Load introduction into concrete-filled steel tubular columns

  • Mohammad Hassan Mollazadeh

Student thesis: Phd


Concrete-Filled Steel Tubular (CFST) columns are increasingly being used because of their many advantages, including high strength, high ductility, and higher fire resistance than conventional steel or concrete columns of the same size. In order to maximise the advantages of CFST column, composite action of the column should be ensured. In realistic structures, the load is not directly applied to the entire CFST column section and is introduced from the beam-column connection. Simple shear connections, which are usually preferred in constructions, are only connected to the external face of the steel tube and there is an issue about how this load is introduced to the concrete core, through the bond at the steel/concrete interface. There are fundamental errors in the load introduction mechanism assumed in various current design methods. Furthermore, based on this erroneous load introduction mechanism, construction methods, such as placing shear connectors inside the steel tube or using through-column plates, are recommended to ensure complete load introduction. However, these methods are either impractical or uneconomical.The aim of this project, therefore, is to develop a thorough understanding of the load introduction mechanism and to use the new insights to assess design implications, for both ambient temperature and fire safety design. The research has been conducted through physical testing, extensive numerical modelling and detailed analytical derivations.A series of new load introduction tests, in which square CFST columns are loaded through simple fin plate connections, are carried out. These tests are designed to investigate the effects of changing column lengths below and above the connection, the effectiveness of using shear connectors inside the steel tube below the connection (according to Eurocode 4) and using a cap plate on the column top for load introduction into the concrete core. The test results indicate that the connection load is introduced to the concrete core through the column length above and within the connection or the cap plate on top of the column. This is different from the currently assumed mechanism of load introduction which assumes that load introduction occurs from underneath the connection. Below the connection, there is transfer of forces from the steel tube to the concrete core, but the total force in the column remains unchanged. Consequently, using shear connectors below the connection is ineffective in increasing CFST column strength, as has been demonstrated by the tests.The physical tests are supplemented by an extensive numerical parametric study to check whether the conclusions are applicable to different design conditions and to provide data for development of a new design method. The parameters include: section geometry (square, circular, and rectangular), position of load application to CFST column, dimensions of the square column cross-section, steel tube thickness, connection length, column length above the connection, column length below the connection, and maximum bond stress at the steel-concrete interface. The numerical simulation results confirm the experimental observations. Furthermore, the numerical simulation results indicate that the entire column length and the entire perimeter of the steel-concrete interface above and within the connection are engaged in load introduction. Based on the experimental and numerical simulation results, a simple calculation method has been proposed to calculate the column cross-section resistance under compression. According to this equation, the concrete compression resistance to the composite column is the minimum of the plastic resistance or the bond strength within and above the connection. This gives rise to a "concrete strength reduction factor" to account for incomplete load introduction, being the ratio of the load introduced to the concrete core through the interface bond to the concrete plastic resistance. Based on the new load
Date of Award1 Aug 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorYong Wang (Supervisor)


  • numerical simulation
  • shear connection
  • design implication
  • experiment
  • concrete filled section
  • Load introduction
  • bond

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