Advanced Steel Construction

Vol. 4, No. 3, pp. 198-209 (2008)



Albrecht Gehring 1,*, Richard Goodman 2, Helmut Saal 3 and Chris Willett 4

1 Engineering consultant, Lauer & Weiss GmbH, Höhenstraße 21, 70736 Fellbach, Germany

2 Engineering design manager, Macalloy Limited, Caxton Way, Dinnington, S25 3QE, United Kingdom

3 Professor, Versuchsanstalt für Stahl, Holz und Steine, Universität Karlsruhe (TH), Germany

4 Sales director, Macalloy Limited, Caxton Way, Dinnington, S25 3QE, United Kingdom

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


Received: 31 January 2007; Revised: 22 August 2007; Accepted: 4 September 2007




The resistance of tension rod systems can be calculated according to design codes, e.g. Eurocode 3 or DIN 18800-1. Often the real load bearing capacity is not activated by the calculated resistance – which is due to a conservative approach of the analytical design methods. The real load bearing capacity of the whole system can be evaluated by a series of ultimate load tests. The results of these tests lead to technical approvals. This procedure takes a lot of time and is very cost intensive. Therefore some European building authorities are allowing virtual tests to reduce both costs and time. A general strategy for preparing and performing virtual tests of tension rod systems is presented in this paper. Special attention is paid to generate a clear numerical model with respect to possible failure modes. The application of this strategy is illustrated by an example of virtual tests which led to a technical approval in Germany.


Keywords:Tension rod system; finite-element analysis; virtual testing; failure criteria; static resistance


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