Finite element analysis of steel moment frame joints with doubler plates and continuity plates

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Cheng, Yu-Fang, M.S. in Engineering

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This thesis presents the results of a finite element study of the behavior of the panel zone region in beam-column joints in seismic resistant steel moment frames, with a focus on the interaction between continuity plates and extended doubler plates. Several recent studies have examined this same issue, but utilized a simplified finite element model of the panel zone region that did not include a complete representation of the beams attached to the column.. The previous studies concluded that welding a continuity plate to a doubler plate produced no apparent detrimental effects in the doubler plate. However, there is still a question on whether welding a continuity plate to a thin doubler plate may have a detrimental effect on the beam flanges, as the doubler plate may negatively impact the effectiveness of the continuity plate in reducing stress and strain concentrations in the beam flanges. As an extension to these previous research, the primary goal of this research was to examine the conclusions of these previous studies and to determine if any these previous conclusions might be altered once the entire beam and beam-to-column connection is included in the model. The research involved parametric finite element studies that included a full and very detailed representation of the beam and beam-to-column connection, using a welded unreinforced flange – welded web (WUF-W) connection The development and validation of modeling techniques used for this research is described, along with the results of the extensive series of parametric studies. The results suggest that welding continuity plates to thin doubler plate, as thin as 3/16-inch, does not significantly reduce the effectiveness of the continuity plates, in terms of controlling stress and strain concentrations in the beam flange. This study on full beam-column subassemblies showed essentially the same conclusion as that reported by previous studies.


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