Rectangular hollow sections with circular web openings : fundamental behaviour in torsion, bending and shear
The primary aim of the project was to develop the basis for a set of rules to be used in the design of RHS slim floor edge beams with web openings. However, since the research is fundamental in nature, the findings are also applicable to other situations where it may be advantageous to cut holes in load bearing tubular members of rectangular cross-section. The study considered the influence of the number and size of holes upon resistance and stiffness in bending, shear, and torsion and combined analytical Finite Element modelling with large and small scale pseudo-static (short-time static loading) laboratory testing. In all but one category of tests (see below), good agreement was achieved between experimentally measured quantities (such as capacities, deflections and strains) and the corresponding Finite Element predictions, allowing parametric investigations to be conducted with calibrated analytical models. Preliminary design recommendations are presented based on the results of the parametric study and laboratory tests. The design advice was developed with regard to existing recommendations for the design of perforated I-beams, and was produced in a form that allows integration with modern limit state design codes. Aspects of behaviour requiring further investigation have been identified and categorised. Torsion tests on full scale RHS without web openings yielded some unexpected results. Elastic and plastic capacities measured in the laboratory were significantly lower (12–20%) than those predicted by the Finite Element models and the thick walled torsion theory used as the basis of the British and European design procedures. Attempts were made to determine the cause of this behaviour and a number of possibilities were eliminated. Although the anomalous results have not been fully explained, evidence of similar behaviour in previous full-scale testing was discovered.