2011 Volume 51 Issue 4 Pages 619-629
This study presents the development of refined three dimensional (3D) finite element (FE) models with the ability to reliably simulate the mechanical behavior of full-scale bolted T-stub connections. FE models incorporated material nonlinearity, geometric nonlinear behavior, several contact interactions between faying surfaces, and prescribed displacements for generating initial bolt pretension. These FE models were used to compare experimental test results, which verify that advanced FE modeling methods make a notable contribution to reproducing the overall behavior of connections and components accurately, including the moment-rotation curves. In addition, the FE models provide some useful information which is difficult to obtain during physical testing, i.e., the distribution of stress and strain, friction forces between shear faying surfaces, and bolt reaction forces. The validated FE models are also used for additional parametric studies so as to comprehensively understand their response mechanisms. Moreover, the observation of FE analysis results supports the statement that connection models presented herein were designed to reach the yielding of connection components when the structural beam produces its full plastic moment at the plastic hinge.