Computational and Experimental Investigation of Seismic Structural Fuse Shapes for Structural Systems

TR Number
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Virginia Tech

Structural fuses are ductile elements of a structure that are designed to yield and protect the surrounding members from damage, and then be replaceable after a major seismic event. A promising type of seismic structural fuse consists of a steel plate with engineered cutouts leaving a configuration of shear-acting links remaining. There have been several studies on various cutout patterns for shear-acting structural fuses including butterfly-shaped links, hourglass-shaped links, elliptical holes, and link shapes obtained from topology optimization. In most cases, the links are designed to undergo flexural yielding as it is believed to exhibit more ductility than other limit states. However, computational and experimental studies on the shear yielding limit state are limited. Additionally, the transition between shear dominated and flexural dominated limit states has not been previously investigated. Hence, a systematic and thorough study on the different limit states of these structural fuse shapes is necessary to provide better understanding on the structural behavior of each shape and accurately predict the controlling limit state during a seismic event. In addition, a previous study recognized that delaying shear buckling while promoting yielding is a way to improve the seismic performance of shear-acting structural fuses. However, the resulting new topologies were not experimentally validated. Furthermore, the computational study revealed that large localized plastic strain is one major challenge for these optimized configurations which might lead to potential for fracture. With the goals of filling the gaps in previous research, a computational and experimental program was conducted to (1) understand seismic performance of five structural fuse shapes, (2) develop a new ductile structural fuse shape with both buckling and fracture resistance, and (3) create design guidelines for practical design. This study consisted of the following parts (a) Creation of a new structural fuse shape called the Tied Butterfly Shape, (b) An experimental program with 20 specimens categorized into five groups including the shape created using topology optimization to resist buckling, the new shape called Tied Butterfly Shape, the butterfly shape, the hourglass shape and the elliptical holes, (c) Use of finite element models to better understand and interpret test data, (d) Two computational parametric studies conducted to investigate the effect of geometrical parameters on structural behavior of the optimized shape and Tied Butterfly Shape, (e) Development of design recommendations for each structural fuse shape. The computational and experimental results reported in this dissertation demonstrate that these structural fuse shapes are capable of improving the seismic performance of buildings. The presented design recommendations allow designers and researchers to continue exploring these structural fuse shapes.

Structural Fuse, Hysteretic Damper, Seismic Energy Dissipation, Seismic Behavior