The behaviour of joints exerts an important influence on the overall performance of steel and composite structures. Modern codes, including Eurocodes 3 (EC3) and 4 (EC4), have included research advances for joint modelling to be used in common practice.
The method adopted in EC3 and EC4 to characterize the connections is the so-called component method. One of the most important components is the column web panel in shear, and its behaviour has been investigated thoroughly for the case of single rectangular shear panels arising when the beams have equal depths. However, the case of double column panels, formed by beams of different depths at each side of the column, has not been researched as much.
The aim of this paper is the characterization of the shear behaviour of rectangular double column panels attached to beams of unequal depths. In order to isolate the shear behaviour from other components, horizontally stiffened beam to column connections with commercial sections are experimentally tested. Also, finite element modelling and analysis is carried out to compare results. A mechanical model is proposed and a parametric study is performed by means of calibrated finite element models to characterize the different components, and define the analytical expressions for the stiffness and resistance of the proposed mechanical model. In addition, a cruciform finite element that captures the behaviour of the proposed mechanical model has been developed. This general cruciform element is also suitable for semi-rigid connections and can be used for global analysis of semi-rigid steel frames.