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Steel and Composite Structures
  Volume 31, Number 3, May10 2019, pages 217-232

Experimental study of a pretensioned connection for modular buildings
Yujie Yu, Zhihua Chen and Aoyi Chen

    Modular steel buildings consist of prefabricated room-sized structural units that are manufactured offsite and installed onsite. The inter-module connections must fulfill the assembly construction requirements and soundly transfer the external loads. This work proposes an innovative assembled connection suitable for modular buildings with concrete-filled steel tube columns. The connection uses pretensioned strands and plugin bars to vertically connect the adjacent modular columns. The moment-transferring performance of this inter-module connection was studied through monotonic and cyclic loading tests. The results showed that because of the assembly construction, the connected sections were separated under lateral bending, and the prestressed inter-module connection performed as a weak semirigid connection. The moment strength at the early loading stage originated primarily from the contact bonding mechanism with the infilled concrete, and the postyield strength depended mainly on the tensioned strands. The connection displayed a self-centering-like behavior that the induced deformation was reversed during unloading. The energy dissipation originated primarily from frictional slipping of the plugin bars and steel strands. The moment transferring ability was closely related to the section dimension and the arrangements of the plugin bars and steel strands. A simplified strength calculation and evaluation method was also proposed, and the effectiveness was validated with the test data.
Key Words
    modular steel building; inter-module connection; pretensioned strand; moment resistance; hysteresis performance
(1) Yujie Yu:
School of Civil Engineering, Central South University, No. 22 Shaoshan South Road, Changsha, Hunan 410075, China;
(2) Zhihua Chen:
Department of Civil Engineering, Tianjin University, No. 92 Weijin Road, Nankai District, Tianjin 300072, China;
(3) Aoyi Chen:
Tianjin Architecture Design Institute, No. 95 Qixiangtai Road, Hexi District, Tianjin 300074, China.

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