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Title: Behaviour and design of steel columns subjected to vehicle impact
Author: Al-Thairy, Haitham Ali Bady
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2012
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Columns are critical elements of any structure and their failure can lead to the catastrophic consequences of progressive failure. In structural design, procedures to design structures to resist conventional loads are well established. But design for accidental loading conditions is increasingly requested by clients and occupants in modern engineering designs. Among many accidental causes that induce column failure, impact (e.g. vehicular impact, ship impact, crane impact, impact by flying debris after an explosion) has rarely been considered in the modern engineering designs of civil engineering structures such as buildings and bridges. Therefore, most of the design requirements for structural members under vehicle impact as suggested by the current standards and codes such as Eurocode 1 are based on simple equations or procedures that make gross assumptions and they may be highly inaccurate. This research aims to develop more accurate methods of assessing steel column behaviour under vehicle impact.The first main objective of this study is to numerically simulate the dynamic impact response of axially loaded steel columns under vehicle impact, including the prediction of failure modes, using the finite element method. To achieve this goal, a numerical model has been proposed and validated to simulate the behaviour and failure modes of axially loaded steel columns under rigid body impact using the commercial finite element code ABAQUS/Explicit. Afterwards, an extensive parametric study was conducted to provide a comprehensive database of results covering different impact masses, impact velocities and impact locations in addition to different column boundary conditions, axial load ratios and section sizes. The parametric study results show that global buckling is the predominant failure mode of axially unrestrained compressed steel columns under transverse impact. The parametric study results have also revealed that column failure was mainly dependent on the value of the kinetic energy of impact. The parametric study has also shown that strain rate has a minor effect on the behaviour and failure of steel columns under low to medium velocity impact. The parametric study results have been used to develop an understanding of the detailed behaviour of steel columns under transverse impact in order to inform the assumptions of the proposed analytical method.To account for the effect of vehicle impact on the behaviour of steel columns, a simplified numerical vehicle model was developed and validated in this study using a spring mass system. In this spring mass system, the spring represents the stiffness characteristics of the vehicle. The vehicle stiffness characteristics can be assumed to be bilinear, with the first part representing the vehicle deformation behaviour up to the engine box and the second part representing the stiffness of the engine box, which is almost rigid. The second main objective of this research is to develop a simplified analytical approach that can be used to predict the critical velocity of impact on steel columns. The proposed method utilizes the energy balance principle with a quasi-static approximation of the steel column response and assumes global plastic buckling as the main failure mode of the impacted column. The validation results show very good agreement between the analytical method results and the ABAQUS simulation results with the analytical results tending to be on the safe side. A detailed assessment of the design requirements suggested by Eurocode 1, regarding the design of steel columns to resist vehicle impact, has shown that the equivalent static design force approach can be used in the design of moderately sized columns that are typically used in low multi-storey buildings (less than 10 storeys). For bigger columns, it is unsafe to use the Eurocode 1 equivalent static forces. It is acceptable to use a dynamic impulse in a dynamic analysis to represent the dynamic action of vehicle impact on columns, but it is important that both the column and vehicle stiffness values should be included when calculating the equivalent impulse force – time relationship. It is also necessary to consider the two stage behaviour of the impacting vehicle, before and after the column is in contact with the vehicle engine. A method has been developed to implement these changes.
Supervisor: Wang, Yong Sponsor: Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Impact ; Vehicle ; Dynamic analysis ; Structural steel ; Eurocode1 Design methods