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Robustness of Composite Floor Systems with Shear

Connections: Modeling, Simulation, and Evaluation

Fahim Sadek1; Sherif El-Tawil, M.ASCE2; and H. S. Lew3

Abstract: This paper presents a computational investigation of the robustness of a typical concrete deck–steel beam composite floor
system with simple shear connections in the event that a center column has been removed. The study provides insight into the behavior
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and failure modes of simple shear connections and composite floor systems comprised of such connections. Analyses of a connection
subassemblage indicate that loads are primarily resisted by cable action of the beams after column loss resulting in increasing tensile
forces in the beams and connections that could eventually precipitate failure. Simulation results show that the floor deck contributes
significantly to the floor system response through: diaphragm action to prevent the exterior columns from being pulled inward and
membrane action primarily through the reinforcement mesh and metal deck. The analyses indicate that the capacity of the analyzed floor
system under the column removal scenario is significantly less than the load specified by the General Services Administration’s current
progressive collapse guidelines. This suggests that applying these guidelines, the composite floor system studied would be vulnerable to
collapse if a center column is lost.
DOI: 10.1061/共ASCE兲0733-9445共2008兲134:11共1717兲
CE Database subject headings: Floors; Finite element method; Collapse; Composite materials; Connections.

Introduction of such systems to collapse depends upon the strength of the shear
beam-to-column connections. Astaneh-Asl et al. 共2001兲 con-
Steel moment resisting frame systems are commonly used in low- ducted an experimental study to explore the ability of a typical
to midrise construction in seismically active regions in the United composite floor system to resist progressive collapse. The shear
States. The lateral load resistance of such systems is often con- connections were a combination of single shear plate 共shear tab兲
centrated in a few “moment” frames, whereas the remainder of beam-to-beam and single-angle-web-with-seat angle beam-to-
the gravity system derives its stability by “leaning” on the perim- column connections. The tests indicated that the system could
eter frames. The gravity system is typically comprised of beams absorb removal of a middle perimeter column and successfully
connected to columns through simple shear connections in con- resist, without collapse, the dead and live loads and associated
junction with a concrete deck that acts compositely with the steel dynamic effects through catenary action in the floor system com-
beams. The motivation behind such systems stems from the need ponents. Using an analytical approach, Foley et al. 共2006兲 showed
to reduce construction costs by limiting expensive-to-construct that in the event of a center column loss, a composite floor system
moment resisting connections between beams and columns and with bolted clip angle gravity connections could be expected to
by locating them in a small number of moment resisting bays. carry the dead and service live loads, but without the full dynamic
Shear connections in the gravity system are generally modeled as load effects.
pinned and their moment resistance is typically ignored in routine The study reported in this paper utilizes computational struc-
design calculations. tural simulation to evaluate the robustness of concrete deck-steel
Few researchers have investigated the collapse resistance, or beam composite floor systems under the assumption that a center
structural robustness, of composite floor systems with shear con- column has been removed. The beam-to-column shear connection
nections in the event of a loss of a center column. The resistance considered is a single plate shear connection, which is a configu-
ration commonly used in the gravity portions of seismically and
1 nonseismically designed buildings. Two key areas are investi-
Research Structural Engineer, Building and Fire Research Labora-
gated: 共1兲 the behavior and failure modes of shear connections
tory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD
20899-8611. E-mail: fahim.sadek@nist.gov and 共2兲 the behavior and failure modes of the composite floor
Professor, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Univ. of system; in particular, the relative role of the steel beams and their
Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109. E-mail: eltawil@umich.edu connections, the metal deck, and the concrete slab including the
Senior Research Structural Engineer, Building and Fire Research wire mesh reinforcement in resisting collapse.
Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithers- The investigation is carried out using two different simulation
burg, MD 20899-8611. E-mail: hsl@nist.gov models. In the first, a beam–column subassembly is modeled
Note. Associate Editor: James S. Davidson. Discussion open until without the contribution of the floor deck under the notional re-
April 1, 2009. Separate discussions must be submitted for individual
moval of a center column. This analysis provides insight into the
papers. The manuscript for this paper was submitted for review and pos-
sible publication on August 16, 2007; approved on March 21, 2008. This behavior and failure of the shear connection and forms the basis
paper is part of the Journal of Structural Engineering, Vol. 134, No. 11, for a reduced model that is subsequently used in the analysis of
November 1, 2008. ©ASCE, ISSN 0733-9445/2008/11-1717–1725/ the floor system. In the second model, the floor system, including
$25.00. steel beams and their connections, columns, floor slab, and metal


J. Struct. Eng. 2008.134:1717-1725.

N A B C D E F Gap=25.4mm
6.1 m 1

6.1 m

ASTM A992 steel

6.1 m


3 A325 HSB of D = 22.2 mm

6.1 m

PL (9.5 x 228.6 x 101.6) mm

Moment Bays
6.1 m
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9.14 m 9.14 m 9.14 m 9.14 m 9.14 m
38.1mm 38.1mm
Fig. 1. Plan layout of ten-story building designed for Seismic Design
Category C 共Liang et al. 2008兲. Highlighted area indicates floor bays Fig. 2. Single-plate shear connection used in the gravity frames
considered in this paper.
floor portion that is considered for the analysis reported herein.
The floor system consisted of 82.5 mm lightweight concrete
deck is analyzed to evaluate its response under the loss of a center 共17.3 kN/ m3兲 topping on 76.2 mm metal deck. The slab acts
column. compositely with the steel beams through shear studs. The steel
beams are connected to the columns using single plate simple
shear connections 共shear tab connections兲, which were designed
Description of Prototype Floor System according to the AISC LRFD Specifications. The shear tab is fillet
welded to the column and bolted to the beam web as shown in
The National Institute of Standards and Technology designed pro- Fig. 2.
totype steel framed buildings for the purpose of studying their The lightweight concrete topping slab has a nominal com-
response to an event that may cause progressive collapse 共Liang pressive strength of 20.7 MPa. ASTM A992 structural steel
et al. 2008兲. The buildings are ten-story office buildings with plan 共Fy = 344.8 MPa兲 was used in the beams and columns. For the
dimensions of 30.5 m ⫻ 45.7 m and utilize moment-resisting shear connections, 22.2 mm diameter ASTM A325 high strength
frames as the lateral load resisting system. Two seismic design bolts were used, whereas the 9.5 mm thick shear tabs were ASTM
categories were considered to study the effectiveness of seismic A36 steel 共Fy = 248.2 MPa兲. For the purpose of the analyses re-
design and detailing, including seismic connections, in resisting ported in this paper, the thickness of the light-gauge metal deck
progressive collapse. As a result, the buildings were designed for was assumed to be 20 gauge 共0.9 mm兲 and the concrete slab was
共1兲 Seismic Design Category C 共SDC C兲 共Atlanta兲, which resulted reinforced using a wire mesh 共welded wire fabric兲 152 mm by
in a design using intermediate moment frames as defined in the 152 mm, W1.4⫻ 1.4 steel.
American Institute of Steel Construction 共AISC兲 Seismic Provi-
sions 共2002兲, and 共2兲 Seismic Design Category D 共SDC D兲 共Se-
attle兲, which resulted in a design using special moment frames. Modeling of Shear Connections
The design loads on the buildings were determined based on
the International Building Code 共IBC兲 共ICC 2003兲. The material The performance of shear tab connections under seismic 共cyclic兲
design standards used in the design of members and their connec- loading was reported in Liu and Astaneh-Asl 共2004兲. In their
tions were those referenced in American Society of Civil Engi- study, the connection experienced primarily rotational demands.
neers 共ASCE兲 7-02 共2002兲 including the AISC Load and This study, however, focuses on the performance of the connec-
Resistance Factor Design 共LRFD兲 Specifications for Structural tion under the notional removal of a center column. As a result,
Steel Buildings 共AISC 1999兲 and the AISC Seismic Provisions the connection is subject to not only large rotations, but to axial
for Structural Steel Buildings 共2002兲. For typical floors, the dead forces as well due to the large deflections that the beam experi-
load consisted of the self-weight of the floor of 2.2 kN/ m2 and a ences as a result of column removal. As no experimental data are
super-imposed dead load of 1.44 kN/ m2; whereas the design live available to quantify the response of these connections under the
load was assumed to be 4.79 kN/ m2. For the roof, the self-weight column removal scenario, computational models with various lev-
of the slab was 2.2 kN/ m2, the superimposed dead load was els of complexity are used to understand the response character-
0.48 kN/ m2; and the design live load was 0.96 kN/ m2. The re- istics of the connections. The simulations presented in this study
duction in live loads was based on Section 1607.9.1 of IBC 共ICC are conducted using LS-DYNA; an explicit, general purpose,
2003兲. finite-element software package 共Hallquist 2006兲. In all analyses,
The lateral load resisting system, comprised of moment loads are applied at a slow rate to ensure a static response 共no
frames, was located only around the perimeter of the buildings. dynamic amplification兲.
Gravity frames 共not part of the lateral-force-resisting system兲
were used for the interior of the buildings. As a result, the design
High Fidelity Connection Model
of all interior floors and columns was the same for the SDC C and
SDC D buildings. A plan view of the Building in the SDC C zone The beam selected for analysis is the shorter-span beam 共6.1 m
is shown in Fig. 1. The highlighted area in Fig. 1 indicates the span兲 oriented in the north-south direction 共Fig. 1兲. The beam is a


J. Struct. Eng. 2008.134:1717-1725.

analysis, the other end is modeled as pinned to keep the model
size manageable 关Fig. 3共a兲兴. The column is pushed down under
displacement control until failure occurs.
The steel for the beam, column, and connection components is
modeled using a piecewise linear plasticity model with nominal
material properties. Elements are eroded when a prespecified
strain-to-failure is reached, signifying fracture of the steel. As the
strain-to-failure depends on the element size, a procedure similar
to that used in Sadek 共2005兲 was used to estimate the failure
strain for various mesh densities.
The system responds initially in a flexural mode where the
shear tab transfers moment 共top bolt moves toward the column,
whereas bottom bolt moves away from the column兲, before
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switching to a cable-like behavior at a vertical column displace-

ment of about 125 mm, where the deflected shape of the beam is
almost a straight line. Under large displacements, cable-like ac-
Fig. 3. 共Color兲 Illustration of the detailed model of the shear connec- tion is the primary response mode of the beam, i.e., the applied
tion: 共a兲 beam–column subassembly model 共1 / 2 model shown兲; 共b兲 vertical load is resisted by axial tensile forces in the beam. The
connection details; 共c兲 failure of beam web; and 共d兲 example of tear- beam 共between the bolts and the pin support at the other end兲
out failure of a connection recovered from the 7th floor of the World remains in the elastic range. The failure mode observed in this
Trade Center 5, FEMA 403 共2002兲 model is a tear out of the beam web as shown in Fig. 3共c兲. The
shear tab and the bolts experience substantial plastic strains, but
no failure is observed. The tear-out failure observed in the analy-
W16⫻ 26 section connected to W14⫻ 74 columns. For the shear
sis is similar to the failure observed, albeit under fire, in one of
connection, the bolt holes are standard holes with an edge dis-
the floor beams in the World Trade Center 5 building 共FEMA
tance 共between the center of the standard hole to the plate edge兲
2002兲, which suffered partial collapse on September 11, 2001, see
of 38.1 mm for both the beam web and shear tab, resulting in a
Fig. 3共d兲.
clear distance 共between the edge of the hole and the edge of the
Fig. 4共a兲 shows the applied vertical load versus vertical dis-
plate兲 of 27 mm. The gap between the beam end and column
placement computed for the center 共removed兲 column, whereas
flange is 25.4 mm 共see Fig. 2兲. Due to symmetry, only one half of
the beam–column subassembly is considered in the analysis. The Fig. 4共b兲 shows the horizontal reaction at the beam ends. Figs. 4共a
high fidelity connection 共HFC兲 model, shown in Fig. 3, consists and b兲 show that the beam experiences a displacement of about
of solid 共brick兲 elements representing the column, shear tab, bolts, 533 mm at the center column prior to softening and loss of
and beam web and flanges in the vicinity of the connection 关Fig. strength, which corresponds to a rotation at peak strength of
3共b兲兴. Four layers of solid elements are considered for all plates, 0.088 rad.
which results in an element edge length in the range of
1.5– 3.8 mm. Away from the connection, the beam is modeled Reduced Component Connection Model
with shell elements and appropriate constraints are imposed at the
interface between both types of elements. Hand calculations show The reduced component connection 共RCC兲 model, shown in Fig.
that the stresses in the fillet weld connecting the shear tab to the 5共a兲, consists of: 共1兲 beam elements representing the beam and
column flange are low compared to their strength. As a result, the column members and 共2兲 a series of nonlinear horizontal springs
shear tab is modeled as rigidly connected to the column flange. at the location of the bolts representing the connection behavior.
Contact is defined between the bolts, shear tab, and beam web to Rigid elements are provided as shown to model the finite size of
account for the transfer of forces between the beam web and the panel zone and to link the beam and springs together. As for
column. Only the details of one connection are included in the this case, failure of the connection in shear is not expected to

Fig. 4. 共Color兲 共a兲 Applied vertical load versus center column vertical displacement for detailed and reduced model analyses; 共b兲 horizontal
reaction versus center column vertical displacement for detailed and reduced model analyses


J. Struct. Eng. 2008.134:1717-1725.

lt Column
Shear Connection
Rigid Member

Rigid Panel
dbg si Spring Element

Beam Web

Nonlinear springs
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(a) Reduced Component Connection (RCC) Model (b) Reduced Coarse Shell Connection
(RCSC) Model

Fig. 5. Reduced models for the shear connection

occur, and the contribution from shear deformation of the shear tional elastic rotational capacity of these connections is estimated
tab is likely small, the beam is connected to the column using a as 0.02 rad. This gives a total estimated rotational capacity for
rigid constraint equation in the vertical direction. such connections as
The force–deformation response for the nonlinear springs used
in the connection model is shown in Fig. 6共a兲. The rotational ␪t,max = 0.17 − 0.00014dbg 共3兲
stiffness, ks, of the connection without any contribution from the
Therefore, the deformation limit for a bolt spring is
floor slab is given in FEMA 355D 共2000兲 as

ks = 124,550共dbg − 142.2 mm兲 kN mm/rad 共1兲 ⌬u,i = smax␪t,max 共4兲

where dbg = depth 共vertical dimension兲 of the bolt group 共mm兲. where smax = distance from the center of the bolt group to the most
Thus, the stiffness of an individual bolt 共or spring element兲, Kb,i, distant bolt. For this analysis, ␪t,max is calculated to be approxi-
can be estimated as mately 0.14. For bolt tear out, the displacement of the spring at
postultimate zero load, ⌬ f,i is selected as the edge distance
ks 共38.1 mm in this case, see Fig. 2兲. The subassembly fails when
Kb,i = 共2兲
兺is2i the spring elements sequentially reach ⌬ f,i in tension.

where si = distance of each bolt from the center of the bolt group
关Fig. 5共a兲兴. Reduced Coarse Shell Connection Model
The yield and ultimate forces of each spring, Fy,i and Fu,i, Another reduced model using a coarse shell element mesh is used
respectively, are calculated based on the governing failure mode to represent the beam, the column, and their connection 关Fig.
or limit state of the connection under horizontal 共axial兲 loading. 5共b兲兴. The element size is about 38 mm. The connection is repre-
These can be estimated based on the following considerations sented using one row of shell elements with a thickness equal to
with a resistance factor ␾ = 1: that of the beam web. The stress-strain characteristics of these
• The bolt yield and ultimate capacity in shear with threads shell elements are derived based on the bolt spring parameters in
excluded; Eqs. 共1兲–共4兲. The model is supplemented with a spring element as
• The ultimate strength of transversely loaded fillet welds along shown in Fig. 5共b兲 to ensure accurate shear rigidity and strength.
the side of the shear plate based on the AISC Specification The spring has an elastic-perfectly plastic behavior with an ulti-
共2005a,b, Sec. J2.4兲. In this case, Fy,i = Fu,i; mate load calculated as the difference between the actual shear
• The block shear yield and ultimate capacity of the web or capacity of the connection and the shear capacity based on ana-
shear tab based on the AISC Specification 共2005a,b, Section
J4.3兲; and
• The tear-out 共bearing at bolt holes兲 yield and ultimate capacity
Force Force
through the beam web or through the shear tab based on the COMPRESSION COMPRESSION

AISC Specification 共2005a,b, Section J3.10兲. Fu,i

For the analysis considered in this study, tear-out failure of the Fy,i

beam web was found to be the governing failure mode, which is

∆f,i ∆u,i Kb,i Deformation kC Deformation
also confirmed by the results of the HFC model. The spring dis-
Kb,i ∆u,i ∆C,max
placement corresponding to the ultimate load Fu,i, ⌬u,i, is esti-
mated using FEMA 355D 共2000兲, which showed that the plastic
rotational capacity of simple shear connections in radians, de- Fu,i
(a) (b)
signed using the AISC Load and Resistance Factor Design
(LRFD) Specifications, and with adequate clearance between
beam flanges from column to prevent bearing, i.e., binding, can Fig. 6. Force–deformation response 共a兲 of bolt springs; 共b兲 for con-
reasonably be calculated as ␪ p,max = 0.15− 0.00014dbg. The addi- crete contact spring


J. Struct. Eng. 2008.134:1717-1725.

lyzing the coarse shell model alone. Failure of the subassembly 120
Test Test data not provided
occurs due to sequential failure/erosion of the shell elements rep- beyond this point
resenting the connection.

Load (kN)
Comparison between Model Results and Discussion 60 Model
Results of the three models are shown in Fig. 4. The plots indicate 40
good agreement between the detailed and reduced model results.
The analyses confirm that the loads under a column removal sce- 20
nario are primarily resisted by cable action, which results in al-
most uniform axial tensile forces in the beam. These tensile forces
0 10 20 30 40 50
increase until the connection can no longer sustain this axial load,
after which the connection could fail in one of the failure modes Displacement (mm)
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discussed previously. The beam 共between the bolts and the pin
Fig. 7. Comparison between model and test data for tear-out failure
support at the other end兲 remains in the elastic range.
The rotation at peak load is 0.088 rad, substantially less that
the rotation capacity of this connection based on seismic testing, The force–deformation characteristics of the spring are shown in
which is 0.14 rad. The reason for this discrepancy in rotations is Fig. 6共b兲. The spring stiffness, kC, and strength f c are estimated
due to differences in the mechanisms by which the applied loads according to FEMA-355D 共2000兲
are resisted. Under seismic loading, the beam rotates about a cen-
ter of rotation, moving some bolts toward the column and others Ecbfcts
kC = 共5兲
away from the column. Ductility demands in this case are mainly lt
dependent on the distance of each bolt from the center of rotation.
Under the column removal scenario, the cable force that develops f C = 0.85f ⬘c bfcts 共6兲
in the beam is transmitted through the bolts, forcing all bolts to
move away from the column. Ductility demands in this case are where Ec = Young’s modulus for concrete; bfc = column flange
dictated by the geometry of the subassemblage, i.e., by the need width; ts = concrete slab thickness; lt = spring length; and f ⬘c
for the beam and its connections to stretch to accommodate = specified concrete strength.
the increased chord length associated with the new deformed The extra moment capacity provided by composite action of
configuration. the slab is lost when the plastic rotation 共in radians兲 reaches a
The General Services Administration’s 共2003兲 progressive col- critical value 共FEMA-355D 2000兲
lapse guidelines recommend a rotation of 0.015– 0.025 rad as an ␪c,max = 0.029 − 0.0000079dbg 共7兲
acceptance criterion for partially restrained connections. The De-
partment of Defense Guidelines 共UFC 2005兲 use a rotation range Therefore, the deformation limit for the spring is
of 0.9–2° 共⬍0.035 rad兲 based on the governing limit state and the
⌬C,max = dt␪C,max 共8兲
level of protection as acceptance criteria. These acceptance crite-
ria appear to be quite conservative when compared to the rota- where dt = distance between the center of the bolt group and the
tional capacity calculated for the beam configuration and span center line of the slab. At this displacement, the compression
considered in this study. capacity of the spring is assumed to drop to zero.
As shown in Fig. 8, individual bolt failures are manifested as
sudden drops in the moment capacity of the connection, with the
Validation connection losing all resistance when all three bolts fail. Fig. 8
Two levels of validation exercises are conducted to provide con- also shows that the effect of binding on negative bending strength
fidence in the proposed models. In the first, the proposed tear-out is significant. The model underestimates negative moment capac-
model results are compared to test results for Specimen 41 in Rex
and Easterling 共2003兲, which also failed by tear out. The compari-
Moment / Maximum Positive Moment

son, shown in Fig. 7, indicates that the initial stiffness is well

represented in the model and that even though the ultimate 1.0
strength is underestimated by 14%, the general shape of the load- 0.5
deformation curve up to peak load is reasonably reproduced. 0.0
In the second exercise, the RCC model is compared to cyclic -0.20 -0.15 -0.10 -0.05-0.50.00 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20
test data in Liu and Astaneh-Asl 共2004兲. As the experimental mo-
ment results in Liu and Astaneh-Asl 共2004兲 are normalized to the Calibrated shear
Range of test data (Liu &
maximum positive moment, the analysis herein considered the connection -1.5 Astaneh-Asl, 2004)
same beam and connection used in this study 共Fig. 2兲 with a bolt model (Gap =
12.7 mm) -2.0
size of 19 mm instead of 22.2 mm. This was done to ensure that
the failure mode of the connection matches the failure mode ob- -2.5
served in the tests, which was bolt shear. A gap of 12.7 mm, Rotation (rad)
consistent with the test parameters, is assumed between beam and
column flanges. A spring is added to the RCC model at the level Fig. 8. Computed and experimentally observed moment versus rota-
of the floor slab between the beam and column to account for the tion response of composite shear tab connections 共Liu and Astaneh-
possibility that the concrete slab might bear against the column. Asl 2004兲


J. Struct. Eng. 2008.134:1717-1725.

floor level, and the column upper and lower ends are both
modeled as pinned;
• Metal deck: Shell elements are used to model the corrugated
light-gauge metal deck, see Figs. 10共a and b兲. The metal deck
is assumed to have a bilinear stress–strain relationship with a
yield stress of 248 MPa and a failure strain of 0.25. The metal
deck is further assumed to be continuous with no separation
共i.e., if puddle welds or TEK screws are used to connect metal
deck sheets, the sheets are assumed to overlap over the beams
and are connected to the beam via shear studs兲, and thus the
deck is capable of providing membrane action;
• Concrete slab: Solid elements are used to model the concrete
slab as shown in Fig. 10共a兲. Concrete behavior is modeled
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using the Concrete Damage Model 共Material Model 72 in LS-

DYNA兲. The concrete model uses a three-invariant, damage-
based, nonassociated plasticity formulation to model the
inelastic behavior of concrete along multiple radial paths, in-
Fig. 9. 共Color兲 Floor system model 共quarter model shown兲 cluding uniaxial, biaxial, and triaxial tensions and compres-
sions. The formulation employs a damage index that
accumulates as a function of both the effective plastic and
ity at low plastic rotations ranging from 0 to − 0.035 rad. This is volumetric strains;
attributed to the fact that the reinforcing steel, metal deck, and • Shear studs: The shear studs connecting the beam top flanges
tension stiffening in the concrete slab are not represented in the to the concrete slab through the metal deck are modeled using
model. These effects, however, become less significant at larger beam elements that are embedded in the concrete slab 共fully
rotations and the model response approaches the experimental bonded兲. They are assumed to have a bilinear stress-strain re-
data when binding does not occur. At larger negative plastic ro- lationship with a yield stress of 448 MPa 共see Rambo-
tations and for all positive plastic rotations, the model captures Roddenberry 2002兲. Beam elements with a spot weld failure
the overall behavior well. criteria 共Material Model 100 in LS-DYNA兲 are used to repre-
sent 共1兲 the portion of the shear stud between the bottom of the
concrete slab and the metal deck and 共2兲 the puddle welds
Modeling of Floor System between the metal deck and the top flanges of the beams. This
material model has a failure shear force criterion calibrated to
Simulations are conducted for the notional removal of the center experimental results in Rambo-Roddenberry 共2002兲; and
column for the shaded region in Fig. 1 to understand the response • Slab reinforcement: The welded wire fabric mesh in the slab is
characteristics of the floor system. Due to symmetry consider- modeled using truss elements, which have a bilinear stress–
ations, only one-quarter of the 2 ⫻ 2 bay is considered in the strain relationship. The mesh bars are assumed to be located
analysis with proper boundary conditions along the axes of sym- 28 mm below the concrete top surface. The bars are assumed
metry. The overall model is shown in Fig. 9 and details are shown to be fully bonded to the concrete slab.
in Fig. 10. The model consists of the following components. Multiple contact constraints are defined between: the concrete
• Framing: Steel framing for the columns and beams is modeled slab and the metal deck, and the metal deck and the top flanges of
using relatively large shell elements 共about 38 mm each兲 as the steel beams. The purposes of these contact conditions are to
shown in Fig. 10共b兲. The shear connections between the floor allow one part to rest on the other without penetrating it, and
beams and the columns are modeled using the previously de- apply a friction force between the two surfaces, where the coef-
scribed reduced coarse shell connection 共RCSC兲 model 关Fig. ficient of friction is assumed to be 0.3. Contact is also defined
10共c兲兴. The columns extend one story above and below the between the side of the concrete slab and column flanges to ac-

Fig. 10. 共Color兲 Details of floor system model


J. Struct. Eng. 2008.134:1717-1725.

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Fig. 11. 共Color兲 Applied vertical load versus center 共removed兲

column vertical displacement for floor model analyses Fig. 12. 共Color兲 Response of the framing of the floor system at a
displacement of 1,041 mm 共framing only, columns unrestrained

count for the possibility that the concrete slab might bear against
the column. Framing and Metal Deck
This model includes the columns, beams, and their connections
along with the metal deck, which is connected to the top flange of
Discussion of Simulation Results
the beams via puddle welds as previously explained. The concrete
Pushdown analysis is conducted using the developed model, slab and its reinforcement are not included in this model. The
where the unsupported center column is statically pushed down applied load versus the vertical displacement of the center 共re-
under displacement control until the system collapses. The devel- moved兲 column is shown in Fig. 11. The model fails when the
oped model is exercised as follows, by successively including the shell elements representing the shear connections reach the failure
contribution of various system components to gain insight into strain and are eroded. The metal deck experiences large displace-
how these components influence system response: ments and some localized yielding, but remains intact and at-
tached to the floor beams. At peak load, the perimeter columns
Framing Only facing the removed column are pulled slightly inward, but the
This simulation includes only the columns, beams, and their con- displacements are an order of magnitude smaller than those ob-
nections. The metal deck, concrete slab, slab reinforcement, and tained from the analysis with the framing only without con-
shear studs are removed from the model. The applied load versus straints. Fig. 11 indicates that the vertical loading capacity of the
the vertical displacement of the center 共removed兲 column is floor framing with the metal deck is larger than that without the
shown in Fig. 11. The system fails when the shell elements rep- metal deck. This shows that the metal deck is capable of provid-
resenting the shear connections reach the failure strain and are ing significant membrane action 共mainly one-way membrane ac-
sequentially eroded. The analysis indicates that due to the large tion in the direction of the flutes兲, and thus contributing to the
axial tensile forces generated in the affected beams, the perimeter floor system strength.
columns facing the removed column are pulled inward 共Fig. 12兲.
In particular, the column to the north of the removed column with Detailed Floor Model (Framing, Metal Deck, and Concrete
the minor axis facing the sagging beam experienced excessive Slab)
deformations and yielding. Although the stability of this column This model includes all the elements of the floor system. The
might be questionable in this scenario due to the large displace- applied load versus the vertical displacement of the center 共re-
ments of the columns and the subsequent second order P – ⌬ ef- moved兲 column is also shown in Fig. 11, which indicates that the
fects, this behavior helps reduce the demand on the shear capacity of the floor framing with the concrete slab is larger than
connections, and as a result the failure of the floor model occurs that without the slab. This demonstrates that the concrete deck is
at a larger vertical displacement when compared to the failure capable of providing significant membrane action, and thus con-
displacement obtained from the analysis of the beam–column tributes to the floor system strength. The simulations show that
subassembly 关compare, e.g., Fig. 11 to Fig. 4共a兲兴. the concrete slab is, however, severely damaged 共cracked兲 due to
The analysis is repeated after adding a constraint to prevent the the large tensile strains imposed on it as a result of the membrane
horizontal displacement of the columns at the floor level. This action. Fig. 13 shows the damage contours in the concrete slab at
constraint is intended to represents the large in-plane stiffness of a vertical displacement of about 635 mm, where damage indices
the floor slab, which is not included in this simulation. The results of 0 and 2 signify no cracking and severe cracking, respectively.
of this analysis are also shown in Fig. 11. Similar to the previous Two observations are evident from Fig. 13: 共1兲 the damage
analysis, the model fails when the connections fail. The vertical 共cracking兲 contours are arranged in a diamond pattern around the
displacement at failure, however, is more consistent with the dis- central column and 共2兲 the beams remain straight and the slab is
placement at which the shear connection fails when a single kinked at the beam locations, i.e., yield lines form there.
beam–column subassembly is analyzed 关compare Fig. 11 to Fig. It is evident from the analysis results that, although membrane
4共a兲兴. action is generated by the reinforcement in the slab, the damaged


J. Struct. Eng. 2008.134:1717-1725.

connection, thicker metal deck, or replacing the welded wire fab-
ric with mild steel reinforcement. Another alternative is to use
moment connections instead of shear connections 共on every floor
or intermittently兲. Such remedies, however, might alter the design
of the lateral load resisting system of the building.

Comparison with Other Research Studies

As discussed in the introduction, research by Astaneh-Asl et al.
共2001兲 suggests that the composite floor tested was capable of
surviving column loss. On the other hand, Foley et al. 共2006兲
showed that the floor would survive only if ␤dynamic ⬍ 1.14. The
study reported herein suggests that the composite floor studied
would likely not survive for any ␤dynamic.
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Several reasons may be cited for the lack of agreement regard-

ing the robustness of composite floor systems. The composite
floor system tested by Astaneh-Asl et al. 共2001兲 was comprised of
beams that are substantially stronger, deeper and shorter than the
Fig. 13. 共Color兲 Damage index for the floor slab at a vertical dis- beams used in this study. Moreover, the connections were a com-
placement of 635 mm 共a damage index of 0 signifies no damage, bination of shear tab beam-to-beam and single-angle-web-with-
whereas 2 implies severe damage, which corresponds to substantial seat angle beam-to-column connections, all of which were
cracking in this case兲 significantly stronger than the shear tab connections considered in
this work. Further, their test considered an edge section of the
floor 共1 ⫻ 2 bays兲, where three beams are connected to the vul-
concrete slab is nevertheless able to provide sufficient in-plane nerable middle column, which supports a tributary area of
stiffness and strength 共through in-plane compression ring action兲 16.7 m2. In the present study a 2 ⫻ 2 bay system is considered,
to prevent the columns from being pulled inwards. In fact, con- where four beams are connected to the vulnerable middle column,
trary to the previous analyses in this paper, the perimeter columns which supports a tributary area of 55.7 m2.
facing the removed column are actually pushed slightly outward The study by Foley et al. 共2006兲 also employed a different
instead of being pulled inward. As in all previous simulations, the connection type, i.e., bolted clip angle connections as opposed to
model fails when the shell elements representing the shear con- the shear tab connections used here, and considered different floor
nections reach the failure strain and are eroded. dimensions 共18.3 m ⫻ 18.3 m as opposed to 18.3 m ⫻ 12.2 m
used in this study兲. Foley’s study also employed a number of
assumptions that were not made in this study. For example, Foley
Design Implications et al. 共2006兲 used the procedure by Hawkins and Mitchell 共1979兲
The simulation results indicate that the floor slab along with the to estimate membrane forces. This procedure, however, is an ap-
metal deck and the wire mesh play two important roles in the proximation as it assumes that membrane action produces uni-
performance of the floor system: 共1兲 they act as a rigid diaphragm form strains and rotations along the slab boundaries, whereas in
to prevent the exterior columns from being pulled inward, thereby reality, strains and rotations vary considerably 共zero at the ends to
compromising the second order stability of the exterior columns, a maximum at the middle of the plate boundaries兲. Further, Foley
and 共2兲 they significantly contribute to the capacity of the floor et al. 共2006兲 assumed that the slab membrane capacity is additive
system through membrane action. Fig. 11 shows that the floor with the grillage 共beam兲 system and made certain assumptions
deck increases the capacity of the floor framing from about about bolt behavior that differ from the model used in this study.
105.0 to 244.5 kN. Thus the contribution of the composite deck Given the differences in geometry, connection types, and mod-
to the floor system capacity is on the order of 55%. It also appears eling assumptions employed, it is not surprising that there are
to somewhat improve postpeak system ductility, preventing the differences in the outcomes of the various studies. The current
load capacity from degrading too quickly. study, as does Foley’s, suggests that composite floor systems with
Fig. 11 shows that the capacity of the floor under the column shear connections are potentially vulnerable to center column
removal scenario is about 4.3 kN/ m2 关244.5 kN/ 共6.1 m loss.
⫻ 9.14 m兲兴. According to the GSA Guidelines 共2003兲, the floor is
required to support an equivalent static uniform load of ␤dynamic
共Dead Load+ 41 Live Load兲 = 9.67 kN/ m2, where ␤dynamic is a dy- Conclusions
namic amplification factor set to 2.0 for the case of a sudden
removal of the support. The results, therefore, indicate that it is This paper presented a computational simulation assessment of
unlikely that the floor system considered herein is capable of the robustness of concrete–steel beam composite floor systems
sustaining such load, even if ␤dynamic = 1.0 共load of 4.835 kN/ m2兲. with simple shear connections under the assumption that a center
These results indicate that using the GSA design criteria, this column has been removed. A number of models were developed
particular floor system would be vulnerable to collapse under this and after validation were used to gain insight into the behavior
scenario and that special precautions should be made when de- and failure modes of the shear connections and the composite
signing composite floor systems such as the one considered herein floor system. Analysis results for a simple shear connection sub-
if center columns are deemed vulnerable to failure. Methods to assemblage indicate that loads are initially resisted by flexural
enhance robustness and improve the progressive collapse resis- behavior followed by cable action in the beam when a center
tance of this floor system could include using a stronger shear column is removed. Under increasing tensile forces in the beam,


J. Struct. Eng. 2008.134:1717-1725.

the connection may fail in a variety of modes, including fillet ASCE. 共2002兲. “Minimum design loads for buildings and other struc-
weld failure, bolt failure, block shear, and tear-out failure. The tures.” ASCE 7-02, Reston, Va.
ultimate rotation sustained by the shear connection prior to failure Astaneh-Asl, A., Madsen, E., McCallen, D., and Noble, C. 共2001兲.
under the column removal scenario was 0.088 rad for the connec- “Study of catenary mechanism of cables and floor to prevent progres-
tion subassemblage considered in this study. sive collapse of buildings subjected to blast loads.” Rep. to Sponsor:
Analysis of the composite floor system showed that the floor General Services Administration, Dept. of Civil and Environmental
deck contributes significantly to the floor response through two Engineering, Univ. of California, Berkeley, Calif.
Federal Emergency Management Agency 共FEMA兲. 共2000兲. “State of the
mechanisms: it acts as a rigid diaphragm preventing the exterior
art report on connection performance.” FEMA-355D, SAC Joint Ven-
columns from being pulled inward, and it behaves like a mem-
ture and FEMA, Washington, D.C.
brane primarily through the reinforcement mesh and metal deck
Federal Emergency Management Agency 共FEMA兲. 共2002兲. “World Trade
that provide two- and one-way membrane action, respectively. Center building performance study: Data collection, preliminary ob-
The capacity of the floor under the column removal scenario is servations, and recommendations.” FEMA 403, Washington, D.C.
4.3 kN/ m2, which is significantly less than the gravity load 共in- Foley, C. M., Martin, K., and Schneeman, C. 共2006兲. “Robustness in
Downloaded from ascelibrary.org by UNIVERSITE LAVAL on 06/18/14. Copyright ASCE. For personal use only; all rights reserved.

cluding dynamic effects兲 specified by the GSA guidelines of structural steel framing systems.” Rep. No. MU-CEEN-SE-06-01,
9.67 kN/ m2. Thus, applying the GSA design criteria, this particu- Marquette Univ., Milwaukee, Wis.
lar floor system would be vulnerable to collapse under the speci- General Services Administration 共GSA兲. 共2003兲. “Progressive collapse
fied column removal. Further research must be conducted in order analysis and design guidelines for new federal office buildings and
to generalize this conclusion. Research is also needed to develop major modernization projects.” GSA, Washington, D.C.
design oriented models for evaluating the robustness of composite Hallquist, J. 共2006兲. LS-DYNA keyword user’s manual, Version 971, Liv-
floor systems. ermore Software Technology Corporation, Livermore, Calif.
Hawkins, N. M., and Mitchell, D. 共1979兲. “Progressive collapse of flat
plate structures.” ACI J., 76共7兲, 775–808.
Acknowledgments International Code Council 共ICC兲. 共2003兲. International building code,
Falls Church, Va.
This research was supported by the National Institute of Stan- Liang, X., Shen, Q., and Gosh, S. K. 共2008兲. “Assessing ability of seismic
dards and Technology 共NIST兲. The writers acknowledge the in- structural systems to withstand progressive collapse: Design of steel
valuable comments and through review by John L. Gross of NIST frame buildings.” Rep., submitted to the Building and Fire Research
and Kurt Gustafson of AISC. The second writer acknowledges the Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithers-
discussions and helpful insight of Professor Kapil Khandelwal at burg, Md.
Notre Dame University, South Bend, India. Certain commercial Liu, J., and Astaneh-Asl, A. 共2004兲. “Moment rotation parameters for
products, software, or materials are identified in this paper to composite shear tab connections.” J. Struct. Eng., 130共9兲, pp. 1371–
describe a procedure or concept adequately. Such identification is 1380.
Rambo-Roddenberry, M. D. 共2002兲. “Behavior and strength of welded
not intended to imply recommendation, endorsement, or implica-
stud shear connectors.” Ph.D. dissertation, Dept. of Civil Engineering,
tion by NIST that the products, software, or materials are neces-
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ., Blacksburg, Va.
sarily the best available for the purpose. Rex, C. O., and Easterling, W. S. 共2003兲. “Behavior and modeling of a
bolt bearing on a single plate.” J. Struct. Eng., 129共6兲, 792–800.
Sadek, F. 共2005兲. “Federal building and fire safety investigation of the
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