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Title: Behaviour and design of aluminium alloy structural elements
Author: Su, Meini
ISNI:       0000 0004 5361 310X
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2014
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Aluminium alloys are nonlinear metallic materials with continuous stress-strain curves that are not well represented by the simplified elastic, perfectly plastic material model used in most existing design specifications. The aims of this study are to develop a more efficient design method for aluminium alloy structures by rationally exploiting strain hardening. The key components of this study include laboratory testing, numerical modelling and development of design guidance for aluminium alloy structures. As part of the present study, the experimental programme included tests on 11 stub columns, 40 simply supported beams, 46 continuous beams and corresponding tensile coupon tests. Numerical investigations of aluminium alloy simply supported beams and continuous beams were also conducted. The validated finite element models were used for extensive parametric studies, generating 96 results for beams under three-point bending, 96 under four-point bending and 210 for continuous beams. The experiments and numerical simulations have shown the following key features of the inelastic behaviour of aluminium alloy structural elements: (1) the significance of strain hardening, indicated by the ultimate stress over the yield stress, could be up to 50%; (2) non-slender section capacities could be generally up to 40% higher than the yield limits in compression, and 50% greater than the plastic moments in bending; (3) the experimental and numerical ultimate loads of continuous beams on non-slender sections go beyond the calculated loads corresponding to the occurrence of the first hinge by more than 10%. Previous experimental data on aluminium alloy stub columns and simply supported beams were also collected. These collected test data were used together with the newly generated experimental and numerical results obtained from this study, totalling about 900 data, to assess the design predictions of the American, Australian/New Zealand and European specifications. On average, the existing design methods under-estimated the capacity of aluminium alloy stub columns by around 15%~22%, simply supported beams by around 18%~40% and continuous beams by around 27% ~ 50%. Existing section classification limits in Eurocode 9 (2007) were also assessed, and while they were found to be safe, some improved limits were proposed. The combined experimental and numerical results were used to develop and calibrate a new design method, termed the continuous strength method (CSM). Two key components of the CSM - a base curve and a bi-linear material model for aluminium alloys have been proposed in this study. Global plastic analysis allowing for moment redistribution has also been adopted in the CSM. Unlike current practices, the CSM has the merits of adopting the continuous treatment for the cross-section deformation response, rationally exploiting the available capacity beyond the yield limit and reasonably allowing for redistributing the internal forces. The capacity predictions of aluminium alloy structural members have been improved by more than 30% using the CSM. Reliability analyses have also been performed to assess the reliability level of different design methods according to the American Institute of Steel Construction (2010) and European Standard EN1990 (2002) approaches. The CSM has been shown to be safe, efficient and consistent for aluminium alloy structural members.
Supervisor: Young, Ben; Gardner, Leroy Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral