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C. TORT

Miteng Inc.

Turkey

SUMMARY

Combining the key features of steel and concrete, composite polygonal towers offer an

economical solution for transmission lines. In composite towers, the steel media contributes

to the speed of construction, light weight, strength, and ductility while concrete media

provides damping, reduced cost, and stiffness. In addition, composite towers provide a small

base area which reduces the cost of land. In this research study, a detailed evaluation of a

composite pole tower designed for a 132kV line is presented. The tower subjected to design

loads is analyzed nonlinearly employing a fiber-based beam formulation. In this finite

element formulation, the composite cross-section is divided into small fiber areas, where the

nonlinear response of steel and concrete is monitored. The tower is analyzed under both static

and cyclic loadings. The strength, stiffness and cost of the composite tower are compared to a

bare steel polygon tower designed under the same design loads. The capacity of tower is

determined by both AISC-360 and Eurocode 4. The discrepancies in design for two design

specifications are also presented.

KEYWORDS

ctort@miteng.com

INTRODUCTION

Transmission tower structures fulfil an important function that is to keep the conductors

above ground to deliver electricity from its remote supply to the communities. The towers are

placed sequentially along the line route and their quantities can reach to very large numbers

(e.g., 3-4 towers per 1 km). They are often subjected to heavy loads originating from the

self-weight of the conductors and environmental agents of mainly wind and ice. Considering

their quantity and critical purpose, the design of transmission towers is very challenging and it

requires detailed engineering studies of various disciplines.

The majority of the electrical utilities over the world utilize either steel lattice or pole type

towers for their grid. Steel lattice towers offer a very efficient and economical system.

However, it suffers from large foot print and blockage of landscape. On the other hand, pole

tower is a costly solution but provides a clearer landscape view and a small right-of-way. In

the recent years, the increased public awareness on transmission lines, new conductor types

and development of renewable energy plants provide a great motivation for engineers to

propose economical and innovative solutions to improve the resiliency of transmission grids.

Steel and concrete composite pole, as shown in Figure 1, combines the key features of two

materials to form a structural system with superior features in terms of cost, strength, and

stiffness. In this system the steel pole is filled with concrete upon erection of the tower. The

composite behaviour is achieved through shear connectors installed inside the steel tube.

Concrete core improves compressive resistance and delays local buckling of the steel tube.

The steel tube provides confinement pressure into concrete and this pressure enhances the

ductility of concrete. The concrete also retards the oxidation of the steel tube when it is

exposed to intrusion of salty water. This is especially critical for life-time of line routes close

to the ocean. Due its compact geometry, composite towers may also find their area of

application in urban areas. In addition, composite poles exhibit a stable response against

physical attacks and vandalism. Over the last decade, researchers have conducted intensive

studies on understanding the behaviour of composite columns (Varma et al. 2002, Tort and

Hajjar, 2010, Tiziano et al. 2010). This resulted in development of new design provisions and

therefore the use of composite columns has become more wide spread all over the world. The

first application of composite poles dates back to 1960s in Japan (Morino and Tsuda, 2003).

A recent example of a composite pole exists in Palm Beach Florida for a 230 kV line (Fauad

et al. 2006).

2

In this paper, a 132kV concrete-filled pole (CFP) tower will be designed according both

AISC-360 and EC4 design provisions. The resulting design will be compared to bare steel

pole design of the same tower with respect to strength, stiffness and economy. In addition,

the discrepancies between the two design provisions will be discussed.

TOWER GEOMETRY

The double-circuit composite tower to be designed has a voltage level of 132 kV with weight

and wind span values of 500m and 350m, respectively. There will be no steel cross-arms

attached. Instead the conductors will be carried through post-insulators. The vertical phase to

phase spacing is taken as 3m. Following the sag tension calculations and clearance

requirements, the total height of the tower is calculated as 27m as shown in Figure 2. The

maximum wind speed at 10m height at 15oC is assumed as 29 m/s. No ice loading is

considered. The design loads were calculated per IEC60826 for 3 basic load combinations of

Normal, Broken Wire and Stringing conditions. Including the variations of basic

combinations, a total number of 14 load combinations were generated.

The steel pole is assumed to have 12-sided geometry and no tapering was assumed. In the

usual practice, steel poles are often manufactured with a taper of 10 to 30mm per 1 m length

of pole. However, design standards do not yet address the tapered composite members.

ANALYSIS

The analysis of the composite pole is performed both at the element level and also at the

cross-section level. At the element level, the composite pole is converted into a steel pole

with transformed section properties. Then, these properties are assigned to beam finite

elements along the height of the tower. For the post insulators, rigid beam finite elements

3

were utilized to transfer the conductor forces into the tower body. The finite element model

of the tower developed in SAP2000 software can be seen in Figure 3. In order to calculate the

moment of inertia and plastic section modulus of the steel and concrete parts of the composite

pole, curve fitting studies were performed and the resulting equations are provided below in

Eqs. 1 and 2. The transformed properties are calculated per AISC-360 design specification as

detailed below.

I s = 0.3582 × (D − t ) × t , I c = 0.0448 × (D − 2 × t )

3 4

(1)

Z s = 0.9331 × (D − t ) × t , Z c = 0.155 × ( D − 2 × t ) 3

2

(2)

where:

t - thickness of steel tube

I s -moment of inertia of steel tube

I c -moment of inertia of concrete core

Z s -plastic modulus of steel tube

Z c -plastic modulus of concrete core

According to AISC-360, the nominal axial strength of the composite column is expressed as

in Equation 3.

Po = As × Fy + C 2 × Ac × f c (3)

where:

Po – nominal cross-section strength of composite column

As – area of steel polygon

4

Ac – area of steel concrete core

f y – yield stress

f c – compressive strength of concrete

C 2 – 0.95

Converting composite cross-section into a steel shape, the modified cross-sectional area can

be calculated as follows from Eq. 4.

As × f y + C 2 × Ac × f c

Am = (4)

fy

Am – modified cross-sectional (transformed) area of the composite section

In the case of bending, the flexural stiffness of the composite section is calculated as given

below:

EI eff = E s × I s + C 3 × E c × I c (5)

E s – elastic modulus of steel

E c – elastic modulus of concrete

As

C 3 = 0.6 + 2.0 × (6)

As + Ac

Similar to the calculation of modified cross-sectional area, converting the composite cross-

section into a steel shape, the modified moment of inertia of the composite column can be

calculated as follows from Eq. 7.

E s × I s + C3 × Ec × I c

Im = (7)

Es

Upon calculating Am and I m , the analysis of the composite column with the transformed

properties is conducted in SAP2000 software. The depth of the composite column is assumed

as 630mm with a thickness of 20mm. The steel pole is filled with 30 MPa concrete. The

moment and axial load distribution along the height of the tower is presented in Figure 4. The

maximum values of both bending moment and axial load values occur at the bottom of the

tower. The tower is subjected to bending moment in both directions. However, the moment

values generated by the lateral loads transverse to the line direction dominated the response.

No uplift case existed resulting in compression loads only along the tower height. The nodal

deflection of the tower under unfactored loads can be seen in Figure 4. The deflection values

are reported for both composite and bare steel towers of the same size and cross-section. It

can be that the composite pole resulted in about 70% less deflection compared to steel tube.

However, it should be kept in mind that concrete cracking is not taken into account in this

analysis. Therefore, the contribution of concrete cracking to the stiffness of the composite

pole may be reduced depending on the extent of cracking.

5

Figure 4. Axial Load, Bending Moment and Displacement Distribution of Composite Pole

Upon determining the internal forces of the composite pole, the bending and axial capacity of

the pole should be checked according to the relevant design specifications. Since axial load

and biaxial bending moment are acting simultaneously, the design checks involve generation

of axial load and bending moment interaction curves.

The design of composite columns are covered in Chapter I of AISC-360 and in Section 6.7 of

Eurocode 4. In both specifications, limiting values are provided for D / t ratios of the

composite poles. For cross-sections having D / t ratios below these limits are considered as

compact sections. If the polygonal composite towers are considered to exhibit a response

close to rectangular concrete-filled tubes, for S355 grade steel, the D / t limit of compactness

is 54 and 42, for AISC 360 and Eurocode 4, respectively. For non-compact composite

colums, AISC-360 provides equations to account for the effect of local buckling. On the other

hand, no design methodology is provided to account for local buckling in Eurocode 4.

6

Therefore, in this study the composite pole is selected as a compact section with a D / t ratio

of 32. Eurocode 4 proposes a simplified and a general method for design composite

columns. Since the relative slenderness value for the composite pole is larger 2.0, in this

study, the general method is utilized for design. However, the creep and shrinkage effects are

ignored. In AISC-360 and Eurocode 4, there exist general design equations for rectangular

and circular composite columns for both buckling strength and interaction curves. However,

they are not applicable to polygonal shapes. Therefore, for both AISC-360 and Eurocode 4,

buckling and strain compatibility analyses are required for design of composite polygon

towers.

In this study, a buckling analysis of the composite pole is performed using OpenSees, which

is open source framework for analysis of structural systems. The composite pole is modelled

using a fiber-based beam element with cross-section dicretizetion shown in Figure 5. In the

model, both geometric and material nonlinearity is simulated. The steel tube and concrete

core is divided into small fibers and material nonlinear response of steel and concrete fibers is

traced via cyclic uniaxial stress-strain curves also shown in Figure 5. The stress values at

each fiber is first integrated over cross-section at each integration point. Then, the cross-

section forces are integrated over element length to obtain member forces.

While conducting the buckling analysis, the composite pole is assigned an initial imperfection

and it is subjected to linearly increasing axial load. The buckling load is attained when the

lateral displacement at the top of the pole becomes significant. This analysis is performed

according to both AISC-360 and Eurocode 4. The bucking capacity is then divided into

nominal axial strength ( Pc for AISC-360 and N plRd per Eurocode 4) to obtain the buckling

factor. The buckling factors are calculated as 0.0497 for AISC-360 and 0.0539 for Eurocode

4. The buckling capacity of the composite pole obtained per Eurocode 4 is about 25% larger

compared to AISC-360. This is due to the fact that AISC-360 applies a resistance factor of

0.75 to the buckling capacity of composite column while Eurocode 4 applies a material factor

to concrete strength alone. The material factor of steel tube is assumed to be 1.0 It was found

that the buckling capacity of the composite pole to the same size of bare steel pole per AISC-

360 is about 1.03. This small contribution of concrete to the buckling capacity of composite

pole is because the resistance factor of steel pole is 0.9 while it is 0.75 for the composite pole.

7

On the other hand, per Eurocode 4, the concrete contribution to the buckling capacity is more

significant. The buckling load of the composite pole is 1.15 times larger than that of bare

steel pole. The results of the buckling analysis are demonstrated in Figure 6.

In order to generate the axial load and bending moment interaction of the composite columns,

a series of moment curvature analysis studies are required to be performed under different

constant axial load levels. In AISC-360, no specific requirement is provided for the axial load

levels in strain compability analysis. However, in Eurocode 4, two values of constant axial

load level are given as a percentages of axial load capacity of the concrete core. The moment

curvature analysis studies are also performed using OpenSees. A unit length fiber based

beam element is defined. First, this element is subjected to constant axial load level and then

a linearly increasing lateral loading is applied. The moment at the bottom of the element and

the chord rotation is traced during the analysis as can be seen in Figure 7. The maximum

bending moment and constant axial load values constitute a single point in the interaction

curve. Then, the axial load level is multiplied by the buckling factor. The axial load and

bending moment interaction curves are derived for both AISC-360 and Eurocode 4 as

presented in Figure 7. It can be seen that the discrepancy between two curves is not

significant. For both AISC-360 and Eurocode 4, the axial load and bending moment values

from the SAP2000 analysis fall inside the interaction curves.

For the same internal loads obtained from Sap2000, a bare steel tube is also designed

according to AISC-360 and Eurocode 3. The steel tube is asssumed to have a depth of 750mm

and a thickness of 20mm. The interaction curves obtained for the bare steel tube pole can also

be seen in Figure 8. The utilization levels of both specifications exhihibited a close

correlation. The total weight of the bare steel tube is calculated as 9.5 tonne while it is

designed as 8.1 tonne for composite pole. Therefore, filling the steel tube with concrete

resulted in about 15% saving of steel weight. However, about 7 m3 of concrete is needed to

fill the steel pole.

8

Figure 7. Axial Load Bending Moment Interaction of Composite Pole

CYCLIC RESPONSE

The concrete filled steel tube columns are often preferred in seismic regions as part of lateral

load resisting frames (Varma et al. 2002). The concrete contribution to the structural response

improves the strength and ductility of the composite pole. Due to confinement effect provided

by the steel tube, concrete crushing is delayed. In addition, concrete provides additional

damping into the system which reduces the effect of earthquake loading.

9

The experimental studuies to quantify the seismic performance of composite poles is very rare

and almost non-existant. In order to illustrate the potential of composite poles under seismic

loading, a cyclic loading history is applied to both composite and bare steel poles. A nominal

constant axial load of 300 kN is kept as constant and a linear cyclic loading is defined with for

the lateral displacement. In Figure 9, it can be seen that composite pole retains its initial

strength following cyclic load reversal in the plastic range. The stiffness degradation is also

insignificant.

CONCLUSION

A design and analysis study is performed for a 12 sided composite pole tower. The design

studies followed the provisions in AISC-310 and Eurocode 4. The current design

specifications do not provide detailed design equations applicable to polygonal shapes.

Therefore, design of composite poles is a time consuming process requiring several analysis

studies to be performed. Utilizing linear beam finite elements with transformed section

properties alone is not adequate. Nonlinear analysis tools taking into account buckling, steel

yielding, concrete crushing and cracking is needed. It was found that filling steel pole with

concrete resulted in about 15% less steel weight compared to bare steel pole. The cyclic

response of the composite pole is also studied and promising response is obtained with very

little strength and stiffness degradation.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

[1] AISC-360. “Specification for Structural Steel Buildings” (ANSI/AISC 360-10 June 2010).

[2] Eurocode 4. “Design of composite steel and concrete structures Part 1-1: General rules and rules

for buildings” (EN 1994-1-1:2004: E, May 2004).

[3] Eurocode 3. “Design of Steel Structures” (EN 1993-1-1:2005:E, April 2004).

[4] IEC 60826. “Design criteria of overhead transmission lines” (IEC 60826:2003(E) 2003).

[5] A. H. Varma, J. M. Ricles, R. Sause, L. Lu “Seismic behavior and modeling of high-strength

composite concrete-filled steel tube (CFT) beam–columns” (Journal of Constructional Steel

Research, Vol. 58, Issue 5, 2001, pages 725-758).

[6] C. Tort, J. F. Hajjar “Mixed finite-element modeling of rectangular concrete-filled steel tube

members and frames under static and dynamic loads” (Journal of Structural Engineering, Vol.

136, Issue 6, 2010, pages 654-664).

10

[7] T. Perea “Analytical and experimental study on slender concrete-filled steel tube columns and

beam-columns” (Georgia Institute of Technology, Dec 2010).

[8] F. H. Fouad, E. R. Foust, W. J. Oliphant “A composite steel-concrete monopole for electrical

transmission lines” (Electrical Tranmission Line, 2006).

[9] S. Morino, K. Tsuda “Design and construction of concrete-filled Steel Tube

column system in Japan” (Earthqauke Engineering and Engineering Seismology, Vol 4, No 1,

Sep 2003, pages 51-73 )

[10] OpenSees “Open system for earthquake engineering simulation” (Pacific Earthquake

Engineering Research Center, 2015)

11

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