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Effect of strain ageing on the mechanical

properties of partially damaged structural mild

Article in Construction and Building Materials February 2015

DOI: 10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2014.12.021


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4 authors, including:

Sajjad Hosseini Frank G Collins

Monash University (Australia) Deakin University


Christopher Ross Hutchinson

Monash University (Australia)


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Construction and Building Materials 77 (2015) 8393

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Construction and Building Materials

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/conbuildmat

Effect of strain ageing on the mechanical properties of partially damaged

structural mild steel
Sajjad Hosseini a, Amin Heidarpour a,, Frank Collins a, Christopher R. Hutchinson b
Department of Civil Engineering, Monash University, Melbourne VIC3800, Australia
Department of Materials Engineering, Monash University, Melbourne VIC3800, Australia

h i g h l i g h t s

 Strain ageing effect on mechanical properties of damaged steel is investigated.

 Two-stage experimental program are conducted to incorporate strain ageing effect.
 Changes in microstructure of steel due to strain ageing effect are examined.
 Parameters of RambergOsgood model are calibrated by incorporating strain ageing.
 It is shown strain ageing may have signicant effect on behaviour of structures.

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: This paper addresses the strain ageing effects on the mechanical properties of the partially damaged
Received 16 October 2014 structural mild steel. Since repairing partly damaged structures may not occur immediately, the strain
Received in revised form 8 December 2014 ageing effect can signicantly inuence the structural behaviour. The changes due to this effect have
Accepted 10 December 2014
not so far been considered in the civil engineering design guidelines. In order to investigate strain ageing
Available online 3 January 2015
effects, two-stage experimental tests are carried out on the mild-steel specimens. In the rst stage, partial
damage is made using quasi-static loading. During the second stage, the strength and ductility of the
specimens are examined after 2 and 7 days ageing at room temperature and the results are compared
Strain ageing
Damaged structures
with the corresponding no-age samples. The microstructure of the specimens is examined using scanning
Steel material electron microscopy (SEM). To illustrate the effect of strain ageing on the global behaviour of steel struc-
RambergOsgood tures, a numerical example is provided in which strain ageing impacts on loading capacity and deection
Micro-structure of a steel beam. Finally, the stressstrain relation of partially damaged mild-steel material incorporating
strain ageing effects is expressed by calibrating the parameters of RambergOsgood model.
2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction Although various loading scenarios such as static, thermal,

high-strain or seismic loadings may cause partial damage in struc-
In various situations, repair and rehabilitation of partially tural members, only damages made by static loading are consid-
damaged steel structures are implemented in place of demolishing ered in this paper. Foundation settlement is a common source of
the structure and constructing a new one. As a result, a better damage in structures in which structural components may experi-
understanding of the mechanical properties of the partially ence large relative displacements beyond the material yield point.
damaged materials under different loading scenarios is required. Other examples in which unexpected large static loading may
Once a structure is partly damaged (ie. strained), it may take sev- cause the damage include lateral ground water pressure applied
eral days until the repair process of the structural component(s) to bridge piers, temporary loads during repairing process, and large
commences. This lapsed time (named as ageing in this paper) hydrostatic pressures applied to the structures under tsunami. The
may signicantly inuence the structural response in terms of strain ageing phenomenon, which occurs because of the time gap
strength, ductility, energy absorption, etc. between the occurrence of damage caused by static loading and
the repair process commencement, can substantially change the
mechanical properties of the steel material such that utilizing the
Corresponding author. Tel.: +61 3 99024435; fax: +61 3 99054944. conventional constitutive material models without incorporating
E-mail address: amin.heidarpour@monash.edu (A. Heidarpour). strain aging effects may lead to a completely incorrect assessment.

0950-0618/ 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
84 S. Hosseini et al. / Construction and Building Materials 77 (2015) 8393

Strain aging effects have been investigated by researchers RambergOsgood model are also calibrated so that the strain
worldwide in the eld of materials engineering, e.g. [1,2], and it ageing effect is incorporated into the stressstrain relations.
is well known that they must be taken into account during the pro-
duction of some metal components, such as steel sheet panels for 2. Experimental program
automotive applications.
2.1. Test material and specimen
The physical origin of the strain aging effect in steels can be
explained in the following way. The deformation of metals, includ- The coupon specimens are made of Grade 350 mild steel plates, approximately
ing steels, occurs through the generation and movement of linear equivalent to ASTM A633A. The chemical composition of Grade 350 mild steel con-
defects known as dislocations [2]. The strength of a metal is con- sidered in this study is listed in Table 1 and the engineering stressstrain curve of
trolled by the stress required to move dislocations over substantial the material under quasi-static loading is depicted in Fig. 1.
The tests are conducted based on the requirements of standard ASTM E 8M-04
distances in the microstructure. Dislocations exhibit a long range
[15]. The tensile test coupons, with enlarged shoulders for gripping, are accurately
strain eld, and this strain eld can interact with the strain eld machined from the primary steel plates. The measurements are made within the
of solute atoms that are present in alloys. In the case if steels, gauge length in reduced section and the specimens mounted in the machine from
the most important solutes from the point of view of strain ageing, the shoulder part during the test. The specimens typical geometry is demonstrated
are Carbon and Nitrogen. Even if present in small amounts, these in Fig. 2. Both faces of each specimen are ground to give uniform thickness and a
smooth nish across the entire surface of the specimens.
solute species can diffuse within the material, even at room tem-
perature, and segregate to dislocations, and hence partially relax 2.2. Testing equipment
their long range strain eld. The consequence on the mechanical
properties of the steels, is that subsequent loading can require a An electromechanical testing machine, Instron 5982 dual column testing sys-
much higher stress level to then un-pin the dislocations from tem with a 100 kN load cell, is employed in order to perform tensile testing. The
axial strains are measured using a MTX LX 500 non-contact laser extensometer in
the Carbon or Nitrogen solute atmospheres. This is the physical
which the value of strain is recorded by measuring the relative displacements
basis of the strain aging effect, e.g. [2]. This effect is especially between the reective stickers glued on the specimen within the gauge length. In
important in steels because Carbon and Nitrogen can diffuse order to check the accuracy of the laser extensometer, the strain measurement in
within the material at room temperature whereas other elements the rst test was conducted by using both strain gauges and non-contact laser
typically found in steels, such as Mn, are essentially immobile at extensometers and a good agreement was achieved. Fig. 3 depicts 100 kN Instron
testing machine, laser extensometer and specimen used in this study.
room temperature. In order to perform microstructural examinations, optical microscopy (OM) and
In the materials science and engineering literature, both exper- a JEOL 7001F FEG scanning electron microscope (SEM) are employed. The images
imental and theoretical/modelling aspects of the strain ageing taken by both microscopes from the fracture surfaces are used to determine the
effects have been investigated. The effect has most commonly been fracture strain as well as to better interpret the effect of strain ageing on the frac-
ture characteristics of the material.
observed in typical mild steels but also occurs in dual phase steels,
pearlitic steel wires [3] and even ultra low Carbon bake hardening
(BH) steels [4]. Although most well known in the steel community, Table 1
strain ageing effects are also observed in Ni-base alloys such as Chemical composition of Grade 350 mild steel.
Inconel [5], structural intermetallics such as TiAl [6] and Al3Ti
C Si Mn S P
[7], Ti alloys [8], and Cu based alloys [9]. As well as experimental
0.22% 0.55% 1.70% 0.030% 0.040%
studies there have also been a large number of modelling studies
of different aspects of the solute-dislocation interaction that is at
the core of the strain aging effect. These include considerations
of the strain [10], temperature [2] and solute content dependence
Although these different aspects of strain aging have been
investigated in the materials science context, strain aging can also
play a signicant role in designing and rehabilitating of structural
elements. It is worth noting that there are two common types of
aging in civil engineering applications: short and long term aging.
Long term aging refers to the time effect due to some phenomena
such as creep and shrinkage in concrete, and creep in steel which
occurs over a very long period of time. Although long term aging
has been widely discussed in the literature, short term aging has
not been considered in detail. This type of ageing (strain-ageing)
is considered in this work. Currently, there is no appropriate pro-
posed formulation in the prescriptive codes of practice in civil
engineering to include the effect of strain ageing in design and
evaluation of partly damaged steel structures [1114], and there-
Fig. 1. Engineering stressstrain curve of Grade 350 steel material under quasi-
fore the outcome of this research can be used as a platform in
static loading.
rational analysis and design of steel structures.
In this paper, changes in mechanical properties of partially
damaged steel material due to strain ageing are addressed. The
strain ageing effect on the stress and strain values is explored
through two-stage experimental tests. Using scanning electron
microscopy (SEM) images taken from the fracture surfaces of the
broken specimens, the strain ageing effect on the microstructure
of the material is also investigated. Moreover, the signicant effect
of the strain ageing on the global behaviour of steel structures is
explored through a numerical example and the parameters of the Fig. 2. Geometry of the specimen.
S. Hosseini et al. / Construction and Building Materials 77 (2015) 8393 85


Instron 5982 100kN

testing machine

MTS Laser extensometer


Fig. 3. Testing machines used to conduct uniaxial tensile tests on specimens.

2.3. Testing procedure yield to be equal to 104 s1, which is within the 0.005  0.002 min1 range spec-
ied by ASTM E21-92 [16]. After reaching the target damage level, the test is termi-
In this study, statically damaged specimens at room temperature are consid- nated and the specimen is unloaded using the manual control of Instron 5982 dual
ered. In order to investigate the strain ageing effect, a two-stage loading case is column testing system so that no load remains on the specimen. The specimen is
applied. During stage I, the specimen is subjected to uniaxial tensile loading until removed and stored in an appropriate place out of environmental conditions
partial damage occurs in the specimen. Since the damage level may affect the including humidity, corrosion, rust, etc. The specimen is ready for the second stage
mechanical properties of the material, three different damage levels (D) of 1.5%, of testing once it reaches the target ageing time dened in the previous section.
13% and 19% strain shown in Fig. 1 are considered. D = 1.5% represents the strain
close to the onset of strain-hardening whilst D = 19% represents the ultimate strain
(eu). Once the magnitude of the strain reaches the pre-dened damage level the test 2.5. Stage II: uniaxial quai-static tests to failure
is terminated. After a lapsed time T, the specimen then undergoes stage II testing in
which uniaxial tensile loading is applied to the specimen to failure. Three levels of In the second stage of testing, the partially damaged specimen is loaded into the
elapsed time including T = 0 (no-age), T = 2 days and T = 7 days, are examined so Instron 5982 machine and the uniaxial strain-controlled test is conducted to failure.
that the effect of the strain ageing on the partially damaged materials can be stud- The setup of the experiments in the second stage is similar to that of the rst stage
ied. All tests are performed under strain controlled conditions. whilst the reective stickers are checked before running the test to make sure they
It is worth noting that the different test cases are denoted in the form of D13 T7, are in a good condition.
where the blank box (h) in front of D and T are respectively lled in by the damage
level applied in the rst stage of the experimental tests and the age of the specimen.
For example, D13T7 represents the test specimen under damage level of 13% strain
with 7 days age. A minimum of two samples are tested for each condition and their 3. Results and discussion
results are averaged. However, a third specimen is tested if there is a variation of
more than 5% from the average value. The effect of strain ageing on the ultimate strength (fu), ultimate
strain (eu) and fracture strain (ef) has been investigated. Whilst the
2.4. Stage I: partial-damage quasi-static tests magnitudes of ultimate strength and ultimate strain are obtained
During stage I testing, uniaxial tensile tests are carried out using an Instron
from the stressstrain curves as shown in Fig. 4, the magnitude
5982 with loading capacity of 100 kN. Tests are performed under strain controlled of the fracture strain is obtained using two different methods: (i)
condition with the displacement being appropriately adjusted for the strain rate at using the data recorded by non-contact laser extensometer during
86 S. Hosseini et al. / Construction and Building Materials 77 (2015) 8393

Fig. 4. Denition of mechanical properties on the stressstrain curve.

the test; and (ii) using the reduction in the fracture surface area
calculated through the formulation available in literature [17].

3.1. Stress-strain curves

The stressstrain curves for steel specimens with different dam-

age levels and strain ageing parameters are shown in Fig. 5ac.
From Fig. 5ac, it can be seen that strain aging can signicantly
inuence the material behaviour. This is especially obvious in sam-
ples damaged to 13% (Fig. 5b) and 19% (Fig. 5c). As a result, consid-
ering such a signicant modication to the overall mechanical
behaviour, the primary design based on the original stressstrain
curve may lead to inaccurate evaluation of the structural compo-
nents. It is seen that the overall behaviour of the steel material is
profoundly dependent on the damage level and the strain ageing.
For a low damage level of 1.5% (Fig. 5a), the strain ageing effect
is insignicant (except for an effect on the fracture strain), even
after holding for 7 days. At damage levels of 13% (Fig. 5b) and
19% (Fig. 5c), there is a large effect of strain aging on the ultimate
stress and whilst this is larger after 7 days ageing compared to
2 days ageing, the great majority of the increase occurs within
Fig. 5. Stressstrain curves at (a) 1.5% damage level (b) 13% damage level (c) 19%
2 days. The ultimate strain (eu) also noticeably decreases in the damage level.
13% and 19% damage samples after strain aging such that a transi-
tion from ductile behaviour to non-ductile behaviour is clearly
observed. This non-ductile behaviour may lead to a catastrophic
collapse of the structure and that is why a proper stressstrain
curve reecting this phenomenon needs to be considered in the
building evaluation process. Moreover, the plateau part in the plas-
tic region of the mild-steel stressstrain curve vanishes so that dis-
tinct values for yield strength and ultimate strength will no longer
be available. Therefore, due to strain ageing the strain hardening in
the partially damaged steel material may completely vanish when
the value of the partial damage is equal to or greater than damage
level (DT).
In order to nd DT, a series of two-stage uniaxial tensile tests
were conducted on steel specimens with different values of partial
damage of 1.5%, 5% and 7% and the stressstrain curves to failure
after 7 days are shown in Fig. 6. It can be seen from this gure that Fig. 6. Stressstrain curves of steel material at different damage levels after 7 days.
whilst a minor strain hardening occurs at 5% damage level, no
strain hardening occurs at the corresponding specimen after 7% of ultimate stress to yield stress ratios recommended by Eurocode
damage. Consequently, it can be seen that for the mild steel stud- 3 [18], AS4100 [19], AS/NZS 4600 [20] and AISC [21].
ied in this research work the damage level DT takes a value Similarly, as shown in Fig. 7, a series of two-stage uniaxial tests
between 5% and 7%. It is also worth noting that plastic analysis are conducted on the steel specimens after 13% damage and differ-
should not be applied on the partially damaged steel structures ent values of strain ageing. These experiments indicate that the
(with damage level of equal to or greater than 7%) affected by strain ageing effect becomes signicant within 612 h and the
strain ageing since due to signicant change in the values of ulti- peak point after strain hardening has vanished within 1224 h
mate strength, the steel material does not meet the requirements after occurrence of the partial damage.
S. Hosseini et al. / Construction and Building Materials 77 (2015) 8393 87

Fig. 8 it is seen that the stress increase in 19% damage level spec-
imens is greater in the rst 48 h compared to 13% damage level

3.3. Ductility

Ductility plays an important role in the structures behaviour

under extreme actions. A low-ductile structure under large static
loading may experience a catastrophic collapse and strain aging
can inuence the ductility and energy absorption of the structural
members which depends on the values of ultimate strain and frac-
ture strain.
Fig. 7. Stressstrain curves of steel material under 13% damaged specimens at
different ages. 3.3.1. Ultimate strain
Table 2 shows the effect of the strain ageing on the magnitudes
of the ultimate strain for the partly damaged steel specimens. It
3.2. Strength
can be seen that under 1.5% damage level, which is close to onset
of strain hardening, strain ageing has only a moderate effect on
The effect of strain ageing on the magnitudes of the ultimate
the values of the ultimate strain. The magnitude of eu for the 2 days
stress is summarised in Table 2. It is worth noting that the values
aged specimen is not affected by strain ageing whilst 7 days aged
shown in Table 2 are normalised to the ultimate stress of the virgin
specimens experience slightly lower ultimate strain compared to
material. It can be seen from this table that at damage level (D)
the 2 days age specimens. When the damage level increases, the
equal to 1.5%, strain aging has an insignicant effect on the values
magnitude of ultimate strain decreases such that those specimens
of ultimate strength. However, at 13% damage level, a substantial
which are subjected to 19% damage level experience less ultimate
increase in the magnitudes of ultimate stress after 2 (+22.5%) and
strain compared to those with 13% damage level. However the
7 days ageing (+26.2%) is observed. The 7 days ageing specimens
reduction of the ultimate strain depends signicantly on the strain
show only slightly greater strength than the 2 days ageing speci-
ageing for which at D = 13%, the value of eu reduces by 30% after
mens which indicates that 2 days ageing is adequate for the main
7 days as shown in Table 2. Also, the ultimate strain values of 2
part of strain aging effect on material strength. At 19% damage
and 7 days age specimens under D = 13% or 19% damage levels
level, the variation of the material strength under strain ageing is
are close which indicates that strain aging has had most of its effect
similar to the 13% damage level; however, the increase in ultimate
on the material ductility within 2 days. It is worth noting that 19%
strength of the aged specimens compared to the original specimen
damage level almost corresponds to the ultimate strain of the vir-
is greater (33.1% and 34.3% respectively for 2 and 7 days aging).
gin material and therefore the value of eu is small. However, the
The increase in the values of ultimate stress (Dr) with respect
ultimate strain of the mild-steel material reduces by 50% after 2
to ageing time for damage levels of 13% and 19% is shown in
and 7 days.
Fig. 8. Dr is dened as the difference between ultimate strength
of the strain aged specimen and that of the virgin specimen. From
3.3.2. Fracture strain
Generally, determination of the fracture strain is a complicated
Table 2 issue which is due to non-uniform deformation within the gage
Variation of the normalised ultimate stress and strain values with damage level under length of the specimens once necking starts. There are several
different ages. methods reported in the literature to measure the value of the frac-
Variation of the ultimate stress Variation of ultimate strain ture strain. Two methods are employed in this study. In the rst
method the fracture strain ef is dened as
1.50% 13% 19% 1.50% 13% 19%
No age 1.000 1.000 1.000 0.923 0.332 0.051 A0
2 days 0.998 1.225 1.331 0.919 0.028 0.035 ef ln 1
7 days 1.021 1.262 1.343 0.897 0.029 0.035

where A0 is the area of the original cross-section and Af is the frac-

ture surface area. Whilst the magnitude of A0 is obtained from the
geometry of the unbroken specimen, the magnitude of Af is
obtained through image processing by using an optical microscope.
Kim et al. [17] presented an alternative method where the frac-
ture strain is expressed by

ef et ew 2

t 1 2t3 t2 w
et ln ; ew ln 3
4t 0 w0

where et , and ew are strains in the thickness and width directions,
respectively and w and w0 are the specimen width before and after
fracture, respectively. The magnitudes of t1, t2 and t3 are obtained
from the fracture surface shown in Fig. 9. Fracture strain values
Fig. 8. Stress increase due to strain ageing versus time. measured using both methods can be found in Table. 3.
88 S. Hosseini et al. / Construction and Building Materials 77 (2015) 8393

Fig. 9. Fracture strain parameters used in Eq. (3).

components a kinematic component which has its origins on

Table 3
Comparison of fracture strain values measured by using the measured area through the plastic mismatch between the pearlite regions and the ferrite
image processing (Eq. (1)) and using reduced area method (Eq. (2)). regions of the microstructure [22], and an isotropic contribution
which is due to the formation of dislocations. The kinematic contri-
Eq. (1) Eq. (2)
bution may represent up to 30% of the strengthening increment
No-age 2 days 7 days No-age 2 days 7 days
[22]. As a result, we can estimate an upper and lower bound for
1.50% 1 0.97 0.95 1.00 0.97 0.91 the strengthening from dislocations: 105150 MPa. The actual dis-
13% 0.99 0.82 0.8 0.99 0.92 0.89
location density responsible for this strengthening can be calcu-
19% 0.99 0.73 0.72 0.99 0.90 0.89
lated using Taylors equation [2] (Eq. (4))
4. Microstructural examination
q 4
Microstructural examination was also performed in this study where a is a constant with value 0.3, M is the Taylor factor (3) G
using SEM. Fig 10a shows low and higher magnications images is the shear modulus of Fe and b is the Burgers vector of a disloca-
of the bulk microstructure of the mild steel. The white regions tion in Fe.
are the pearlitic aggregates in the microstructure (consisting of ne From the dislocation density, the average spacing of disloca-
lamellae of ferrite (Fe) and cementite (Fe3C), and the dark regions tions can be calculated,  p1q, an the upper and lower estimate of
are the ferrite grains. These are images typical of mild steel. SEM the mean dislocation separation is plotted in Fig. 11 for the sample
images of the fracture surfaces of the samples are shown in with 13% partial damage.
Fig. 10bd. It can be seen from Fig. 10bd that a ductile failure is The strain ageing effect depends on the diffusion of Carbon and/
observed in the steel specimens undergone different damage levels or Nitrogen atoms to these dislocations. The diffusionp distance (x)
at various ages. at room temperature can be calculated using x  Dt where D is
the Carbon diffusivity [23] at room temperature and t is time,
4.1. Rationalization of the ageing time and damage level dependence and this is also plotted as a function of time in Fig. 11. Obviously,
of the strain ageing effect with longer times, the Carbon atoms can diffuse longer distances.
Since the strain ageing effect depends on the pinning of the dis-
The strain ageing effect is ultimately due to the pinning of dis- locations, the shorter the distances the Carbon needs to diffuse to
locations introduced into the steel during the partial damage, by pin the dislocations, the shorter the ageing required to give rise
segregated Carbon and/or Nitrogen atoms [2]. This effect depends to the strain ageing effect. As can be seen in Fig. 11, the average
on both the damage level and the time between the partial damage dislocation spacing and the diffusion distance of Carbon atoms at
and subsequent deformation. room temperature are of the same magnitude for times roughly
The level of partial damage is important because this deter- 612 h. This indicates that for ageing times much shorter that
mines the number of dislocations that are introduced into the steel 6 h, for the 13% damage sample, we will probably not see much
(the dislocation density, q (m/m3)), and consequently their average strain ageing effect, and for times greater than 12 h we should
separation (k). The ageing time is important because it is during expect to see a signicant effect. In this study, a range of delay
this time that the Carbon and/or Nitrogen atoms can diffuse to times after partial damage were examined, but Fig 7 in particular
the dislocations introduced during partial damage and it is this sol- for the 13% damage situation, illustrates the systematic effect of
ute segregation to dislocations that causes the strain ageing effect. times of 6 h, 12 h, 24 h 2 days and 7 days. The strain ageing effect
Both solute diffusion and the evolution of the dislocation density becomes signicant at times between 6 and 12 h which is consis-
during deformation are sufciently well understood in the eld tent with the reasoning used to generate Fig. 11. It is also clear
of materials science and engineering, that estimates can be made from Table 2 that the increment in strength resulting from the
to check the reasonableness of the strain ageing effects observed strain ageing effect saturates with time after damage and before
in this study. subsequent testing. The saturation appears after around 2 days
Consider, the sample partially damaged to 13%. From Fig. 1, we and this is also illustrated in the stress strain curves themselves
can see that the proof stress of the mild steel is 340 MPa and after showing only a slightly greater strain ageing effect for samples
13% strain, the ow stress has risen to 490 MPa. This provide a held for 7 days compared with samples held for 2 days. The reason
strain hardening increment of 150 MPa. The strengthening that for this saturation effect of the strain aging is a saturation in the
occurs during straining of alloys such as mild steel has two segregation of Carbon to the dislocations after 2 days. Longer hold-
S. Hosseini et al. / Construction and Building Materials 77 (2015) 8393 89

Fig. 10. SEM images of fracture surface at 500 and 2000 magnications (a) virgin material (b) specimen at 1.5% damage after 7 days (c) specimen at 13% damage after
7 days (d) specimen at 19% damage after 7 days.

ing does not lead to any further segregation and as a result no fur- Overall, the observations of the effect of holding time at room
ther change to the stress required to un-pin the dislocations upon temperature after damage and before subsequent testing, as well
subsequent deformation. as the effects of different levels of damage are perfectly under-
90 S. Hosseini et al. / Construction and Building Materials 77 (2015) 8393

Fig. 11. Comparison of the average diffusion distance for Carbon in mild steel at
room temperatures as a function of time, and comparison with the lower and upper
estimates of the average dislocation spacing after 13% damage.

standable within the framework of what is currently understood

about the physics of the strain ageing effect.

5. Numerical study

5.1. Illustration

In order to investigate the effect of the mechanical properties of

the material affected by strain aging on the behaviour of the dam-
aged structural elements, a numerical example is presented in this
section. In this example, the behaviour of a typical steel beam
shown in Fig. 12 is examined with and without incorporating the
strain aging effect. A simply supported steel beam with length of
L = 6 m is considered. The cross-section is taken as 460UB 67.1
[24]. It is assumed that lateral restraints are provided such that
no local or member exural buckling occurs [2528]. The steel
beam is subjected to two concentrated loads at distance of 2 and
4 m from the left support. It is worth noting that the beam is
loaded under strain controlled conditions whilst the material and
geometric non-linearities are taken into account.
The steel beam is statically loaded until the maximum strain at
the extreme bres is equal to 13. Thus, the beam is unloaded for
which residual deformation equal to d takes a place in the steel Fig. 12. Ageing effect on the global behaviour of a typical steel beam (a) beam cross
beam. section (b) geometry of deformed beam (c) stressstrain behaviour of two
At this stage in order to elaborate further on the strain aging
effect, two different scenarios are considered. In the rst scenario,
the deformed structure is loaded until the maximum strain is equal ageing effects and this phenomenon needs to be considered for
to the ultimate strain of the virgin material without incorporating the situation of partially damaged steel structures.
the aging effect. In other words, it is assumed that the beam is
loaded immediately after partial damage occurrence for which 5.2. RambergOsgood model
the virgin material stressstrain curve is followed. In this case,
the beam experiences an additional displacement of 0:29d whilst The RambergOsgood model is employed in this section to
the maximum load that the steel beam could sustain is 586 kN. develop the stressstrain relations. It is a simplied model to
In the second scenario, it is assumed that the deformed steel describe the stressstrain curve in terms of few parameters includ-
beam is loaded after 7 days since the partial damage occurrence ing Youngs modulus and yield strength. The RambergOsgood
until the maximum strain at the extreme bre is equal to the ulti- model can be expressed in a generic form by
mate strain of the material affected by the strain aging effect. The  n
r r
corresponding stressstrain curve depicted in Fig. 12 is used. It is e k 5
E rty
seen that the beam may experience only an additional displace-
ment equal to 0:07d whilst the maximum load that the structure in which e is strain, r is stress, rty is yield stress and k, n are con-
could sustain is 421 kN. This simple example illustrate the fact that stants. The value of k is assumed to be 0.002 [29] whilst n can be
the ductility of the material reduces signicantly due to strain determined from
S. Hosseini et al. / Construction and Building Materials 77 (2015) 8393 91

Table 4
Variation of parameter n in RambergOsgood model for partially damaged mild-steel
material at different ages.

No-age 2 days 7 days

1.5% damage level
n 11.45 11.53 11.52
13% damage level
n 245.59 17.55 5.46
19% damage level
n 54.5 50.63 44.63

Fig. 14. Comparing RambergOsgood curves with experimental data at 13%

damage level (a) no-age (b) 2 days (c) 7 days.

where rtu is ultimate strength and eus is plastic strain at the end of
uniform elongation and can be represented in the form of

Fig. 13. Comparing RambergOsgood curves with experimental data at 1.5% eus 100  er  7
damage level (a) no-age (b) 2 days (c) 7 days.
Using the stressstrain curves for the partially damaged mild-
steel material developed in the previous sections, the values of n
can be tabulated with respect to the damage level and strain age-
Lneus =0:2
n 6 ing time, as shown in Table 4. At 1.5% damage level, the changes of
Lnrtu =rty
parameter n due to aging is insignicant. At 13% damage level, the
92 S. Hosseini et al. / Construction and Building Materials 77 (2015) 8393

those obtained from the experimental tests. As shown in Figs. 13

15, the calibrated model can describe well the stressstrain curve
for partially damages steel material at different ages.

6. Conclusion

The effect of strain aging on the mechanical properties of par-

tially damaged Grade 350 structural mild steel was investigated
in this paper. It is shown that the strain aging can substantially
affect the strength and ductility of the partly damaged steel struc-
tures. Two-stage experimental tests were conducted to explore the
strain ageing effects in which time and damage level were taken
into account as two effective variables. Moreover, microstructure
examination was conducted using SEM. The following conclusions
can be drawn from this study:

- The strain ageing effect depends strongly on the damage level.

For higher damage levels, the effect of strain ageing is greater.
The ultimate stress may increase up to 40% whilst the reduction
in ultimate strain might be up to 80%. Moreover, the fracture
strain may reduce around 10% whilst the reduction rate
depends on the measurement method;
- For Grade 350 steel, the strain ageing effect becomes signicant
at a time between 6 and 12 h after the initial occurrence of
damage. The strain hardening capacity of the steel after high
partial damage vanishes at a time between 12 and 24 h after
- Using the obtained stressstrain curves for the partly damaged
steel material, the effect of strain ageing on the global behav-
iour of a steel beam was studied. It was shown that due to strain
ageing the loading capacity of the steel beam may decrease up
to 30%.
- Due to signicant effects of strain ageing on the ductility and
strength of damaged steel structures, the relevant codes of
practice need to take this effect into account.


The research work presented in this paper was supported by

Australian Research Council through a Discovery Project
(DP1096454) awarded to the second author.


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