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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P006787/1
Title: Development of inelastic design procedures for stainless steel indeterminate structures
Principal Investigator: Theofanous, Dr M
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Nolan Associates Polytechnic University of Catalonia UPC Steel Construction Institute
Department: Civil Engineering
Organisation: University of Birmingham
Scheme: First Grant - Revised 2009
Starts: 01 February 2017 Ends: 31 January 2019 Value (£): 101,004
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Structural Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
03 Aug 2016 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 3 August 2016 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The excellent atmospheric corrosion resistance and favourable mechanical properties of stainless steel make it well suited for a range of structural applications, particularly in aggressive environments or where durability and low maintenance costs are crucial design criteria. The main disadvantage hindering the more widespread usage of stainless steel in construction is its high material cost and price volatility. However, life-cycle costing and sustainability considerations make stainless steels more attractive when cost is considered over the full life of the project, due to the high potential to recycle or reuse the material at the end of life of the project.

The design of stainless steel structures is covered by a number of international design codes, which have either recently been introduced or or were recently amended in light of recent experimental tests, thus indicating the worldwide interest stainless steel has received in recent years. Despite the absence of a well-defined yield stress, all current design standards for stainless steel adopt an equivalent yield stress and assume bilinear (elastic, perfectly-plastic) behaviour for stainless steel as for carbon steel in an attempt to maintain consistency with traditional carbon steel design guidance.Given the high material cost of stainless steel, improving the efficiency of existing design guidance is warranted. Improvements can be made either by calibrating the existing design procedures, some of which are based on engineering judgment and limited test data, against additional experimental results, or by devising more accurate design approaches in line with actual material response. In any case more efficient yet safe design rules are desirable.

The majority of published research articles on stainless steel structures focus on the response of individual members. Due to insufficient relevant experimental data, no rules are given for plastic global analysis of indeterminate stainless steel structures in any current structural design code, even though the ductility of stainless steel is superior to that of ordinary structural steel. The controversy of not allowing plastic design for an indeterminate structure made of a ductile material is obvious in Eurocode 3:Part 1.4 where it is explicitly stated that "No rules are given for plastic global analysis" even though a slenderness limit for stocky elements is specified in the same code. Moreover, because of the lack of relevant experimental data for stainless steel frames, no specific design provisions to account for second order effects in stainless steel frames are specified in any stainless steel design code. Deficiencies in current design guidance puts stainless steel at a disadvantage compared to other materials thereby hindering its use in applications where it might be the preferred solution, had the design standards not imposed strict restrictions to its design due to a gap in current knowledge.

The proposed project aims at investigating the structural response of stainless steel indeterminate structures and developing appropriate design rules, by means of experimental studies on two-span continuous beams, as well as portal frames and advanced numerical analyses. Experimental results, suitable for the validation of numerical models, will be generated and will allow a rigorous study of the ultimate response of indeterminate stainless steel structures. The accuracy of current design procedures (i.e. not allowing for plastic design or partial moment redistribution in indeterminate structures) will be assessed and the possibility to apply plastic design to stainless steel structures will be explored. It is envisaged that the proposed project will lead to design rules suitable for incorporation in EN 1993: Part 1.4.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.bham.ac.uk