Seismic performance evaluations and analyses for composite moment frames with smart SMA PR-CFT connections
Hu, Jong Wan
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This thesis investigates the performance of composite frame structures with smart partially-restrained (PR) concrete filled tube (CFT) column connections through simplified 2D and advanced 3D computational simulations. It also provides a design methodology for new types of innovative connections based on achieving a beam hinging mechanism. These types of connections intend to utilize the recentering properties of super-elastic SMA tension bars, the energy dissipation capacity of low-carbon steel bars, and the robustness of CFT columns. In the first part of this study, three different PR-CFT connection prototypes were designed based on a hierarchy of strength models for each connection component. Numerical simulations with refined three dimensional (3D) solid elements were conducted on full scale PR-CFT connection models in order to verify the strength models and evaluate the system performance under static loading. Based on system information obtained from these analyses, simplified connection models were formulated by replacing the individual connection components with spring elements and condensing their contributions. Connection behavior under cyclic loads was extrapolated and then compared with the monotonic behavior. In the second part of this study, the application of these connections to low-rise composite frames was illustrated by designing both 2D and 3D, 4 and 6 story buildings for the Los Angeles region. A total of 36 frames were studied. Pushover curves plotted as the normalized shear force versus inter story drift ratio (ISDR) showed significant transition points: elastic range or proportional limit, full yielding of the cross-section, strength hardening, ultimate strength, and strength degradation or stability limit. Based on the transition points in the monotonic pushover curves, three performance levels were defined: Design Point, Yield Point, and Ultimate Point. All frames were stable up to the yield point level. For all fames, after reaching the ultimate point, plastic rotation increased significantly and concentrated on the lower levels. These observations were quantified through the use of elastic strength ratios and inelastic curvature ductility ratios. The composite frames showed superior performance over traditional welded ones in terms of ductility and stability, and validated the premises of this research.