Table of Contents
ISRN Civil Engineering
Volume 2012, Article ID 197170, 7 pages
Research Article

Finite Element Models for Thin-Walled Steel Member Connections

1Structural Engineer, Stantec Consulting Ltd, 7070 Mississauga Road, Mississauga, ON, Canada L5N 7G2
2Department of Civil Engineering, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada L8S 4L7

Received 30 November 2012; Accepted 19 December 2012

Academic Editors: J. Mohammadi and K. Pilakoutas

Copyright © 2012 Sandesh R. Acharya and K. S. Sivakumaran. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The behavior of connections associated with the thin-walled steel members is distinctly different from that of hot-rolled steel connections, primarily because of the flexibility of the plates. A typical cold-formed steel structural construction may entail such numerous connections. The incorporation of large number of such connections in an analysis and design, using sophisticated finite element models, is very tedious and time consuming and may present computational difficulties. The objective of this investigation is to create simplified, yet reasonably accurate, finite element models for the analysis of screw connections and bolted connections associated with thin-walled sheet steel construction. The primary plates were modeled using quadrilateral shell elements, and nonlinear stress-strain relationship was established based on experiments. The fasteners were modeled as an elastic medium. The plate-to-plate interactions and the plate-to-screw interactions were incorporated using contact elements. The study considered two finite element models of different complexity. The performance of these models was established through comparisons with the corresponding experimental results. The finite element analysis results exhibit reasonably good agreement with the test results in terms of connection stiffness, screw tilting, end curling, and average longitudinal strain. The recommended simplified connection model is capable of reproducing the behavior of sheet steel screw and bolt connections.