Section Connections
Abstract
Although branch plate connections with circular hollow section (CHS) members are simple to fabricate
and costeffective, 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
underutilized, highlighting the need to develop connection stiffening methods. Two methods to stiffen
branch platetoCHS connections are examined: a through plate connection and a groutfilled CHS branch
plate connection. Further, the current design guidelines of various platetoCHS connection types are re
examined including the effect of chord axial stress and chord length on connection behaviour. Finally, the
behaviour of connections with nonorthogonal or skew plate orientation, which has not previously been
examined, was studied in depth.
The behaviour of these uniplanar connection types under quasistatic axial loading was studied through
16 largescale 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 platetoCHS connection
behaviour. For all platetoCHS 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 compressionloaded connections,
which was developed from compression results, underutilizes 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
ii
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 platetoCHS connections yielded
results similar to previous international studies on CHStoCHS connections. The effect of chord length,
however, has widereaching implications as to how experimental and numerical FE research programs are
developed.
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 platetoCHS 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.
iv
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 PlatetoCircular Hollow Section Connections and
Discussion of Inherent Inefficiencies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
1.2 Connection Classification ........................................... 4
1.3 Research Program Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
v
Table of Contents vi
Chapter 8: Skew Angle Effect on the Behaviour of Xtype 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 Xtype Branch PlatetoCHS
Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143
8.4.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143
Chapter 9: Numerical Study of Chord Axial Stress Effect on Transverse Xtype 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 Ttype 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 Ttype Branch Plate Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157
10.3.2 Longitudinal Ttype Branch Plate Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164
10.4 Design Recommendation Development for Transverse Ttype 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 Ttype 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 Ttype Parametric Numerical Study Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177
x
List of Tables xi
Table D.4 Material properties, applied loading and parametric FE results for transverse Xtype
branch platetoCHS connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 276
Table D.5 Geometric properties for transverse Xtype connections tested in compression with
applied chord stress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 284
Table D.6 Material properties, applied loading and parametric FE results for transverse Xtype
connections tested in compression with applied chord stress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 284
Table D.7 Geometric properties for transverse Xtype branch platetoCHS connections tested in
tension with variable chord length . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 288
Table D.8 Material properties, applied loading and parametric FE results for transverse Xtype
branch platetoCHS connections tested in tension with variable chord length . . . 292
Table D.9 Geometric properties for longitudinal Xtype connections with variable chord through
thickness elements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 298
Table D.10 Material properties, applied loading and parametric FE results for longitudinal Xtype
connections with variable chord through thickness elements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 299
Table D.11 Geometric properties for skew Xtype branch platetoCHS connections tested in
tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 301
Table D.12 Material properties, applied loading and parametric FE results for skew Xtype
connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 304
Table D.13 Geometric properties for longitudinal Ttype branch platetoCHS connections . . 310
Table D.14 Material properties, applied loading and parametric FE results for longitudinal Ttype
branch platetoCHS connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 312
Table D.15 Geometric properties for transverse Ttype branch platetoCHS connections . . . . 316
Table D.16 Material properties, applied loading and parametric FE results for longitudinal Ttype
branch platetoCHS connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 318
Table D.17 Geometric properties for transverse Ttype branch connections tested in compression
with variable chord length . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 322
Table D.18 Material properties, applied loading and parametric FE results for transverse Ttype
branch connections tested in compression with variable chord length . . . . . . . . . . 323
Table D.19 Geometric properties for Ttype through plate connections tested in tension . . . . 325
Table D.20 Material properties, applied loading and parametric FE results for Ttype through plate
connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 326
xiii
List of Figures xiv
Figure 4.4 Confined grout test strain gauge location and failure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
Figure 4.5 Confined grout average engineering stressstrain behaviour . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
Figure 4.6 Experimental setup for grout filled Ttype platetoCHS connections . . . . . . . . . . . 68
Figure 4.7 Experimental instrumentation for grout filled Ttype platetoCHS connections . . . 68
Figure 4.8 Grout filled experimental connection global and local failure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
Figure 4.9 Loaddeformation behaviour for grout filled platetoCHS 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 postnecked response using the Matic (1985) procedure . . . 78
Figure 5.2 CHS and plate FE engineering stressstrain behaviour . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
Figure 5.3 Nonskew Ttype through platetoCHS connection model with mesh layout and
boundary conditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
Figure 5.4 Nonskew Xtype branch platetoCHS connection model with mesh layout and
boundary conditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
Figure 5.5 Skew Ttype branch platetoCHS connection model with mesh layout and boundary
conditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
Figure 5.6 Standard experimental and numerical FE measurement locations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
Figure 5.7 Typical onequarter FE model mesh arrangements used in mesh sensitivity study . . 83
Figure 5.8 Experimental and FE comparison of Ttype branch platetoCHS connections in tension
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
Figure 5.9 Experimental and FE comparison of Ttype through platetoCHS connections in
tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
Figure 5.10 Experimental and FE comparison of Xtype branch platetoCHS connection in tension
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92
Figure 5.11 Experimental and FE comparison of Ttype branch and through platetoCHS
connections in compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
Figure 6.1 General parametric longitudinal Xtype connection configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
Figure 6.2 General parametric transverse Xtype connection configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
Figure 6.3 General parametric skew Xtype connection configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97
Figure 6.4 General parametric longitudinal Ttype connection configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
Figure 6.5 General parametric transverse Ttype connection configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
Figure 6.6 Ttype loading to exclude chord axial stress at joint face . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99
Figure 6.7 Connection geometric properties for Xtype finite element models . . . . . . . . . . . 102
Figure 6.8 Effect of the number of throughthickness chord elements, for longitudinal Xtype
connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
Figure 6.9 Connection geometric properties for transverse Xtype branch plate finite element
models . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106
Figure 6.10 Connection geometric properties for transverse Ttype branch plate finite element
models . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106
Figure 6.11 Effect of chord length for transverse Xtype platetoCHS connections loaded in tension
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
Figure 6.12 Effect of chord length for transverse Ttype platetoCHS connections loaded in
compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
Figure 7.21 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 7.7, and the
international database for transverse Xtype branch platetoCHS connections tested in
tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128
Figure 7.22 Comparison of de Winkel (1998) and reanalysis results for transverse Xtype branch
platetoCHS connections tested in compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
Figure 7.23 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 7.8, for transverse X
type platetoCHS connections tested in compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133
Figure 7.24 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 7.9, for transverse X
type platetoCHS connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134
Figure 7.25 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 7.13, and the
international database for longitudinal Xtype platetoCHS connections tested in
compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
Figure 7.26 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 7.14, and the
international database for longitudinal Xtype platetoCHS connections tested in
tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136
Figure 7.27 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 7.15, for longitudinal
Xtype platetoCHS connections tested in compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137
Figure 7.28 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 7.16, for longitudinal
Xtype platetoCHS connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138
Figure 8.1 Parametric skew Xtype connection configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141
Figure 8.2 Parametric FE results for skew Xtype platetoCHS connections tested in tension 142
Figure 8.3 Effective geometry for skew Xtype platetoCHS connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144
Figure 8.4 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 8.6, for skew Xtype
platetoCHS connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
Figure 8.5 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 8.7, for skew Xtype
platetoCHS connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146
Figure 8.6 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 8.8, for skew Xtype
platetoCHS connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
Figure 8.7 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 8.9, for skew Xtype
platetoCHS 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 Ttype connection configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155
Figure 10.2 Parametric transverse Ttype connection configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156
Figure 10.3 Typical stress and deformation profile for transverse Ttype platetoCHS connection
tested in compression with plate width ratio of 0.6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
Figure 10.4 Typical stress and deformation profile for transverse Ttype platetoCHS connection
tested in compression with plate width ratio of 1.0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
Figure 10.5 Typical stress and deformation profile for transverse Ttype platetoCHS connection
tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
Figure 10.6 Parametric FE results for transverse Ttype branch platetoCHS connections tested in
compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
Figure 10.7 Parametric FE results for transverse Ttype branch platetoCHS connections tested in
tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161
Figure 10.8 Parametric FE results for transverse Ttype branch platetoCHS connections tested in
compression compared to international database . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162
Figure 10.9 Parametric FE results for transverse Ttype branch platetoCHS 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 Ttype platetoCHS
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 Ttype platetoCHS
connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
Figure 10.12 Typical stress and deformation profile for longitudinal Xtype platetoCHS connection
tested in compression and tension (depth ratio of 1.0 shown) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164
Figure 10.14 Parametric FE results for longitudinal Ttype branch platetoCHS connections tested in
compression compared to international database . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165
Figure 10.13 Parametric FE results for longitudinal Ttype branch platetoCHS connections tested in
compression and tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165
Figure 10.15 Parametric FE results for longitudinal Ttype branch platetoCHS 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 Ttype platetoCHS
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 Ttype platetoCHS
connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167
Figure 10.18 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 10.6, and the
international database for transverse Ttype branch platetoCHS connections tested in
compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169
Figure 10.19 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 10.7, and the
international database for transverse Ttype branch platetoCHS connections tested in
tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 170
Figure 10.20 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 10.8, for transverse T
type platetoCHS connections tested in compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172
Figure 10.21 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 10.9, for transverse T
type platetoCHS connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172
Figure 10.22 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 10.13, and the
international database for longitudinal Ttype platetoCHS connections tested in
compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174
Figure 10.23 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 10.14, and the
international database for longitudinal Ttype platetoCHS connections tested in tension
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175
Figure 10.24 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 10.15, for
longitudinal Ttype platetoCHS connections tested in compression . . . . . . . . . . 176
Figure 10.25 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 10.16, for
longitudinal Ttype platetoCHS connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177
Figure 11.1 Parametric longitudinal Ttype through platetoCHS connection configuration . . 181
Figure 11.2 Parametric transverse Ttype through platetoCHS connection configuration . . . 181
Figure 11.3 Parametric FE results for transverse Ttype through platetoCHS connections . . . 182
Figure 11.4 Parametric FE results for longitudinal Ttype through platetoCHS 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 platetoCHS connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185
Figure 11.7 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Table 11.7, for transverse T
type through platetoCHS connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185
Figure 11.8 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Table 11.8, for longitudinal T
type through platetoCHS connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186
Figure 11.9 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Table 11.9, for longitudinal T
type through platetoCHS connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186
Figure 13.1 Comparison of CIDECT Design Guide No. 1, 2nd Edition (Wardenier et al., 2008a) and
Voth for transverse Xtype 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 Xtype 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 Xtype 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 Xtype 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 Ttype 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 Ttype 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 Ttype 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 Ttype connections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204
Figure A.1 Analytical model for axially loaded Xtype connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 222
Figure A.2 Analytical model for axially loaded Ttype connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 227
Figure A.3 Components of shear flow at any point using sign convention of point i . . . . . . . . 229
Figure B.1 CHS engineering stressstrain behaviour from tensile coupon tests . . . . . . . . . . . . 235
Figure B.3 CHS stub column engineering stressstrain behaviour . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 236
Figure B.2 Plate engineering stressstrain behaviour from tensile coupon tests . . . . . . . . . . . . 236
Figure B.4 Grout engineering stressstrain behaviour for 28 day moist cured cylinders . . . . . . 237
Figure B.5 Grout engineering stressstrain 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 Xtype connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239
Figure C.3 Longitudinal Ttype branch plate connection loaded in tension results . . . . . . . . . 241
Figure C.4 Skew (45) Ttype branch plate connection loaded in tension results . . . . . . . . . . . 242
Figure C.5 Transverse Ttype branch plate connection loaded in tension results . . . . . . . . . . . 243
Figure C.6 Longitudinal Ttype through plate connection loaded in tension results . . . . . . . . 244
Figure C.7 Skew (45) Ttype through plate connection loaded in tension results . . . . . . . . . . 245
Figure C.8 Transverse Ttype through plate connection loaded in tension results . . . . . . . . . . 246
Figure C.9 Longitudinal Ttype branch plate connection loaded in compression results . . . . . 247
Figure C.10 Transverse Ttype branch plate connection loaded in compression results . . . . . . . 248
Figure C.11 Longitudinal Ttype through plate connection loaded in compression results . . . . . 249
Figure C.12 Transverse Ttype through plate connection loaded in compression results . . . . . . 250
Figure C.13 Longitudinal Xtype branch plate connection loaded in tension results . . . . . . . . . 251
Figure C.14 Inclined longitudinal Xtype branch plate connection loaded in tension results . . . 252
Figure C.15 Grout filled longitudinal Ttype branch plate connection loaded in tension results . 253
Figure C.16 Grout filled transverse Ttype branch plate connection loaded in tension results . . 254
Figure C.17 Grout filled longitudinal Ttype through plate connection loaded in tension results 255
Figure C.18 Grout filled transverse Ttype through plate connection loaded in tension results . . 256
Figure D.1 Parametric FE loaddeformation behaviour for longitudinal Xtype branch platetoCHS
connections tested in compression, CX0EC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 268
Figure D.2 Parametric FE loaddeformation behaviour for longitudinal Xtype branch platetoCHS
connections tested in tension, CX0ET . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 270
Figure D.3 Parametric FE loaddeformation behaviour for transverse Xtype branch platetoCHS
connections tested in compression, CX90EC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 280
Figure D.4 Parametric FE loaddeformation behaviour for transverse Xtype branch platetoCHS
connections tested in tension, CX90ET . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 282
Figure D.5 Parametric FE loaddeformation behaviour for transverse Xtype connections tested in
compression with applied chord stress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 287
Figure D.6 Parametric FE loaddeformation behaviour for transverse Xtype branch platetoCHS
connections tested in tension with variable chord length . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 296
Figure D.7 Parametric FE loaddeformation behaviour for longitudinal Xtype connections with
variable chord through thickness elements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 300
Figure D.8 Parametric FE loaddeformation behaviour for skew Xtype branch platetoCHS con
nections tested in tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 307
Figure D.9 Parametric FE loaddeformation behaviour for longitudinal Ttype branch platetoCHS
connections tested in compression, CB0EC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 314
Figure D.10 Parametric FE loaddeformation behaviour for longitudinal Ttype branch platetoCHS
connections tested in tension, CB0ET . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 315
Figure D.11 Parametric FE loaddeformation behaviour for transverse Ttype branch platetoCHS
connections tested in compression, CB90EC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 320
Figure D.12 Parametric FE loaddeformation behaviour for transverse Ttype branch platetoCHS
connections tested in tension, CB90ET . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 321
Figure D.13 Parametric FE loaddeformation behaviour for transverse Ttype branch connections
tested in compression with variable chord length . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 324
Figure D.14 Parametric FE loaddeformation behaviour for longitudinal Ttype through plateto
CHS connections tested in tension, CT0ET . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 327
Figure D.15 Parametric FE loaddeformation behaviour for transverse Ttype through platetoCHS
connections tested in tension, CT90ET . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 328
w0
h1 or bp 1 1 h1 or tp
bp
w0
b1 or tp w0 b1 or bp
w0 tp w0 w0
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
xx
Symbols and Abbreviations xxi
SOLID45 = an 8node solid element with large deformation and strain capabilities and three
translational degrees of freedom per node
SOLID95 = a 20node 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 crosssectional area
A i = crosssectional 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 loaddeformation 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 crosssection
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
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 crosssection
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,Bilinear = connection yield load defined using classical bilinear 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, rigidplastic = connection yield load based on a rigid, perfectlyplastic FE model by Kosteski et al.
(2003)
N y, yieldline = connection yield load based on a yieldline 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 crosssection
V w = weld shear resistance
V ( i ) = shear force at plastic hinge i due to shear flow function, q ( )
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
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
standpoint, HSS members are very efficient, leading to economic advantages. Unlike open Isections, 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 Isection counterpart. Despite the higher price of HSS members per unit weight
relative to Isection members, the high HSS efficiency, leading to lower weight, results in a lower cost for
HSS compression members compared to an Isection member with similar properties. This makes HSS
ideal and costeffective 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 Isections, 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 multifunction 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 Isection 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 Isection, as shown in Figure 1.1. Although branch plate connections with HSS members are
simple to fabricate and are costeffective, the behaviour of branch platetoHSS connections differs from
branch platetoIsection 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 platetoCHS
connection in shown in Figure 1.2.
Figure 1.2 Example of a transverse platetoCHS 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 platetoHSS member con
nections have been proposed: a through plate connection, which connects to two opposite HSS surfaces; a
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 platetoRHS connections (Kosteski, 2001; Kosteski and Packer, 2001a, 2001b,
2002, 2003a, 2003b); however, limited or no research has been completed on stiffened branch plateto
CHS connections. As such, if the unreinforced capacity of a platetoCHS connection is not sufficient,
cumbersome and likely expensive reinforcement details are often used. Two heavily reinforced plateto
CHS connections are shown in Figure 1.3.
Figure 1.4 Example of a skewinclined platetoCHS tension connection (Pedestrian bridge, Singapore)
Complicated structural systems often have elements that intersect each other at nonorthogonal angles
necessitating rotated and complex connection geometries. Connections with branch members inclined to
the longitudinal axis of the chord or rotated about their own axis (or skewed) have become commonplace,
within truss and spaceframe systems, cable stayed roof systems and bridges (see Figure 1.4). Although
platetoHSS connections are now often designed with a full range of skew and inclination angles, research
and recommendations into the effect of nonorthogonal 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 platetoCHS connections, to study their basis and to propose modifications, where neces
sary. Second, the behaviour of skewed branch platetoCHS connections will be determined along with the
development of corresponding design guidelines. Finally, the behaviour of stiffened branch platetoCHS
connections will be examined, with the aim of developing design recommendations for through plateto
CHS connections.
The connection types that are examined herein are of four main groups: Xtype, Ttype, 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 nondimensional
parameters that can be easily compared regardless of connection scale (see Figure 1.5). The basic plateto
w0
h1 or bp 1 1 h1 or tp
bp
w0
b1 or tp w0 b1 or bp
w0 tp w0 w0
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
CHS connection types and their classification, including nonorthogonal connection geometries, are
shown in Table 1.1, including some of which are not explicitly discussed in this research.
This research project aims to verify and/or enhance current design guidelines for branch platetoCHS
connections, then extend these design guidelines to connection orientations currently not addressed such as
skewed plate connections and through platetoCHS connections. The research program includes an
experimental component, the creation and validation of numerical finite element models, a parametric
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 platetoHSS 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 Ttype and Xtype 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 platetoCHS 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 Xtype versus Ttype
connections. Four additional experimental Ttype platetoCHS 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 nonlinear 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 nonlinear 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 loaddisplacement 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
parametric study conducted for X and Ttype branch platetoCHS connections, with the aim of fully
excluding the chord end boundary condition effects from platetoCHS connection behaviour.
Five parametric numerical finite element studies, three Xtype and two Ttype, 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 platetoCHS connection behaviour. First, a study of Xtype 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 Xtype platetoCHS 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 Xtype research program studies the effect
of chord axial stress on transverse connections under branch plate compression load. As the current chord
stress functions for platetoCHS connections are not based on platetoCHS 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 Xtype branch plate connections, the first Ttype 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 Ttype through platetoCHS 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 platetoCHS 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 platetoCHS 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 platetoCHS connections under static loading.
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 nonlinearity, 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 nonlinear loaddeformation 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 platetocircular 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 platetoCHS 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.
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, nonlinear 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 diametertothickness 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 loaddisplacement 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.
A deformation limit serves to define the strength of connections that fail to exhibit a clearlydefined
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 Ktype 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 CHSto
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
loaddeformation curve is relatively flat over a large range of deformations. To express the ultimate defor
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 Tconnections 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 XVE (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
outofflatness or outofstraightness 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 XVE (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 IbeamtoCHS connections,
plate or IbeamtoRHS connections, CHS Xconnections, RHS X and Tconnections) 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
XVE. Further, Kosteski (2001) and Kosteski et al. (2003) state that for branch platetoRHS 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.
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
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 platetoRHS column connections, Lu et
al. (1994) observed that the deformation limit of 3% b 0 is very close to where the normalized loaddisplace
ment curves typically cross for different chord widthtothickness ratios ( 2 0 ). Lu and Wardenier (1995)
show five loaddeformation 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 platetoRHS connections with chord width
ratio ( 1 ) of 0.30 and 0.50 the loaddisplacement curves for various widthtothickness ratios ( 2 0 ) cross
each other at a deformation of 3% b 0 . For transverse platetoRHS connections with chord width ratio ( )
of 0.18 and 0.73 (presented in Figures 2.1(a) and (d)), the loaddisplacement curves for various widthto
thickness ratios ( 2 0 ) cross each other in multiple locations between 3% b 0 and 4.3% b 0 . Finally, for plate
toRHS connections with chord width ratio ( 1 ) of 0.93 (Figure 2.1(e)), the loaddisplacement curves for
various widthtothickness 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 loaddis
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
widthtothickness 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 loaddeformation curves for branch platetoHSS 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
tothickness 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 internationallyagreed deformation criteria adopted by the International
Institute of Welding (IIW) Subcommission XVE 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
(a) Loaddeformation curves for = 0.18 (b) Loaddeformation curves for = 0.30
10 10
3%b0 limit
3%b0 limit
Normalised branch load, N1/(fy0t02)
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) Loaddeformation curves for = 0.50 (d) Loaddeformation curves for = 0.73
10 10
3%b0 limit
1%b0 limit
5%b0 limit
3.7%b0
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)
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 loaddeformation curves for transverse branch platetoRHS column
connections
Welding (IIW) Subcommission XVE, several other methods have been suggested for determining the
yield load and ultimate load from loaddisplacement 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 doubletangent method or bilinear method, the loaddeformation curve is
approximated by two straight lines: one from the origin along the linear elastic portion of the loaddefor
mation curve and one along the second linear portion of the loaddeformation 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, Bilinear ). Packer et al. (1980) resorted to the classical bilinear 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 loaddeformation curves existed at that time.
Kurobane et al. (1984) defined a procedure for determining the pseudo yield load for two different
loaddeformation curves (A and B), as shown in Figure 2.2(c), that do not exhibit a pronounced yield load
while working on CHStoCHS welded connections. These curves were plotted on a natural loglog scale
and were approximated by two straight lines, similar to the previous method. For Curve A, a bilinear
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 bilinear approach is not definitive, as with Curve B, an offset scatter band of 0.25 compared with
the initial slope of the loaddeformation curve is drawn to intersect the curve. The load at which this line
intersects the loaddeformation 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 loaddeformation 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 loaddeformation Curves A and B, and as the first
peak load for loaddeformation 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.
(a) Example of bilinear yield load approximation method (b) Example of bilinear yield load approximation method
by Packer et al. (1980) by Zhao and Hancock (1991)
e
t lin
ent line
nd
2
1 st tange
1 st tang
N1
Ny, Bilinear N1
Ny, Bilinear
(c) Logarithmbased 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, Bilinear
lnNy, Kurobane B
Natural logarithm of
B
C
N1
D
0.25 Scatter band
(e) Breakpoint stiffnesss yield and ultimate load (f) Yield load approximation method by Akiyama et al.
approximation method by Kamba and Taclendo (1998) (1974)
Cracking
B
Point
Branch member load, N1
2/3Ny, Kamba
2/3
initial stiffness, K0
Figure 2.2 Alternative definitions and approximations for yield and ultimate load
Kamba and Taclendo (1998) defined a yield load in relation to the initial stiffness of the loaddeforma
tion curve while studying experimental and finite element (FE) models of transverse branch platetoCHS
connections. Instead of idealizing the loaddeformation curve as two straight lines, a trilinear 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 loaddeformation 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 loaddeformation curves that did not exhibit a
peak load: point C. For loaddeformation 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 trilinear approximation of the numerical loaddeformation 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 loaddeformation curve at the
point of crack initiation back to the vertical axis. Another line is drawn horizontally from the vertical axis
to the loaddeformation 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 loaddeformation 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 platestiffened welded RHStobranch plate
connections, a FEbased rigid, perfectlyplastic 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 firstorder analytical yield line
model, the FE model is reanalysed using effectivelyrigidperfectlyplastic material properties and small
deflection analysis. This model produces a loaddeformation 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 loaddeformation
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
(a) Elastic, perfectlyplastic (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, rigidplastic (125 kN)
S 0 x x
HS HSS 1 S 127 78x17 x203
140 110 kN HS SS 1 SS 203 254 x6. 140 Ny, yieldline (120 kN)
H H 54x 305
S S 2
3 05x plateau tangent line
H S
HS
120 120
plateau tangent line
100 Ny, yieldline (120 kN) 100
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 trilinear 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.
Branch platetoCHS 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 platetoCHS 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 reappraisal 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 reappraisal (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 PlatetoCircular 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 platetoCHS 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 platetoCHS limit states, as well as
branch plate and weld design, are described in the following sections.
The platetoCHS 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 platetoCHS 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 CHStoCHS connection chord plastification and the evolution of design
equations for T and Xtype branch platetoCHS connections.
Unlike branch plate or RHStoRHS connection plastification behaviour that can be sufficiently
described by connecting face yield line models, branch plate or CHStoCHS 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
Table 2.1 Design resistance of uniplanar branch platetoCHS 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 Xtype 1 0.7
1 t0 1 t0
2 0.2
d0 d0 Ttype 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 Xtype
t0 t0 5 ( 1 + 0.4 )
Ttype
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 (Ttype) or 2 40 (Xtype). 0.4 1.0
f y f u 0.8
Tension chords must be 2 50 (Ttype) Longitudinal plate:
f y0 460 MPa
or 2 40 (Xtype). 14
Notes: 1. For transverse Xtype 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 .
The ring model for X and Ttype 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 Ttype CHStoCHS 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 Xtype connections with branch axial load
An Xtype 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 AB and AC (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 AB (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
Plastic hinge
Plastic hinge
Saddle Point
N1/(2Be)
N1/2
N1
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 AB (c) Free body diagram of section AC
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 AC
(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
The axial, shear and plastic moment capacity of each hinge are derived based on a rectangular crosssec
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
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 Xtype connection
( N 1 ) is given by:
2
2f y0 t 0 ( B e d 0 )
N 1 = 
. 2.6
1
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
crosssection, 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:
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 Xtype 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 Xtype 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 Ttype connections with branch axial load
The derivation of an analytical model for a Ttype connection, even in the most simple form, is signifi
cantly more complex than that of an Xtype connection due to the addition of shear over the chord depth
in the form of a shear flow distribution q ( ) . Unlike Xtype connections where the force applied by one
branch member is transferred through the chord crosssection to the opposing branch member, the force
applied by the branch member in a Ttype 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
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).
D
Plastic hinge
Plastic hinge
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 AB (c) Free body diagram of section AC
D
ND
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 Xtype con
nections, most of the derivations of ring model strength expressions for Ttype connections found in the
literature are based on the simple approach. A more detailed derivation can be found in Appendix A.
Like an Xtype connection, a Ttype 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
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 Xtype 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 Ttype connection, ( N 1 ) is given by (van der Vegte, 1995):
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 )
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 Xtype 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 radiustothickness ratio parameter
( ) is added by van der Vegte (1995) to Equation 2.17 in the same manner as the term presents itself in the
Xtype connection analytical model. The result is an expression for Ttype 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
The established analytical ring model expressions for the strength of X and Ttype CHS connec
tions, from Sections2.3.1.1 and 2.3.1.2 respectively, have been used in conjunction with experimental and
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 Ttype branch platetoCHS 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 Kconnections including branch plate connections. The design equations
developed for X and Ttype branch platetoCHS connections were based on the simple ring model
approach. For transverse Xtype branch platetoCHS 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
2
6.57f y0 t 0
N 1 =  2.22
1 0.81
when Equation 2.21 is substituted into the Xtype ring model (Equation 2.6). For longitudinal Xtype
branch platetoCHS 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 Xtype branch platetoCHS
becomes:
2
N 1 = f y0 t 0 ( 6.57 + 2 ) 2.25
The expressions developed for Ttype longitudinal and transverse platetoCHS connections are based
on the simple Ttype 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 )
2 2
N 1 = 6.43f y0 t 0 ( 1 + 4.60 ) 2.27
As with Xtype longitudinal branch platetoCHS connections, Kurobane et al. (1976) add the branch
plate depth ( h 1 ) to the effective connection length for longitudinal Ttype 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 Ttype longitudinal branch platetoCHS 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 platetoCHS connections presented by Wardenier (1982), as with those equations presented by
Kurobane et al. (1976), are adaptations from the ring models used for CHStoCHS 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 platetoCHS connection capacity ( N 1 ) developed by Wardenier (1982) are:
2
5.2f y0 t 0
N 1 =  f ( n ) for transverse Xtype 2.29
1 0.81
2
N 1 = f y0 t 0 ( 5.2 + 2 ) f ( n ) for longitudinal Xtype 2.30
2 2
N 1 = f y0 t 0 ( 4.2 + 21.3 ) f ( n ) for transverse Ttype 2.31
2
N 1 = f y0 t 0 ( 4.2 + 3 ) f ( n ) for longitudinal Ttype 2.32
where
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 plateto
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 platetoCHS connection
resistance ( N 1 ) presented by Wardenier et al. (1991) are:
2
5f y0 t 0
N 1 = 
 f ( n ) for transverse X and Ttype 2.33
1 0.81
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 platetoCHS connections the function:
N 1 = f y0 t 0 ( 4 + 20 ) f ( n )
2 2
2.35
fits the results from transverse Ttype connection tests better than the simplified expression given by
Equation 2.33. A limit of validity was introduced for longitudinal branch platetoCHS 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 PlatetoCircular 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 platetoCHS connections.
A recent reevaluation 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 plateto
CHS connections. As the expressions for platetoCHS connections have been closely based on CHSto
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 plateto
CHS connection design. An initial general expression for Xtype connections with branch members con
structed of plate (transverse and longitudinal plate I, box and cross branch members) was developed by
combining the longitudinal platetoCHS expression from the first edition of CIDECT Design Guide No.
1 (Equation 2.34) with the newly modified Xtype CHStoCHS 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 Ttype 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 Ttype 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 Xtype 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 Ttype 2.39
sin 1
Though it is possible to use Equations 2.36 and 2.37 for longitudinal platetoCHS 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 Ttype connec
tions. This expression can be rewritten as:
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
platetoCHS 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 Xtype 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 Ttype 2.42
sin 1
2
f y0 t 0
N 1 = 5 ( 1 + 0.4 ) Q f 
 for longitudinal X and Ttype 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 platetoCHS connections is based on numerical work (de
Winkel, 1998) for IsectiontoCHS 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 .
The criteria for design of both the branch plate and the weld are relatively simple in comparison to
other possible failure modes of platetoHSS connections, yet significant work has been completed to
understand these failure modes. For longitudinal and transverse branch platetoCHS 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
The design of transverse branch platetoRHS connections is significantly more complex due to the
interaction between the chord side walls and the branch plate producing a nonuniform stress distribution
over the branch plate width that influences connection stiffness. The peak stress of the nonuniform stress
distribution will occur adjacent to the connection stiff points, which, in the case of transverse branch plate
toRHS connections, develop at the corners of the chord webs. To account for the nonuniform stress dis
tribution in the design of the branch plate, the nonuniform 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
Figure 2.6 Variation of stress distribution in full width transverse platetoRHS connection
(adapted from Wardenier et al., 1981 and Davies and Packer, 1982)
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
toRHS connections normalized with respect to chord width ( b 0 ) was given by:
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
platetoRHS 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 nonuniform 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.
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 CSAS1609 (CSA, 2009) for yielding phenomena, results in a design
expression of:
CIDECT Design Guide No. 3 (Packer et al., 1992) for transverse branch platetoRHS 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 platetoRHS connections under branch plate axial load have been shown (Cao et
al., 1997 and 1998) to have a nonuniform stress distribution along the plate width ( h 1 ), similar to trans
verse branch platetoRHS 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 nonuniform stress distribution is therefore
likely a result of stress concentration at the plate ends. To account for the nonuniform 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 nonuniform 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 platetoRHS connections.
Wardenier (1982) has clearly shown that CHStoCHS Xconnections (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 platetoRHS connections, for
branch platetoCHS connections. The current design recommendations by CIDECT (Wardenier et al.,
2008a) do not, however, include an effective width parameter for branch platetoCHS connections and it
is unclear what influence the nonuniform branch plate stress distribution has on the design of these plate
toCHS connections.
N1 N1
Connection
stress distribution
Branch applied
stress distribution
N1 N1
(a) (b)
For both transverse and longitudinal branch platetoCHS connections, the limit states resistance of a
filletwelded joint, under either shear, tension or compression, is given in the Canadian Standard CSAS16
09 (CSA, 2009) as the lower of:
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 nonuniform stress distribution due to local stiffening the weld is also subject
to nonuniform stresses, resulting in the use of an effective weld length for design that accommodates the
effects of the nonuniform stress distribution, as discussed previously.
Chord punching shear failure occurs in branch platetoHSS 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
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 RHStoRHS or branch plateto
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 platetoRHS 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 platetoRHS 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 platetoRHS connections (Packer et al., 2009) opt to reduce the
branch plate load capacity by using an effective width criterion that incorporates the nonuniform 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 platetoCHS 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),
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 platetoHSS connections, due to the close proximity of the plate extremities and
the chord side walls for RHS connections or sides for CHS connections, a nonuniform stress distribution
is developed in the plate and the connecting face of the main chord member. For branch platetoRHS
connections, the nonuniform stress distribution and reduction in capacity is captured by a branch plate
effective width ( b ep ), but for branch platetoCHS 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 fitup 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 platetoCHS 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.
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 platetoRHS connections that effectively doubles the
connection strength. The following section summarizes some of the stiffening methods proposed and the
corresponding research.
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 CHStoCHS T, Y and Xtype connections under branch member axial ten
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 LlewelynParry (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 LlewelynParry, 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 preinstallation of stiffeners
before the jacket sections (cans) are assembled. Structural applications that use small diameter chords are
therefore generally limited to other stiffening methods.
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 Ktype RHS connections experimentally to develop
comprehensive design guidelines. The program consisted of compression loaded Xtype connections where
h0 h1 h0 b0
Dispersed 2
1 Xtype connection (1 = 90):
bearing area
h0 Ab = h1b1
Ad = (2h0+ h1)b1
h1/sin1
2h0 2h0
Ttype connection (inclined branch):
2
1 Ab = h1b1/sin1
Ad = (4h0+ h1/sin1)b1
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
(Equation 2.57) was also applied to Ttype 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 Ttype concretefilled RHS connections under branch member tension load
exhibited significant increase in stiffness; however, only a little increase in yield load (defined by the bilin
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 CHStoCHS 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 CHStoCHS concretefilled Ttype 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:
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 platetoCHS connections. The result is a 38% reduction in punching shear capacity for filled
platetoCHS 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
Significant research has been completed on stiffening RHStoRHS, CHStoCHS and branch plate
toRHS connections under branch member axial load and inplane 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 widthtothickness ratio of the RHS
chord ( 2 0 ), the effective branch platetochord 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 platetoRHS connection can be designed as an
RHStoRHS connection if the stiffening plate is effectivelyrigid 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 RHStoRHS connections developing a yield line model to describe the
connection behaviour; however, these models are only valid for Ttype connections loaded in branch mem
ber axial compression and not branch member axial tension.
Doubler or collar plate stiffeners for CHStoCHS 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 Xtype CHStoCHS connections stiffened with doubler or col
lar plates under branch member axial load and inplane 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 CHStoCHS Ttype connections concluded that
there was significant connection strength increase for stiffened connections compared to their unstiffened
counterparts; 39% increases for branch member compressive load and 16% increases for branch member
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 Xtype connections under inplane bending con
cluded that a strength increase of 240% for doubler plate and 280% for collar plate connections, compared
with similar unstiffened connections, was possible.
Kosteski and Packer (2001a, 2003a) and Kosteski (2001) examined the behaviour of longitudinal
through platetoRHS connections compared to similar longitudinal branch platetoRHS connections
through an extensive experimental and numerical program. Through platetoRHS 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
platetoRHS (Equation 2.62; Cao et al., 1998) could be doubled for longitudinal through platetoRHS
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 platetoRHS 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 platetoRHS connection stiffness is a simple fabrication solution,
whereas the use of doubler plates for stiffening of branch platetoCHS 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 plateto
elliptical hollow section (EHS) connections was conducted by Willibald et al. (2006) and Zhao (2005).
Both branch and through platetoEHS connections were tested under uniaxial branch plate tension load
N1
h1
t1
t0
h0
b0
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
The behaviour of simple branch platetocircular 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 platetoCHS connections (see Table 2.1: Wardenier et al., 2008a) include branch
width or depthtochord diameter ratio ( 1 or 1 ), chord radiustothickness 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
toCHS 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 platetoCHS 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 platetoCHS connections tested
under quasistatic 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 platetoCHS connections including experimental specimen
description, geometric and material properties, experimental methods and results.
A total of 12 unfilled platetoCHS connections were tested: six Ttype connections under quasistatic
branch axial tensile load, four Ttype connections under quasistatic branch axial compressive load and two
Xtype connections under quasistatic 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 Ttype branch plate connections and three Ttype 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 Ttype branch Skew (45) Ttype branch Transverse Ttype branch
platetoCHS connection platetoCHS connection platetoCHS connection
loaded in tension (CB0EA) loaded in tension (CB45EA) loaded in tension (CB90EA)
N1 N1 N1
N1 N1 N1
Longitudinal Ttype through Skew (45) Ttype through Transverse Ttype through
platetoCHS connection platetoCHS connection platetoCHS connection
loaded in tension (CT0EA) loaded in tension (CT45EA) loaded in tension (CT90EA)
To determine the influence of branch plate loading sense, four of the Ttype connections from series
one were also tested under plate compression loading: branch and through platetoCHS 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 platetoCHS 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.
N1 N1 N1 N1
N1 N1 N1 N1
Longitudinal Ttype branch Transverse Ttype branch Longitudinal Ttype through Transverse Ttype through
platetoCHS connection platetoCHS connection platetoCHS connection platetoCHS connection
loaded in compression (CB0EB) loaded in compression (CB90EB) loaded in compression (CT0EB) loaded in compression (CT90EB)
The fourth series consisted of two Xtype 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 Xtype 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 Ttype connections.
N1
N1
N1 N1 N1
N1 N1 N1 N1 N1
Longitudinal Ttype branch Longitudinal Xtype branch Inclined longitudinal Xtype branch
platetoCHS connection platetoCHS connection platetoCHS connection
loaded in tension (CB0EA) loaded in tension (XB90EA) loaded in tension (XB45EA)
All connections were proportioned to have a nominal width ratio ( 1 ) or depth ratio ( 1 ) of 0.457 and
a radiustothickness ratio of the chord ( 0 ) of 24.4. Each connection was fabricated from an
ASTM A500/A500M10 (ASTM, 2010) Grade C coldformed circular hollow section with nominal
diameter ( d 0 ) and thickness ( t 0 ) of 219 mm and 4.8 mm respectively and a CAN/CSAG40.2004/
G40.2104 (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 Xtype
branch platetoCHS 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 WeldingGas Shielded (FCAWG) 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 shotblasted.
The geometric and material properties of the experimental connections were measured to verify that
minimum specifications were met and to obtain exact material stressstrain behaviour and connection
dimensions used in the development of numerical finite element models (see Sections5.2 and 5.3). These
properties for all empty platetoCHS connections are summarized in the following sections with supple
mentary details provided in Appendix B.
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 Xtype connections violate the diametertothickness ratio of the chord ( 2 0 ) by exceeding
a valued of 40 and some longitudinal platetoCHS 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).
The tensile engineering stressstrain (  ) 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/E8M08 (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/E8M08 (ASTM, 2008c). Initially six CHS coupons
were tested without recording the fracture load because at the time of testing the fracture properties were
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
7850 kg/m3.
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 stressstrain 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)
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,
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
radiusofgyration (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 stressstrain 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 loaddisplacement 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
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.
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 Ttype 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 pretensioned to provide as much restraint as possible. To avoid slip in the yokespecimen joint
and to ensure proper test specimen alignment, before the bolts were pretensioned 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 Xtype 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 Ttype and noninclined Xtype connection configurations were instrumented with eight LVDTs
(Linear Variable Differential Transformer) to measure the deformation along the connection surface cen
Reaction
Stiff reaction yoke
Figure 3.7 Experiment setup for Ttype connections (2700 kN capacity frame)
MTS
Upper cross head
Actuator movement
Test connection
Reaction
Figure 3.8 Experiment setup for Xtype connections (1000 kN capacity frame)
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
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
Crown
5 strain gauges spaced 20 mm point
apart on plate surface
LVDT Strain gauge
LVDT bracket fixed to plate position position
All measurements in mm
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 loaddeformation 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 Xtype 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.
The experimental test results for platetoCHS 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 Ttype 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 PlatetoCircular Hollow Structural Section Connections
Chapter 3: Experimental Program with Empty CHS Chords 53
Section 3.2; detailed results for all platetoCHS connections with empty chords can be found in
Appendix C.
(a) Transverse Ttype connection in compression (CB90EB) (b) Longitudinal Xtype connection in tension (XB90EA)
(c) Transverse Ttype connection in tension (CB90EA) (d) Transverse through connection in tension (CT90EA)
Combined punching shear and tear out failure Combined punching shear and tear out 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 platetoCHS connec
tion tested in tension (CB90EA) and transverse through platetoCHS 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 loaddeformation response is the most effective way to quantitatively describe the
behaviour of platetoCHS connections. From the loaddeformation 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) Ttype connections in tension (b) Longitudinal Xtype branch plate connections in tension
500 300
90 Branch skew angle, 1 Ttype
90 200 Xtype
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 Ttype connections (tension and compression) (d) Longitudinal Ttype connections (tension and compression)
500 500
3%b0 limit
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)
shear and tear out failure) and (iii) branch plate yielding, N 1, pl . A comparison of loaddeformation 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 platetoCHS 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
Ttype 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
Ttype 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
Ttype 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
<
Ttype 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
Xtype 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.
The punching shear resistance ( N 1 PS ) effectively predicts the experimental global maximum load ( N 1, gm )
for Ttype 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 platetoRHS connections (e.g. with transverse plate: see Section 2.3.2).
Most branch plate connections exhibited a nonuniform stress distribution across the plate width near
the connection surface. For example, the longitudinal Ttype 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 Ttype branch platetoCHS connection (CB0EB; Figure 3.14(a)) and the transverse T
type branch platetoCHS 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
loaddisplacement 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.
16
10
200
8
4
100
2
50
0
300 200 100 0 100 200 300
West Centre East
Position along connection surface centreline (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)
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)
0
25
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)
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)
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
SouthEast Centre NorthWest
Position along plate width (mm)
From the branch and through platetoCHS 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.
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
(Ttype longitudinal and transverse platetoCHS connections tested in tension) and a connecting face
compression model (Ttype longitudinal and transverse platetoCHS 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.
Through platetoRHS connections have been previously shown to have approximately double the
capacity of similar branch platetoRHS connections (Kosteski and Packer, 2003a); however, through plate
toCHS 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 platetoCHS 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 platetoCHS 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 platetoRHS 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 platetoCHS 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 compressionloaded and tensionloaded
branch plate connections (see Figures 3.12(c) and (d)) results in a combined loaddeformation 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 platetoCHS 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).
a Global maximum load used in lieu of N 1, 3% as fracture occurred before the 3% d 0 limit was reached
By comparing longitudinal platetoCHS Xtype and Ttype 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
dinal Xtype connections and longitudinal Ttype connections, are quite different; the Ttype 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 Ttype connection. The chord end plates of the Xtype
connection deformed during testing (see Figure 3.11(b)), thus not providing an almostfullyrestrained
condition as with the Ttype 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.
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 platetoconcrete 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 platetogrout 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 quasistatic tension branch plate loading.
A total of four Ttype grout filled platetoCHS connections were tested under quasistatic 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 Ttype Transverse grout filled Ttype Longitudinal grout filled Ttype Transverse grout filled Ttype
branch platetoCHS connection branch platetoCHS connection through platetoCHS connection through platetoCHS connection
loaded in tension (CB0FA) loaded in tension (CB90FA) loaded in tension (CT0FA) loaded in tension (CT90FA)
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 radiustothickness ratio of the
chord ( 0 ) of 24.4. Each connection was fabricated from a ASTM A500/A500M10 (ASTM, 2010) Grade
C coldformed circular hollow section with nominal diameter ( d 0 ) and thickness ( t 0 ) of 219 mm and
4.8 mm respectively and a CAN/CSAG40.2004/G40.2104 (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 mineralaggregate, nonshrink construction
grout that was reported to comply with specification ASTM C1107/C1107M08 (ASTM, 2008b), Grade
C at flowable consistency [140% flow on flow table, ASTM C230/C230M08 (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.
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 stressstrain behaviour and connection
dimensions. These properties for all grout filled platetoCHS connections are summarized in the following
sections with supplementary details provided in Appendix B.
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 platetoCHS 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).
To determine the engineering stressstrain (  ) behaviour of the unconfined grout used to fill the
platetoCHS 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/C192M07 (ASTM, 2007) to obtain the 28 day compressive strength ( f c ). The remaining
Branch PlatetoCircular 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
45
fu fu
40
Table 4.2 Measured unconfined
35 28 day moist cured grout material properties
Engineering stress, (MPa)
The engineering stressstrain 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 stressstrain curves are shown in Figure 4.3 for the
28 day standard compressive strength and the strength just after the grout filled platetoCHS connection
tests (81 days). A summary of the construction grout measured material properties is presented in Table 4.2.
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 loaddisplacement response which was used to calculate the average engineering stressstrain 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
more ductile and has a significant increase in strength (155 %) over unconfined grout (at 81 days). For the
grout filled platetoCHS connections, the applied stresses on the grout core are different to those applied
to the steelconfined 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 platetoCHS 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,
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 pretensioned to
provide as much restraint as possible. To avoid slip in the yokespecimen joint and to ensure proper test
specimen alignment, before the bolts were pretensioned 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 Ttype 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
Reaction
Stiff reaction yoke
Figure 4.6 Experimental setup for grout filled Ttype platetoCHS connections
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 Ttype platetoCHS connections
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 loaddeformation 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).
The experimental test results for platetoCHS 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 platetoCHS 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 platetoCHS connections and branch plate
fracture occurred for both filled through platetoCHS connections. The transverse branch platetoCHS
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 platetoCHS experi
mental tests, the connection loaddeformation response is the most effective way to quantitatively describe
the behaviour of grout filled platetoCHS connections. From the loaddeformation 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.
(a) Transverse Ttype connection in tension (CB90FA) (b) Longitudinal Ttype through connection in tension (CT0FA)
Figure 4.8 Grout filled experimental connection global and local failure
(a) Filled and unfilled Ttype branch plate connections (b) Filled and unfilled Ttype 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)
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)
For grout filled longitudinal and transverse branch platetoCHS 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 platetoCHS connections
over their unfilled counterparts to the extent that branch plate yielding and fracture govern the test behav
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 loaddeformation 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 platetoCHS 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 Ttype 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
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)
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 platetoCHS connections
(Figure 4.11), it is clear that the degree of nonuniform stress for grout filled connections is decreased. The
grout filled transverse branch platetoCHS connection has minimal stress increase at the plate edges,
whereas substantial stress increase was seen in the unfilled connection.
The overall connection behaviour of the two grout filled branch platetoCHS 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 platetoCHS connections (Figure 4.10(a)) it is clear that the con
50
50 75
0
50 40 30 20 10 0 10 20 30 40 50
North Centre South
Position along plate width (mm)
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
loaddeformation 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 platetoCHS connections
( N 1 PS ), Equations 4.1 and 4.2 (Wardenier et al., 2008a)
f y0 t 0
N 1 PS = 1.16h 1 
 for longitudinal plates 4.1
sin2 1
are compared with the experimental fracture load ( N u ) of grout filled branch platetoCHS (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 platetoCHS 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
Thus, Equations 4.3 and 4.4 are unnecessarily conservative and are not recommended for platetogrout
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 loaddeformation 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 platetoCHS 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
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.
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 platetoCHS 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 loaddisplacement 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 eightnode solid brick elements
(SOLID45) or 20node solid brick elements (SOLID95) were used; each with three translational degrees of
freedom per node and reduced integration with hourglass control (limits zeroenergy modes that are math
ematically viable, but not physically possible). All FE models were analysed using nonlinear time step anal
ysis which incorporated nonlinear 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 nearzero 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
For all finite element models, a multilinear true stressstrain ( 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/A500M10 (ASTM, 2010) Grade C coldformed CHS and CAN/CSAG40.2004/G40.2104
(CSA, 2004b) Grade 300W steel plate, in the form of engineering stressstrain (  ) 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/E8M08 (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 stressstrain
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
Postnecking, 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 platetoCHS 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 postnecking response as they have
been shown to remain in the prenecked region. The CHS material, however, clearly exhibits large defor
mations related to the postnecked 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 postneck tensile coupon material
response with a rectangular crosssection (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 crosssec
tional area through image analysis or other means during testing. To verify the correlation between the
experimental behaviour and response using the numericallygenerated prediction, FE models of each cou
pon test were often used. A method developed by Matic (1985) and modified by MartinezSaucedo et al.
(2006) and MartinezSaucedo (2007) to determine the postnecking material behaviour without the meas
urement of necked crosssectional area is described and adopted herein.
Matic (1985) suggests a procedure to describe the postnecking 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 stresstrue 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 PlatetoCircular Hollow Structural Section Connections
Chapter 5: Finite Element Connection Modelling 78
lysed with the material defined by the Matic true stressstrain 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 stressstrain curve are defined. MartinezSaucedo (2007)
suggests that the Matic (1985) curve be utilized only in the postnecked region of the true stressstrain
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, MartinezSaucedo (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 strainhardening.
(a) Matic true stressstrain material properties curve construction (b) FE coupon model and equivalent stress distribution at failure
1400
FE coupon mesh
(SOLID45: 8node brick)
1200
FE coupon at fracture
Matic curve (von Mises nodal stress)
1000
True stress, T (MPa)
200
0
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
True strain, T
Figure 5.1 Determination of CHS postnecked response using the Matic (1985) procedure
600
FE behaviour
postnecking
500 (20node brick)
CHS experimental
Engineering stress, (MPa)
FE behaviour
and FE behaviour postnecking
400 prenecking (8node brick)
Plate experimental and
CHS experimental
FE behaviour prenecking
300 fracture
200
100
0
0 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 0.30 0.35
Engineering strain,
During tensile testing of CHS coupons, the engineering stressstrain relationship was determined until
the point of necking, at which time the clip gauge was removed; however, the maximum elongation and
the load at fracture were recorded. To complete the curve between necking and fracture the method pro
posed by Matic (1985) and modified by MartinezSaucedo (2007) is adopted herein. The postnecked true
stresstrue 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 stresstrue strain tensile coupon curve at the point of
necking. The interval used to generate the Matic curve in the postnecked region ( T = 0.01 ) was chosen
to capture a smooth true stressstrain behaviour (Figure 5.1(a)). The combined tensile coupon and gener
ated true stresstrue strain curve was then used in an FE model of an experimental coupon (Figure 5.1(b))
to produce a numerical engineering stressstrain curve which was then compared to the average experi
mental tensile coupon engineering stressstrain 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 nearzero 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 platetoCHS connections:
SOLID45, an 8node brick element and SOLID95, a 20node brick element.
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 Xtype connections respectively was modelled with symmetric boundary conditions
applied to the cut faces (Figures 5.3 and 5.4). For Ttype connections with a skew angle of 45 no planes of
symmetry exist and the entire connection was modelled (Figure 5.5). For Ttype 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 fullyconstrained 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 Xtype connection, the end plate was always modelled but was not restrained, to recreate
experimental test conditions. For T and Xtype branch plate FE connection models, to fully represent fab
Weld
Figure 5.3 Nonskew Ttype through platetoCHS connection model with mesh layout and boundary
conditions
Weld
No end restraint
Figure 5.4 Nonskew Xtype branch platetoCHS connection model with mesh layout and boundary
conditions
Weld
CHS
End weld
Figure 5.5 Skew Ttype branch platetoCHS 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 Ttype 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
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 platetoCHS 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 numericallymodelled 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 Xtype 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.
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
To determine the element type and mesh arrangement best suited for modelling branch and through
platetoCHS connections, a sensitivity study was performed. Two brick type elements were examined for
connection modelling: SOLID45, an 8node solid element with large deformation and strain capabilities
and three translational degrees of freedom per node and SOLID95, a 20node 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 8node Fine mesh using 8node Course mesh using 8node Course mesh using 20node
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 onequarter 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 Ttype 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 loaddeformation 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 20node brick elements (SOLID95) showed slightly better correlation with the experimental
results than a fine mesh of 8node 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 8node 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 8nodes (SOLID45), and with endplate modelling produced the best
agreement with experimental loaddeformation 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 FEexperimental correlations are given later
in Section 5.4.
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 nearzero 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
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 plateto
CHS connection tested in compression (CB90EB) that used ef = 0.60 ). The mean of the experimental
toFE 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.
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 reanalysed 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 experimentaltoFE results for the global maximum load ( N 1, gm N 1, gmFE ) is
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 platetoCHS 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
Ttype 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
Ttype through
CT45EA 347 352 315 393 1.10 0.90
plate in tension
CT90EA 447 459 426 470 1.05 0.98
a a
Ttype 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
Ttype through CT0EB 273 <387 252 400 1.08 0.97
plate in compression CT90EB c 400 c 449  0.89
Xtype 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 MartinezSaucedo 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.
In general, the finite element connection models correlated well with the experimental tests with
respect to overall loaddeformation behaviour, the 3% d 0 deformation limit load ( N 1, 3% ) where applicable,
spot displacements, fracture location and ultimate failure mode. Due to slightly unsymmetrical loading and
plate initial outofstraightness 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
loaddeformation 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.
The loaddeformation response of the FE models for Ttype branch platetoCHS 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 crosssection 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 firstkilled 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 platetoCHS 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.
(a) Loaddeformation 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
50
0
0 5 10 15 20
Connection 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)
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 Ttype branch platetoCHS connections in tension
The loaddeformation response of the FE models for Ttype through platetoCHS 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 platetoCHS 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 outofplane 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.
The loaddeformation response of the FE model for the Xtype branch platetoCHS 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.
(a) Loaddeformation 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)
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
300
350
150
250
300
200
100 250
150
200
150 100
50
100
0
50 40 30 20 010 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 Ttype through platetoCHS connections in tension
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 Xtype branch platetoCHS connection in tension
For Ttype branch and through platetoCHS 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 loaddeformation behaviour of the FE models and the experimen
tal tests are very similar (see Figure 5.11(a)). The FE model loaddeformation response of the longitudinal
branch platetoCHS connection and the transverse through platetoCHS 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 platetoCHS 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.
(a) Loaddeformation behaviour (b) Connection failure for longitudinal (0) branch plate
500
300 90
0
Experimental
Numerical FE Fracture
200
3%d0 limit
0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
Connection 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 Ttype branch and through platetoCHS connections
in compression
One of the primary goals of conducting a series of parametric studies into branch platetoCHS 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 quasifixed
boundary conditions of Ttype 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 Ttype connection in a threepoint, simplysupported,
bending configuration for numerical parametric studies provides the lowest connection capacity of possible
configurations.
Second, for any experimental or FE Ttype arrangement with the branch member in axial tension or
compression, equilibriuminduced 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 inplane bending moments applied at the chord ends for Ttype 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
The longitudinal Xtype 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 Xtype connection configurations, all of the
longitudinal Xtype 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 Xtype connection configurations.
Both longitudinal and transverse Xtype 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 oneeighth 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 loaddis
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
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
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
The construction and analysis of Xtype skew parametric connections is almost identical to that of lon
gitudinal and transverse Xtype 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 outofplane buckling as was the case for the oneeighth Xtype 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 PlatetoCircular 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
d0 A
A
Bottom
l1 connection
surface
l0'/2 l0'/2
N1
l0
North
w0
bp 1
West East
w0
tp
South
6.2.3 Ttype Branch and Through PlatetoCHS Parametric Connection Modelling with
Compensating End Moment
Both longitudinal and transverse Ttype 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 Ttype parametric connection models. Like Xtype parametric connection models the general
mesh layout, material properties and use of a onequarter model were retained from Ttype FE models of
experimental connections. The number of throughthickness 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 Xtype parametric connection models the load
l0'/2 l0'/2
l0
North
w0
West East
w0
South
d0 A
A
l0'/2 l0'/2
l0
North
1 w0
West East
w0
South
As mentioned previously, to take a conservative approach Ttype connections were modelled in simple
threepoint bending, or in the case of a onequarter 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 equilibriuminduced chord bending moment at the joint face
(or axial chord stress) is produced. To exclude the equilibriuminduced chord axial stress due to bending
moment at the joint face, counteracting inplane 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.
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 Ttype 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 Ttype par
ametric studies (see Chapter 9).
There are, however, two significant issues associated with the application of an inplane 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.
The second issue associated with the application of an inplane 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 loadcontrolled 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 nonconvergent for connections that exhibit large
deformations and displacements. For example, a branch platetoCHS connection under branch plate com
pression load experiences snap through behaviour where the connection load drops as forces in the
deformed connection redistribute. If loadcontrolled analysis was used, the connection would undergo sig
nificant deformation for a minute increase in load as this redistribution takes place, resulting in a noncon
vergent model.
To allow each analysis to run effectively, displacementcontrolled 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 displacementcontrol
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 loaddeformation curve, must be implemented for any given time
step. To accomplish this, a Taylor series (Equation 6.2) in combination with an endoftimestep 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 ).
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 loaddeformation 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 loaddeformation 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.
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 8node brick elements over the CHS chord thickness. As the CHS chord was relatively thin
( t 0 = 4.78 or 2 = 45.84 ) the throughthickness chord elements were small and uniform; however, it
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 throughthickness chord elements on the behaviour of Xtype plateto
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 throughthickness chord elements on the behaviour of X
type platetoCHS 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 Xtype 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
For each longitudinal Xtype connection, the loaddisplacement 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 loaddeformation 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
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 throughthickness 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 throughthickness 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 throughthickness elements.
25
Tension
2 = 13.8
Normalised branch load, N1,u/fy0t02
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 throughthickness chord elements, for longitudinal Xtype
connections
6.4 Chord Length and Boundary Condition Effect on the Behaviour of Plateto
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
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 Xtype HSSto
HSS connection behaviour.
Connelly and Zettlemoyer (1989) conducted a numerical investigation into the effects of boundary
conditions on the behaviour of uniplanar CHStoCHS Kconnections by comparing the numerical analy
sis results from both isolated and frameintegrated connections. The study concluded that the capacity of
isolated and framemounted 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 Ktype connec
tion behaviour can be considerable, but varies depending on connection geometric parameters (braceto
chord diameter ratio, ; chord radiustothickness ratio, ).
Research on the effect of chord length on the behaviour of Xtype CHStoCHS connections was
completed by van der Vegte (1995) and subsequently expanded for both X and Ttype CHStoCHS 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 Xtype CHStoCHS connections under branch member axial load for 16 geometric
configurations. The bracetochord 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 diametertothickness 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 Ttype CHStoCHS 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
inplane end moments to exclude the effect of equilibriuminduced inplane bending moments at the
joints (similar to the method used in Section 6.2). Similar to the Xtype CHStoCHS study, the numerical
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 platetoCHS 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 platetoCHS connections, similar studies to determine the effect of chord length and
boundary conditions on the behaviour of transverse Xtype platetoCHS connections loaded in tension
and transverse Ttype platetoCHS connections loaded in compression were conducted and are described
in the following sections.
The study on the effect of chord length and boundary conditions for Xtype transverse branch plate
toCHS 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 Xtype branch plate connections
with the expectation that both free and fixedend 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 Ttype transverse branch platetoCHS 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 crosssection 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 nonconvergent 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 nonconvergent model analysis. As
N1
Top
connection t1 b1
surface
3b1
B 1 B
t0 w1
Table 6.2 Geometric parameters
d0 A for Xtype 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
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
For each Xtype connection under branch plate axial tension load, the loaddisplacement 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
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 nondimensionalized 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
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
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 Xtype platetoCHS 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
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 CHStoCHS 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 semirigid boundary condi
tions likely increased the ultimate connection capacity observed by a considerable margin.
For each Ttype connection under branch plate axial compression load, the loaddisplacement 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 midheight.
As with the Xtype 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
(a) Chord length effect for 2 = 19.74 (b) Chord length effect for 2 = 27.56
50 50
= 0.8
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
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 Ttype platetoCHS 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 CHStoCHS connections conducted by van der Vegte
and Makino (2006).
108 transverse Xtype platetoCHS 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 Ttype plate
toCHS 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 Xtype
platetoCHS connections, an effective chord length of at least 10d 0 should be used in further
numerical studies on platetoCHS connections, which follows the recommendations given by
van der Vegte and Makino (2007) for CHStoCHS 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 Ttype platetoCHS 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 CHStoCHS connections, was not
substantiated due to nonconvergent models.
(iii) The development of general platetoCHS 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 plateto
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.
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 Ttype platetoCHS 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 Xtype 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 Xtype branch platetoCHS connections to
examine the influence of connection width ratio ( ), ratio of branch member depthtochord diameter
( ), chord radiustothickness ratio ( ), plate skew angle (  longitudinal or transverse) and branch plate
loading sense (tension or compression). A series of 278 Xtype 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 platetoCHS 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 loaddeformation curves,
given in Appendix D.
111
Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of Xtype Branch Plate Connections 112
A parametric numerical finite element research study was developed to examine the influence of cur
rent design parameters on the behaviour of Xtype platetoCHS 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 Xtype connections and connection
ID numbers
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,
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 displacementcontrolled 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
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
The loaddeformation curve for each transverse Xtype platetoCHS 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 Xtype platetoCHS 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 Xtype platetoCHS 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
Xtype 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 Xtype 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 midheight 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 midheight result in cracking (represented by killed elements at
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 Xtype platetoCHS connection tested
in compression with plate width ratio of 0.6
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 Xtype platetoCHS connection tested
in tension with plate width ratio of 0.6
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 Xtype platetoCHS connection tested
in compression with plate width ratio of 1.0
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 Xtype platetoCHS connection tested
in tension with plate width ratio of 1.0
this point). In general, FE analysis has shown that Xtype 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 Ttype 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 Xtype 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 Xtype branch platetoCHS 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
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 Xtype branch platetoCHS connections tested in
tension
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 loaddeformation curves, which were reanalysed
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)
20 de Winkel (1998) FE
Figure 7.9 Parametric FE results for transverse Xtype branch platetoCHS connections tested in
compression compared to international database
80
Normalised branch tension load, N1,u/(fy0t02)
70
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 Xtype branch platetoCHS connections tested in
tension compared to international database
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 platetoCHS connections
tested in compression and tension respectively.
The current CIDECT design equation (Wardenier et al., 2008a) presented in Table 2.1 for transverse
Xtype platetoCHS 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 Ttype 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 diametertothickness 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 Xtype platetoCHS connections tested in compression and ten
sion respectively.
(a) Effect of effective width ratio, ' (b) Effective of chord diametertothickness 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
1.0 1.0
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 diametertothickness ratio, 2
Figure 7.11 Comparison of CIDECT design recommendations (Wardenier et al., 2008a) with
parametric FE results and the international database for transverse Xtype platetoCHS 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
(a) Effect of effective width ratio, ' (b) Effective of chord diametertothickness 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
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 diametertothickness ratio, 2
Figure 7.12 Comparison of CIDECT design recommendations (Wardenier et al., 2008a) with
parametric FE results and the international database for transverse Xtype platetoCHS 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 underpredicts all of the numerical FE (Voth) and Makino (1984) experimental results. The FE results
(Voth) are in some cases significantly underpredicted 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).
Like the transverse Xtype platetoCHS connections, the loaddeformation curve for longitudinal X
type platetoCHS 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 Xtype platetoCHS 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 Xtype connection (see Chapter 3).
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 Xtype platetoCHS connection
tested in compression (depth ratio of 1.0 shown)
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 Xtype platetoCHS 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 Xtype 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 Xtype branch platetoCHS connections tested in
compression and tension
for tension branch plate loading. This follows the observations from the experimental program with regard
to conservatism of the design expression and underutilized 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 Xtype plateto
CHS connections. Similar to the transverse platetoCHS data, not all geometric or material properties are
included within the database with most having loaddeformation curves. These curves were reanalysed
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 platetoCHS 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 Ttype 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)
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 Xtype branch platetoCHS connections tested in
compression compared to international database
28
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 Xtype branch platetoCHS 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 diametertothickness ratio, 2 in Figures 7.18(b) and 7.19(b) for longitudi
nal Xtype platetoCHS connections tested in compression and tension respectively. For connections with
branch plate compression (Figure 7.18), the CIDECT design recommendation underpredict 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 Xtype plateto
CHS connections.
(a) Effect of effective depth ratio, ' (b) Effective of chord diametertothickness ratio, 2
1.6 1.6
Voth FE (with fillet weld) Voth FE (with fillet weld)
1.4 1.4
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 diametertothickness ratio, 2
Figure 7.18 Comparison of CIDECT design recommendations (Wardenier et al., 2008a) with
parametric FE results and the international database for longitudinal Xtype platetoCHS connections
tested in compression
For connections with branch plate tension (Figure 7.19), the CIDECT design recommendation further
underpredict 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 underpredicted by the CIDECT design equation with a modest amount of reserve capacity.
The experimental results of Akiyama et al. (1974) for longitudinal Xtype platetoCHS connections tested
in branch tension are clearly overpredicted 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 diametertothickness 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
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 diametertothickness ratio, 2
Figure 7.19 Comparison of CIDECT design recommendations (Wardenier et al., 2008a) with
parametric FE results and the international database for longitudinal Xtype platetoCHS connections
tested in tension
7.4.1 Introduction
The recently reevaluated design guidelines for Xtype platetoCHS 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 CHStoCHS connections (van der Vegte et al., 2008b):
2
f y0 t 0
N 1 = Q u Q f 
 7.1
sin 1
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 Xtype branch platetoCHS 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 platetoCHS 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 reanalysis 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 Xtype platetoCHS 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 Xtype
platetoCHS connections with branch plate compression load Equation 7.6 (in Table 7.3) provides the
bestfit 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
Figure 7.20 as a graphical means to determine how well the potential design strength partial function cap
tures connection behaviour for branch platetoCHS connections tested in compression. Figure 7.20 also
includes results from the international database.
The parametric FE results (Voth) for branch platetoCHS connections tested in compression are
closely predicted by the potential design expression (Equation 7.6) except for connections with = 1.0
where the expression underpredicts 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 diametertothickness 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
1.0 1.0
0.8 0.8
0 0
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Effective width ratio, ' Chord diametertothickness ratio, 2
Figure 7.20 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 7.6, and the
international database for transverse Xtype branch platetoCHS connections tested in compression
For transverse Xtype branch platetoCHS 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 overpredicted. 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 bestfit regression for the parametric FE database (Voth) for
transverse Xtype platetoCHS 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 platetoCHS 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 underpredicts 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 diametertothickness 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
1.2 1.2
1.0 1.0
0.6 0.6
0 0
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Effective width ratio, ' Chord diametertothickness ratio, 2
Figure 7.21 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 7.7, and the
international database for transverse Xtype branch platetoCHS connections tested in tension
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 overpredicted. 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 overpredicts
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 reanalysed 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 platetoCHS 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 RHStoCHS connections, impacts the connection capacity.
To verify the finite element modelling techniques used for the parametric analyses, a reanalysis of a
finite element study contained within the international database was conducted. The only Xtype trans
verse branch platetoCHS 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 semirigid Xtype con
nections between Isection beams and CHS columns with a steelconcrete composite floor slab, de Winkel
(1998) examined the behaviour of transverse Xtype branch platetoCHS 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.
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 elastoplastic 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 eightnoded thick
shell elements and analysed using compressive displacement control with the general purpose finite element
package MARC. Oneeighth models with symmetrical boundary conditions were used to reduce analysis
Table 7.5 Geometric and material properties and normalized connection capacity for transverse
branch platetoCHS 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
XP1C36 xup102 20.00 15 3550 4.45
XP1C37 xup104 10.00 6.75 75 0.25 30 690 5.15
XP1C38 xup106 6.67 45 355 5.39
XP1C39 xup108 20.00 15 3550 5.87
XP1C40 xup110 10.00 10.80 120 0.40 30 355 7.30
XP1C41 xup112 6.67 45 3550 7.92
XP1C42 xup114 20.00 15 355 9.04
XP1C43 xup134 10.00 17.55 195 0.65 30 355 11.50
XP1C44 xup136 6.67 45 355 12.55
XP1C45 xup138 20.00 15 690 7.69
XP1C46 xup140 10.00 14.85 165 0.55 30 355 9.98
XP1C47 xup142 6.67 45 355 11.01
XP1C48 xup150 20.00 16.20 15 690 8.25
XP1C49 xup152 10.00 16.10 180 0.60 30 690 10.60
XP1C50 xup154 6.67 16.20 45 690 11.62
XP1C51 xup156 20.00 20.00 15 690 11.52
XP1C52 xup158 10.00 10.00 240 0.80 30 690 14.12
XP1C53 xup160 6.67 6.67 45 690 15.42
XP1C54 xup162 20.00 20.00 15 690 13.86
XP1C55 xup164 10.00 10.00 270 0.90 30 690 17.01
XP1C56 xup166 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
time. Pre and postprocessing was achieved using a general CAD program SDRCIDEAS Level V
(de Winkel, 1998).
From the normalized loaddeformation 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 xup112
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 reanalysed 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 Xtype branch plate connec
tions (with f y0 = 389 MPa ) were substituted for simplicity. In addition, the type of element used for re
analysis (8noded solid element) was different than used by de Winkel (1998), which was an 8noded shell
element.
40
Normalised branch compression load, N1,u/(fy0t02)
2 = 15.00
35 2 = 30.00
2 = 45.00
30 N1
25
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 reanalysis results for transverse Xtype branch plate
toCHS connections tested in compression
The loaddeformation curves for the reanalysed 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 xup112 where a maximum connection
load, N 1, max , was reached before this deformation limit. The original de Winkel (1998) and the reana
2
lysed normalized connection capacities ( N 1, u ( f y0 t 0 ) ) from FE analysis are plotted in Figure 7.22. The re
Branch PlatetoCircular Hollow Structural Section Connections
Chapter 7: Parametric Numerical Study of Xtype 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 (coldformed versus hot
finished stressstrain relationships) and differences in finite element mesh arrangement and element type
used, between the two studies.
The reproduction of the transverse Xtype branch platetoCHS using the finite element modelling
techniques described in Chapters5 and 6 adds confidence to the Xtype 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.
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 CHStoCHS Xtype 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 platetoCHS connections loaded in compres
sion.
Equation 7.8 (in Table 7.6) provides the bestfit regression for the parametric FE database (Voth;
de Winkel, 1998) for transverse Xtype platetoCHS 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
good expression fit also indicates that the connection capacity of branch platetoCHS 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.
0.2
0
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
Effective width ratio, '
Using the same approach as for transverse branch platetoCHS connections tested with branch plate
compression, Equation 7.9 (in Table 7.7) provides the bestfit regression for the parametric FE database
(Voth) for transverse Xtype platetoCHS 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 underpredicts 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.
0.4
0.2
0
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
Effective width ratio, '
7.5.1 Introduction
Much like transverse platetoCHS connections, longitudinal Xtype platetoCHS connections were
reevaluated 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):
7.5.2 Regression Analysis Using CIDECT Equation Form and Evaluation Against
International Database
Similar to transverse Xtype platetoCHS 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 Xtype
platetoCHS connections with branch plate compression load Equation 7.13 (in Table 7.8) provides the
bestfit 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 platetoCHS connections
tested in compression. Figure 7.25 also includes results from the international database. The parametric FE
results (Voth) for longitudinal branch platetoCHS 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 diametertothickness ratio, 2
1.6 1.6
1.4 1.4
1.0 1.0
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 diametertothickness ratio, 2
Figure 7.25 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 7.13, and the
international database for longitudinal Xtype platetoCHS connections tested in compression
Similarly, for longitudinal Xtype platetoCHS connections tested with branch plate tension, the
bestfit 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 wellpredicted 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 Xtype platetoCHS connections.
(a) Effect of effective depth ratio, ' (b) Effective of chord diametertothickness ratio, 2
1.6 1.6
1.4 1.4
1.0 1.0
0.4 Akiyama et al. (1974) Exp. 0.4 Akiyama et al. (1974) Exp.
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 diametertothickness ratio, 2
Figure 7.26 Comparison of potential design strength partial function, Equation 7.14, and the
international database for longitudinal Xtype platetoCHS connections tested in tension
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 bestfit regression for the parametric FE data
base (Voth) for longitudinal Xtype platetoCHS 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 wellpredicted 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.
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, '
Using the same approach as for connections tested with branch plate compression, Equation 7.16 (in
Table 7.11) provides the bestfit regression for the parametric FE database (Voth) for transverse Xtype
platetoCHS 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 wellpre
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
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.
1 +
Q u = 4.3  ( 1 + 0.5 )
0.1 1.2
7.16 Voth FE (with fillet weld)
1 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, '
A total of 278 Xtype platetoCHS 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 tensiononly and compressiononly 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 underutilised, 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.
1 +
Q u = 2  ( 1 + )
0.25
for transverse Xtype connections in compression 7.8
1 0.6
1 +
Q u = 1.8  ( 1 + ) for transverse Xtype connections in tension
0.4
7.9
1 0.6
1 +
Q u = 3.5  ( 1 + 0.5 ) for longitudinal Xtype connections in compression
0.1
7.15
1 0.6
1 +
Q u = 4.3  ( 1 + 0.5 ) for longitudinal Xtype connections in tension
0.1
7.16
1 0.6
8.1 Introduction
Complicated structural systems often have elements that intersect each other at nonorthogonal 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 spaceframe 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, CHStoCHS con
nection capacity does not change for a given skew angle. The influence of skew angle for doubly symmetric
branch crosssections (such as rectangular hollow sections, Isections or plates) has been examined but is
limited to a skew angle of 45 for RHS branch members (Packer et al., 2009). PlatetoHSS 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 Xtype platetoCHS 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 Xtype branch platetoCHS connections under branch plate tensile load.
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 Xtype 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 Xtype connections and
connection ID numbers
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
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 nonorthogonal 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 displacementcontrolled loading.
For each Xtype skew platetoCHS connection under branch plate axial tensile load, the loaddefor
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
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
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 Xtype platetoCHS connections tested in tension
8.4.1 Introduction
Unlike longitudinal or transverse Xtype branch platetoCHS connections, there are no established
guidelines or theoretical models to use as a basis for the development of a design recommendation for skew
Xtype branch platetoCHS connections. As design expressions for both longitudinal and transverse X
type connections exist, the goal of a design expression for Xtype 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 Xtype connections should be equal to the pro
posed expression for longitudinal platetoCHS connections, Q u, 0 , (Equation 7.16) when the skew angle
1 = 0 and be equal to the proposed expression for transverse platetoCHS 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
One method to describe the transition between longitudinal and transverse orientations is to examine a
skew connection as an effective I or box sectiontoCHS 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:
By dividing these expressions by d 0 , effective width and depth ratios are developed as:
b1,eff
h1,eff
bp
tp
The generalized design strength partial function, Q u , that was presented by Wardenier et al. (2008b,
2009) for Xtype platetoCHS connections (Equation 7.3), can be rewritten as:
1 + 1, eff
Q u = A 
D
 ( 1 + C 1, eff ) 8.5
1 B 1, eff
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 bestfit 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 Xtype 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 platetoCHS 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 underpredicted or conservative; however, for midrange values of skew angle, the connection
strength are overpredicted and unsafe. As with transverse Xtype 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 underpredicting 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.
0.4
0.2
0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
Skew angle, 1 ()
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 Xtype plateto
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.
As an alternative to using an effective box section, an interpolation function was derived between the
design recommendations for longitudinal and transverse Xtype platetoCHS 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