Finite Element Analysis of Bolted T-Stubs Undergoing Large Displacement: A Preliminary Study

Anna C. Faralli1, *, P.J. Tan1, Massimo Latour2, Gianvittorio Rizzano2
1 University College London, Department of Mechanical Engineering, London, U.K.
2 University of Salerno, Department of Civil Engineering, Salerno, Italy

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© 2018 Faralli et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the University College London, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Torrington Place, WC1E 7JE, London , U.K.; Tel: +447539965128; E-mail:



In recent years, there have been increased interests by the steel structures community to characterise the large-deformation response of T-stubs to evaluate the deformation capacity of bolted joints. However, little information exists on the influence of second-order effects on the response of bolted T-stubs and, consequently, there are no existing guidelines on how to include these effects in de-sign.


In this paper, we assess the influence of second-order effects in T-stubs bolted to a rigid support through a parametric investigation, using finite element analysis.


Both material and geometrical non-linearities were considered since they are known to have a critical impact upon the performance of T-stubs. A benchmark model is first generated and validated and then used to carry out a parametric investigation. A method to assess the contributions of membrane forces to the overall deformation response of a T-stub is also proposed based on the introduction of a non-dimensional parameter Ψ.


The combination of geometric parameters that are most affected by second order effects, induced by large displacement, was identified. A direct correspondence was found between the extent of second order effects that has developed and the index Ψ: a higher index implies a greater influence by second order effects.

Keywords: T-stub, Robustness, Second order effects, FEM, ABAQUS, Membrane forces.