Multi-Scale Failure Analysis of Transmission Towers under Downburst Loading

F. Y. Wang, Y. L. Xu, W. L. Qu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Collapse of transmission towers due to downbursts is often initiated by local failure of key structural members, while the local failure of key structural members is related to local material and geometrical nonlinearities. This paper presents a multi-scale finite element (FE) model for the failure analysis of transmission towers under downburst-induced wind loading. The potential local failure areas of the tower are modeled by shell or solid elements, and the remaining parts by beam elements. In this way, the failure of the tower can be accurately simulated on the one hand and the computational effort can be reduced on the other hand. This paper first introduces how to determine the downburst-induced wind loading on transmission towers. Both the conventional beam and multi-scale FE models of the transmission tower are then developed and used in the failure analysis. A comparison of the failure results obtained by the two FE models show that the multi-scale FE model can effectively simulate the stress concentration of angle members around the bolt connections and the cross-section plastic collapse of key structural members, leading to a different failure pattern for the tower from the conventional FE method. It is suggested that the multi-scale FE model should be used for better accuracy in the failure analysis of transmission towers under downburst loading.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1850029
JournalInternational Journal of Structural Stability and Dynamics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • downburst
  • failure
  • local plastic collapse
  • multi-scale modeling
  • Transmission tower

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics

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