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INTRODUCTION

Grid trusses and latticed domes are widely used in

building structures [1, 2]. The fast development of high

strength steel, new construction technology and

computer technology promoted the development of

space structures. Single-layer reticulated domes with

bolt-ball joints are one of the outstanding space

structures. The major merits of domes with bolt-ball

joint system include material saving, beautiful

appearance, high construction speed, and high

fabrication accuracy. However, buckling problems

become critical as the span of domes further increases.

So, it is important to study the parameters which have

major effect on the critical load of a dome.

The rigidity of a joint is one of the major factors

that have influence on the critical load of a single-

Direct Estimation of Critical

Load for Single-Layer

Reticulated Domes with

Semi-Rigid Joints

Feng Fan

1

, Hui-huan.Ma

2,*

, Zheng-gang Cao

3

and Shi-zhao Shen

4

1

Professor. School of Civil Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150090,

P. R. China E-mail: fanf@hit.edu.cn

2

School of Civil Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150090,

P. R. China. E-mail: mahuihuan@hit.edu.cn

3

School of Civil Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150090, P. R. China

4

Professor. School of Civil Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150090, P. R. China

(Received 21/04/09 - Revised version 23/12/09 Acceptation 12/01/10)

ABSTRACT: Numerical model of a bolt-ball joint system is established using

software ANSYS and verified through experiments. Based on the bending-

rotation curves of the bolt-ball joints obtained through numerical simulation, a

finite element model of single-layer reticulated domes with bolt-ball joint

system is established using nonlinear beam element with end spring elements

in software ANSYS. The analyses of the domes are carried out with different

parameters including bending stiffness, ratio of rise to span, rotation-stiffness,

ball size, asymmetric load distribution, tube section, support condition and

initial imperfection. Several key parameters having influence on the load

carrying capacity of a semi-rigidly jointed single-layer reticulated dome are

thus identified. Finally, formulas are established for direct estimation of critical

loads of semi-rigidly jointed single-layer reticulated domes under symmetric

and asymmetric loading conditions.

Key Words: Bolt-Ball Joint System, Numerical Simulation, Single Layer

Reticulated Dome, Critical Load, Asymmetric Load.

International Journal of Space Structures Vol. 25 No. 1 2010 15

layer latticed dome. Fathelbab [3] concluded that

connection stiffness has a considerable effect on the

load-displacement behavior of a structure, and

considerable material saving and safer structures could

be achieved if the effect of actual joint properties

could be considered at the design stage. El-Sheikh [4]

found that the overall behavior and failure mode of a

structure are influenced by the bending stiffness of a

connection. The results of numerical model and

experiments of a single-layer latticed dome with ORTZ

joints (a joint system widely used in space structures,

especially in Spain) indicated that such factors as

geometry of dome, slenderness of members, rigidity of

joint and hypothesis of load have their influence on

behavior of a single-layer latticed dome [5]. H.H.Ma

[6] concluded that the bending stiffness of connections

*

Corresponding author: mahuihuan@hit.edu.cn

is one of the key factors influencing the critical load of

single-layer reticulated dome.

In analysis of space structures, conventional designs

and analyses of latticed domes are based on such an

assumption that the connection behaves either as a

pinned or rigid joint. However, the joints in most of the

space structures are semi-rigid and their actual

behaviors do not conform to either of the two

extremities. A bolt-ball joint system with partial bend-

bearing capacity is a typical semi-rigid joint system, and

a single-layer latticed dome with a bolt-ball joint system

should be categorized as a semi-continuous spatial

frame. Eurocode 3 recommends that the assumptions

made for structural analysis should conform to the

realistic behavior of connections. So, the structural

analysis of a semi-rigidly jointed dome should be based

on the model considering the rigidity of connections.

Areliable and effective method for prediction of the

behavior of a semi-rigid joint system is necessary for

the analysis of a latticed dome with semi-rigid joints.

Much work has been done on the prediction of the

mechanical characteristics of joints over the years.

However, the connection types are numerous and their

mechanical characters are different and complicated.

Because of this, it was very difficult to obtain the

mechanical behavior of these joints before except by

costly and time-consuming physical tests [4, 710].

With functions and capabilities of the finite element

software packages ANSYS developed, using finite

element analysis software ANSYS to simulate the

overall and detailed behaviors of a semi-rigid joint

system is an attractive option.

Latticed domes with semi-rigid joints were also

studied by researchers these years, especially for their

buckling performances. For example, the structural

performance of single-layer latticed domes with

MERO joints has been studied by Chenaghlou [11].

Murakami [12] analytically studied the elastic

buckling behavior of a semi-rigidly jointed single

layer lattice dome under gravity load. Kato et al. [13,

14] discussed the effect of semi-rigidity of joints on

the reduction of failure loads in spherical domes.

However, more parameters should be taken into

consideration when the analysis of a single-layer dome

with semi-rigid joints is carried out, and the key

parameters affecting the load carrying capacity of a

dome should be identified.

The ball joint systems are widely used in space

structures, such as a hollow spherical connector

invented by S. Du Chateau and the MERO joint system

designed by Dr Mengeringhausen. In this paper the

moment-rotation curves of a widely used bolt-ball joint

system are obtained through three-dimensional

numerical simulation using solid element SOLID45,

contact elements TARGET170 and CONTA173 in

finite element software ANSYS. The simulation

results were verified through experiments. With both

geometric and material nonlinearities taken into

consideration, an elasto-plastic stability analysis was

done for two kinds of single-layer latticed domes with

bolt-ball joints. The influences of many parameters,

such as bending-stiffness, torsional stiffness, ball size,

asymmetric load distribution, tube section, support

condition, on the critical load are investigated. Finally,

formulas are established for estimation of critical load

for a single-layer latticed dome with bolt-ball joint

system. They are convenient for structural designers to

use.

2. NUMERICAL SIMULATION AND

EXPERIMENTAL STUDY OF BOLT-BALL

JOINTS

2.1. Geometric details and material

properties of joints

Details of the three type bolt-ball joint specimen used

in test [6] and numerical simulation are shown in Fig 1.

The system consists of spherical forged solid steel ball

joint, tubular members and fasteners (bolts and

sleeves). This joint system has sleeves between nodes

and end cones. After welding the end cones, the

members, which consist of the tube and the end cones

with bolts and sleeves, are connected to the nodes by

screwing the bots. The main difference between the

three specimens is the diameter of the bolt (d4) used in

the specimens. The stress-strain relationship for all

parts of joints was taken as elastically-perfect plastic

with a Poissons ratio of 0.3. The yield strength and

elastic modulus of ball node, end cone and sleeve were

taken as 235 MPa and 2.06 10

5

MPa respectively.

The yield strength and elastic modulus of ball node

was taken as 365 MPa and 2.0 10

5

MPa respectively.

The yield strength and elastic modulus of bolt

(including shank and nut) were taken as 430 MPa and

2.06 10

5

MPa respectively. All of these material

properties were taken from code for design of steel

structures in china. Fig 2 presents one specimen being

tested with monotonically increasing load using a

jacking apparatus in the middle of the specimen.

2.2. Finite element model

The presence of sliding, detaching, contacting between

different parts of the joint under loads are the primary

problems to be solved during the analysis. So, in order

to achieve an accurate numerical simulation of the

16 International Journal of Space Structures Vol. 25 No. 1 2010

Direct Estimation of Critical Load fpr Single-Layer Reticulated Domes with Semi-Rigid Joints

Feng Fan, Hui-huan.Ma, Zheng-gang Cao and Shi-zhao Shen

behavior of a ball joint system, the model with contact

elements is established to simulate the complicate

interactive forces between two surfaces in contacting

with each other during loading. In the model, solid

element SOLID45 in ANSYS was used to simulate

every part of the bolt-ball joint as shown in Fig 3,

and at the same time, the interfaces between each two

parts (such as bolt and ball, bolt and sleeve, nut and

cone, sleeve and ball, sleeve and cone) can be

accurately simulated using CONTACT173 element

and TARGET170 element. The contact surfaces

simulated by CONTACT173 element and TARGET170

element located on the surfaces of 3-D solid elements

simulated by SOLID45 element.

SOLID45 is used for the 3-D modeling of solid

structures. The element is defined by eight nodes having

three degrees of freedom at each node: translations in the

International Journal of Space Structures Vol. 25 No. 1 2010 17

Sectional view

Ball node

d1

d5

d

2

d

4

d

3

Bolt

Sleeve

Section A-A

A

A

R

End cone

1-ball; 2-high strength bolt; 3-steel tube; 4-end cone; 5-sleeve;

6-slot; 7-dowel pin; 8-deep-rich; 9-contact surfaces

Dimensions of connectors (mm)

Specimen 1 50

R d

1

d

2

d

3

d

4

d

5

39 114

114

114

41 20 31.2

Specimen 2 50 43.5 45 24 37.4

Specimen 3 50 51 48 48 42.1

5

2

1

8

9

6 7

4

3

Figure 1. Bolt-ball joint

Figure 2. General view of experimental set-up before

commencement of test

Ball Bolt End cone

Sleeve

Figure 3. Finite element model of bolt-ball joint

nodal x, y, and z directions. The element has plasticity,

creep, swelling, stress stiffening, large deflection,

and large strain capabilities. CONTA173 is used to

represent contact and sliding between 3-D target

surfaces (TARGE170) and a deformable surface,

defined by this element. The element are applicable

to 3-D structural and coupled field contact analyses.

These elements are located on the surfaces of 3-D

solid or shell elements without mid-side nodes. It has

the same geometric characteristics as the solid or

shell element face with which it is connected.

Contact occurs when the element surface penetrates

one of the target segment elements (TARGE170) on a

specified target surface.

2.3. Results and discussion

Comparisons of the moment-rotation (M-) curves

for the finite element analysis and test results for all

the three specimens are shown in Fig. 4. The definition

of the rotation is shown in Fig. 5. M is the bending

moment acting at the cone surface as shown in Fig. 5.

It can be seen from the comparison of moment-

rotation curves for three specimens that all the

specimens have a similar transformation process.

The relationship between the bending moment and the

rotation of the joint system is linear before the yield

strength, which indicates that the joint is in its elastic

stage, and the rotation increases rapidly with almost

the constant bending moment after the yield strength,

which indicates that the joint begins to enter its plastic

stage. The results of numerical simulation fit well with

the experimental results, especially in the earlier stage

of the curves, and the yield moments obtained through

numerical simulation and experiments are very close

to each other. Therefore, the solid model simulated in

ANSYS using contact element represents the actual

behaviors of the ball-joint system, and proves the

validity of the finite element model used for the

numerical simulation of the joint.

3. ELASTO-PLASTIC STABILITY OF

SINGLE-LAYER LATTICED DOMES

WITH BOLT-BALL JOINT SYSTEM

Based on the moment-rotation curves of the bolt-ball

joints established through numerical simulation in

ANSYS, the analysis of two kinds of single-layer

18 International Journal of Space Structures Vol. 25 No. 1 2010

Direct Estimation of Critical Load fpr Single-Layer Reticulated Domes with Semi-Rigid Joints

0.00 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08 0.10 0.12 0.14

0

1

2

3

4

5

Yield bending moment

Specimen 3

Specimen 2

Specimen 1

B

e

n

d

i

n

g

m

o

m

e

n

t

(

k

N

.

m

)

Rotation (rad)

Numerical simulation

Experimental

Cone surface

Figure 5. Scheme for Calculation of Rotation

Combin39

Beam189

z

y

o

kp1 kp2

x

Figure 6. Element used in dome model

latticed domes with bolt-ball joint system was carried

out. Both geometric and material nonlinearities are

taken into consideration to find out the overall behavior

of the domes. Fig. 6 presents the elements used in the

numerical models of two semi-rigidly jointed single-

layer domes named Kiewitt6 and Kiewitt8.

Three spring elements (COMBIN39 element) with

unidirectional freedom and nonlinear character were

used to simulate the bending and torsional capacity of

a bolt-ball joint by inputting COMBIN39 real

constants. The tube and ball in the model were both

simulated by beam element (BEAM189). The section

of the ball is greater than that of the tube because of its

bigger bending stiffness. BEAM189 is an element

suitable for analyzing slender to moderately stubby/

thick beam structures. This element is based on

Timoshenko beam theory. Shear deformation effects

are included. It is a quadratic (3-node) beam element

in 3-D. COMBIN39 is a unidirectional element with

nonlinear generalized force-deflection capability that

can be used in any analysis. The element has

longitudinal or torsional capability in 1-D, 2-D, or 3-D

applications.

Feng Fan, Hui-huan.Ma, Zheng-gang Cao and Shi-zhao Shen

The translations in the nodal x, y, and z directions of

the tube and ball are coupled. The structural models of

Kiewitt6 and Kiewitt8 single-layer latticed dome used

for analysis are as shown in Fig. 7.

3.1. Effect of bolt-ball joint bending

stiffness on critical load

The bending stiffness of a bolt-ball joint has a

significant effect on the behavior of a single-layer

latticed dome. The influence of the rigidity of joint on

the overall behavior of Kiewitt8 and Kiewitt6 single-

layer latticed domes were analyzed. The three different

moment-rotation curves established through numerical

simulation presented in Fig. 4 were used during the

analysis. It can be seen from the results presented in

Fig. 8 that the critical load carried by a dome with bolt-

ball system is much higher than that carried by a dome

with pin-joint system. The domes with a bolt-ball joint

International Journal of Space Structures Vol. 25 No. 1 2010 19

L

L

(a) Model of Kiewitte6

f

f

(b) Model of Kiewitte8

L

L

Beam189 element

Cobin39 element

x

y

z x

y

z

x y

z

x

y

z

Figure 7. Model of single-layer latticed domes

Table 1. Number of rings of domes with different span and ratio of rise to span

L 30m 40m

f/L 1/8 1/5 1/4 1/3 1/2 1/8 1/5 1/4 1/3 1/2

Number of rings 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 6 6 8

system have better load-bearing capacity than that

with pin-joint system.

3.2. Effect of asymmetric load distribution

on critical load

Two different loads were defined: dead load which

was distributed uniformly all over the dome and live

load which was distributed across half of the dome.

Three different scale factors of live load to dead load,

p/g 0, p/g 0.25, and p/g 0.5, were analyzed.

As shown in Fig. 9, the critical load decreases as

ratio p/g increases. The load-bearing capacity of a

dome before buckling depends on membrane stress,

which reaches its ultimate value with increasing

external force and then changes to bending stress. The

tendency of a membrane stress towards bending stress

is restrained by a symmetric load. However, with the

unsymmetrical load, the dome subjects to non-uniform

force, and consequently, the membrane stress changes

to the bending stress quickly, leading to the buckling

of the domes, and the corresponding critical load is

therefore lower.

Tables 2 and 3 present the ratios of values. The data

in the table are results of critical loads of domes under

unsymmetrical load distribution divided by that of

domes under symmetrical load.

3.3. Effect of tube section on critical load

Four different section groups of tube were used for

analysis. As shown in Fig. 10, the bold line means

bigger section and the fine line means smaller section

in every section group listed in Table 4.

As shown in Fig. 11, the critical loads increases as

the tubular section increases.

3.4. Effect of joint torsional stiffness,

support system and ball size on

critical load

The torsional stiffness of a bolt-ball joint is small, and

so, it can be assumed to be one percent of its bending

stiffness. Five typical torsional stiffness coefficients,

0.01, 0.1, 1.0, 10, 100 (1.0 is the assumed torsional

stiffness), were taken into account for analysis.

Rotation of elements will not happen when a dome is

subjected to a load, because the torsional deflection of

nodes is restrained by symmetrical geometrical form

20 International Journal of Space Structures Vol. 25 No. 1 2010

Direct Estimation of Critical Load fpr Single-Layer Reticulated Domes with Semi-Rigid Joints

Figure 8. Effect of bending stiffness of joint system on critical

load of 40m span Kiewitt6 domes

Figure 9. Effect of asymmetric load distribution on critical

load of 1/5 rise/span ratio and 40 m span Kiewitt8 domes

C

r

i

t

i

c

a

l

l

o

a

d

(

k

N

/

m

2

)

0.0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5

6

7

8

9

10

11

p/g

Dome with specimen1

Dome with specimen2

Dome with specimen3

Table 2. Coefficients for ultimate strength of Kiewitt8 domes for different load distribution

L 30m 40m

f/L 1/3 1/4 1/5 1/3 1/4 1/5

p/g 0.25 0.5 0.25 0.5 0.25 0.5 0.25 0.5 0.25 0.5 0.25 0.5

Dome with specimen1 0.85 0.79 0.92 0.85 0.80 0.72 0.91 0.81 0.87 0.78 0.80 0.72

Dome with specimen2 0.84 0.76 0.88 0.71 0.84 0.72 0.87 0.78 0.85 0.75 0.84 0.75

Dome with specimen3 0.86 0.78 0.95 0.84 0.76 0.68 0.85 0.72 0.89 0.80 0.85 0.76

Table 3. Coefficients for ultimate strength of Kiewitt6 domes for different load distribution

L 30 m 40m

f/L 1/3 1/4 1/5 1/3 1/4 1/5

p/g 0.25 0.5 0.25 0.5 0.25 0.5 0.25 0.5 0.25 0.5 0.25 0.5

Dome with specimen1 0.90 0.82 0.85 0.75 0.84 0.75 0.90 0.77 0.83 0.74 0.88 0.76

Dome with specimen2 0.84 0.75 0.88 0.71 0.83 0.73 0.92 0.84 0.85 0.75 0.78 0.74

Dome with specimen3 0.89 0.79 0.86 0.77 0.88 0.79 0.91 0.82 0.84 0.74 0.75 0.66

Feng Fan, Hui-huan.Ma, Zheng-gang Cao and Shi-zhao Shen

International Journal of Space Structures Vol. 25 No. 1 2010 21

Table 4. Tube section groups

Group (mm)

number t(mm) Area(cm

2

) Inertia(mm

4

)

1 114 3 10.5 322.5

121 3.5 12.9 223.2

2 127 3 11.7 224.8

133 4 16.2 337.5

3 133 4 16.2 337.5

140 4 17.1 395.5

4 140 6 25.3 568.1

146 5 22.2 551.1

Main rib

C

i

r

c

u

m

f

e

r

e

n

t

i

a

l

Radial

L

Figure 10. Arrangement of section group

0

3

6

9

12

15

18

21

24

C

r

i

t

i

c

a

l

l

o

a

d

(

k

N

/

m

2

)

C

r

i

t

i

c

a

l

l

o

a

d

(

k

N

/

m

2

)

4 3 2 1

Tube section group

f/L = 1/3 f/L = 1/4

f/L = 1/5 f/L = 1/8

Kiewitt8 L = 30 m

Tube section group

Kiewitt6 L = 30m

0

3

6

9

12

15

18

21

24

4 3 2 1

f/L = 1/3 f/L = 1/4

f/L = 1/5 f/L = 1/8

Figure 11. Effect o tube section on critical load of domes

of a dome and the symmetrical load distribution. So, as

shown in Fig 12, the effect of torsional stiffness on the

critical load of a dome is small, and it is averaged at

about 2.4%.

Two types of supports, namely hinged support and

rigid support, were used for analysis. As shown in

Fig. 13, the effect of support condition on the critical

load of a dome is small, and it is averaged at

about 1.7%.

Six balls of 100mm, 150mm, 200 mm, 250mm,

300 mm, 350 mm in diameter, which are commonly-

used in practical projects, were used for analysis. The

rigidity of the ball is very big, and the weak link of a

dome is the junction between tubular member and ball

joint. So, ball size is not a major factor influencing the

critical load of a dome. As shown in Fig 14, the effect

of ball size on the critical load of a dome is small, and

it is averaged at about 3.5%.

3.5. Direct formula for critical load of

Kiewitt8 and Kiewitt6 domes

Based on the results obtained from parametric analysis,

we can concluded that the bending rigidity of joint,

span, ratio of rise to span and tube section are major

factors that influence the critical load of single-layer

domes with semi-rigid joints. The formula for predicting

limit loads of rigidly jointed reticulated Kiewitt6 and

Kiewitt8 domes [15] were given as:

(1)

Taking formula (1) as a reference, considering the

influences of the joint rigidity, the formula for the

q k

BD

R

cr

2

0.01 0.1 1 10 100

2

4

6

8

14

12

10

C

r

i

t

i

c

a

l

l

o

a

d

(

k

N

/

m

2

)

Rotational stiffness coefficient

f/L = 1/2 f/L = 1/3 f/L=1/4

f/L = 1/5 f/L = 1/6

Figure 12. Effect of joint torsional stiffness on critical load of

30 m span Kiewitt8 domes

critical loads of Kiewitt8 and Kiewitt6 domes with

bolt-ball joints can be expressed as:

(2)

(3)

(4)

where k

1

, k

2

and k

3

are the coefficients obtained from

the large number of the parametrical analysis. The

values of k

1

, k

2

and k

3

are given in Table 5. Parameter

R is the diameter of a dome; a is the number of rings of

a dome. The parameters are shown in Fig 15.

From Eqn (3) and Eqn (4), reflects the influence

on critical load caused by span (L), ratio of rise to span

(f/L) and the number of rings (a). in Eqn (2) is the

slenderness ratio of main rib in a dome.

(5)

where l, I and A are length, inertia moment and area of

main rib respectively, which reflect the influences on

critical load caused by different tube sections. B is the

l

I A /

2a

tan

/

/

( )

4

4

2

f L

f L

q k k k

cr

_

,

_

,

_

,

1 2

3

3

2

10 10 10

1

]

1

BD

R

2

22 International Journal of Space Structures Vol. 25 No. 1 2010

Direct Estimation of Critical Load fpr Single-Layer Reticulated Domes with Semi-Rigid Joints

C

r

i

t

i

c

a

l

l

o

a

d

(

k

N

/

m

2

)

1/8 1/5 1/4 1/3 1/2

0

2

4

6

8

10

12

14

16

Ratio of rise to span

Hinged support Fixed support

Figure 13. Effect of support system on critical load of 30 m

span Kiewitt8 domes

Figure 14. Effect of ball size on critical load of 30m

span domes

Figure 15. Geometric parameters of dome

Figure 16. Derivation of Eqn. (5)

C

r

i

t

i

c

a

l

l

o

a

d

(

k

N

/

m

2

)

0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 0.30 0.35

0

2

4

6

8

10

12

14

16

18

20

Diameter of ball (m)

f/L = 1/3 f/L = 1/4 f/L = 1/5

Table 5. Values of coefficients k

1

, k

2

, k

3

Dome type Kiewitt8 Kiewitt6

f/L 1/3 1/4 1/5 1/8 1/3 1/4 1/5 1/8

k

1

1.49 2.38 3.39 2.82 1.05 1.96 2.99 3.93

k

2

4.79 1.41 2.67 2.43 0.45 1.40 3.06 3.93

k

3

23.71 25.18 33.30 13.62 1.14 2.21 5.04 1.41

R

L

f

/n/n

2

c

1

a

1

2

1

c

2

2

circumferential

r

a

d

i

a

l

Feng Fan, Hui-huan.Ma, Zheng-gang Cao and Shi-zhao Shen

average value of equivalent membrane stiffness in

radial and circumferential directions shown in Fig 16.

D is the average value of equivalent bending

stiffness in radial and circumferential directions. They

can be calculated using the following equations [15]:

(6)

(7)

It can be seen from Table 6 that most of the

aberrations are close to 5%. In addition, different

distribution of asymmetric loads is also an important

factor having an influence on the critical load of a

latticed dome. In order to extend the formula to

latticed domes under asymmetric loads, Eqn. (2) can

be transformed as shown below:

(8)

q k k k

cr q

_

,

_

,

_

,

1 2

3

3

2

10 10 10

1

]

1

BD

R

2

B

B B

D

D D

+

11 22 11 22

2 2

B

EA EA

B

EA EA

c

c

c

c

11

1

1

4

22

2

2

+ +

sin c oos

sin

4

11

1

1

4

22

2

2

D

EI EI

D

EI EI

c

c

+ +

cc

c

cos

4

International Journal of Space Structures Vol. 25 No. 1 2010 23

Figure 17. Values of

q

for different loading

Table 6. Comparison of critical load obtained using Eq. (1) with that established using ANSYS

(q

cr1

means critical load obtained by Eqn. (1), q

cr2

means critical load obtained from elasto-plastic stability

analysis in ANSYS)

Section group 1 2 3 4

Aberr- Aberr- Aberr- Aberr-

Dome ation ation ation ation

type Span f/L q

cr1

q

cr2

(%) q

cr1

q

cr2

(%) q

cr1

q

cr2

(%) q

cr1

q

cr2

(%)

1/3 11.61 11.39 1.87 14.05 14.08 0.33 15.49 15.00 3.12 19.34 19.43 0.58

30 m

1/4 10.33 10.06 2.71 12.24 12.37 1.02 13.41 13.02 3.02 16.73 16.94 1.27

1/5 9.82 9.71 1.16 11.41 11.63 1.92 12.29 12.02 2.22 15.09 15.36 1.76

Kiewitt8

1/8 4.43 4.55 2.63 5.56 5.44 2.29 6.26 6.10 2.68 7.93 8.09 1.95

1/3 7.02 7.28 3.16 8.78 9.08 3.3 10.04 9.71 3.29 12.96 12.75 1.62

40 m

1/4 6.60 6.99 5.7 8.21 8.68 5.45 9.34 9.03 3.38 12.02 11.73 2.48

1/5 5.98 6.12 2.38 7.31 7.75 5.72 8.20 8.01 2.38 10.44 10.33 1.1

1/8 2.08 2.20 5.73 2.63 2.58 1.88 2.97 2.91 2.21 3.78 3.8 1.52

1/3 8.74 9.70 9.89 11.70 10.67 9.63 13.71 13.88 1.21 17.55 17.62 0.40

Kiewitt6 30 m

1/4 8.68 9.32 6.9 11.53 10.62 8.55 13.42 13.41 0.09 17.11 17.38 1.56

1/5 7.98 8.66 7.82 10.49 9.62 9.05 12.10 11.97 1.12 15.35 15.65 1.94

1/8 5.32 5.62 5.30 6.84 6.58 3.88 7.76 7.55 2.75 9.73 9.97 2.42

1/3 5.72 5.74 0.41 7.62 6.96 9.53 8.98 9.12 1.59 11.51 11.80 2.43

40 m

1/4 5.71 6.08 6.15 7.62 6.94 9.76 8.91 9.18 3.00 11.38 11.41 0.29

1/5 5.14 5.45 5.77 6.81 6.13 9.28 7.91 8.07 2.03 10.07 10.14 0.72

1/8 2.53 2.66 4.92 3.27 3.13 4.42 3.73 3.65 2.07 4.69 4.79 2.17

g

g

g

p

= 1.000

p

p/g = 0

p/g = 1/4

p/g = 1/4

= 0.835

= 0.835

q

can be taken into account using coefficient

q

, and the

values of

q

are given in Fig17 for different

distribution of load.

4. CONCLUSIONS

The analytical results of bending stiffness for joints

obtained through numerical simulation in ANSYS

using SOLID45, CONTACT173 and TARGET170

elements were verified through experiments, which

indicates that the actual bending stiffness of a bolt-ball

joint system can be properly predicted using the model.

Using nonlinear beam elements (beam189 element)

with end spring elements (combin39) in ANSYS,

Kiewitt8 and Kiewitt6 latticed domes with bolt-ball

joints were analyzed with the influence of bending

stiffness, torsional stiffness, ball size, asymmetric load

distribution, tube section, support system taken into

consideration. It can be seen from the results of analysis

that the rigidity of joint, span, ratio of rise to span,

tube section and distribution of asymmetric load are

major factors having influence on the critical load of

single-layer semi-rigidly jointed domes. Besides, the

effect of the torsional stiffness of a joint, ball size and

support condition on the critical load of a dome are

small, and they are averaged at about 2.4%, 3.5%, and

1.7% respectively.

From the results obtained through systematic

parametric analysis, a formula was established for direct

estimation of critical load during the design of a single-

layer dome with semi-rigid joints, and most aberrations

with the critical load obtained from the elasto-plastic

stability analysis in ANSYS are in the range of 5%. In

addition, the formula was also given for the case when

the distribution of asymmetric load is taken into

consideration. The formulas are convenient for the

structural designers to use in actual structural design.

The study on a single-layer latticed dome with

bolt-ball joints indicates that such a dome has a good

load-bearing capacity. It can therefore be concluded

that a single-layer latticed dome with semi-rigid joint

of bolt-ball system can be a good choice for a space

structure with a small or medium span.

ACKNOWLEDGENENTS

This work is supported by Natural Science Foundation

of China under Grant NO. 50778054.

REFERENCES

[1] IASS Working Group 8. Analysis, Design and

Realization of Space Frames: A State-of-the-Art Report.

Bulletin of the International Association for Shells and

Spatial Structures, 1984, 85, 25(12).

[2] Makowski ZS. In: Nooshin H, editor. Space Structures of

Today and Tomorrow, Third International Conference on

Space Structures, London: Elsevier Applied Science

Publishers Ltd, 1984, pp. 18.

[3] Fathelbab, F.A. The Effect of Joints on the Stability of

Shallow Single Layer Lattice Domes, Ph.D. Thesis,

University of Cambridge, 1987.

[4] EL-SHEIKH F AI, Numerical Analysis of Space Trusses

with Flexible Member-end Joints, International Journal

of Space Structures, 8(3), 1993, pp.189197.

[5] Aitziber Lpez *, Inigo Puente, Miguel A. and Serna.,

Numerical Model and Experimental Tests on Single-

layer Latticed Domes with Semi-rigid Joints. Computers

and Structures, 2007, 85, pp. 360374.

[6] H.H.Ma. F.Fan. S.Z.Shen. Numerical Parametric

Investigation of Single-layer Latticed Domes with Semi-

rigid Joints, Journal of the International Association for

Shell and Spatial Structures. 2008. Vol. 49. No 2. 99110.

[7] Shibata R. Kato S and Yamada S. Experimental study on

the ultimate strength of single-layer reticular domes,

Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference of

Space Structures, University of Surry, UK, 1993, 387395.

[8] S. L. Lee. T. See. S. Swaddiwudhipong., evelopment and

Testing of a Universal Space Frame Connector,

International Journal of Space Structures 1990; Vol. 5

No.2: 130138.

[9] S. Swaddiwudhipong. C.G. Koh and S. L. Lee.,

Evelopment and Experimental Investigation of a Space

Frame Connector, International Journal of Space

Structures 1994; Vol. 9 No.2: 99106.

[10] A. Loureiro. R. Goni. E. Bayo., A One-step Method for

Buckling Analysis of Single Layer Latticed Structures

with Semi-rigid Connections, Proceedings of the Fifth

International Conference of Space Structures, Thomas

Telford. London, 2002, 14811490.

[11] Chenaghlou, M. R., Semi-Rigidity of Connection in Space

Structure. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Surrey, 1997.

[12] Murakami., Numerical Analysis of Elastic Buckling of

Single-Layer Latticed Domes Under Gravity Load,

Proceedings of International Congress of IASS-CSCE,

Canada, 1992, pp. 576586.

[13] Kato. S, Murata M., Dynamic Eelasto-plastic Buckling

Simulation System for Single Layer Latticed Domes with

Semi-rigid Connections Under Multiple Loadings.

International Journal of Space Structures, 12(34), 1997,

pp. 161172.

[14] Kato S, Mutoh I, Shomura M., Collapse of Semi-rigidly

Jointed Latticed Domes with Initial Geometric

Imperfections, Journal of Constructional Steel Research,

48, 1998, pp.145168.

[15] S. Z. Shen, Design Formulas for Stability Analysis of

Reticulated Shells, Advances in Steel Structures (ICASS

99), 1999, Pages 5162.

24 International Journal of Space Structures Vol. 25 No. 1 2010

Direct Estimation of Critical Load fpr Single-Layer Reticulated Domes with Semi-Rigid Joints

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