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Proceedings of the Fifth (1995) Internatiollfll Offshore and Polar Engineering Conference

The Hague, The Netherlands, June 11-16, 1995

Copyright 1995 by The International Society of Offshore and Polar Engineers
ISBN 1-88065316-8 (Set); ISBN 1-880653-17-6 (Vol I)

Strength Computation of Pin Connections

Through Three-Dimensional Finite Element Idealisation
Y.S. Choo
National University of Singapore, Singapore
S.H. Wong
Singapore Institute of Standards and Industrial Research, Singapore
K.H. Lee
National University of Singapore, Singapore
T. Zhuang

Singapore Institute of Standards and Industrial Research, Singapore

The effects of shape and plate thickness of a pin connection

on its ultimate strength under quasi-static in-plane loading are
investigated through a three dimensional finite element idealisation.
The study utilises the ABAQUS software to model the geometric
and material nonlinearities of the pin connection and the boundary
nonlinearity due to the contact between the pin and plate around the
The three dimensional idealisation provides a better
representation of the stress re-distribution, and consequent variation
of plate thickness under increasing loads, than the authors' previous
work which utilised a plane stress approach. The present results
correlate closely with published numerical and experimental results.
The effect of padeye shape on its ultimate strength, for a given set of
geometric ratios, is found to be insignificant. For a round-ended
padeye with certain hole diameter/width ratio and pin size, it is
observed that its averaged bearing stress ratio decreases as the plate
thickness/hole diameter ratio is increased.
Pin connection; finite elements; stress;
strength; padeye; nonlinearity

u", uy, uz

End distance along line ofload P referenced from

centre of hole
Diameter of hole
Diameter of pin
Young's modulus
End distance along line ofload P referenced from
hole centre-line
Assumed length of pin
Applied load
Computed padeye strength
Thickness of main plate
Displacement in x-x, y-y & z-z directions respectively
Width of padeye plate

Plastic strain
Coefficient of friction
Poisson's ratio
Rotation about the X-, y- and z-axis respectively
Yield stress at plastic strain, J'
Bearing stress
Initial yield stress
Ultimate stress of material
Yield stress of material
Ultimate shear strength

Pin connections are commonly used in offshore, civil,

mechanical and aerospace structures (Blake, 1985) and are known
variously as padeyes, eyebars or lugs. In this paper, the terms pin
connection and padeye will be used interchangeably. The design of
padeyes for offshore lift installation of modules, jackets and
structures is becoming more critical as the weight of the structures is
increasing. The selection of appropriate dimensions and shape of
the padeye, to provide the required load transfer, has significant
influence on the cost of materials and fabrication, as well as safety
during lift installation.
Each of the pin-hole connections is a potential source of
structural weakness, by overloading or cumulative fatigue damage
(Blake, 1985; Kulak et al., 1987). Most of the analytical and
experimental work reported on pin connections are on elastic stress
distribution. The present design codes and recommendations (such
as AlSC, 1989; API, 1989 and Russo et al., 1992) are based on
elastic stress limits. An excellent review on elastic analysis of pin
joints is presented by Rao (1989). There are, however, relatively
few analytical results (Obata et al., 1991, Choo et al., 1993) and
experimental studies (Johnston, 1938; Duerr and Pincus, 1986; and
Suzuki et al., 1989) on the nonlinear elasto-plastic behaviour of pin
connections subjected to increasing load.