Recentering Beam-Column Connections Using Shape Memory Alloys
Penar, Bradley W.
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Shape memory alloys are a class of alloys that display the unique ability to undergo large plastic deformations and return to their original shape either through the application of heat (shape memory effect) or by relieving the stress causing the deformation (superelastic effect). This research takes advantage of the unique characteristics of shape memory alloys in order to provide a moment resisting connection with recentering capabilities. In this study, superelastic Nitinol, a nickel-titanium form of shape memory alloy that exhibits a flag-shaped stress versus strain curve, is used as the moment transfer elements within a partially restrained steel beam-column connection. Experimental testing consists of a one-half scale interior connection where the loading is applied at the column tip. A pseudo-static cyclic loading history is used which is intended to simulate earthquake loadings. The energy dissipation characteristics, moment-rotation characteristics, and deformation capacity of the connection are quantified. Results are then compared to tests where A36 steel tendons are used as the moment transfer elements. The superelastic Nitinol tendon connection showed superior performance to the A36 steel tendon connection, including the ability to recenter without residual deformation.