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Thin-Walled Structures 68 (2013) 117

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Thin-Walled Structures
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/tws

Review

A consistent nonlinear approach for analysing steel, cold-formed steel,


stainless steel and composite columns at ambient and re conditions
Ehab Ellobody n
Department of Structural Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt

a r t i c l e i n f o

abstract

Article history:
Received 28 January 2013
Received in revised form
27 February 2013
Accepted 27 February 2013
Available online 25 March 2013

This paper presents a consistent nonlinear 3-D nite element approach, adopted by the author over the
last ten years, for analysing steel, cold-formed steel, stainless steel and composite columns at ambient
and re conditions. The main parameters affecting the nite element approach, which has accounted
for the nonlinear material properties of the column cross-sections at ambient and elevated temperatures, initial local and overall geometric imperfections and residual stresses, are highlighted in this
paper. The nite element approach could be easily extended to study columns constructed from other
materials or built-up using different sections. This paper also presents up-to-date review for previously
published experimental and numerical investigations highlighting the stability of the aforementioned
columns at ambient and elevated temperatures. In addition, the paper highlights the design rules
specied in current codes of practice for the columns. Furthermore, this paper presents, as examples,
comparisons of nite element analysis results, previously reported by the author, with design values
calculated using of current codes of practice. In overall, the paper aims to stress the fact that consistent,
robust and efcient nonlinear 3-D nite element models could improve and assess the accuracy of
design rules specied in current codes of practice at ambient and elevated temperatures. Also, better
understanding of the structural performance of the columns in the cold condition is essential to analyse
the column behaviour under severe re conditions.
& 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords:
A consistent nonlinear approach
Cold-formed steel
Composite columns
Fire conditions
Stainless steel
Structural steel design

Contents
1.

2.

3.

4.
5.
6.

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
1.1.
Stability of steel columns at ambient and re conditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
1.2.
Stability of cold-formed steel columns at ambient and re conditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
1.3.
Stability of stainless steel columns at ambient and re conditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
1.4.
Stability of composite columns at ambient and re conditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Finite element modelling approach for columns at ambient temperature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
2.1.
General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
2.2.
Choice of nite elements and mesh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
2.3.
Modelling of initial local and overall geometric imperfections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
2.4.
Modelling of residual stresses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
2.5.
Modelling of nonlinear material properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
2.6.
Modelling of interfaces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
2.7.
Load application and boundary conditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Finite element modelling approach for columns under re conditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
3.1.
General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
3.2.
Thermal heat transfer analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
3.3.
Thermalstructural analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Verication of the nite element models at ambient and re conditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Current codes of practice for steel, cold-formed steel and composite columns at ambient and re conditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Comparisons of nite element results with design code results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Tel./fax: 2 40 3315860.
E-mail address: ehab.ellobody@f-eng.tanta.edu.eg

0263-8231/$ - see front matter & 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tws.2013.02.016

E. Ellobody / Thin-Walled Structures 68 (2013) 117

6.1.
General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
6.2.
An example of stainless steel stiffened columns at ambient temperature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
6.3.
An example of concrete-encased steel composite columns at re conditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
7. Main conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

1. Introduction
1.1. Stability of steel columns at ambient and re conditions
Extensive experimental and numerical investigations were
reported in the literature at ambient temperature on normal
strength mild carbon steel columns having different cross-sections, geometries and slenderness. Since the main objective of this
paper is to present recent developments and current researches
on steel columns, these well highlighted investigations will not be
repeated in this review. Alternatively, recent researches on high
strength steel columns were presented in this section. High
strength thin-walled steel columns have been widely used in
steel structures as reported in [13] to reduce the self-weight of
structures, as an example long-span steel bridges. High strength
steels with high yield strength usually have little strain hardening
and low ductility. The stability of the high strength thin-walled
steel members is affected by the lack of strain hardening. Earlier
studies by Usami and Fukumoto [4] have presented valuable
experimental results on local and overall buckling behaviour of
welded box columns fabricated using high strength steel with a
nominal yield strength of 690 MPa. Rasmussen and Hancock [5,6]
studied plate slenderness limits for high strength steel sections
and the buckling of high strength columns fabricated using high
strength steel with a nominal yield strength of 690 MPa. Following to the investigations [5,6], the section capacity and the
inuences caused by imperfections, residual stresses and yield
slenderness limits of very high strength circular steel tubes have
been studied [7,8].
Gao et al. [9] have investigated experimentally and numerically the load-carrying capacity of thin-walled box-section stub
columns fabricated using high strength steel. The high strength
steel columns tested were axially loaded in compression having
different geometries. The measured load-carrying capacities of
the stub columns were considerably higher than normal-strength
mild steel, which suggests that the existing effective width
method should be revised for high strength steel stub columns.
Chen and Young [10] have extended investigating the buckling
behaviour of high strength steel columns to study the behaviour
at elevated temperatures. The authors [10] have studied the
behaviour and design of high strength steel columns at elevated
temperatures using nite element analysis. In the study, equations predicting the yield strength and elastic modulus of high
strength steel and mild steel at elevated temperatures were
proposed. Yang and Hsu [11] conducted a series of tests to
examine the behaviour of high strength steel columns subjected
to axial load at re conditions. This experimental work investigated the effect of the width-to-thickness ratio of anges, the
slenderness ratio of steel columns and residual stresses on the
ultimate strength of the high strength steel columns at a specied
temperature. It was found [11] that the column strength
decreases with the increase of width-to-thickness ratio and
slenderness ratio. It was concluded that the column behaviour
is sensitive to width-to-thickness ratios and the slenderness ratio
at temperatures below 550 1C.
Wang and Li [12] carried-out two re tests on steel columns
with partial loss of re protection. The steel columns were

connected by ush end-plates at two ends and the axial load


was kept constant with a load ratio of 0.55 and was subjected to
elevated temperatures. The specimens were protected with
20 mm thickness of re protection. The damaged length of re
protection was 7% of the complete length of the column for one
specimen and 14% for the second specimen at the two ends of the
steel columns. It was concluded [12] that the damage length of
the re protection has a great effect on the re resistance of steel
columns. The failure of the specimens mainly resulted from the
buckling or yielding at the portion where the re protection was
damaged. Li et al. [13] studied experimentally the behaviour of
restrained steel columns exposed to re. Two re tests on axially
and rotationally restrained steel columns having different axial
restraint stiffness were conducted. The axial and rotational
restraints were applied by a restraint beam. It was found that
the axial restraint reduced the buckling temperature of a
restrained column. Further to the study [13], Wang et al. [14]
investigated behaviours of restrained steel columns in re analytically. The results of parametric studies have shown that the
axial restraint resulted in a reduction in the failure temperature of
the restrained column. Recently, Scullion et al. [15] conducted an
experimental investigation on the performance of elliptical section steel columns under hydrocarbon re. The authors found that
although elliptical structural steel hollow sections represent a
recent addition to the range of steel sections available to structural engineers, a complete absence of re resistance design
guidance of the columns, which restrained its applications. Six
columns were tested under different loading levels and subjected
to a hydrocarbon re curve. The paper provided the recorded data
of axial displacements and temperature proles of the steel
columns, while highlighting the unique local and overall buckling
failure modes of the elliptical hollow section. Also, Dwaikat et al.
[16] conducted re tests to investigate the mechanics and
capacity of steel beam-columns that develop a thermal gradient
through their depth when exposed to re. The specimens investigated were tested with several combinations of load level, re
scenario, and direction of the thermal gradient.
1.2. Stability of cold-formed steel columns at ambient and re
conditions
Cold-formed steel structures have many advantages in terms
of their superior strength to self-weight ratio, ease of construction
and economic design. In recent years, developed manufacture
techniques and increased strength of materials gave the edge of
cold-formed steel over traditional hot rolled steel in the construction of wide range of structures. A summary of the major
recent research developments in cold-formed steel structures is
given in Yu [17] and Hancock [18]. Earlier researches by Mandugula et al. [19] reported the results of 16 tests, at ambient
temperature, on single equal-leg angle columns with hinged end
conditions. The nominal slenderness ratios of the test specimens
varied from 90 to 250 and comparison of test results with design
strengths predicted from different codes of practice was investigated. The research was extended by Popovic et al. [20] who
reported the results of 12 xed-ended and 18 pin-ended compression tests performed on cold-formed plain angle columns.

E. Ellobody / Thin-Walled Structures 68 (2013) 117

Nomenclature
D
Fy
f
fc
fcc
fcu
fl
fy
fys
fu
Gf
h

overall depth of cross-section (larger dimension)


yield stress is taken as 0.2% proof stress (s0.2)
equivalent uniaxial stress
unconned compressive cylinder strength of concrete
conned compressive strength of concrete
unconned compressive cube strength of concrete
lateral conning pressure
yield stress
yield stress of structural steel
ultimate stress
fracture energy of concrete
crack band width

The b/t ratio (at ange width-to-thickness ratio) of 20.6, 12.2


and 9.6, respectively. The residual stresses and material properties of at and corner portions of the angle sections were
measured. It was concluded that the section capacities obtained
from the stub column tests are between 15 and 40% higher than
those calculated using current codes of practice. Further to the
research presented in [20], Young [21] conducted a series of tests
on cold-formed steel plain angle columns compressed between
xed ends. The angle sections were brake-pressed from high
strength structural steel sheets and had b/t ratio ranged from 35.8
to 57.9. The test results were compared with design strengths
obtained from current codes of practice for cold-formed steel
structures. It was concluded [21] that the design strengths are
generally very conservative for all column lengths. Hence, design
equations for cold-formed steel plain angle columns were
proposed.
The behaviour of cold-formed steel columns is affected by
initial geometric imperfections and residual stresses. Weng and
Pekoz [22] carried out detailed experimental study of residual
stresses effect on the strength of cold-formed steel members. It is
found that the residual stress distribution in cold-formed steel
sections is different from that in hot-rolled steel sections. Schafer
and Pekoz [23] explained that characterization of initial geometric imperfections and residual stresses is possible. The authors
provided a simple set of guidelines for the representation of
geometric imperfections and residual stresses of cold-formed
steel sections in the computational modeling process. Jiao and
Zhao [8] investigated the effect of initial geometric imperfections,
residual stresses and yield slenderness limit on the behaviour of
very high strength circular steel tubes. It is found that the
measured residual stresses of the tubes is approximately 4% of
the yield stress with the outside surface in compression and the
inside surface in tension for both longitudinal and transverse
directions. On the other hand, the residual stresses of non-heattreated tubes are approximately 50% and 20% of the yield stress
along longitudinal and transverse directions, respectively. The
residual stresses of the non-heat-treated tubes are always in
compression on the inside surface and tensile on the outside
surface.
Accurate nite element model is needed to predict the complex
behaviour of thin-walled structures. A detailed nite element study
was carried out by Young and Yan [24] for the analysis and design of
xed-ended plain channel columns. The four-node doubly curved
shell element with reduced integration and hourglass control (S4R5)
was used in the model. The element has ve degrees of freedom per
node. Bakker and Pekoz [25] investigated the basic principles for the
modelling of thin-walled members. The authors focused on possible
sources of error in linear and nonlinear analysis. Suggestions on how

k3
L
t
r

e
ec
ecc
et
e
epl
true
s
strue

coefcient for conned concrete


length of column
thickness
reduction factor for conned concrete
equivalent uniaxial strain
unconned concrete strain
conned concrete strain
tensile strain
elongation (tensile strain) after fracture based on
gauge length of 50 mm
plastic true strain
stress
true stress

to check and avoid these errors were given. Sarawit et al. [26]
studied the applications of nite element modelling on thin-walled
members. Gardner [27] investigated the structural stainless steel
hollow sections. The nite element models used the measured and
predicted values of initial plate imperfections and material properties. Assumed values of residual stresses were also used in the nite
element models. Enhanced material properties were employed in
the corner regions. The 9-noded reduced integration shell element
with ve degrees of freedom per node (S9R5) was used in the
analysis. It was found that the residual stresses had negligible
inuence on the overall behaviour and ultimate load carrying
capacity.
Following the continuing developments in manufacturing
techniques and cold-formed steel materials, Kwon et al. [28]
conducted a series of compression tests on cold-formed simple
lipped channels and lipped channels with intermediate stiffeners
in the anges and web fabricated from high strength steel plate of
different thicknesses. The high strength cold-formed steel channel
sections of intermediate lengths generally displayed a signicant
interaction between local and distortional buckling. Vieira Jr. et al.
[29] investigated the stability and strength of cold-formed steel
lipped channel section columns. The authors reported a total of 26
tests covering short, intermediate and long specimens, varied
sheathing congurations, and varied end boundary conditions are
completed. It was concluded that composite action between the
stud and sheathing, and isolating direct loading of the sheathing,
were shown to be signicant in determining the strength and
controlling limit state of the stud. Recent investigations on coldformed steel columns in the cold condition have introduced
new innovations in the eld. Nguyen et al. [30] presented
compression tests on cold-formed plain and dimpled steel columns. The authors carried out a series of compression and tensile
tests on plain and dimpled steel of different geometries. The
authors have found that enhancements in buckling and ultimate
strengths were observed in the dimpled steel columns caused by
the cold-work of the material during the dimpling process. It was
concluded that the buckling and ultimate strengths of dimpled
steel columns were up to 33% and 26% greater than companions
of plain steel columns. Tong et al. [31] presented an experimental
study on cold-formed thick-walled square hollow sections with
thickness greater than 6 mm. The investigation comprised square
hollow sections formed using two different forming processes.
Two test methods were used to measure the magnitudes and
distributions of longitudinal residual stresses. It was shown that
the longitudinal residual stresses are in tension at outer surface
and in compression at inner surface, and present nonlinear
distributions. Zhu and Young [32] presented numerical simulation and design of cold-formed steel oval hollow section columns.

E. Ellobody / Thin-Walled Structures 68 (2013) 117

The experimental column strengths and numerical results predicted by the parametric study were compared with the design
strengths calculated using current codes of practice for coldformed steel structures.
Although, the use of thin and high strength cold-formed steel
sections in light weight oor and wall systems has increased
rapidly around the world due to the development of advanced
material and manufacturing technologies, its higher slenderness
and the high thermal conductivity of steel lead to rapid steel
temperature rise during res and hence result in lower re
resistance. Therefore, currently, the structural re behaviour of
light gauge steel structures has become an important area of
research in order to improve their re safety. In recent times,
considerable progress has been made in this eld by Feng et al.
[3336], Ranby [37], Kaitila [38], Ala-Outinen and Myllymaki [39],
Outinen [40] and Chen and Young [41]. Their research ranged
from local and exural buckling of cold-formed steel columns at
elevated temperatures to the effects of initial imperfections and
non-uniform temperature distributions, and mechanical properties at elevated temperatures. Their research results provided a
strong base for the re safety research and design of light gauge
cold-formed steel structures. It should be noted that, in practical
applications, cold-formed steel studs are likely to be protected by
gypsum board or similar boards, resulting in studs being subject
to a non-uniform temperature condition. However, if the maximum temperature in the studs can be estimated for a re event,
the stud compression strength under re conditions can be
estimated using a uniform elevated temperature design method.
Hence, past research has used this simpler uniform elevated
temperature approach in their research [33,34]. However, Feng
et al. [35] extended their work to include the important effects of
non-uniform elevated temperatures on the axial strength of coldformed steel channels using numerical studies. Ranawaka and
Mahendran [42] have detailed experimental studies on the distortional buckling behaviour of light gauge cold-formed steel
compression members under simulated re conditions. The
authors have carried-out more than 150 axial compression tests
at ambient and elevated temperatures. Two types of cross
sections were selected with different nominal thicknesses. The
ultimate loads of compression members subject to distortional
buckling were then used to review the adequacy of the current
design rules at ambient and elevated temperatures. Recently,
extensive research was presented by Wei and Jihong [43] to
evaluate the material properties of 1-mm-thick G550 cold-formed
steel at elevated temperatures. The authors have conducted
steady and transient state tests on tensile coupons of G550
cold-formed steel. It was concluded that the steady state test
results for G550 may lead to an overestimate of the re resistance
of cold-formed steel structures.
1.3. Stability of stainless steel columns at ambient and re
conditions
Stainless steel structural members have been signicantly
used due to their superior characteristics including high strength,
ductility and durability, high corrosion resistance, ease of construction and maintenance, good re resistance as well as
aesthetic appearance. Most of the published experimental investigations have focused on normal strength stainless steel (stainless steel types 304 and 316) and on unstiffened hollow section
columns. These investigations were detailed by Rasmussen and
Hancock [44], Talja and Salmi [45], Macdonald et al. [46], Young
and Hartono [47], Gardner [27], Young and Liu [48], Gardner and
Nethercot [49,50] and Ashraf et al. [51]. An extensive review of
recent experimental research on stainless steel tubular structures
has been performed by Rasmussen [52]. The review [52] focused

on cold-formed tubes from annealed austenitic stainless steel coil


strip. The tubes were square, rectangular and circular hollow
section columns and beams, as well as welded X- and K-joints in
square and circular hollow sections. A summary of the design
rules proposed on the basis of the tests was presented. High
strength stainless steel material has higher yield stress, higher
ultimate tensile strength and lower ductility than the normal
strength stainless steel. Tests on cold-formed high strength
stainless steel unstiffened square and rectangular hollow section
columns were conducted by Young and Lui [53]. Gardner and
Nethercot [54] described numerical modelling of normal strength
stainless steel unstiffened hollow section columns. Ellobody and
Young [55] developed a numerical model for analyzing xedended cold-formed high strength stainless steel unstiffened square
and rectangular hollow section columns. The behaviour of high
strength stainless steel stiffened slender square and rectangular
hollow section columns has been covered by Ellobody [56]. Recently,
Saliba and Gardner [57] presented an interesting study on a recently
developed grade, known as lean duplex stainless steel (EN 1.4162),
which has a lower nickel content and lower cost. The authors have
shown that the stainless steel has higher strength compared with
traditional austenitic stainless steels as well as good corrosion
resistance and high temperature properties and adequate weldability and fracture toughness. The study [57] comprised experimental
and analytical investigations on lean duplex stainless steel. The
experimental investigation comprised material tests, stub column
tests and 3-point and 4-point bending tests. Based on the study [57],
design recommendations for incorporation into European Code were
proposed.
Compared to traditional carbon steel, stainless steel has high re
resistance [58]. An extensive investigation of the material properties
of stainless steel alloys at elevated temperatures was presented by
Gardner et al. [58]. The study [58] covered different ferritic,
austenitic and austeniticferritic stainless steel types specied in
European Code. The characteristic superior performance of stainless
steel at elevated temperatures compared with carbon steel is
attributed to the difference in crystal structure of the two steels.
The atoms of stainless steel microstructure are more closely packed
and have a high level of alloying elements compared with carbon
steel. Alloying elements in stainless steel lower the diffusion rates of
atoms within the crystal lattice at a given temperature. Lowering the
diffusion rates slows down softening, recrystallisation and creep
deformation mechanisms that control strength and plasticity at
elevated temperatures. Furthermore, carbon steel undergoes transformation from ferrite to leanly alloyed austenite on heating
while, stainless steels maintains its structure at elevated temperatures. Hence, stainless steels exhibit better strength retention than
carbon steels above about 550 1C and better stiffness retention at all
temperatures, as presented by Ellobody [59] in a recent study.
The study [59] showed a comparison between ve stainless steel
grades investigated and carbon steel in terms of the strength and
stiffness reductions at a given temperature with respect to the
strength and stiffness at ambient temperature as specied in
European Code. It was shown that stainless steel exhibits superior
stiffness retention at higher temperatures (approximately between
500 and 900 1C) compared with carbon steel. As an example, at
700 1C, the stiffness retention of stainless steel is more than ve
times that of carbon steel. In addition, stainless steel also exhibits
generally better thermal material properties at elevated temperatures compared with carbon steel, as presented in [59].
1.4. Stability of composite columns at ambient and re conditions
Concretesteel composite columns have been increasingly
used in many modern structures. Their usage provides high
strength, high ductility, high stiffness, full usage of construction

E. Ellobody / Thin-Walled Structures 68 (2013) 117

materials and considerably increased re resistance. In addition


to these advantages, the fact that the steel sections surround
concrete makes it possible to eliminate permanent formwork and
to provide connement to concrete. Composite columns may be
concrete-encased steel columns, partially concrete-encased steel
columns or concrete-lled steel columns.
Earlier experimental researches have been carried out to
investigate the strength and behaviour of concrete-lled steel
tube columns in the cold condition. Schneider [60] studied the
behaviour of short axially loaded concrete-lled steel tube columns. Fourteen specimens were tested to investigate the effect of
the tube shape and steel tube plate thickness on the composite
column strength. It was concluded that circular steel tubes offer
much more post-yield axial ductility than square and rectangular
tube sections. Similar to Schneider [60], Huang et al. [61] tested
17 concrete-lled steel tube column specimens but with higher
column diameter-to-steel tube plate thickness ratio. The same
conclusion was achieved even for higher column diameter-tosteel tube plate thickness of 150. Sakino et al. [62] tested 114
specimens of centrally loaded concrete-lled steel tube short
columns. In addition, Sakino et al. [62] studied the effect of steel
tube tensile strength and concrete strength on the behaviour of
the composite columns. Giakoumelis and Lam [63] carried out 15
tests on circular concrete-lled tube columns. The effects of steel
tube plate thickness, bond between steel tube and concrete as
well as concrete connement on the behaviour of these columns
were studied. The test results were compared with column
strengths calculated from current codes of practice. Little success
has been achieved so far in developing an accurate model due to
the complexity in modeling the concrete connement. Schneider
[60] developed a 3-D nonlinear nite element model for concretelled steel tube circular columns. Strain-hardening was not
considered for the steel tube. Hu et al. [64] developed a nonlinear
nite element model to simulate the behaviour of concrete-lled
steel tube columns. The concrete connement was achieved by
matching the numerical results by trial and error via parametric
study.
Also, earlier experimental investigations on concrete-encased steel
composite columns have been conducted by Anslijn and Janss [65],
Matsui et al. [66], SSRC Task Group 20 [67], Mirza and Skrabek [68],
Mirza et al. [69], Chen and Yeh [70], Tsai et al. [71], Chen et al. [72], ElTawil and Deierlein [73] and Dundar et al. [74], with extensive review
of most of these researches is given by Shanmugam and Lakshmi[75].
These tests were carried out on concrete-encased steel composite
columns having different slenderness ratios, different steel sections
and different concrete and steel strengths. On the other hand,
analytical studies on concrete encased steel composite columns have
been performed by Furlong [76], Virdi and Dowling [77], Roik and
Bergmann [78], Kato [79], Munoz and Hsu [80,81], and Chen and Lin
[82]. However, detailed nonlinear 3-D nite element model were
rarely found in the literature to highlight the behaviour of concreteencased steel composite columns. This is attributed to the complexity
of the concrete connement, steelconcrete interface, longitudinal
reinforcement bar-transverse reinforcement bar interface, and reinforcement bar-concrete interface as well as the nonlinear constitutive
stressstrain curves of the composite column components.
The research on concrete-lled steel tube columns continued
by Han et al. [83] who studied the behaviour of concrete-lled
steel tubular stub columns subjected to axially local compression
experimentally. The authors conducted a total of thirty-two
specimens. The main parameters varied in the tests were sectional types (circular and square), local compression area ratio
(concrete cross-sectional area to local compression area) and
thickness of the endplate. Also, Portoles et al. [84] reported 37
tests conducted on slender circular tubular columns lled with
normal and high strength concrete subjected to eccentric axial

load. The test parameters were the nominal strength of concrete,


the diameter to thickness ratio D/t, the eccentricity ratio e/D and
the column slenderness (L/D). The results showed that for the
limited cases analyzed, the use of high strength concrete for
slender composite columns is interesting since this achieves
ductile behavior despite the increase in load-carrying capacity is
not greatly enhanced. Recently, Ellobody and Ghazy [85,86] have
carried out an experimental investigation on pin-ended bre
reinforced concrete-lled stainless steel circular tubular columns.
The investigation augmented available tests published in the
literature on concrete-lled stainless steel composite columns
[87,88]. The columns tested in [85,86] had different lengths equal
to 3D of short columns, 6D of relatively long columns and 12D of
long columns, where D is the external diameter of the stainless
steel circular tubes. The circular tubes were cold-rolled from at
strips of austenitic stainless steel. The tubes had diameter-toplate thickness (D/t) ratio of 50.
Extensive investigations were presented in the literature
[8999] on concrete-lled steel tubes under re conditions to
understand the behaviour of the composite columns at elevated
temperatures and to evaluate the re resistance of the composite
columns. These investigations were extended by Han [100] who
reported the research results on the re resistance of concretelled steel tube columns with both circular and square crosssections, subjected to axial compression or eccentric compression
loads. Further to the investigation reported in [100], Yin et al.
[101] studied the behaviour of axially loaded square and circular
concrete-lled steel tube columns when exposed to elevated
temperatures. The re resistance of the composite columns were
calculated. Comparisons of the square and circular columns in the
re resistance have shown that for the columns with the same
steel and concrete cross-section areas, the circular column has
slightly better re resistance than the square column.
Limited re tests were found in the literature highlighting the
behaviour of concrete-encased steel composite columns at elevated temperatures. These were mainly the earlier re tests
conducted in Europe by Malhotra and Stevens [102], where 14
re tests were reported on concrete-encased steel stanchions and
the re resistances of the stanchions were predicted. The re tests
reported in [102] were followed by re tests on concrete-encased
I-section steel composite columns conducted in Singapore as
detailed in Huang et al. [103] and Eugene [104]. The tests
[103,104] comprised seven re tests having different crosssectional sizes, different steel sections and different load ratios.
Although, the tests were heated following a different re curve
than the standard specied re curves, it provided valuable data
in the form of timetemperature curves of the reinforcement,
concrete and encased steel section as well as time-axial displacement behaviour and test periods that could be used in the
verication of nite element models.
Recently, Correia and Rodrigues [105] studied the behaviour of
composite columns constructed from partially encased steel
sections subjected to re experimentally. The authors presented
the results of a series of re resistance tests on the partially
concrete-encased composite columns with restrained thermal
elongation. The parameters studied were the load level, the axial
and rotational restraint ratios and the slenderness of the column.
It was concluded that for low load levels, the stiffness of the
surrounding structure has a major inuence on the behaviour of
the column subjected to re. Mao and Kodur [106] presented the
results from seven re resistance experiments on concreteencased steel composite columns under standard re exposure
conditions. The investigated parameters included column size,
3- and 4-side re exposure, load intensity and load eccentricity.
It was shown that the load ratio and load eccentricity have
a noticeable inuence on the re resistance of the composite

E. Ellobody / Thin-Walled Structures 68 (2013) 117

columns. In addition, spalling of the concrete decreases the re


resistance of the composite columns. It was concluded that that
the current codes of practice may not be conservative in some
situations regarding the investigated concrete-encased steel composite columns.

2. Finite element modelling approach for columns at ambient


temperature
2.1. General
As mentioned previously that this paper presents a nonlinear
3-D nite element modelling approach used by the author over
the last ten years for analyzing different steel, cold-formed steel,
stainless steel and composite columns. The nite element program ABAQUS [107] was used in the buckling and nonlinear load
displacement analyses of the aforementioned columns. The modelling approach was based on using the measured geometry,
initial local and overall geometric imperfections, residual stresses
and material properties from tests conducted by the author or
published in the literature by other authors. To investigate the
behaviour of a column under compressive loads using nite
element analysis, two types of analyses are required. The rst is
known as Eigenvalue buckling analysis that estimates the buckling modes and loads. Such analysis is linear elastic analysis
performed using the (nBUCKLE) procedure available in ABAQUS
[107] library with the live load applied within the step. The
buckling analysis provides the factor by which the live load must
be multiplied to reach the buckling load. For practical purposes,
only the lowest buckling mode predicted from the Eigenvalue
analysis is used. The second is called loaddisplacement nonlinear
analysis and follows the Eigenvalue prediction. It is necessary to
consider whether the post buckling response is stable or unstable.
The initial local and overall geometric imperfections, residual
stresses and nonlinear material properties of the components of
the columns were inserted in the nonlinear loaddisplacement
analysis.

elements that have three degrees of freedom per node, as an


example the investigation reported in [117]. While, concrete
steel slender columns should be modelled using two different
nite elements, which are shell elements for steel sections and
solid elements for concrete elements, with examples the investigations reported in [118121].
In order to choose the nite element mesh that provides
accurate results with minimum computational time, convergence
studies should be performed. The convergence studies assess the
nite element results against test results for an investigated
column until a reasonable mesh size is achieved. The reasonable
mesh size is a (length by width) ratio for shell elements and a
(length by width by depth) ratio for solid elements and should
provide adequate accuracy in modeling the cross-section components. It should be noted that the chosen mesh size is an average
mesh and has to be monitored in most of the regions of the crosssection, however it might be slightly exceeded or reduced
depending on the geometries of the cross-section. Figs. 1 and 2

2.2. Choice of nite elements and mesh


Buckling and nonlinear loaddisplacement analyses of thinwalled steel, cold-formed steel and stainless steel columns
involve complex deformations. Previous investigations by the
author on steel members [108,109], cold-formed steel members
[110112] and stainless steel members [113116], which
undergo complex buckling behaviour, require carefully chosen
nite elements. In Refs. [108116], only the 4-noded doubly
curved shell elements with reduced integration S4R was used
for investigating the complex buckling behaviour of the columns
constructed from different materials. The S4R element has six
degrees of freedom per node and provides accurate solutions to
most applications. The element allows for transverse shear
deformation which is important in simulating thick shell elements (thickness is more than about 1/15 the characteristic
length of the shell). Though it is recognized that thin-walled
members have higher width-to-thickness ratios, the choice of S4R
nite elements to represent their behaviour allows for the freedom in dealing with different parametric studies. The element
also account for nite strain and is suitable for large strain
analysis. On the other hand, concrete-encased or concrete-lled
steel composite members have two main components forming
the column, which are concrete elements and steel section.
Adding concrete limits the column deformation especially in case
of compact steel sections. Therefore, concretesteel compact
columns may be modelled using combinations of solid 3-D

Fig. 1. Buckling modes for a stainless steel stiffened rectangular hollow section
column having a length of 1500 mm developed by Ellobody [115] using shell nite
elements. (a) Local buckling of a stiffened column and (b) Overall buckling of a
stiffened column.

E. Ellobody / Thin-Walled Structures 68 (2013) 117

Longitudinal bar
Unconfined concrete
Transverse
bar

Encased steel section

Step (1) Modelling of


reinforcement

Step (3) Modelling of


encased steel section

Step (2) Modelling of


unconfined concrete

Highly confined concrete


Partially confined concrete

Loading plate

3
2
Step (4) Modelling of
highly confined concrete

Step (5) Modelling of


partially confined concrete

1
Step (6) Modelling of
loading plates

Fig. 2. Modelling steps of concrete-encased steel composite columns developed by Ellobody and Young [130] using combinations of solid nite elements.

show examples of different nite element meshes developed


previously by the author in published papers.

2.3. Modelling of initial local and overall geometric imperfections


Most of steel, cold-formed steel, stainless steel and composite
columns have initial local and overall geometric imperfections as
a result of the manufacturing and transporting processes. These
imperfections govern the buckling behaviour of columns and
their simulation in the nite element modelling is of great
importance. If the initial local and geometric imperfections were
not included in nite element modelling, the results will not be
accurate and good agreement with test results will not be
achieved.

Measurements of initial local imperfections should be carried


out prior to tests. Fig. 3 shows the Coordinate Measuring Machine
(CMM) used by the author in Refs. [110112] and [114,116].
The CMM machine uses the standard touch probe for inspection
and measurement of any objects. It can also employ a laser
scanner to trace the prole of three-dimensional objects.
A specic length cut of the specimen can be used to measure
the initial local imperfections at marked sections on the specimen. An automatic feed was used to rotate the t7ouch probe
indicator around the specimen at a specic cross-section. The
measurements can be taken at the middle and quarter lengths of
the specimen. Readings can be taken at regular intervals and
maximum magnitude of local plate imperfection can be determined and identied as a percentage of the plate thickness of the
specimen. On the other hand, measurements of initial overall

E. Ellobody / Thin-Walled Structures 68 (2013) 117

Fig. 3. Measurements of Initial Local Imperfections using Mitutoyo coordinate measuring machine [114,116]. (a) Mitutoyo Coordinate Measuring Machine and
(b) A stainless steel circular specimen.

Tip

Positions of measurement

Positions of cutting
Corner

Lowest buckling
mode
0

10

20

30

40

50

60

70mm

200
150

100

Stress (MPa)

50
0
0
-50
-100

Fig. 4. Buckling modes of a bre reinforced concrete-lled stainless steel tubular


columns developed by Ellobody [121] using combinations of shell and solid nite
elements.

-150

10

20

40

30

50

60

70

Corner
Bending stress
Membrane stress

-200
-250

geometric imperfections of the columns should be taken prior to


testing. The geometric imperfections can be measured along two
specied marked gauge lines on the columns. Theodolites can be
used to obtain readings in two directions at mid-length and near
both ends of the specimens. The measured overall geometric
imperfections at mid-length over the specimen length can be then
determined and identied as a percentage of the columns length.
The average maximum overall imperfections at mid-length can be
also known.

Distance from tip (mm)


Fig. 5. Measurement of residual stresses as an example in a plain angle specimen
by Ellobody and Young [110]. (a) Positions of cutting and measurements of a coldformed steel plain angle cross-section and (b) Distribution of membrane and
bending residual stresses along the plain angle cross-section.

Slender steel, cold-formed steel or stainless steel columns that


have very high overall depth-to-plate thickness (D/t) ratio are
likely to fail by pure local buckling. On the other hand, columns that
have very low (D/t) ratio are likely to fail by overall buckling. Both

E. Ellobody / Thin-Walled Structures 68 (2013) 117

2.4. Modelling of residual stresses


Residual stresses are found in most of cold-formed steel sections
as a result of manufacturing process. To model the behaviour of the
columns accurately, knowledge of the magnitude and distribution of
residual stresses is required. The common method to determine the
residual stresses is the method of sectioning that requires cutting
the cross-section of the column into strips to release the internal
residual stresses. By measuring the strains before and after cutting,
consequently residual stresses can be determined. A specied length
of the column specimen can be used to measure the residual
stresses. Each cross-section has its characteristic distribution and
magnitudes of residual stresses. A gauge length of, as an example
100 mm, has to be marked on the outside and inside mid-surfaces of
each strip along the length. The residual strains can be measured
using an accurate Extensometer, which has a low sensitivity over a
gauge length of 100 mm. The initial readings before cutting can be
recorded for each strip together with the corresponding temperature. The cutting should be carried out using a wire-cutting method
in the water to eliminate additional stresses resulting from the
cutting process. The readings can be then taken after cutting and the
corresponding temperature can be recorded recorded. The readings
have to be corrected for temperature difference before and after
cutting. The residual strains can be measured for both inner and
outer sides of each strip. The membrane residual strain can be
calculated as the mean of the strains (Inner strainOuter strain)/2.
The bending strain can be calculated as the difference between the
outer and inner strains divided by two (Outer strainInner strain)/2.
A compressive membrane strain (negative value) normally occur at
the corners of the cross-section, while a tensile membrane strain
(positive value) normally occur at the at portions of the crosssection. Positive bending strain indicates compressive strain at inner
ber and tensile strain at outer ber. Residual stresses are calculated
by multiplying residual strains by Youngs modulus of the test
specimen. The distribution of membrane and bending residual
stresses along the cross-section of the test specimen can be then
determined.
To ensure accurate modeling of the behaviour of the columns,
the residual stresses should be included in the nite element
model. Measured residual stresses are implemented in the nite
element model by using the ABAQUS [107] (nININTIAL CONDITIONS, TYPESTRESS) parameter. It should be noted that the at
and corner coupons material tests consider the bending residual
stresses effects, hence, only the membrane residual stresses
should be included in the nite element model. The average
values of the measured membrane residual stresses can be

calculated for corner and at portions. A preliminary load step to


allow equilibrium of the residual stresses has to be dened before the
application of loading. Fig. 5 shows, as an example, the distribution of
the measured membrane and bending residual stresses along a plain
angle cross-section by Ellobody and Young [110].
2.5. Modelling of nonlinear material properties
The nonlinear material properties of different regions of the
cross-sections of steel, cold-formed steel and stainless steel
columns can be determined from standard coupon tests. It should
be noted that in cold-formed steel sections, tensile coupons
should be taken from corner and at portions of the crosssections since they are considerably different. The corner coupon
specimen can be taken from the corner strip after the wire cutting
of the specimen used to measure the residual stresses. The corner
coupon specimen is curved before testing, and the effect of
bending residual stresses is included in the stressstrain curve
of the corner tensile coupon test. The testing procedures of the
corner coupon should follow an available specication. As an
example, the tensile coupons tested by the author in [110112]
followed the Australian Standard AS 1391 [122]. The testing
machine can be with a MTS displacement controlled testing
machine with a reasonable capacity. A 50 mm gauge length
extensometer can be used to measure the longitudinal strain.
Two linear strain gauges can be attached on each face at the
centre of the coupon specimen to determine the Youngs modulus. The load and strain readings can be recorded at regular
intervals using a data acquisition system. The static load can
obtained by pausing the applied straining for 1.5 min near the
0.2% tensile proof stress and the ultimate tensile stress. This
allows the stress relaxation associated with plastic straining to
take place. The main important material properties measured are
Youngs modulus (E), the static 0.2% proof stress (s0.2), the static
tensile strength (su) and the tensile strain after fracture (e). Fig. 6
shows, as an example, the stressstrain curves of the at and
corner portions for a cold-formed steel plain angle column
detailed in Young and Ellobody [110]. It should be noted that
the ductility of the corner portion is much less than that of the at
portion. On the other hand, the static 0.2% proof stress of the
corner portion is around 15% more than that of the at portion.
The measured stressstrain curves for at/corner portions of
the column specimen should be used in the nite element
analysis. The material behaviour provided by ABAQUS [107]
allows for a multi-linear stressstrain curve to be used. The rst
part of the multi-linear curve represents the elastic part up to the
proportional limit stress with measured Youngs modulus and
800
Corner
600
Stress (MPa)

initial local and overall geometric imperfections are found in


columns as a result of the fabrication and transportation processes.
Hence, superposition of local buckling mode as well as overall
buckling mode with measured magnitudes is recommended for
accurate nite element analysis. These buckling modes can be
obtained by carrying Eigenvalue analysis of the column with very
high (D/t) ratio and very low (D/t) ratio to ensure local and overall
buckling occurs, respectively. The shape of a local buckling mode as
well as overall buckling mode is found to be the lowest buckling
mode (Eigenmode 1) in the analysis. This technique is used in this
study to model the initial local and overall imperfections of the
columns reported by the author in [110112]. Stub columns having
very short length can be modeled for local imperfection only. Since
all buckling modes predicted by ABAQUS [107] Eigenvalue analysis
are generalized to 1.0, the buckling modes are factored by the
measured magnitudes of the initial local and overall geometric
imperfections. Figs. 1 and 4 show examples of local and overall
buckling modes of different columns obtained previously by the
authors in published papers.

Flat
400

200

0
0

6
Strain (%)

10

12

Fig. 6. Stressstrain curves of at and corner portions for a plain angle column
measured by Ellobody and Young [110].

10

E. Ellobody / Thin-Walled Structures 68 (2013) 117

Poissons ratio. Since the analysis of post-buckling involves large


in-elastic strains, the nominal (engineering) static stressstrain
curve was converted to true stress and logarithmic plastic strain
curve. The true stress strue and plastic true strain epl
true can
calculated using Eqs. (1) and (2):

strue s1 e

epl
true ln1 estrue =E

where E is Youngs modulus, s and e are the measured nominal


(engineering) stress and strain values.
For concretesteel composite columns, the nonlinear material
properties of concrete and conned concrete have to be carefully
dealt with. Previous investigations by the author have introduced a
consistent and robust models for conned and unconned concrete,
these were detailed in [117121]. Fig. 7 shows an idealized uniaxial
response for the compressive stressstrain curves of both unconned
and conned concrete, where fc is the unconned concrete cylinder
compressive strength which is equal to 0.8(fcu), and fcu is the
unconned concrete cube compressive strength. The corresponding
unconned strain (ec) is taken as 0.003 for plain concrete as
recommended by the ACI Specication [123]. The conned concrete
compressive strength (fcc) and the corresponding conned stain (ecc)
can be determined from Eqs. (3) and (4), respectively, proposed by
Mander et al. [124].
f cc f c k1 f l


ecc ec 1 k2

fl
fc


4

where fl is the lateral conning pressure imposed by the steel tube.


The approximate value of (fl) can be obtained from empirical
equations given by Hu et al. [125]. The factors (k1) and (k2) are taken
as 4.1 and 20.5, respectively, as given by Richart et al. [126]. Knowing
(fl), (k1) and (k2), the values of equivalent uniaxial conned concrete
strength (fcc) and the corresponding conned strain (ecc) can be
determined using Eqs. (3) and (4).
To dene the full equivalent uniaxial stressstrain curve for
conned concrete as shown in Fig. 7, three parts of the curve have
to be identied. The rst part is the initially assumed elastic range
to the proportional limit stress. The value of the proportional limit
stress is taken as 0.5(fcc) as given by Hu et al. [125]. While the
initial Youngs modulus of conned concrete (Ecc) is reasonably
calculated using the empirical Eq. (5) given by ACI [123].
The Poissons ratio (ucc) of conned concrete is taken as 0.2 [125].
q
5
Ecc 4700 f cc MPa
The second part of the curve is the nonlinear portion starting
from the proportional limit stress 0.5(fcc) to the conned concrete
strength (fcc). This part of the curve can be determined from
Eq. (4) which is a common equation proposed by Saenz [127].
This equation is used to represent the multi-dimensional stress
and strain values for the equivalent uniaxial stress and strain
values. The unknowns of the equation are the uniaxial stress (f)
and strain (e) values dening this part of the curve. The strain
values (e) are taken between the proportional strain, which is
equal to (0.5fcc/Ecc), and the conned strain (ecc) which is corresponding to the conned concrete strength. The stress values (f)
can be determined from Eq. (6) by assuming the strain values (e).
f

Ecc e
1 R RE 2eecc 2R1eecc 2 Reecc 3

where RE and R values are calculated from Eqs. (7) and (8),
respectively:
RE

Fig. 7. Response of concrete to uniaxial loading. (a) Compression and (b) Tension.

Ecc ecc
f cc

RE Rs 1
Re 12

1
Re

While the constants Rs and Re are taken equal to 4 as


recommended by Hu and Schnobrich [128].
The third part of the conned concrete stressstrain curve is
the descending part from the conned concrete strength (fcc) to a
value lower than or equal to rk3fcc with the corresponding strain
of 11ecc. The reduction factor (k3) depends on the D/t ratio and the
steel tube yield stress (fy). The approximate value of k3 can be
calculated from empirical equations given by Hu et al. [125].
The reduction factor (r) was introduced by Ellobody et al. [117],
based on the experimental investigation conducted by Giakoumelis and Lam [129], to account for the effect of different concrete
strengths. The value of r is taken as 1.0 for concrete with cube
strength (fcu) equal to 30 MPa. While, the value of r is taken as
0.5 for concrete with fcu greater than or equal to 100 MPa. Linear
interpolation is used to determine the value of r for concrete cube
strength between 30 and 100 MPa.
Following the investigations reported in [121,130,131], concrete can be modeled using the damaged plasticity model implemented in the ABAQUS [107] standard and explicit material
library. The model provides a general capability for modelling
plain and reinforced concrete in all types of structures. The
concrete damaged plasticity model uses the concept of isotropic
damaged elasticity, in combination with isotropic tensile and
compressive plasticity, to represent the inelastic behaviour of

E. Ellobody / Thin-Walled Structures 68 (2013) 117

2.6. Modelling of interfaces


For concretesteel composite columns, modelling interfaces
between steel tubes and surrounding concrete as well as between
reinforcement bars and concrete is of great importance. The
interfaces can be modelled by interface elements (using the
n
CONTACT PAIR option) available within the ABAQUS [107]
element library. The method requires dening two surfaces that
are the master and slave surfaces. The master surface within this
model can be dened as the steel tube surface conning the
concrete inll that is the slave surfaces. The interface elements
are formed between the master and slave surfaces and monitor
the displacement of the slave surface in relation to the master
surface. When the two surfaces remain in contact, the slave
surface can displace relative to the master surface based on the
coefcient of friction between the two surfaces, which is taken as
0.25 [121,130,131]. When the two surfaces are in contact, the
forces normal to the master surface can be transmitted between
the two surfaces. When the two surfaces separate, the relative
displacement between the two surfaces can still be monitored but
the forces normal to the master surface cannot be transmitted.
However, the two surfaces cannot penetrate each other.
2.7. Load application and boundary conditions
Accurate nite element models should simulate the applied
loads and boundary conditions identically. As an example, for
xed-ended steel, cold-formed steel, stainless steel and composite
columns, the ends of the columns must be xed against all
degrees of freedom except for transitional displacement at the
loaded end in the direction of the applied load. The nodes other
than the two ends must be free to translate and rotate in any
directions. On the other hand for pin-ended columns, rigid steel
loading plates have to be modelled and attached to the ends of
the columns. Two nodes on the outside surfaces of the loading
plates (support point and loading point) must be xed against all
degrees of freedom except for transitional displacement at the
loaded end in the direction of the applied load. The load can be
applied in increments using the modied RIKS method available
in the ABAQUS [107] library. The RIKS method is generally used to
predict unstable and non-linear collapse of a structure such as
post-buckling analysis. It uses the load magnitude as an additional unknown and solves simultaneously for loads and displacements. The load was applied as static uniform loads at each
node of the loaded end which is identical to the experimental

investigation. The non-linear geometry parameter (NLGEOM) was


included to deal with the large displacement analysis. For
concretesteel composite columns, the rigid loading plates must
be attached to the steel and concrete elements to allow for
uniform load application for the composite column components.

3. Finite element modelling approach for columns under


re conditions
3.1. General
Modeling of the column behaviour at ambient temperature
provides a good insight into the column strength, failure model,
loaddisplacement relationships and loadstrain relationships.
The column strength at ambient temperature can be used to
dene the static load applied to the column at elevated temperatures. In order to model the behaviour of the columns under re
conditions, two analyses have to be performed. The rst is known
as thermal heat transfer analysis, which determines the temperature distribution within the columns and the temperature magnitudes. In this analysis, the columns are heated following a
specic re curve and the heated surfaces (exposed surfaces to
re) and unheated surfaces (unexposed surfaces to re) have to
be dened. The thermal material properties of the column
components have to be dened in this analysis. The second
analysis is known as the thermalstructural analysis, which
determines the failure modes, re resistances, and load
displacement relationships. In this analysis, the columns are
subjected to a static initial load that is kept constant during the
re exposure and then subjected to heat and temperatures saved
from the thermal heat transfer analysis. The mechanical material
properties at elevated temperatures of the column components
have to be dened in this analysis.
3.2. Thermal heat transfer analysis
A thermal 3-D nite element analysis has to be performed for
the columns, using the heat transfer option available in ABAQUS
[107]. The temperature distribution in the columns can be
predicted and calibrated against the measured temperatures from
the tests. The columns are heated using an experimental re
curve, which should follow a specic standard re curve as that of
the EC1 [133] shown in Fig. 8. A constant convective coefcient
(ac) of has to be dened for the exposed and unexposed surfaces.
Also, the radiative heat has to be calculated knowing the surface
1400
1200
Temperature (C)

concrete. The model assumes that the uniaxial tensile and


compressive response of concrete is characterized by damaged
plasticity. Under uniaxial compression the response is linear until
the value of proportional limit stress is reached. Under uniaxial
tension the stressstrain response follows a linear elastic relationship until the value of the failure stress (fct) is reached. The
softening stressstrain response, past the maximum tensile
stress, was represented by a linear line dened by the fracture
energy and crack band width. The fracture energy Gf (energy
required to open a unit area of crack) was taken as 0.12 N/mm for
plain concrete as recommended by CEB [132]. The fracture energy
divided by the crack band width (h) was used to dene the area
under the softening branch of the tension part of the stressstrain
curve, as shown in Fig. 7b. The crack band width was assumed as
the cubic root of the volume between integration points for a
solid element, as recommended by CEB [132]. Fig. 7 shows the
response of concrete to uniaxial loading in compression and
tension used in this study. The dilation angle can be taken for
plain concrete as 20 degrees. The default viscosity parameter,
which is zero, can be used.

11

1000
Standard fire curve
800
600
400
200
0
0

60

120

180
240
Time (minutes)

300

360

Fig. 8. Temperaturetime relationships for the standard re curve specied in EC1


[133].

12

E. Ellobody / Thin-Walled Structures 68 (2013) 117

Fig. 10. Strength reduction factors specied in EC3 [136,140].

Fig. 11. Stiffness reduction factors specied in EC3 [136,140].

Fig. 9. Examples of thermal material properties specied in EC3 [136,140].


(a) Thermal elongation, (b) Specic heat and (c) Specic heat.

emissivity (e). The specic heat, thermal conductivity and thermal


expansion of the column components have to be dened either
experimentally or using current codes of practice, with examples
given for steel material in comparison with stainless steel
materials as shown in Fig. 9. Measuring moisture content of
concrete is important for modelling concretesteel composite
columns since it is used in the calculation of the specic heat of
concrete.
3.3. Thermalstructural analysis
Following the heat transfer analysis, a thermalstructural analysis has to be performed in two steps for the columns investigated. In
the rst step, the column has to be subjected to the static load at
ambient temperature. In the second step, the column has to be
heated using the temperatures predicted from the heat transfer
analysis, with the static load remained constant all the time. The
temperatures were applied using the nTEMPERATURE option

available in ABAQUS [107]. The initial overall geometric imperfection has to be included in the thermalstructural analysis with
measured magnitudes from the tests. The stressstrain curves of the
column components have to be predicted at elevated temperatures
and inserted in the thermalstructural analysis. The strength and
stiffness reductions at elevated temperatures can be predicted
experimentally or using current codes of practice, with examples
of strength and stiffness reductions as well as stressstrain curves of
concrete at elevated temperatures as shown in Figs. 1012. By the
end of the thermalstructural analysis, the re resistance of the
column can be predicted as well as the failure modes and time
displacement relationships and timestrain relationships.

4. Verication of the nite element models at ambient and


re conditions
After developing the nite element models at ambient and re
conditions, the results of the nite element models has to be
assessed against the test results. Verication of the nite element
model at ambient temperature should ensure that the nite element
model predicts, with acceptable tolerances, the column strengths,
failure modes, loaddisplacement and loadstrain relationships. On
the other hand, verifying the nite element models at elevated
temperatures should ensure that the model predicts the re
resistance, the failure modes, timedisplacement and timestrain
relationships. Once the nite element models are validated, it can be
used to perform parametric studies investigating different column

E. Ellobody / Thin-Walled Structures 68 (2013) 117

13

Finally, the latest design rules specied in the American specication for composite columns at ambient temperatures is covered
by the American Institution for Steel Construction (AISC) [134],
while that of the European Code is Eurocode 4 (EC4, BS EN 19941-1) [141]. The design rules for concretesteel composite columns
at elevated temperatures is that of the European Code Eurocode 4
(EC4, BS EN 1994-1-2) [142]. It should be noted that detailing the
design rules specied in the aforementioned current codes of
practice is out of the scope of this paper. This is attributed to that
they are already presented in Refs. [59,108121,130,131].

6. Comparisons of nite element results with design


code results
6.1. General

Fig. 12. Stressstrain curves of concrete at elevated temperatures specied in EC4


[142]. (a) Compression and (b) Tension.

geometries, loading and boundary conditions, different res, etc.,


which provides a data base that can be used to improve design rules
specied in current codes of practice.

5. Current codes of practice for steel, cold-formed steel and


composite columns at ambient and re conditions
This section mentions current codes of practice for steel, coldformed steel, stainless steel and composite columns at ambient
and elevated temperatures, which the author has used previously
in Refs. [59,108121,130,131] for comparisons with test and nite
element results. The mentioned codes are that of the American
Specication and European Code. The current design rules specied in the American specication for steel columns at ambient
temperatures is covered by the American Institution for Steel
Construction (AISC) [134], while that of the European Code is
Eurocode 3 (EC3, BS EN 1993-1-1) [135]. The design rules for steel
columns at elevated temperatures, once again used previously by
the author, is that of the European Code Eurocode 3 (EC3, BS EN
1993-1-2) [136]. The current design rules specied in the American specication for cold-formed steel columns at ambient
temperatures is covered by the North American Specication
(NAS) [137], while that of the European Code is Eurocode 3
(EC3, BS EN 1993-1-3) [138]. The design rules for cold-steel
columns at elevated temperatures, is also covered by the Eurocode 3 (EC3, BS EN 1993-1-2) [136]. The current design rules
specied in the American specication for stainless steel columns
at ambient temperatures is covered by ASCE [139], while that of
the European Code is Eurocode 3 (EC3, BS EN 1993-1-4) [140]. The
design rules for cold-steel columns at elevated temperatures, is
also covered by the Eurocode 3 (EC3, BS EN 1993-1-2) [136].

This section provides examples of comparisons reported previously by the author for different columns. The comparisons
were held between numerical results obtained using the nite
element modelling approach presented in this study and design
results predicted using current codes of practice. The main
objective is not to repeat previously reported research, but to
highlight the signicance of developing nonlinear nite element
models in enhancing and assessing the design rules specied in
current codes of practice at ambient and re conditions. Two
examples are presented in this section, The rst example is for
stiffened stainless steel columns at ambient temperature. While,
the second example is for concrete-encased steel composite
columns at re conditions. In overall, it is interesting to show
how nonlinear nite element models could generate more data
outside the limits specied in current codes of practice, which
widens its use.
6.2. An example of stainless steel stiffened columns at ambient
temperature
The nite element approach presented in this study was
previously used by the author in investigating the compressive
behaviour of stainless steel stiffened hollow section columns as
detailed by Ellobody [115]. The study [115] was a completely
numerical study that has incorporated stiffeners in a previously
developed and veried nite element model detailed by Ellobody
and Young [113]. A total of 84 stainless steel stiffened and
unstiffened columns were analysed in [115] to show how incorporating stiffeners in stainless steel slender hollow section
columns can considerably change the compressive behaviour of
the columns. The study has shown that the stainless steel
stiffened slender hollow section columns offer an average of
128% increase in the column strength than that of the unstiffened
slender hollow section columns. Also, the study [115] has shown
that the stiffened column has a considerably higher stiffness than
that of the unstiffened column which has resulted in sharper
load-axial shortening behaviour as shown Fig. 13. The gure
shows a comparison between the load-axial shortening curves
of the stiffened and unstiffened slender rectangular hollow section columns. In addition, the failure modes of the stiffened and
unstiffened square and rectangular hollow section columns were
also compared in [115]. It was shown that although the failure
modes were unchanged, the out-of-plane local buckling modes
were considerably limited by the presence of the intermediate
stiffeners in the stiffened column specimens. Furthermore, the
study [15] has assessed the nite element strengths of the 84
stainless steel stiffened and unstiffened hollow section columns
against the design rules specied in the American and European
specications. It has been shown [115] that the design strengths

14

E. Ellobody / Thin-Walled Structures 68 (2013) 117

Fig. 13. Comparison of load-axial shortening curves for stainless steel stiffened
and unstiffened rectangular hollow section columns as detailed by Ellobody [115].

Fig. 14. Comparison of time-axial displacement relationships for unrestrained and


axially restrained concrete encased steel composite columns as detailed by Young
and Ellobody [144].

calculated using the American and European specications are


generally conservative for the stainless steel unstiffened slender
square and rectangular hollow section columns, but slightly
unconservative for the stiffened slender square and rectangular
hollow section columns.
6.3. An example of concrete-encased steel composite columns at re
conditions
The nite element approach presented in this study was
previously used by the author in investigating the compressive
behaviour of unrestrained and axially restrained concreteencased steel composite columns as detailed by Ellobody and
Young [143] and Young and Ellobody [144]. The studies [143,144]
were, once again, completely numerical studies that have
extended a previously developed and veried nite element
model detailed by Ellobody and Young [130] at ambient temperatures. A total of 76 unrestrained and axially restrained
concrete-encased steel composite columns were analysed at
elevated temperatures using the nite element approach presented in this paper. The investigated composite columns had
different load ratios during re, different coarse aggregates,
different slenderness ratios and different axial restraint ratios to
thermal expansion, which are not presented in current codes of
practice up-to-date. The studies [143,144] have shown that
axially restrained concrete encased steel composite columns
behaved differently in re compared to those unrestrained

columns as shown in Fig. 14. the gure compared an unrestrained


concrete encased steel composite column specimen S37 and a
restrained column specimen S38, as detailed in [144]. It was
shown that the unrestrained column experienced the typical
runaway failure, while the restrained column behaved differently. The columns started to buckle at points A and B for
restrained and unrestrained columns, respectively. For the
restrained column, the time from the start of heating to point A
is known as the expanding zone where the column is experiencing axial expansion. On the other hand, the time from point A to
point C is known as the contracting zone where the column is
experiencing axial shortening. The axial shortening is the reection of the initiation of a large horizontal displacement in the
mid-height due to second order effects. However, bearing in mind
that the restraint to the composite column during the expansion
stage must also remain during the contraction stage after the
column has buckled. Hence, in this study [144], the time from the
start of heating until point C, where axial displacement went back
to initial state will be dened as the re resistance of the concrete
encased steel composite column. This is because at point C the
column will behave similar to unrestrained column and failure
takes place.
Also, the studies [143,44] have assessed the nite element re
resistances of the 76 unrestrained and axially restrained concreteencased steel composite columns against the design re resistances specied in the European Code (EC4) [142]. The study
[143] has shown that the EC4 is conservative for all the investigated unrestrained concrete-encased steel composite columns,
except for the columns having a load ratio of 0.5 as well as the
columns having a slenderness ratio of 0.69 and a load ratio of 0.4.
On the other hand, the study [144] has shown that the EC4 is
generally conservative for all the axially restrained concreteencased steel composite columns, except for some columns with
higher load and slenderness ratios.

7. Main conclusions
Review of previously published experimental and numerical
investigations on the stability of steel, cold-formed steel, stainless
steel and composite columns at ambient and re conditions has
been presented in this paper. The review of the previous
researches of the columns has been presented up-to-date and
provided a collective useful materials for researches and academics interested in this eld. A consistent, robust and efcient
nonlinear nite element modelling approach, adopted by the
author over the last ten years, for analyzing the compressive
behaviour of the different columns at ambient and elevated
temperatures has been presented. The nite element approach
has accounted for the initial local and overall geometric imperfections, residual stresses and nonlinear material properties at
ambient and elevated temperatures of the different columns.
Current codes of practice for predicting the column strengths
has been highlighted. In addition, comparisons of the nite
element analysis results with the design predictions of current
codes of practice have been presented. The paper has shown that
the nite element approach presented provided better understanding for the behaviour of the columns at ambient and re
conditions and assessed the accuracy of design rules specied in
current codes of practice.
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