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Presented in
The partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Degree of
Structural Engineering

Presented by
Mr. Darakh Pranav Gopaldas
E-mail :-

(Roll No. 514020)

Research supervisor
Dr. M. N. Bajad


(JANUARY, 2016)

The performance of a new proposed steel connection against seismic
loading and progressive collapse was experimentally and numerically
investigated in this paper. The seismic performance included interstory drift
angle and flexural strength evaluated in accordance with 2010 AISC Seismic
Provisions whereas progressive collapse assessment was based on satisfaction
of the acceptance criteria by rotational capacities of the connection provided
in UFC 4-023-03 guideline.
The results confirmed that the new proposed connection was capable of
achieving adequate rotational capacity and developing the full inelastic
capacity of the connecting beam. In addition, an excellent cyclic behavior was
demonstrated by proposed connection which enhance interstory drift angle.
Based on the results the proposed connection has adequate intensity and
ductility to classify it as full-strength and ductile connection.

At present, all moment resisting connections
incorporated in special or intermediate steel moment
frames have to be qualified by conduction of tests using
the protocol given in Appendix S of the 2010 AISC
Seismic Provisions (2010). This particular connection test
attempts to indicate the ability of the connection in
resisting large inelastic deformations through controlled
ductile yielding in specific behavioral modes.

Formation of a string-like mechanism to resist vertical loads by the

beams is referred to as the catenary action.
The extent of catenary action is controlled by the rotational capacity
of beam to column joints which are treated as the critical elements of
any building structure.
There are two major strategic approaches to improving connection
1. Strengthening strategy: Such elements as cover plates, haunches,
side plate, and vertical ribs are utilized to upgrade or enhance the load
carrying capacity of the connection region with respect tothat of the
base elements (beams or columns). The strategy allows pushing a
plastic hinge away from the vulnerable connection region.

2. Weakening strategy: The most preeminent

example of this strategy is Reduced Beam Section or
RBS connection, where a beam element (usually flange)
is intentionally weakened in bending (by reducing the
width of the flanges) to create a fuse for ductile yield
mechanism without connection failure.

Research Methodology
Case Studies and Design Procedures
The details of the new proposed connection for seismic
and progressive collapse assessments are shown in
Figure 4. As an obvious from Figure 4, two identical
beams pass from both side of column tip.

Mpb = the expected flexural strengths of the beams at the left and right side of connection,
Vg1 = the shear force from one of the beams at right side of connection due to gravity load,
d1 = horizontal distance
between two connection plates.

According to Figure 6, the minimum length to

provide the sufficient contact between the connection
plate and beam flange, L1, is bfb + 0.5 mm where bfb
define as beam flange width and the minimum length to
provide the sufficient space for welding between the
connection plate and column flange, L2, is bfe + 3 mm,
where bfe define as column flange width.

Since fabrication of the connection plate on the column is

conducted in the shop, the length of L3, is taken as the beam
depth, db. It is recommended that the minimum lengths of L5 and
L6 be taken as 2L1 and 0.3L5. Furthermore, the minimum length of
L4 to transmit the vertical force, F, from the fillet weld to the
column is determined from the following formula:

Where, R w= weld value per unit length during extreme loading

that is 33% higher than the strength of weld during normal loading.

Minimum thickness of the connection plate is

taken as the maximum of the following formulas:
Checking the compressive and tensile stresses in the
connection plate

Checking the welding stress between the connection

plate and beam flange

Where, = Reduction factor of the allowable stress of

the weld,
bfb = width of beam flange.

Checking the shear stress in the connection plate

(Notice that the allowable shear stress is taken as

Checking the tensile stress along the length of the
connection plate:

shear strength capacity of beam along the two

connection plates, shear panel zone of beam, must
satisfy the following formula:

where, twb = thickness of beam web, bfb= width of

beam flange,
tfb = thickness of beam flange,
dc = depth of column,
db = depth of beam. If the required strength is

If the required strength is higher than the existing one,

installation of web doubler plate or a pair of diagonal
stiffeners with strengths at least equal to the difference
between the required strength and the existing one would be
necessary in the shear panel zone area. The column-beam
ratio must be satisfied for this system using Eqn in
conformance with AISC Seismic Provisions (AISC 341 2010).

Where, MPb = The sum of the projections of the nominal

flexural strengths (Mpc) of the column above and below the
connection joint, at the location of formation of theoretical
hinge in the column.

The nominal flexural strength of the column is determined using


where, Zc = the plastic section modulus of the column (mm3),

Fyc = the minimum specified yield strength of the

column at
the connection (MPa),
Pu/Ag = Ratio of column axial compressive load, determined
conformance with load and resistance factor
provisions, to gross area of the column (MPa).

Determination of the expected flexural strength of the beam is

achieved by using Eqn

where, Ry = adjustment coefficient for material over strength,

according to Table 1-6-1 of AISC Seismic Provisions (AISC
341 2010).
Fyb = specified minimum yield strength of the beam (MPa),
Zb = plastic modulus of the beam section (mm3),
Mv = additional moment as a result of shear amplification from
the location of the beam hinge to the column centerline

Fabrication and Modeling Setup

The test specimens were fabricated by a combination of
university laboratory personnel and commercial
fabricators. Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), commonly
known as Metal Inert Gas (MIG), was used in this
research. This type of welding process includes a group
of arc welding procedures where powered feed rolls
(wire feeder) feed a continuous electrode (the wire)
inside the weld pool (Figure 7).

Different loading protocols and lateral restraint

assemblies were incorporated in seismic and
progressive collapse performance of the 1/6th scale
testing specimens, Figure 8. The missing column
scenario (AP method) was used for progressive collapse
evaluation in this research where the interior column
within the structure was destroyed by an instantaneous
disastrous event.

A 250-KN hydraulic pseudo-dynamic actuator with a

maximum piston stroke of 500 mm which install to the tip of
the beam was selected to conduct the cyclic test and
evaluate seismic behavior, Figure 9(a). In this test both sides
of the beam were laterally restrained at middling length from
the centerline of the specimen column. To successfully
simulate the progressive collapse, a monotonically increasing
ramp was hired in this study, Figure 9(b).
The location of removed column was equipped by the
instrument called Linear Variable Differential Transducer
(LVDT) to measure the vertical deflections at that region and
hence, help the authors assess the progressive collapse as

A summary of other assumptions used in this

study are as follows:
The specimens were only constrained in plane (twodimensional tests only). The out-of-plane influence of
beams concurring to the joint was ignored.
Slab effects were neglected (conservative approach).
Initial conditions of the specimens were zero stresses
resulting from gravity and live loads plus zero velocity.

In order to convert a scaled-down model to a fullscale

one, a series of fundamental scaling factors must be
used including S, the scaling factor for strain SE, the
scaling factor for the material elastic modulus, S, the
scaling factor for stress, SM,

Finite Element Modeling Procedure

To efficiently model large deformations and strains, the
FE software ABAQUS/STANDARD (2001) was used in
implementation of the numerical portion of the study.
Determination of true stress-strain for a FEA
representation is achieved using the following formulas:

where, and are the true stress and strain values

whereas e and S are engineering strain and stress
values respectively (the uniaxial tensile test).

Loading Protocol
The loading sequence used for seismic evaluation was
that prescribed by AISC Seismic Provisions (2010). The
AISC Protocol specifies a series of load steps and the
number of cycles for each as shown in Figure 11. Each
load step corresponds to a total interstory drift angle

The loading sequence used for seismic evaluation was

that prescribed by AISC Seismic Provisions (2010). The
AISC Protocol specifies a series of load steps and the
number of cycles for each as shown in Figure 11. Each
load step corresponds to a total interstory drift angle

the following seismic requirements were supposed to be

satisfied by proposed Connection:

The minimum interstory drift angle of 0.04 rad had to

be sustained by the connections, Figure 12 (a).

ii. The flexural resistance of the connection determined

at the column face had to be equal to at least 0.80Mp
of the connected beam at an inter story drift angle of
0.04 rad.


Progressive Collapse Assessment
The typical behavior of the double-span beams based
on numerical and experimental results are discussed in
this section. The plastic rotation angle, , as the foremost
variable in assessment of progressive collapse is defined
as the vertical deflection of the column, , divided by the
clear span length of the beam, L as illustrated in Figure

Seismic Assesment
The following sequence is an indication of the failure
mode: i) inelastic local buckling of the top beam flanges
ii) Fracture initiation at the flange at the tension side of
the beam with consequent propagation tothe web. The
damaged state of the specimen plus the plastic
equivalent strain distribution after the final stepof
progressive collapse test is shown in Figures 13(a) and
13(b) respectively.

According to Figure 14, there is a good correlation

between the experimental and numerical results in
terms of yield point, strain hardening, modes of failure
and maximum plastic hinge rotations. The acceptance
criteria used for this new proposed connection is similar
to the SidePlate connection.

The experimental failure mode plus the plastic

equivalent strain distribution at the end of cyclic test are
shown in Figures 15(a) and 15(b).

Figure 16 shows a reasonable correlation, mainly in the

elastic region where the divergences are negligible,
between the experimental and numerical results of the
test. The plastic strain distribution of test specimen at
0.06 story drift indicated that formation of plastic hinges
was in the same location as the experimental test and
consequently, the plastic deformations were
concentrated therein.

Table 5 gives a comparison between the experimental

(test) and numerical (analysis) results of seismic
evaluation for the new proposed connection used in this


The seismic and progressive collapse performance of a
new proposed connection was investigated in this
paper. The interstory drift angle and flexural strength in
conformance with AISC Seismic Provisions (2010) along
with plastic rotation angle based on UFC 4-023-03
(2010) guideline were the major acceptance criteria for
seismic and progressive collapse evaluation
respectively. The following conclusions have been made
regarding the experimental and numerical results:

i. The new proposed connection was able to achieve adequate rotational

capacity, develop catenary action and also develop the full inelastic capacity
of the connecting beam. Therefore, it could be a robust and effective solution
in case of a terrorist bomb blast, including progressive collapse.
ii. The new proposed connection achieved considerably high load and
rotational capacities in progressive collapse test, with up to 3 times bigger
after first yielding.
iii. Detailed progressive collapse assessments showed that the failure mode
and the catenary action formation were controlled by the tensile capacities of
beam-column joint after experiencing large rotations. This indicates that high
tensile resistances of beam-column joints must be adopted by engineers after

large rotations rather than pure tying resistance. If large rotations are not taken
into account in the design stage, the joints having poor rotation capacities will
not be capable of achieving the design tying resistances.
iv. Considering the seismic performance test results, one complete cycle of an
interstory drift angle of 0.06 rad was satisfied by the new proposed connection.
Hence, this connection can be used in SMF according to AISC Seismic Provisions
v. The maximum moment developed at beam was almost 1.20 times bigger than
the actual beam plastic moment, Mp. Also, the strain hardening value of 1.5,
determined based on FEMA 350 (2000), was exceeded during the experimental
vi. The new proposed connection is able to reduce lateral steel tonnage because
of connection stiffness resulting from the 100% rigid panel zone.