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Full-scale testing of infilled steel frames with precast concrete panels provided with a window opening

P.A. Teeuwen, C.S. Kleinman, H.H. Snijder, H. Hofmeyer
Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

As an alternative to conventional structures for tall buildings, a hybrid lateral load resisting building system has been designed, enabling the assembly of tall buildings directly from truck. It consists of steel frames with discretely connected precast concrete infill panels provided with a window opening. Besides the stiffening and strengthening effect of the infill panels on the frame structure, economical benefits may be derived from saving costs on materials and labour, and from reducing construction times. Design rules are needed to facilitate the application of this lateral load resisting structure for the construction of tall buildings. In order to come to design rules, the infilled frame structure is currently subject to experimental, numerical, and theoretical analyses. This article concerns the experimental part of the research.

To provide insight into the composite behaviour between steel frames and discretely connected precast concrete infill panels, and at the same time, provide a basis for development of numerical models, the structure was subject to experimental research. Ten full-scale tests on one-storey, one-bay, 3 by 3 m infilled frame structures were performed. The steel frame consists of HE180M sections in S235 which are simply connected, and is subjected to lateral load. The precast concrete panels provided with a window opening are made of C45/55 and have a thickness of 200 mm. To investigate the effect of the size and position of a window opening, five different opening geometries were tested. The precast concrete panel is connected to the steel frame by discrete steel-to-concrete connections that are realized by structural bolts on the column and beam in every corner of the steel frame. The infilled frames are designed to fail by a bolt failure mechanism.

The experiments show that discretely connected precast concrete panels provided with a window opening can significantly improve the performance of steel frames. The observed lateral stiffnesses of the infilled frames range between 4 and 13 times that of the bare frames. All infilled frame structures were able to support a lateral load of over 583 kN. For four panel geometries, the discrete connections were governing the strength of the structure while for the test with the largest panel opening, the infill panel failed first.

Key words: Infilled frame, steel, precast concrete, lateral resistance, experiments, full-scale