Advanced numerical investigation into structural behaviour of high-strength cold-formed steel lapped Z-sections with different overlapping lengths

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In order to improve buildability of cold-formed steel structures, a series of research and development projects have been undertaken by the authors to examine structural behaviour of bolted moment connections between cold-formed steel sections. In this article, a systematic numerical investigation with advanced finite element modelling technique into the structural behaviour of high-strength cold-formed steel lapped Z-sections under gravity loads is presented, and details of the modelling techniques are presented thoroughly. It aims to examine deformation characteristics of these lapped Z-sections with different overlapping lengths. After careful calibration of advanced finite element models of lapped Z-sections against test data, it is demonstrated that the predicted moment rotation curves of these models follow closely the measured data not only up to the maximum applied moments but also at large deformations. In general, all of these lapped Z-sections are unable to resist sustained loadings after section failure under combined bending and shear, and they exhibit sudden unloadings once the maximum applied loads are attained. Hence, the proposed finite element models are able to simulate highly non-ductile deformation characteristics of these Z-sections. While long overlapping lengths over internal supports in multi-span cold-formed steel purlin systems are often advantageous in terms of both ‘stiffness and strength’, more steel materials are used at the same time. Hence, it is very desirable to establish an efficient use of the lapped Z-sections with optimal overlapping lengths. A total of six models with different overlapping lengths are then extended to simulate the structural behaviour of lapped double-span beams, and extensive material and geometrical non-linear analyses have been carried out. It is found that lapped double-span beams with practical overlapping lengths tend to behave superior to continuous double-span beams in terms of both load resistances and deformations. Depending on the overlapping lengths of the lapped Z-sections, different system failure mechanisms have been clearly identified after significant moment redistribution within the beams, and their structural behaviour has been compared in a rational manner. Consequently, these models will be readily employed to investigate the structural behaviour of high-strength cold-formed steel lapped Z-sections under a wide range of practical loading and boundary loading conditions for possible development of effective design rules.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1074-1097
Number of pages24
JournalAdvances in Structural Engineering
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Cold-formed steel Z-sections
  • Combined bending and shear
  • Finite element analysis
  • Lapped Z-sections
  • Non-ductile deformations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction

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