Alu Research Areas

The section Aluminium Structures focuses on the following research areas:

  •     Connections
  •     Stability
  •     Fire design
  •     Fatigue

The research on connections is focused on the mechanical behaviour of bolted, welded, and adhesively bonded connections. Most attention has been paid to welded connections, for statically loaded structures as well as structures loaded in fatigue. Adhesively bonded connections have also been studied extensively, both statically loaded and loaded in fatigue, since they becoming more and  more important for aluminium building and civil engineering structures. The results of the above research have led to design rules in the Eurocode for aluminium structures.

The research on stability has been focused on thin-walled aluminium cross-sections which are very common  in structural applications. These cross-sections show various stability (buckling)  phenomena, which are not well covered by the existing design rules in the Eurocode for aluminum structures. Design models  have been developed to accurately predict the local as well as distortional buckling behaviour of aluminium extrusions with arbitrary cross sections.

Research on fire design is carried out since the knowledge of aluminium behaviour at high temperatures as well as the design criteria for aluminium structural components subjected to fire conditions are very limited. The design rules in Eurocode for aluminium structures are more or less similar to the rules for steel. Since the mechanical properties of aluminium reduce at much lower temperatures as compared  to steel, it means that aluminium structures are sensitive to fire exposure. The research carried out has been focused on the development of a model to describe the mechanical properties at elevated temperatures as well as the development of a model to describe the local buckling behaviour of aluminium  members in compression.

Research on fatigue design of aluminium structures is focused on an accurate prediction of the life time of a structure. Existing design rules in the Eurocode for aluminium structures are based on ‘safe life design’ by implementation  of experimentally determined S-N curves. An alternative method  is ‘damage tolerant design’which is based on fracture mechanics to predict crack propagation. Since the S-N method is very conservative and limited to standard details, the damage tolerant design method is limited to crack propagation and neglects crack initiation, an approach based on ‘continuum damage mechanics’ is further developed to enable an accurate life time prediction including crack initiation and crack propagation.