to-CHS connections. The research program includes an
experimental component, the creation and validation of numerical finite element models, a parametric

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 1: Introduction 6

study to broaden the experimental database and the development and modification of design recommenda-
tions based on the results of the numerical database.

A complete review of relevant research and current design guidelines is described in Chapter 2. This
summary focuses on historical and current methods for determining the ultimate limit state of connections
that do not experience a clearly defined yield capacity, as well as the current design guidelines and their ori-
gins. Further, a comprehensive review of stiffened tubular connections is described including annular ring
stiffeners, chord concrete filling, stiffening plates and limited research on through plate-to-HSS connec-
tions.

The experimental program examines the influence of branch plate orientation, the influence of loading
sense (branch plate tension vs. compression), the difference in T-type and X-type connection behaviour,
the influence of chord grout filling and the behaviour of through plate connections. The experimental
study with empty CHS chords (see Chapter 3) examines the behaviour of 12 unfilled plate-to-CHS con-
nections with the objective of describing the influence of four parameters: skew angle ( 1 ), branch plate
load sense - tension or compression, branch versus through plate connections, and X-type versus T-type
connections. Four additional experimental T-type plate-to-CHS connections were tested with grout filled
chords, two with branch and two with through plate geometries, to determine the influence of grout filling
on unstiffened and previously stiffened connections as described in Chapter 4. Detailed test results for both
empty and filled connections can be found in Appendix C.

To confirm the application of non-linear numerical finite element (FE) models in the creation of a sub-
sequent numerical test database, a study was conducted to validate FE models with the aforementioned
unfilled experimental tests. Finite element models were created using a commercially available finite ele-
ment software program, ANSYS, matching the non-linear geometric and material properties of the experi-
mental connections. In addition, the FE models were subjected to a fracture criterion allowing the ultimate
connection failure mode to be emulated for both tension and compression loaded connections. These FE
models were validated against experiments with respect to overall load-displacement behaviour, local load-
displacement behaviour, local spot strain readings and ultimate failure mechanism. A full description of the
methods used is given in Chapter 5 with a detailed comparison with experimental tests in Appendix C.

The finite element models used to verify the application of numerical finite element modelling form a
limited range of connection types and geometric properties. To carry out a parametric study that expands
the scope of connection types and geometries, several modifications must be made to the validated FE
models, such as boundary conditions, mesh layout and load application. These modifications are described
in detail in Chapter 6 for each connection geometry associated with the numerical parametric analysis. In
addition, the effect of chord length and chord end boundary conditions is evaluated through a numerical

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 1: Introduction 7

parametric study conducted for X- and T-type branch plate-to-CHS connections, with the aim of fully
excluding the chord end boundary condition effects from plate-to-CHS connection behaviour.

Five parametric numerical finite element studies, three X-type and two T-type, were conducted to
expand the scope of previous experimental research. Each study examined one or more connection param-
eters related to a specific aspect of plate-to-CHS connection behaviour. First, a study of X-type branch
plate connections (Chapter 7), which examines the behaviour of transverse and longitudinal connections
under both branch plate compression and tension loading, is compared to the current design guidelines and
a compiled international database. In addition, the influence of branch plate thickness on connection ulti-
mate capacity is examined. Chapter 8 describes behavioural analysis of X-type plate-to-CHS connections
with skewed branch plates under tension loading. The study examines various methods of relating the con-
nection capacity of intermediate skew angles ( 0 < 1 < 90 ) with the connection capacity of longitudinal
( 1 = 0 ) and transverse ( 1 = 90 ) connections. The final X-type research program studies the effect
of chord axial stress on transverse connections under branch plate compression load. As the current chord
stress functions for plate-to-CHS connections are not based on plate-to-CHS connection behaviour, an
investigation into the chord stress effect seems appropriate. For the study, the chord axial stress applied to a
wide range of connection geometries was varied significantly, using both axial compression and tension (see
Chapter 9).

Similar to the analysis of X-type branch plate connections, the first T-type study, found in Chapter 10,
examines the behaviour of transverse and longitudinal connections under both branch plate compression
and tension loading. The FE analysis results are compared with the current design guidelines, as well as the
compiled international experimental database. The final numerical FE parametric study evaluates the
behaviour of T-type through plate-to-CHS connections with transverse and longitudinal plate orientations.
As the behaviour of these connections is identical for both compression and tension branch plate loading,
only branch plate tension is applied. The analysis results are then related to the connection capacity of T-
type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in both compression and tension. These results are summa-
rized in Chapter 11. For all five numerical parametric studies, design recommendations, based in part on
regression analysis of data produced by finite element analysis, are proposed with detailed analysis results
presented in Appendix D.

The design recommendations for branch plate-to-CHS connections are evaluated in Chapter 12 and
summarized in Chapter 13 along with conclusions about connection behaviour. The impact of the pro-
posed design recommendations is illustrated by comparing the current design guidelines with the new rec-
ommended design expressions indicating if the proposed expressions provide more or less connection
capacity than the previous status quo. Chapter 13 is concluded with recommendations for further research
into the behaviour of branch plate-to-CHS connections under static loading.

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design
Recommendations

2.1 Introduction

The design of hollow structural section (HSS) connections has been of significant interest since the
early 1960s, resulting in numerous studies and reports detailing the efforts to define connection behaviour.
Preliminary research found that numerous HSS connection types experience significant chord deformation
and plastification when subjected to relatively low branch member loads. As such, connection deformation
often exceeds practical limits well before conventional ultimate failure through punching shear or other
fracture criteria. In addition to large connection deformation, behavioural non-linearity, resulting in no
clear ultimate load, required researchers to develop unconventional means of determining serviceability and
ultimate limit states. Both of these factors have led to inconsistency within the field with regard to HSS
connection capacity; however, a criterion developed by Lu et al. (1994) has become a widely accepted
method to define the ultimate limit state. The first section of this chapter summarises various methods of
determining connection capacity from non-linear load-deformation behaviour.

Design recommendations that describe connection capacity and the governing failure mode are devel-
oped from theoretical models, experimental or numerical examination and, in most cases, a combination of
both. Over time, these design guidelines evolve; the evolution of which is a result of advancement in ana-
lytical techniques, application of new theoretical models and trends within international bodies that publish
these recommendations, to name a few. Design guidelines also expand in scope with the need to encompass
and incorporate new fabrication methods, material properties, and connection types developed by industry
and academia alike. When developing new or evolved design guidelines, an examination of past recom-
mendations is, therefore, very important. As such, the second section of this chapter discusses the origins of
current design recommendations for branch plate-to-circular hollow section (CHS) connections.

To limit unwanted connection flexibility and excessive deformation that often occurs in HSS connec-
tions, various stiffening methods have been developed. Connection stiffening can significantly modify the
connection behaviour resulting in increased connection capacity for a particular failure mode or change the
connection failure mode all together. The feasibility and effectiveness of each stiffening method is largely
dependent on the connection size, geometry and type. The final section of this chapter describes various
stiffening techniques that have been developed and discusses their impact on connection design.
8
Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 9

As the aim of this research, in part, is to develop design recommendations for both unstiffened and stiff-
ened branch plate-to-CHS connections, it is pertinent to focus a literature review on the origins of ultimate
limit state criteria and design recommendations, as well as, typical connection stiffening methods. This
chapter summaries and discusses each of these topics in detail.

2.2 Ultimate and Serviceability Limit States

As HSS connections are often very flexible and experience significant deformations under relatively
small loads, they often reach practical deformation limits well before any sign of ultimate failure or peak
strength. In addition, non-linear connection behaviour may not result in a pronounced peak or yield load,
making it difficult to determine a connection capacity and subsequently design limit states. Furthermore,
for circular and rectangular hollow section (RHS) connections, membrane action and strain hardening pro-
vide additional capacity at large deformations, especially for connections with small to medium width ratios
( ) and high diameter-to-thickness ratios ( 2 ) (Lu et al., 1994). As there may be excessive deformation,
one possible way to determine connection capacity is to impose a practical limit to deformation and thus
determine the capacity at that limit. Alternatively, a limit state can be based on change in slope, significant
points or the shape of the load-displacement curve. Various researchers such as Ariyoshi et al. (1998), Ariy-
oshi and Makino (2000), Kosteski (2001) and Kosteski et al. (2003) have discussed the evolution of the ulti-
mate and serviceability deformation limits and yield and ultimate load determination, which are
summarized in the following sections.

2.2.1 Deformation Limit States

A deformation limit serves to define the strength of connections that fail to exhibit a clearly-defined
peak or yield load. The load corresponding to the deformation limit limits the ultimate capacity of the con-
nection. Since the mid 1970s, several ultimate and serviceability deformation limits have been proposed for
HSS connections by various researchers. Mouty (1976, 1977), who was working on a yield line method for
RHS K-type gapped connections, determined that the yield load predicted by his yield line analysis corre-
sponded to a connecting face deformation of 1% of the main chord width ( b 0 ). Based on 12 experimental
tests, Mouty suggested that the deformation of the connecting face of the chord member be limited to
1% b 0 at ultimate design load.

Yura et al. (1980, 1981) suggested a practical ultimate limit on connection deformation for CHS-to-
CHS tubular connections of twice the branch member yield deformation or = 2f yi l i E , where the
branch member length ( l i ) is taken as 30 times the diameter of the branch member ( d 1 ): a typical upper
limit for offshore structures. For many connection and loading types the length has limited effect as the
load-deformation curve is relatively flat over a large range of deformations. To express the ultimate defor-

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 10

mation limit suggested by Yura et al. (1980, 1981) in terms of the main member diameter ( d 0 ), Kosteski et
al. (2003) used a material yield strength ( f y0 ) of 350 MPa, a modulus of elasticity of 200 GPa and a width
ratio ( d 1 d 0 ) in the order of 0.3 (low to represent a flexible connection) resulting in a connection deforma-
tion of 10.5% of the branch member diameter ( d 1 ) or 3% of the main member diameter ( d 0 ).

Korol and Mirza (1982) suggested that for RHS T-connections the ultimate deformation of the con-
necting chord face should be limited to 25 times the deformation experienced at the connection elastic
limit. The deformation at this imposed limit was generally about 1.2 times the chord thickness ( t 0 ) and
typically exceeded the limit set by Mouty (1976, 1977) except for large width ratios ( 1 = b 1 b 0 0.83 ).
The International Institute of Welding (IIW) Subcommission XV-E (1989) adopted a serviceability defor-
mation limit of 1% b 0 (or 1% d 0 ). This serviceability deformation limit of 1% b 0 corresponds to the typical
out-of-flatness or out-of-straightness tolerance for RHS wall faces imposed on HSS manufacturers.

The above deformation limits are only valid for specific cases and pertain to only either CHS or RHS
connections (with the exception of the deformation limit adopted by the International Institute of Welding
(IIW) Subcommission XV-E (1989)). Lu et al. (1994) proposed a single ultimate deformation limit that
could be used for almost any type of welded tubular connection (plate or I-beam-to-CHS connections,
plate or I-beam-to-RHS connections, CHS X-connections, RHS X- and T-connections) based on, and
validated with respect to, both numerical and experimental results. Lu et al. (1994) proposed that the con-
nection deformation be limited to 3% of the main member width ( b 0 ) or diameter ( d 0 ) as an ultimate limit
state. The validity and suitability of this ultimate deformation limit was investigated by Lu et al. (1994) and
Zhao (1996) and subsequently adopted by the International Institute of Welding (IIW) Subcommission
XV-E. Further, Kosteski (2001) and Kosteski et al. (2003) state that for branch plate-to-RHS welded con-
nections, the 3% b 0 ultimate deformation limit load ( N 1, 3% ) agrees well with the yield load from an analyt-
ical yield line model developed by Kosteski (2001), but is not specifically predicted by the model. The
ultimate deformation limit proposed by Lu et al. (1994) is now the most widely accepted ultimate deforma-
tion limit being used by researchers to limit the ultimate strength of HSS connections. To fully grasp the
implications of the 3% b 0 (or 3% d 0 ) ultimate deformation limit with respect to future research, it is impor-
tant to understand its origins and development.

2.2.2 Origins and Development of the 3% Ultimate Deformation Limit

The 3% b 0 (or 3% d 0 ) ultimate deformation limit chosen by Lu et al. (1994) and adopted by the IIW
was based on the following two premises. First, through experimental and numerical tests performed at
Delft University of Technology by van der Vegte et al. (1991), de Winkel et al. (1993) and Yu and Warde-
nier (1994), it was determined that for welded HSS connections that did reach a peak load, the correspond-
ing local deformation of the chord face varied between 2.5%b 0 4%b 0 (or 2.5%d 0 4%d 0 ). From this
observation, Lu et al. (1994) proposed a local ultimate deformation limit, for HSS connections that do not

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 11

exhibit a peak load, of 3% b 0 (or 3% d 0 ), being roughly equal to the deformation at ultimate load for con-
nections that did exhibit a peak load.

Second, from Finite Element Modelling of transverse branch plate-to-RHS column connections, Lu et
al. (1994) observed that the deformation limit of 3% b 0 is very close to where the normalized load-displace-
ment curves typically cross for different chord width-to-thickness ratios ( 2 0 ). Lu and Wardenier (1995)
show five load-deformation curves, three of which are cited from Lu et al. (1994), which illustrate this
trend. These curves are presented with additional annotation in Figure 2.1.

Figures 2.1 (b) and (c) clearly indicate that for transverse plate-to-RHS connections with chord width
ratio ( 1 ) of 0.30 and 0.50 the load-displacement curves for various width-to-thickness ratios ( 2 0 ) cross
each other at a deformation of 3% b 0 . For transverse plate-to-RHS connections with chord width ratio ( )
of 0.18 and 0.73 (presented in Figures 2.1(a) and (d)), the load-displacement curves for various width-to-
thickness ratios ( 2 0 ) cross each other in multiple locations between 3% b 0 and 4.3% b 0 . Finally, for plate-
to-RHS connections with chord width ratio ( 1 ) of 0.93 (Figure 2.1(e)), the load-displacement curves for
various width-to-thickness ratios ( 2 0 ) do not cross each other at all. As pointed out by Kosteski (2001)
and Kosteski et al. (2003), the physical phenomenon or the importance of the point where the load-dis-
placement curves cross is not understood. No explanation is given by Lu et al. (1994) in regards to the
physical phenomenon; however, the connection deformation is similar for a wide range of main member
width-to-thickness ratios ( 2 0 ).

The 3% b 0 (or 3% d 0 ) limit suggested by Lu et al. (1994) is useful as an analytical tool for consistent
comparison of results within a database or between databases of various researchers, but is by no means the
only way to compare results and trends, as shown in the next section (Kosteski, 2001; Kosteski et al., 2003).
Wardenier (2000, 2001) cautions that the load-deformation curves for branch plate-to-HSS connections,
like that for width ratio ( 1 ) of 0.5 (shown annotated in Figure 2.1(c)), can lead to radically different con-
clusions. For a connection load based on a 1% b 0 , 3% b 0 or 5% b 0 deformation limit, an increasing width-
to-thickness ratio ( 2 0 ) has a negative influence, has almost no influence, or has a positive influence on the
resulting trend, respectively. Therefore, a specific deformation limit should be used cautiously when making
general conclusions. The current internationally-agreed deformation criteria adopted by the International
Institute of Welding (IIW) Subcommission XV-E are the 1% b 0 (or 1% d 0 ) serviceability deformation limit
and the 3% b 0 (or 3% d 0 ) ultimate deformation limit.

2.2.3 Other Methods for Determining Connection Serviceability and Ultimate Limit State

The deformation limit criteria for serviceability and ultimate capacity, of welded HSS connections that
do not exhibit a clearly defined ultimate or yield load, have been presented in Section 2.2.2. Though these
deformation limits have been widely accepted by researchers and adopted by the International Institute of

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 12

(a) Load-deformation curves for = 0.18 (b) Load-deformation curves for = 0.30
10 10

3%b0 limit

3%b0 limit
Normalised branch load, N1/(fy0t02)

Normalised branch load, N1/(fy0t02)


8 8

6 6

3.7%b0
4 4

4.3%b0 3%b0
2 3%b0 2

0 0
0 5 10 15 20 0 5 10 15 20
Connection deformation, (mm) Connection deformation, (mm)

(c) Load-deformation curves for = 0.50 (d) Load-deformation curves for = 0.73
10 10
3%b0 limit
1%b0 limit

5%b0 limit

3.7%b0

Normalised branch load, N1/(fy0t02)


Normalised branch load, N1/(fy0t02)

8 8

4.3%b0
6 6 3%b0

4 4
3%b0

3%b0 limit
2 2
reversal of 20
influence
0 0
0 5 10 15 20 0 5 10 15 20
Connection deformation, (mm) Connection deformation, (mm)

(e) Load-deformation curves for = 0.93


15

N1
Normalised branch load, N1/(fy0t02)

10
fy0 = 355 MPa
fy1 = 690 MPa

N1 20 = 15.8
5 20 = 25.0
20 = 37.5
3%b0 limit

Figures (b), (c) and (d) from Lu et al., 1994; Figures (a)
0 and (e) from Lu and Wardenier, 1995; additional
0 5 10 15 20 annotation by Wardenier, 2000 and Kosteski et al., 2003.
Connection deformation, (mm)

Figure 2.1 Finite element load-deformation curves for transverse branch plate-to-RHS column
connections

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 13

Welding (IIW) Subcommission XV-E, several other methods have been suggested for determining the
yield load and ultimate load from load-displacement curves of connections that do not exhibit a pro-
nounced yield or ultimate load. The pseudo or approximate yield or ultimate load determined by these
methods can be used to define the limit state of a connection just as the definitive yield or ultimate load
would be used.

Given that there was very little consensus among researchers and that each pseudo yield or ultimate load
determination method was generally utilized for one specific type of analysis or research only, many meth-
ods are not applicable to current research. A classic approximate yield load determination method, which
has been used since the 1970s (Packer, 1978; Packer et al., 1980; Zhao and Hancock, 1991), is illustrated in
Figures 2.2(a) and (b) for two types of RHS connections experiencing chord face plastification. For this
method, often referred to as the double-tangent method or bi-linear method, the load-deformation curve is
approximated by two straight lines: one from the origin along the linear elastic portion of the load-defor-
mation curve and one along the second linear portion of the load-deformation curve or second stiffness.
The load at which the two lines intersect each other indicates a major change in stiffness and is defined as
the yield load ( N y, Bi-linear ). Packer et al. (1980) resorted to the classical bi-linear method of determining the
yield load (Figure 2.2(a)), with deformation expressed as a normalized quantity, as no agreement on the
definition of the yield load from experimental load-deformation curves existed at that time.

Kurobane et al. (1984) defined a procedure for determining the pseudo yield load for two different
load-deformation curves (A and B), as shown in Figure 2.2(c), that do not exhibit a pronounced yield load
while working on CHS-to-CHS welded connections. These curves were plotted on a natural log-log scale
and were approximated by two straight lines, similar to the previous method. For Curve A, a bi-linear
approach, similar to that shown in Figures 2.2(a) and (b), was used where the curve is approximated by two
straight lines and the load at the intersection of these two lines is taken as the natural log of the yield load
( ln N y, Kurobane ) representing the point of maximum curvature variation of the load deformation curve. For
where a bi-linear approach is not definitive, as with Curve B, an offset scatter band of 0.25 compared with
the initial slope of the load-deformation curve is drawn to intersect the curve. The load at which this line
intersects the load-deformation curve is defined as the natural log of the yield load (Kurobane et al., 1984).
Ariyoshi et al. (1998) approximated the scatter band method of Kurobane et al. (1984) as the intersection of
the load-deformation curve and a line drawn from the origin with a slope of 0.779 of the initial stiffness
( K 0 - kN/mm).

Kurobane et al. (1976, 1984) also suggested (see Figure 2.2(d)) that the ultimate load ( N u, Kurobane ) be
taken as the maximum strength of the connection for load-deformation Curves A and B, and as the first
peak load for load-deformation Curves C and D, where in many cases the second peak load is higher than
the first. As discussed previously, for connections that have considerable plastification or deformation under
minimal load, deformation limits put a practical upper bound on the ultimate load in most cases.

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 14

(a) Example of bi-linear yield load approximation method (b) Example of bi-linear yield load approximation method
by Packer et al. (1980) by Zhao and Hancock (1991)

e
t lin

Branch member compressive load, N1


Branch member compressive load, N1
gen line
tan
nt line
nd
ent
2 tang

ent line
nd
2
1 st tange

1 st tang
N1
Ny, Bi-linear N1

Ny, Bi-linear

Normalised connection deformation, Connection deformation,

(c) Logarithm-based yield load approximation by (d) Definition of yield and ultimate load by Kurobane et al.
Kurobane et al. (1984) (1976, 1984)

Ny,Kurobane A
A
Nu,Kurobane
Branch member laod, N1
branch member load, ln(N1)

lnNy, Bi-linear

lnNy, Kurobane B
Natural logarithm of

B
C
N1

D
0.25 Scatter band

Natural logarithm of connection deformation, ln() Connection deformation,

(e) Breakpoint stiffnesss yield and ultimate load (f) Yield load approximation method by Akiyama et al.
approximation method by Kamba and Taclendo (1998) (1974)

Nu, Kamba (=1.31Ny)


line
tangent
C Ny, Akiyama Cracked
Branch member tensile load, N1

Cracking
B
Point
Branch member load, N1

second stiffness, K0/3


B
1/3
Ny, Kamba N1 N1
A A

2/3Ny, Kamba

2/3

initial stiffness, K0

Connection deformation, Connection deformation,

Figure 2.2 Alternative definitions and approximations for yield and ultimate load

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 15

Kamba and Taclendo (1998) defined a yield load in relation to the initial stiffness of the load-deforma-
tion curve while studying experimental and finite element (FE) models of transverse branch plate-to-CHS
connections. Instead of idealizing the load-deformation curve as two straight lines, a tri-linear approxima-
tion connecting the origin, with points A, B, and C was developed, as shown in Figure 2.2(e). The yield
load ( N y, Kamba ) or point B, is located on the load-deformation curve where the tangent stiffness of the
curve is equivalent to one third of the initial stiffness ( K 0 ). For four FE numerical specimens the ratio of
maximum to yield load ranged from 1.28 to 1.35 with an average of 1.31. Kamba and Taclendo (1998)
adopted 1.31 N y, Kamba as the ultimate load ( N u, Kamba ) for load-deformation curves that did not exhibit a
peak load: point C. For load-deformation curves where a peak load is reached Kamba (1997), as explained
by Ariyoshi et al. (1998), took the ultimate load ( N u, Kamba ) as the lesser of the peak load and 1.31 times the
yield load ( N y, Kamba ). To complete the tri-linear approximation of the numerical load-deformation curves,
point A was defined by a point on the line of initial stiffness with a load equal to two thirds of the yield load
( N y, Kamba ).

Akiyama et al. (1974), as described by Ariyoshi et al. (1998), used a very complicated method incorpo-
rating crack initiation to determine the pseudo yield load for welded connections that did not exhibit a dis-
tinct yield load. As shown in Figure 2.2 (f), a line is drawn tangentially to the load-deformation curve at the
point of crack initiation back to the vertical axis. Another line is drawn horizontally from the vertical axis
to the load-deformation curve at a value of two thirds of the load corresponding to the intersection point of
the first line with the vertical axis, thus defining point A (Figure 2.2(f)). A third line is drawn from the ori-
gin through point A on the load-deformation curve. The load at which this third line intersects the first
line, point B, is taken as the yield load ( N y, Akiyama ).

Kosteski (2001) and Kosteski et al. (2003) suggest that for plate-stiffened welded RHS-to-branch plate
connections, a FE-based rigid, perfectly-plastic yield load ( N y, Kosteski ) can be defined to represent the con-
nection pseudo yield and/or ultimate limit state, where a clearly defined yield and/or peak load does not
exist. First, a FE model of the connection that simulates all aspects of an experimental test (i.e. geometry,
material properties, boundary conditions, etc.) is validated against the experimental results to ensure the
model accurately represents reality. Next, to simulate the assumptions of a first-order analytical yield line
model, the FE model is reanalysed using effectively-rigid-perfectly-plastic material properties and small
deflection analysis. This model produces a load-deformation curve that has a distinct yield plateau
(Figure 2.3(b)) that Kosteski (2001) and Kosteski et al. (2003) observe corresponds with the analytical yield
line model very closely. Kosteski (2001) and Kosteski et al. (2003) note that the results obtained by using a
3% b 0 ultimate deformation limit agree well with this FE modelling technique, which has a rational basis.

The methods presented for determining the pseudo yield or ultimate load from a load-deformation
curve each have their merits; however, each is generally based upon a very specific set of circumstances. In
addition, as with the 3% b 0 ultimate deformation limit suggested by Lu et al. (1994), certain methods are

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 16

(a) Elastic, perfectly-plastic (E = 200 000 MPa) (b) Rigid, perfectly plastic (E = 200 000 x 103 MPa)
180 180
.35 .35
160 9x6 2x6 6.35 5 160
8 9x8 2x10 127x 8x6.3 6.35 Ny, rigid-plastic (125 kN)
S 0 x x
HS HSS 1 S 127 78x17 x203

Branch plate tensile load, N1 (kN)


35
x6. 35
Branch plate tensile load, N1 (kN)

140 110 kN HS SS 1 SS 203 254 x6. 140 Ny, yield-line (120 kN)
H H 54x 305
S S 2
3 05x plateau tangent line
H S
HS
120 120
plateau tangent line
100 Ny, yield-line (120 kN) 100

80 80 Ny, rigid-plastic (112 kN)


N1
60 60
60 kN
40 40
' = 1.0 ' = 1.0
20 20
' = 0.4 ' = 0.4
0 0
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 0.00 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08
Connection deformation, (mm) Connection deformation, (mm)

Figure 2.3 Yield load approximation method by Kosteski (2001) and Kosteski et al. (2003)
somewhat arbitrary undermining the credibility of the method. For example, as pointed out by Kosteski
(2001), point B of the tri-linear curve being set as one third of the initial stiffness proposed by Kamba and
Taclendo (1998), and the 0.25 scatter band proposed by Kurobane et al. (1984) are quite arbitrary and very
dependant on specific data. Despite the significant number of methods presented, most are either difficult
to implement or are specific for one particular type of connection. The 3% b 0 (or 3% d 0 ) ultimate deforma-
tion limit, on the other hand, has been found to be reasonable by numerous researchers and, as noted above,
has been confirmed by Kosteski et al. (2003) using a modified FE modelling procedure.

2.3 Branch Plate-to-CHS Connection Design

Branch plate-to-CHS connection behaviour is highly dependent on the orientation and dimensions of
the branch plate and the connecting chord member. Significant research in Japan, which dates back to the
1960s (Kurobane, 1981, 1990; Kurobane et al., 1976; Makino et al., 1998; Togo, 1967), and The Nether-
lands (Wardenier, 1982) has resulted in broadly accepted design equations for both longitudinal and trans-
verse branch plate-to-CHS connections found in CIDECT design guides (Kurobane et al., 2004;
Wardenier et al., 1991), IIW recommendations (IIW, 1989) and Eurocode 3 (CEN, 2005). Similar design
methods have been presented by Packer and Henderson (1997) in a Canadian Institute of Steel Construc-
tion (CISC) guide, by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) in a steel structures design spec-
ification (2005) and by Packer et al. (2010) in an AISC guide.

Recently, a re-appraisal of all welded CHS connection design rules was undertaken, principally by van
der Vegte and Wardenier, with the aim to incorporate new research findings into the existing connection
design guidelines. The extensive re-appraisal (Qian et al., 2007, 2008; van der Vegte and Makino, 2006; van
der Vegte et al., 2007, 2008a, 2008b; Wardenier, 2007; Wardenier et al., 2007a, 2007b, 2007c, 2008b,
Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections
Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 17

2008c, 2009; Zhao et al., 2008) has resulted in a third edition of the International Institute of Welding
(IIW) static design recommendations for tubular connections (IIW, 2009). These in turn have been incor-
porated into a second edition of the CIDECT Design Guide No. 1 (Wardenier et al., 2008a). The design
equations from the latter, for plate-to-CHS connections, are shown in Table 2.1.

To determine the ultimate connection resistance, the CHS design formulae check the connection
capacity for the two governing limit states that have been identified for both transverse and longitudinal
branch plate connections: chord plastification (resulting in excessive deformation) and chord punching
shear failure. In addition, branch plate yielding and weld capacity would be checked, as part of a complete
connection design. The evolution of design formulae for the above two plate-to-CHS limit states, as well as
branch plate and weld design, are described in the following sections.

2.3.1 Chord Plastification Design

The plate-to-CHS connection capacity equations recommended by CIDECT (Kurobane et al., 2004;
Wardenier et al., 1991, 2008a) for chord plastification have not changed dramatically in their fundamental
form since their inception; however, this does not indicate or imply that little research has been completed
on the subject. Significant research conducted in Japan since the 1960s has been summarised by Kurobane
et al. (1976) and Kurobane (1981, 1990): research that has been extended into a large database for branch
plate and related connection types by Makino et al. (1996a, 1996b, 1998) and Ariyoshi et al. (1998). Work
by Wardenier (1982) and Makino (1984), which resulted in broadly accepted design equations, has recently
been updated by van der Vegte et al. (2008b) and Wardenier et al. (2008b, 2009) based on an extensive re-
evaluation of experimental and numerical research. With the analytical ring model as a basis for these
equations, research conducted aims to increase the equation efficiency by refining existing equation coeffi-
cients or adding new equation parameters that have previously been ignored or deemed too complex. As it
is the intension of this document to develop design guidelines for stiffened plate-to-CHS connections based
partially on the current design guidelines, it is important to understand the evolution, limits and inherent
assumptions of the equations that govern chord plastification. To this end, the following is an overview of
the general analytical models for CHS-to-CHS connection chord plastification and the evolution of design
equations for T- and X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections.

Unlike branch plate- or RHS-to-RHS connection plastification behaviour that can be sufficiently
described by connecting face yield line models, branch plate- or CHS-to-CHS connection plastification
behaviour is exceedingly difficult to express as a full analytical yield line model primarily due to a curved
connection surface. A simplified model developed by Togo (1967) based on plasticity theory transforms the
three dimensional connection surface and curved yield lines into a two dimensional ring and plastic hinges
that extend over an effective length, B e . In addition, the concentrated branch force is replaced with a dis-
tributed line load that also acts over the effective length. The effective length and the exact positions of the

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 18

Table 2.1 Design resistance of uniplanar branch plate-to-CHS connections under axial load
CIDECT Design Guide No. 1, 2nd Edition (Wardenier et al., 2008a)
Design Resistance
2
f y0 t 0
Chord Plastification: N 1 = Q u Q f -----------
-
sin 1
Type of Connection:
Transverse Plate:
Function Q u :
N1 b1 N1 b1
1+
2.2 --------------------
0.15
t1 t1 X-type 1 0.7
1 t0 1 t0
2 0.2
d0 d0 T-type 2.2 ( 1 + 6.8 )
Chord Punching Shear Check
(when b 1 d 0 2t 0 ):
N1
N 1 = 1.16b 1 t 0 f y0
Longitudinal Plate:
Function Q u :
N1 N1
h1 t1 h1 t1 X-type
t0 t0 5 ( 1 + 0.4 )
T-type
1 1
d0 d0
Chord Punching Shear Check:

f y0 t 0
N1 N 1 = 1.16h 1 -------------
2
-
sin 1
Function Q f :
C1 N0 M0
Qf = ( 1 n ) where n = -----------
- + -----------
- on connecting side of chord
N pl, 0 M pl, 0
Value of C 1 : for chord compression stress ( n < 0 ) , C 1 = 0.25 ; chord tension stress ( n 0 ) , C 1 = 0.20
Range of Validity:
Compression chords must be class 1 or 2 (CEN, 2005), but also Transverse plate:
f y1 f y0
2 50 (T-type) or 2 40 (X-type). 0.4 1.0
f y f u 0.8
Tension chords must be 2 50 (T-type) Longitudinal plate:
f y0 460 MPa
or 2 40 (X-type). 14
Notes: 1. For transverse X-type connections with angles 1 < 90 the chord should also be checked for
shear failure. 2. For transverse and longitudinal plates, 1 is the angle of the force acting on the plate.

line load and plastic hinges are obtained exclusively through regression analysis of experimental or numeri-
cal results, making the ring model both theoretical and empirical in nature. All forces normal to the ring
or in the chord longitudinal direction are not included in the ring model and have been accounted for by a
separate function, Q f .

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 19

The ring model for X- and T-type connections established by Togo (1967) and refined by Mkelin-
en (1988) and Paul (1992) is presented by van der Vegte (1995) in two forms: a simple derivation, where
only bending moments (M) within the shell are considered and the interaction between bending moments,
shear forces (V) and axial forces (N) is ignored; and an exact derivation, where all forces and their interac-
tions are considered. Though many derivations of connection capacity are based on the simple ring
model (Kurobane et al., 1976, 1984; Wardenier, 1982; for example), the simple formulation becomes
unstable as the width ratio ( ) approaches 1.0 leading to an infinite solution. The exact derivation is there-
fore required for connections with large values in order to obtain a more accurate capacity prediction.
Brief derivations of both simple and exact ring models for X- and T-type CHS-to-CHS connections,
adapted from van der Vegte (1995), are presented here with detailed derivations presented in Appendix A.

2.3.1.1 General analytical model for X-type connections with branch axial load

An X-type connection can be defined by a ring of diameter d 0 (connection chord diameter) and of
length B e loaded by half of the branch member axial load ( N 1 2 ) at the connection saddle points as shown
in Figure 2.4(a). As the branch member distributes its axial force over the connection contact area, the
actual location of N 1 2 is, in most cases, interior to the saddle point; however, the location is considered
reasonable given the axial stress distribution within the branch member (see Section 2.3.2). Utilizing con-
nection symmetry, only one quarter of the ring is required to describe the connection behaviour provided
that the symmetric boundaries are replaced with necessary reaction forces. Plastic hinges are assumed to
1
occur at point B (the connection saddle point: B = sin ), and point C ( C = 2 ).

To determine expressions for axial forces (N): forces tangential to the ring surface, shear forces (V):
forces normal to the ring surface and bending moments (M) at each plastic hinge location, the force equi-
librium of ring sections is examined. Free body diagrams of sections A-B and A-C (Figures 2.4(a) and (b)),
with positive sign convention taken as the assumed direction of forces at the plastic hinge location, produce
two sets of force equilibrium equations. As the plastic hinge rotation direction (either hogging or sagging)
changes from one hinge to the next for the assumed yield model, the plastic moment direction at hinge B is
opposite to that of hinge C and reflected within the equilibrium derivation.

The force and moment expressions derived from a free body diagram of section A-B (Figure 2.4(b)) for
plastic hinge B are given by:

N
N B = 0 : N B + V A sin B N A cos B ------1 sin B = 0 2.1(a)
2
N
V B = 0 : V B + V A cos B + N A sin B ------1 cos B = 0 2.1(b)
2

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 20

Branch member force is distributed Section A-B is effectively


N1
over the plastic hinge effective length rigid due to restraint
(Be) resulting in a line load of provided by branch d1/2
N1/(2Be) at each saddle point member
N1/(2Be) N1/2
Saddle Point EI
Plastic hinge A Plastic hinge
B
Be
B EI
C
O C Plastic hinge
Plastic hinge
Deformed shape
d0/2

Plastic hinge
Plastic hinge
Saddle Point
N1/(2Be)
N1/2

N1

(a) General model formulation

d1/2 d1/2
VA VA
MA N1/2 MA N1/2
EI EI
NA A MB NA A
B B
NB
d0/2 B VB d0/2 EI
C
O O C
VC
MC
NC

(b) Free body diagram of section A-B (c) Free body diagram of section A-C

Figure 2.4 Analytical model for axially loaded X-type connections


(adapted from van der Vegte, 1995; Wardenier, 1982)

d d
M B = 0 : M B M A V A -----1 N A -----0 ( 1 cos B ) = 0 2.1(c)
2 2

Similarly, the force and moment expressions derived from a free body diagram of section A-C
(Figure 2.4(c)) for plastic hinge C are given by:

N
N C = 0 : N C + V A sin C N A cos C ------1 sin C = 0 2.2(a)
2
N
V C = 0 : V C + V A cos C + N A sin C ------1 cos C = 0 2.2(b)
2
d d N1 d0
M C = 0 : M C + M A + V A -----0 sin C + N A -----0 ( 1 cos C ) -----------
- ( sin C sin B ) = 0 2.2(c)
2 2 4

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 21

The axial, shear and plastic moment capacity of each hinge are derived based on a rectangular cross-sec-
tion with height equivalent to the chord thickness ( t 0 ) and width equivalent to the equivalent plastic hinge
length ( B e ). By using a von Mises yield criterion, the plastic capacity of each hinge is given by:

N p = f y0 t 0 B e 2.3
1
V p = ------- f y0 t 0 B e 2.4
3
1 2
M p = --f y0 t 0 B e 2.5
4

Simple ring model derivation

A simplified model is often ideal for design guidelines as the ease and time of implementation often out
-weigh a marginal increase in accuracy of predicted behaviour that occurs for more complex formulation;
however, the simplified expression must remain a conservative approximation. The simple ring model deri-
vation ignores the influence of shear and axial forces at each plastic hinge location leaving expressions for
plastic hinge moment behaviour only, as presented by Equations 2.1(c) and 2.2(c). By setting these equa-
tions equal to each other, substituting in known constants ( N A = 0 , V A = 0 , sin B = d 1 d 0 = ,
2
cos B = 1 , sin C = sin ( 2 ) = 1.0 , cos C = cos ( 2 ) = 0 and Mi = MP where
i = BC ) and solving, an analytical expression for the strength of an axially loaded X-type connection
( N 1 ) is given by:

2
2f y0 t 0 ( B e d 0 )
N 1 = --------------------------------
-. 2.6
1

Exact ring model derivation

Though the simplified ring model provides a concise expression for connection behaviour, the exact
analytical ring model accounts for connections with large values by including the influence and interac-
tion of axial forces, shear forces and bending moments at each plastic hinge. For each plastic hinge, an
approximate interaction formula between axial force, shear force and bending moment for a rectangular
cross-section, based on plasticity theory and the von Mises yield criterion, is given by (van der Vegte,
1995):

2 2
M N V
------- + ------- + ------ = 1.0 2.7
Mp Np Vp

An alternate interaction formula is given by the American Society of Civil Engineers (1971) developed by
Drucker (1956) and Neal (1961) as:

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 22

V 4
------
M N 2 VP
------- + ------- + ------------------------2 = 1 2.8
MP NP N
1 -------
NP

Substituting Equations 2.1(a) to 2.2(c), Equations 2.3 to 2.5 and known constants ( N A = 0 , V A = 0 ,
2
sin B = d 1 d 0 = , cos B = 1 , sin C = sin ( 2 ) = 1.0 and cos C = cos ( 2 ) = 0 )
into Equation 2.7 for each of the two plastic hinge locations produces expressions for plastic hinge behav-
iour given by Equations 2.9 and 2.10 for points B and C respectively.

2 2 2 2
4M A N1 N1 ( 1 )
---------------
2
- = 1.0 + ------------------
2 2 2
- + -------------------------
- 2.9
f y0 t 0 B e 4f y0 t 0 B e 42 2 2
--f y0 t 0 B e
3
2 2
4M A N1 d0 ( 1 ) N1
---------------
2
- = 1.0 -----------------------------
2
------------------
2 2 2
- 2.10
f y0 t 0 B e f y0 t 0 B e 4f y0 t 0 B e

By setting Equations 2.9 and 2.10 equal to each other and rearranging, the exact analytical expression for
the strength of an axially loaded X-type connection ( N 1 ) is given by:

2
4f y0 t 0 ( B e d 0 )
N 1 = ------------------------------------------------------------------- 2.11
2
2 2
( 1 ) + ( 1 ) + ------------- 2
-

Both the simple and exact expressions for the strength of an axially loaded X-type connection
(Equations 2.6 and 2.11) define connection behaviour in terms of chord yield strength ( f y0 ) and geometri-
cal parameters including the unknown effective length value B e . The value of B e , which is a function of
2 and , can be determined through a regression analysis of experimental and numerical results. As the
location of the applied branch member load is also approximated in the ring model, the width ratio ( ) is
also considered within regression analysis independently of B e .

2.3.1.2 General analytical model for T-type connections with branch axial load

The derivation of an analytical model for a T-type connection, even in the most simple form, is signifi-
cantly more complex than that of an X-type connection due to the addition of shear over the chord depth
in the form of a shear flow distribution q ( ) . Unlike X-type connections where the force applied by one
branch member is transferred through the chord cross-section to the opposing branch member, the force
applied by the branch member in a T-type connection must be transferred to the chord ends through shear
and bending in the chord. If the influence of chord bending is removed from within the context of the
ring model derivation by including it as a separate normal stress function ( Q f ), the shear flow distribu-

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 23

tion becomes the only means to transfer branch load to the chord ends and therefore becomes a significant
element in the ring model (see Figure 2.5).

Branch member force is distributed Section A-B is effectively


N1
over the plastic hinge effective length rigid due to restraint
(Be) resulting in a line load of provided by branch d1/2
N1/(2Be) at both saddle points member
N1/(2Be) EI N1/2
Saddle Point Plastic hinge
Plastic hinge A
B
Be
B EI
C Plastic hinge
Plastic hinge C
O
Deformed shape D
d0/2
q()

D
Plastic hinge
Plastic hinge

(a) General model formulation

d1/2 d1/2 d1/2


VA VA VA
MA EI N1/2 MA EI N1/2 MA EI N1/2

NA A MB NA A q() NA A
B B B
NB
d0/2 B VB d0/2 EI d0/2 EI
C C C
VC
O O O
MC D
NC
VD q()
MD
(b) Free body diagram of section A-B (c) Free body diagram of section A-C
D
ND

(d) Free body diagram of section A-D

Figure 2.5 Analytical model for axially loaded T-type connections


(adapted from van der Vegte, 1995; Wardenier, 1982)

The ring model, as described by van der Vegte (1995) is derived here in a simple form that accounts
for bending moments (M) only. An exact form that includes the interactions between bending moment,
shear force (V) and axial force (N) is not presented, but an approximation is given. Similar to X-type con-
nections, most of the derivations of ring model strength expressions for T-type connections found in the
literature are based on the simple approach. A more detailed derivation can be found in Appendix A.

Simple ring model derivation

Like an X-type connection, a T-type connection can be defined by a ring of diameter d 0 (connection
chord diameter) and of length B e loaded by half of the branch member axial load ( N 1 2 ) at the connec-

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 24

tion saddle points (see Figure 2.5). The branch member axial load is resisted, in part, by a shear flow distri-
bution q ( ) , as a function of , along the chord perimeter which is taken as (Togo, 1967):

2N
q ( ) = ----------1 sin 2.12
d 0

Utilizing connection symmetry, one half of the ring is required to describe the connection behaviour pro-
vided that the symmetric boundaries are replaced with necessary reaction forces. Plastic hinges are assumed
1
to occur at point B (the connection saddle point: B = sin ), point C ( C ), which has an unknown
location, but lies between points B and D, and point D ( D = ). The location of point C is obtained by
minimizing the derived ring model strength equation with respect to the angle C . As the effective loca-
tion of the applied branch member load ( N 1 2 ) and effective connection length ( B e ) are unknown,
regression analysis is again applied to the final analytical expression (van der Vegte, 1995).

Using the same procedure as with the X-type connection ring model derivation, the expressions for
the bending moments at plastic hinges B, C and D respectively are given by:

M B = 0 :
d d
M B M A V A -----1 N A -----0 ( 1 cos B ) + M ( B ) = 0 2.13
2 2
M C = 0 :
d d N1 d0
M C + M A + V A -----0 sin C + N A -----0 ( 1 cos C ) -----------
- ( sin C sin B ) M ( C ) = 0 2.14
2 2 4
M D = 0 :
d d N1 d0
M D M A V A -----0 sin D N A -----0 ( 1 cos D ) + -----------
- ( sin D sin B ) + M ( D ) = 0 2.15
2 2 4

where M ( i ) is a function of the angle i where i = BD that describes the rotational component of
the shear flow distribution q ( ) and is defined as (see Appendix A for full derivation):

N 1 d 0 i N1 d0
M ( i ) = ----------- - 1 cos i -----i sin i
- sin ( 1 cos ( i ) ) d = ----------- 2.16
2 0 2 2

By setting Equations 2.13, 2.14 and 2.15 equal to each other, setting M i = M P where i = BD (see
2
Equation 2.5), substituting in known constants ( V A = 0 , sin B = d 1 d 0 = , cos B = 1 ,
1
B = sin , sin D = sin ( ) = 0 , and cos D = cos ( ) = 1 ), and solving, an analytical expression
for the strength of an axially loaded T-type connection, ( N 1 ) is given by (van der Vegte, 1995):

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 25

2 B
2fy0 t 0 -----e ( 1 + 1 )
2
d0
N 1 = -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1
- 2.17
C 2 sin
sin C 1 ------- ( 1 + 1 ) 1 -------------- ( 1 + cos C )

Exact ring model derivation

Expressions for the equilibrium of each of the three plastic hinge locations can be derived using the
previously defined expressions with the addition of expressions for axial force and shear force at each of the
three plastic hinges (shown in Appendix A): each determined in the same manner as for the X-type con-
nection ring model and substituted into the von Mises yield criterion interaction formula (Equation 2.7).
The set of three linear expressions that result can be solved resulting in an exact analytical solution for T-
type connections. As the derivation of the exact solution is complicated, van der Vegte (1995) suggests
solving the system of equations numerically. The numerical solution to the exact ring model, however, is
sufficiently close to the simple model (Equation 2.17) and therefore can be approximated by the simple ana-
lytical solution. To account for the influence of the chord geometry, a radius-to-thickness ratio parameter
( ) is added by van der Vegte (1995) to Equation 2.17 in the same manner as the term presents itself in the
X-type connection analytical model. The result is an expression for T-type connection strength given by:

2f y0 t 0 -----e ( 1 + 1 )
2 B 2
d0
N 1 = -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1
2.18
sin
sin 2 1 ------2 ( 1 + 1 ) 1 -------------- ( 1 + cos 2 ) + ------2-
2 0.7

To obtain the minimized solution to either the exact or simple ring model derivation and develop an
expression for C , Equation 2.17 or 2.18 should be differentiated with respect to the angle C . As the
expression for C is a function of and must be valid for all reasonable values of , van der Vegte (1995)
uses regression analysis to approximate the angle as:

2
2 = 1.2 + 0.8 rad. 2.19

A slightly more complex formula is developed in Appendix A for the angle C as:

2
C = 1.16 + 0.25 + 0.46 rad. 2.20

2.3.1.3 Evolution of chord plastification expression for plate-to-CHS connections

The established analytical ring model expressions for the strength of X- and T-type CHS connec-
tions, from Sections2.3.1.1 and 2.3.1.2 respectively, have been used in conjunction with experimental and

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 26

numerical results to develop chord plastification design equations. By adding regression constants ( R i ) and
connection geometric parameters to these analytical models, most often in their simplest form, the models
can be fit to existing results to develop design equations. This section will bring to light some of the more
significant modifications to the established analytical models and demonstrate how these models were
adapted for X- and T-type branch plate-to-CHS connections with longitudinal and transverse orientations
subjected to branch plate axial load. As all four connection types are closely related, their development will
be presented concurrently rather than separately. In addition, some discussion is presented on the effect of
bending moment and axial force on the connection chord.

Kurobane et al. (1976) collected experimental results from work previously done in Japan and set out to
reanalyse CHS X-, T-, Y- and K-connections including branch plate connections. The design equations
developed for X- and T-type branch plate-to-CHS connections were based on the simple ring model
approach. For transverse X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections, the effective length to radius ratio
( 2B e d 0 ) in Equation 2.6 was determined by Kurobane et al. (1976) through regression analysis to be:

2B e 1
--------- = 6.57 ---------------------- 2.21
d0 1 0.81

resulting in a connection strength equation of:

2
6.57f y0 t 0
N 1 = ---------------------- 2.22
1 0.81

when Equation 2.21 is substituted into the X-type ring model (Equation 2.6). For longitudinal X-type
branch plate-to-CHS connections the same regression results are used (Equation 2.21); however, the
branch plate depth ( h 1 ) is added to the effective connection length ( B e ) resulting in a connection strength
expression of:

2
2 ( B e + h 1 )f y0 t 0
N 1 = ----------------------------------- 2.23
d0( 1 )

Substituting Equation 2.21 into Equation 2.23 results in a connection strength equation of:

N 1 = ---------------------- + ------------ f y0 t 0
6.57 2 2
2.24
1 0.81 1

As the thickness of the plate, t 1 = b 1 (in this orientation), is assumed to be small, ( = b 1 d 0 ) is taken as
zero and therefore the connection strength equation for longitudinal X-type branch plate-to-CHS
becomes:

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 27

2
N 1 = f y0 t 0 ( 6.57 + 2 ) 2.25

The expressions developed for T-type longitudinal and transverse plate-to-CHS connections are based
on the simple T-type ring model as given by Equation 2.17. Using an effective length to radius ratio
( 2B e d 0 ) from regression analysis of:

1
sin
6.43 ( 1 + 4.60 ) 1 ------2 sin 2 ( 1 + 1 ) 1 -------------- ( 1 + cos 2 )
2 2
2B e
--------- = -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2.26
d0 2
(1 + 1 )

results in a T-type transverse plate-to-CHS connection strength of:

2 2
N 1 = 6.43f y0 t 0 ( 1 + 4.60 ) 2.27

As with X-type longitudinal branch plate-to-CHS connections, Kurobane et al. (1976) add the branch
plate depth ( h 1 ) to the effective connection length for longitudinal T-type connections, but the expression
for effective length to radius ratio (Equation 2.26) has been simplified. Kurobane et al. (1976) demonstrate
that the effective length to radius ratio varies between 3 and 4 and is therefore conservative to take
Equation 2.26 as 4. The resulting expression for T-type longitudinal branch plate-to-CHS connection
strength is given as:


N 1 = 6.43f y0 t 0 1 + ---
2
2.28
2

Wardenier (1982) utilized a ring model form presented by Washio et al. (1966) and Togo (1967), where
the influence of axial compressive stress on the chord, which reduces the connection capacity, was taken
into consideration with the function f ( n ) . In addition, experimental research between 1976 and 1982 was
included in the regression analysis performed to obtain equation coefficients. The capacity equations for
branch plate-to-CHS connections presented by Wardenier (1982), as with those equations presented by
Kurobane et al. (1976), are adaptations from the ring models used for CHS-to-CHS connections with sim-
ilar configuration. As such, the equations presented by Wardenier (1982) only differ to those presented by
Kurobane et al. (1976) by the equation coefficients and the addition of the function f ( n ) . The equations
for branch plate-to-CHS connection capacity ( N 1 ) developed by Wardenier (1982) are:

2
5.2f y0 t 0
N 1 = ---------------------- f ( n ) for transverse X-type 2.29
1 0.81
2
N 1 = f y0 t 0 ( 5.2 + 2 ) f ( n ) for longitudinal X-type 2.30
2 2
N 1 = f y0 t 0 ( 4.2 + 21.3 ) f ( n ) for transverse T-type 2.31

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 28

2
N 1 = f y0 t 0 ( 4.2 + 3 ) f ( n ) for longitudinal T-type 2.32

where

f ( n ) = 1.2 0.5 n for n < 0.4


f ( n ) = 1.0 for n 0.4

and n = f 0 f y0 where f 0 is the normal stress in the connecting surface of the chord member due to axial
load plus bending, with compression being negative.

Based on work by Kurobane (1981), Kurobane et al. (1976) and Wardenier (1982), general strength
equations for CHS connections were developed and recommended by the International Institute of Weld-
ing (IIW, 1989); however, these recommendations failed to included design expressions for branch plate
connections. The first edition of CIDECT Design Guide No. 1 (Wardenier et al., 1991), which focused on
CHS connections under static load, implemented simplified design recommendations for branch plate-to-
CHS based on the work of Kurobane (1981), Kurobane et al. (1976) and Wardenier (1982) and reanalysis
by Makino et al. (1991). In addition, the chord stress function developed for the IIW recommendations
(1989) was applied to these branch plate connections. The equations for branch plate-to-CHS connection
resistance ( N 1 ) presented by Wardenier et al. (1991) are:

2
5f y0 t 0
N 1 = ------------------------
- f ( n ) for transverse X- and T-type 2.33
1 0.81

N 1 = 5f y0 t 0 ( 1 + 0.25 ) f ( n ) for longitudinal X- and T-type


2
2.34

where

2
f ( n ) = 1 + 0.3n 0.3n , but 1.0 for n < 0 (compressive normal stress)
f ( n ) = 1.0 for n 0 (tensile normal stress)

where n = f 0p f y0 and f 0p is the prestress in the chord. The authors do point out, however, that for T-
type transverse plate-to-CHS connections the function:

N 1 = f y0 t 0 ( 4 + 20 ) f ( n )
2 2
2.35

fits the results from transverse T-type connection tests better than the simplified expression given by
Equation 2.33. A limit of validity was introduced for longitudinal branch plate-to-CHS connections of
4.

CIDECT Design Guide No. 9 (Kurobane et al., 2004), which covered the design of various HSS col-
umn connections, included the effect of branch member inclination angle ( i ) for longitudinal X- and T-
Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections
Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 29

type connections by multiplying the left side of Equation 2.34 by sin i . This emphasizes that the branch
force component normal to the chord dominates the connection behaviour, relative to the shear compo-
nent parallel to the chord longitudinal axis. The inclination of the branch member had previously been
excluded for plate-to-CHS connections.

A recent re-evaluation of all CHS design recommendations for the second edition of CIDECT Design
Guide No. 1 (Wardenier et al., 2008a) and the corresponding IIW document for welded hollow section
connections (IIW, 2009) has produced significant changes to the design expressions for branch plate-to-
CHS connections. As the expressions for plate-to-CHS connections have been closely based on CHS-to-
CHS connections, the extensive reanalysis of CHS connections, discussed by van der Vegte et al. (2008b)
and Zhao et al. (2008), has directly led to changes developed by Wardenier et al. (2008b, 2009) to plate-to-
CHS connection design. An initial general expression for X-type connections with branch members con-
structed of plate (transverse and longitudinal plate I-, box and cross branch members) was developed by
combining the longitudinal plate-to-CHS expression from the first edition of CIDECT Design Guide No.
1 (Equation 2.34) with the newly modified X-type CHS-to-CHS connection expression, resulting in:

2
1+
N 1 = 2.6 -------------------- ( 1 + 0.25 ) Q f -----------
0.15 f y0 t 0
- 2.36
1 0.7 sin 1

where Q f is a function to account for chord axial stresses, replacing f ( n ) from the first edition of CID-
ECT Design Guide No. 1 (Wardenier et al., 1991). Similarly, an initial general expression for T-type branch
plate connection was given as (Wardenier, 2008b, 2009):

2
f y0 t 0
N 1 = 2.6 ( 1 + 6.8 ) ( 1 + 0.25 ) Q f -----------
2 0.15
- 2.37
sin 1

As the value of is close to zero for X- and T-type transverse branch plate connections, the longitudinal
term in Equations 2.36 and 2.37 drops out resulting in initial trial expressions of:

2
1+
N 1 = 2.6 -------------------- Q f -----------
0.15 f y0 t 0
- for transverse X-type 2.38
1 0.7 sin 1
2
f y0 t 0
N 1 = 2.6 ( 1 + 6.80 ) Q f -----------
2 0.2
- for transverse T-type 2.39
sin 1

Though it is possible to use Equations 2.36 and 2.37 for longitudinal plate-to-CHS connections, Wardenier
et al. (2008b, 2009) show that the expression from the first edition of CIDECT Design Guide No. 1 is a
better initial equation with respect to numerical and experimental results for both X- and T-type connec-
tions. This expression can be re-written as:

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 30

2
f y0 t 0
N 1 = 5 ( 1 + 0.25 ) Q f -----------
- 2.40
sin 1

Wardenier et al. (2008b, 2009) performed a reanalysis of existing numerical and experimental results for
plate-to-CHS connections and used the above equations as a basis for new design recommendations, which
are given as (also found in Table 2.1):

2
1+ f y0 t 0
N 1 = 2.2 -------------------- Q f -----------
0.15
- for transverse X-type 2.41
1 0.7 sin 1
2
f y0 t 0
N 1 = 2.2 ( 1 + 6.8 )
2 0.2
Q f -----------
- for transverse T-type 2.42
sin 1
2
f y0 t 0
N 1 = 5 ( 1 + 0.4 ) Q f -----------
- for longitudinal X- and T-type 2.43
sin 1

One of the more significant changes that has occurred in the second edition of CIDECT Design Guide
No. 1 (Wardenier et al., 2008a) is to the way the effect of chord stress is incorporated. Previous design rec-
ommendations included the effect of branch member load on the chord as part of the connection resistance
and only considered compression prestress ( f 0p ) in the chord stress function f ( n ) . The stress function Q f ,
adopted for the second edition of CIDECT Design Guide No. 1 (Wardenier et al., 2008a) and the new
IIW recommendations (IIW, 2009), uses the maximum compression or tension stress at the chord connect-
ing surface. The chord stress function for branch plate-to-CHS connections is based on numerical work (de
Winkel, 1998) for I-section-to-CHS connections and given by (Wardenier et al., 2008a):

C1 N M0
Qf = ( 1 n ) where n = ---------0- + ----------
- 2.44
N pl,0 M pl,0

with a value of C 1 for chord compression stress ( n < 0 ) of C 1 = 0.25 , and chord tension stress ( n 0 ) of
C 1 = 0.20 .

2.3.2 Branch Plate and Weld Design

The criteria for design of both the branch plate and the weld are relatively simple in comparison to
other possible failure modes of plate-to-HSS connections, yet significant work has been completed to
understand these failure modes. For longitudinal and transverse branch plate-to-CHS connections, the
design of the branch plate under axial loading is typically controlled simply by gross section yielding (CSA,
2009):

N 1 = A 1 f y1 2.45

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 31

where A 1 = b 1 t 1 and = 0.9 .

The design of transverse branch plate-to-RHS connections is significantly more complex due to the
interaction between the chord side walls and the branch plate producing a non-uniform stress distribution
over the branch plate width that influences connection stiffness. The peak stress of the non-uniform stress
distribution will occur adjacent to the connection stiff points, which, in the case of transverse branch plate-
to-RHS connections, develop at the corners of the chord webs. To account for the non-uniform stress dis-
tribution in the design of the branch plate, the non-uniform stress distribution can be transformed into an
equivalent uniform stress block with an effective width ( b e ). Under elastic branch plate loading
(Figure 2.6(a)) the effective width is limited to the plate portion available to resist the applied load ( N 1 ).
For connections with materials having sufficient ductility, a redistribution of stress will occur when a por-
tion of the branch plate reaches the plate yield stress ( f y1 ) resulting in an increased effective width
(Figure 2.6(b)).

N1

b1 b1
Transverse
branch plate be be/2 be/2 be be/2 be/2
t1 fy1
f1 < fy1 Equivalent
stress distribution
Actual
stress distribution
tw
h0 Chord
tw = t0
tf tf = t 0

b0 b0

N1

(a) Elastic (b) Failure

Figure 2.6 Variation of stress distribution in full width transverse plate-to-RHS connection
(adapted from Wardenier et al., 1981 and Davies and Packer, 1982)

Initial investigation by Rolloos (1969) of full-width ( = 1.0 ) transverse branch plate-to-I-section


connections established an empirical equation for the weld effectiveness in terms of the steel working
design stress, the flange thickness ( t f ) and the web thickness ( t w ) given by:

b e = 2t w + Ct f 2.46

where C is a dispersion constant equal to 6.4 and 4.8, for branch plate yield stress ( f y1 ) of 235 MPa and
355 MPa respectively. In subsequent recommendations published by the International Institute of Welding
(1974) for failure based on yield stress with a safety factor of unity, the effective width for transverse plate-
to-RHS connections normalized with respect to chord width ( b 0 ) was given by:

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 32

b 1.5 ( C + 2 )
-----e = -------------------------- 2.47
b0 b0 t0

noting that for RHS members t f = t w = t 0 . These recommendations modified Rolloos values of C to 5
and 4 for tension branch plate loading and 7 and 6 for compression branch plate loading for
f y1 = 235 MPa and f y1 = 355 MPa respectively (Davies and Packer, 1982). From Equation 2.47 it is
clear that the chord slenderness ( b 0 t 0 ) impacts the effectiveness of the section.

Wardenier et al. (1981) developed a general solution for effective branch plate width ( b e ) for transverse
plate-to-RHS connections with width ratio ( = b 1 b 0 ) less than unity and varying relative thicknesses
( t 1 t 0 ) and yield stresses ( f y1 f y0 ) through an experimental investigation. To account for less than full
width connections and relative material properties, Wardenier et al. (1981) introduced f ( ) ( b 1 b 0 ) and
( f y0 t 0 ) ( f y1 t 1 ) terms to Equation 2.47 resulting in Equations 2.48(a) and (b). The effects of corner radii on
the non-uniform branch plate stress distribution were incorporated by modifying the value of C in
Equation 2.47, regardless of branch plate loading sense, to reflect experimental results.

b b 13.5 f y0 t 0 b 1
-----e = f ( ) -----1 ------------ ---------
- ----- for f y1 = 235 MPa 2.48(a)
b0 b 0 b 0 t 0 f y1 t 1 b 0

b b 11.5 f y0 t 0 b 1
-----e = f ( ) -----1 ------------ ---------
- ----- for f y1 = 355 MPa 2.48(b)
b0 b 0 b 0 t 0 f y1 t 1 b 0

Wardenier et al. (1981) note that there was no clear trend for f ( ) when > 0.6 and therefore it can be
conservatively taken as unity. For values of < 0.6 , the values for f ( ) were significantly greater than
unity, but such values are not recommended as crack initiation or connection deformations could be criti-
cal. By setting f ( ) = 1.0 and rearranging Equations 2.48(a) and (b) in terms of effective width results in
Equations 2.49(a) and (b).

13.5 f y0 t 0
b e = b 1 ------------ ---------
- b 1 for f y1 = 235 MPa 2.49(a)
b 0 t 0 f y1 t 1

11.5 f y0 t 0
b e = b 1 ------------ ---------
- b 1 for f y1 = 355 MPa 2.49(b)
b 0 t 0 f y1 t 1

To adapt Equations 2.49(a) and 2.49(b) for use in Canada, Davies and Packer (1982) interpolated
between the two equations to find a coefficient for steel grade 350W ( f y1 = 350 MPa ) of 11.7. The max-
imum axial branch plate force is determined by substituting the effective width ( b e ) for branch plate width
( b 1 ) in the formulation for gross section yielding ( N y1 = b 1 t 1 f y1 ), resulting in Equation 2.50.

N 1 = 11.7f y0 t 0 for f y1 = 350 MPa


2
2.50

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 33

If a partial safety factor ( M ) of 1.25 or resistance factor ( ) of 0.8 is incorporated, as suggested by Warde-
nier et al. (1981), the equation coefficient becomes 9.3; however, incorporating = 0.9 , as is typical
within the Canadian Standard CSA-S16-09 (CSA, 2009) for yielding phenomena, results in a design
expression of:

N 1 = 10.4f y0 t 0 for f y1 = 350 MPa


2
2.51

CIDECT Design Guide No. 3 (Packer et al., 1992) for transverse branch plate-to-RHS connections, uses a
coefficient value of 10 for branch plate effective width ( b e ) as does the most recent version of this Design
Guide (Packer et al., 2009). The branch plate effective width is also logically applicable to the connecting
weld and RHS chord at the weld with regards to chord punching shear failure, as discussed in
Section 2.3.3.

Longitudinal branch plate-to-RHS connections under branch plate axial load have been shown (Cao et
al., 1997 and 1998) to have a non-uniform stress distribution along the plate width ( h 1 ), similar to trans-
verse branch plate-to-RHS connections, with stresses at the two ends being higher than those at the centre.
As the distance between the chord side wall and the plate is uniform along the plate length, any effect of
chord corner radii should be effectively uniform as well. The non-uniform stress distribution is therefore
likely a result of stress concentration at the plate ends. To account for the non-uniform stress distribution
Cao et al. (1998) apply a 20% reduction to plate resistance (or an effective length, h e = 0.8h 1 ) resulting in
a plate resistance of:

N 1 = 0.8f y1 h 1 t 1 2.52

where = 0.9 . Cao et al. (1998) logically also apply a 20% reduction to the weld length to account for
the non-uniform stress distribution too. This plate limit state check has, however, not currently been
adopted by CIDECT or other design guides, since branch plate yielding should be much less critical rela-
tive to chord face plastification, for longitudinal plate-to-RHS connections.

Wardenier (1982) has clearly shown that CHS-to-CHS X-connections (see Figure 2.7) also have a non-
uniform branch stress distribution, due to increased stiffness from the chord crown outwards, and
Figure 2.7(b) illustrates the applicability of the point loads from the branch in the ring model. There is a
possible need for a similar effective width parameter, as described for branch plate-to-RHS connections, for
branch plate-to-CHS connections. The current design recommendations by CIDECT (Wardenier et al.,
2008a) do not, however, include an effective width parameter for branch plate-to-CHS connections and it
is unclear what influence the non-uniform branch plate stress distribution has on the design of these plate-
to-CHS connections.

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 34

N1 N1

Connection
stress distribution
Branch applied
stress distribution

N1 N1

(a) (b)

Figure 2.7 Variation of stress distribution in CHS-to-CHS X-type connection


(adapted from Wardenier et al., 1982)

For both transverse and longitudinal branch plate-to-CHS connections, the limit states resistance of a
fillet-welded joint, under either shear, tension or compression, is given in the Canadian Standard CSA-S16-
09 (CSA, 2009) as the lower of:

V w = 0.67 w wf u ( base metal ) 2.53

for base metal failure per unit length, and

V w = 0.67 w af u ( weld metal ) 2.54

for weld metal failure per unit length where w = 0.67 , w = weld leg length and a = weld throat thick-
ness. Generally, the weld metal and the base metal have similar ultimate strengths if a matching electrode is
used. For example, for 300W and 350W grade steels, f u ( base metal ) = 450 MPa and for the matching elec-
trode E490XX, f u ( weld metal ) = 490 MPa . Given that the weld leg size, w, can be taken as a 2 for a 90
fillet, failure of the weld metal through the weld throat is critical: Equation 2.54. If the branch plate at the
connection is subjected to a non-uniform stress distribution due to local stiffening the weld is also subject
to non-uniform stresses, resulting in the use of an effective weld length for design that accommodates the
effects of the non-uniform stress distribution, as discussed previously.

2.3.3 Chord Punching Shear Design

Chord punching shear failure occurs in branch plate-to-HSS connections by initiation of a crack at a
point of high stress concentration in the HSS chord (typically away from the centreline of the connection in
both the longitudinal and transverse directions). Subsequently, with increasing connection displacement or
load, the crack in the HSS chord member propagates around the weld perimeter of the branch member

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 35

resulting in punching shear. For design, the uniform shear yield strength per unit length of the connecting
face of the chord member, taken as f y0 t 0 3 , is multiplied by the perimeter length of the weld. A general
punching shear equation is presented by Davies and Packer (1982) for RHS-to-RHS or branch plate-to-
RHS connections (assuming all around fillet welding) as:

f y0 t 0
N 1 = 2 ( b 1 + h 1 + 4w ) ---------
- 2.55
3

Depending on the resistance (or partial safety) factor used, an alternative version of Equation 2.55 is also
used with the shear ultimate strength, f u0 3 .

For transverse branch plate-to-RHS connections with high effective width ratio, = ( b 1 + 2w ) b 0 ,
but where the plate width is less than the connecting flat of the chord member, connection behaviour can
be governed by a combination of shear and plastification/flexure failure. Davies and Packer (1982) intro-
duce a combined yield line pattern, including both conventional yield lines and punching shear regions, to
describe transverse branch plate-to-RHS connection behaviour. The model resulted in an iteratively solved
function that effectively reduces the design capacity for cases where the chord yield line model is not realis-
tic (i.e. for 1.0 ); however, the method was deemed too complicated for routine design. The current
CIDECT design equations for branch plate-to-RHS connections (Packer et al., 2009) opt to reduce the
branch plate load capacity by using an effective width criterion that incorporates the non-uniform stress
distribution in the branch plate. An effective punching shear width ( b ep ), which was developed using the
same methodology as the effective width parameter for branch plate resistance ( b e ), is applied to a general
punching shear strength equation (similar to Equation 2.55, but excluding weld influence) to reduce the
connection strength resulting in Equation 2.56.

f y0 t 0
N 1 = 2 ( t 1 + b ep ) ---------
- 2.56
3

where b ep = b 1 ------------ b 1
10
2.56(a)
b 0 t 0

Though punching shear failure was omitted as a possible governing mode from the first edition of CID-
ECT Design Guide No. 1 for CHS connections (Wardenier et al., 1991), a design formula for punching
shear of transverse and longitudinal plate-to-CHS connections was included in CIDECT Design Guide
No. 9 (Kurobane et al., 2004). These formulae are of the same form as Equation 2.55 but conservatively
ignore the influence of the weld area and the plate thickness, thereby reducing the perimeter length. The
punching shear design recommendations for CHS chord connections have not evolved in the latest CID-
ECT Design Guide No. 1 (Wardenier et al., 2008a) or the IIW static design recommendations (IIW, 2009),

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 36

but are presented in a new form only and still utilize an effective width equal to the full width of the branch
plate.

In transverse branch plate-to-HSS connections, due to the close proximity of the plate extremities and
the chord side walls for RHS connections or sides for CHS connections, a non-uniform stress distribution
is developed in the plate and the connecting face of the main chord member. For branch plate-to-RHS
connections, the non-uniform stress distribution and reduction in capacity is captured by a branch plate
effective width ( b ep ), but for branch plate-to-CHS connections no such term exists. Though it is not spe-
cifically stated in the literature, ignoring the thickness of the plate (see Table 2.1) does reduce the design
capacity of the connection and could be considered similar to an effective width being used. Furthermore,
as the main chord member is circular, for fit-up the plate must be profiled. As the true perimeter of the
weld is greater than twice the width of the plate ( 2b 1 ), as used in the design equation, the exclusion of the
true perimeter - which is a function of the plate width ( b 1 ) and the diameter of the chord member ( d 0 ) -
is conservative for design. Though both of these approximations or exclusions in geometry should allow the
limit state design capacity for punching shear of a transverse branch plate-to-CHS connection to be con-
servative, or similar to using an effective width, the exclusion seems arbitrary and could possibly be
accounted for using an effective width term.

2.4 Stiffened Tubular Connections

For thin walled tubular connections it is often required that the region around the connection be stiff-
ened to limit chord plastification or excessive deformation. Numerous stiffening schemes have been devel-
oped including internal stiffening of the chord with either plate ring stiffeners at the connection location or
by filling the chord with concrete or grout. Alternatively, external reinforcement of the connection face
with either doubler or collar plates represents an effective way to limit chord plastification. Lastly, a through
plate connection has been developed for branch plate-to-RHS connections that effectively doubles the
connection strength. The following section summarizes some of the stiffening methods proposed and the
corresponding research.

2.4.1 Ring Stiffened Connections

Originally developed for large diameter tubular jacket offshore structures, internal annular ring stiffened
connections have been utilized in both onshore and offshore structures as a method to prevent excessive
connection chord deformation and plastification. Ring stiffened connections are fabricated by welding one
or more plate rings inside the connection chord at the connection region; typically placed under points of
load application or locations of branch member walls. Both experimental and numerical research have been
conducted on ring stiffened CHS-to-CHS T-, Y- and X-type connections under branch member axial ten-

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 37

sion and compression. Research programs with any significance on such connections date back to 1979
(Sawada et al., 1979), but more recent research has been conducted by Thandavamoorthy et al. (1999), Lee
and Llewelyn-Parry (1998, 1999a, 1999b, 2003, 2004, 2005) and Willibald (2001). These studies have
examined a wide range of connection geometries including chord external diameters from 168 mm to
3000 mm, ring stiffener locations (either at the saddle or crown connection points) and relative thicknesses
of chord and branch walls. These studies have produced several analytical stiffened ring models, along with
general behaviour descriptions such as the observation that positioning stiffeners at the saddle points pro-
vides better strength enhancement than positioning at the crown (Lee and Llewelyn-Parry, 1999a, 1999b,
2004), and that ring stiffened connections are able to produce strength increases of over 300% for small
diameter chord connections (Willibald, 2001). It should be noted that ring stiffened connection feasibility is
highly dependent on the internal diameter of the chord member, along with the location of the connection
with respect to the chord end (due to welding access). Willibald (2001) was able to employ small diameter
chords due to ring stiffeners being used near a chord end where welding access was available from one side.
Larger diameter chords allow for direct access for ring stiffener welding or allow pre-installation of stiffeners
before the jacket sections (cans) are assembled. Structural applications that use small diameter chords are
therefore generally limited to other stiffening methods.

2.4.2 Concrete Filled Chord Stiffened Connections

Chord concrete (or grout) filling is a viable internal stiffening method that can be utilized in connec-
tions with limited access that restricts the use of other internal stiffening methods. In a truss it is common to
use only a few different web member sizes for fabrication simplicity and production economy; however,
this approach often leads to critical connections at points of high branch force. Rather than increasing the
chord thickness, it is possible to reinforce the critical connection by (a) filling the chord locally at the con-
nection; (b) filling the entire chord; or (c) filling all truss members. The extent of the concrete filling
depends on the level of reinforcement required, fabrication constraints such as the location of a flange plate
to isolate the concrete and increased dead load. Other benefits of concrete filling, such as increased fire
resistance and preservation of architectural continuity by using internal reinforcement, can often justify
increased labour and material costs.

Significant research has been conducted on concrete filled column behaviour, alone and as beam to col-
umn connections (e.g. Alostaz and Schneider, 1996; Elremaily and Azizinamini, 2001a, 2001b; Johansson
and Gylltoft, 2002; MacRae et al., 2004; Zhao and Packer, 2009) for rectangular, circular and elliptical hol-
low sections; however, less attention has been given to tubular connections for trusses and space frame sys-
tems. The following is an overview of some of the research on filled tubular connections.

Packer (1995) examined concrete filled X-, T- and K-type RHS connections experimentally to develop
comprehensive design guidelines. The program consisted of compression loaded X-type connections where

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 38

h0 h1 h0 b0

Dispersed 2
1 X-type connection (1 = 90):
bearing area
h0 Ab = h1b1
Ad = (2h0+ h1)b1

Loaded bearing area (Ab) b1


(a) X-type connection

h1/sin1
2h0 2h0
T-type connection (inclined branch):
2
1 Ab = h1b1/sin1
Ad = (4h0+ h1/sin1)b1

Dispersed bearing area (Ad)


(b) T-type connection

Figure 2.8 Bearing force dispersion model for RHS connections


(adapted from Packer, 1995)
the internal concrete dimensions were varied: tension loaded T-type connections with varied chord and
branch member geometric properties and K-type connections also with varied geometric properties. The
experimental tests on X-type connections showed that concrete-filled specimens generally have increased
strength and stiffness compared to similar unfilled connections and that increasing the length of filled chord
increased the maximum connection strength. Packer (1995) compared the X-type test results to methods
for determining the bearing strength of concrete surrounded by additional concrete given by Hawkins
(1986) and three concrete design codes: European (CEB-FIP, 1977), Canadian (CSA, 1984) and American
(ACI, 1989); however, little direct correlation was observed. By maintaining a dispersion slope of 2:1 in the
longitudinal direction (see Figure 2.8(a)), as described by all methods, but eliminating dispersion in the
transverse direction, the experimental results closely matched the European guidelines, with the exception
of connections with small values. For X-type connections, the bearing dispersion was limited to half the
section depth ( h 0 ) due to load on either side of the chord; however, for T-type connections in compres-
sion, the bearing stress dispersion model was extended to the entire chord depth as the applied load is
resisted by shear force (see Figure 2.8(b)). The study resulted in a connection resistance for X-type connec-
tions loaded in compression ( N 1 ) of:

A b A d 0.5
N 1 = c f c -----------
- ------ 2.57
sin 1 A b

where A b is the loaded bearing area, A d is the dispersed bearing area, f c is the concrete strength and c is
the concrete resistance factor, currently 0.65 in both the Canadian steel design code (CSA, 2009) and in
Canadian concrete design code (CSA, 2004a). Packer (1995) recommended limits of validity for the con-
crete core length ( l c ) as l c h 1 sin 1 + 2h 0 and RHS geometry of h 0 b 0 1.4 . The resistance expression

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 39

(Equation 2.57) was also applied to T-type RHS connections loaded in compression by modifying the lim-
its of validity to l c h 1 sin 1 + 4h 0 and the definitions of A b and A d to account for an inclined branch
member, as shown in Figure 2.8.

The experimental tests of T-type concrete-filled RHS connections under branch member tension load
exhibited significant increase in stiffness; however, only a little increase in yield load (defined by the bi-lin-
ear method) or ultimate load was observed, such that Packer (1995) recommended using existing unfilled
connection resistance expressions for these concrete filled connections. The additional connection stiffness
was deemed to arise because the concrete prevented the chord walls from deforming inward and allowing
increased chord face plastification and deformation.

As concrete filling of a connection chord limits the amount of chord plastification when the connection
is loaded in tension, the resulting failure mode is often punching shear failure. In addition, due to increased
connection stiffness which produces increased stress concentrations around the connection face, the punch-
ing shear resistance may be decreased. CIDECT (Wardenier et al., 2008a) has adopted Equation 2.58 for
the punching shear resistance of grout filled CHS-to-CHS connections under branch member tension
loading from American Petroleum Institute (API, 2007), Dier and Lalani (1998) and Morahan and Lalani
(2002). This design formula recognizes that the full cross section is not effective by applying a reduction to
the general punching shear formula (Table 2.1).

f y0 t 0
N 1 API = 0.36d 1 -----------
-k 2.58
sin 1 a

where k a = ( 1 + sin 1 ) ( 2sin 1 ) (approximates the elliptical connection perimeter of a CHS branch
member inclined at angle 1 ). From experimental tests of CHS-to-CHS concrete-filled T-type connec-
tions with branch member tension load, Makino et al. (2001) developed a similar expression to
Equation 2.58 but based on the ultimate punching shear strength of the chord rather than the shear yield
strength, given by:

N 1 API = 0.35d 1 f u0 t 0 k a 2.59

If the branch member perimeter term ( d 1 k a ) in Equation 2.58 is replaced with the branch plate
approximate perimeter term ( 2h i sin 1 or 2b i ) the resulting Equations 2.60 and 2.61 can be applied to
grout filled plate-to-CHS connections. The result is a 38% reduction in punching shear capacity for filled
plate-to-CHS connections over their unfilled counterparts.

f y0 t 0
N 1 API = 0.72h 1 -------------
- for longitudinal plates (including inclined plates) 2.60
sin2 1

N 1 API = 0.72b 1 t 0 f y0 for transverse plates (at 1 = 90 ). 2.61

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 40

2.4.3 Doubler or Collar Plate Stiffened Connections

Significant research has been completed on stiffening RHS-to-RHS, CHS-to-CHS and branch plate-
to-RHS connections under branch member axial load and in-plane bending with doubler or collar plates.
Doubler plate stiffening is most easily applied to connections with RHS chords where a plate is welded to
the RHS chord connection face and the branch member is subsequently welded to the stiffener plate. The
stiffener effectively increases the thickness of the chord connecting face, but also increases the connection
footprint producing an effective connection width ratio ( ). Dawe and Guravich (1993) and Kosteski
and Packer (2001b, 2002, 2003b) examined transverse and longitudinal doubler plate stiffened RHS con-
nections respectively. Dawe and Guravich (1993) conducted 13 experimental tests and presented empiri-
cally based expressions for connection strength based on either one of two failure modes: punching shear or
RHS side wall failure. A more extensive experimental and finite element study by Kosteski and Packer
(2001b, 2002, 2003b) was completed that examined the effective width-to-thickness ratio of the RHS
chord ( 2 0 ), the effective branch plate-to-chord width ratio ( ) determined by the doubler plate width
and the doubler plate thickness ( t sp ). From a total of 387 finite element specimens Kosteski and Packer
(2001b, 2002, 2003b) concluded that a stiffened branch plate-to-RHS connection can be designed as an
RHS-to-RHS connection if the stiffening plate is effectively-rigid with respect to the RHS connecting
face. The function Kosteski and Packer (2001b, 2002, 2003b) developed, that t sp 0.5t 0 exp ( 3 ) , was
subsequently adopted into CIDECT Design Guide No. 9 (Kurobane et al., 2004). Korol et al. (1977, 1982)
examined doubler plate stiffened RHS-to-RHS connections developing a yield line model to describe the
connection behaviour; however, these models are only valid for T-type connections loaded in branch mem-
ber axial compression and not branch member axial tension.

Doubler or collar plate stiffeners for CHS-to-CHS connections are slightly more complex to fabricate
as a flat plate must be bent to fit the outside CHS circumference or a portion of a similar diameter tube
must be used. Choo et al. (1998, 2004a, 2004b, 2005) and van der Vegte et al (2005) conducted experi-
mental and numerical research on T- and X-type CHS-to-CHS connections stiffened with doubler or col-
lar plates under branch member axial load and in-plane bending. As with RHS stiffened connections, a
doubler plate (either a plate contoured to fit the CHS profile or a section of a similar diameter tube) is
welded to the CHS connection point and the branch member is subsequently welded to the doubler plate.
Collar plate stiffened connections, however, are fabricated by welding the CHS branch member to the
CHS chord then welding stiffening plates (again either contoured plates or similar diameter tube sections)
that are fabricated to fit around the CHS branch member to the CHS chord. In this way, the branch mem-
ber has direct load transfer to the CHS chord rather than through an intermediate plate. The studies by
Choo et al. (1998, 2005) and van der Vegte (2005) of CHS-to-CHS T-type connections concluded that
there was significant connection strength increase for stiffened connections compared to their un-stiffened
counterparts; 39% increases for branch member compressive load and 16% increases for branch member

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 41

tensile load for connections with = 0.54 , and 53% and 28% load increases for branch member compres-
sion and tension, respectively, for connections with = 0.28 . Similar studies on doubler (Choo et al.,
2004b) and collar (Choo et al., 2004a) plate stiffened X-type connections under in-plane bending con-
cluded that a strength increase of 240% for doubler plate and 280% for collar plate connections, compared
with similar un-stiffened connections, was possible.

2.4.4 Through Plate-to-Hollow Section Connections

Kosteski and Packer (2001a, 2003a) and Kosteski (2001) examined the behaviour of longitudinal
through plate-to-RHS connections compared to similar longitudinal branch plate-to-RHS connections
through an extensive experimental and numerical program. Through plate-to-RHS connections
(Figure 2.9) are constructed by slotting the branch plate member through the RHS chord and welding the
plate to both the top and the bottom face of the chord. Axial branch member load in either tension or
compression was found to produce the similar connecting face behaviour for the chord top and bottom and
approximately double the connection capacity at the 3% deformation limit. Kosteski and Packer (2001a,
2003a; Kosteski, 2001) concluded that the design equation for chord plastification of longitudinal branch
plate-to-RHS (Equation 2.62; Cao et al., 1998) could be doubled for longitudinal through plate-to-RHS
connections (Equation 2.63). This design equation was incorporated into CIDECT Design Guide No. 9
(Kurobane et al., 2004), the AISC Specification (AISC, 2005) and AISC Design Guide No. 24 (Packer et
al., 2010), but was simplified again in CIDECT Design Guide No. 3, 2nd Edition (Packer et al., 2009) to
adhere to a consistent presentation for the chord stress effect. Kosteski and Packer (2001a) also remark that
though a through plate-to-RHS longitudinal connection results in a higher design capacity than a branch
plate connection, it is more expensive to fabricate that a doubler plate stiffened connection. Further,
increasing the effective connection width by using a doubler plate is a more effective method of increasing,
doubling, or more than doubling the connection resistance. It should also be noted, as stated before, that
using doubler plates to increase branch plate-to-RHS connection stiffness is a simple fabrication solution,
whereas the use of doubler plates for stiffening of branch plate-to-CHS connections is more complicated
and therefore more costly.

2
2f y0 t 0 h 1
N 1 = ----------------------------- ------- + 2 1 1 n
2
2.62
sin ( 1 ) b 0
2
4f y0 t 0 h 1
N 1 = ----------------------------- ------- + 2 1 1 n
2
2.63
sin ( 1 ) b 0

A preliminary experimental study on the behaviour of longitudinal and transverse through plate-to-
elliptical hollow section (EHS) connections was conducted by Willibald et al. (2006) and Zhao (2005).
Both branch and through plate-to-EHS connections were tested under uniaxial branch plate tension load

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 2: Relevant Research and Current Design Recommendations 42

N1
h1

t1

t0
h0

b0

Figure 2.9 Through plate-to-RHS connection


for three orientations: longitudinal branch plate-to-narrow EHS face, longitudinal branch plate-to-wide
EHS face and transverse branch plate-to-wide EHS face (see Figure 2.10). The connection capacity at the
3% deformation limit (i.e. 3% of the connecting face width) for the longitudinal narrow, longitudinal wide
and transverse wide through plate-to-EHS connection was found to be 1.65, 1.76 and 1.96 times greater,
respectively, than the connection capacity of similar branch plate-to-EHS connections using the same limit
state. If a bi-linear yield model is used to define the ultimate limit state, the strengthening effect of a
through plate-to-EHS connection is increased to about twice that of a similar branch plate-to-EHS con-
nection, but the three connections maintain their relative strengthening trend. The variance in capacity
increase between connection types suggests that both chord and plate orientation have an impact on the
effectiveness of through plate-to-EHS connections.

h1 N1 N1 N1

t1 t1 t1

t0 t0 t0

h0 h0 h0

b1
b0
b0 b0
Narrow Wide Wide
connecting face connecting face connecting face
(a) Longitudinal connection (b) Transverse connection

Figure 2.10 Through plate-to-EHS connection

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 3: Experimental Program with Empty CHS
Chords

3.1 Introduction and Experimental Program Overview

The behaviour of simple branch plate-to-circular hollow section (CHS) connections is dependent on
connection geometry, material properties and load application. Parameters that have been found to influ-
ence the behaviour of plate-to-CHS connections (see Table 2.1: Wardenier et al., 2008a) include branch
width- or depth-to-chord diameter ratio ( 1 or 1 ), chord radius-to-thickness ratio ( 0 ) and chord yield
stress ( f y0 ). For more complex connections additional parameters influence the design limit states: the
chord normal stress function ( Q f ) and branch force inclination angle ( 1 ). The behaviour of some plate-
to-CHS connections, however, is not described by the existing limit states design criteria or established
parameters: connections with skewed branch plates (having a plate skew angle, 1 , other that 0 or 90) or
through plate connections.

The objectives of the following experimental program were to determine the general influence of plate
skew angle on connection capacity, establish the behaviour of through plate connections and compare exist-
ing plate-to-CHS connection behaviour with skew and through plate connections. The experimental pro-
gram also provides a basis for further numerical finite element analysis that expands the scope and impact of
this research (see Chapter 5). The experimental program consisted of 16 plate-to-CHS connections tested
under quasi-static tension and compression branch load. Four of the 16 specimens were filled with grout as
an alternative stiffening method and are discussed in Chapter 4. The following is a summary of the experi-
mental program conducted for the empty plate-to-CHS connections including experimental specimen
description, geometric and material properties, experimental methods and results.

3.2 Experimental Specimen Description

A total of 12 unfilled plate-to-CHS connections were tested: six T-type connections under quasi-static
branch axial tensile load, four T-type connections under quasi-static branch axial compressive load and two
X-type connections under quasi-static branch axial tensile load. The connections were divided into four
test groups, each with the objective of describing the influence of a single parameter on connection capac-
ity. The first series, consisting of three T-type branch plate connections and three T-type through plate con-

43
Chapter 3: Experimental Program with Empty CHS Chords 44

nections with plate skew angles ( 1 ) of 0 (longitudinal), 45 (skew) and 90 (transverse) to the longitudinal
axis of the CHS chord and tested under plate tension loading, was designed to determine the influence of
skew angle on connection capacity (Figure 3.1).

N1 N1 N1

N1 N1 N1

Longitudinal T-type branch Skew (45) T-type branch Transverse T-type branch
plate-to-CHS connection plate-to-CHS connection plate-to-CHS connection
loaded in tension (CB0EA) loaded in tension (CB45EA) loaded in tension (CB90EA)

N1 N1 N1

N1 N1 N1

Longitudinal T-type through Skew (45) T-type through Transverse T-type through
plate-to-CHS connection plate-to-CHS connection plate-to-CHS connection
loaded in tension (CT0EA) loaded in tension (CT45EA) loaded in tension (CT90EA)

Figure 3.1 Skew angle influence test series

To determine the influence of branch plate loading sense, four of the T-type connections from series
one were also tested under plate compression loading: branch and through plate-to-CHS connections in
the longitudinal and transverse direction (Figure 3.2) This second series, when combined with the results of
series one longitudinal and transverse connections, was designed to compare the behaviour of tension and
compression loaded connections. To compare the behaviour of through plate-to-CHS connections and
their branch plate counterparts, under tension and compression loading, a third test series that combined
results from series one and two was used.

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 3: Experimental Program with Empty CHS Chords 45

N1 N1 N1 N1

N1 N1 N1 N1

Longitudinal T-type branch Transverse T-type branch Longitudinal T-type through Transverse T-type through
plate-to-CHS connection plate-to-CHS connection plate-to-CHS connection plate-to-CHS connection
loaded in compression (CB0EB) loaded in compression (CB90EB) loaded in compression (CT0EB) loaded in compression (CT90EB)

Figure 3.2 Load sense influence test series

The fourth series consisted of two X-type connections with plates oriented longitudinally to the main
CHS member with branch plate inclination angles ( 1 ) of 90 and 45 (see Figure 3.3). These X-type con-
nections were loaded in branch plate axial tension with the objective of verifying the influence of the incli-
nation angle on connection capacity and to compare the behaviour of similar X- and T-type connections.

N1

N1

N1 N1 N1

N1 N1 N1 N1 N1

Longitudinal T-type branch Longitudinal X-type branch Inclined longitudinal X-type branch
plate-to-CHS connection plate-to-CHS connection plate-to-CHS connection
loaded in tension (CB0EA) loaded in tension (XB90EA) loaded in tension (XB45EA)

Figure 3.3 Comparison of X- and T-type behaviour test series

3.3 Experimental Connection Geometric and Material Properties

All connections were proportioned to have a nominal width ratio ( 1 ) or depth ratio ( 1 ) of 0.457 and
a radius-to-thickness ratio of the chord ( 0 ) of 24.4. Each connection was fabricated from an

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 3: Experimental Program with Empty CHS Chords 46

ASTM A500/A500M-10 (ASTM, 2010) Grade C cold-formed circular hollow section with nominal
diameter ( d 0 ) and thickness ( t 0 ) of 219 mm and 4.8 mm respectively and a CAN/CSA-G40.20-04/
G40.21-04 (CSA, 2004b) Grade 300W wrought steel plate with nominal thickness of 3/4 or 19 mm. The
CHS had a minimum specified yield and ultimate strength of 317 MPa (46 ksi) and 427 MPa (62 ksi)
respectively and the plate material had a minimum specified yield strength of 300 MPa. T- and X-type
branch plate-to-CHS connections were fabricated by profiling the plate to fit the CHS external diameter
(where required) with the plate fillet welded to the outside of the CHS member. Through plate connec-
tions were fabricated by cutting slots in opposite sides of the CHS chord, inserting the plate through the
slots and fillet welding the plate to the outside of the CHS chord on both top and bottom sides. All con-
nections were fabricated with fillet welds of nominal leg size (w) of 10 mm using the matching E49XX
electrode (CSA, 2003) and a Flux Cored Arc Welding-Gas Shielded (FCAW-G) process. The fillet welds
were design not to be critical and to carry the full plate capacity. The weld seam of the CHS member was
oriented 90 from the connection surface to eliminate any unintentional connection stiffening. Chord ends
were capped with a 300 mm square plate of 19 mm thickness. All fabricated connections were shot-blasted.

The geometric and material properties of the experimental connections were measured to verify that
minimum specifications were met and to obtain exact material stress-strain behaviour and connection
dimensions used in the development of numerical finite element models (see Sections5.2 and 5.3). These
properties for all empty plate-to-CHS connections are summarized in the following sections with supple-
mentary details provided in Appendix B.

3.3.1 Geometric Properties

The average measured experimental connection geometric properties are detailed in Table 3.1 and fol-
low the convention set out in Figure 3.4. Many of the experimental connections conform to the range of
validity set by CIDECT Design Guide No. 1, 2nd Edition (Wardenier et al., 2008a) as shown in Table 2.1;
however, some X-type connections violate the diameter-to-thickness ratio of the chord ( 2 0 ) by exceeding
a valued of 40 and some longitudinal plate-to-CHS connections have a nominal depth ratio ( 1 ) less than
one. Further, the CHS chord is neither Class 1 or 2 according to Eurocode 3 (CEN, 2005).

3.3.2 Tensile Behaviour of Connection Material

The tensile engineering stress-strain ( - ) behaviour of both the CHS and plate material used in the
fabrication of the experimental connections was determined by testing tensile coupons in accordance with
ASTM E8/E8M-08 (ASTM, 2008c). A total of nine test coupons were cut from the CHS member at loca-
tions at least 90 from the weld seam and three were cut from the plate. The size and location of these test
coupons was made in accordance with ASTM E8/E8M-08 (ASTM, 2008c). Initially six CHS coupons
were tested without recording the fracture load because at the time of testing the fracture properties were

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 3: Experimental Program with Empty CHS Chords 47

North
w0
h1 1 1
bp h1
w0 b1
West East
b1 w0
w0 t1 or tp w0 w0

South
Longitudinal (1 = 0) Skew (0 < 1 < 90) Transverse (1 = 90)

N1
Branch Plate (100 x 19)
h1
CHS (219 x 4.8) Fillet Weld
w1 w1

1 t0
d0

l0 End plate (300 x 300 x 19 mm)

Figure 3.4 Experimental connection geometric properties

Table 3.1 Average measured geometric properties


1 1 b 1 or h 1 l0 w0 a w1 b Connection
Connection Type 1 or 1
() () (mm) (mm) (mm) (mm) ID
0 99.93 559.3 11.5 11.8 0.456 3.98 CB0EA
T-type branch plate
90 45 100.20 557.8 11.0 10.6 0.457 4.04 CB45EA
in tension
90 100.27 557.8 10.8 14.0 0.457 4.72 CB90EA
0 100.42 559.4 10.1 10.4 0.458 4.00 CT0EA
T-type through plate
90 45 100.26 559.0 11.0 9.7 0.457 4.05 CT45EA
in tension
90 100.18 557.8 9.6 12.4 0.457 4.74 CT90EA
T-type branch plate 0 100.07 558.0 12.4 11.4 0.457 3.95 CB0EB
90
in compression 90 100.26 558.1 11.4 12.9 0.457 4.71 CB90EB
T-type through plate 0 100.24 558.8 11.1 11.3 0.457 3.98 CT0EB
90
in compression 90 100.13 557.9 10.6 9.8 0.457 4.72 CT90EB
X-type branch plate 90 100.18 558.9 10.2 9.3 0.457 4.00 XB90EA
0
in tension 45 100.09 919.5 12.3 10.1 0.457 6.87 XB45EA
Constant properties:
2
d 0 = 219.17 mm , t 0 = 4.49 mm , A 0 = 2973 mm c, t 1 = 18.99 mm and 0 = 24.4
a The
weld leg length along the CHS or in the horizontal direction ( w 0 ) was measured as the distance from the
plate surface to the end of the weld at the CHS member.
b
The weld leg length along the plate or in the vertical direction ( w 1 ) was measured as the distance from the CHS
surface to end of the weld at the plate.
c Measured area calculated using stub column measured length and weight and by assuming a steel density of

7850 kg/m3.

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 3: Experimental Program with Empty CHS Chords 48

not thought to be critical; however, after the experimental connections were tested, the fracture load of the
CHS material was determined to be of importance and an additional three coupons were tested.

For all tensile coupons, the engineering stress-strain relationship was determined slightly beyond the
point of maximum load or necking of the material at which time the 50 mm clip gauge was removed due
to displacement limitations and possible damage to the gauge at coupon fracture. For three of the CHS
coupons only, the load at fracture and maximum elongation was recorded to facilitate an approximation of
material behaviour between the onset of necking and fracture (see Section 5.2). The engineering stress-
strain curves are shown in Figure 3.5 with measured material property results summarized in Table 3.2.

600

CHS (219x4.8)
Plate (19 mm)
500 Table 3.2 Measured material
properties
Engineering stress, (MPa)

400 600 CHS Fracture


CHS Plate
Engineering stress, (MPa)

a
CHS E (GPa) 211.5 210.5
300 400 a b
Plate f y (MPa) 389 326
200
fu (MPa)a 527 505
200
u (%) a
30.0 37.7
100 a Properties
0 determined by average measure-
0 0.01 0.02 0.03 0.04 0.05
Engineering strain, ments from multiple tensile coupons
b
0 Yield strength calculated using 0.2% offset
0 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 0.30 0.35 method for cold formed materials
Engineering strain,

Figure 3.5 CHS and plate average engineering stress-strain


behaviour

3.3.3 Compressive Behaviour of CHS Stub Column

A stub column test was used to determine the properties of the 219 x 4.8 mm CHS member under
compressive load. Both specimen size and testing procedure conformed to the guidelines set by the Struc-
tural Stability Research Council (SSRC) (Galambos, 1998). The stub column was fabricated with a length
more than three times the largest cross section dimension (657.5 mm) and no more than 20 times the least
radius-of-gyration (1520 mm). The stub column was instrumented with four electrical resistance strain
gauges placed in the direction of load (along the longitudinal chord axis) at mid height and equidistant
around the circumference of the column as shown in Figure 3.6. The strain gauge and load cell data were
used to construct the average engineering stress-strain behaviour for the CHS material (see Appendix B). In
addition, two Linear Variable Differential Transformers (LVDTs) were placed between the platens of the
testing frame to measure the overall CHS load-displacement response. Geometric properties and test results
are summarized in Table 3.3. The material properties calculated for the CHS stub column and the average
CHS tensile coupon differ slightly for most of the properties measured. The Youngs Modulus (E) for both

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 3: Experimental Program with Empty CHS Chords 49

testing methods agrees well; however, the CHS stub column test showed a yield and ultimate stress decrease
of 5% and 16%, respectively, compared with the average CHS tensile coupon results.

Table 3.3 CHS stub column


SGN
properties and test
d0
results
Length, l 0 (mm) 668.5
SGW SGE
Mass (kg) 15.6
2a
l0/2 Area (mm ) 2973
SGS C SC (kN)b -1316
Strain Gauge E (GPa) 214.5
l0
f y (MPa) 368c
f u (MPa) 443
a
Top half of stub
Measured area calculated using stub
column at failure column length and mass and an assumed
steel density of 7850 kg/m3
b
C SC = Stub column ultimate com-
pressive strength
Figure 3.6 CHS stub column strain gauge location and failure c
Yield strength calculated using 0.2%
offset method for cold formed materials

3.4 Experimental Method and Instrumentation

All connections were tested in one of two MTS Universal Testing Machines, 1000 kN or 2700 kN
capacity machines depending on machine availability and estimated connection capacity, along with a data
acquisition system. All T-type connections were tested in the configuration show in Figure 3.7 (configura-
tion also applied to 1000 kN MTS frame) where displacement was applied directly to the plate through
hydraulic grips within the upper assembly of the MTS machine and reaction force taken initially by the
reaction yoke and finally by the MTS frame through hydraulic grips in the lower assembly. The CHS con-
nection end plates were attached to the reaction yoke by eight ASTM A490 1 bolts (four on each side)
that were pre-tensioned to provide as much restraint as possible. To avoid slip in the yoke-specimen joint
and to ensure proper test specimen alignment, before the bolts were pre-tensioned the connections loaded
in tension were suspended, with the reaction yoke attached, from the plate ensuring the bolts were in bear-
ing at the start of the test. This procedure was unnecessary for connections loaded in compression as the self
weight of the connection alone ensured that the bolts were in bearing. The two X-type connections were
tested by applying a displacement directly to one plate with the upper hydraulic grips and a reaction force
to the other plate with the lower hydraulic grips (see Figure 3.8).

All T-type and non-inclined X-type connection configurations were instrumented with eight LVDTs
(Linear Variable Differential Transformer) to measure the deformation along the connection surface cen-

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 3: Experimental Program with Empty CHS Chords 50

Upper cross head MTS

Load cell and hydraulic actuator

Machine upper hydraulic grips Upper head assembly

Test connection Actuator movement

Reaction
Stiff reaction yoke

Machine lower hydraulic grips Lower head assembly

Lower cross head

Figure 3.7 Experiment setup for T-type connections (2700 kN capacity frame)

MTS
Upper cross head

Load cell and hydraulic actuator


Upper head assembly
Machine upper hydraulic grips

Actuator movement

Test connection

Reaction

Machine lower hydraulic grips Lower head assembly

Lower cross head

Figure 3.8 Experiment setup for X-type connections (1000 kN capacity frame)

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 3: Experimental Program with Empty CHS Chords 51

Applied connection displacement


Branch plate (100 x 19)
LVDT bracket
140 150.5 80.5 70 70 70 77.4 32.1
fixed to plate
Connection surface
deformation LVDTs
(perpendicular to Connection
connection surface) deformation ()
B LVDT

59.5
100
Connection surface

35
Crown point
Connection surface +ve
deformation -ve
Location 5 strain gauges spaced
from crown 20 mm apart on plate
surface
A
CHS (219 x 4.8)

End plate
(300 x 300 x 19)
Not shown above
for clarity
A Note: Connection deformation ()
is calculated as the change in
LVDT distance between points A and B
Connection surface position perpendicular to the connection
centreline B surface. Strain measurements
are taken parallel to applied
West East connection displacement.
Strain gauge
position
All measurements in mm

Figure 3.9 Standard experimental instrument arrangement

Connection surface
deformation LVDTs Branch plate (100 x 19)
(perpendicular to
connection surface) 120 120 120 109.5 330.5 32.1 77.4
LVDT bracket
fixed to plate

Connection B Connection B

59.5
Connection

100
surface deformation
surface
deformation +ve () LVDT

499.8 141.4 280.8 -ve

West Second LVDT at this location East


A A
End plate
(300 x 300 x 19)
CHS (219 x 4.8)
Location from crown
35
100

Crown
5 strain gauges spaced 20 mm point
apart on plate surface
LVDT Strain gauge
LVDT bracket fixed to plate position position

Applied connection displacement

All measurements in mm

Note: Connection deformation () is calculated as the change in distance between


points A and B perpendicular to the connection surface. Strain measurements
are taken parallel to applied connection displacement.

Figure 3.10 Instrument arrangement for inclined X-type connection

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 3: Experimental Program with Empty CHS Chords 52

treline and the circumference of the CHS chord (see Figure 3.9). For the experimental program, the defin-
ing connection deformation was taken as the change in distance between the CHS chord centreline (point
A in Figure 3.9) and a point on the plate where the LVDT bracket was attached (100 mm above the con-
nection face, point B in Figure 3.9) perpendicular to the connection surface. As the plate is designed to
remain elastic, the overwhelming majority of the deformation in the connection is a result of CHS member
plastification and ovalization making the location on the plate from where the deformation is taken insignif-
icant for most connections. This displacement, along with the MTS load cell (housed in the upper head
assembly), recorded the load-deformation behaviour for the connection. Five strain gauges spaced evenly
across the plate surface 35 mm above the CHS crown, oriented in the direction of applied connection dis-
placement, were used to measure the plate strain distribution (see Figure 3.9). The stress distribution, con-
verted from the strain distribution, gives evidence of stress concentrations at the connection face and non-
uniform stress distributions.

An alternative instrumentation arrangement was developed for the X-type inclined connection config-
uration (XB45EA) due to connection geometry. Similar to the standard instrument arrangement, seven
LVDTs measure connection surface and circumferential deformation (see Figure 3.10). The defining con-
nection deformation was taken as the change in distance between the CHS chord centreline (point A in
Figure 3.10) and a point on the plate where the LVDT bracket was attached (100 mm above the connec-
tion face, point B in Figure 3.10) perpendicular to the connection surface. Five strain gauges spaced evenly
across the plate surface 35 mm above the CHS crown, oriented in the direction of applied connection dis-
placement, were used to measure the plate strain distribution (see Figure 3.10). Two additional LVDTs were
used to measure the deformation parallel to the applied connection displacement to develop a better under-
standing of the behaviour of angled connections.

3.5 Experimental Results

The experimental test results for plate-to-CHS connections with empty chords, though limited in
scope, provide a general understanding of connection behaviour and failure modes, as well as the influence
of the plate skew angle, load sense and through plate use. As all connections had relatively short chord
lengths (effective chord length parameter ( ) of less than 4.75 for all T-type connections) due to testing
apparatus limitations, the chord end condition (either free or restrained end plates) had a impact on connec-
tion behaviour; a stiffer and stronger connection response was produced than might have been observed for
connections with longer chord lengths. As such, the experimental results were not used in the development
of design recommendations, but primarily used in development of finite element modelling techniques (see
Chapter 6). The effect of chord length and chord end condition on connection behaviour is discussed in
Chapter 6, but is important to consider when examining the following experimental results. This section
provides an overview of experimental findings and observations for each of the four test series described in
Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections
Chapter 3: Experimental Program with Empty CHS Chords 53

Section 3.2; detailed results for all plate-to-CHS connections with empty chords can be found in
Appendix C.

(a) Transverse T-type connection in compression (CB90EB) (b) Longitudinal X-type connection in tension (XB90EA)

Overall connection before failure Overall connection before failure

Punching shear failure in compression Punching shear failure in tension

(c) Transverse T-type connection in tension (CB90EA) (d) Transverse through connection in tension (CT90EA)

Overall connection before failure Overall connection before failure

Combined punching shear and tear out failure Combined punching shear and tear out failure

Figure 3.11 Experimental connection global and local failure

All connections tested, under both tension and compression branch loads, exhibited punching shear
failure (PS) around the weld toe in the CHS member as their ultimate failure mechanism after significant
deformations and CHS ovalization (Figures 3.11(a) and (b)). The transverse branch plate-to-CHS connec-

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 3: Experimental Program with Empty CHS Chords 54

tion tested in tension (CB90EA) and transverse through plate-to-CHS connections tested in tension and
compression (CT90EA and CT90EB) also experienced some tear out (TO) away from the welds which
could be classified as a combined punching shear and tear out failure (Figures 3.11(c) and (d)). In addition,
for some of the connections tested, clear end plate deformation was observed (see Figures 3.11(a) and (b))
indicating that the connection end condition had an impact on connection behaviour. The amount of
deformation was not measured.

The connection load-deformation response is the most effective way to quantitatively describe the
behaviour of plate-to-CHS connections. From the load-deformation response the connection ultimate load
( N 1, u ) was determined as the minimum of three defining limit states: (i) the load at a deformation of
3% d 0 , N 1, 3% , if this deformation preceded the deformation at N 1, max , (ii) the maximum connection load,
N 1, max (either a local maximum prior to CHS shell snap through for connections tested in compression,
N 1, lm , or the global maximum load, N 1, gm , as a result of punching shear failure or combined punching

(a) T-type connections in tension (b) Longitudinal X-type branch plate connections in tension
500 300
90 Branch skew angle, 1 T-type

Branch inclination angle, 1 45


0 250
400 Through plate Fracture
45 90
Branch load, N1 (kN)
Branch load, N1 (kN)

90 200 X-type
300 Branch plate 0

45 150
200
100
3%b0 limit

3%b0 limit

100
Connections 50 Connections
tested with branch tested with branch
plate tension load plate tension load
0 0
0 5 10 15 20 0 10 20 30
Connection deformation, (mm) Connection deformation, (mm)

(c) Transverse T-type connections (tension and compression) (d) Longitudinal T-type connections (tension and compression)
500 500
3%b0 limit

Tension Failure by buckling of entire experimental setup


Addition of compression
and tension branch plate curves Compression
400 Through plate 400 Tension
Addition of compression
Compression and tension branch plate curves
Branch load, N1 (kN)

Branch load, N1 (kN)

Through plate
300 300
Tension
Tension
Branch plate Compression
200 200
Compression
Branch plate
3%b0 limit

100 100

0 0
0 10 20 30 40 0 10 20 30 40
Connection deformation, (mm) Connection deformation, (mm)

Figure 3.12 Load-deformation behaviour for plate-to-CHS connections

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 3: Experimental Program with Empty CHS Chords 55

shear and tear out failure) and (iii) branch plate yielding, N 1, pl . A comparison of load-deformation behav-
iour for all experimental connections is shown in Figure 3.12 with comparison and analysis in the following
sections. Table 3.4 summarizes critical values from these curves as well as compares these results to the cur-
rent CIDECT design recommendations (see Table 2.1: Wardenier et al., 2008a) based on the two limit
states of chord plastification ( N 1 CP ) and chord punching shear ( N 1 PS ). Predictions for both limit states
(failure modes) are calculated using effective geometric properties ( or which include the weld
dimensions). It is important to note that the CIDECT design recommendations can be considered to
include a resistance factor whereas the experimental results do not. Along with the probable increase in
experimental connection capacity at a deformation limit of 3% d 0 , a direct comparison between the CID-
ECT design recommendations and the experimental results is not explicitly correct; however, the compari-
son does indicate general prediction trends.

Table 3.4 Experimental results for plate-to-CHS connections with empty chords
Connection Failure Kn N 1, 3% N 1, gm N 1 CP N 1 PS N 1, 3% / N 1, gm /
Connection Type
ID mode kN/mm (kN) (kN) (kN) (kN) N 1 CP N 1 PS
CB0EA PS 39.4 161 286 48.0 249 3.35 1.14
T-type branch plate
CB45EA PS 77.6 223 233 -a 248 - 0.94
in tension
CB90EA PS, TO 91.1 283 320 101 247 2.80 1.30
CT0EA PS (TO)b 123 259 406 47.8 244 5.42 1.66
T-type through
CT45EA PS 185 347 352 -a 248 - 1.42
plate in tension
CT90EA PS, TO 309 447 459 98.6 242 4.53 1.90
c
T-type branch plate CB0EB PS 66.5 -90.4 -258 -48.1 -253 1.88 1.02
in compression CB90EB PS 125 -138c -311 -103 -249 1.34 1.25
<-
T-type through CT0EB PS 159 -273 -47.9 -248 5.69 1.56
387d
plate in compression
CT90EB PS, TO 417 -e -400 -101 -246 - 1.63
X-type branch plate XB90EA PS 30.4 124 226 47.8 244 2.59 0.93
in tension XB45EA PS 26.3 114 250 67.3 476 1.69 0.53
a
Design method is not applicable
b Tear
out failure mode due to off centre applied connection displacement post fracture
c The 3% d deformation limit was preceded by a local maximum load, N
0 1, lm , (value shown) that corresponds to
connection face snap through behaviour (see Figure 3.11(b) and Figures 3.12(c) and (d))
d
Failure of overall experimental setup before ultimate load or connection fracture
e Method not applicable as the 3% d deformation limit was not reached.
0

The ratio of load at a deformation limit of 3% d 0 ( N 1, 3% ) and connection chord plastification resistance
( N 1 CP ) for all branch plate connections ranges from 1.3 to 3.4, generally indicating that current design
guidelines tend to underestimate the connection capacity. Using the same ratio to examine through plate
connection capacity it is clear that using branch plate connection resistance recommendations for through
plate connection resistance would undermine the strengthening effect that this connection type provides.

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 3: Experimental Program with Empty CHS Chords 56

The punching shear resistance ( N 1 PS ) effectively predicts the experimental global maximum load ( N 1, gm )
for T-type branch plate connections; however, the ratio N 1, gm N 1 PS for some connections is close to, or
less than, unity suggesting that an effective punching shear width be used in design recommendations, as is
the case for some plate-to-RHS connections (e.g. with transverse plate: see Section 2.3.2).

In addition to connection load-deformation behaviour, deformation instrumentation along the entire


chord length and strain gauges on the plate surface near the weld were used to provide a deformation pro-
file of the chord connection surface and plate stress distribution respectively. The connection surface defor-
mation profile gives an indication of the connection stiffness: a stiff connection experiences less
deformation near the chord ends and at the centre than a more flexible connection for any particular
branch load (see Figure 3.13). In general, the longitudinal T-type branch plate-to-CHS connection loaded
in tension (Figure 3.13(a)) is more flexible at a branch load of 200 kN than the corresponding skew con-
nection (Figure 3.13(b)) and the transverse connection (Figure 3.13(c)). This information combined with
the load-deformation curves (Figure 3.12(a)) and other experimental results (Table 3.4), for this example,
show that with increased connection skew angle the connection stiffness and capacity (based on the 3% d 0
deformation limit) also increase.

Most branch plate connections exhibited a non-uniform stress distribution across the plate width near
the connection surface. For example, the longitudinal T-type connection in compression and transverse T-
type connection in tension (Figures 3.14(a) and (b)) experience higher stress at the outsides of the plate at
failure. This indicates a stress concentration that corresponds to initial crack location in the CHS chord. For
the longitudinal T-type branch plate-to-CHS connection (CB0EB; Figure 3.14(a)) and the transverse T-
type branch plate-to-CHS connection, both tested in compression, the plate stress profile corresponds to
the snap through phenomenon that the connections experience under displacement control. As com-
pressive displacement is applied, the chord initially resists the branch load through circumferential arch
action causing increased stress at the plate centre (see Figure 3.14(a): up to 90 kN and the initial slope of the
load-displacement curves: Figures 3.12(c) and (d)). As the top of the CHS connection deforms and flattens,
there is a decrease in connection load and a shift in the plate stress profile: to one with increased stress at the
plate edges (see Figure 3.14(a)). When the flattened portions of the CHS start to fold inward (see
Figure 3.11(a)) the displacement is resisted in tension by the CHS material directly around the plate pro-
ducing an increase in connection capacity (Figures 3.12(c) and (d), after decrease in connection load) and
pronounced plate stress concentration on both edges (Figure 3.14(a)), eventually resulting in fracture.

Through plate connections (see example Figure 3.14(c)) have a more uniform plate stress profile near
the top connection surface than branch plate connections. As the plate continues through from the top to
bottom connection surface, the flow of forces in the plate continues to the bottom connection surface
reducing the stress concentration at the plate edges.

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 3: Experimental Program with Empty CHS Chords 57

(a) Longitudinal T-type connection loaded in tension (CB0EA)


18
Branch tension load, N1 (kN)

16

Connection surface deformation (mm)


286
14 275 Initial crack at weld toe
on east side ( 250 kN)
250
12

10
200
8

6 3%d0 limit 150

4
100
2
50
0
-300 -200 -100 0 100 200 300
West Centre East
Position along connection surface centreline (mm)

(b) Skew (45) T-type connection loaded in tension (CB45EA)


9
Branch tension load, N1 (kN)
233
8
Connection surface deformation (mm)

225
7
3%d0 limit 200
6

5 175

4 150

2 100

1 50

0
-300 -200 -100 0 100 200 300
West Centre East
Position along connection surface centreline (mm)

(c) Transverse T-type connection loaded in tension (CB90EA)


10
Branch tension load, N1 (kN)
320
9
Connection surface deformation (mm)

8 300

7
3%d0 limit
6 250

4 200

3
150
2
100
1
50
0
-300 -200 -100 0 100 200 300
West Centre East
Position along connection surface centreline (mm)

Figure 3.13 Connection face deformation profile

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 3: Experimental Program with Empty CHS Chords 58

(a) Longitudinal T-type connection loaded in compression (CB0EB)


50
Branch compression load, N1 (kN)

0
-25

Plate surface axial stress, (MPa)


-50 -50

-90
-100 -79.5

-100
-150
-150
-200
-200
-250
Initial crack at weld toe
-258 on east side at failure
-300

-350
-50 -40 -30 -20 -10 0 10 20 30 40 50
West Centre East
Position along plate width (mm)

(b) Transverse T-type connection loaded in tension (CB90EA)


250
Branch tension load, N1 (kN)

320 Initial crack at weld toe


300
Plate surface axial stress, (MPa)

200 on both sides of plate


( 300 kN)
250

150
200

150
100

100

50
50

0
-50 -40 -30 -20 -10 0 10 20 30 40 50
North Centre South
Position along plate width (mm)

(c) Skew (45) T-type through connection loaded in tension (CT45EA)


275
Branch tension load, N1 (kN)
250 352
Initial crack at weld toe on north corner
225 of top connection surface ( 300 kN)
Plate surface axial stress, (MPa)

325
200 300
175
150 250

125 200
100
150
75
100
50
25
0
-50 -40 -30 -20 -10 0 10 20 30 40 50
South-East Centre North-West
Position along plate width (mm)

Figure 3.14 Plate surface stress distribution

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 3: Experimental Program with Empty CHS Chords 59

3.5.1 Influence of Plate Skew Angle on Connection Behaviour

From the branch and through plate-to-CHS connection experimental tests it is unclear what the math-
ematical relationship is to account for the plate skew influence on connection capacity (based on the 3% d 0
limit); however, a few important observations can be made from Figure 3.12(a), Table 3.4 and Figure 3.13.
First, the initial elastic stiffness ( K n ) and secondary inelastic stiffness increase as the plate skew angle
increases from 0 (longitudinal) to 45 (skew) to 90 (transverse) for branch and through plate connections.
The increase in stiffness with increased plate skew angle can be attributed to increased restraint of the CHS
chord circumference. The amount of circumference restrained is, however, not a linear relationship with
plate skew angle. The two experimental results for skewed angle connections show that the connection
capacity, (based on the 3% d 0 limit), for a branch or through plate 45 skew plate connection, is approxi-
mately the average of the 0 (longitudinal) and 90 (transverse) connection capacities. Though this general
trend exists, a linear interpolation function cannot be assumed yet between the longitudinal and transverse
connections and therefore further investigation is required. The scope of the plate skew angle experimental
study is increased through numerical finite element analysis presented in Chapter 8.

3.5.2 Influence of Load Sense on Branch Plate Connection Behaviour

Comparing branch plate connections tested in compression and tension in Figures 3.12(c) and (d) it is
clear that there are two very different load carrying mechanisms present: a connecting face tension model
(T-type longitudinal and transverse plate-to-CHS connections tested in tension) and a connecting face
compression model (T-type longitudinal and transverse plate-to-CHS connections tested in compression).
Though tension connections may have similar ultimate fracture loads due to punching shear failure as their
counterparts in compression (see Table 3.4), the deformation at ultimate load is significantly different: over
70 mm for both connections tested in compression compared to less than 10 mm to 15 mm for transverse
and longitudinal connections, respectively, tested in tension, which is a difference in ductility of up to seven
times. Alternatively, if the load at the 3% d 0 deformation limit is compared, the branch plate connection
under tension has far more capacity than the connection under compression (Table 3.4 and Figures 3.12(c)
and (d)). Note, however, that current international design recommendations (see Table 2.1: Wardenier et
al., 2008a) have ignored the higher capacity of the tension load case and based design recommendations
only on the lower capacity compression load case, as a simplification. To properly take advantage of the
through plate connection (as discussed below) it appears that it is necessary to separate the tension and com-
pression load cases, with separate design resistance formulae.

3.5.3 Comparison of Branch and Through Plate-to-CHS Connection Behaviour

Through plate-to-RHS connections have been previously shown to have approximately double the
capacity of similar branch plate-to-RHS connections (Kosteski and Packer, 2003a); however, through plate-

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 3: Experimental Program with Empty CHS Chords 60

to-CHS connections do not display this same trend. Comparing the N 1, 3% load of branch and through
plate connections (see Table 3.5), a through plate-to-CHS connection has approximately 1.6 times the
capacity of a similar branch plate connection test in tension (or 3.2 times the capacity of a similar branch
plate connection test in compression). The fracture load ( N 1, gm ) of a through plate-to-CHS connection is
approximately 1.4 times that of a similar branch plate connection regardless of skew angle or loading sense
due to ultimate fracture occurring in the same manner for all through plate connections tested.

For through plate-to-RHS connections, the flat connection face has approximately the same deforma-
tion pattern and behaviour when loaded in either tension or compression. Furthermore, there is little inter-
action between the loaded RHS face and the neighbouring side walls. The combination of two identical
flat plate mechanisms, such as in a RHS through plate connection, results in double the strength (Kosteski
and Packer, 2003a). For through plate-to-CHS connections a similar philosophy can be applied by combin-
ing two different mechanisms: a tension mechanism and a compression mechanism, each on one connec-
tion face. A summation of the load at a given displacement for compression-loaded and tension-loaded
branch plate connections (see Figures 3.12(c) and (d)) results in a combined load-deformation curve that
closely matches that of a through plate connection, confirming that combining the two individual mecha-
nisms (tension and compression) is an appropriate way to model through plate connection behaviour and
capacity. This methodology for through plate-to-CHS connections suggests that separate connection resist-
ance expressions for branch plate compression and tension loading should be used, rather than defining the
capacity on the lower compression behaviour as at present (Wardenier et al., 2008a).

Table 3.5 Comparison of T-type branch and through plate-to-CHS connections


Longitudinal Skew (45) Transverse Longitudinal Transverse
tension tension tension compression compression
through plate 259 347 447 -273 -400a
N 1, 3% (kN) of:
branch plate 161 223 283 -84.9 -127
N 1, 3% of through plate
-----------------------------------------------------
- 1.61 1.56 1.58 3.22 3.15
N 1, 3% of branch plate
through plate 406 352 459 < -387 -400
N 1, gm (kN) of:
branch plate 286 233 320 -258 -311
N 1, gm of through plate
-----------------------------------------------------
- 1.42 1.51 1.43 > 1.50 1.29
N 1, gm of branch plate

a Global maximum load used in lieu of N 1, 3% as fracture occurred before the 3% d 0 limit was reached

3.5.4 Assessment of X- and T-type Longitudinal Plate-to-CHS Connections

By comparing longitudinal plate-to-CHS X-type and T-type connection tests under tension load (see
Figure 3.12(b)) a few observations can be made. First, the behaviours of the two connection types, longitu-

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 3: Experimental Program with Empty CHS Chords 61

dinal X-type connections and longitudinal T-type connections, are quite different; the T-type connection
exhibited higher stiffness, higher load at the 3% d 0 deformation limit and higher ultimate load, than the X-
type connection, but the latter had more ductility. The end restraint of these connections was slightly differ-
ent, however, leading to a relative stiffening of the T-type connection. The chord end plates of the X-type
connection deformed during testing (see Figure 3.11(b)), thus not providing an almost-fully-restrained
condition as with the T-type connection. As the chord length of both connections was relatively short, the
impact of chord length on connection capacity may have been significant, but to what degree is unknown.
The influence of chord end restraint is studied in detail later by finite element analysis.

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 4: Experimental Program with Grout Filled
CHS Chords

4.1 Introduction and Experimental Program Overview

The use of concrete or grout filled chords as an internal stiffening method is popular where connection
size or geometry limits the use of other internal stiffening methods. Additional design benefits of chord fill-
ing, such as increased fire resistance of structural elements, preservation of architectural continuity, ease of
fabrication and additional strength through composite action may also justify the use of this stiffening
method over others. The effect of filling the main chord member with concrete has previously been studied
for various types of connections (see Section 2.4.2), but little work has been completed to summarize the
behaviour of plate-to-concrete filled CHS connections. In addition, no work has examined the behaviour
of combined stiffening methods, such as a through plate connection with the main chord member filled
with concrete or a concrete filled member with additional stiffener plates.

An experimental program was undertaken for plate-to-grout filled CHS connections with the objective
of identifying the influence of grout filling on branch and through plate connections previously examined
as unfilled connections in Chapter 3. The experimental program consisted of four grout filled CHS con-
nections tested under quasi-static tension branch plate loading.

4.2 Experimental Specimen Description

A total of four T-type grout filled plate-to-CHS connections were tested under quasi-static branch axial
tensile load; two with longitudinal plate orientation and two with transverse plate orientation of which one
connection was fabricated as a branch plate and the other fabricated as a through plate. The primary objec-
tive of this test series (Figure 4.1) was to determine the impact of a solid grout core on connection behav-
iour for connection geometries previously tested with unfilled chords. In addition, this experimental series
examines the impact of connection filling on the ultimate failure mode compared to similar unfilled con-
nections.

62
Chapter 4: Experimental Program with Grout Filled CHS Chords 63

N1 N1 N1 N1

N1 N1 N1 N1

Longitudinal grout filled T-type Transverse grout filled T-type Longitudinal grout filled T-type Transverse grout filled T-type
branch plate-to-CHS connection branch plate-to-CHS connection through plate-to-CHS connection through plate-to-CHS connection
loaded in tension (CB0FA) loaded in tension (CB90FA) loaded in tension (CT0FA) loaded in tension (CT90FA)

Figure 4.1 Influence of grout filled chords test series

4.3 Experimental Connection Geometric and Material Properties

As with the experimental program with empty CHS chords, all grout filled connections were propor-
tioned to have a nominal width ratio ( 1 ) or depth ratio ( 1 ) of 0.457 and a radius-to-thickness ratio of the
chord ( 0 ) of 24.4. Each connection was fabricated from a ASTM A500/A500M-10 (ASTM, 2010) Grade
C cold-formed circular hollow section with nominal diameter ( d 0 ) and thickness ( t 0 ) of 219 mm and
4.8 mm respectively and a CAN/CSA-G40.20-04/G40.21-04 (CSA, 2004b) Grade 300W wrought steel
plate with nominal thickness of 3/4 or 19 mm. The CHS had a minimum specified yield and ultimate
strength of 317 MPa and 427 MPa respectively and the plate material had a minimum specified yield
strength of 300 MPa. Measured steel material properties and fabrication methods for branch and through
plate connections were the same as outlined in Section 3.3; however, to facilitate grout filling of the con-
nection chord a 100 mm diameter hole was machined into one of the connection end plates.

Each connection was filled with a commercially available mineral-aggregate, nonshrink construction
grout that was reported to comply with specification ASTM C1107/C1107M-08 (ASTM, 2008b), Grade
C at flowable consistency [140% flow on flow table, ASTM C230/C230M-08 (ASTM, 2008a)] and manu-
factured by DeGussa under the name Construction Grout. The grout at flowable consistency was
reported to have a nominal 28 day compressive strength of 48.0 MPa using 2 inch (50 mm) cubes. The
compressive strength of cube specimens does not compare directly to standard cylinder specimens, as the
former produce higher values of compressive strength. The value of the cylinder/cube strength ratio is
approximately 0.8, given the grout strength range (Neville, 2003). The equivalent standard cylinder com-
pressive strength specified at 28 days would thus be 38.4 MPa.

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 4: Experimental Program with Grout Filled CHS Chords 64

The construction grout was mixed according to the manufacturer's instructions to achieve a flowable
mix for all material property tests and for experimental connections. All connection and material property
specimens, with the exception of three cylinder specimens, were filled and rodded in layers and were moist
cured under wet burlap and plastic for 48 hours at which time the burlap was removed. These specimens
were then left at room temperature and humidity until the time of testing.

The geometric and material properties of the experimental connections were measured to verify that
minimum specifications were met and to obtain exact material stress-strain behaviour and connection
dimensions. These properties for all grout filled plate-to-CHS connections are summarized in the following
sections with supplementary details provided in Appendix B.

4.3.1 Geometric Properties

The average measured experimental connection geometric properties are detailed in Table 4.1 and fol-
low the convention set out in Figure 4.2. Many of the experimental connections conform to the range of
validity set by CIDECT Design Guide No. 1, 2nd Edition (Wardenier et al., 2008a) as shown in Table 2.1;
however, the longitudinal plate-to-CHS connections have a nominal depth ratio ( 1 ) less than one and the
CHS chord is neither class 1 or 2 according to Eurocode 3 (CEN, 2005).

Table 4.1 Average measured geometric properties


1 1 b 1 or h 1 l0 w0 a w1 b Connection
Connection Type 1 or 1
() () (mm) (mm) (mm) (mm) ID
T-type branch plate 0 100.27 558.9 10.6 10.8 0.457 3.99 CB0FA
90
in tension 90 100.22 557.9 11.0 12.7 0.457 4.72 CB90FA
T-type through plate 0 100.13 558.8 9.6 10.3 0.457 4.01 CT0FA
90
in tension 90 100.12 557.9 9.2 13.5 0.457 4.75 CT90FA
Constant properties:
2
d 0 = 219.17 mm , t 0 = 4.49 mm , A 0 = 2973 mm c, t 1 = 18.99 mm and 0 = 24.4
a The
weld leg length along the CHS or in the horizontal direction ( w 0 ) was measured as the distance from the
plate surface to the end of the weld at the CHS member.
b The weld leg length along the plate or in the vertical direction ( w ) was measured as the distance from the CHS
1
surface to end of the weld at the plate.
c
Measured area calculated using stub column measured length and weight and by assuming a steel density of
7850 kg/m3.

4.3.2 Compressive Strength Test of Standard Cylinders

To determine the engineering stress-strain ( - ) behaviour of the unconfined grout used to fill the
plate-to-CHS connections, five 100 mm diameter by 200 mm height cylinders were cast and tested. Three
of the cylinders were cast and moist cured at 100% relative humidity for 28 days in accordance with
ASTM C192/C192M-07 (ASTM, 2007) to obtain the 28 day compressive strength ( f c ). The remaining
Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections
Chapter 4: Experimental Program with Grout Filled CHS Chords 65

North
w0
h1 1 1
bp h1
w0 b1
West East
b1 w0
w0 t1 or tp w0 w0

South
Longitudinal (1 = 0) Skew (0 < 1 < 90) Transverse (1 = 90)

N1
Branch Plate (100 x 19)
h1
CHS (219 x 4.8) Fillet Weld
w1 w1

1 t0
d0

l0 End plate (300 x 300 x 19 mm)

Figure 4.2 Experimental connection geometric properties


two cylinders were cast and moist cured for 48 hours with the grout filled plate-to-CHS connections in
accordance with ASTM C31/C31M-09 (ASTM, 2009). After 48 hours moist curing was stopped and the
specimens were field cured and left with the connection test specimens. These two cylinders were used to
determine the compressive behaviour at the time of connection specimen testing (81 days). All cylinders
were tested in accordance with ASTM C39/C39M-05 (ASTM, 2005) until failure.

-45
fu fu
-40
Table 4.2 Measured unconfined
-35 28 day moist cured grout material properties
Engineering stress, (MPa)

81 day field cured


-30
28 day ( f c ) 81 day
-25 moist cured field cured
-20 E (GPa)a 32.8 16.0
fu (MPa)a 38.5 40.2
-15
u (%) a
0.220 0.308
-10
a Propertiesdetermined by average meas-
-5
urements from multiple compressive cyl-
0
inders
0 -0.0005 -0.0010 -0.0015 -0.0020 -0.0025 -0.0030 -0.0035
Engineering strain,

Figure 4.3 Grout average engineering stress-strain behaviour

The engineering stress-strain relationship was determined during each compressive strength test beyond
the point of maximum load, where possible, to capture the full behaviour of the material. All cylinders
failed by the separation of the outer most layer from the cylinder core. As the displacement instrumenta-
tion was attached to the cylinder surface, the readings at the end of the test at failure were deemed unrelia-
ble and not included here. The average engineering stress-strain curves are shown in Figure 4.3 for the

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 4: Experimental Program with Grout Filled CHS Chords 66

28 day standard compressive strength and the strength just after the grout filled plate-to-CHS connection
tests (81 days). A summary of the construction grout measured material properties is presented in Table 4.2.

4.3.3 Full Scale Steel-Confined Grout Test

To determine the material properties of grout confined by a steel 219 x 4.8 mm CHS member under
compressive load, a 468 mm long section of CHS chord (geometric and material properties defined previ-
ously) was filled with construction grout, moist cured under burlap and plastic for 48 hours and field cured
at room temperature and humidity until the time of testing at 51 weeks. As limited increase in strength was
shown between the unconfined compressive strength at 28 days and at 81 days, the unconfined compressive
strength of the grout at 51 weeks was assumed to be similar to the strength at 81 days. Before the column
was tested each end was machined to ensure that both were flat and parallel to each other. The outside of
the CHS was instrumented with four electrical resistance strain gauges placed in the direction of load (along
the longitudinal chord axis) and four in the CHS circumferential direction at mid height and equidistant
around the circumference of the column as shown in Figure 4.4. The longitudinal strain gauges were used

20 mm SGN d0
GN
Table 4.3 Confined grout
properties and test
GE results
SGW SGE
GW Length, L (mm) 468
l0/2 2a
GS Platen area (mm ) 29865
SGS
E (GPa) 13.2
Strain Gauge
l0 f cc (MPa) 102.4
f uc (MPa)b 106.9
u (%) 16.5
Confined grout a Compression area applied to confined
test at failure
grout core
b End of test not due to failure of CHS
chord or grout core
Figure 4.4 Confined grout test strain gauge location and failure

to align the column within the test frame to ensure uniform axial loading and the circumferential strain
gauges were used to determine the hoop strain on the steel surface. In addition, two Linear Variable Differ-
ential Transformers (LVDTs) were placed between the platens of the testing frame to measure the overall
CHS load-displacement response which was used to calculate the average engineering stress-strain response
as shown in Figure 4.5. A 195 mm diameter hardened steel platen was placed at each end of the column to
ensure that load was applied to the grout only, limiting the steel effect to confinement and not full compos-
ite action with the grout core. The test was ended due to the CHS making contact with the test frame and
not failure of either the confined grout or the steel CHS. Geometric properties and test results are summa-
rized in Table 4.3 and Figure 4.5. From Table 4.3 and Figure 4.5 it is clear that the confined grout is much

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 4: Experimental Program with Grout Filled CHS Chords 67

more ductile and has a significant increase in strength (155 %) over unconfined grout (at 81 days). For the
grout filled plate-to-CHS connections, the applied stresses on the grout core are different to those applied
to the steel-confined grout test, possibly leading to different grout ductility and strength properties. Further,
as the grout core is intended to increase the stiffness and strength of the plate-to-CHS connection, the
impact of confinement on the grout core is incorporated into the connection behaviour.

-120
fuc
fcc
-100
Engineering stress, (MPa)

-80

-60

-40

-20

0
0 -0.02 -0.04 -0.06 -0.08 -0.10 -0.12 -0.14 -0.16 -0.18
Engineering strain,

Figure 4.5 Confined grout average engineering stress-strain behaviour

4.4 Experimental Method and Instrumentation

Each grout filled connection was moist cured for 48 hours and then stored at room temperature and
humidity until tested between 74 and 77 days or approximately 11 weeks from the time of initial casting.
All connections were tested in a 2700 kN capacity MTS Universal Testing Machine along with a data
acquisition system. The filled connections were tested in the same manner as the unfilled connection spec-
imens where displacement was applied directly to the plate through hydraulic grips within the upper assem-
bly of the MTS machine and the reaction force taken initially by the reaction yoke and finally by the MTS
frame through hydraulic grips in the lower assembly (see Figure 4.6). The CHS connection end plates were
attached to the reaction yoke by eight ASTM A490 1 bolts (four on each side) that were pre-tensioned to
provide as much restraint as possible. To avoid slip in the yoke-specimen joint and to ensure proper test
specimen alignment, before the bolts were pre-tensioned all connections were suspended, with the reaction
yoke attached, from the plate ensuring each bolt was in bearing at the start of the test.

All filled connection configurations were instrumented in the same way as unfilled T-type connections
with eight LVDTs to measure the deformation along the connection surface centreline and the circumfer-
ence of the CHS chord (see Figure 4.7). The defining connection deformation was taken as the change in
distance between the CHS chord centreline (point A in Figure 4.7) and a point on the plate where the

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 4: Experimental Program with Grout Filled CHS Chords 68

Upper cross head MTS

Load cell and hydraulic actuator

Machine upper hydraulic grips Upper head assembly

Test connection Actuator movement

Reaction
Stiff reaction yoke

Machine lower hydraulic grips Lower head assembly

Lower cross head

Figure 4.6 Experimental setup for grout filled T-type plate-to-CHS connections

Applied connection displacement


Branch plate (100 x 19)
LVDT bracket
140 150.5 80.5 70 70 70 77.4 32.1
fixed to plate
Connection surface
deformation LVDTs
(perpendicular to Connection
connection surface) deformation ()
B LVDT
59.5
100

Connection surface
35

Crown point
Connection surface +ve
deformation -ve
Location 5 strain gauges spaced
from crown 20 mm apart on plate
surface
A
CHS (219 x 4.8)

End plate
(300 x 300 x 19)
Not shown above
for clarity
A Note: Connection deformation ()
is calculated as the change in
LVDT distance between points A and B
Connection surface position perpendicular to the connection
centreline B surface. Strain measurements
are taken parallel to applied
West East connection displacement.
Strain gauge
position
All measurements in mm

Figure 4.7 Experimental instrumentation for grout filled T-type plate-to-CHS connections

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 4: Experimental Program with Grout Filled CHS Chords 69

LVDT bracket was attached (100 mm above the connection face, point B in Figure 4.7) perpendicular to
the connection surface. This displacement, along with the MTS load cell (housed in the upper head assem-
bly), recorded the load-deformation behaviour for the connection. Five strain gauges were spaced evenly
across the plate surface 35 mm above the CHS crown, oriented in the direction of applied connection dis-
placement, to measure the plate strain distribution (see Figure 4.7).

4.5 Experimental Results

The experimental test results for plate-to-CHS connections with grout filled chords, when compared
with identical unfilled connections, provide a general understanding of connection behaviour and failure
modes. All grout filled connections had relatively short chord lengths due to testing apparatus limitations.
Unlike the unfilled connections (where a short chord might have produced a stiffer and stronger connec-
tion response), the inherent increased connection stiffness of filled connections limits the effect of a short
chord length and chord end conditions on connection behaviour (see Chapter 6). Therefore, when exam-
ining the following experimental results, the unfilled connection response may be stiffer than if a longer
chord or different end conditions were used. This section provides an overview of experimental findings
and observations with detailed results for all plate-to-CHS connections with filled chords found in
Appendix C.

Two types of ultimate failure mechanisms were seen for the series of grout filled connections: (i) punch-
ing shear failure (PS) with little CHS deformation or ovalization (see Figure 4.8(a)), and (ii) yielding of the
plate away from the connecting face, resulting in ultimate plate fracture (Branch failure, BF) as shown in
Figure 4.8(b). Punching shear occurred for both filled branch plate-to-CHS connections and branch plate
fracture occurred for both filled through plate-to-CHS connections. The transverse branch plate-to-CHS
connection additionally experienced some tear out (TO) away from the weld toe which could be seen as a
combined punching shear and tear out failure (see Figure 4.8(a)). As with unfilled plate-to-CHS experi-
mental tests, the connection load-deformation response is the most effective way to quantitatively describe
the behaviour of grout filled plate-to-CHS connections. From the load-deformation response the connec-
tion ultimate load ( N 1, u ) was determined as the minimum of three defining limit states: (i) the load at a
deformation of 3% d 0 , N 1, 3% , if this deformation preceded the deformation at N 1, max , (ii) the maximum
connection load, N 1, max (either a local maximum prior to CHS shell snap through for connections
tested in compression, N 1, lm , or the global maximum load, N 1, gm , as a result of punching shear failure or
combined punching shear and tear out failure) and (iii) branch plate yielding, N 1, pl . A comparison of load-
deformation behaviour for grout filled experimental connections and identical unfilled connections is
shown in Figure 4.9 with comparison and analysis in the following sections.

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 4: Experimental Program with Grout Filled CHS Chords 70

(a) Transverse T-type connection in tension (CB90FA) (b) Longitudinal T-type through connection in tension (CT0FA)

Overall connection at failure

Overall connection at failure

Combined punching shear and tear out failure in tension

Branch plate yield and fracture

Figure 4.8 Grout filled experimental connection global and local failure

(a) Filled and unfilled T-type branch plate connections (b) Filled and unfilled T-type through plate connections
400 1000
Grout filled chord 0
Plate fracture
90 Branch skew angle, 1
800
300 90 Unfilled chord
0 Grout filled chord
Fracture
Branch load, N1 (kN)

Branch load, N1 (kN)

0 90
600
End of data
200 90 Branch skew angle, 1
Unfilled chord 0
400 Fracture

100
3%b0 limit

3%b0 limit

200
Connections Connections
tested with branch tested with branch
plate tension load plate tension load
0 0
0 5 10 15 20 0 5 10 15 20
Connection deformation, (mm) Connection deformation, (mm)

Figure 4.9 Load-deformation behaviour for grout filled plate-to-CHS connections

For grout filled longitudinal and transverse branch plate-to-CHS connections the overall connection
stiffness is increased over identical unfilled connections causing the governing failure mode to shift from the
3% deformation load ( N 3% ) to connection ultimate fracture load ( N u ) as shown in Figure 4.9(a). Grout
filling significantly increases the stiffness of longitudinal and transverse through plate-to-CHS connections
over their unfilled counterparts to the extent that branch plate yielding and fracture govern the test behav-

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 4: Experimental Program with Grout Filled CHS Chords 71

iour (see Figure 4.9(b) and Figure 4.8(b) for typical branch failure). For filled through plate connections,
the through plate dominated the test behaviour, hence the load-deformation curve is a complex combina-
tion of limited CHS deformation and plate behaviour. Some insight into the CHS deformation during the
two through plate tests is given by the deformation profile as described in a following section.

Specific results from these curves are summarized in Table 4.4 along with a comparison with unfilled T-
type plate-to-CHS connections. Table 4.4 additionally compares CIDECT (see Table 2.1: Wardenier et al.,
2008a) punching shear design recommendations ( N 1 PS ) for unfilled connections, and the API recommen-
dations (API, 2007) for filled connections subjected to applied tensile load ( N 1 API ), to filled branch plate
connection results. Predictions for both limit states (failure modes) are calculated using effective geometric
properties ( or which include the weld dimensions). Again it is important to note that the design rec-
ommendations can be considered to include resistance factors.

Table 4.4 Experimental results for grout filled T-type connections loaded in tension
Connection Connection Failure Kn N 1, 3% N 1, gm N 1, pl N 1 API N 1 PS N 1, gm / N 1, gm /
Type ID mode kN/mm (kN) (kN) (kN) (kN) (kN) N 1 API N 1 PS
Branch unfilled CB0EA PS 39.4 161 286 - - 249 - 1.14
Branch filled CB0FA PS 373 -a 328 - 153 246 2.14 1.33
Branch unfilled CB90EA PS, TO 91.1 283 320 - - 247 - 1.30
Branch filled CB90FA PS, TO 585 -a 334 - 154 248 2.17 1.35
Through unfilled CT0EA PS 123 259 406 - - 244 - 1.66
b
Through filled CT0FA BF 922 - 935 618 - - - -
Through unfilled CT90EA PS, TO 309 447 459 - - 242 - 1.90
Through filled CT90FA BF 1915 -a 935 617 - - - -
a
Method not applicable
b Method not applicable as branch plate yielding is the cause of deformation greater than 3% d 0

In addition to connection load-deformation behaviour, deformation instrumentation along the entire


chord length and strain gauges on the plate surface near the weld were used to provide a deformation pro-
file of the chord connection surface and plate stress distribution respectively. The connection surface defor-
mation profile gives an indication of the connection stiffness and the location along the CHS at which most
of the deformation is taking plate. For example, the transverse branch plate-to-CHS unfilled connection
has almost a linear increase in deformation from the connection end plates to the centre, whereas, the iden-
tical filled connection experiences most of the deformation near the connection centre with limited defor-
mation along the rest of the chord length (Figure 4.10(a)). A similar comparison was made for unfilled and
filled longitudinal through plate-to-CHS connections as shown in Figure 4.10(b). In addition, for a con-
nection load of 300 kN over twice as much deformation has occurred at the connection centre for the
unfilled transverse branch plate-to-CHS connection when compared with an identical filled connection,
further demonstrating the increase in connection stiffness provided by grout filling.
Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections
Chapter 4: Experimental Program with Grout Filled CHS Chords 72

(a) Transverse T-type branch connection loaded in tension


10
Branch tension load, N1 (kN) Grout filled chord
320 Unfilled chord
9
300

Connection deformation, (mm)


8

7
3%d0 limit
6 250

5
Note: End of data at 334 kN
4 200
334
3
300
150
2 275
250
100
1 200
150 50
0 75
-300 -200 -100 0 100 200 300
West Centre East
Position along connection surface centre line (mm)

(b) Longitudinal T-type through connection loaded in tension


20
Branch tension load, N1 (kN) Grout filled chord
Unfilled chord
935
406
Connection deformation, (mm)

16

350
12 900

300
850
8
800
3%d0 limit 250
4 700
200
150
600
100
300
0
-300 -200 -100 0 100 200 300
West Centre East
Position along top connection surface centre line (mm)

Figure 4.10 Connection face deformation profile comparison for grout filled and unfilled connections

Comparing the plate surface stress distribution of the unfilled to filled plate-to-CHS connections
(Figure 4.11), it is clear that the degree of non-uniform stress for grout filled connections is decreased. The
grout filled transverse branch plate-to-CHS connection has minimal stress increase at the plate edges,
whereas substantial stress increase was seen in the unfilled connection.

4.5.1 Influence of Chord Grout Filling on Connection Behaviour

The overall connection behaviour of the two grout filled branch plate-to-CHS connections is similar,
each experiencing very localized deformation around the plate and limited CHS chord deformation and
ovalization, ultimately resulting in punching shear failure for the longitudinal plate connection and a com-
bined punching shear and tear out mechanism for the transverse plate connection (Figure 4.8(a)). When
compared to identical unfilled branch plate-to-CHS connections (Figure 4.10(a)) it is clear that the con-

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 4: Experimental Program with Grout Filled CHS Chords 73

(a) Transverse T-type branch connection loaded in tension


250
Grout filled chord Branch tension load, N1 (kN)
Unfilled chord Note: End of data at 334 kN
320
200 300

Plate surface stress, (MPa)


250
334
150
200 300
275
250
150 200
100
150
100

50
50 75

0
-50 -40 -30 -20 -10 0 10 20 30 40 50
North Centre South
Position along plate width (mm)

(b) Longitudinal T-type through connection loaded in tension


450
Grout filled chord Branch tension load, N1 (kN)
Unfilled chord
400 Note: After 645 kN, strain gauge readings became
unreliable due to detached strain gauges
645
350
Plate surface stress, (MPa)

600
300

250 500
400
200 406
300
350
150
300 200
100 250
200
150 100
50
100
0
-50 -40 -30 -20 -10 0 10 20 30 40 50
West Centre East
Position along plate width (mm)

Figure 4.11 Plate surface stress distribution comparison for grout filled and unfilled connections
nection surface deformation for grout filled connections is significantly reduced and localized around the
plate indicating minimal chord ovalization and plastification. The plate stress distribution is also more uni-
form for grout filled branch connections than for similar unfilled connections (see Figure 4.11(a)). The
load-deformation behaviour of filled branch plate connections is significantly stiffer than similar unfilled
specimens; so much so, as to reduce the deformation at ultimate load to below the 3% ultimate deformation
limit (Figure 4.9(a)). The added stiffness associated with grout filled chord members allows the full connec-
tion capacity to be utilized and thus, for the ultimate limit state, the connection ultimate strength can be
used rather than a deformation limit.

If the CIDECT punching shear resistance formulae for unfilled branch plate-to-CHS connections
( N 1 PS ), Equations 4.1 and 4.2 (Wardenier et al., 2008a)

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 4: Experimental Program with Grout Filled CHS Chords 74

f y0 t 0
N 1 PS = 1.16h 1 -------------
- for longitudinal plates 4.1
sin2 1

N 1 PS = 1.16b 1 t 0 f y0 for transverse plates (at 1 = 90 ) 4.2

are compared with the experimental fracture load ( N u ) of grout filled branch plate-to-CHS (Table 4.4),
the unfilled punching shear resistance is found to be conservative and, therefore, could be used as the limit
states capacity for design. If the adapted CIDECT (Wardenier et al., 2008a) equations (Equations 4.3 and
4.4) for the punching shear resistance of grout filled plate-to-CHS connections under branch member ten-
sion loading (adopted from API (2007), Dier and Lalani (1998) and Morahan and Lalani (2002): see
Section 2.4.2) are compared with the experimental fracture load ( N u ) in Table 4.4 it is evident that the
adopted API formulae ( N 1 API ) are much more conservative than the CIDECT unfilled design formula
( N 1 PS ).

f y0 t 0
N 1 API = 0.72h 1 -------------
- for longitudinal plates 4.3
sin2 1

N 1 API = 0.72b 1 t 0 f y0 for transverse plates (at 1 = 90 ). 4.4

Thus, Equations 4.3 and 4.4 are unnecessarily conservative and are not recommended for plate-to-grout-
filled chord connections load in branch tension and the use of Equations 4.1 and 4.2 for unfilled connec-
tions ( N 1 PS ) is suggested.

The connection behaviour of the two grout filled through plate connections is very different to the
behaviour of any other connection tested in this experimental program (Figure 4.9(b)). Both filled connec-
tions exhibit similar stiff behaviour initially followed by almost identical behaviour after yielding
(Figure 4.9(b)). The ultimate failure of both connections was by yielding and fracture of the through plate
away from the connection. It is important to note that for specimen CT90FA the load-deformation curve
ends due to significant movement of the LVDT bracket at the onset of plate strain hardening; accurate
deformation readings after 617 kN were hence not recorded. As with the grout filled branch plate connec-
tions, when compared to identical unfilled branch plate-to-CHS connections (Figure 4.10(b)) the connec-
tion surface deformation for grout filled connections is significantly reduced and localized around the plate,
indicating minimal chord ovalization and plastification. From observations taken during testing of both
filled through plate connections, the deformation at the bottom connection face was also very limited with
no deformation noticeable to the eye. The plate stress distribution is slightly more uniform for grout filled
through plate connections than for similar unfilled connections (see Figure 4.11(b)).

A limit states design formula derived for unfilled through plate connections would not be applicable for
filled through plate connections. The grout core, combined with the through plate connection, provided
resistance against plastification and ovalization of the CHS chord resulting in a connection strength that

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 4: Experimental Program with Grout Filled CHS Chords 75

exceeded the capacity of the plate branch. Grout filling also increased the connection stiffness dramatically
and moved the failure away from the connection and into the connecting member. In the case of these
two connections the yield and ultimate capacity of the connection was the capacity of the branch member
and not the capacity of the connection itself. The through plate grout filled connection behaviour, which is
unknown in the current experimental tests, might govern the connection design for different connection
geometries or grout strengths, where the CHS member is allowed to ovalize and deform due to grout
crushing or other similar mechanisms.

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 5: Finite Element Connection Modelling

5.1 Introduction and General Finite Element Modelling

The experimental program and results presented in Chapter 3 provide general observations about the
effect of geometric, material and loading properties on the behaviour of branch plate-to-CHS connections.
The 12 empty connection tests, however, did not provide sufficient data to develop statistically relevant
connection behaviour trends and, ultimately, design recommendations. Moreover, experimental testing
apparatus constraints, such as chord length and test frame capacity restrictions, limit further experimental
testing. Numerical finite element (FE) modelling was chosen to broaden the scope of the experimental
database and to expand the range of geometric properties studied. Though FE analysis is a widely accepted
method of determining local and global structural behaviour, the use of modelling methods and techniques
was validated by comparing the experimental connection behaviour with results of identical FE models.
These FE models were validated against experiments with respect to overall load-displacement behaviour,
local deformation and ovalization, local spot strain readings and ultimate failure mechanism.

Eleven FE models of previously tested experimental connections were constructed and analysed using
the commercially available software package ANSYS 11.0 (Swanson Analysis Systems, 2007). The models
were constructed to replicate all geometric properties of the experimental test specimens, including experi-
mental chord end conditions and weld fabrication details. Either eight-node solid brick elements
(SOLID45) or 20-node solid brick elements (SOLID95) were used; each with three translational degrees of
freedom per node and reduced integration with hourglass control (limits zero-energy modes that are math-
ematically viable, but not physically possible). All FE models were analysed using non-linear time step anal-
ysis which incorporated non-linear material properties, large deformation allowance and a full Newton-
Raphson frontal equation solver. At each time step an incremental displacement was applied to the nodes at
the branch plate end to reproduce the displacement control loading used in the previous tests. Though the
connection types under consideration in this study are mostly limited by the 3% d 0 deformation limit, a
failure criterion was imposed on each model to emulate material ultimate fracture. A maximum equivalent
strain was determined and used to activate the death feature of the elements, where the stiffness and the
true stress of an element are reduced to a near-zero value. Material properties, geometric and analysis con-
siderations and model calibration are highlighted in the following sections.

76
Chapter 5: Finite Element Connection Modelling 77

5.2 Finite Element Material Properties

For all finite element models, a multi-linear true stress-strain ( T - T ) curve was used to describe the
behaviour of the CHS, branch plate and weld material. The average material properties of both the ASTM
A500/A500M-10 (ASTM, 2010) Grade C cold-formed CHS and CAN/CSA-G40.20-04/G40.21-04
(CSA, 2004b) Grade 300W steel plate, in the form of engineering stress-strain ( - ) relationship, were
determined through a series of tensile coupon tests until the point of necking. Tensile testing of coupons
was in accordance with ASTM E8/E8M-08 (ASTM, 2008c) as shown in Section 3.3.2. For three of the
CHS coupon tests the load at fracture and the maximum elongation were determined, to approximate
material behaviour between the onset of necking and fracture. To convert the engineering stress-strain
curve, prior to the point of coupon necking, two relationships are used (Boresi and Schmidt, 2003):

T = ( 1 + ) 5.1
T = ln ( 1 + ) 5.2

Post-necking, these relationships are no longer valid as the stress distribution at the point of necking
changes from a simple uniaxial case to a more complex triaxial case (Aronofsky, 1951). As the plate material
did not show any signs of necking during the experimental empty plate-to-CHS connection tests,
Equations 5.1 and 5.2 are adequate for FE material modelling of the plate. Weld material, for the purposes
of this study, was given the same properties as the plate; both ignore the post-necking response as they have
been shown to remain in the pre-necked region. The CHS material, however, clearly exhibits large defor-
mations related to the post-necked region of the material properties curve and requires a relationship or
method to describe the material behaviour between the necking point and the point of rupture. Martinez-
Saucedo (2007) reviewed several possible methods for determining the post-neck tensile coupon material
response with a rectangular cross-section (Dumoulin et al., 2003; Geltmacher et al., 1999; Shen and Jones,
1993; Tvergaaard, 1993; Zhang et al., 1999), with most requiring measurement of the necked cross-sec-
tional area through image analysis or other means during testing. To verify the correlation between the
experimental behaviour and response using the numerically-generated prediction, FE models of each cou-
pon test were often used. A method developed by Matic (1985) and modified by Martinez-Saucedo et al.
(2006) and Martinez-Saucedo (2007) to determine the post-necking material behaviour without the meas-
urement of necked cross-sectional area is described and adopted herein.

Matic (1985) suggests a procedure to describe the post-necking behaviour of a material that generates a
quadratic expression which incorporates the change in the tangent modulus of the material versus the
absorbed strain energy. The quadratic expression generates the full true stress-true strain behaviour incre-
mentally by using the previous values of tangent modulus, absorbed strain energy, true strain, true stress and
a constant K, and the rate of change of the tangent modulus, to calculate the new true stress value. To
determine the value of K, a numerical finite element model of the tensile coupon is constructed and ana-
Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections
Chapter 5: Finite Element Connection Modelling 78

lysed with the material defined by the Matic true stress-strain curve for a particular value of K. The results
of models with different K values are compared with the experimental average material behaviour and,
choosing the best fit, the value of K and the true stress-strain curve are defined. Martinez-Saucedo (2007)
suggests that the Matic (1985) curve be utilized only in the post-necked region of the true stress-strain
curve rather than for the entire behaviour, as the initial behaviour is known through experimental work
(see Figures 5.1(a) and (b)). In addition, Martinez-Saucedo (2007) proposes modifications to Matic's proce-
dure whereby, for materials exhibiting a plastic plateau, Matic's curve starts at the beginning of the strain-
hardening region rather than at zero strain to preserve the behaviour prior to strain-hardening.

(a) Matic true stress-strain material properties curve construction (b) FE coupon model and equivalent stress distribution at failure
1400
FE coupon mesh
(SOLID45: 8-node brick)
1200
FE coupon at fracture
Matic curve (von Mises nodal stress)
1000
True stress, T (MPa)

800 Onset of necking

600 Post necking


generated curve
CHS tensile coupon curve
400 Experimental coupon
Start of Matic curve at fracture

200

0
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
True strain, T

Figure 5.1 Determination of CHS post-necked response using the Matic (1985) procedure

600
FE behaviour
post-necking
500 (20-node brick)

CHS experimental
Engineering stress, (MPa)

FE behaviour
and FE behaviour post-necking
400 pre-necking (8-node brick)
Plate experimental and
CHS experimental
FE behaviour pre-necking
300 fracture

200

100

0
0 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 0.30 0.35
Engineering strain,

Figure 5.2 CHS and plate FE engineering stress-strain behaviour

During tensile testing of CHS coupons, the engineering stress-strain relationship was determined until
the point of necking, at which time the clip gauge was removed; however, the maximum elongation and

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 5: Finite Element Connection Modelling 79

the load at fracture were recorded. To complete the curve between necking and fracture the method pro-
posed by Matic (1985) and modified by Martinez-Saucedo (2007) is adopted herein. The post-necked true
stress-true strain relationship was generated using Matic's curve for a given K value, ensuring that the slope
of the Matic curve was similar to the slope of the true stress-true strain tensile coupon curve at the point of
necking. The interval used to generate the Matic curve in the post-necked region ( T = 0.01 ) was chosen
to capture a smooth true stress-strain behaviour (Figure 5.1(a)). The combined tensile coupon and gener-
ated true stress-true strain curve was then used in an FE model of an experimental coupon (Figure 5.1(b))
to produce a numerical engineering stress-strain curve which was then compared to the average experi-
mental tensile coupon engineering stress-strain curve (Figure 5.2). The value of K was determined through
an iterative process of comparing the FE coupon results with the experimental coupon average results until
they converged. To capture coupon fracture a maximum equivalent strain ( ef ) was used to activate the
death feature of an element whereby, if an element reaches the maximum equivalent strain value, the
stiffness and the stress of that element is reduced to near-zero allowing the element to freely deform.
Through empirical correlation between the experimental and FE coupon results, a maximum equivalent
strain of ef = 1.1 was found to simulate coupon fracture of the CHS material. This method was com-
pleted for the two element types used in the modelling of the branch plate-to-CHS connections:
SOLID45, an 8-node brick element and SOLID95, a 20-node brick element.

5.3 Connection Modelling

All connections were modelled using the exact geometric and material properties of the experimental
test connections, including weld geometry. As most connections, with the exception of those with plate
skew angles of 45, are symmetric with respect to geometry, restraint and loading, one quarter or one
eighth of T- and X-type connections respectively was modelled with symmetric boundary conditions
applied to the cut faces (Figures 5.3 and 5.4). For T-type connections with a skew angle of 45 no planes of
symmetry exist and the entire connection was modelled (Figure 5.5). For T-type connection models
restraint was applied to the end of the CHS chord in one of two ways. To simplify the complexity of each
connection model, the end plate used to attach the experimental connections to the reaction yoke was
omitted and nodes at the end of the CHS chord were restrained against displacement in all directions, effec-
tively creating a fixed end condition. This fully-constrained condition was found to produce connection
behaviour that was significantly stiffer than the experimental connections. To correct this, deformable end
plates were added to the connection models, but not fully restrained, to allow end plate deformation to
influence FE connection behaviour. Only the inside surface of the bolt holes was restrained against dis-
placement in all directions allowing some deformation in the plate and some ovalization in the CHS chord
end. For the X-type connection, the end plate was always modelled but was not restrained, to recreate
experimental test conditions. For T- and X-type branch plate FE connection models, to fully represent fab-

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 5: Finite Element Connection Modelling 80

Applied displacement Through plate


End plate and reaction force CHS

Weld

For models without end


End weld plate all CHS end nodes
are restrained against
displacement in all
Bolt hole nodes directions
restrained against
displacement in all
directions

Symmetric Slot in CHS with


boundary gap between plate
conditions and CHS

Figure 5.3 Non-skew T-type through plate-to-CHS connection model with mesh layout and boundary
conditions

Applied displacement Branch plate


and reaction force
CHS

Weld

No end restraint

Symmetric Gap between


boundary plate and CHS
conditions

Figure 5.4 Non-skew X-type branch plate-to-CHS connection model with mesh layout and boundary
conditions

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 5: Finite Element Connection Modelling 81

Applied displacement Branch


End plate and reaction force plate

Weld

CHS
End weld

Bolt hole nodes


restrained against
displacement in all
directions

Figure 5.5 Skew T-type branch plate-to-CHS connection model with mesh layout and boundary
conditions
ricated experimental test connections, each was constructed with a 1.0 mm gap between the CHS chord
and both branch and end plates (Figure 5.4); a similar gap of 1.5 mm was used for T-type through plate FE
connection models (Figure 5.3). This gap results in load transfer through the fillet weld alone, closely mod-
elling the fabricated experimental connections. As the weld material properties were not determined
through coupon tests, plate material properties were used for both the weld and plate (shown as grey in
Figures 5.3, 5.4 and 5.5). As mentioned previously, the fillet welds were design not be critical and carry the
full plate capacity.

The general element mesh layout for each FE connection model was constructed taking into consider-
ation the behaviour of the experimental connections. As the majority of the connection deformation and
the ultimate fracture occur around the weld perimeter in the CHS chord in experimental tests, a fine mesh
was used in these areas to better capture surface undulations, stress and strain distributions and to diminish
model convergence issues that occur when larger element undergo large distortions. A smaller element size
associated with a fine mesh also provides more nodal results, thus reducing errors associated with interpola-
tion between nodes. Moving from regions of high deformation and stress to regions of lower deformation
and stress, a gradual increase in element size took place to reduce the overall number of elements and nodes
needed to model each connection (see Figures 5.3, 5.4 and 5.5). When determining element size, care was
taken to avoid large aspect ratios in the elements and have the elements remain as close to square as possible
to avoid problems associated with large element distortions. Multiple element layers were used through the

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 5: Finite Element Connection Modelling 82

thickness of both the CHS chord and the branch plate to ensure that local bending deformations were cap-
tured by each connection model. To determine the mesh density and element type best suited for model-
ling of branch and through plate-to-CHS connections, a model sensitivity study was undertaken (see
Section 5.3.1). In addition, to account for the ultimate fracture of the connection, a maximum equivalent
strain was imposed to initiate the element death feature. The determination of this strain and fracture
procedure are discussed in Section 5.3.2.

Each FE connection model was analysed by applying incremental displacement to the nodes at the end
of the branch plate which were also used to calculate the connection load. All numerically-modelled con-
nections had FE nodes coinciding with the same points that were instrumented in the experimental con-
nections (Figure 5.6), utilizing symmetrical boundaries where appropriate. As with the experimental
program, the defining connection deformation for all T- and X-type connection models was taken as the
change in distance between the CHS chord centreline (point A in Figure 5.6) and a point on the plate
where the LVDT (Linear Variable Differential Transformer) bracket was attached (100 mm above the con-
nection face, point B in Figure 5.6) perpendicular to the connection surface. In addition, the stress and
strain over the entire plate width at the strain gauge line were recorded, along with the connection surface
deformation at the crown point over the entire connection length.

Applied connection displacement


Branch plate (100 x 19)
LVDT bracket
140 150.5 80.5 70 70 70 77.4 32.1
fixed to plate
Connection surface
deformation LVDTs
(perpendicular to Connection
connection surface) deformation ()
B LVDT
59.5
100

Connection surface
35

Crown point
Connection surface +ve
deformation -ve
Location 5 strain gauges spaced
from crown 20 mm apart on plate
FE strain line surface
A
70 70
CHS (219 x 4.8)

End plate
(300 x 300 x 19)
Not shown above
for clarity
A Note: Connection deformation ()
is calculated as the change in
LVDT distance between points A and B
Connection surface position perpendicular to the connection
centreline B surface. Strain measurements
are taken parallel to applied
West East
connection displacement.
Strain gauge
position
All measurements in mm

Figure 5.6 Standard experimental and numerical FE measurement locations

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 5: Finite Element Connection Modelling 83

5.3.1 Model Sensitivity Study

To determine the element type and mesh arrangement best suited for modelling branch and through
plate-to-CHS connections, a sensitivity study was performed. Two brick type elements were examined for
connection modelling: SOLID45, an 8-node solid element with large deformation and strain capabilities
and three translational degrees of freedom per node and SOLID95, a 20-node solid element capable of plas-
ticity, creep, stress stiffening, large deflection, and large strain. SOLID95 was better suited to model curved
shapes when compared to SOLID45 due to intermediate nodes, given the same element configuration;
however, if the element size is reduced, SOLID45 can adequately model curved objects. Both SOLID45
and SOLID95 elements have orthotropic material properties and, if needed, can be reduced to a tetrahedral
shape. In addition to element type, element layout or meshing was examined by using a number of mesh
layouts with both types of elements. The mesh layouts varied in element concentration around high stress
areas and throughout the connection model. As mentioned previously, the addition of the end plate was
examined for its effect on the overall connection behaviour.

Fine mesh using 8-node Fine mesh using 8-node Course mesh using 8-node Course mesh using 20-node
brick elements (SOLID45) brick elements (SOLID45) brick elements (SOLID45) brick elements (SOLID95)
without end plate with end plate with end plate with end plate

Figure 5.7 Typical one-quarter FE model mesh arrangements used in mesh sensitivity study

By varying the mesh size, the element type and the inclusion of the end plate, four main mesh arrange-
ments (Figure 5.7) yielded the following results. As mentioned previously, for T-type connections where an
end plate was not included, all nodes at the end of the CHS chord were restrained against displacement in
all directions producing a fixed end condition. Each FE model was compared against experimental results
with respect to overall load-deformation behaviour, local connection surface deformation behaviour, local
spot strain readings and ultimate failure mechanism. First, the complexity of the mesh significantly
increased the computation time of an analysis with limited increase in accuracy. A model using a course
mesh of 20-node brick elements (SOLID95) showed slightly better correlation with the experimental

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 5: Finite Element Connection Modelling 84

Table 5.1 Finite element model mesh sensitivity study results


CHS
Connection Connection Element No. of No. of Mesh End N 1, u N 1, uFE N 1, u /
thickness
type ID type elements nodes type plate (kN) (kN) N 1, uFE
elements
SOLID45 17088 21713 3 Fine N 201 0.80
SOLID45 23886 30548 3 Fine Y 182 0.88
CB0EA 161
SOLID45 5072 7599 2 Course Y 174 0.93
T-type branch plate

SOLID95 8656 45097 2 Course Y 184 0.88


in tension

SOLID45 46472 59427 3 Fine Y 244 0.91


CB45EA SOLID45 13656 19181 2 Course Y 223 245 0.91
SOLID95 13656 71179 2 Course Y 243 0.92
SOLID45 16464 20865 3 Fine N 324 0.87
SOLID45 23196 29612 3 Fine Y 300 0.94
CB90EA 283
SOLID45 4816 7206 2 Course Y 296 0.96
SOLID95 8424 43805 2 Course Y 301 0.94
SOLID45 37036 46141 3 Fine Y 247 1.05
CT0EA SOLID45 7352 10712 2 Course Y 259 242 1.07
T-type through plate

SOLID95 8120 43160 2 Course Y 251 1.03


in tension

SOLID45 61584 77800 3 Fine Y 315 1.10


CT45EA SOLID45 18108 25070 2 Course Y 347 322 1.08
SOLID95 17988 92683 2 Course Y 311 1.12
SOLID45 36232 45053 3 Fine Y 426 1.05
CT90EA SOLID45 6968 10124 2 Course Y 447 428 1.04
SOLID95 7736 41016 2 Course Y 427 1.05
SOLID45 17088 21713 3 Fine N -96.9 0.95
T-type branch plate

SOLID45 23886 30548 3 Fine Y -91.3 1.01


CB0EB -92.0a
in compression

SOLID45 5072 7599 2 Course Y -88.4 1.04


SOLID95 8656 45097 2 Course Y -94.3 0.98
SOLID45 16464 20865 3 Fine N -161 0.86
SOLID45 23196 29612 3 Fine Y -150 0.92
CB90EB -138a
SOLID45 4816 7206 2 Course Y -146 0.95
SOLID95 8424 43805 2 Course Y -152 0.91
SOLID45 37036 46141 3 Fine Y -252 1.08
T-type through

CT0EB SOLID45 7352 10712 2 Course Y -273 -247 1.11


compression
plate in

SOLID95 8120 43160 2 Course Y -257 1.06


SOLID45 36232 45053 3 Fine Y -390c 1.03
CT90EB SOLID45 6968 10124 2 Course Y -400b -388c 1.03
SOLID95 7736 41016 2 Course Y -393c 1.02
SOLID45 17958 22726 3 Fine Y 137 0.91
X-type

XB90EA SOLID45 3584 5331 2 Course Y 124 133 0.93


SOLID95 5336 28043 2 Course Y 138 0.90
a
The 3% deformation limit was preceded by a local maximum load. Applies to all FE values for this connection type.
b
The 3% deformation limit was not reached and the ultimate load is shown.
c
FE load at experimental ultimate displacement ( u )

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 5: Finite Element Connection Modelling 85

results than a fine mesh of 8-node brick elements (SOLID45); however, the analysis time was significantly
increased.

Second, a fine mesh generally agrees better with experimental test results than a course mesh when
using the same element type, to a limit. An increase in the number of elements and nodes to an already fine
mesh arrangement is not likely to increase the accuracy of the model significantly, while increasing compu-
tational time. In this way, the fine 8-node brick element (SOLID45) mesh was determined to achieve a rea-
sonable correlation with the experimental connection results in a reasonable time frame. The mesh
arrangement details and results, compared to the experimental connection program results, are presented in
Table 5.1. The connection ultimate capacity ( N 1, u ) for the experimental tests was determined as the mini-
mum of three defining limit states: (i) the load at a deformation of 3% d 0 , N 1, 3% , if this deformation pre-
ceded the deformation at N 1, max , (ii) the maximum connection load, N 1, max (either a local maximum
prior to CHS shell snap through for connections tested in compression, N 1, lm , or the global maximum
load, N 1, gm , as a result of punching shear failure or combined punching shear and tear out failure) and (iii)
branch plate yielding, N 1, pl . The connection ultimate capacity for all FE analysis ( N 1, uFE ) was determined
in the same manner as the minimum of: (i) the load at a deformation of 3% d 0 , N 1, 3%FE , if this deformation
preceded the deformation at N 1, max , (ii) the maximum connection load, N 1, max (either a local maximum,
N 1, lmFE , or the global maximum load, N 1, gmFE ) and (iii) branch plate yielding, N 1, plFE . From this study it
was determined that a fine mesh layout with three elements through the CHS member thickness, con-
structed from brick elements with 8-nodes (SOLID45), and with end-plate modelling produced the best
agreement with experimental load-deformation response, spot strain values, and overall behaviour. Con-
nections where the end plate is not included (where all end nodes restrained against displacement in all
directions producing a fixed end condition) tend to over predict the connection ultimate capacity more so
than the models with deformable end plates. Examples of such FE-experimental correlations are given later
in Section 5.4.

5.3.2 Model Fracture Study

Once the general overall behaviour of the FE models was compared with the experimental results, the
implementation of a fracture criterion was undertaken. A maximum equivalent strain ( ef ) was used to acti-
vate the death feature of an element, whereby, if an element reaches the maximum equivalent strain
value, the stiffness and the stress of that element is reduced to near-zero allowing the element to freely
deform. The maximum equivalent strain values for all 11 FE models were determined through empirical
correlation between the experimental test results and the FE model results. The maximum equivalent strain
was initially chosen to be equal to that used for the tensile coupon models (approximately 1.1); however,
due to differences in the element boundary conditions in the tensile coupon models and the connection
models, and the fact that tensile coupon models require high deformations to initiate fracture, whereas the

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 5: Finite Element Connection Modelling 86

connections are very constrained, the capacity in the FE connection model considerably exceeded the
capacity of the experimental tests. The maximum equivalent strain was therefore determined by trial and
error until there was a correlation between the FE model and experimental global maximum capacity
results. The best correlation between FE and experimental results, when considering the behaviour of all
connection types, used a maximum equivalent strain value of ef = 0.11 to 0.22 (see Table 5.2) with the
majority of the connection models at the upper end (with the exception of the transverse branch plate-to-
CHS connection tested in compression (CB90EB) that used ef = 0.60 ). The mean of the experimental-
to-FE results is 0.986 with a coefficient of variation (CoV) of 7.75% for the load at the 3% d 0 deformation
limit ( N 1, 3% N 1, 3%FE ), and a mean of 0.992 and coefficient of variation (CoV) of 3.54% for the global
maximum load ( N 1, gm N 1, gmFE ), indicating that the specified maximum equivalent strain for each con-
nection results in a good approximation of the connection behaviour.

Table 5.2 Finite element model fracture study results


Connection Failure N 1, 3% N 1, gm N 1, 3%FE N 1, gmFE N 1, 3% / N 1, gm /
Connection Type ef
ID mode (kN) (kN) (kN) (kN) N 1, 3%FE N 1, gmFE
CB0EA PS 0.17 161 286 182 283 0.88 1.01
T-type branch plate
CB45EA PS 0.10 223 233 242 245 0.92 0.95
in tension
CB90EA PS, TO 0.15 283 320 300 333 0.94 0.96
CT0EA PS (TO)a 0.22 259 406 247 412 1.05 0.99
T-type through
CT45EA PS 0.15 347 352 315 351 1.10 1.00
plate in tension
CT90EA PS, TO 0.20 447 459 426 470 1.05 0.98
b b
T-type branch plate CB0EB PS 0.14 -92.0 -258 -91.3 -260 1.01 0.99
in compression CB90EB PS 0.60 -138b -311 -150b -286 0.92 1.09
c
T-type through CT0EB PS 0.20 -273 <-387 -252 -400 1.08 0.97
plate in compression d d
CT90EB PS, TO 0.11 - -400 - -410 - 0.98
X-type branch plate
XB90EA PS 0.22 124 226 137 228 0.91 0.99
in tension
a Tear
out failure mode due to off centre applied connection displacement post fracture
b
The 3% deformation limit was preceded by a local maximum load (value shown)
c Failure of overall experimental setup before ultimate load or connection fracture
d
Method not applicable as the 3% deformation limit was not reached.

For subsequent FE parametric analysis a value of ef = 0.20 was chosen, which is approximately the
average determined from all FE models ( ef = 0.21 ). To verify that using an average value of ef = 0.20
continues to provide a good approximation of the global maximum load for each experimental connec-
tions, each FE connection model was re-analysed with ef = 0.20 . The results of this analysis (see
Table 5.3) indicate no change in the load value at the 3% d 0 deformation limit and some change in the glo-
bal maximum load when compared with the same values in Table 5.2 (with the exception of connection
CB90EB). The mean of the experimental-to-FE results for the global maximum load ( N 1, gm N 1, gmFE ) is

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 5: Finite Element Connection Modelling 87

0.989 with a coefficient of variation (CoV) of 21.5%, indicating a minimal change in the mean with
increased scatter of the results that is primarily due to the transverse branch plate-to-CHS connection tested
in compression (CB90EB). Using a value of ef = 0.20 for this outlier, however, provides conservative
results for the global maximum load over the use of ef = 0.60 .

Table 5.3 Finite element model fracture study results (maximum equivalent strain
of 0.20)
Connection N 1, 3% N 1, gm N 1, 3%FE N 1, gmFE N 1, 3% / N 1, gm /
Connection Type
ID (kN) (kN) (kN) (kN) N 1, 3%FE N 1, gmFE
CB0EA 161 286 182 314 0.88 0.91
T-type branch plate
CB45EA 223 233 242 291 0.92 0.80
in tension
CB90EA 283 320 300 394 0.94 0.81
CT0EA 259 406 247 384 1.05 1.06
T-type through
CT45EA 347 352 315 393 1.10 0.90
plate in tension
CT90EA 447 459 426 470 1.05 0.98
a a
T-type branch plate CB0EB -92.0 -258 -91.3 -306 1.01 0.84
in compression CB90EB -138a -311 -150a -192 0.92 1.62
b
T-type through CT0EB -273 <-387 -252 -400 1.08 0.97
plate in compression CT90EB -c -400 -c -449 - 0.89
X-type branch plate
XB90EA 124 226 137 225 0.91 1.00
in tension
a
The 3% deformation limit was preceded by a local maximum load (value shown)
b
Failure of overall experimental setup before ultimate load or connection fracture
c Method not applicable as the 3% deformation limit was not reached.

As all of the connections have similar or identical boundary conditions, it is reasonable to use this frac-
ture criterion for the parametric study; however, caution must be observed if the element boundary condi-
tions change significantly or if the failure mode changes when applying this method to further studies. This
remark is further emphasized by the work of Martinez-Saucedo et al. (2006) where a similar method was
used to determine ef which produced a significantly different value of 0.60 for a slotted end plate connec-
tion. The lack of direct transferability between FE models of two different connection types suggests that
differences in local material boundary conditions, connection geometry, mesh arrangement, element type
and loading have a significant impact on the equivalent failure strain values of individual elements, and thus
connection failure load, using this method.

5.4 Finite Element Models Evaluated Against Experimental Results

In general, the finite element connection models correlated well with the experimental tests with
respect to overall load-deformation behaviour, the 3% d 0 deformation limit load ( N 1, 3% ) where applicable,

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 5: Finite Element Connection Modelling 88

spot displacements, fracture location and ultimate failure mode. Due to slightly unsymmetrical loading and
plate initial out-of-straightness of the experimental tests, the spot strain values for some FE models, particu-
larly longitudinal plate connections, did not match those recorded in the experimental tests. As the overall
load-deformation behaviour and other values used to evaluate all models showed good correlation, and
since the difference in spot strain values was likely not a result of ineffective FE modelling techniques, the
spot strain values were not used as the primary method of comparison between FE models and experimen-
tal results. A tabulated comparison of experimental and FE load results is given in Table 5.3, with more
detailed evaluation in the following sections. Appendix C also gives a detailed overview of all FE validation
models compared to experimental test results.

5.4.1 T-type Branch Plate-to-CHS Connections in Tension

The load-deformation response of the FE models for T-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested
in tension (longitudinal, CB0EA; 45 skew, CB45EA; and transverse, CB90EA) correlated well with the
experimental test results, including the ultimate load and deformation, as shown in Figure 5.8(a). The ini-
tial stiffness and curve in general for each FE model are higher than the experimental results suggesting
some portion of the model is too stiff, possibly due to residual stresses. Figures 5.8(b), (d) and (f) show that
all FE models exhibited a high concentration of stress around the weld perimeter ultimately causing yield-
ing and subsequent fracture of the CHS chord. In addition, these figures demonstrate that the FE models
can replicate the same failure mode and general ovalization and cross-section deformation as the corre-
sponding experimental connection tests, further validating the use of the developed FE modelling tech-
niques. As mentioned previously, fracture was emulated by using the death feature of elements. The
location of the first-killed elements in all three FE models was similar if not identical to the initial crack
location of the experimental tests.

As an example, Figure 5.8(c) compares the experimental and FE connection surface deformation pro-
files for the transverse branch plate-to-CHS connection tested in branch plate tension. The FE model
experiences slightly less deformation across the connection surface, again indicating that the FE model is
minimally too stiff; however, the connection surface profiles match nicely with respect to shape.
Figure 5.8(e) is a plot of plate surface stress 35 mm above the connection crown point in the direction of
branch plate applied displacement. The experimental and FE results are generally close, both in value
(except at the centre of the plate) and trend, with higher stress at the plate edges where the stress concentra-
tion and ultimate fracture in the CHS chord were located, indicating an excellent correlation between
experimental test and FE model results.

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 5: Finite Element Connection Modelling 89

(a) Load-deformation behaviour (b) Connection failure for 0 skew angle (longitudinal)
350
90 Branch skew angle, 1

300
Numerical FE 0 Fracture
Branch tension load, N1 (kN)

250
45
Experimental

200

150

100 3%d0 limit

50

0
0 5 10 15 20
Connection deformation, (mm)

(c) Connection surface deformation profile for 90 skew angle


10 (d) Connection failure for 45 skew angle
Experimental Branch tension load, N1 (kN)
Numerical FE 320
9
Connection surface deformation (mm)

300 333
8

7
3%d0 limit 300
6 250

5
250
4 200

3 200
150
2 150
100 100
1
50 50
0
-300 -200 -100 0 100 200 300
West Centre East
(f) Connection failure for 90 skew angle (transverse)
Position along connection surface centre line (mm)

(e) Plate surface stress distribution (west face) for 90 skew angle
250
Branch tension load, N1 (kN) Experimental
Numerical FE
320 333
300 Initial crack at weld toe
Plate surface axial stress, (MPa)

200 300 on both sides of plate


( 300 kN)
250
250
150
200
200

150
100 150

100 100

50
50 50

0
-50 -40 -30 -20 0 -1010 20 30 40 50
North Centre South Experimental test Numerical FE test
Position along plate width (mm) (von Mises nodal stress)

Figure 5.8 Experimental and FE comparison of T-type branch plate-to-CHS connections in tension

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 5: Finite Element Connection Modelling 90

5.4.2 T-type Through Plate-to-CHS Connections in Tension

The load-deformation response of the FE models for T-type through plate-to-CHS connections tested
in tension (longitudinal, CT0EA; 45 skew, CT45EA; and transverse, CT90EA) correlated well with the
experimental test results, as shown in Figure 5.9(a). The initial stiffness and curve in general for each FE
model are, in this case, consistently lower than the experimental results indicating that some portion of the
model is not as stiff as the experimental tests. Figures 5.9(b), (d) and (f) show that all FE models exhibited
high stress concentrations around the weld perimeter, typically away from the connection surface longitudi-
nal centreline. The position of high stress and the location of the first killed element correspond well
with the fracture location in the experimental CHS chord. The general ovalization and deformation of the
FE models compare well with their experimental counterparts.

As an example, Figure 5.9(c) compares the experimental and FE connection surface deformation pro-
files for the longitudinal through plate-to-CHS connection tested in branch plate tension. The FE model
and experimental connection results are almost identical with respect to values and shape indicating excel-
lent correlation between the FE model and experiment. Figure 5.9(e) is a plot of plate surface stress 35 mm
above the connection crown point in the direction of through plate applied displacement. The experimen-
tal and FE results are reasonably close and both follow the same trend; however, the experimental connec-
tion stress is lower. The low experimental surface stress is most likely due to out-of-plane plate bending
where an increase in tensile stress occurred on the opposite plate face and a increase in compressive stress
occurred on the plate face shown, thus lowering the experimental plate surface stress. At failure, it is clear
from Figure 5.9(b) that the through plate in the experimental test is no longer straight confirming this
decrease.

5.4.3 X-type Branch Plate-to-CHS Connection in Tension

The load-deformation response of the FE model for the X-type branch plate-to-CHS connection
tested in tension (longitudinal, XB90EA) correlated well with the experimental test results, as shown in
Figure 5.10(a). The FE model behaviour is very close to the experimental test, including ultimate load and
displacement. As the initial stiffness for the FE model is slightly higher than the experimental connection,
the load at the 3% d 0 deformation limit is also higher for the FE analysis when compared to the experimen-
tal results. The differences in the deformation and ovalization of the FE and the experimental test are small,
as shown in Figures 5.10(b). The FE model exhibited a high stress concentration around the weld perime-
ter and the position of high stress and the location of the first killed element corresponds well with the
fracture location in the experimental CHS chord. The FE model even captures the plastic deformation in
the chord end plate as the CHS ovalizes along the entire connection length.

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 5: Finite Element Connection Modelling 91

(a) Load-deformation behaviour (b) Connection failure for 0 skew angle (longitudinal)
500
90 Branch skew angle, 1
450 Experimental
0
400 Fracture
Branch tension load, N1 (kN)

350 45
Numerical FE
300

250

200

150

100
3%d0 limit

50
0
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
Connection deformation, (mm)

(c) Top connection surface deformation profile for 0 skew angle


20 (d) Connection failure for 45 skew angle
Experimental Branch tension load, N1 (kN)
18 Numerical FE
406 412
Connection surface deformation (mm)

16 Initial crack at weld


toe on east side
14 of top connection
350 350 surface (> 350 kN)
12

10 300 300

8
250
6 3%d0 limit 250

4 200 200

2 150 150
100 100
0
-300 -200 -100 0 100 200 300
West Centre East
Position along top connection surface centre line (mm) (f) Connection failure for 90 skew angle (transverse)

(e) Plate surface stress distribution (north face) for 0 skew angle
250
Branch tension load, N1 (kN) Experimental
412 Numerical FE

Initial crack at weld toe on east side


Plate surface axial stress, (MPa)

200 406 350


of top connection surface (> 350 kN)

300
350
150
250
300
200
100 250
150
200

150 100
50
100

0
-50 -40 -30 -20 0-10 10 20 30 40 50
West Centre East Experimental test Numerical FE test
Position along plate width (mm) (von Mises nodal stress)

Figure 5.9 Experimental and FE comparison of T-type through plate-to-CHS connections in tension

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 5: Finite Element Connection Modelling 92

(a) Load-deformation behaviour (b) Connection failure


250

Fracture

200
Branch tension load, N1 (kN)

Numerical FE Experimental

150

100

50
3%d0 limit

0
0 5 10 15 20 25 30
Connection deformation, (mm) Experimental test Numerical FE test
(von Mises nodal stress)

Figure 5.10 Experimental and FE comparison of X-type branch plate-to-CHS connection in tension

5.4.4 T-type Branch and Through Plate-to-CHS Connections in Compression

For T-type branch and through plate-to-CHS connections tested in branch plate compression (longitu-
dinal branch plate, CB0EB; transverse branch plate, CB90EB; longitudinal through plate, CT0EB; and
transverse through plate, CT90EB), the load-deformation behaviour of the FE models and the experimen-
tal tests are very similar (see Figure 5.11(a)). The FE model load-deformation response of the longitudinal
branch plate-to-CHS connection and the transverse through plate-to-CHS connection, when compared to
the experimental results are almost identical in both value and trend. The experimental transverse branch
plate connection follows the same trend as the FE model results and they share initial slopes; however, the
FE curve is higher than the experimental curve after the first local maximum. The longitudinal through
plate connection FE model does not replicate the experimental curve after the 3% d 0 deformation limit,
due to overall experimental setup failure and not connection failure. Figures 5.11(b), (d) and (f) show that
all FE models exhibited high stress concentrations around the weld perimeter. The position of high stress
and the location of the first killed element corresponds well with the fracture location of the experimen-
tal CHS chord, including the location on either the top or bottom of the CHS chord. The general ovaliza-
tion and deformation of the FE models compare very well with their experimental counterparts.

Figure 5.11(c) compares the experimental and FE connection surface deformation profiles for the
transverse through plate-to-CHS connection tested in branch plate compression. The FE model and exper-
imental connection results are almost identical with respect to values and shape, indicating excellent corre-
lation between the FE model and experiment. The FE model plate surface stress profile (Figure 5.11(e)) is
also very close to the experimental spot stresses and both follow the same general uniform stress trend.

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 5: Finite Element Connection Modelling 93

(a) Load-deformation behaviour (b) Connection failure for longitudinal (0) branch plate
-500

Branch skew angle, 1


90 Failure by buckling of entire experimental setup
Branch compression load, N1 (kN)
-400
0
Through plate

-300 90
0
Experimental
Numerical FE Fracture
-200

-100 Branch plate

3%d0 limit
0
0 -10 -20 -30 -40 -50 -60 -70 -80 -90
Connection deformation, (mm)

(c) Top connection surface deformation profile for transverse through


0 (d) Connection failure for transverse (90) branch plate
-100 -100
-150 -150
Connection surface deformation (mm)

-1 -200 -200
-250 -250
-2
-300 -300

-3
-350
-350
-4

-5

-409 Experimental
-6 Numerical FE
3%d0 limit -400
Branch compression load, N1 (kN)
-7
-300 -200 -100 0 100 200 300
West Centre East
Position along top connection surface centre line (mm)

(e) Plate surface stress distribution (east face) for transverse through
0 (f) Connection failure for transverse (90) through plate
Branch compression load, N1 (kN) Experimental
Numerical FE
Plate surface axial stress, (MPa)

-50 -100
-100
-150
-150
-100
-200
-200
-250
-250
-150
-300
-300
-350
-200 -350
-400
-409 Initial crack at weld toe on noth side
of bottom connection face at failure
-250
-50 -40 -30 -20 -10 0 10 20 30 40 50
South Centre North Experimental test Numerical FE test
Position along plate width (mm) (von Mises nodal stress)

Figure 5.11 Experimental and FE comparison of T-type branch and through plate-to-CHS connections
in compression

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 6: Finite Element Modelling with respect to
Numerical Parametric Studies

6.1 Overview of Numerical Parametric Studies

One of the primary goals of conducting a series of parametric studies into branch plate-to-CHS con-
nection behaviour is to not only expand upon the experimental test database, but to widen the scope of
current connection behaviour and design knowledge. The results and subsequent trends produced by these
parametric studies must be valid and safe for a wide range of connection geometries and configurations in
order to maximise their impact on design standards and recommendations. As such, the experimental pro-
gram and finite element (FE) validation study, which examine a very specific group of connection configu-
rations, are not directly transferable to general parametric studies for a few reasons. First, the quasi-fixed
boundary conditions of T-type experimental tests do not necessarily provide the lowest, most conservative,
connection behaviour. The added stiffness of the fixed end condition increases the connection capacity
resulting in higher overall behaviour trends. Using a T-type connection in a three-point, simply-supported,
bending configuration for numerical parametric studies provides the lowest connection capacity of possible
configurations.

Second, for any experimental or FE T-type arrangement with the branch member in axial tension or
compression, equilibrium-induced bending moments, or chord normal stresses, occur at the joint, which
can adversely effect the connection capacity. Within CIDECT design guidelines (Wardenier et al., 2008a),
the effect of chord axial stress has been incorporated as a separate function ( Q f - see Chapter 9), meaning
that if the general CIDECT design equation form is to be adopted herein, all connections must have no, or
limited, normal stress at the joint (more specifically at the location of connection failure) or account for this
stress in some manner. To exclude the chord normal stress at the joint, the FE connection model configura-
tion has to compensate with opposite in-plane bending moments applied at the chord ends for T-type con-
nections (see Section 6.2).

Third, connection chord length has been shown to influence connection capacity by providing
increased or decreased connection stiffness, depending on chord end conditions, for short chords (e.g. Bolt
et al., 1992; Choo et al., 2006; Connelly and Zettlemoyer, 1989; Lee and Wilmshurst, 1995; van der Vegte,
1995; van der Vegte and Makino, 2006, 2007). To exclude this stiffening effect, the length of the connec-
tion must be increased (see Section 6.4) beyond typical lengths used in experiments.
94
Chapter 6: Finite Element Modelling with respect to Numerical Parametric Studies 95

Finally, the changes in geometry in parametric studies from the experimental tests and validated FE
models require the proportions, meshing arrangement and model construction of the numerical parametric
models to be altered. The general numerical finite element modelling methods and techniques established
to be valid in Chapter 5 are used as a basis for these modified models. The following sections discuss these
issues in detail.

6.2 General Analysis Method for Numerical FE Parametric Studies and Chord
Normal Stress Compensation

6.2.1 X-type Plate-to-CHS Parametric Connection Modelling

The longitudinal X-type connection geometric configuration used for parametric connection model-
ling was very similar to the experimental connection and validated FE model presented in Chapter 3 and
Chapter 5. Each FE model was constructed with constant branch plate thickness ( t 1 ) of 19.01 mm and
chord diameter ( d 0 ) of 219.1 mm. The chord length ( l 0 ) was defined as the joint length (the longitudinal
length of the joint including the weld) plus an effective chord length ( l 0 ) of 10d 0 (see Section 6.4). The
branch plate length ( l 1 ) was set at 3h 1 for 1.0 and 1.5h 1 for > 1.0 in an effort to develop a uniform
stress distribution between the joint and the branch plate end boundary condition, as shown in Figure 6.1.
The welds ( w 0 and w 1 ) were sized to transfer all branch plate load to the CHS chord without failing. A
throat thickness of half the plate thickness or a leg length of 13.44 mm was used. The chord ends do not
have an attached plate as with the experimental study connections. All of these connection properties
remained constant, unless otherwise stated, and all other geometric properties shown in Figure 6.1 are con-
sidered variables within the parametric studies. For transverse X-type connection configurations, all of the
longitudinal X-type connection properties apply with the exception of the branch plate length (see
Figure 6.2). As the value of is always less than or equal to unity, the branch plate length is set at 3b 1 for
all transverse X-type connection configurations.

Both longitudinal and transverse X-type parametric connection models were constructed using the
same techniques developed in Chapter 5 including general mesh layout, CHS, plate and weld material
properties, maximum equivalent strain value of ef = 0.20 and the use of a one-eighth model with three
symmetric boundary conditions. Similar to the validated FE models, the parametric connection models are
analysed by applying an incremental displacement to the branch plate end. The connection load was also
determined using the nodal response at the branch plate end. The CHS chord ends are free to translate and
rotate as required with no applied chord axial stress, unless otherwise stated (see Section 6.4). The load-dis-
placement curve was determined with the displacement defined as the change in distance between point A
in Figure 6.1 and a point at the crown of the CHS chord (point B in Figure 6.1). Other displacement and
stress information was also recorded from each connection analysis. As discussed in Section 6.3, the number

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 6: Finite Element Modelling with respect to Numerical Parametric Studies 96

N1

h1 Top t1
For 1.0, l1 = 3h1
For >1.0, l1 = 1.5h1 l1 w1 connection
1
B surface B
t0
d0 A
A

Bottom
l1 connection
surface
l0'/2 l0'/2
N1
l0
North

w0
West East
w0
South

Figure 6.1 General parametric longitudinal X-type connection configuration

N1
Top
connection t1 b1
surface
3b1
B 1 B
t0 w1

d0 A
A

Bottom
3b1 connection
w0 surface
l0'/2 l0'/2
N1
l0
North
1 w0
West East

w0
South

Figure 6.2 General parametric transverse X-type connection configuration


of through-thickness elements for CHS chord modelling was increased to four. In cases where the connec-
tion capacity was higher than the branch plate plastic capacity, the yield strength of the branch plate (and
the weld) was increased, to prevent branch plate failure and to force connection behaviour to govern.

6.2.2 X-type Skew Plate-to-CHS Parametric Connection Modelling

The construction and analysis of X-type skew parametric connections is almost identical to that of lon-
gitudinal and transverse X-type parametric connection models, except for a few important differences (see
Section 6.3). First, as there is only one plane of symmetry along the chord longitudinal axis 90 from either
connection surface, a half model must be used to model these connections. With the use of a half model,
the plate is unrestrained from out-of-plane buckling as was the case for the one-eighth X-type models. As
the skew parametric study models are analysed under branch plate tension load, plate buckling restraint is
ignored. Second, as the plate skew angle ( 1 ) increases, for connections where the branch plate width ( b p )
Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections
Chapter 6: Finite Element Modelling with respect to Numerical Parametric Studies 97

is equal to the chord diameter ( d 0 ), the fillet weld could protrude past the chord surface and therefore a
portion of the weld must be removed. In these cases, the fillet weld may be removed all together and
replaced with a full penetration groove weld. This, in effect, eliminates the added footprint and increased
perimeter provided by the weld.

N1

For p 1.0, l1 = 3bp Top


For p >1.0, l1 = 1.5bp
l1 connection
B 1 surface B
t0 w1

d0 A
A

Bottom
l1 connection
surface
l0'/2 l0'/2
N1
l0
North
w0
bp 1
West East
w0
tp
South

Figure 6.3 General parametric skew X-type connection configuration

6.2.3 T-type Branch and Through Plate-to-CHS Parametric Connection Modelling with
Compensating End Moment

Both longitudinal and transverse T-type connection FE models were constructed with constant branch
plate thickness ( t 1 ) of 19.01 mm and chord diameter ( d 0 ) of 219.1 mm. The chord length ( l 0 ) was defined
as the joint length plus an effective chord length ( l 0 ) of 10d 0 (see Section 6.4). The branch plate length
( l 1 ) was set at 3h 1 for 1.0 or 1.0 and 1.5h 1 for > 1.0 in an effort to develop a uniform stress
distribution between the joint and the branch plate end boundary condition, as shown in Figures 6.4 and
6.5. The welds ( w 0 and w 1 ) were sized to transfer all branch plate load to the CHS chord without failing.
A throat thickness of half the plate thickness or a leg length of 13.44 mm was used. All of these connection
properties remained constant, unless otherwise stated, and all other geometric properties shown in
Figures 6.4 and 6.5 are considered variables within the parametric studies.

The FE modelling techniques developed in Chapter 5 were used to construct both longitudinal and
transverse T-type parametric connection models. Like X-type parametric connection models the general
mesh layout, material properties and use of a one-quarter model were retained from T-type FE models of
experimental connections. The number of through-thickness elements for the CHS chord was increased to
four (see Section 6.3) and in cases where the connection capacity surpassed the branch plate capacity the
yield strength of the branch plate was increased. As with X-type parametric connection models the load-

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 6: Finite Element Modelling with respect to Numerical Parametric Studies 98

Symetric boundary provides N1


lateral restraint
h1 Top t1
For 1.0, l1 = 3h1
l1 w1 connection Rigid end
For >1.0, l1 = 1.5h1 1
B surface plate
B
t0
d0 A
A

l0'/2 l0'/2

l0
North

w0
West East
w0
South

Figure 6.4 General parametric longitudinal T-type connection configuration

Symetric boundary provides N1


lateral restraint
Connection t1 b1
surface w0
3b1 Rigid end plate
B 1 B
t0 w1

d0 A
A

l0'/2 l0'/2

l0
North
1 w0
West East

w0
South

Figure 6.5 General parametric transverse T-type connection configuration


displacement curve was determined with the displacement defined as the change in distance between point
A in Figure 6.4 and a point at the crown of the CHS chord (point B in Figure 6.4).

As mentioned previously, to take a conservative approach T-type connections were modelled in simple
three-point bending, or in the case of a one-quarter model, the chord end was supported by a roller at the
chord neutral axis and the symmetric boundary condition at the joint provides lateral restraint (see
Figure 6.6). Using this arrangement a high equilibrium-induced chord bending moment at the joint face
(or axial chord stress) is produced. To exclude the equilibrium-induced chord axial stress due to bending
moment at the joint face, counteracting in-plane bending moments ( M 0, END ), in the form of coupled tri-
angular stress blocks, are applied to rigid chord end plates (Figure 6.6) that were also utilized to prevent
CHS ovalization at the chord end. The end moments are designed to be proportional to the branch mem-
ber load according to Equation 6.1, so that the bending moments and chord normal stress at the joint face
are zero at all stages of loading.

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 6: Finite Element Modelling with respect to Numerical Parametric Studies 99

N1
Symetric boundary provides
lateral restraint

Rigid end
Joint face plate
M0,END M0,END

l0'/2 l0'/2

l0
0 0

+
M0,END = N1(l0'/4)

0 0
=

0 0

Figure 6.6 T-type loading to exclude chord axial stress at joint face

M 0, END = N 1 ( l 0 4 ) 6.1

As the chord normal stress has now been removed from the connection, the chord normal stress function
( Q f ) is now able to be applied to connection results and design recommendations produced by T-type par-
ametric studies (see Chapter 9).

There are, however, two significant issues associated with the application of an in-plane chord end
bending moment. First, because the applied end moment ( M 0, END ) is directly related to applied connec-
tion load ( N 1 ), connections that have high ultimate capacity due to geometric configuration (e.g. low 2
or a thick chord, with high values) produce end moments that may exceed the yield capacity of chord
elements at the rigid end plates. Producing the same result, the applied end moment is also a function of the
CHS chord effective length ( l 0 ), with longer connection lengths producing higher end moments that may
exceed the yield capacity of some chord elements than for shorter chord lengths. To prevent chord end fail-
ure prior to ultimate connection capacity, a band of elements or reinforcement band in the CHS chord
from the rigid end plate towards the connection centre was replaced with elements that had a higher yield
strength. The width of the band and the increase in yield strength were determined individually for each
connection, depending on predicted connection capacity and chord length. In some cases the increased
yield band was not needed due to low connection capacity or short chord length. It should be noted that
increasing element yield strength at the chord end will have an impact on the chord stiffness, whereby indi-
vidual elements enter their plastic region later than if reinforcement was not needed; however, the impact
of this solution is less than decreasing the chord length which limits chord ovalization and increases connec-
tion capacity.

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 6: Finite Element Modelling with respect to Numerical Parametric Studies 100

The second issue associated with the application of an in-plane chord end bending moment is FE
model analysis: load versus displacement control. As the applied end moment ( M 0, END ) is proportional to
branch plate load ( N 1 ), using a load-controlled analysis seems like the most appropriate option - the end
moment can be calculated directly from the applied branch plate load at each time step before the analysis is
run. This type of analysis, however, is very unstable and non-convergent for connections that exhibit large
deformations and displacements. For example, a branch plate-to-CHS connection under branch plate com-
pression load experiences snap through behaviour where the connection load drops as forces in the
deformed connection redistribute. If load-controlled analysis was used, the connection would undergo sig-
nificant deformation for a minute increase in load as this redistribution takes place, resulting in a non-con-
vergent model.

To allow each analysis to run effectively, displacement-controlled analysis must be used. By applying
incremental displacement to the branch plate end, the model remains stable through analysis. This tech-
nique, however, makes the calculation of the applied end moment difficult. By using displacement-control-
led analysis, the connection capacity or branch plate load for a given applied displacement is not known at
the start of each time step, but is instead a result of each time step analysis. As the branch plate load is
unknown, the end moment required to be applied at the start of each time step is also unknown. Therefore,
a method of predicting the connection capacity based on any applied displacement and, thus, the applied
end moment based on the connection load-deformation curve, must be implemented for any given time
step. To accomplish this, a Taylor series (Equation 6.2) in combination with an end-of-time-step correction
was implemented.

f ( a ) f ( a ) 2
f ( x ) = f ( a ) + ----------- ( x a ) + ------------ ( x a ) + 6.2
1! 2!

First, two very small displacements ( 1 and 2 ) were applied to the branch plate, without end moment
application. This generated connection deformations ( 1 and 2 ) and capacities ( P 1 and P 2 ) at the end of
the first and second time steps. Using this information to calculate the curve slope and change in slope, as
well as the initial deformation and capacity ( 0 and P 0 ), a Taylor series can be adapted to predict the con-
nection capacity ( P 3 ) at a connection deformation of 3 (Equation 6.3):

( P2 P1 ) ( P1 P0 )
--------------------- ---------------------
( P2 P1 ) ( 2 1 ) ( 1 0 ) 2
P 3 = P 2 + --------------------- ( 3 2 ) + -------------------------------------------------
- ( 3 2 ) 6.3
( 2 1 ) 2 ( 2 0 )

The predicted connection capacity at the end of time step three is then used to calculate the applied end
moment at the beginning of time step three, based on connection deformation ( 3 ).

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 6: Finite Element Modelling with respect to Numerical Parametric Studies 101

The connection deformation ( 3 ) at the start of time step three is, however, also unknown as the value
is a product of the step three model analysis. Therefore, the incremental deformation from the previous
time step ( 2 1 ) is used to replace the incremental deformation for step three ( 3 2 ). As the applied
branch plate displacement does not change dramatically, the incremental deformation of any time step
should also be similar to the previous time step. If the applied branch plate displacement for step three ( 3 )
is the same as the connection deformation ( 3 ), then the predicted load will be almost identical to the
actual connection capacity (given that a small increment is used). As this is not the case, the values of pre-
dicted and actual connection capacity at the end of step three are close, meaning that the predicted and
required applied end moments are also close, but differ by a specific amount. Before the next time step a
correction, based on the end moment applied before time step three and the required end moment to
counteract the connection load at the end of time step three, is calculated and applied to the chord ends. In
this way, before the next branch plate displacement is applied ( 4 ), any chord stress due to bending
moment at the joint face is eliminated. The analysis process carries on in this manner, utilizing previous
time step analysis to predict the connection capacity in the next time step, and then applying a correction
for any discrepancy in load.

The slope of the connection load-deformation curve also plays a role in limiting the incremental branch
plate displacement, reducing the error between predicted and actual connection capacities. For flexible
connections, a small displacement increment will have little effect on the connection load ensuring that the
predicted and actual connection capacities are very close. The same incremental displacement, however, for
a stiff connection will have a significant impact on the connection load, increasing the error between pre-
dicted and actual connection capacities. By using the slope of the connection load-deformation curve, the
applied branch plate displacement can be changed for every time step to reflect the connection stiffness and
reduce the error in capacity prediction. For a connection with high initial stiffness, a very small incremental
displacement would be calculated and used. As the connection becomes more ductile and flexible, the
incremental displacement would increase given that the change in load between time steps will be smaller
and less prone to capacity predication error.

6.3 Effect of the Number of Through-Thickness Chord Elements on the


Behaviour of X-type Plate-to-CHS Connections

6.3.1 Introduction and Research Program

The experimental connection tests were designed with thin chord walls to be flexible and exhibit large
deformations. The FE models that most closely matched the experimental connections were constructed
with three 8-node brick elements over the CHS chord thickness. As the CHS chord was relatively thin
( t 0 = 4.78 or 2 = 45.84 ) the through-thickness chord elements were small and uniform; however, it

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 6: Finite Element Modelling with respect to Numerical Parametric Studies 102

was not clear how three elements over the chord thickness would behave for thicker chord walls. To deter-
mine the effect of the number of through-thickness chord elements on the behaviour of X-type plate-to-
CHS connections, models with a wide range of chord wall thickness were compared, varying the number
of elements over the chord thickness.

The study on the effect of the number of through-thickness chord elements on the behaviour of X-
type plate-to-CHS connections consisted of six geometric configurations analysed for both branch plate
tension and compression. Four values of 2 (13.80, 19.74, 34.50 & 45.84) and two values of (1.0 and
4.0) were used to evaluate the full range of chord thickness for connections with large plate widths and are
tabulated in Table 6.1. Each geometric configuration was modelled with three, four and six elements over
the chord thickness. All connections were constructed based on the geometry given in Figure 6.7 and ana-
lysed with an effective chord length ( l 0 ) of 10d 0 , or effective chord length parameters ( = 2l 0 d 0 ) of
20. A constant plate thickness ( t 1 ) of 19.01 mm and chord diameter ( d 0 ) of 219.1 mm were used for all
numerical models. The numerical analysis was carried out using the modelling techniques described in
Section 6.2 for the parametric study of X-type branch plate connections using free end conditions.

N1
Table 6.1 Geometric
h1 Top t1
For 1.0, l1 = 3h1 parameters for X-
For >1.0, l1 = 1.5h1 l1 w1 connection
1 type element study
B surface B
t0
d0 A t0
A 2
(mm) 1.0 4.0
Bottom
l1 connection 15.88 13.80 X1 X2
surface
l0'/2 l0'/2 11.10 19.74 X3 X4
N1
l0 6.35 34.50 - X5
North
4.78 45.84 - X6
w0
West East
w0
South

Figure 6.7 Connection geometric properties for X-type finite


element models

6.3.2 Results and Observations

For each longitudinal X-type connection, the load-displacement curve was determined with the dis-
placement defined as the change in distance between point A in Figure 6.7 and a point at the crown of the
CHS chord (point B in Figure 6.7). From the load-deformation response the connection ultimate load
( N 1, u ) was determined as the minimum of three defining limit states: (i) the load at a deformation of
3% d 0 , N 1, 3% , if this deformation preceded the deformation at N 1, max , (ii) the maximum connection load,
N 1, max (either a local maximum prior to CHS shell snap through for connections tested in compression,

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 6: Finite Element Modelling with respect to Numerical Parametric Studies 103

N 1, lm , or the global maximum load, N 1, gm , as a result of punching shear failure or combined punching
shear and tear out failure) and (iii) branch plate yielding, N 1, pl . In all cases, the load at a deformation of
3% d 0 governed for both tension and compression branch plate loads.

Figure 6.8 clearly indicates that with an increased number of elements over the CHS chord thickness
the variation in normalized connection capacity decreases, such that connection capacity varies little
between connections with four and six through-thickness elements. A noticeable decrease in connection
capacity is observed if three elements are used over the CHS chord thickness, especially as 1 increases. It is
possible that three elements over the CHS chord thickness may not always fully capture connection defor-
mation and ovalization. Given that more through-thickness elements increases the computational time for
each model, using four elements over the CHS chord thickness is the more economical and produces simi-
lar results when compared to using six through-thickness elements.

25
Tension

2 = 13.8
Normalised branch load, N1,u/fy0t02

20 = 4.0 Compression 2 = 34.5


2 = 45.8
2 = 13.8 2 = 19.7
N1
15 2 = 34.5 2 = 13.8
2 = 45.8

Tension
10 = 1.0
Compression
2 = 19.7 N1
2 = 13.8

0
2 3 4 5 6 7
No. of element over CHS thickness

Figure 6.8 Effect of the number of through-thickness chord elements, for longitudinal X-type
connections

6.4 Chord Length and Boundary Condition Effect on the Behaviour of Plate-to-
CHS Connections

6.4.1 Introduction

Connection behaviour determined through experimental and numerical research is often based on a
series of isolated tests with distinct boundary conditions. Though typical boundary conditions of connec-
tions integrated into a structural system are often simulated in research, the distribution of forces and behav-
iour of an integrated structural connection may differ from that of an isolated test connection due to
variation in boundary conditions. As current HSS connection design equations are predominantly devel-
oped from isolated laboratory test results, there is the need to determine what influence both boundary

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 6: Finite Element Modelling with respect to Numerical Parametric Studies 104

conditions and chord length have on connection behaviour. Various numerical studies have been carried
out to determine the effects of both boundary conditions and chord length on K-, T- and X-type HSS-to-
HSS connection behaviour.

Connelly and Zettlemoyer (1989) conducted a numerical investigation into the effects of boundary
conditions on the behaviour of uniplanar CHS-to-CHS K-connections by comparing the numerical analy-
sis results from both isolated and frame-integrated connections. The study concluded that the capacity of
isolated and frame-mounted connections differed between 11% and 26% indicating that the boundary con-
ditions have a significant effect. Subsequent research (e.g. Bolt et al., 1992; Choo et al., 2006; Lee and
Wilmshurst, 1995) suggests that the influence of boundary conditions and chord length on K-type connec-
tion behaviour can be considerable, but varies depending on connection geometric parameters (brace-to-
chord diameter ratio, ; chord radius-to-thickness ratio, ).

Research on the effect of chord length on the behaviour of X-type CHS-to-CHS connections was
completed by van der Vegte (1995) and subsequently expanded for both X- and T-type CHS-to-CHS by
van der Vegte and Makino (2006, 2007), which included investigation into the effect of boundary condi-
tions. The initial numerical investigation (van der Vegte, 1995) examined the influence of chord length on
the behaviour of X-type CHS-to-CHS connections under branch member axial load for 16 geometric
configurations. The brace-to-chord diameter ratio, , was varied from 0.25 to 1.00 and the chord length
parameter, ( = 2l 0 d 0 ), was varied from 3 to 18 with a constant chord diameter-to-thickness ratio, 2 ,
of 25.4 ( d 0 = 406.4 mm and t 0 = 16.0 mm ). The study concluded that for values above 11.5, for one
2 value of 25.4, the increase in ultimate load was small, thus eliminating chord length effects. An exten-
sion of this study was conducted by van der Vegte and Makino (2007) using 16 geometric configurations
( 2 values of 25.4, 36.9, 50.8 and 63.5; values of 0.25, 0.48, 0.73 and 0.98) analysed for five values of :
12, 16, 20, 24 and 28. To include the effects of boundary conditions, each of the configurations was ana-
lysed with either a free or rigid end restraint condition. The numerical investigation concluded that for all
geometric configurations the chord length had little or no effect on the connection strength for values
equal to or greater than 20 ( l 0 10d 0 ). The study also concluded that for connections with high 2 values
the difference in boundary conditions had the most impact; as much as a 20% increase in strength for rigid
chord ends and a 10.5% decrease in strength for free chord ends, between connections with = 20 and
= 12 respectively.

A similar investigation by van der Vegte and Makino (2006) examined the influence of chord length on
the behaviour of T-type CHS-to-CHS connections under branch axial load for four geometric configura-
tions ( 2 values of 25.4, 36.9, 50.8 and 63.5; value of 0.73) analysed for five values of : 12, 16, 20, 24
and 28. Each connection was simply supported with rigid beam elements at chord ends and compensating
in-plane end moments to exclude the effect of equilibrium-induced in-plane bending moments at the
joints (similar to the method used in Section 6.2). Similar to the X-type CHS-to-CHS study, the numerical

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 6: Finite Element Modelling with respect to Numerical Parametric Studies 105

investigation concluded that the chord length had little or no effect on the connection strength for values
equal to or greater than 20 and that the chord length had more impact on connection with high 2 values.

In an effort to eliminate chord length and boundary condition effects for the numerical parametric
analysis of X- and T- type plate-to-CHS connections, the recommendation of using a chord length of at
least 10d 0 by van der Vegte and Makino (2006, 2007) was considered. To confirm if this recommendation
was applicable to plate-to-CHS connections, similar studies to determine the effect of chord length and
boundary conditions on the behaviour of transverse X-type plate-to-CHS connections loaded in tension
and transverse T-type plate-to-CHS connections loaded in compression were conducted and are described
in the following sections.

6.4.2 Research Program and Connection Modelling

The study on the effect of chord length and boundary conditions for X-type transverse branch plate-
to-CHS connection consisted of nine geometric configurations analysed at six different chord lengths for
both fixed and free chord end boundary conditions. Three values of 2 (19.74, 34.50 & 45.84) and
(0.20, 0.60 and 1.00) were used to cover a wide range of connection configurations and are tabulated in
Table 6.2. All connections were constructed based on the geometry given in Figure 6.9 and analysed for six
effective chord lengths ( l 0 ) of 2d 0 , 4d 0 , 6d 0 , 8d 0 , 10d 0 and 12d 0 , or effective chord length parameters
( = 2l 0 d 0 ) of 4, 8, 12, 16, 20 and 24. A constant plate thickness ( t 1 ) of 19.01 mm and chord diameter
( d 0 ) of 219.1 mm were used for all numerical models. The numerical analysis was carried out using the
modelling techniques described in Section 6.2 for the parametric study of X-type branch plate connections
with the expectation that both free- and fixed-end conditions were used, where the chord end nodes were
left unrestrained or restrained in all three translational degrees of freedom eliminating both translation and
rotation of the chord ends without the use of chord end plates. All connections were tested under branch
plate axial tension load.

A similar study for T-type transverse branch plate-to-CHS connections also consisted of nine geometric
configurations analysed at four different chord lengths (three for thicker CHS chords). Rigid end plates
were applied to the chord ends to restrain all chord ovalization. The chord end plate was allowed to rotate
around the cross-section neutral axis and was free to translate along the longitudinal axis of the chord.
Three values of 2 (19.74, 27.56 & 45.84) and (0.20, 0.60 and 0.80) were used to cover a wide range of
connection configurations and are tabulated in Table 6.3. All connections were constructed based on the
geometry given in Figure 6.10 and analysed for four effective chord lengths ( l 0 ) of 2d 0 , 4d 0 , 6d 0 and
8d 0 , or effective chord length parameter ( = 2l 0 d 0 ) of 4, 8, 12 and 16. Configurations with 2 of
19.74 and 27.56 were not analysed for effective chord length parameter of 16 due to non-convergent con-
nection models. Additionally, the ideal effective chord length of at least 10d 0 that would follow the recom-
mendations of van der Vegte and Makino (2006) was not reached due to non-convergent model analysis. As

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 6: Finite Element Modelling with respect to Numerical Parametric Studies 106

N1
Top
connection t1 b1
surface
3b1
B 1 B
t0 w1
Table 6.2 Geometric parameters
d0 A for X-type boundary
A
condition study
Bottom
3b1 connection t0
w0 surface 2
l0'/2 l0'/2 (mm) 0.20 0.60 1.00
N1
l0 11.10 19.74 X1 X2 X3
North
1 w0 7.95 34.50 X4 X5 X6
West East 4.78 45.84 X7 X8 X9
w0
South

Figure 6.9 Connection geometric properties for transverse X-


type branch plate finite element models

Symetric boundary provides N1


lateral restraint
Connection t1 b1
surface w0
3b1 Rigid end plate
B 1 B Table 6.3 Geometric parameters
t0 w1
for T-type boundary
d0 A
A condition study

l0'/2 l0'/2
t0
2
(mm) 0.20 0.60 0.80
l0
North
11.10 19.74 T1 T2 T3
1 w0 7.95 27.56 T4 T5 T6
West East
4.78 45.84 T7 T8 T9
w0
South

Figure 6.10 Connection geometric properties for transverse T-


type branch plate finite element models
with the X-type study, a constant plate thickness ( t 1 ) of 19.01 mm and chord diameter ( d 0 ) of 219.1 mm
were used for all numerical FE models. Modelling techniques described in Section 6.2 for the parametric
study of T-type branch plate connections, including compensating applied end moments, were used. All
connections were tested under branch plate axial compression load.

6.4.3 Results and Observations

For each X-type connection under branch plate axial tension load, the load-displacement curve was
determined with the displacement defined as the change in distance between point A in Figure 6.9 and a
point at the crown of the CHS chord (point B in Figure 6.9). From these curves the connection ultimate
capacity ( N 1, u ) was determined as the minimum of three defining limit states: (i) the load at a deformation

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 6: Finite Element Modelling with respect to Numerical Parametric Studies 107

of 3% d 0 , N 1, 3% , if this deformation preceded the deformation at N 1, max , (ii) the maximum connection
load, N 1, max (either a local maximum prior to CHS shell snap through for connections tested in com-
pression, N 1, lm , or the global maximum load, N 1, gm , in most cases as a result of punching shear failure)
and (iii) branch plate yielding, N 1, pl . In all cases, the load at a deformation of 3% d 0 governed.
Figures 6.11(a), (b) and (c) compare effective chord length parameter ( ) with non-dimensionalized ulti-
2
mate load ( N 1, u f y0 t 0 ) for varying and 2 values. In each figure, open symbols indicate analysis com-
pleted with free or unrestrained chord ends and filled symbols indicate analysis completed with fixed chord
ends.

(a) Chord length effect for 2 = 19.74 (b) Chord length effect for 2 = 34.50
100 100
Normalised branch tension load, N1,u/fy0t02

Normalised branch tension load, N1,u/fy0t02


80 80

60 60
= 1.0

40 40

= 1.0
20 20 = 0.6
= 0.6
= 0.2 = 0.2

0 0
0 4 8 12 16 20 24 28 0 4 8 12 16 20 24 28
Effective chord length parameter, ' = 2l0'/d0 Effective chord length parameter, ' = 2l0'/d0

(c) Chord length effect for 2 = 45.84


100
Normalised branch tension load, N1,u/fy0t02

Filled symbol: fixed end condition


80
N1 = 1.0
= 1.0 = 0.6
= 0.2
Open symbol: free end condition
60

40
N1

= 0.6
20
= 0.2

0
0 4 8 12 16 20 24 28
Effective chord length parameter, ' = 2l0'/d0

Figure 6.11 Effect of chord length for transverse X-type plate-to-CHS connections loaded in tension

Figures 6.11(a), (b) and (c) show that the length has little or no effect on the ultimate connection
strength for values equal to or greater than 20 for all geometric configurations, as the two extreme
boundary conditions produce similar or identical values of ultimate connection capacity. The ultimate con-
nection strength is therefore independent of chord end boundary conditions for these values as suffi-

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 6: Finite Element Modelling with respect to Numerical Parametric Studies 108

cient chord length has been provided to eliminate end effects. This result corresponds well with the
research conducted by van der Vegte and Makino (2007) on CHS-to-CHS connections. For connections
with values less than 20, the effect of both chord end boundary condition and chord length directly
depend on 2 and values.

For the three values of 2 evaluated in this study, Figures 6.11(a), (b) and (c) clearly show that with
increasing 2 value (or decreasing CHS wall thickness, t 0 ), for any one value of , the influence of both
chord length and boundary conditions become more significant. For a 2 value of 19.7 (Figure 6.11(a)) the
difference in ultimate strength between both chord end conditions is insignificant for all lengths examined
due to thick chord walls which provide stiffness to limit the effect of chord ovalization at the connection
centre. However, for a 2 value of 45.8 (Figure 6.11(c)) the difference between fixed and free end condi-
tion ultimate strengths is considerably different for short chord lengths due to thin chord walls that ovalize
and deform considerably, allowing more chord length to participate in connection behaviour. For
2 = 45.8 and = 0.60 , very short lengths of 2d 0 were investigated to compare with experimental test
results, which closely match this geometry and length ( range from 3.95 to 4.75, or 1.98d 0 to 2.38d 0 in
experiments). The numerical analysis shows that for the experimental tests the semi-rigid boundary condi-
tions likely increased the ultimate connection capacity observed by a considerable margin.

For each T-type connection under branch plate axial compression load, the load-displacement curve
was determined with the displacement defined as the change in distance between point A in Figure 6.10
and a point at the crown of the CHS chord (point B in Figure 6.10). From these curves the connection
ultimate capacity ( N 1, u ) was determined as the minimum of three defining limit states: (i) the load at a
deformation of 3% d 0 , N 1, 3% , if this deformation preceded the deformation at N 1, max , (ii) the maximum
connection load, N 1, max (either a local maximum prior to CHS shell snap through for connections
tested in compression, N 1, lm , or the global maximum load, N 1, gm , in most cases as a result of punching
shear failure) and (iii) branch plate yielding, N 1, pl . In most cases, the load at a deformation of 3% d 0 gov-
erned. However, for connections with = 4 and 2 of 27.6 and 45.8; connections with = 8 ,
2 = 27.6 and = 0.2 ; and connections with 2 = 45.8 and = 0.2 , the connection ultimate capac-
ity is governed by a local maximum prior to a displacement of 3% d 0 that is associated with connection
snap through. Figures 6.12(a), (b) and (c) compare effective chord length parameter ( ) with non-
2
dimensionalized ultimate load ( N 1, u f y0 t 0 ) for varying and 2 values. All connections have rigid plates
attached to the chord ends, which are free to rotate and translate around a pin at chord axis mid-height.

As with the X-type connection study, Figures 6.12(a), (b) and (c) show that with increasing 2 value
for any one value of the influence of chord length become more significant. Again, there is limited
increase in ultimate strength between short ( = 4 ) and long ( = 12 ) chords for connections with
thick chord walls ( 2 = 19.7 ) which provide stiffness and limit chord ovalization (Figure 6.12(a)). Con-

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 6: Finite Element Modelling with respect to Numerical Parametric Studies 109

(a) Chord length effect for 2 = 19.74 (b) Chord length effect for 2 = 27.56
-50 -50

Normalised branch compression load, N1,u/fy0t02

Normalised branch compression load, N1,u/fy0t02


-40 -40

-30 Filled symbol: rigid end plate at roller end -30

= 0.8

-20 = 0.8 -20


= 0.6
= 0.6

-10 = 0.2 -10 = 0.2

0 0
0 4 8 12 16 20 0 4 8 12 16 20
Effective chord length parameter, ' = 2l0'/d0 Effective chord length parameter, ' = 2l0'/d0

(c) Chord length effect for 2 = 45.84


-50
Normalised branch compression load, N1,u/fy0t02

-40

= 0.8
= 0.8
-30 = 0.6
= 0.2

= 0.6
-20
N1

-10 = 0.2

0
0 4 8 12 16 20
Effective chord length parameter, ' = 2l0'/d0

Figure 6.12 Effect of chord length for transverse T-type plate-to-CHS connections loaded in
compression
nections with thin chord walls ( 2 = 45.8 ) provide less restraint against ovalization resulting in a greater
increase in connection capacity for short chords ( = 4 ) over long chords ( = 16 ).

Figures 6.12(a) and (b) show that the chord length has little effect on the ultimate connection capacity
for = 12 and 2 = 19.7 or 27.6, as the normalized connection capacity becomes relatively constant.
Similarly, Figure 6.12(c) show that the chord length has little impact on connection capacity connections
with thin chords ( 2 = 45.8 ) at = 16 . If this study was expanded to include even longer chord
lengths, providing that the analysis of these connections produced convergent solutions, the results would
very likely correspond well with the research on CHS-to-CHS connections conducted by van der Vegte
and Makino (2006).

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 6: Finite Element Modelling with respect to Numerical Parametric Studies 110

6.4.4 Chord Length Study Conclusions

108 transverse X-type plate-to-CHS connections with from 0.20 to 1.0, 2 from 19.7 to 45.8 and
from 4 to 24, for fixed and free chord end boundary conditions, along with 30 transverse T-type plate-
to-CHS connections with from 0.20 to 1.0, 2 from 19.7 to 45.8 and from 4 to 16, with rigid end
plates (free to rotate), were numerically analysed to determine each geometric parameter's effect on
connection ultimate strength. Based on the FE study, the following conclusions can be made:
(i) To exclude the effects of chord end boundary conditions and chord length for transverse X-type
plate-to-CHS connections, an effective chord length of at least 10d 0 should be used in further
numerical studies on plate-to-CHS connections, which follows the recommendations given by
van der Vegte and Makino (2007) for CHS-to-CHS connections. For thick walled chord
members ( 2 20 ) the chord length could be reduced to 6d 0 , while still excluding the effects of
chord end boundary conditions and chord length.
(ii) For T-type plate-to-CHS connections with rigid end plates, an effective chord length of 6d 0 is
reasonable for connections with 2 28 , and an effective chord length of 8d 0 for connections
with 28 < 2 46 . An effective chord length recommendation of 10d 0 , which would follow the
recommendations of van der Vegte and Makino (2006) for CHS-to-CHS connections, was not
substantiated due to non-convergent models.
(iii) The development of general plate-to-CHS connection design procedures, based on FE modelling
in accordance with the recommendations in (i) and (ii) above (i.e. whereby the influence of the
chord length and chord end restraint is removed) will be a conservative approach for all plate-to-
CHS connections in subsequent chapters. In the event of short CHS chord length situations
occurring in practice, such design rules - developed for long CHS chord lengths - will be a lower
bound solution.

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type
Branch Plate Connections

7.1 Introduction

From the experimental program (Chapter 3), limited testing indicated that current CIDECT design
recommendations (Wardenier et al., 2008a - see Table 2.1) appear to be conservative indicating that with
increased experimental tests or numerical finite element analysis, more efficient modified design recom-
mendations can be produced. To fully capture connection behaviour, all connection properties, including
those not currently present in design guidelines, will be examined. In addition, there is a substantial increase
in connection capacity when T-type plate-to-CHS connections are loaded in branch plate tension com-
pared to connections with identical geometry loaded in branch plate compression. For connections that are
only subject to branch plate tension, the extra capacity is not being utilized as the current design recom-
mendations are based on connection compression capacity only. As only branch tension load was applied to
the X-type connections tested in the experimental program, connections with applied tension and com-
pression branch plate loading must be analysed to determine the impact of loading sense on connection
capacity.

A numerical parametric study has been carried out for X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections to
examine the influence of connection width ratio ( ), ratio of branch member depth-to-chord diameter
( ), chord radius-to-thickness ratio ( ), plate skew angle ( - longitudinal or transverse) and branch plate
loading sense (tension or compression). A series of 278 X-type connection configurations was analysed
with nominal values from 0.2 to 1.0, nominal values from 0.2 to 4.0 and 2 values from 13.80 to
45.84. Based on the numerical finite element (FE) analysis, nonlinear regression analysis was performed to
develop design recommendations. The study results were compared to current CIDECT design guidelines
(Wardenier et al., 2008a) and IIW design rules (IIW, 2009), as well as an international plate-to-CHS data-
base with experimental and numerical data from as early as 1960 (Ariyoshi et al., 1998; Makino et al., 1998)
and numerical analysis by de Winkel (1998). Proposed design recommendations were statistically analysed
with respect to all existing connection data to determine each equations suitability. This study is presented
in the following sections with detailed numerical FE analysis results, including load-deformation curves,
given in Appendix D.

111
Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type Branch Plate Connections 112

7.2 Research Program and Connection Modelling

A parametric numerical finite element research study was developed to examine the influence of cur-
rent design parameters on the behaviour of X-type plate-to-CHS connections. A total of 278 connections
was modelled varying values of from 0.2 to 1.0, from 0.2 to 4.0 and 2 from 13.80 to 45.84, subject
to both tension and compression branch plate loading. Of these, 224 connections (see Tables 7.1 and 7.2)
were modelled with fillet welds with the remaining 54 connections having branch plates connected directly
to the CHS surface, similar to a full penetration groove weld. The connections without fillet welds were
either used as a part of other studies where fillet welds were prohibitive or as an alternative method of
increasing branch plate capacity (by increasing plate thickness, t 1 , rather than the plate yield strength, f y1 ).
These connections overlap the general connection geometry of connections with fillet welds and are
described in more detail in Appendix D.

Table 7.1 Geometric parameters investigated for longitudinal X-type connections and connection
ID numbers

t0 Nominal depth ratio, = h 1 d 0


2
(mm) 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 4.0
15.88 13.80 1 2 3 4 5 41 42 43 44 45
12.70 17.25 6 7 8 9 10 46 47 48 49 50
11.10 19.74 11 12 13 14 15 51 52 53 54 55
9.53 23.00 16 17 18 19 20 56 57 58 59 60
7.95 27.56 21 22 23 24 25 61 62 63 64 65
6.35 34.50 26 27 28 29 30 66 67 68 69 70
4.78 45.84 31 32 33 34 35 71 72 73 74 75

Table 7.2 Geometric parameters investigated for transverse X-


type connections and connection ID numbers

t0 Nominal width ratio, = b 1 d 0


2
(mm) 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 0.9 1.0
15.88 13.80 1 2 3 4 41 5
12.70 17.25 6 7 8 9 42 10
11.10 19.74 11 12 13 14 43 15
9.53 23.00 16 17 18 19 44 20
7.95 27.56 21 22 23 24 45 25
6.35 34.50 26 27 28 29 46 30
4.78 45.84 31 32 33 34 47 35

For connections with fillet welds, when the effect of the weld size on connection behaviour is incorpo-
rated, both and are converted to effective values ( and ). The values of used in this study are
0.32, 0.53, 0.72, 0.92, 1.12, 1.62, 2.12, 2.62, 3.12 and 4.12. The values of used are 0.32, 0.51, 0.69,

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type Branch Plate Connections 113

0.87, 0.95 and 1.00. It should be noted that the horizontal leg of the weld size changes with the changing
curvature of the CHS circumference, affecting the value, but with little effect on weld or connection
capacity. A constant plate thickness ( t 1 ) of 19.01 mm and chord diameter ( d 0 ) of 219.1 mm were used for
all numerical models with fillet welds and these were constructed based on the geometry given in
Figures 7.1 and 7.2. In cases where the branch plate was considered critical, the yield strength of the plate
( f y1 ) was increased to provide substantial resistance so that connection behaviour would govern. The
numerical analysis was carried out using the same general characteristics and methods as described in
Chapter 6 and all connections were tested using displacement-controlled loading.

N1

h1 Top t1
For 1.0, l1 = 3h1
For >1.0, l1 = 1.5h1 l1 w1 connection
1
B surface B
t0
d0 A
A

Bottom
l1 connection
surface
l0'/2 l0'/2
N1
l0
North

w0
West East
w0
South

Figure 7.1 Parametric longitudinal X-type connection configuration

N1
Top
connection t1 b1
surface
3b1
B 1 B
t0 w1

d0 A
A

Bottom
3b1 connection
w0 surface
l0'/2 l0'/2
N1
l0
North
1 w0
West East

w0
South

Figure 7.2 Parametric transverse X-type connection configuration

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type Branch Plate Connections 114

7.3 Parametric Study Results and Comparison with International Database

7.3.1 Transverse X-type Branch Plate Connections

The load-deformation curve for each transverse X-type plate-to-CHS connection was determined
with the connection deformation defined as the change in distance between point A in Figure 7.2 and a
point at the crown of the CHS chord (point B in Figure 7.2). From these curves the connection ultimate
capacity ( N 1, u ) was determined as the minimum of three defining limit states: (i) the load at a deformation
of 3% d 0 , N 1, 3% , if this deformation preceded the deformation at N 1, max , (ii) the maximum connection
load, N 1, max (either a local maximum prior to CHS shell snap through for connections tested in com-
pression, N 1, lm , or the global maximum load, N 1, gm , in most cases as a result of punching shear failure)
and (iii) branch plate yielding, N 1, pl . For all numerical models the load at a deformation of 3% d 0 governed
the connection capacity given that connections which initially exhibited branch plate yielding had
increased branch plate and weld material capacities or increased branch plate thickness.

For typical transverse X-type plate-to-CHS connections tested in compression with 1 0.9 , at a con-
nection deformation of 3% d 0 , there is a stress concentration at the plate edges and some CHS ovalization
(see Figure 7.3(a)). The deformation limit is later followed by the first killed element (fracture strain of
ef = 0.20 ), which represents the initiation of a crack, in the area of high stress concentration as shown in
Figure 7.3(b) and then punching shear failure of the CHS chord around the weld perimeter (not shown).
Similar observations can be made for transverse X-type plate-to-CHS connections tested in tension with
1 0.9 , where high stress concentration around the weld edges (see Figure 7.4(a)) and CHS ovalization
occurs, followed by killed elements at the weld edges (see Figure 7.4(b)) suggesting punching shear failure.
For this connection type tested in tension, there is a significant amount of plastification around the CHS
circumference at the joint close to the global maximum load, which was also prevalent in the experimental
X-type connection (see Chapter 3).

As the full circumference of the CHS is restrained for connections with 1 = 1.0 and the branch
plate interacts with the chord wall at the extents of the connection surface, a deformation limit being
reached before CHS fracture seems unreasonable. For all transverse connections with 1 = 1.0 tested in
compression the use of a maximum equivalent strain or fracture strain results in connection fracture soon
after the 3% d 0 deformation limit is reached at the joint. As the two plates of the X-type connection are not
physically connected, and are themselves deformable, the connections have enough ductility to reach the
3% d 0 deformation limit before fracture, as shown in Figures 7.5(a) and 7.6(a). The fracture location indi-
cated by the FE analysis is also at the location between the two branch plates where the majority of the
deformation takes place; for compression a high stress concentration at the mid-height line of the CHS
forms a kink and subsequent fracture of the CHS and for tension, large deformations and plastification
between the top and bottom weld at CHS mid-height result in cracking (represented by killed elements at

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type Branch Plate Connections 115

(a) 3%d0 limit state, N1,3% (b) At first killed element

Overall connection behaviour (node von Mises stress) Overall connection behaviour (node von Mises stress)

Local connection behaviour (element von Mises stress) Local connection behaviour (element von Mises stress)

Figure 7.3 Typical stress and deformation profile for transverse X-type plate-to-CHS connection tested
in compression with plate width ratio of 0.6

(a) 3%d0 limit state, N1,3% (b) At first killed element

Overall connection behaviour (node von Mises stress) Overall connection behaviour (node von Mises stress)

Local connection behaviour (element von Mises stress) Local connection behaviour (element von Mises stress)

Figure 7.4 Typical stress and deformation profile for transverse X-type plate-to-CHS connection tested
in tension with plate width ratio of 0.6

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type Branch Plate Connections 116

(a) 3%d0 limit state, N1,3% (b) Global maximum, N1,gm

Overall connection behaviour (node von Mises stress) Overall connection behaviour (node von Mises stress)

Local connection behaviour (element von Mises stress) Local connection behaviour (element von Mises stress)

Figure 7.5 Typical stress and deformation profile for transverse X-type plate-to-CHS connection tested
in compression with plate width ratio of 1.0

(a) 3%d0 limit state, N1,3% (b) At first killed element

Overall connection behaviour (node von Mises stress) Overall connection behaviour (node von Mises stress)

Local connection behaviour (element von Mises stress) Local connection behaviour (element von Mises stress)

Figure 7.6 Typical stress and deformation profile for transverse X-type plate-to-CHS connection tested
in tension with plate width ratio of 1.0

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type Branch Plate Connections 117

this point). In general, FE analysis has shown that X-type connections in compression experience cracking
and fracture in the CHS chord at the branch plate edge furthest from the joint centre line; this is the same
crack and fracture location as experienced by experimental T-type connections (see Chapter 3). It is also
important to point out that the maximum equivalent strain used to initiate the element death feature was
determined using connections with effective width ratios ( 1 ) of less than one and may not be fully trans-
ferable to connections with high 1 values.

2
Figures 7.7 and 7.8 show the normalized ultimate load ( N 1, u ( f y0 t 0 ) ) as a function of for all 2
values for branch plate compression and tension loading, respectively, for transverse X-type connections.
The numerical results are compared to the current CIDECT chord plastification function (Wardenier et al.,
2008a), Q u , calculated using effective geometric properties.

40
Normalised branch compression load, N1,u/(fy0t02)

2 = 13.80 2 = 17.25
35 2 = 19.74 2 = 23.00
2 = 27.56 2 = 34.50
30 2 = 45.84 N1
Compression (with fillet weld)

25

20
CIDECT (2008)
(1 + ') 0.15
15 Qu = 2.2
(1 - 0.7') N1
10
2 = 10
2 = 40
5
Compression (without fillet weld - tp = 40 mm)
0
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
Effective width ratio, '

Figure 7.7 Parametric FE results for transverse X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in
compression

80
2 = 13.80 2 = 17.25
Normalised branch tension load, N1,u/(fy0t02)

70 2 = 19.74 2 = 23.00
2 = 27.56 2 = 34.50
60 2 = 45.84 Tension (with fillet weld) N1

50

40 Tension (without fillet weld - variable tp)

30 CIDECT (2008)
(1 + ') 0.15 N1
Qu = 2.2
20 (1 - 0.7')

10
2 = 40 2 = 10
0
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
Effective width ratio, '

Figure 7.8 Parametric FE results for transverse X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in
tension

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type Branch Plate Connections 118

An international database was compiled by Ariyoshi et al. (1998) and Makino et al. (1998) which
included, for this connection geometry, experimental data from Washio et al. (1970), Makino (1984) and
finite element data from Kamba (1997), as well as finite element work by de Winkel (1998). With the
exception of de Winkel (1998), not all geometric or material property information was included within the
compiled database and therefore connection behaviour is not reproducible by either experimental test or
FE modelling. Most of the results, however, did include load-deformation curves, which were re-analysed
using the same criteria for parametric study analysis discussed previously. All of the connections within the
international database, for this connection geometry, were governed by the load at a deformation of 3% d 0
with the exception of the three branch tension tests by Washio et al. (1970) and one FE analysis by
de Winkel (1998), all of which reached a local maximum before the deformation limit. Figures 7.9 and

40
Normalised branch compression load, N1,u/(fy0t02)

35

30
Voth FE (with fillet weld)

25 Washio et al. (1970) Exp.

20 de Winkel (1998) FE

15 Makino (1984) Exp.


Voth FE
10 (without fillet weld)
2 = 40
2 = 10
5
Kamba (1997) FE CIDECT (2008)
0
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
Effective width ratio, '

Figure 7.9 Parametric FE results for transverse X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in
compression compared to international database

80
Normalised branch tension load, N1,u/(fy0t02)

70

60 Voth FE (with fillet weld)

50

40
Voth FE (without fillet weld)

30
Kamba (1997) FE
20
Makino (1984) Exp.

10 2 = 40
2 = 10 - CIDECT (2008)
0
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
Effective width ratio, '

Figure 7.10 Parametric FE results for transverse X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in
tension compared to international database

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type Branch Plate Connections 119

7.10 compare the aforementioned international database to parametric FE results (Voth) and the current
CIDECT design guidelines (Wardenier et al., 2008a) for transverse branch plate-to-CHS connections
tested in compression and tension respectively.

The current CIDECT design equation (Wardenier et al., 2008a) presented in Table 2.1 for transverse
X-type plate-to-CHS connections follows the general trend of the FE results and the international database
(see Figures 7.7, 7.8, 7.9 and 7.10), however, it is difficult to compare the design recommendations to the
data given the influence of the 2 value. A more comprehensive method of determining the suitability of
the current CIDECT design equations for transverse T-type connections is to compare the actual normal-
2
ized branch load or normalized connection capacity ( N 1, u ( f y0 t 0 ) ) - in this case equivalent to the function
Q u - from the international database and the parametric FE results, Q u, Actual , with the CIDECT predicted
design strength partial function, Q u, CIDECT . The Q u, Actual to Q u, CIDECT ratio is plotted against the effec-
tive width ratio, , in Figures 7.11(a) and 7.12(a), and against the chord diameter-to-thickness ratio, 2 in
Figures 7.11(b) and 7.12(b) as a graphical means to determine how well the CIDECT design equation pre-
dicts connection strength, for transverse X-type plate-to-CHS connections tested in compression and ten-
sion respectively.

(a) Effect of effective width ratio, ' (b) Effective of chord diameter-to-thickness ratio, 2
2.0 2.0

1.8 Voth FE (with fillet weld) 1.8 Voth FE (with fillet weld)
Voth FE (without fillet weld) Voth FE (without fillet weld)
1.6 1.6
Washio et al. (1970) Exp. Washio et al. (1970) Exp.
1.4 1.4
Qu, Actual / Qu, CIDECT

Qu, Actual / Qu, CIDECT

Makino (1984) Exp.


1.2 1.2

1.0 1.0

0.8 0.8 de Winkel (1998) FE


de Winkel (1998) FE Makino (1984) Exp.
Kamba (1997) FE
0.6 0.6 Kamba (1997) FE

0.4 0.4

0.2 0.2

0 0
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Effective width ratio, ' Chord diameter-to-thickness ratio, 2

Figure 7.11 Comparison of CIDECT design recommendations (Wardenier et al., 2008a) with
parametric FE results and the international database for transverse X-type plate-to-CHS connections
tested in compression

For branch compression load (Figure 7.11), the CIDECT design recommendation (Wardenier et al.,
2008a), presented in Table 2.1, is generally conservative (values greater than unity) for numerical FE results
(Voth), especially for all values with high 2 values. For a few numerical FE results (Voth) with high
(close to unity) and low 2 values, that represent typically very stiff connections, the CIDECT design rec-
ommendation over predicts the connection actual capacity by numerical FE (Voth). It can also be shown
that connections without fillet welds, which in general have smaller effective foot prints, have slightly

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type Branch Plate Connections 120

(a) Effect of effective width ratio, ' (b) Effective of chord diameter-to-thickness ratio, 2
3.5 3.5
Voth FE (with fillet weld) Voth FE (with fillet weld)
3.0 3.0
Voth FE (without fillet weld)
2.5 Voth FE (without fillet weld) 2.5
Qu, Actual / Qu, CIDECT

Qu, Actual / Qu, CIDECT


Makino (1984) Exp. Makino (1984) Exp.
2.0 2.0

1.5 1.5

1.0 1.0
Kamba (1997) FE Kamba (1997) FE
0.5 0.5

0 0
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Effective width ratio, ' Chord diameter-to-thickness ratio, 2

Figure 7.12 Comparison of CIDECT design recommendations (Wardenier et al., 2008a) with
parametric FE results and the international database for transverse X-type plate-to-CHS connections
tested in tension
lower connection capacity than the connections with fillet welds. Also note that the thinnest CHS chord
( 2 = 45.84 ) is outside the current design equation limit of 2 = 40 . The experimental results of
Makino (1984) and Washio et al. (1970) sit within or above the numerical parametric finite element results
(Voth) and well above the current CIDECT design guidelines. These two studies also follow the same gen-
eral trend as the parametric FE data (Voth). Though the Kamba (1997) FE results appear to also be within
the cluster of data (see Figure 7.9), these normalized connection capacities are actually low compared to the
aformentioned results (see Figure 7.11), but do generally follow the CIDECT design guidelines, with data
points above and below unity. The final set of international results by de Winkel (1998) follow the general
trend of the numerical FE data (Voth). The reason for the spread in data points may be a result of varying
branch plate thicknesses ( t p ) used within the study. This point is discussed in more detail in Section 7.4.3.
As the lower results by de Winkel (1998), which correspond to connections with lower plate thicknesses
( t p ), and the Kamba (1997) results are in the same general range (see Figure 7.11), it is reasonable to assume
that the lower Kamba (1997) results could be due to the use of a thin branch plate. As the actual branch
plate thickness used by Kamba (1997) is unknown, a finite element numerical study with an approximated
branch plate thickness would need to be conducted to confirm this hypothesis.

A similar trend is present for branch tension load (see Figure 7.12), however, the CIDECT design equa-
tion under-predicts all of the numerical FE (Voth) and Makino (1984) experimental results. The FE results
(Voth) are in some cases significantly under-predicted by the CIDECT design equation, with the connec-
tion capacity being over three times that of the CIDECT recommendations. The Kamba (1997) FE results
are relatively close to the CIDECT design guidelines (see Figure 7.12).

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type Branch Plate Connections 121

7.3.2 Longitudinal X-type Branch Plate Connections

Like the transverse X-type plate-to-CHS connections, the load-deformation curve for longitudinal X-
type plate-to-CHS connections was determined with the connection deformation defined as the change in
distance between point A in Figure 7.2 and a point at the crown of the CHS chord (point B in Figure 7.2).
From these curves the connection ultimate capacity ( N 1, u ) was determined as the minimum of three defin-
ing limit states: (i) the load at a deformation of 3% d 0 , N 1, 3% , if this deformation preceded the deformation
at N 1, max , (ii) the maximum connection load, N 1, max (either a local maximum prior to CHS shell snap
through for connections tested in compression, N 1, lm , or the global maximum load, N 1, gm , in most cases
as a result of punching shear failure) and (iii) branch plate yielding, N 1, pl . For all numerical models the load
at a deformation of 3% d 0 governed the connection capacity given that connections which exhibited
branch plate yielding had increased branch plate and weld material capacities or increased branch plate
thickness. For typical longitudinal X-type plate-to-CHS connections tested in both compression and ten-
sion, there is a stress concentration around the weld circumference at the connection deformation limit of
3% d 0 along with ovalization of the CHS chord as shown in Figures 7.13(a) and 7.14(a). After significant
deformation and plastification of the CHS chord at the joint, punching shear failure occurs at the plate
extremities in the CHS connection surface (see Figures 7.13(b) and 7.14(b)), as indicated by maximum
equivalent strain or fracture strain of elements at this location. For this connection type tested in tension,
there is a significant amount of plastification around the CHS circumference at the joint close to the global
maximum load, which was also prevalent in the experimental X-type connection (see Chapter 3).

(a) 3%d0 limit state, N1,3% (b) Global maximum, N1,gm

Overall connection behaviour (node von Mises stress) Overall connection behaviour (node von Mises stress)

Local connection behaviour (element von Mises stress) Local connection behaviour (element von Mises stress)

Figure 7.13 Typical stress and deformation profile for longitudinal X-type plate-to-CHS connection
tested in compression (depth ratio of 1.0 shown)

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type Branch Plate Connections 122

(a) 3%d0 limit state, N1,3% (b) Global maximum, N1,gm

Overall connection behaviour (node von Mises stress) Overall connection behaviour (node von Mises stress)

Local connection behaviour (element von Mises stress) Local connection behaviour (element von Mises stress)

Figure 7.14 Typical stress and deformation profile for longitudinal X-type plate-to-CHS connection
tested in tension (depth ratio of 1.0 shown)
2
Figure 7.15 presents the normalized ultimate load ( N 1, u ( f y0 t 0 ) ) as a function of for all 2 values
for branch plate compression and tension loading, respectively, for longitudinal X-type connections. The
numerical results are compared to the current CIDECT chord plastification function (Wardenier et al.,
2008a), Q u , calculated using effective geometric properties. The FE results for both tension and compres-
sion sets are grouped close together, regardless of 2 value, forming an approximate linear trend for the full
range of depth ratios ( ) examined. The current design recommendation, which has been extrapolated to
= 0.2 , is conservative for both tension and compression branch plate loading with significant variance

28
2 = 13.80 2 = 17.25
2 = 19.74 2 = 23.00 Tension (with fillet weld)
24
Normalised branch load, N1,u/(fy0t02)

2 = 27.56 2 = 34.50
N1
2 = 45.84 Compression (with fillet weld)
20

16

12
CIDECT (2008) N1
8 Qu = 5(1+0.40')
(extended to ' = 0.2)
4 Tension (without fillet weld - variable tp)
Compression (without fillet weld - tp = 40 mm)

0
0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5
Effective depth ratio, '

Figure 7.15 Parametric FE results for longitudinal X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in
compression and tension

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type Branch Plate Connections 123

for tension branch plate loading. This follows the observations from the experimental program with regard
to conservatism of the design expression and under-utilized connection capacity for tension- loaded con-
nections.

The international database complied by Ariyoshi et al. (1998) and Makino et al. (1998) includes exper-
imental data from Togo (1967), Makino (1984) and Akiyama et al. (1974) for longitudinal X-type plate-to-
CHS connections. Similar to the transverse plate-to-CHS data, not all geometric or material properties are
included within the database with most having load-deformation curves. These curves were re-analysed
using the same criteria as for parametric study analysis discussed previously. All of the connections within
the international database, for this connection geometry, were governed by the load at a deformation of
3% d 0 with the exception of one experimental test by Togo (1967) which reached maximum load before
the deformation limit.

Figures 7.16 and 7.17 compare the international database to parametric FE results (Voth) and the cur-
rent CIDECT design guidelines (Wardenier et al., 2008a) for longitudinal branch plate-to-CHS connec-
tions tested in both compression and tension respectively. The international data, with the exception of
results by Akiyama et al. (1974), are slightly below and with more scatter than the parametric FE results
(Voth), but are well above the current CIDECT design guideline (Wardenier et al. 2008a). The validity of
the results by Akiyama et al. (1974), which fall below the current CIDECT design guideline (Wardenier et
al. 2008a), has already been brought into question (Wardenier et al., 2008b, 2009) with no explanation as to
why the normalized ultimate connection capacity values are much lower than other research.

Again, a more comprehensive and quantitative method of determining the suitability of the current
CIDECT design equations for longitudinal T-type connections is to compare the actual normalized branch
2
load or normalized connection capacity ( N 1, u ( f y0 t 0 ) = Q u ) from the international database and the par-

28
Normalised branch compression load, N1,u/(fy0t02)

24
Voth FE (with fillet weld)
20

16
Togo (1967) Exp.
12

8 CIDECT (2008)

Makino (1984) Exp.


4 Voth FE (without fillet weld)

0
0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5
Effective depth ratio, '

Figure 7.16 Parametric FE results for longitudinal X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in
compression compared to international database

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type Branch Plate Connections 124

28

Normalised branch tension load, N1,u/(fy0t02)


Voth FE (with fillet weld)
24

20
Togo (1967) Exp.
16

12

8 CIDECT (2008)
Voth FE (without fillet weld)
4 Makino (1984) Exp.
Akiyama et al. (1974) Exp.
0
0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5
Effective depth ratio, '

Figure 7.17 Parametric FE results for longitudinal X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in
tension compared to international database
ametric FE results, Q u, Actual , with the CIDECT predicted design strength partial function, Q u, CIDECT .
The Q u, Actual to Q u, CIDECT ratio is plotted against the effective depth ratio, , in Figures 7.18(a) and
7.19(a), and against the chord diameter-to-thickness ratio, 2 in Figures 7.18(b) and 7.19(b) for longitudi-
nal X-type plate-to-CHS connections tested in compression and tension respectively. For connections with
branch plate compression (Figure 7.18), the CIDECT design recommendation under-predict all of the
numerical FE analysis results (Voth) as well as the experimental results from Makino (1984) and Togo
(1967). For a significant amount of numerical FE results (Voth), the available connection capacity is approx-
imately 30% higher than recommended by the CIDECT design equation for longitudinal X-type plate-to-
CHS connections.

(a) Effect of effective depth ratio, ' (b) Effective of chord diameter-to-thickness ratio, 2
1.6 1.6
Voth FE (with fillet weld) Voth FE (with fillet weld)

1.4 1.4

1.2 Togo (1967) Exp.


1.2 Togo (1967) Exp.
Makino (1984) Exp.
Qu, Actual / Qu, CIDECT

Qu, Actual / Qu, CIDECT

1.0 1.0
Makino (1984) Exp. Voth FE (without fillet weld)
0.8 Voth FE (without fillet weld) 0.8

0.6 0.6

0.4 0.4

0.2 0.2

0 0
0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Effective depth ratio, ' Chord diameter-to-thickness ratio, 2

Figure 7.18 Comparison of CIDECT design recommendations (Wardenier et al., 2008a) with
parametric FE results and the international database for longitudinal X-type plate-to-CHS connections
tested in compression

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type Branch Plate Connections 125

For connections with branch plate tension (Figure 7.19), the CIDECT design recommendation further
under-predict all of the numerical FE analysis results (Voth) with the majority of results above one and a
half times that of the CIDECT connection capacity. The experimental results of Makino (1984) and Togo
(1967) are under-predicted by the CIDECT design equation with a modest amount of reserve capacity.
The experimental results of Akiyama et al. (1974) for longitudinal X-type plate-to-CHS connections tested
in branch tension are clearly over-predicted by the CIDECT design recommendations with all of the data
points falling below unity (see Figure 7.19). The Akiyama et al. (1974) data points, however, are generally
outside of the size range of members used as structural elements and may not be applicable to include here
with values of 2 > 60 . In general, the CIDECT design recommendations better predict the connection
capacity for connections with lower values of effective depth ratio ( ) for both connection loading senses
(Figures 7.18 and 7.19).

(a) Effect of effective depth ratio, ' (b) Effective of chord diameter-to-thickness ratio, 2
2.0 2.0
Voth FE (with fillet weld) Togo (1967) Exp.
1.8 1.8 Voth FE (with fillet weld)

1.6 1.6

1.4 Togo (1967) Exp. 1.4


Qu, Actual / Qu, CIDECT

Qu, Actual / Qu, CIDECT


1.2 Makino (1984) Exp. 1.2 Makino (1984) Exp.
Voth FE (without fillet weld) Voth FE (without fillet weld)
1.0 1.0

0.8 0.8
Akiyama et al. (1974) Exp. Akiyama et al. (1974) Exp.
0.6 0.6

0.4 0.4
Typical structural size range
0.2 0.2

0 0
0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Effective depth ratio, ' Chord diameter-to-thickness ratio, 2

Figure 7.19 Comparison of CIDECT design recommendations (Wardenier et al., 2008a) with
parametric FE results and the international database for longitudinal X-type plate-to-CHS connections
tested in tension

7.4 Design Recommendation Development for Transverse X-type Branch Plate


Connections

7.4.1 Introduction

The recently re-evaluated design guidelines for X-type plate-to-CHS connections (Wardenier et al.,
2008b, 2009) have been published by both CIDECT (Wardenier et al., 2008a) and the IIW (IIW, 2009).
These guidelines were intended to follow the same general connection capacity equation form as guidelines
developed for similar CHS-to-CHS connections (van der Vegte et al., 2008b):

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type Branch Plate Connections 126

2
f y0 t 0
N 1 = Q u Q f -----------
- 7.1
sin 1

where for CHS-to-CHS X-type connections:

1+
Q u = 2.6 -------------------- ( 1 + 0.25 ) .
0.15
7.2
1 0.7

By replacing constants in Equation 7.2 with regression constants (A, B, C and D), a function for regression
analysis for X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections was determined to be:

1+
Q u = A ---------------- ( 1 + C )
D
7.3
1 B

As the value of is close to zero for transverse branch plate-to-CHS connections (assuming the plate is rel-
atively thin), the portion of Equation 7.3 that is a function of is dropped resulting in the expression:

1+ C
Q u = A ---------------- 7.4
1 B

Equation 7.4 was used by Wardenier et al. (2008b, 2009) to perform a re-analysis of existing numerical and
experimental behaviour data resulting in the current CIDECT and IIW recommendations for the Q u
expression (IIW, 2009; Wardenier et al., 2008a) given as (also found in Table 2.1):

1+
Q u = 2.2 --------------------
0.15
for transverse X-type plate-to-CHS connections 7.5
1 0.7

7.4.2 Regression Analysis Using CIDECT Equation Form and Evaluation Against
International Database

In the same manner as Wardenier et al. (2008b, 2009), Equation 7.4 was used as a basis to develop
design recommendations that fit the parametric FE database (Voth). A nonlinear regression analysis was per-
formed with the aforementioned capacity or design strength partial function, Q u . For transverse X-type
plate-to-CHS connections with branch plate compression load Equation 7.6 (in Table 7.3) provides the
best-fit regression for the parametric FE database (Voth). From Equation 7.1, knowing that the chord
stress function ( Q f ) and the term sin 1 are both equal to one, the normalized branch load or normalized
2
connection capacity ( N 1, u ( f y0 t 0 ) ) can be directly compared to the design strength partial function ( Q u ).
In this way, the actual design strength partial function, Q u, Actual (which is equivalent to the normalized
2
connection capacity, N 1, u ( f y0 t 0 ) ) to predicted design strength partial function, Q u, Predicted (Equation 7.6)
ratio is determined. The Q u, Actual to Q u, Predicted ratio is plotted against the effective width ratio, , in

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type Branch Plate Connections 127

Figure 7.20 as a graphical means to determine how well the potential design strength partial function cap-
tures connection behaviour for branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in compression. Figure 7.20 also
includes results from the international database.

The parametric FE results (Voth) for branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in compression are
closely predicted by the potential design expression (Equation 7.6) except for connections with = 1.0
where the expression under-predicts the connection capacity (see Figure 7.20). As mentioned previously,
the implemented fracture criterion may not fully capture CHS fracture for connections with large val-
ues and, as such, connection capacity for these geometries may be lower than predicted by the FE model.
As the potential design expression is conservative for connections with = 1.0 a reduction in capacity
from the FE model will not impact the safety of the connection. Table 7.3 shows that the statistical fit for
the parametric FE results (Voth) without = 1.0 has a low coefficient of variation (CoV) and a mean of
one.

(a) Effect of effective width ratio, ' (b) Effective of chord diameter-to-thickness ratio, 2
2.0 2.0

1.8 1.8
Voth FE (with fillet weld) Voth FE (with fillet weld)
1.6 1.6
Voth FE (without fillet weld)
1.4 1.4
Qu, Actual / Qu, Predicted

Qu, Actual / Qu, Predicted

Washio et al. (1970) Exp. Washio et al. (1970) Exp.


1.2 Voth FE (without fillet weld) 1.2

1.0 1.0

0.8 0.8

0.6 Makino (1984) Exp. 0.6


Kamba (1997) FE
Kamba (1997) FE
0.4 0.4 de Winkel (1998) FE
de Winkel (1998) FE
Makino (1984) Exp.
0.2 0.2

0 0
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Effective width ratio, ' Chord diameter-to-thickness ratio, 2

Figure 7.20 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 7.6, and the
international database for transverse X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in compression

Table 7.3 Statistical comparison for Figure 7.20


Potential design strength partial function:
1 +
Q u = 2.4 ---------------------
0.3
7.6
1 0.5
Mean CoV (%)
Voth FE data: 1.044 11.54
Voth FE data without = 1.0 : 1.005 4.74
International database: 0.776 13.68

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type Branch Plate Connections 128

For transverse X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in compression, the potential design
expression (Equation 7.6) does not predict connection capacities from the international database (Kamba,
1997; Makino, 1984; Washio et al., 1970; de Winkel, 1998) well, with the majority of results having the
actual strength over-predicted. The potential design expression also has a low mean against the international
database (see Table 7.3), indicating that Equation 7.6 does not capture the full range of data presented in
Figure 7.20.

Equation 7.7 (in Table 7.4) provides the best-fit regression for the parametric FE database (Voth) for
transverse X-type plate-to-CHS connections with branch plate tension load. The Q u, Actual to Q u, Predicted
ratio is plotted against the effective width ratio, , in Figure 7.21, which also includes results from the
international database. The parametric FE results (Voth) for branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in
tension are reasonably well predicted by the potential design expression (Equation 7.7), except again for
connections with = 1.0 where the expression under-predicts the connection capacity (see Figure 7.21).
Table 7.4 shows that the statistical fit for the parametric FE results (Voth) without = 1.0 has a moderate
coefficient of variation (CoV), indicating some data scatter and a mean of one.

(a) Effect of effective width ratio, ' (b) Effective of chord diameter-to-thickness ratio, 2
2.0 2.0

1.8 Voth FE (with fillet weld) 1.8 Voth FE (with fillet weld)

1.6 1.6
Voth FE (without fillet weld)
1.4 1.4
Voth FE (without fillet weld) Makino (1984) Exp.
Qu, Actual / Qu, Predicted

Qu, Actual / Qu, Predicted

1.2 1.2

1.0 1.0

0.8 Makino (1984) Exp. 0.8

0.6 0.6

0.4 0.4 Kamba (1997) FE


Kamba (1997) FE
0.2 0.2

0 0
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Effective width ratio, ' Chord diameter-to-thickness ratio, 2

Figure 7.21 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 7.7, and the
international database for transverse X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in tension

Table 7.4 Statistical comparison for Figure 7.21


Potential design strength partial function:
1 +
Q u = 1.75 ---------------------
0.5
7.7
1 0.6
Mean CoV (%)
Voth FE data: 1.031 15.24
Voth FE data without = 1.0 : 1.001 11.45
International database: 0.639 13.38

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type Branch Plate Connections 129

Similar to transverse connections tested in compression, the potential design expression (Equation 7.7)
does not predict connection capacities from the international database (Kamba, 1997; Makino, 1984) well,
with all strengths being over-predicted. The potential design expression also has a very low mean against
the international database (see Table 7.4), indicating that Equation 7.7 does not capture the full range of
data presented in Figure 7.21.

A design expression should preferably capture the behaviour of all known data, which Equations 7.6
and 7.7 fail to achieve. As these expressions for Q u are the best possible statistical fit for the parametric FE
results (Voth), yet the mean of the international database results for both branch plate compression and ten-
sion loading are significantly different than the mean of the parametric FE results (Voth), there must be: (i)
issues with the finite element modelling techniques used for this study, or (ii) the CIDECT function used as
a basis for regression analysis does not fully capture all geometric variations and thus under- or over-predicts
the connection capacity depending on the data set used to develop the design expression, giving rise to an
inefficient function. To verify the FE modelling techniques used, the only international database study with
all parameters recorded (de Winkel, 1998) was re-analysed using FE modelling techniques described in
Chapters5 and 6. If the modelling techniques are verified by the reproduction of the de Winkel (1998)
study, the only two parameters that are not currently included within the design function are plate thickness
( t 1 ), which has hitherto been thought not to impact the connection capacity for thin plates, and the plate
yield strength ( f y1 ). As branch plate-to-CHS connections are often being used for structures that require
large connection loads, a branch plate thickness of 3/4 (19 mm), as used in this study, is not uncommon.
The increase in plate thickness increases the joint footprint on the CHS surface and, in a similar manner
to RHS-to-CHS connections, impacts the connection capacity.

7.4.3 Verification of Finite Element Modelling Techniques Through Re-analysis of de Winkel


(1998) Numerical Parametric Study

To verify the finite element modelling techniques used for the parametric analyses, a re-analysis of a
finite element study contained within the international database was conducted. The only X-type trans-
verse branch plate-to-CHS connection study that included all necessary geometric, material and analysis
information within the international database was completed by de Winkel (1998).

As part of an investigation into the static strength and behaviour of multiplanar semi-rigid X-type con-
nections between I-section beams and CHS columns with a steel-concrete composite floor slab, de Winkel
(1998) examined the behaviour of transverse X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in branch
plate compression. The parametric finite element study consisted of 21 connections varying values of
from 0.25 to 0.90 for three values of 2 : 15, 30 and 45, as shown in Table 7.5. A constant CHS diameter
( d 0 ) of 300 mm and length ( l 0 ) of 1800 mm, with branch members of length five times that of the branch
plate width ( b 1 ) to minimize boundary condition effects, were used.

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type Branch Plate Connections 130

In general, the plate thickness ( t 1 ) increases with increased plate width with some variance, most likely
to allow for the increase in connection capacity for higher ( ) values (see Table 7.5). The plates were con-
nected directly to the CHS chord with no fillet weld, resulting in the nominal and effective connection
properties being equal. Both CHS and plate were of steel grade S355 ( f y0 = f y1 = 355 MPa ); however, in
cases where plate failure would be critical, the steel grade has been increased to S690 ( f y1 = 690 MPa ) or
an elasto-plastic material model with yield stress ( f y1 ) of 3500 MPa, as listed in Table 7.5. Some discrepancy
exists on the steel grade used for the branch plate of each connection and only the lower of the two yield
strengths reported by de Winkel (1998) is listed here. Each model was constructed using eight-noded thick
shell elements and analysed using compressive displacement control with the general purpose finite element
package MARC. One-eighth models with symmetrical boundary conditions were used to reduce analysis

Table 7.5 Geometric and material properties and normalized connection capacity for transverse
branch plate-to-CHS study by de Winkel (1998)
International b d N 1, u
de Winkel t0 t1 b1 f y1
Database = -----1 2 = -----0 ----------2
Connection ID (mm) (mm) (mm) d0 t0 (MPa) f y0 t 0
Connection ID
XP1-C-36 xup1-02 20.00 15 3550 4.45
XP1-C-37 xup1-04 10.00 6.75 75 0.25 30 690 5.15
XP1-C-38 xup1-06 6.67 45 355 5.39
XP1-C-39 xup1-08 20.00 15 3550 5.87
XP1-C-40 xup1-10 10.00 10.80 120 0.40 30 355 7.30
XP1-C-41 xup1-12 6.67 45 3550 7.92
XP1-C-42 xup1-14 20.00 15 355 9.04
XP1-C-43 xup1-34 10.00 17.55 195 0.65 30 355 11.50
XP1-C-44 xup1-36 6.67 45 355 12.55
XP1-C-45 xup1-38 20.00 15 690 7.69
XP1-C-46 xup1-40 10.00 14.85 165 0.55 30 355 9.98
XP1-C-47 xup1-42 6.67 45 355 11.01
XP1-C-48 xup1-50 20.00 16.20 15 690 8.25
XP1-C-49 xup1-52 10.00 16.10 180 0.60 30 690 10.60
XP1-C-50 xup1-54 6.67 16.20 45 690 11.62
XP1-C-51 xup1-56 20.00 20.00 15 690 11.52
XP1-C-52 xup1-58 10.00 10.00 240 0.80 30 690 14.12
XP1-C-53 xup1-60 6.67 6.67 45 690 15.42
XP1-C-54 xup1-62 20.00 20.00 15 690 13.86
XP1-C-55 xup1-64 10.00 10.00 270 0.90 30 690 17.01
XP1-C-56 xup1-66 6.67 6.67 45 690 18.43
Constant Properties:
d 0 = 300 mm , 1 = 90 , 1 = 90 , l 0 = 1800 mm , = 12 and f y0 = 355 MPa

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type Branch Plate Connections 131

time. Pre- and post-processing was achieved using a general CAD program SDRC-IDEAS Level V
(de Winkel, 1998).

From the normalized load-deformation curves (determined through measurements of connection face
indentation or deformation) de Winkel (1998) determined the connection ultimate capacity ( N 1, u ) as the
minimum of: (i) the load at a deformation of 3% d 0 , N 1, 3% , if this deformation preceded the deformation
at N 1, max , (ii) the maximum connection load, N 1, max (either a local maximum prior to CHS shell snap
through or the global maximum load) and (iii) branch plate yielding. The ultimate connection capacity for
all numerical models was governed by the load at a deformation of 3% d 0 except connection xup1-12
where a maximum connection load, N 1, max , was reached before this deformation limit (see Table 7.5).

Of the 21 connections numerically analysed by de Winkel (1998), 12 having values of 0.25, 0.40,
0.60 and 0.80, were re-analysed using the finite element modelling techniques described in Chapters5 and
6. All connection geometric properties, boundary conditions and material properties used by de Winkel
(1998) were duplicated with the exception of steel grade S355 used for the CHS chord. The cold formed
CHS material properties used throughout the parametric numerical study of X-type branch plate connec-
tions (with f y0 = 389 MPa ) were substituted for simplicity. In addition, the type of element used for re-
analysis (8-noded solid element) was different than used by de Winkel (1998), which was an 8-noded shell
element.

40
Normalised branch compression load, N1,u/(fy0t02)

2 = 15.00
35 2 = 30.00
2 = 45.00
30 N1

25

20 Voth FE - re-analysis of de Winkel (1998)

15
N1
10

de Winkel (1998) FE
5

0
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
Effective width ratio, '

Figure 7.22 Comparison of de Winkel (1998) and re-analysis results for transverse X-type branch plate-
to-CHS connections tested in compression

The load-deformation curves for the re-analysed connections and the connection ultimate capacity
( N 1, u ) were determined in the same manner as de Winkel (1998), with all connection capacities being
governed by the load at a deformation of 3% d 0 except connection xup1-12 where a maximum connection
load, N 1, max , was reached before this deformation limit. The original de Winkel (1998) and the re-ana-
2
lysed normalized connection capacities ( N 1, u ( f y0 t 0 ) ) from FE analysis are plotted in Figure 7.22. The re-
Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections
Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type Branch Plate Connections 132

analysis results are very close to the original de Winkel (1998) analysis results confirming that the finite ele-
ment models used with this parametric study are valid. The minimal variation in the normalized connec-
tion capacity is most likely a result of the different CHS material properties used (cold-formed versus hot-
finished stress-strain relationships) and differences in finite element mesh arrangement and element type
used, between the two studies.

The reproduction of the transverse X-type branch plate-to-CHS using the finite element modelling
techniques described in Chapters5 and 6 adds confidence to the X-type parametric study results within
this chapter and other forthcoming results. This, however, has implications to the construction of design
recommendations given that the current CIDECT (Wardenier et al,2008a) design equations do not fully
capture the effect of plate thickness ( t 1 ) on connection capacity. A decrease in plate thickness ( t 1 ) for low
values results in a lower connection capacity than would have been the case if a constant plate thickness
was used, influencing the connection behaviour trend and design guidelines. A new basis for design recom-
mendations should be determined that incorporates plate thickness.

7.4.4 Regression Analysis and Proposed Design Recommendations as a Function of Plate


Thickness

Many equation forms were tried to incorporate branch plate thickness ( t 1 ) into a design expression.
The most effective basis stems from the current CIDECT design expression for CHS-to-CHS X-type con-
nections, Equation 7.3 (Wardenier et al., 2008b, 2009) - repeated below:

1+
Q u = A ---------------- ( 1 + C )
D
1 B

To incorporate branch plate thickness, the branch depth ( h 1 ) was replaced with the branch plate thickness
( t 1 ) resulting in = t 1 d 0 or the effective equivalent. As the range of effective depth ( ) values for the
parametric FE study (Voth) was limited to connections with and without fillet welds, the verified study by
de Winkel (1998) and the parametric FE study were used to evaluate, through regression analysis, the
design strength partial function ( Q u ) for transverse branch plate-to-CHS connections loaded in compres-
sion.

Equation 7.8 (in Table 7.6) provides the best-fit regression for the parametric FE database (Voth;
de Winkel, 1998) for transverse X-type plate-to-CHS connections with branch plate compression load.
The Q u, Actual to Q u, Predicted ratio is plotted against the effective width ratio, , in Figure 7.23. The para-
metric FE results (Voth; de Winkel, 1998) are very well predicted by the proposed design expression
(Equation 7.8) except again for connections with = 1.0 , as seen before, where the expression under-
predicts the connection capacity (see Figure 7.23). The statistical analysis (Table 7.6) shows that for the par-
ametric FE results without = 1.0 there is a good coefficient of variation (CoV) and a mean of one. The

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type Branch Plate Connections 133

good expression fit also indicates that the connection capacity of branch plate-to-CHS connections is a
function of plate thickness ( t 1 ) and to efficiently capture connection behaviour, for a wide range of con-
nection geometry, plate thickness should be included. If plate thickness is omitted, the increase in connec-
tion capacity provided by thicker branch plates is lost and is very conservatively approximated by design
expression for thinner plates.

Table 7.6 Statistical comparison for Figure 7.23 2.0

Potential design strength partial function: 1.8

1.6 Voth FE (with fillet weld)


1 +
Q u = 2 --------------------- ( 1 + )
0.25
7.8
1 0.6 1.4

Qu, Actual / Qu, Predicted


1.2 Voth FE (without fillet weld)
Mean CoV (%)
1.0
Voth & de Winkel (1998) FE
1.014 9.27 0.8
data: de Winkel (1998) FE
0.6
Voth & de Winkel (1998) FE
1.000 6.55
data without = 1.0 : 0.4

0.2

0
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
Effective width ratio, '

Figure 7.23 Comparison of potential design


strength partial function, Equation 7.8, for
transverse X-type plate-to-CHS connections tested
in compression

Using the same approach as for transverse branch plate-to-CHS connections tested with branch plate
compression, Equation 7.9 (in Table 7.7) provides the best-fit regression for the parametric FE database
(Voth) for transverse X-type plate-to-CHS connections with the branch plate under tension load. The
Q u, Actual to Q u, Predicted ratio is plotted against the effective width ratio, , in Figure 7.24. The parametric
FE results (Voth) are very well predicted by the proposed design expression (Equation 7.9) except again for
connections with larger values of , as seen before, where the expression under-predicts the connection
capacity (see Figure 7.24). Table 7.7 shows that for the parametric FE results without = 1.0 there is a
moderate coefficient of variation (CoV) and a mean of approximately one. Through there is some scatter in
the data, the majority of the scatter is above one indicating the design recommendation generally under-
predicts the connection capacity. Note that the other data from the international database could not be used
in Figure 7.24 because they lack branch plate thickness information.

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type Branch Plate Connections 134

Table 7.7 Statistical comparison for Figure 7.24 2.0

Potential design strength partial function: 1.8


Voth FE (with fillet weld)
1.6
1 +
Q u = 1.8 --------------------- ( 1 + )
0.4
7.9
1 0.6 1.4

Qu, Actual / Qu, Predicted


1.2 Voth FE (without fillet weld)
Mean CoV (%)
1.0
Voth FE data: 1.088 17.43
0.8
Voth FE data without = 1.0 : 1.052 11.96
0.6

0.4

0.2

0
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
Effective width ratio, '

Figure 7.24 Comparison of potential design


strength partial function, Equation 7.9, for
transverse X-type plate-to-CHS connections tested
in tension

7.5 Design Recommendation Development for Longitudinal X-type Branch


Plate Connections

7.5.1 Introduction

Much like transverse plate-to-CHS connections, longitudinal X-type plate-to-CHS connections were
re-evaluated by Wardenier et al. (2008b, 2009) and published by both CIDECT (Wardenier et al., 2008a)
and the IIW (IIW, 2009). The general regression function (Equation 7.3) used for transverse connections is
valid for longitudinal connections, except that the value of is close to zero, transforming Equation 7.3
into:

C
Q u = A ( 1 + D ) 7.10

Wardenier et al. (2008b, 2009), however, show that the expression from the first edition of CIDECT
Design Guide No. 1 is a better initial equation with respect to numerical and experimental results and
therefore the term is removed from Equation 7.10 producing the expression:

Q u = A ( 1 + D ) 7.11

Equation 7.11 was used by Wardenier et al. (2008b, 2009) to perform a reanalysis of existing numerical and
experimental behaviour data, resulting in the current CIDECT and IIW recommendations for the Q u
expression (Wardenier et al., 2008a; IIW, 2009), given as (also found in Table 2.1):

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type Branch Plate Connections 135

Q u = 5 ( 1 + 0.4 ) for longitudinal X-type plate-to-CHS connections. 7.12

7.5.2 Regression Analysis Using CIDECT Equation Form and Evaluation Against
International Database

Similar to transverse X-type plate-to-CHS connections, Equation 7.12 is used as a basis to develop
design recommendations that fit the parametric FE database (Voth). A nonlinear regression analysis was per-
formed with the aforementioned capacity or design strength partial function, Q u . For longitudinal X-type
plate-to-CHS connections with branch plate compression load Equation 7.13 (in Table 7.8) provides the
best-fit regression for the parametric FE database (Voth). The Q u, Actual to Q u, Predicted ratio is plotted
against the effective width ratio, , in Figure 7.25 as a graphical means of determining how well the pro-
posed design strength partial function captures connection behaviour for branch plate-to-CHS connections
tested in compression. Figure 7.25 also includes results from the international database. The parametric FE
results (Voth) for longitudinal branch plate-to-CHS connections tested in compression are closely predicted
by the potential design expression (Equation 7.13) and Table 7.8 shows that the statistical fit for the para-
metric FE results (Voth) has a low coefficient of variation (CoV) and a mean of one.

(a) Effect of effective depth ratio, ' (b) Effective of chord diameter-to-thickness ratio, 2
1.6 1.6

1.4 1.4

1.2 Voth FE (with fillet weld)


1.2 Voth FE (with fillet weld)
Qu, Actual / Qu, Predicted

Qu, Actual / Qu, Predicted

1.0 1.0

Togo (1967) Exp.


0.8 Togo (1967) Exp. 0.8
Makino (1984) Exp.
Makino (1984) Exp.
Voth FE (without fillet weld)
0.6 Voth FE (without fillet weld) 0.6

0.4 0.4

0.2 0.2

0 0
0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Effective depth ratio, ' Chord diameter-to-thickness ratio, 2

Figure 7.25 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 7.13, and the
international database for longitudinal X-type plate-to-CHS connections tested in compression

Table 7.8 Statistical comparison for Figure 7.25


Potential design strength partial function:
Q u = 6.2 ( 1 + 0.5 ) 7.13
Mean CoV (%)
Voth FE data: 1.006 4.15
Voth & international database: 0.992 5.74

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type Branch Plate Connections 136

Similarly, for longitudinal X-type plate-to-CHS connections tested with branch plate tension, the
best-fit regression Equation 7.14 (in Table 7.9) for the parametric FE database (Voth) provides a good sta-
tistical fit (Table 7.9). The Q u, Actual to Q u, Predicted ratio is plotted against the effective width ratio, , in
Figure 7.26, which also includes results from the international database. The parametric FE results (Voth)
are well-predicted by the potential design expression (Equation 7.14) (see Figure 7.26). The potential
design expression (Equation 7.14) does a reasonable job of predicting the connection capacities from the
international database (Makino, 1984; Togo, 1967) if the results from Akiyama et al., (1974) are not
included. The potential design expression also has a mean close to one and good coefficient of variation
(see Table 7.9) indicating that Equation 7.14 does capture some of the international database in Figure 7.26.
The results of Akiyama et al., (1974) are significantly low indicating possible problems with this data.

Although the potential design expressions, using the basis proposed by Wardenier et al. (2008b, 2009),
predict the capacity of both parametric FE data (Voth) and most of the international database, the incorpo-
ration of branch plate thickness as part of most likely will improve the statistical fit. The following sec-
tion examines the use of Equation 7.3 as a basis for longitudinal X-type plate-to-CHS connections.

(a) Effect of effective depth ratio, ' (b) Effective of chord diameter-to-thickness ratio, 2
1.6 1.6

1.4 1.4

Voth FE (with fillet weld) Togo (1967) Exp.


1.2 1.2
Voth FE (with fillet weld)
Qu, Actual / Qu, Predicted

Qu, Actual / Qu, Predicted

1.0 1.0

0.8 Togo (1967) Exp. 0.8


Makino (1984) Exp. Makino (1984) Exp.
Voth FE (without fillet weld) Voth FE (without fillet weld)
0.6 0.6

0.4 Akiyama et al. (1974) Exp. 0.4 Akiyama et al. (1974) Exp.

0.2 0.2 Typical structural size range

0 0
0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Effective depth ratio, ' Chord diameter-to-thickness ratio, 2

Figure 7.26 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 7.14, and the
international database for longitudinal X-type plate-to-CHS connections tested in tension

Table 7.9 Statistical comparison for Figure 7.26


Potential design strength partial function:
Q u = 7.5 ( 1 + 0.5 ) 7.14
Mean CoV (%)
Voth FE data: 0.999 6.07
Voth & international database without Akiyama et al. (1974): 0.993 6.57
Akiyama et al. (1974) experimental only: 0.539 7.05

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type Branch Plate Connections 137

7.5.3 Regression Analysis and Proposed Design Recommendations as a Function of Plate


Thickness

To incorporate branch plate thickness into Equation 7.3:

1+
Q u = A ---------------- ( 1 + C )
D
1 B

the branch width ( b 1 ) is replaced with the branch plate thickness ( t 1 ) resulting in = t 1 d 0 or the effec-
tive equivalent. Equation 7.15 (in Table 7.10) provides the best-fit regression for the parametric FE data-
base (Voth) for longitudinal X-type plate-to-CHS connections with branch plate compression load. The
Q u, Actual to Q u, Predicted ratio is plotted against the effective width ratio, , in Figure 7.27. The parametric
FE results (Voth) are well-predicted by the proposed design expression (Equation 7.15) and the statistical
analysis is almost the same as that given, for the same database, in Table 7.8, where the thickness effect
was not included. Note that in Figure 7.27 the international data could not be included because they
lack branch plate thickness information.

Table 7.10 Statistical comparison for Figure 7.27 1.6

Potential design strength partial function: 1.4

1 +
Q u = 3.5 --------------------- ( 1 + 0.5 )
0.1 1.2 Voth FE (with fillet weld)
7.15
1 0.6
Qu, Actual / Qu, Predicted

1.0
Mean CoV (%)
0.8 Voth FE (without fillet weld)
Voth FE data: 1.011 4.65
0.6

0.4

0.2

0
0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5
Effective depth ratio, '

Figure 7.27 Comparison of potential design


strength partial function, Equation 7.15, for
longitudinal X-type plate-to-CHS connections
tested in compression

Using the same approach as for connections tested with branch plate compression, Equation 7.16 (in
Table 7.11) provides the best-fit regression for the parametric FE database (Voth) for transverse X-type
plate-to-CHS connections with branch plate tension load. The Q u, Actual to Q u, Predicted ratio is plotted
against the effective width ratio, , in Figure 7.28. The parametric FE results (Voth) are very well-pre-
dicted by the proposed design expression (Equation 7.16) and Table 7.11 shows that the statistical correla-
tion is even better than that in Table 7.9 for the same database, where the thickness effect was not

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type Branch Plate Connections 138

incorporated. Note that in Table 7.11 and Figure 7.28 the international data could not be included
because they lack branch plate thickness information.

Table 7.11 Statistical comparison for Figure 7.28 1.6

Potential design strength partial function: 1.4

1 +
Q u = 4.3 --------------------- ( 1 + 0.5 )
0.1 1.2
7.16 Voth FE (with fillet weld)
1 0.6

Qu, Actual / Qu, Predicted


1.0
Mean CoV (%) Voth FE (without fillet weld)
0.8
Voth FE data: 1.009 4.24
0.6

0.4

0.2

0
0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5
Effective depth ratio, '

Figure 7.28 Comparison of potential design


strength partial function, Equation 7.16, for
longitudinal X-type plate-to-CHS connections
tested in tension

7.6 X-type Parametric Numerical Study Conclusions

A total of 278 X-type plate-to-CHS connections under both branch plate tension and compression
were numerically analysed varying values of from 0.2 to 1.0, from 0.2 to 4.0 and 2 from 13.80 to
45.84 to determine if the current CIDECT (Wardenier et al., 2008a) and IIW (IIW, 2009) design guide-
lines were appropriate, as well as to develop tension-only and compression-only design guidelines. From
the FE results and nonlinear regression analysis the following conclusions can be made: the current CID-
ECT connection capacity design equations for chord plastification are generally conservative for connec-
tions with reasonable plate thicknesses and form an acceptable lower bound; however, the connection
capacity is being under-utilised, especially for tension loaded connections. Further, the range of application
can be extended up to 2 = 46 with longitudinal connections having an extended range down to
= 0.2 .

The proposed design strength partial functions, for both transverse and longitudinal connections, are
hence summarized below.

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of X-type Branch Plate Connections 139

1 +
Q u = 2 --------------------- ( 1 + )
0.25
for transverse X-type connections in compression 7.8
1 0.6

1 +
Q u = 1.8 --------------------- ( 1 + ) for transverse X-type connections in tension
0.4
7.9
1 0.6

1 +
Q u = 3.5 --------------------- ( 1 + 0.5 ) for longitudinal X-type connections in compression
0.1
7.15
1 0.6

1 +
Q u = 4.3 --------------------- ( 1 + 0.5 ) for longitudinal X-type connections in tension
0.1
7.16
1 0.6

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 8: Skew Angle Effect on the Behaviour of X-
type Branch Plate Connections

8.1 Introduction

Complicated structural systems often have elements that intersect each other at non-orthogonal angles
necessitating rotated and complex connection geometries. Connections with branch members inclined to
the longitudinal axis of the chord have become common place, as within truss and space-frame systems, and
design recommendations need to evolve to reflect inclined connection geometry. Research and recommen-
dations into the effect of branch member rotation about its own longitudinal axis, or skew angle ( 1 ), have
been limited. As circular hollow section branch members are rotationally symmetrical, CHS-to-CHS con-
nection capacity does not change for a given skew angle. The influence of skew angle for doubly symmetric
branch cross-sections (such as rectangular hollow sections, I-sections or plates) has been examined but is
limited to a skew angle of 45 for RHS branch members (Packer et al., 2009). Plate-to-HSS connections
are now often designed with a full range of skew and inclination angles within cable stayed roof structures,
space frames, etc., necessitating a skew angle research program to fill the gap in current design recommen-
dations.

A study to determine the effect of skew angle on the capacity of X-type plate-to-CHS connections was
developed with the aim of relating longitudinal and transverse connection capacity functions by using the
skew angle, 1 . The following sections describe the numerical finite element study and potential interac-
tion expressions for the ultimate limit state, with skew angles between longitudinal (0) and transverse (90)
orientations, for X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections under branch plate tensile load.

8.2 Research Program and Connection Modelling

To fully investigate the effect of branch plate skew angle, 12 geometric configurations were numerically
analysed with seven skew angles ranging from 0 (longitudinal connection) to 90 (transverse connection)
in 15 increments ( 1 = 0, 15, 30, 45, 60, 75 & 90) for a total of 84 numerical results (24 of which
were presented previously in Chapter 7). Three values of 2 (19.74, 34.50 & 45.84) and four values of
plate width ratio of p (0.2, 0.6, 0.8 & 1.0) were used to cover a wide range of connection configurations
which are tabulated in Table 8.1. As b 1 and h 1 are defined as the external width (90 to chord longitudinal

140
Chapter 8: Skew Angle Effect on the Behaviour of X-type Branch Plate Connections 141

direction) and external depth (0 or in plane with chord longitudinal axis) respectively, a plate width, b p , is
defined as the larger of the two plate dimensions - with plate thickness, t p , being the smaller - regardless of
skew angle. A nominal plate width ratio is then defined as p = b p d 0 . A constant plate thickness ( t p ) of
19.01 mm and chord diameter ( d 0 ) of 219.1 mm were used for these 84 numerical models and all connec-
tions were constructed based on the geometry given in Figure 8.1.

Table 8.1 Geometric parameters investigated for skew X-type connections and
connection ID numbers

t0 Nominal plate width ratio, p = b p d 0


2
(mm) 0.2 0.6 0.8 1.0
11.10 19.74 11 13 14 15
6.35 34.50 26 28 29 30
4.78 45.84 31 33 34 35

N1

Top
For bp/d0 1.0, l1 = 3bp l1 connection
B
1 surface
t0 B

A
d0
A

Bottom
l1 connection
surface
l0'/2 l0'/2
N1
l0
h1 or bp
North
bp 1 1
West East
b1 or tp w0 b1 or bp
tp h1 or tp
South

Figure 8.1 Parametric skew X-type connection configuration

The numerical analysis was carried out using the same general characteristics and methods described in
Chapter 6; however, connection models in this study used a full penetration groove weld instead of a fillet
weld to provide geometric consistency between varying skew angles and over the full range of p values.
Further, all numerical models with non-orthogonal branch plate skew angles were constructed as one half
models with one axis of symmetry running horizontally along the longitudinal axis of the chord member
instead of a one eighth model as with orthogonal connection geometry. For connection type 11 ( p = 0.2
and 2 = 19.74 ) the plate and weld material properties curves were modified to prevent branch plate
yielding before the connection capacity was reached. The yield strength was increased to 683 MPa with
material stiffness remaining the same. Seven additional FE models of connection type 11 were analysed with
a plate thickness ( t p ) of 40.0 mm to prevent the use of increased plate and weld material properties. All
connections were tested using tensile displacement-controlled loading.

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 8: Skew Angle Effect on the Behaviour of X-type Branch Plate Connections 142

8.3 Parametric Study Results

For each X-type skew plate-to-CHS connection under branch plate axial tensile load, the load-defor-
mation curve was determined with the connection deformation defined as the change in distance between
point A in Figure 8.1 and a point at the crown of the CHS chord (point B in Figure 8.1). From these
curves the connection ultimate capacity ( N 1, u ) was determined as the minimum of: (i) the load at a defor-
mation of 3% d 0 , N 1, 3% , if this deformation preceded the deformation at N 1, max , (ii) the maximum con-
nection load, N 1, max (the global maximum load) and (iii) branch plate yielding. For all numerical models
the load at a deformation of 3% d 0 governed the connection capacity, given that connections which initially
exhibited branch plate yielding had their branch plate and weld material capacities increased or branch plate
thickness increased, to prevent this failure mode. Figure 8.2 presents the results from the numerical skew
angle parametric study.

(a) Skew angle effect for p = bp/d0 = 0.2 (b) Skew angle effect for p = bp/d0 = 0.6
60 60
Normalised branch tension load, N1,u/fy0t02

Normalised branch tension load, N1,u/fy0t02


50 50

40 40

30 30
2 = 45.84
2 = 34.50
20 20 2 = 19.74

10 10

0 0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
Skew angle, 1 () Skew angle, 1 ()

(c) Skew angle effect for p = bp/d0 = 0.8 (d) Skew angle effect for p = bp/d0 = 1.0
60 60
Normalised branch tension load, N1,u/fy0t02

Normalised branch tension load, N1,u/fy0t02

2 = 45.84
50 50

2 = 34.50
40 2 = 45.84 40
2 = 34.50
2 = 19.74
30 30
2 = 19.74

20 20

10 10

0 0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
Skew angle, 1 () Skew angle, 1 ()

Figure 8.2 Parametric FE results for skew X-type plate-to-CHS connections tested in tension

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 8: Skew Angle Effect on the Behaviour of X-type Branch Plate Connections 143
2
For all values of p and 2 examined the normalized connection capacity ( N 1, u ( f y0 t 0 ) ) smoothly
transitions between longitudinal ( 1 = 0 ) and transverse ( 1 = 90 ) branch plate orientations. The
transition between longitudinal and transverse connections is sigmoidal (s-shaped) in nature with large p
values affected more by skew angle than for low p values due to the increase in chord circumference
restrained against deformation, as shown through Figures 8.2(a), (b), (c) and (d). As with longitudinal and
transverse X-type plate-to-CHS connections, with increasing 2 values the normalized connection capac-
ity increases. Detailed numerical FE analysis results, including load-deformation curves, are given in
Appendix D.

8.4 Design Recommendation Development for Skew X-type Branch Plate-to-


CHS Connections

8.4.1 Introduction

Unlike longitudinal or transverse X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections, there are no established
guidelines or theoretical models to use as a basis for the development of a design recommendation for skew
X-type branch plate-to-CHS connections. As design expressions for both longitudinal and transverse X-
type connections exist, the goal of a design expression for X-type skew connections is to transition from
one to the other capturing rotating plate behaviour, as well as possible, between the two extremes. In this
regard, the design strength partial function ( Q u ) for skew X-type connections should be equal to the pro-
posed expression for longitudinal plate-to-CHS connections, Q u, 0 , (Equation 7.16) when the skew angle
1 = 0 and be equal to the proposed expression for transverse plate-to-CHS connections, Q u, 90 ,
(Equation 7.9) when the skew angle 1 = 90 :

1 +
Q u, 0 = 4.3 --------------------- ( 1 + 0.5 ) for longitudinal connections in tension ( 1 = 0 )
0.1
7.16
1 0.6

1 +
Q u, 90 = 1.8 --------------------- ( 1 + ) for transverse connections in tension ( 1 = 90 )
0.4
7.9
1 0.6

8.4.2 Regression Analysis Using Effective Box Section-to-CHS

One method to describe the transition between longitudinal and transverse orientations is to examine a
skew connection as an effective I- or box section-to-CHS connection where the effective width ( b 1, eff )
and depth ( h 1, eff ) of the branch member is taken as the projected length of the skew plate (see Figure 8.3).
The expressions for effective width and depth are described in relation to the skew angle, 1 , by:

b 1, eff = ( b p sin 1 + t p cos 1 ) 8.1


h 1, eff = ( b p cos 1 + t p sin 1 ) 8.2

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 8: Skew Angle Effect on the Behaviour of X-type Branch Plate Connections 144

By dividing these expressions by d 0 , effective width and depth ratios are developed as:

1, eff = b 1, eff d 0 8.3


1, eff = h 1, eff d 0 8.4

b1,eff

h1,eff
bp
tp

Figure 8.3 Effective geometry for skew X-type plate-to-CHS connections

The generalized design strength partial function, Q u , that was presented by Wardenier et al. (2008b,
2009) for X-type plate-to-CHS connections (Equation 7.3), can be re-written as:

1 + 1, eff
Q u = A -----------------------
D
- ( 1 + C 1, eff ) 8.5
1 B 1, eff

where 1, eff and 1, eff replace and .

A nonlinear regression analysis was performed using the aforementioned capacity or design strength
partial function, Q u (Equation 8.5). Equation 8.6 (in Table 8.2) provides the best-fit regression for the
parametric FE database (Voth). The design strength partial function, Q u, Actual (which is equivalent to the
2
normalized connection capacity, N 1, u ( f y0 t 0 ) ) to predicted design strength partial function, Q u, Predicted
(Equation 8.6) ratio is determined in the same manner as described for X-type longitudinal and transverse
connections in Chapter 7. The Q u, Actual to Q u, Predicted ratio is plotted against the skew angle, 1 , in
Figure 8.4 as a graphical means to determine how well the potential design strength partial function cap-
tures connection behaviour for skew plate-to-CHS connections tested in tension. From Figure 8.4 and
Table 8.2 it is clear that the potential design function does not predict the analysed connection capacity
well. For connections close to longitudinal ( 1 = 0 ) or transverse ( 1 = 90 ) the connection strengths
generally are under-predicted or conservative; however, for mid-range values of skew angle, the connection
strength are over-predicted and unsafe. As with transverse X-type connections, skew connections with
p = b p d 0 = 1.0 and values of plate skew angle ( 1 ) close to 90 have high connection capacities
resulting in the potential design function severely under-predicting connection strength. As shown in
Table 8.2, if these values are removed from the statistical analysis, the coefficient of variation (CoV)
decreases; however, for this potential design expression (Equation 8.6) the scatter is still significant.

Branch Plate-to-Circular Hollow Structural Section Connections


Chapter 8: Skew Angle Effect on the Behaviour of X-type Branch Plate Connections 145

Table 8.2 Statistical comparison for Figure 8.4 2.0

Potential design strength partial function: 1.8


Voth FE (p = bp/d0 = 1.0)
1 + 1, eff 1.6
Q u = 2.6 ---------------------------
0.3
- ( 1 + 0.2 1, eff ) 8.6
1 0.6 1, eff 1.4

Qu, Actual / Qu, Predicted


1.2 Voth FE (p = bp/d0 < 1.0)
Mean CoV (%)
1.0
Voth FE data: 1.015 16.02
0.8
Voth FE data without p = 1.0 : 0.992 10.75
0.6

0.4

0.2

0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
Skew angle, 1 ()

Figure 8.4 Comparison of potential design


strength partial function, Equation 8.6, for skew
X-type plate-to-CHS connections tested in tension

In addition to Equation 8.6 not fully predicting the actual connection capacities, the function itself does
not relate directly to the proposed design recommendations for longitudinal and transverse X-type plate-to-
CHS connections (Equations and ). For values of skew angle of 0 or 90, Equation 8.6 does not equal the
recommended design expressions, which it should, to function over the whole range of skew angles.

8.4.3 Analysis Using Interpolation Between Longitudinal and Transverse Design


Recommendations

As an alternative to using an effective box section, an interpolation function was derived between the
design recommendations for longitudinal and transverse X-type plate-to-CHS connections tested in ten-
sion. The simplest interpolation function is linear with respect to skew angle, 1 . Equation 8.7 (in
Table 8.3), interpolates linearly between the recommended design strength partial function for longitudinal
( Q u, 0 - Equation ) and transverse ( Q u, 90 - Equation ) connections. The Q u, Actual to Q u, Predicted ratio is
plotted against the skew angle, 1 , in Figure 8.5. The parametric FE data is well predicted by the potential
design expression (Equation 8.7) with the exception of connections with large plate width ratios
( p = b p d 0 = 1.0 ) and skew angle values close to 90. Table 8.3 shows that for the parametric FE results
without p = 1.0 there is a good coefficient of variation (CoV) and a mean of close to one. In general,
however, the potential design expression using linear interpolation does not capt