3D macro-element for innovative plug-and-play joints

Cristian V. Miculaş*, Ricardo J. Costa, Luis Simões da Silva, Rui Simões, Helder Craveiro, Trayana Tankova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Downloads (Pure)


This paper presents the development, implementation, and validation of a macro-element suitable for the linear analysis of innovative 3D plug-and-play joints between tubular columns and lightweight steel truss-girders. The macro-element is based on the component method, accounts for the three-dimensional interaction between the tube faces, and its components have a clear physical meaning. Simplified procedures are developed for the closed-form computation of the stiffness matrix of the macro-element based on the geometric and mechanical properties of the nodal zone. This facilitates practical application in everyday design scenarios. Furthermore, the macro-element's architecture is implemented in the framework of OpenSees as a standalone beam-to-column joint finite element. Validation of the conceptual design is accomplished through parametric studies, comparing its performance with models generated in higher-order finite element commercial software, Abaqus. This research offers a valuable resource for the linear analysis and design of innovative 3D plug-and-play joint connections in structural engineering, enhancing efficiency and reliability in construction practices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108436
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Constructional Steel Research
Publication statusPublished - 2024



  • Innovative plug-and-play joints
  • Lightweight steel frames
  • Macro-element
  • OpenSees
  • Tubular columns


Dive into the research topics of '3D macro-element for innovative plug-and-play joints'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this