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Fire Safety Journal 96 (2018) 153–164

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Fire Safety Journal

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/firesaf

Experimental evaluation of the post-fire behavior of steel T-component in

the beam-to-column connection
Merve Sagiroglu
Erzurum Technical University, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Department of Civil Engineering, Erzurum, Turkey


Keywords: To evaluate the strength of a connection after exposure to fire, the microstructure/property relationships and
T-component influences of these effects on high temperature strength are needed to discuss structural elements exposed to a
Post-fire behavior heat treatment and to determine its mechanical properties. This study focuses on understanding the structural
Moment-rotation curve behavior of the connection under post-fire conditions. The aim of the work is also to provide a moment-rotation
Microstructure curve, failure mechanism and microstructure for a connection whose component is exposed to heat treatment.
This aim was achieved through five tests that were conducted on a full-scale beam-to-column connection using a
T-component obtained from rolled I-profiles by cutting along the web plane. The moment-rotation curves and
failure modes of the connection at ambient temperature were compared to the moment-rotation curves and failure
modes of the connection whose elements were exposed to high-temperature conditions. The material properties of
the specimen element exposed to the heat treatment were also investigated by comparing them to those of the
original specimen. The test results show that there are differences between the mechanical properties and mi-
crostructures of the heated and original specimens. The differences in these specimens are reflected in the
morphology of the fractures. The reason for the fractures is that microstructure-changes contribute to brittle
behavior in members. The experimental tests indicated that, post-fire, steel connections can be subjected to large
deformations at a lower strength and are more likely to fracture early.

1. Introduction There have also been studies on the effects of fire on steel structures
and components in the last four decades because the thermal conduc-
Beam-to-column connections play an important role in the behavior tivity of steel is high. At the same time, the concentration of material
of steel frames. Steel frames are traditionally analyzed and designed by within the connection region and differential temperature distribution
assuming that beam-to-column connections have a significant stiffness should be considered within the connection. When heated, connections
and strength. The effect of the moment on the rotational deformation of and their elements expand and lose both their strength and stiffness,
the connections must be considered. Therefore, the behavior of beam-to- decreasing the load carrying capacity. As a result, some studies [7–10]
column connection is represented by the M-ϴ curves. Various numerical have been conducted to better understand the connection behavior and
[1] and experimental [2–5] investigations have shown that the actual its effects on structures in fire. Fire tests on steel structures have shown
behavior of the joints falls between rigid and pinned behavior when their that the temperature within the partially embedded connections in the
moment-rotation curves have been classified as semi-rigid. Therefore, concrete slab is lower than that of the connected steel members [8]. In
beams are free of end moments only if they have complete freedom of addition to experimental studies, due to the high cost of experimental
rotation at the supports, and conversely, they have end moments if the tests and the limitations in the number of geometrical and mechanical
end rotation is prevented partially, such as in the connections in this parameters, some studies [11–13] have focused on the finite elements
paper. Several moment-rotation relationships [6] have been derived from methods for modeling the behavior of structural connections in some
experimental studies to determine the behavior of semi-rigid connections cases while considering the influence of thermal restraint. Additionally,
and perform computer-based nonlinear analysis [1], which includes the prediction methods [14] for the behavior of connections exposed to fire
effects of the flexibility of the connections that have been developed to use an approach based on numerical methods to simulate complicated
design steel frames with semi-rigid connections using mathematical structures with numerous parameters.
models. To provide structural integrity when beam deflections are high due to

E-mail address: merve.sagiroglu@erzurum.edu.tr.

Received 27 August 2017; Received in revised form 20 December 2017; Accepted 23 January 2018

0379-7112/© 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

M. Sagiroglu Fire Safety Journal 96 (2018) 153–164

temperatures [17]. Additionally, the grain size, ferrite transformation

temperature, dislocation density, weldability and so on are important
issues concerning structural aspects that determine the fire resistance of
structural steel. While the movement of dislocations are constrained at
ambient temperature, the dislocation movement increases, and strength
decreases when thermal energy is applied.
Steel elements under normal design loads reach their limits of
deflection at temperatures ranging from approximately 510 to 650  C
[17]. They regain their mechanical values after cooling down from fire
temperatures below 600  C [13]. The highest value of micro hardness
[18] and the largest dimples [19] were obtained after a heating
treatment at 600  C [18]. As a result, this temperature was used as the
temperature in experimental studies to evaluate the influence of
heating in the literature. Some researchers [20] propose that steel
maintains two-thirds of its room temperature yield strength at this
Fig. 1. The connection jointed ½ IPE profile (T-component). In practice, various connections have been more popularly employed
in construction. However, the current literature on civil engineering has
limited reports on the behavior of these connections. Maali et al. [21]
suggested a T-shaped connection is obtained from the rolled profiles of
steel grade S235 by cutting along the web plane, while the T elements in
the literature consist of welding. The T-shaped elements are different
from those in the literature to eliminate the problems occurring at the
connection welds, such as the occurrence of fracture points [22] and the
inability to perform well in place. T-stubs are used to model the tension
zone of the bolted connections, which generate the most relevant basis of
deformability for this type of connection. Eurocode identifies the tension
zone and its failure modes related to these connections. According to the
deformation principles of T-stubs, if the bolts fail, then the ductility is
limited; if bending deformation occurs in the flanges, the ductility is
infinite. Some researchers proposed several procedures [23] to fill in this
Fig. 2. The configuration of the connection. code gap in the theories for partial strength joints. Coelho [23] proposed
to extend this model to the case of welded plates as T-stub elements and
fire, beam-to-column connections should have sufficient rotational ca- published the reports for 32 tests on bolted T-stub connections made up
pacity and resistance against tying forces [15]. The design of a structure of welded plates. Coelho showed that the fasteners were often the
at high temperature is also based on the design of a structure at ambient
temperature. The post-fire performance of the steel connections is sig-
nificant in the fire-resistant design. The reliability of the design increases
with the accurate prediction of forces that act in the connection during
fire or post-fire conditions. Many factors, such as the steel type, loading,
heating temperature and cooling rate, can affect the post-fire behavior of
the connection. However, the residual mechanical properties of the
structural materials need to be evaluated first, because the element can
be reused after heating and cooling to ambient temperature. To do this,
some researchers needed to determine the residual strengths of materials
to determine if a building could be reused after fire. Tao et al. [16]
developed a simplified post-fire stress-strain model to conduct a more
accurate structural analysis with statistical analysis using the collected
test data.
To evaluate the behavior of a post-fire steel connection, the influence
of the microstructure/property relationships requires further in-
vestigations of the structural elements exposed to heat treatment, as well
as a determination of its mechanical properties. The steel must meet
some basic requirements, such as high temperature strength retention,
good ductility, and good weldability, to retain its strength at higher Fig. 3. High temperature furnace at the structural laboratory.

Table 1
Test details.

Test name H ¼ hy/h1 X (mm) T-element Beam Column Bolt Temperature ( C)

T300-Hmax [21] 1 215 IPE300 IPE240 HEB160 M14 20

T300-Hav [21] 0.82
T300-Hmin [21] 0.63
T300-Hmax-PF 1 600
T300-Hav-PF 0.82

PF ¼ post fire specimen.

M. Sagiroglu Fire Safety Journal 96 (2018) 153–164

Fig. 4. Tensile test arrangement (a) Test

specimens (b) Test setup (c) Test specimens
after failure.

evaluation is needed for people to feel safe. Additionally, there is very

limited knowledge [7,13] regarding the post-fire behavior of the
connections. Hence, this study investigated the behavior of the
beam-to-column connection post-fire by evaluating the material
structure and obtaining the moment-rotation relationships of the
connection. It is assumed that only the T-component of the connec-
tion's elements is exposed to heat, as it is assumed that the bolts can be
changed out after a fire. This study also aimed to determine the change
in the mechanical properties and microstructures of the T-component
of the connection, considering that the components of the connection
that tie structural members together are important in maintaining
their microstructural integrity post-fire. The rotational capacity values,
moment-rotation curves, failure mechanisms and the microstructures
of the T-component connections, which are exposed to two different
temperatures, are compared to each other to determine their post-fire
residual performance; this performance is the basis for evaluating the
residual mechanical and microstructure performance of a connection
that has cooled down after being exposed to a fire. The results in the
Fig. 5. Nominal stress-engineering strain relation. present work are expected to provide a baseline for the design of
fire-resistant connections.
weakest components and that some of the specimens had shown early
damage of the plate material near the weld toe due to the effect of the 2. Experimental test
welding product, which induced premature cracking and reduced the
overall deformation capacity. This study proposed adapting the T-stub 2.1. Connection details
model to the proposed connection and preventing the problems from
occurring at the welds of connections. The T-component connection is obtained from rolled I-profiles that
The experimental results [8,9,12] on the response of steel con- contain no welding by cutting along the web plane. Five full-scale
nections have concentrated on endplate connections [7], and experi- connection tests with different T-section heights were evaluated in this
ments involving high-temperature conditions are relatively recent and study. The test specimens are described as follows:
limited due to the high cost of tests performed in a furnace. In recent Test specimens consisted of an IPE240 beam connected to a
years, some researchers argued whether structures exposed to fire HEB160 column by a T-IPE300 element with eight M14 Grade 8.8
could be reused, reinforced or repaired because building new struc- bolts, as shown in Fig. 1. Columns with a large cross section were
tures was wasteful and time-consuming [7]. However, a reliable chosen, and the use of column stiffeners with a thickness of 10 mm
prevented excessive deflection in the flange column. To simulate the

M. Sagiroglu Fire Safety Journal 96 (2018) 153–164

Fig. 6. Locations of displacement transducers (LVDTs).

Fig. 7. Experimental setup (a) the front view (b) the side view.

response of the connections in post-fire conditions, T-IPE300 ele- 2.2. Test setup and procedure
ments for two test specimens were first heated and then cooled
down. In all test specimens, the materials were S235. Coupon ten- The T-element, which is a connection component, was first heated to
sion tests of the structural steel materials of the column stiffener, T 600  C over 5 h in a furnace, as illustrated Fig. 3, because the critical
profile, flange, and web of the beam and column were performed in temperature is approximately 550–610  C in simple supported beams for
accordance with UNE-EN 10002-1 [24]. The steel grade of the test typical loadings [25]. Then, heating was stopped, and the component
materials is S235. began to cool down slowly in the furnace until it reached ambient tem-
The basic configuration of the test specimens is illustrated in Fig. 2. perature. After cooling, the connection was joined with this connection
The geometric parameter indices of the specimens are summarized in component, and the post-fire connection specimen was loaded at ambient
Table 1. The parameters in Table 1 were defined as the depth between temperature until failure to evaluate the effects of the post-fire connec-
fillets of the beam (h1), height of the T-section (hy), length of the T- tion component on the moment-rotation behavior.
section (X), and height ratio (H), which is equal to hy/h1. Only the T- The tensile tests were undertaken at ambient temperature to pro-
component of the beam was exposed to the listed temperature. vide information on the stress-strain behavior of steel in a T-

M. Sagiroglu Fire Safety Journal 96 (2018) 153–164

Fig. 8. Moment-rotation curve characteristic.

Fig. 9. (a, e) Photographs of the T-elements in the T300-Hav-PF experiment, (b, c) optical micrograph showing the tempered structure, and (d, f) optical
micrograph showing the tempered structure after lapping and polishing process.

component both before and after exposure to elevated temperatures. ultimate stress and energy-dissipated decreased. The tests [20] showed
Fig. 4 shows the test arrangement. European standards give S235 steel that the steels lost more yield strength at approximately 600  C.
whose chemical composition is 0.2% C, 0.55% Si, 1.4% Mn, 0.3% Ni, In the test, the beam was statically loaded with a mechanical load by a
0.045% P, 0.045% S, 0.3% Cr, 0.08% Mo and 0.02% Al. The 6 tensile 900-kN hydraulic jack with a maximum piston stroke of 300 mm. The
test specimens were obtained from the web of a typical IPE300 profiles jack moved downward and applied a tensile force to the end of the beam.
and were of full thickness of them. Their dimensions were prepared in The applied load strains at the connections were measured from strain
accordance with [26]. Then, 3 specimens were exposed to heat, and gauges (TML YEFLA-5 (a maximum strain of 15%–20%)). The displace-
the procedure described above was performed until it reached the ments (DT) of the connection, beam, T-element, and flange of the column
ambient temperature before the tensile tests. The tests were driven were measured using linear variable displacement transducers (LVDT), as
under displacement control. The stress-strain curves for the specimens shown in Fig. 6. The tests, whose configurations and images are illus-
are shown in Fig. 5. While the post-fire elastic modulus decreased but trated in Fig. 7, were performed under displacement control with a
did not show considerable change, the post-fire yield strength, constant speed of 0.01 mm/s up to the collapse of the specimens. A length

M. Sagiroglu Fire Safety Journal 96 (2018) 153–164

Fig. 10. An SEM micrograph showing the surface of specimens: (a) unheated specimen and (b) tempered at 600  C.

Fig. 11. Images from the fracture surface of the specimen tempered at 600  C: (a) at 130 X magnification, (b) at 200 X magnification, (c) at 2000 X magnification,
and (d) at 4000 X magnification.

of 1500 mm was chosen for the beam and column [21] because this study Ref. [27]:
aimed at developing a realistic stress pattern at the connection, and the  XDT1
3 2
Lload XDT1

fracture of several specimens, i.e., the ultimate load, was attained with a arctanðδDT1  δDT5  EIP 6
specific testing machine [27]. θ¼ (2)
The results were collected using a data logging device that recorded
all measurements for the test duration. The rotation and bending moment where I is the moment of inertia and E is the Young's modulus of the
(M) were calculated using the displacements of the T-stub connection beam.
multiplied by the distance between the load application point and beam Moment-rotation curves represent important features, such as
end bolted to the column (Lload), respectively: resistance, stiffness, rotation, and ductility. Further, the knee-range of
this curve is the transition zone between the initial and post-limit
M ¼ PLload (1) stiffness [27]. Its lower and upper boundaries are at MminkR and
The rotational deformation of the connection (Ɵ) is equal to the rotation Ɵ minkR and at MsupkR and rotation Ɵ supkR, respec-
connection rotation. The beam rotation is approximately given by tively. The ductility of a connection (Ψj) is a characteristic parameter

M. Sagiroglu Fire Safety Journal 96 (2018) 153–164

Fig. 12. SEM micrographs showing (a) the fracture surface of the tempered specimen at 500 X magnification, (b) the surface of the tempered specimen at 500 X
magnification, (c) the fracture surface of the tempered specimen at element 1000 X magnification, and (d) the surface element of the tempered specimen at 1000 X

Fig. 13. The moment-rotation curves of the T300-Hmax and T300-Hmax- Fig. 14. The moment-rotation curves of the T300-Hav and T300-Hav-PF tests.
PF tests.
ψj:maxload ¼ (4)
that represents the length of the yield plateau of the moment–rotation
response. In other words, the ductility of a connection is the difference After testing, heated T-components were removed for examination. In
between the rotation value that corresponds to the connection's plastic this study, microstructural examinations for both the specimens heated at
resistance, ƟMRd, and the total rotation capacity, ƟCd, as illustrated in 600  C and then cooled to room temperature; the unheated specimens
Fig. 8 [21]: were performed with a scanning electron microscope (SEM) and optical
microscope. The SEM microstructures were examined longitudinally in
θCd the thickness direction of the fracture, after the surface element under-
ψj ¼ (3)
θMRd went polishing, and the lower third of the object was etched. They were
examined in a Quanta FEG250 ultra-high solution field emission scan-
Additionally, the rotation values at the maximum load, ƟMj.max, and
ning electron microscope (UHR-FESEM) at 20 kV at the High Technology
corresponding ductility levels, Ψj.maxload, are given as follows [21]:
Application and Research Center of Erzurum Technical University.

M. Sagiroglu Fire Safety Journal 96 (2018) 153–164

3. Experimental results and discussions

Energy Dissipated (kN.m.rad)

3.1. Microstructures

The microstructures of the original and heat-treated specimens were

examined by an optical microscope and SEM. Fig. 9a shows the failure
form in the flange of the T-element in the T300-Hav-PF experiment,
which is illustrated in Fig. 18. Fig. 9b and c show optical microscopy

images with magnified views of the T-element fractures, which is illus-
trated in Fig. 9a. A tear around the lower bolt hole is observed by optical
Ψj.max load

microscopy at higher magnification after polishing and etching, as

illustrated in Fig. 9d. Fig. 9e shows the crushing form in the web of the T-
element in the T300-Hav-PF experiment, which is illustrated in Fig. 18.
8 Crushing around the bolt hole is observed by optical microscopy after the

lapping and polishing process, as illustrated in Fig. 9f.


SEM images of the typical microstructures of both the specimens

heated at 600  C and cooled to room temperature, as well as the unheated

specimen after the tests, are shown in Fig. 10. The images show the
surface element of both specimens. While there are almost no precipitates

and a low dislocation density is observable in the unheated specimen, as

illustrated in Fig. 10a, after testing, many fine precipitates (up to 30 μm)

and a high dislocations density are found in the tempered specimens, as

illustrated in Fig. 10b. This indicates that the number of precipitates

increases when the steel is heated. Additionally, some precipitations are



surrounded by dislocation strands and crusting views due to segregation.

However, the unheated specimen maintains the typical morphology of
the microstructures after testing. The researchers showed that many fine


Rotation (rad)

precipitates, dislocation tangles and high dislocation densities are

beneficial and showed that the precipitation strength plays an important
role in improving the high-temperature strength of fire-resistant steel


[28]. This is because the strength of structural steel observably increases

at 600  C due to the large quantity of fine precipitates and the higher

dislocation density. Precipitation and dislocation are the typical

strengthening mechanisms. In Fig. 10, the dimples in the (a) original
Stiffness (KN m/rad)

specimen are lower than those in the (b) heated specimen, showing that
the deformation capacity is poorer the strength is higher in the original


sample than in the heated one.

Typical microstructures of the fracture surface of the tempered

specimen after testing are shown in Fig. 11. The microstructures were

examined by the SEM in the longitudinal direction through the thickness

of the fracture. The fracture surface of the specimen mainly consists of


dimples. Images with 130 X and 200 X magnifications have observable

layers, as illustrated in Fig. 11a and b, respectively. Non-uniform and
Resistance (KN.m)



shallow/non-shallow dimples are observed in zones at 2000 X and 4000


X magnifications, as illustrated Fig. 11c and d, respectively. Additionally,

sliding layers are observed at lower magnifications, and grain boundaries


are decorated with precipitates. Sha et al. reported that the grain
boundary of ferrite sliding begins at 600  C [29]. As a result, the grain
boundary strength weakens when the steel temperature increases.
KR (knee-range)

The fracture surfaces and surface elements of the tempered specimen


are shown in Fig. 12, demonstrating the examination of these surfaces by

SEM. The microstructures of the fracture surfaces mainly consist of
dimples whose sizes are approximately 100 μm, as illustrated in Fig. 12a
and c, with 500 X and 1000 X magnifications, respectively. The micro-

structures of the surface consist of discontinuous flakes, as illustrated in




Fig. 12b and d with 500 X and 1000 X magnifications, respectively.

Additionally, dislocation substructures in the examined region of the
Moment–rotation characteristics.

specimens can be observed in the region checkered with white.

At elevated temperature
At ambient temperature

3.2. Moment-rotation relationship

PF ¼ post fire specimen.

The specimens were loaded to failure at ambient temperature, and the

moment-rotation curves and moment-rotation characteristic values of
the connections were evaluated. The moment–rotation responses for the
Table 2

two full-scale post-fire specimens (T300-Hmax-PF, and T300-Hav-PF)

and three full-scale specimens (T300-Hmax, T300-Hav, T300-Hmin) of

M. Sagiroglu Fire Safety Journal 96 (2018) 153–164

Table 3
Comparison of moment–rotation characteristics.

Groups KR (knee- Resistance (KN.m) Stiffness (KN m/ Rotation (rad) Ψj Ψj.max Energy Dissipated
range) rad) load (kN.m.rad)

Mj.Rd Mj.max MθCd Sj.ini/Sj.pl ӨM.Rd ӨMj.max ӨCd

T300-Hmax %- T300- 31.04 64.86 33.04 28.16 8.00 69.12 16.81 8.19 249.44 278.91 27.97
Hmax-PF %
T300-Hav %- T300- 45.32 57.87 55.96 52.72 102.70 78.26 55.06 55.31 105.65 106.72 80.59
T300-Hmax %- T300- 49.97 56.73 31.15 31.20 2.25 32.35 57.52 46.72 116.11 133.13 1.20
Hav %
T300-Hmax-PF %- 60.34 41.57 54.72 54.72 91.90 52.38 39.39 39.39 27.19 27.18 72.73
T300-Hav %- T300- 37.86 18.80 2.74 4.42 5.62 54.34 25.84 26.25 61.70 62.53 28.82
Hmax-PF %
T300-Hmin %- T300- 55.81 48.61 54.89 51.17 209.33 79.17 44.83 45.58 161.44 164.90 75.73
Hav-PF %
T300-Hmin %- T300- 11.41 12.05 0.38 7.84 61.19 56.25 8.96 10.20 105.55 108.28 11.03
Hmax-PF %

PF ¼ post fire specimen.

Fig. 15. Simplified T-stub model and failure modes for T-stub [30].

Fig. 16. The failure modes (a) in T300-Hmax (b) in T300-Hav (c) in T300-Hmin.

steel-bolted, beam-to-column connections with a T element are reported Hav-PF specimens are lower than those of the T300-Hmax and T300-Hav
in Fig. 13 and Fig. 14 and listed in Table 2 (H ¼ height of beam to height specimens, respectively, due to the post-fire effect on the connections.
of T joint and PF ¼ post fire connection). Table 2 shows that the knee- Additionally, the plastic flexural resistance moment values, maximum
range for the specimens decreased with post-fire effects on connec- bending moments and bending moment capacities for the T300-Hmax-PF
tions. The plastic flexural resistance moments, maximum bending mo- almost are equal to the values for the T300-Hmin specimen. The rate of
ments and bending moment capacities for the T300-Hmax-PF and T300- the increases in the initial stiffness to the post-limit stiffness, for the

M. Sagiroglu Fire Safety Journal 96 (2018) 153–164

Table 4
Failure modes in tests.

Test name T- element H ¼ hy/h1 Fracture of bolts in top tensile row Bearing failure of T- element Shear failure of T- element

T300-Hmax IPE300 1 Yes Yes (in the flange) No

T300-Hav 0.82 Yes Yes (in the flange) No
T300-Hmin 0.63 No Yes (in the flange) Yes (in the web)
T300-Hmax-PF 1 Yes Yes (in the flange) No
T300-Hav-PF 0.82 No No Yes (in the web)

PF ¼ post fire specimen.

Fig. 17. (a,b) The failure modes in the flange of T300-Hmax-PF and (c) the failure modes of the bolts connected to the beam web.

Fig. 18. Failure modes of T300-Hav-PF.

T300-Hmax-PF and T300-Hav-PF specimens are higher than those of the the Ψj and Ψjmax load values for the T300-Hmax and T300-Hav speci-
original ones (T300-Hmax and T300-Hav). Meanwhile, the rate of the mens increased with post-fire exposure, the energy dissipation for the
increase in the initial stiffness to the post-limit stiffness increases with the T300-Hmax and T300-Hav specimens decreased. Additionally, the en-
heat effect, which exposes the connections. The rotations of the plastic ergy dissipations for T300-Hmax-PF were almost equal to those for the
flexural resistance of the T300-Hmax-PF and T300-Hav-PF specimens T300-Hmin specimen.
decreased in comparison with those of the T300-Hmax and T300-Hav Figs. 13 and 14 show that the moment values generally decrease
specimens. Additionally, the rotations of the plastic flexural resistance whereas the rotation values increase with heat treatment. Table 3 gives a
for T300-Hmax-PF are smaller than those for the T300-Hmin specimen. comparison of the moment-rotation characteristic values between the
While the maximum rotations and rotation capacities increase with heat original specimens and heated specimens. For example, in the first line of
treatment for the T300-Hmax-PF and T300-Hmax specimens, they Table 3, the knee-range and energy dissipation of T300-Hmax was
decrease with heat treatment for the T300-Hav-PF and T300-Hav speci- 31.04% and 27.97% greater, respectively, than that of T300-Hmax-PF.
mens. The maximum rotations and rotation capacities for the T300- However, the moment-rotation curve of T300-Hav-PF is shorter than
Hmax-PF are almost equal to those for the T300-Hmin specimen. While that of the original specimen because the fracture of the web plate in the

M. Sagiroglu Fire Safety Journal 96 (2018) 153–164

T300-Hav-PF specimen is easily started from the hole and the specimen better understanding of the behavior; microstructures and failure
failed from this fracture before the end of loading. However, while this mechanisms of steel connections jointed with a T-element after a fire.
situation is not observed in the test of the T300-Hav specimen, it is Many factors can affect the post-fire behavior of structural steel. When
observed in the test of T300-Hav-PF. It is believed that the failure heated, the specimen exceeds the stress limit, its flexibility decreases, and
occurred in response to vulnerability around the hole during loading plastic deformation starts earlier; this outcome occurs because the
because the material flakes and resistance decreased with heat treatment. modulus of elasticity decreases, and deformation increases with tem-
Additionally, the mechanism and some moment and rotation values in perature. Although plastic deformation increases with temperature, en-
the T300-Hav-PF specimen look similar to those in the T300-Hmin ergy dissipation decreases due to lower stress, as demonstrated in the
specimen. The plastic flexural resistance moment values, maximum moment-rotation curves and in the stress-strain curves of the specimens
bending moments and bending moment capacities for T300-Hmax-PF are in this study. The rotation in post-fire specimens is higher due to the
almost equal to the values for the T300-Hmin specimen. Additionally, the increase of the dislocation density, as is demonstrated in the moment-
maximum rotations and rotation capacities for T300-Hmax-PF are almost rotation curves and in the microstructures of the heat-treated speci-
equal to those for the T300-Hmin specimen. As a result, Hmin can also be mens in this study.
used instead of Hmax-PF models. Furthermore, the height in the web of In the study, there are differences in the morphology and size of the
the T element has a more important role post-fire than the flange of the T- precipitates between the heated and original specimens. It was observed
element or the bolts in the plates. that the dislocation density was lower, and the dimples were smaller in
the original specimen than in the specimen with a tempered T-element;
3.3. Failure modes this outcome shows that the deformation capacity is poorer, and the
strength is higher in the original sample than that in the heated sample.
Similar to the connections in this study, in Eurocode 3 Part 1.8 [30], The differences in these specimens are reflected in the fracture
three different failure modes that depend on the ratio between the flex- morphology. One of the post-fire tests failed due to a fracture in the T-
ural resistance of the flanges and the axial resistance of the bolts have element web. The reason for this fracture is from changes in the material
been specified for simplified T-stub connections, which are joined with of the heated element, such as the dimples, the dislocation density, and
an extended endplate, as shown in Fig. 15. According to Eurocode 3 Part the precipitates. Because these changes cause brittle behavior in mem-
1.8 [30], there is Mode 1-complete yielding of the flanges, Mode bers, the member is exposed to heat fractures earlier before reaching
2-yielding of flange and bolt fracture and Mode 3-bolt failure without end normal failure loading point. The shear capacity can degrade in steel
plate yielding. For T-stub connections that are not exposed to the heat beams that are exposed to fire, which can lead to the early failure of the
treatment, their final failure modes at the end of the test were illustrated beams. The results show that heating causes earlier fracture, although the
in Fig. 16. The final deformation states of all connections at the end of maximum connection capacity under post-fire conditions increases. As a
both post-fire tests and normal tests are comparatively given in Table 4, result, failure depends on the changes in the materials due to heating and
while images of failure at the end of the post-fire tests are illustrated in heating does not directly affect the failure mechanism. A larger
Fig. 17 and Fig. 18. While T300-Hmax, T300-Hav and T300-Hmax-PF maximum rotation capacity could not be observed in this connection
specimens failed in tests due to bolt fracture in top tensile rows of the because of early failure, although the heated specimen shows lower
T-element flange, T300-Hmin and T300-Hav-PF failed because of shear strength and higher rotation under normal conditions.
failure in the web of the T-element. Additionally, all specimens except The experimental tests have demonstrated that steel connections can
T300-Hav-PF experienced the bearing failure of the T-element, as illus- be subjected to large deformations under smaller loads and fracture
trated in Table 4. However, this failure did not lead to failure of the under post-fire conditions. As a result, the proposed study may be used as
connections. the basis for further investigations on evaluating the behavior of post-fire
It can be found that after cooling from 600  C, the failure mode of the steel connections.
T300-Hmax-PF test is the same as its original failure mode (T300-Hmax
test) without fire exposure. Both of the tests failed due to the flange of the Acknowledgments
T-element yielding and due to the fracture of the bolts at the top row in
tension, which is a Mode 2 failure, as shown in Fig. 17. However, after The author wishes to thank High Technology Application and
cooling from 600  C, the failure mode of the T300-Hav-PF test is not the Research Center (YUTAM) in Erzurum Technical University, Turkey, and
same as its original failure mode (T300-Hav test) without fire exposure. Ataturk University, Turkey, for using its Structural Laboratory, as well as
While the failure mode of the T300-Hav test is due to the flange of the T- the support given by Prof. Dr. A. Cüneyt Aydın, Dr. Mahyar Maali, Dr.
element yielding and the fracture of the bolts at the top row in tension, Mahmut Kılıç and the Gençler Metal steel company for making the test
the failure mode of the T300-Hav-PF test is a shear failure in the web of specimens available.
the T-element, as illustrated in Fig. 18. This failure state is demonstrated
in the T300-Hmin test in Fig. 16, although the flange of the T-element References
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