Major axis steel joint under torsion: Stiffness and strength characterization
Torsional effects in joints need to be investigated in order to get a complete model of the joint and also to assess the real boundary conditions for the lateral torsional effects in the beams of structural frames. Phenomena such as: torsion, warping, lateral buckling, etc. are usually analysed assuming simplified boundary conditions, namely pinned or rigid, in frame analysis which can lead to erroneous and non-conservative results. With the aim of knowing the correct boundary conditions and real behaviour of the joints under torsion, an experimental program is carried out consisting of two tests of mayor axis doubled extended bolted end plate joints subjected to torsion about the axis along the length of the beam. These experimental results have allowed the validation of the finite element models carried out using the program Abaqus. Once the models are validated models, a parametric study is performed to assess the stiffness and resistance. This study also verifies that these joints behave in a semi-rigid way when compared with the torsional characteristics of the attached beam. Besides, the beam fails prior to the connection in most cases, and therefore, the joints can be assumed to behave as full-strength. Analytical expressions are proposed and checked with the FEM results proving that the proposed analytical formulae and the proposed mechanical model can predict the stiffness quite accurately, with an average error of 8.5%. Despite these joints can be classified as full-strength under torsion, an assessment of their resistance is done as well.