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Journal of Constructional Steel Research 64 (2008) 377387

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Behaviour of concrete-filled steel tubular stub columns subjected to axially


local compression
Lin-Hai Han a, , Wei Liu b , You-Fu Yang c
a Department of Civil Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, 100084, China
b Wuzhou Engineering Design and Research Institute, Beijing, 100053, China
c College of Civil Engineering, Fuzhou University, Fujian, 350002, China

Received 27 June 2007; accepted 2 October 2007

Abstract

The behaviour of concrete-filled steel tubular (CFST) stub columns subjected to axially local compression was experimentally investigated
in this paper. A total of thirty-two specimens were tested. The main parameters varied in the tests are: (1) sectional types: circular and square;
(2) local compression area ratio (concrete cross-sectional area to local compression area): 1.44 and 16; and (3) thickness of the endplate: from
2 to 12 mm. A finite element analysis modelling was used for the analysis of CFST stub columns subjected to axially local compression, and a
comparison of results calculated using this modelling shows generally good agreement with the test results. The theoretical modelling was then
used to investigate the mechanism of the composite columns subjected to axially local compression.
c 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Composite columns; Local compression; Composite action; Concrete; Design; Hollow sections; Sectional capacity

1. Introduction In recent years, the performance of CFST under axially


local compression has been of interest to structural engineers.
It is well known that concrete-filled steel tubular (CFST)
columns are currently being increasingly used in the However, such a problem has not been addressed satisfactorily
construction of buildings, due to their excellent static and by design codes on the composite columns. It is expected
earthquake-resistant properties, such as high strength, high that, due to the locally- loaded effects, the behaviour of CFST
ductility, large energy absorption capacity, etc. In practice, columns subjected to axially local compression is different
CFST columns are often subject to axially local compression, from that of fully-loaded composite columns.
as, for example, the pier of a girder bridge; the underneath The present paper is thus an attempt to study the behaviour
bearing members of a rigid frame, reticulate frame or arch of CFST stub columns under axially local compression. The
structures. Fig. 1 illustrates a schematic view of the CFST main objectives of this paper were threefold: first, to report a
columns under axially local compression. series of test results on the CFST stub columns under axially
In the past, a large number of studies were carried out local compression; second, to analyse the influences of several
on CFST columns [2,7]. Several state-of-the-art literatures on parameters, such as sectional type, local compression area ratio,
concrete-filled steel tubular structures have been published thickness of the top endplate on the behaviour of locally-loaded
recently, such as Gourley et al. [1], Nishiyama et al. [6], Shams CFST specimens; and third, to analyse the mechanism of CFST
and Saadeghvaziri [8] and Shanmugam and Lakshmi [9]. stub columns subjected to axially local compression by using
However, it seems that seldom attention has been paid to finite element analysis (FEA) modelling.
investigating the behaviour of a composite member subjected
to axially local compression. This may be attributed to the 2. Experimental programme and test results
fact that, except for exceptional cases, structural strength is not
compromised by the local compression phenomenon. 2.1. Experimental programme

Corresponding author. Tel.: +86 10 62797067; fax: +86 10 62781488. A total of 32 stub columns subjected to axial compression,
E-mail address: lhhan@tsinghua.edu.cn (L.-H. Han). including 28 locally-loaded specimens and four fully-loaded

c 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


0143-974X/$ - see front matter
doi:10.1016/j.jcsr.2007.10.002
378 L.-H. Han et al. / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 64 (2008) 377387

circular steel tubes, respectively; t is the wall thickness of steel


Notation tube; L is the length of the specimen and is chosen to be three-
times the diameter (for circular specimens) or width (for square
Ac Concrete cross-sectional area
specimens) to avoid the effects of overall buckling and end
AL Area of local compression
conditions [4]. In the table, the specimen label including the
B Outside width of square steel tube
words of cfst denotes fully loaded CFST columns.
CFST Concrete-filled steel tube
The tubes were all manufactured from mild steel sheet
D Outside diameter of circular steel tube
(2.83 mm in thickness), with the plate being cut from the sheet,
DI Ductility index
tack welded into a circular or square shape and then welded
Ec Concrete modulus of elasticity
with a single bevel butt weld. Strips of the steel plate were tested
Es Steel modulus of elasticity
in tension. Three coupons were taken from the steel plate. From
f c0 Concrete compressive cylinder strength
these tests, the average yield strength ( f y ), tensile strength ( f u ),
f cu Concrete compressive cube strength
modulus of elasticity (E s ) were 362.9 MPa, 449.8 MPa and
fy Yield strength of steel
214,000 MPa respectively. The Poissons ratio (s ) of the steel
h Distance away from the top of the column
was 0.274.
L Length of the specimens
A kind of self-consolidating concrete (SCC) mix, with
N Axial load
compressive cube strength ( f cu ) at 28 days of approximately
Nu Axial compressive capacity of fully loaded CFST
60 MPa, was designed. The modulus of elasticity (E c ) of
Nu L Axial compressive capacity of locally loaded
concrete was measured, and the average value was 35,300 MPa.
CFST
The mix proportions were: Cement: 428 kg/m3 ; Blast furnace
p Confined stress
slag: 160 kg/m3 ; Water: 176 kg/m3 ; Sand: 758 kg/m3 ; Coarse
SI Strength index
aggregate: 928 kg/m3 ; Additional high-range water reducer
t Wall thickness of steel tube
(HRWR): 7.06 kg/m3 .
ta Wall thickness of the top endplate
The measured compressive cube strength ( f cu ) at the time of
Local compression area ratio (=Ac /A L )
test was 74.3 MPa.
Axial deformation
In all the concrete mixes, the fine aggregate used was
85% Axial deformation when the load falls to 85% of
siliceous sand and the coarse aggregate was carbonaceous
the ultimate load
stone. The fresh properties of the SCC mixture were as follows:
ue Axial deformation at the ultimate load
Strain Slump flow (mm): 247
Unit weight (kg/m3 ): 2454
Concrete temperature ( C): 30.5
Flow time (s): 53.3
Flow speed (mm/s): 15
Flow distance (mm): 800.
Each tube was welded to a circular (for circular section)
or a square (for square section) steel base plate 10 mm thick.
The SCC was cast without any vibrations. The specimens were
placed upright to air-dry until testing occurred. During curing,
a very small amount of longitudinal shrinkage of 0.2 mm or
so occurred at the top of the column. A high-strength epoxy
mortar was used to fill this longitudinal gap carefully so that
the concrete surface was flush with the steel tube at the top, and
the top endplate was welded at the same time.
Fig. 1. A schematic view of the CFST columns subjected to axially local
compression (A L : Cross section area of local compressive load; Ac : Cross The experimental study was to determine not only the
section area of core concrete). maximum load- bearing capacity of the composite specimens
subjected to axially local compression, but also to investigate
specimens, were tested. The main parameters varied in the tests the failure pattern up to and beyond the ultimate load. All the
are: tests were performed on a 5000 kN capacity testing machine.
Sectional types: circular and square; The specimens were seated directly on the rigid steel bed of the
machine. Fig. 2 gives a schematic view of the test arrangements.
Local compression area ratio, (=Ac /A L ); where, Ac is
The concentric loads were applied on the specimens through
the cross-sectional area of concrete, and A L is the local
the loading ram of the machine (for fully-loaded specimens)
compression area, shown as in Fig. 1): 1.44 and 16;
or the steel-bearing plate (for locally- loaded specimens). The
Thickness of the top endplate, ta : from 2 to 12 mm.
size of the bearing plate was varied to obtain different local
A summary of the specimens is presented in Table 1, where, compression area ratio (). Several strain gauges were used for
B and D are the outside width and diameter of the square and each CFST specimen to measure the variation of strains at the
L.-H. Han et al. / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 64 (2008) 377387 379

Table 1
Summary of the test information

Section type No. Specimen label B(D) (mm) t L (mm) ts (mm) Nue (kN) SI DI
(mm)
Circular 1 lcp1-1-1 206 2.83 600 2 1.44 3110 0.988 1.536
2 lcp1-1-2 206 2.83 600 2 1.44 3080 0.979 1.509
3 lcp1-2-1 206 2.83 600 5 1.44 3178 1.010 1.778
4 lcp1-2-2 206 2.83 600 5 1.44 3225 1.025 1.871
5 lcp1-3-1 206 2.83 600 9.6 1.44 3220 1.023 2.036
6 lcp1-3-2 206 2.83 600 9.6 1.44 3305 1.050 1.809
7 lcp1-4-1 206 2.83 600 12 1.44 3230 1.026 2.338
8 lcp1-4-2 206 2.83 600 12 1.44 3288 1.045 2.461
9 lcp2-1-1 206 2.83 600 2 16 1072 0.341 1.738
10 lcp2-1-2 206 2.83 600 2 16 1205 0.383 N/A
11 lcp2-2-1 206 2.83 600 5 16 1270 0.403 N/A
12 lcp2-2-2 206 2.83 600 5 16 1223 0.389 N/A
13 lcp2-3-1 206 2.83 600 12 16 1365 0.434 3.463
14 lcp2-3-2 206 2.83 600 12 16 1392 0.442 2.496
15 ccfst-1 206 2.83 600 3190 1.568
16 ccfst-2 206 2.83 600 3105 1.602

Square 17 lsp1-1-1 177 2.83 531 2 1.44 1850 0.706 1.145


18 lsp1-1-2 177 2.83 531 2 1.44 1850 0.706 1.257
19 lsp1-2-1 177 2.83 531 5 1.44 1985 0.758 1.362
20 lsp1-2-2 177 2.83 531 5 1.44 1880 0.718 1.323
21 lsp1-3-1 177 2.83 531 9.6 1.44 2205 0.842 1.473
22 lsp1-3-2 177 2.83 531 9.6 1.44 2120 0.809 1.465
23 lsp1-4-1 177 2.83 531 12 1.44 2300 0.878 1.811
24 lsp1-4-2 177 2.83 531 12 1.44 2305 0.880 1.887
25 lsp2-1-1 177 2.83 531 2 16 655 0.250 1.563
26 lsp2-1-2 177 2.83 531 2 16 736 0.281 1.325
27 lsp2-2-1 177 2.83 531 5 16 790 0.302 1.788
28 lsp2-2-2 177 2.83 531 5 16 781 0.298 2.141
29 lsp2-3-1 177 2.83 531 12 16 780 0.298 2.342
30 lsp2-3-2 177 2.83 531 12 16 780 0.298 2.307
31 scfst-1 177 2.83 531 2650 1.191
32 scfst-2 177 2.83 531 2590 1.552

section with the distance of 0.5B and 1.5B away from the top
of the specimen. Two linear voltage displacement transducers
(LVDTs) were used to measure the axial deformation, as shown
in Fig. 2.
The specimens were loaded continuously until failure. A
load interval of less than one-tenth of the estimated carrying
load capacity was used. Each load interval was maintained
for about 23 min. The progress of deformation, the mode of
failure and the maximum load taken by the specimens were
duly recorded.

2.2. Experimental results and specimen behaviour Fig. 2. A schematic view of the test setup.

It was found that the tested CFST columns under local for the specimens with bigger local compression area ratio, the
compression generally exhibited in a ductile manner, and the buckle of the steel tube focused on the position near the top
longitudinal force carried by the steel tube increased with the endplate.
increase of the top endplate thickness (ta ). Compared with fully loaded specimens, the number of
Fig. 3(a) and (b) show the influences of top endplate buckles of the steel tube generally decreased with the decrease
thickness and local compression area ratio on the failure of the top endplate thickness (as shown in Fig. 3(c)), even no
modes of the composite specimens. It can be found that, the buckle due to the local falling of the top endplate beneath the
deformation of the top part of steel tube becomes more obvious bearing plate (as shown in Fig. 3(d)). It is expected that bigger
for the specimens with thicker endplate. However, the thinner steel wall thickness means higher rigidity of the endplate, under
top endplate under the bearing plate was falling evidently, and axially local compression, and the endplate can work well with
380 L.-H. Han et al. / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 64 (2008) 377387

(a) = 16. (b) = 1.44. (c) = 1.44.

(d) = 16.

Fig. 3. Effects of top endplate thickness and local compression area ratio on the failure modes.

(a) Circular section.

Fig. 4. Load versus deformation relationships.


L.-H. Han et al. / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 64 (2008) 377387 381

(b) Square section.

Fig. 4. (continued)

the composite section in this case, the axial load can transfer Nu L
SI = (1)
to the steel tube effectively and lead to the deformation of the Nu
steel tube. However, thin endplate can be dented locally under where, Nu L is the measured ultimate strength of CFSTs
local compression due to its lower rigidity, and lead to the local subjected to axially local compression, and Nu is the tested
compression failure mode (shown as in Fig. 3(d)). ultimate strength of the corresponding fully loaded CFSTs.
Fig. 4 shows the measured axial load (N ) versus axial Fig. 6 illustrates the effects of the thickness of endplates (ta )
deformaion () curves of all tested specimens. It should be and local compression area ratio () on the strength index (SI).
pointed out that, due to the fracture of welding, the specimens It can be seen that, SI increases with the increase of ta and
lcp2-1-1, scfst-1 and scfst-2 failed with small deformation decreases with the increase of , and the influences on SI of
after reaching their maximum strength. The measured ultimate are more evident than those of ta . Generally, SI of circular
strengths of the specimens are listed in Table 1. specimens is greater than that of square specimens. This means
It was found that, in general, the ultimate strength and elastic that, under the same values of ta and , the strength loss
stiffness increased with the increase of ta . The higher strength of the circular composite columns is less than that of the
and elastic stiffness can mainly be explained that, with the square specimens. It can be explained that, under axially local
increase of ta , the deformation of the end of steel tube is compression, the confinement of circular steel tube with core
restrained and thus the confinement of the steel tube to core concrete is more effective than that of square steel tube.
concrete can be improved. Furthermore, the diffusion action of It can also be found from Fig. 6 that, for the specimens
the steel-bearing plate to local compressive force may result with small local compression area ratio ( = 1.44), the
in uniform load on the top part of the specimen (as shown in composite action of square steel tube to core concrete is
Fig. 5), and to some extent, enlargement of the actual load- evidently improved with the increase of ta and the improvement
bearing area. of bearing capacities of square CFST specimens is effective.
3. Analysis of test results and discussions However, the influence of ta on the ultimate strength of circular
CFST specimens is moderate, because the confinement of the
For convenience of analysis, strength index (SI) for CFST circular steel tube to core concrete is more effective than that
stub columns subjected to axially local compression is defined of square steel tube to core concrete. For the specimens with
as larger local compression area ratio ( = 16), the ultimate
382 L.-H. Han et al. / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 64 (2008) 377387

Fig. 5. A schematic view of the local compression transferring path.

(a) Circular section.


Fig. 6. Influences of ta and on SI.

strength increases with the increase of ta , and the endplate at


local compression zone deformed in plasticity, due to the higher
local compression force (as shown in Fig. 3(d)).
One of the methods used to quantify ductility of the
composite sections is the ductility index (DI) [2]. It is expressed
as:
85%
DI = (2)
ue
where, ue is the axial deformation at the ultimate load, and
85% is the axial deformation when the load falls to 85% of the
ultimate load.
The ductility indexes (DI) so determined are presented in
Table 1. Fig. 7 shows the influences of the thickness of endplate
(ta ) on DI. It can be seen that, in general, DI increases with (b) Square section.
the increase of ta . It is expected that, bigger wall thickness
means higher rigidity of the endplate, and thus can lead to Fig. 7. ta versus DI relations.
an improving structural performance of the composite section
under axially local compression. by the steel tube and the composite action of the steel tube
Fig. 8 shows the influences of ta on the longitudinal and becomes more obvious with the increase of ta . It can also be
transverse strains at the middle and end of the steel tube for found from these figures that, the strains in the circular steel
CFST specimens, when the ultimate strength being achieved. It tubes are much larger than those in the square steel tubes. This
can be found that, in general, the longitudinal and transverse may be contributed to the fact that, the interaction between
strains of the steel tube increase with the increase of the circular steel tube and its core concrete is better than that
endplate thickness (ta ). This means that the force undertaking between square steel tube and its core concrete.
L.-H. Han et al. / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 64 (2008) 377387 383

(a) Circular section ( = 1.44). (b) Circular section ( = 16).

(c) Square section ( = 1.44). (d) Square section ( = 16).

Fig. 8. Steel strains of CFSTs at the ultimate strength.

4. Finite element analysis (FEA) for CFST columns subjected to axially local compression
because the concentric load was applied only at top end of the
4.1. Descriptions of the FEA modelling column. The uniform axial deformation () was applied to the
top surface of the composite members. Fig. 9 shows a schematic
ABAQUS [5] software was used in Han et al. [3] for the view of the element divisions.
finite element analysis (FEA) on CFSTs subjected to pure
4.2. Verifications on the FEA modelling
torsion. In the analysis, the damage plasticity model defined
in ABAQUS/Standard 6.4 [5] was used. The steel tube was The bearing capacity and the load versus deformation curves
simulated by using 4-node shell elements (S4), and the concrete predicted by FEA are compared with test results in this paper.
core was simulated using 8-node brick elements (C3D8R), Fig. 4 shows the comparisons of load versus deformation
with three translation degrees of freedom at each node. A curves between predicted results by FEA and the test results.
surface-based interaction with a contact pressure model in the Fig. 10 shows the comparisons of the bearing capacities
normal direction and a Coulomb friction model in the tangential between tested and calculated results. It can be found that,
directions to the surface between steel tube and core concrete generally, good agreement is obtained between the predicted
was adopted. In the normal direction between steel tube and and tested results. However, in general, the calculated stiffness
core concrete, gap element with big gap rigidity was used [3]. is somewhat higher than the tested results, shown as in Fig. 4.
The displacements were applied in several incremental steps, This may be induced by a initial eccentricity of the axial loading
and CFST responses after each step could be calculated from during testing.
the equilibrium equations. Similar model was used in this paper
to analyse the behaviour of CFST columns subjected to axially 4.3. Interactions between steel tube and its core concrete
local compression. Details of the FEA modelling can be found
in Han et al. [3]. Fig. 11 illustrates the predicted load versus deformation
Fixed boundary conditions were applied to the bottom relationships of CFST member with different endplate
surface of the column. One fourth of the column was modelled thickness. The calculating condition is: = 4, D(B) =
384 L.-H. Han et al. / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 64 (2008) 377387

Fig. 10. Comparisons of the bearing capacities between tested and calculated
results.

Fig. 9. A schematic view of the element divisions. 1Local compression zone;


2Symmetrical about yz plane; 3Symmetrical about zx plane; 4Same
displacement and rotation; 5y, z displacement of the steel tube is restricted;
6x, z displacement of the steel tube is restricted; 7z displacement of the
concrete surface is restricted.

400 mm, t = 9.3 mm, L = 1200 mm, f y = 345 MPa and


f c0 = 51 MPa.
Generally, the thicker the endplate, the higher the rigidity
of endplate. It can be seen from Fig. 11 that, both the ultimate
strength and stiffness of the composite columns increase with
the increase of the endplate thickness.
Fig. 12 shows the confined stress ( p) versus longitudinal
strain relations for the composite columns under axially local
compression. The calculating condition is: = 4, ta = 10 mm, Fig. 11. Typical load (N ) versus axial deformation () relations.
D(B) = 400 mm, t = 9.3 mm, L = 1200 mm, f y = 345 MPa
and f c0 = 51 MPa. The confined stress ( p) comes from the is: = 4, B = 400 mm, t = 9.3 mm, L = 1200 mm,
section away from the top of the specimen of D or B and is the f y = 345 MPa and f c0 = 51 MPa.
average value in that section. Fig. 14 shows typical diffusions of the longitudinal stress
It can be found from Fig. 12 that, for circular member, there (S33) along the height of the circular member, when the
is a minus value of confined stress at the initial stage, i.e. small force equals to 30% of the ultimate strength (Nu L ). The
tensile stress is produced between the steel tube and its core diffusion behaviour of square member is similar to that of
concrete. This may be explained by the Poissons ratio of steel circular member. Fig. 15(a) and (b) show the influences of
being higher than that of concrete at the initial stage. When endplate thickness and sectional type on the longitudinal stress
steel reaches its elastic-plastic stage, the confined stress turns to distributions along the height of the composite columns, where
plus value and increases continuously under axial compression. x is the distance away from the symmetrical axes of the
For the composite columns with square sections, the average member, the lines with h/D and h/B denote the circular
confined stress is always the plus value, and the confined stress and square sections respectively, and h is the distance away
descends after achieving the ultimate strength. from the top of the column.
It was found that, with the increase of the endplate thickness, It can be seen from Fig. 15 that, the longitudinal stresses
the zone of bearing load increases and the longitudinal stress gradually decrease with the increase of the endplate thickness.
(S33) tends to uniform. Furthermore, under the same endplate Also, the distributions of longitudinal stress tends to uniform
thickness, the longitudinal stresses (S33) of circular member with the increase of the endplate thickness, and the stresses
are higher than those of the square member, due to the good of core concrete beneath the loading plate decrease with the
confinement of circular steel tube to its core concrete. Fig. 13 increase of the endplate thickness, shown as in Fig. 15(a). This
shows the typical longitudinal stress distributions across the end can be explained that, the thinner endplate can not provide
section of core concrete in square composite columns, when enough stiffness to resist the local compression, and then the
the ultimate strength is achieved. The calculating condition endplate falls into the concrete owing to relatively low strength
L.-H. Han et al. / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 64 (2008) 377387 385

(a) ta = 2 mm.

Fig. 12. Confined stress versus strain relations.

(b) ta = 20 mm.

Fig. 14. Diffusions of the longitudinal stress along the height (circular
member).
(a) ta = 2 mm.
Fig. 15(b). This may be due to the fact that, the confinement to
core concrete of circular steel tube is bigger than that of square
steel tube.
Fig. 16 shows the longitudinal and transverse stresses of the
steel tube along the height of the composite columns, when the
ultimate strength is achieved. It can be seen that, for circular
member, the longitudinal stresses gradually increase from the
top to the end, and the longitudinal stresses increase with the
increase of the endplate thickness. The transverse stresses at
the range of 1.0D from the top of the column are markedly
large and decrease with the increase of the endplate thickness.
However, the transverse stresses at the range of 1.5D from the
end of the column are relatively small and do not vary with the
increase of the endplate thickness. For square member, due to
nonuniform distribution of the stresses, the rule is not evident. It
can be seen that, the transverse stresses are relatively small and
the longitudinal stresses gradually increase with the increase of
(b) ta = 20 mm.
the endplate thickness. The longitudinal stresses are relatively
Fig. 13. Longitudinal stress distributions across the end section of core large at the top of the member and uniform at the low part of
concrete (square section). the member.

of concrete beneath the endplate. It can also be found that, the 5. Conclusions
stress along the height and the range of diffused stress of square
columns are lower than those of circular member, shown as in The present study is an attempt to investigate the behaviour
386 L.-H. Han et al. / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 64 (2008) 377387

(a) Longitudinal strain.

(a) Effects of endplate thickness (circular section).

(b) Transverse strain.

Fig. 16. Longitudinal and transverse stresses at ultimate strength.

(4) A FEA modelling was used to investigate the mechanism of


the composite columns subjected to axial compression.
(5) Significant test data have been presented in this paper,
which are useful for research and proved to be helpful for
(b) Effects of section types (ta = 2 mm). calibration against FEM or theoretical solutions.

Fig. 15. Longitudinal stress distributions along the height of the column. Acknowledgements

of concrete-filled steel tubes (CFST) subjected to axially local The research reported in the paper is part of Project
compression. Based on the results of this study, the following 50425823 supported by National Natural Science Foundation
conclusions can be drawn within the scope of the research: of China, the project supported by the Start-Up Fund for
Outstanding Incoming Researchers of Tsinghua University and
(1) Generally, CFST columns under local compression exhibit the Start-Up Fund for Outstanding Incoming Researchers of
in a ductile manner. The local compression effects can lead Fujian Province. Their financial support is highly appreciated.
to a decrease of the bearing capacities of the composite
columns. References
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