Advanced Steel Construction

Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 71-94 (2012)



Feng Zhou 1a, 1b, Ben Young 2,* and Hin-Chung Lam 3

1a Department of Building Engineering, Tongji University ,1239 Siping Road, Shanghai 200092, China

1b State Key Laboratory of Disaster Reduction in Civil Engineering, Shanghai 200092, China

2 Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, China

3 Katech International Ltd., Hung To Road, Kwun Tong, Hong Kong, China

*(Corresponding author: E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )


Received: 2 June 2011; Revised: 10 June 2011; Accepted: 16 June 2011




Numerical investigation of aluminum alloy plate girders subjected to shear force has been presented in this paper. The aluminum alloy plate girders were fabricated by welding three plates to form an I-section. A total of 118 numerical data are presented. A non-linear finite element model is developed and verified against experimental results. Geometric and material non-linearities were included in the finite element model. The welding of the aluminum alloy plate girders and the influence of the heat affected zone (HAZ) are also considered and carefully modeled. A sensitivity analysis on geometric imperfections of the aluminum alloy plate girders was performed. It was shown that the finite element model closely predicted the ultimate loads, web deformations and failure modes of aluminum alloy plate girders. Hence, the model was used for an extensive parametric study of cross-section geometries, and the web slenderness value ranged from 49 to 393. The test results and the shear resistances predicted by the finite element analysis were compared with the design strengths obtained using the European Code and American Specification for aluminum structures. Based on the experimental and numerical results, a design method for shear resistance of aluminum alloy plate girders is proposed in this study. The proposed design method is modified from the design rules in the EC9 Code. It is shown that the proposed design strengths are generally conservative and reliable.


Keywords: Aluminum structures, Design rules, Numerical investigation, Plate girder, Sensitivity analysis, Shear resistance


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