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Stiffness prediction for bolted moment-connections between cold-formed steel members

Lim, J.B.P. and Nethercot, D.A. (2004) Stiffness prediction for bolted moment-connections between cold-formed steel members. Journal of Constructional Steel Research, 60 (1). pp. 85-107. ISSN 0143-974X

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The authors have recently described a cold-formed steel portal framing system in which simple bolted moment-connections, formed through brackets, were used for the eaves and apex joints. Such connections, however, cannot be considered as rigid because of localised in-plane elongation of the bolt-holes caused by bearing against the bolt-shanks. To therefore predict the initial stiffness of such connections, it is necessary to know the initial bolt-hole elongation stiffness kb. In this paper, a finite element solid idealisation of a bolted lap-joint in shear will be described that can be used to determine kb; the results obtained are validated against experimental data. A beam idealisation of a cold-formed steel bolted moment-connection is then described, in which spring elements are used to idealise the rotational flexibility of the bolt-groups resulting from bolt-hole elongation. Using the value of kb in the beam idealisation, the deflections predicted are shown to be similar to those measured experimentally in laboratory tests conducted on the apex joint of a cold-formed steel portal frame.