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Ultimate load limit analysis of steel structures accounting for nonlinear behaviour of connections

Abstract : This thesis deals with the ultimate load limit analysis of steel frame structures. The steel frame structure has a very ductile response and a large potential to dissipate energy, which is crucial in the case of earthquakes. The ductility in the response of the structure comes from the behavior of the material itself and the behavior of the semi-rigid structural connections. The semi-rigid connections between beams and columns can significantly influence the response of the structure, sometimes up to 30%. In this thesis, we propose a methodology for modeling steel frame structures with included connection behavior. The idea is to model the behavior of the structural connections by the beam elements positioned in the corners of the steel frame structure. Other members of the steel frame structure, steel beams, and columns, will be modeled with nonlinear beam elements. This research consists of two parts. The first part deals with the behavior of the structural steel connections. In the second part, we present the development of the nonlinear beam element capable of representing the ductile behavior of steel structural elements, beams and columns. In the first part of the thesis, we define constitutive parameters identification procedure for the coupled plasticity-damage model with eighteen unknowns. This constitutive model is very robust and capable of representing a wide range of problems. The identification procedure was used in the preparation of experimental tests for three different types of structural steel connections. The experimental tests have been performed for two load cases. In the first, the load was applied in one direction with both the loading and unloading cycles. From the experimental measurements, we have concluded that the response of the experimental structure can be represented by the plasticity model only because no significant change in the elastic response throughout the loading program was observed. Therefore, we have chosen an elastoplastic geometrically exact beam to describe connection behavior. The hardening response of the beam is governed by bilinear law, and the softening response is governed by nonlinear exponential law. The identification of the parameters has been successfully done with fifteen unknown parameters identified. The two types of the experimental structures were also exposed to the cyclic loading. Measured experimental data shows complex connection behavior that cannot be described by the plasticity model alone. Namely, after changing load direction stiffness of the connection decreases. This suggests that the damage model should be incorporated in the constitutive law for the connections behavior as well. Therefore, we propose a new coupled plasticity-damage model capable of representing the loss in the stiffness of the connection with the changing of the load direction. At the end of this part, we also give the constitutive parameters identification for the proposed model. The second part of the thesis deals with the theoretical formulation and numerical implementation of the elastoplastic geometrically exact beam. The hardening response of the beam includes interaction between stress resultant section forces (N, T and M), and the softening response of the beam, which is governed by the nonlinear law. This type of the beam element is capable of representing the ductile behavior of a steel frame structure, and it takes into account second order theory effects. Performed numerical simulations show that the proposed geometrically nonlinear beam element is very robust and is able to provide a more precise limit load analysis of steel frame structures. By using proposed methodology for modeling steel structures, we are able to obtain the real distribution of section forces, including their redistribution caused by forming of the hinges and the connections behavior.
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Ismar Imamovic. Ultimate load limit analysis of steel structures accounting for nonlinear behaviour of connections. Mechanics [physics.med-ph]. Université de Technologie de Compiègne, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017COMP2373⟩. ⟨tel-01779502⟩

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