First Advisor

Peter Dusicka

Date of Publication

Spring 6-5-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Civil & Environmental Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering




Steel framing (Building) -- Plastic properties -- Testing, Earthquake resistant design



Physical Description

1 online resource (xvi, 221 pages)


The primary component in eccentrically braced frames (EBF) is the link as its plastic strength controls the design of the frame as well as the entire building within which it is installed. EBFs are the first part of building design and every other component is sized based on the forces developed in the link. Oversized link elements lead to the use of unnecessary materials and can increase construction costs. Additionally, the advantages of using a continuous member of the same depth for both the link and the controller beam (in terms of the cost and the time) motivates researchers to find a way to control the link strength in conventional EBFs. Previous studies on the link-to-column connections in EBF have shown that the links are likely to fail before reaching the required rotation due to fractures at low drift level. Moreover, improving the strength of the links in EBF depends primarily on their ability to achieve target inelastic deformation and to provide high ductility during earthquakes. Therefore, in this study, the concept of tuned link strength properties in EBF, T-EBF, is experimentally introduced as a solution to improve the performance of the link in conventional EBF by cutting out an opening in the link web. Furthermore, a new brace-to-link connection is proposed to bolt the brace member with the link in contrast to the conventional method of welding them. This new idea in continuous beam design was investigated to verify the stability of the tuned eccentrically braced frame, either welded or bolted, with a bracing member. A total of four full-scale cyclic tests were conducted to study the ability of T-EBF to achieve inelastic deformation. The specimens have two different cross sections: W18x76 and W16x67, two different sections where the brace was welded to the link, and two other specimens at different sections where the brace was bolted to the link were examined. The experimental results indicate that the link in T-EBF can achieve high rotation, exceeding 0.15 rad, and an overstrength factor equal to 1.5. Failure involved included web buckling at very high rotation. The T-EBF displayed a very good, non-replaceable ductile link. The experiments were followed by an isotropic kinematic-combined hardening model in the finite element analyses (FEA). The FEA analysis is developed to predict the effect of web opening configuration on the local section stresses and strains and global characteristics of the frame. FEA exhibits good agreement with the experimental results and can capture the inelastic buckling behavior of the sections. The link configuration parameters of the T-EBF were studied extensively on a W18x76 shear link subjected to the 2016 AISC seismic design provisions loading protocol (ANSI/AISC 341-16, 2016). The parametric study also included the performance of a range of wide flange sections. The analysis shows that the reduced web section has effect on the plastic strain in which low plastic strain observed near ends and connections and high at the center of the web. Results also demonstrate that if the shear link is appropriately sized with web opening and intermediate web stiffeners provided, an excellent shear link with high ductility under cyclic loads can be obtained. Changing the configuration of the opening cutout also had a significant effect on reducing the transition zone cracks.


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