Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Engineering


Civil, Structural & Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Mr. John Justin Murphy

Second Advisor

Mr. Brian O'Rourke


This report focuses on determining the joint stiffness and moment capacity values for semi-continuous (semi-rigid) connections in steel framed structures. When designing a beam to column connection, the assumption that the Joint is either fully continuous or fully pinned may not be entirely valid; it may be more realistic to classify the connection as intermediate between fully pinned and fully continuous.

The development of “the component method”, which is utilised in IS EN 1993-1-8 (EC3) to determine design values of the joint properties is described. A software solution was created using Microsoft Excel to carry out calculations in accordance with IS EN 1993-1-8 to determine design values for the joint properties for typical end plate connections.

The use of finite element modelling to determine the properties of semi-continuous joints is examined. The development of finite element models using LUSAS software and the attributes required to create the models are described.

Structural tests were carried out on a total often different joint configurations in the Heavy Structures Laboratory at Cork Institute of Technology. A comparison between the joint properties obtained using the method described in IS EN 1993-1-8, models developed using LUSAS and the results obtained from the structural testing is provided.

The development of a LUSAS model to determine the joint’s behaviour is more feasible than carrying out a structural test in each case. The LUSAS models developed have been shown to be a more accurate representation of the joint’s behaviour than the EC3 model and provide safe stiffness values and moment capacity values in most cases when compared with the test results.

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