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Cyclic behaviour of hollow and concrete-filled circular hollow section

Researcher: Therese Sheehan
Project duration: 2010-2013
Supervisor: Dr Tak-Ming Chan
Funding body: Corus Tubes and University of Warwick


Concrete-filled tubular columns hold many advantages in comparison with pure steel or reinforced concrete columns, particularly when used in seismic buildings. They are stiffer than hollow steel members, and easier to construct than regular reinforced concrete columns since formwork is not required. They also offer excellent ductility under cyclic loading due to the confinement of the concrete core. However, their advantages are not fully exploited in the current design guidelines, which recent research projects have generally found to be conservative. The steel tube and concrete core exhibit a complex interaction under low-cycle loading. Several parameters influence the strength and behaviour of the member such as the cross-sectional slenderness and methods of load introduction. The degree of confinement provided and behaviour of the steel tube also vary depending on the shape of the tube, with circular tubes providing a higher degree of efficiency than rectangular, and hence a variety of steel tubular shapes are under consideration for this project.


Therese’s research will involve both computational modelling and laboratory experiments. The behaviour of the specimens will be predicted numerically and then modelled in a finite element package such as ABAQUS. Once the modelling has been completed, the results will need to be compared with the numerical predictions and then validated by a series of tests in the structures laboratory of the University of Warwick.


The purpose of this project is to assess the efficiency of concrete-filled tubes under the combination of axial load and lateral cyclic load. Specific attention will be paid to evaluating the ductility and energy absorption capabilities of these when used as columns in seismic buildings.


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