Ultimate Behaviour of Perforated Steel Plate Girders Subjected to Shear Loading

Alireza Bahrami1, 2, *, Mahdi Najarnasab2
1 Department of Building Engineering, Energy Systems and Sustainability Science, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, University of Gävle, 801 76 Gävle, Sweden
2 Department of Civil Engineering, Abadan Branch, Islamic Azad University, Abadan, Iran

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Creative Commons License
© 2020 Bahrami and Najarnasab

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 Department of Building Engineering, Energy Systems and Sustainability Science, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, University of Gävle, 801 76 Gävle, Sweden. E-mail:



The Perforated Steel Plate Girders (PSPGs) are those Steel Plate Girders (SPGs) that have openings in their web. The PSPGs are significant structural members to withstand bending mainly. The proper combination of steel plates is applied to fabricate the PSPGs. When the available rolled steel profiles cannot carry the applied loads, the use of beams made of the steel plates is unavoidable.


The present paper presents the ultimate behaviour of PSPGs subjected to shear loading.


In order to carry out the study, the finite element method is used as a practical design tool for predicting the ultimate behaviour of the PSPGs under shear loading. Two experimentally tested PSPGs are selected to conduct the modelling accuracy using ABAQUS. All the features of the tested specimens are considered in the modelling. The finite element modelling results are compared with the experimental tests results, which verify the modelling. Since the accuracy of the modelling is demonstrated, thereafter, the method is used for the nonlinear analysis of the developed PSPGs having different circular and rectangular openings. Various parameters are adopted in the analysis to vastly evaluate their effects on the ultimate behaviour of the PSPGs. The parameters include shape of the openings (circular and rectangular openings), number of the openings (2 and 4 openings), arrangement of the openings (horizontal and vertical openings), using steel frame around the openings, utilising diagonal steel stiffeners to connect the steel frame to the corners of the PSPGs, and thicknesses (2 mm and 4 mm) of the steel frame and the diagonal steel stiffeners.


The obtained results from the nonlinear analysis of the PSPGs are summarised considering various parameters. The results are compared and discussed, taking into account the effects of the parameters on the ultimate behaviour of the PSPGs.


The study highlights that the shape of the openings affects the behaviour of the PSPGs. Accordingly, circular openings are preferred compared with the rectangular ones. Also, as the number of the openings is increased, the ultimate capacity of the PSPGs is reduced. The behaviour of the PSPGs is considerably affected by the arrangement of the openings in which the horizontal openings have better performance than the vertical ones. If the steel frame and/or the steel stiffeners are utilised, the ultimate capacity is enhanced. The ultimate capacity of the PSPGs is improved by increasing the thickness of the steel frame and/or stiffeners. The failure modes of the PSPGs with circular and rectangular openings are indicated and evaluated.

Keywords: Steel, Perforated plate girder, Stiffener, Finite element, Shear loading, Ultimate capacity, Failure mode.