Modelling and experimental testing of interlocking steel connection behaviour

P. Matis, T. Martin, P.J. McGetrick, D. Robinson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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Today's urban environment and transportation networks rely heavily on the use of steel load carrying structures. Despite the two main steel connection methods, welding and bolting, being slow and/or expensive field activities, a new universally applicable, structural steel connection mechanism has not been introduced in more than a century, regardless of the new manufacturing capabilities available. It is clear that by improving and refining these features of multi-storey steel buildings, considerable savings in both weight and cost could be achieved. To achieve these savings, improved construction efficiency and heightened material reuse, a new class of interlocking steel connections using computer-controlled, advanced manufacturing techniques in laser cutting has been developed that rely on neither bolting nor welding. This paper presents the experimental testing and numerical modelling of the flange of the new interlocking steel connection in direct tension. A series of experimental tests were performed to capture the behaviour and failure modes of the new steel connection under tension. A simplified two-dimensional (2D) finite element (FE) model has been created using the ABAQUS software. The connection model accounts for material and geometric non-linearity, large deformation and contact behaviour. Contact is critical to model the tensile behaviour of the joint and was modelled using a surface to surface contact interaction taking into consideration friction between the surfaces. The model has been analysed through the elastic and plastic ranges up to failure and predicts the failure mode of the connection well. The comparison with the experimental data shows that the 2D model has a very good level of accuracy and the highest effectiveness in terms of computational time and memory usage.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLife cycle analysis and assessment in civil engineering: towards an integrated vision: proceedings of the Sixth International Symposium on Life-Cycle Civil Engineering (IALCCE 2018), 28-31 October 2018, Ghent, Belgium
EditorsRobby Caspeele, Luc Taerwe, Dan Frangopol
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781315228914
ISBN (Print)9781138626331
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2018
EventSixth International Symposium on Life-Cycle Civil Engineering 2018 - Ghent, Belgium
Duration: 28 Oct 201831 Oct 2018


ConferenceSixth International Symposium on Life-Cycle Civil Engineering 2018
Abbreviated titleIALCCE 2018


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