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# Nonlinear Analysis Using General Link Elements

1 Analysis Overview A general link is an element that connects two nodes as a spring having 6 degrees of freedom that represent 3 translational degrees of freedom and 3 rotational degrees of freedom with respect to the element local axes x, y and z. General link elements can be used for modeling damping devices, base isolators, compression or tension-only elements, plastic hinges, soil springs, etc. General link elements can be assigned linear and nonlinear properties. Inelastic general link elements are used in a model assuming that the plastic deformation of a specific part of a structure or soil is concentrated on the spring. Unlike structural members, general link elements cannot be assigned material properties and sectional properties and thus, the stiffness of general link elements cannot be computed automatically. The stiffness of each component should be directly entered and the entered stiffness is used as the initial stiffness for nonlinear analysis. In midas GEN, inelastic hinge properties can be assigned to general link elements when the Application Type is Element and the Property Type is Spring as shown in figure 2. General link elements have only elastic stiffness for each component, but they become inelastic elements when the inelastic hinge properties are assigned to them. Based on the hysteresis model defined like this, inelastic analysis is carried out.

2 How to Use General Link General link elements can be entered from Main Menu>Model>Boundaries>General Link. A general link element is defined by specifying two nodes and selecting the predefined general link property and inelastic hinge property. Figure 1 shows the dialog box to define a general link element and the defined general link element.

## Figure 1. Defining a General Link

Application Type There are two application types, which are Element Type and Force Type. Element Type: Analysis is performed using the entered stiffness as the initial stiffness. When inelastic hinge properties are defined, the Element Type general link element directly reflects the nonlinear behavior of the element by renewing the element stiffness matrix in the process of analysis. Force Type: The Force Type general link element retains the element stiffness based on the entered effective stiffness. Even if nonlinear properties are defined, the stiffness matrix is not renewed. And rather, it reflects the nonlinear behavior indirectly by converting the member force calculated on the basis of the nonlinear properties into an external force. Especially, the effective stiffness in a boundary nonlinear time history analysis using the Force Type general link element represents imaginary stiffness to avoid rigid action in the algorithm. If the effective stiffness value is very large in nonlinear analysis, non-convergence may occur in the process of repetitive analyses, and as such an appropriate value should be entered. It is common practice to specify the initial stiffness of damping and isolator devices.

Property Type A specific link element is selected for an Application Type. The Element Type link element provides 3 types; Spring, Linear Dashpot and Spring and Linear Dashpot. Linear and inelastic analyses can be performed if the linear and inelastic hinge properties are assigned to the general link element. Linear properties can be defined in Linear Properties and inelastic hinge properties can be defined in Model > Properties > Inelastic Hinge Properties. The Force Type link element provides 6 types; Viscoelastic Damper and Hysteretic System used to represent damping devices, Lead Rubber Bearing Isolator and Friction Pendulum System Isolator used to represent base isolators, compression-only Gap element and tension-only Hook element.

Inelastic Hinge Properties Inelastic properties can be assigned to the hinge that is defined in General Link Properties. Inelastic hinge properties can be defined in Main Menu>Model > Properties > Inelastic Hinge Properties. Figure 3 shows the dialog box to define inelastic hinge properties. The Type must be set to Spring in order to assign inelastic hinge properties to the general link.

## Figure 3. Add/Modify Inelastic Hinge Properties dialog box

Yield Strength (Surface) Calculation Method There are two ways of calculating yield strength. User Input: User directly defines inelastic hinge properties. Auto-calculation: Inelastic hinge properties are automatically calculated using the selected material, section, and member information.

Type

Define the hinge type (Beam-Column (Lumped), Beam-Column (Distributed), Spring and Truss). Beam-Column (Lumped): Beam-Column type lumped hinge It concentrates the inelastic behavior represented by rotational and translational springs at each end and the center. And the remaining parts are assumed to behave elastically. Inelastic hysteresis behaviors are defined by skeleton curves, which are empirical hysteresis models. The three axial components are represented by springs at the center defined by force-displacement relationships. The two flexural components, My and Mz, are represented by springs defined by the relationship between moment and angle of rotation at either I or J or at both ends. Beam-Column (Distributed): Beam-Column type distributed hinge Unlike lumped hinges, it assumes inelastic behavior throughout the member. The plastic hinge locations in the length direction of a member assigned by the user are defined as the integration points. The flexibility matrix of a section, which represents the distribution of internal forces, is calculated through the integration points. The number of integration points can be between 1 and 20. Inelastic hysteresis behavior can be defined by 2 models, empirical Skeleton and Fiber. The hinge behaviors can be expressed by force - deformation relationships in each axis direction, and the hinge hysteresis behavior of the flexural components can be expressed by the relationships of moment and curvature. Inelastic behaviors can be defined for 3 axis components and 2 flexural (My & Mz) components. Spring: Unlike Lumped and Distributed hinges, which are influenced by the inelastic properties of materials and members, the inelastic plastic hinge properties for the corresponding linear properties of each component of Spring defined in General Link Properties are defined. The elastic stiffness of each component is defined by effective stiffness and acts as the initial stiffness in inelastic analysis. The inelastic hysteresis behavior of a spring is defined by a skeleton model. The inelastic properties of a spring can be defined for all 3 translational and 3 rotational directions. LRB and HDR type vibration isolator hysteresis models can be defined only by using Spring Type. In order to assign inelastic hinge properties to the Spring Type general link element that is defined in Model > Boundary > General Link Property, for pushover analysis, the Type must be set to Spring. Truss: The axial component is represented by a spring at the center defined by the forcedisplacement relationship. The inelastic hysteresis behavior of a spring is defined by a skeleton model.

Hysteresis Model: Various hysteresis models provided by midas Gen can be used to define the hysteresis model for an inelastic hinge.

Input Type: The method of defining yield properties Strength-Stiffness Reduction Ratio: Yield properties are defined by specifying yield strength and stiffness reduction ratio. Strength-Yield Displacement: Yield properties are defined by specifying yield strength and yield displacement. Figure 4 and figure 5 show the dialog boxes to define the hysteresis models having Elastic Trilinear properties. Figure 4 shows a hysteresis model that is symmetrical about tension and compression. Figure 5 shows an unsymmetrical hysteresis model that has different properties for tension and compression. In figure 4(a) and figure 5(a) the hysteresis property is defined using Strength-Stiffness Reduction Ratio, and in figure 4(b) and figure 5(b) the hysteresis property is defined using Strength-Yield Displacement.

## (a) Input Type of Strength-Stiffness Reduction Ratio

(b) Input Type of Strength-Yield Displacement Figure 4. Defining symmetrical inelastic hinge properties

## (a) Input Type of Strength-Stiffness Reduction Ratio

(b) Input Type of Strength-Yield Displacement Figure 5. Defining unsymmetrical inelastic hinge properties

Yield Strength Yield strength is defined based on material and section properties. The user specifies positive (+) values regardless of tension (t) or compression (c). The program treats compression as negative (-) internally. P1: The first yield strength. If the Material Type is Steel or SRC (filled), the first yield represents the state in which the maximum bending stress of the section reaches the yield stress. If the Material Type is RC or SRC (encased), the first yield represents the state in which the maximum bending stress of the section reaches the cracking stress of concrete. P2: The second yield strength. If the Material Type is Steel or SRC (filled), the second yield represents the state in which the bending stress of the entire section reaches the yield stress.

If the Material Type is RC or SRC (encased), the second yield represents the state in which the stress in the concrete section reaches the ultimate strength or the stress in reinforcing steel reaches the yield strength. P3: The third yield strength.

Stiffness Reduction Ratio Enter the stiffness reduction ratios of a sloped skeleton curve when Strength - Stiffness Reduction Ratio is selected for Input Type. 1: Ratio of the stiffness immediately after the first yielding to the initial stiffness 2: Ratio of the stiffness immediately after the second yielding to the initial stiffness, which is defined when the skeleton curve is Trilinear or Tetralinear type. 3: Ratio of the stiffness immediately after the third yielding to the initial stiffness, which is defined when the skeleton curve is Tetralinear type.

Yield Displacement Enter the yield displacement of a sloped skeleton curve when Strength - Yield Displacement is selected for Input Type. D1: First yield displacement or deformation D2: Second yield displacement or deformation, which is defined when the skeleton curve is Trilinear or Tetralinear type. D3: Third yield displacement or deformation, which is defined when the skeleton curve is Tetralinear type.

Deformation Indexes Data required for calculating the indexes, which represent the level of deformation of an inelastic hinge Ductility Factor: Select a basis of calculating ductility. Depending on the selection by the user, ductility factor is calculated by dividing the current deformation by the first yield deformation or the second yield deformation. Hinge Status: Enter the reference ductility, which classifies the state of a hinge in 5 different

levels. Level-1 (0.5) signifies the elastic status and Level-2 (1) signifies the yield status. Level3 (2), Level-4 (4) and Level-5 (8) represent the level of ductility of each member. In analysis results, the status is presented in blue, green, yellowish light green, orange and red colors.

Initial Stiffness The initial stiffness used in inelastic analysis. 6EI/L , 3EI/L, 2EI/L: Provided that the inelastic hinge is a lumped type for the bending moment component, the initial stiffness is selected on the basis of the longitudinal distribution of bending moment. This cannot be selected in case of Distributed Type and Spring Type. 6EI/L: When end values of linearly distributed bending moment are identical in magnitude but in opposite directions 3EI/L: When one end is 0 2EI/L: When the magnitudes and signs of end values are identical

Figure 6. Initial stiffness based on the bending moment distribution User: The user directly enters the initial stiffness if the Input Type is Strength - Stiffness Reduction Ratio. Elastic Stiffness: When Strength - Stiffness Reduction Ratio is selected for the Input Type, elastic stiffness of a member defined in General Link Properties is used as the initial stiffness for inelastic analysis. Skeleton Curve: When Strength - Yield Displacement is selected for the Input Type, the stiffness calculated from the specified yield strength and yield displacement is used as the initial stiffness.

3 Case Studies Description of an Analytical Model The analysis model is described in figure 7. Two nodes are connected by a general link and an axial load is applied. One end is fixed and the other end is released only for the axial direction. Figure 7(a) is the case when a compression force is applied to the general link. Figure 7(b) is the case when a tension force is applied. Load-displacement relationship is investigated for those two cases when the general link has symmetrical properties and when the general link has unsymmetrical properties, respectively. A concentrated load is applied to the node that retains a degree of freedom for the axial direction. The magnitude of the load is 1 N. Using Time History Function, the load gradually increases from 0 to 20 N.

## Figure 7. Analytical model

In figure 8, the symmetrical and unsymmetrical inelastic properties of the general link are depicted on the load-displacement graphs. In the graphs, tension is represented by (+) and compression is represented by (-). The inelastic properties of the general link used in the analytical model are defined using Strength-Stiffness Reduction Ratio and Strength-Yield Displacement, respectively. The inelastic properties used in the actual model are as shown in figure 4 and figure 5.

## (a) Symmetrical inelastic properties

(b) Unsymmetrical inelastic properties Figure 8. Defining the inelastic properties of the general link on the load-displacement graphs

Figure 10 shows the load case to perform the time history analysis. Nonlinear and Static options are selected and Load Control method is selected.

## Figure 10. Time history Load Case

Figure 11 shows the dynamic load, which is defined by multiplying the pre-entered static load (P=1 N) by the time function defined in Time History Function. The load is 0 N at 0 second and linearly increases up to 20 N after 1 second.

## Figure 11. Time Varying Static Load

Review the Analysis Results Figure 12 and figure 13 show the analysis results of the general link that has the inelastic properties defined previously. The analysis results are produced from Main Menu>Results>Time History Results>Time History Graph. The horizontal axis represents the displacement and the vertical axis represents the member force acting on the general link. Figure 12(a) and figure 12(b) show the forcedisplacement curves when tension and compression are applied to the general link that has the symmetrical inelastic properties. Figure 13(a) and figure 13(b) show the force-displacement curves when tension and compression are applied to the general link that has the unsymmetrical inelastic properties. The analysis results are identical between when the inelastic properties are defined by Strength-Stiffness Reduction Ratio and when defined by Strength-Yield Displacement. Figure 12 and figure 13 verify that the analysis results are identical to the load-displacement graphs shown in figure 8 where the inelastic properties of the general link are defined.

## (a) When a tension force is applied

(b) When a compression force is applied Figure 12. Analysis results of the general link having symmetrical inelastic properties

## (a) When a tension force is applied

(b) When a compression force is applied Figure 13. Analysis results of the general link having unsymmetrical inelastic properties

4 Conclusion Nonlinear analysis using inelastic hinge properties and general link elements has been discussed. To the general link that has symmetrical and unsymmetrical properties, a tension force and a compression force are applied, respectively. Force-displacement relationship has been obtained for the general link and this confirms that the defined inelastic properties have been reflected well.