Topology Optimization of Steel Shear Fuses to Resist Buckling

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Virginia Tech


Shear-acting structural fuses are steel plates with cutouts subjected to in-plane lateral displacements during extreme loading events such as earthquakes, that dissipate energy through localized shear or flexural yielding mechanisms. Although previous studies have reported that fuses with specific geometry can develop a stable hysteretic behavior, their small thickness makes them prone to buckling, reducing strength and energy dissipation capacity.

In this work, topology optimization using genetic algorithms is performed to find optimized shapes for structural fuses with a square domain and constant thickness. The objective function uses the fuse's shear buckling load VB obtained from a 3D linear buckling analysis, and shear yield load VY obtained from a material nonlinear, but geometrically linear 2D plane-stress analysis. The two analyses are shown to be computationally efficient and viable for use in the optimization routine. The variations VY/VB=0.1,0.2,0.3 are investigated considering a target volume equal to 30%, 40% and 50% the fuse's original volume. A new set of optimized topologies are obtained, interpreted into smooth shapes, and evaluated using finite elements analyses with models subjected to monotonic and cyclic displacements histories. It was found that the drift angle when out-of-plane buckling occurs can be controlled using the VY/VB ratio, with optimized topologies buckling at drift angles (when subjected to a cyclic displacement protocol) as large as 9% as compared to 6% for previously studied fuses.



Structural Fuses, Topology Optimization, Genetic Algorithms, Hysteretic Dampers, Seismic Energy Dissipation, Finite element method