Fracture simulation of welded RHS X-joints using GTN damage model

Rui Yan*, Haohui Xin, Kristo Mela, Hagar El Bamby, Milan Veljkovic

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


A welded rectangular hollow section (RHS) X-joint exposed to tension loading has three typical fracture-related failure modes: Punching shear failure (PSF), Brace failure (BF), and Chord side wall failure (CSWF). Prediction of these failure modes by finite element (FE) simulations requires modelling of the material damage. An appropriate damage model accurately predicts the behaviour of the fracture zone and provides the necessary information to improve design rules for welded high-strength steel (HSS) RHS X-joints based on parametric studies using validated model. In this paper, the parameters of the Gurson-Tvergaard-Needleman (GTN) damage model are calibrated for the base material (BM) and the heat-affected zone (HAZ) of butt-welded cold-formed RHS connections, no fracture appeared in the weld. A computational homogenisation analysis is carried out using representative volume element (RVE) models to calibrate the pressure-dependent yield surface parameters of the GTN damage model, considering the different combinations of the accumulated initial hardening strain and the void volume fraction (VVF) due to a varying stress triaxiality. The critical and final VVFs are calibrated against tensile coupon tests. Finally, the GTN damage models calibrated for BM and HAZ are used in the fracture simulation of nine welded cold-formed RHS X-joints in monotonic tension. The FE model successfully predicts the experimental load-displacement relationships and fractured zone, indicating the calibrated GTN models could effectively be used in parametric study of welded cold-formed RHS X-joints. Finally, possible improvements to the used FE model are outlined for future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2140-2159
Number of pages20
JournalAdvances in Structural Engineering
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Gurson-Tvergaard-Needleman damage model
  • heat-affected zone
  • high-strength steel
  • welded hollow section joints


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