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THE STRUCTURAL DESIGN OF TALL AND SPECIAL BUILDINGS

Struct. Design Tall Spec. Build. 23, 1045–1063 (2014)


Published online 30 July 2013 in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com). DOI: 10.1002/tal.1107

Finite element modeling and parametric analysis of timber–steel


hybrid structures

Zheng Li1*,†, Minjuan He1, Frank Lam2, Minghao Li2, Renle Ma1 and Zhong Ma1
1
Department of Building Engineering, Tongji University, Shanghai, China
2
Department of Wood Science, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

SUMMARY
This paper presents finite element modeling and a parametric analysis of prototype timber–steel hybrid
structures, which are composed of steel moment-resisting frames and infill wood-frame shear walls. A
user-defined element was developed to model the behavior of the infill wood shear walls based on the concept
of pseudo-nail model. The element was implemented as a subroutine in a finite element software package
ABAQUS. The model was verified by reversed cyclic test results and further used in a parametric analysis to
investigate the lateral performance of timber–steel hybrid shear walls with various structural configurations.
The results showed that the infill wall was quite effective within small drift ratios, and the elastic lateral stiffness
of the hybrid shear wall increased when a stronger infill wall was used. In order to ensure the structural effi-
ciency of the hybrid shear wall system, it is beneficial to use relatively strong timber–steel bolted connections
to make sure the shear force can be transferred effectively between the steel frame and the infill wall. Copyright
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Received 26 March 2013; Revised 12 June 2013; Accepted 1 July 2013

KEY WORDS: timber–steel hybrid structure; shear wall; finite element method; lateral performance; load sharing effect

1. INTRODUCTION

As a renewable building material with carbon storage and low embodied energy characteristics, wood
is a preferred material choice in green/sustainable building construction. The trend is the expansion of
structural application of wood from small single-family low-rise residences to mid-rise/multistory
buildings. So over the past two decades, there has been many research on multistory timber buildings,
focusing on the structural system, seismic performance, fire safety and non-structural effects (Ellis and
Bougard, 2001; Sakamoto et al., 2004; Buchanan et al., 2008; Ceccotti, 2008; van de Lindt et al.,
2010, 2011). There are several ways to explore multistory timber buildings, and hybridization is one of
them. Hybridization can combine the respective benefits of different materials and can provide a variety
of solutions for different kinds of building systems. A multistory timber–steel hybrid building system is
studied in this paper. It is composed of steel moment-resisting frames, wood diaphragms and shear walls.
The wood shear walls are used as infill walls in the steel moment-resisting frames, forming a timber–steel
hybrid shear wall system to resist lateral loads. Structural tests and computer modeling were conducted to
investigate the lateral performance of this kind of hybrid structure. For the computer modeling, a suitable
representation for the infill wood shear wall in timber–steel hybrid structures is a key issue, as well as the
modeling of the entire structure’s performance.
Researchers have proposed some numerical models of varying complexities for wood shear walls. van
de Lindt (2004) introduced a series of numerical wood-frame models developed from 1982 to 2001. These
models paid special attention to the proper representation of the sheathing-to-framing connections, since
these connections normally govern the behavior of wood-frame shear walls. Foschi (1977) developed a

*Correspondence to: Zheng Li, Department of Building Engineering, Tongji University, Shanghai, 200092, China.

E-mail: 09lizheng@tongji.edu.cn

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


1046 Z. LI ET AL.

finite element (FE) wood diaphragm model in which nonlinear spring elements with calibrated exponen-
tial force–displacement relationships were used to model nail connections. Foschi (2000a, 2000b)
improved the nail connection model by developing a mechanical-based model to simulate the response
of metal fasteners interacting with wood mediums. Dolan (1989) developed a detailed FE model to
simulate panel-sheathed shear walls. Three-dimensional nonlinear springs were used to model panel–
frame nail connections. He et al. (2001) and Lam et al. (2002) developed a detailed FE model,
LightFrame3D, to predict the static and dynamic responses of light wood-frame buildings. This model
was unique in its implementation of the mechanical-based representation of the load–deformation
characteristics of panel–frame nail connections developed by Foschi (2000a, 2000b), which is believed
to improve the accuracy and robustness of the model. Folz and Filiatrault (2004) developed a pancake
model CASHEW with the assumption of rigid diaphragms to simulate the seismic response of a two-story
light frame building tested under the Consortium of Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering
—California Institute of Technology wood-frame project. The load–deformation relationship of a
nonlinear shear spring was represented by some mathematical formulas. The mathematical formulas, such
as piecewise linear equations or exponential equations, can be explicitly defined by fitting load–drift
curves from a shear wall test or a detailed shear wall modeling result. The model was capable of capturing
the characteristics of wood shear walls under lateral loads.
Although several computational models for wood shear walls have been developed, commercially
available software still does not have the appropriate hysteretic element for nailed wood connections,
which may reduce the versatility of wood shear wall models. To solve the problem, Xu and Dolan
(2009) modified the Bouc-Wen-Barer-Wen hysteresis model, fitted to a given loading protocol, to
represent the nail connections. The model was then embedded in ABAQUS through a user-defined element,
and it was verified by the test results. With the help of user-defined element, an oriented spring pair model
was implemented in ABAQUS by Judd and Fonseca (2005) to model nail connections in wood diaphragms
and shear walls. These two models are both a phenomenon-based description of the load–deformation
relationship of shear walls, and the loading and unloading paths of the spring under hysteretic loads need
to be defined explicitly.
In this paper, a user-defined element was developed based on the pseudo-nail wall model proposed
by Gu and Lam (2004), which is a mechanical-based model for nail connections and wood shear walls.
This element was further implemented in ABAQUS software as a subroutine to model the infill wood
shear walls. The model was verified by reversed cyclic test results and then used in a parametric anal-
ysis to investigate the lateral performance of timber–steel hybrid shear walls.

2. FINITE ELEMENT MODEL

2.1. General description


ABAQUS (2006) is a general-purpose FE software package that provides a variety of element types to
model different kinds of problems. It also allows user-defined elements, which are not included in the
ABAQUS element library. For example, a user-defined element can be implemented as a subroutine
called UEL, which is programmed in Fortran language, and it works in the same way as the existing
elements in ABAQUS library.
In the timber–steel hybrid structure, the steel members were modeled by existing elements in
ABAQUS, and the infill wood shear walls were modeled by a user-defined nonlinear spring element.

2.2. Materials and test specimens


Two full-scale one-story timber–steel prototype models (A and B) were designed and tested. The spec-
imens were both composed of a one-bay by two-bay steel moment-resisting frame, diaphragms and
infill wood shear walls, as shown in Figure 1. The infill wood shear walls were sheathed with oriented
strand board (OSB) panels on one side in specimen A, and the infill wood shear walls were sheathed
with OSB panels on both sides in specimen B. Both specimens had three identical timber–steel hybrid
shear walls, and they are referred to as A-1, A-2 and A-3 in specimen A and as B-1, B-2 and B-3 in
specimen B.

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Struct. Design Tall Spec. Build. 23, 1045–1063 (2014)
DOI: 10.1002/tal
FE MODELING AND PARAMETRIC ANALYSIS OF TIMBER–STEEL HYBRID STRUCTURES 1047

Figure 1. Layouts of specimens A and B.

Figure 2 shows the typical timber–steel hybrid shear wall system. The steel moment-resisting frame
and the infill wood shear wall served as subsystems in the hybrid system. Mild carbon steel Q235B,
conforming to Chinese Standard GB 50017-2003, was used for the steel moment-resisting frame.
The mechanical properties of the steel, as shown in Table 1, were determined through tensile coupon
tests. The cross-sections of H150 × 100 × 6 × 9 and H150 × 150 × 7 × 10 were used as beams and
columns, respectively. No. 2 and better grade spruce-pine-fir (SPF) 38 × 140 mm dimension lumber

Figure 2. Timber–steel hybrid shear wall system.

Table 1. Mechanical properties of steel.


Yield point (MPa) Tensile strength (MPa) Elongation (%) Elastic modulus (MPa)
Column 273 433 35 1.90 × 105
Beam 260 400 32 1.87 × 105

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Struct. Design Tall Spec. Build. 23, 1045–1063 (2014)
DOI: 10.1002/tal
1048 Z. LI ET AL.

was used as framing members for the infill walls. The design values of the flexural strength and
modulus of elasticity (MOE) of the lumber were 9.4 and 9700 N/mm2, respectively. The stud members
were spaced 406 mm apart. Performance rated 19/32 (APA panel grade) OSB panels, 1220 × 2440 mm
in-plane size and 14.7 mm in thickness, were used as the sheathing material for the infill walls. The
panels were attached to the framing members with 82-mm-long × 3.8-mm-diameter spiral nails spaced
at 150 mm on panel edges and 300 mm in field. The nominal fastener yield strength for the nails was
851 MPa, according to ASTM-F1575 (American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), 2003).
Bolts and anchor bolts with a grade of 8.8 (equivalent to ASTM A325 bolts) were used as fasteners
for the specimens. The middle loading point (point 3) was subjected to twice as much force as that
of points 1 and 5.

2.3. Modeling of infill wood shear walls


Infill wood shear walls are important structural components in providing the lateral resistance for
timber–steel hybrid structures; therefore, proper representation of shear wall characteristics is essential
to accurately capture the seismic response of the entire structure. A variety of FE models, simplified
and detailed, have been developed to study the structural behavior of the wood shear walls.
For detailed FE models, plate elements have generally been used to model sheathing panels, beam
elements to model frame members, linear springs to model the framing connections and nonlinear
spring elements with calibrated parameters based on connection testing to model the nail connections.
Some of these detailed models can satisfactorily address the characteristics of wood shear walls.
However, there will be a large number of nonlinear spring elements in the FE model for a detailed
shear wall model. This may result in too much computational effort. Therefore, a simplified shear wall
model was needed.
In this study, the infill wood shear walls were modeled first with WALL2D software (developed by
Li et al., 2012). The data obtained from WALL2D were used to calibrate a simplified shear wall
model. We then implemented the simplified shear wall model into ABAQUS through UEL to consider
the contribution of the infill wood shear walls in timber–steel hybrid structures.
2.3.1. Detailed and simplified shear wall models
WALL2D shear wall program was used for the detailed modeling of infill wood shear walls. WALL2D
(Li et al., 2012) implements a hysteretic algorithm (HYST) to represent the behavior of panel–frame
nail connections. Figure 3 shows a typical panel–frame nail connection commonly used in wood shear
walls. In the HYST algorithm, a nail is modeled by a series of elastoplastic steel beam elements with a
specified yielding strength and MOE. The surrounding embedment medium is modeled as nonlinear
compression-only springs with an exponential force–deformation relationship, p(w). Five parameters
(Q0, Q1, Q2, K0 and Dmax) are used to define p(w), as shown in Equation (1):

Figure 3. Schematics of HYST panel–frame nailed connection.

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Struct. Design Tall Spec. Build. 23, 1045–1063 (2014)
DOI: 10.1002/tal
FE MODELING AND PARAMETRIC ANALYSIS OF TIMBER–STEEL HYBRID STRUCTURES 1049

(  
pðwÞ ¼ ðQ0 þ Q1 wÞ 1  eK 0 w=Q0 if w≤D max
2
(1)
pðwÞ ¼ P max eQ3 ðwD max Þ if w≥D max

where

logð0:8Þ
P max ¼ ðQ0 þ Q1 D max Þð1  eK 0 D max =Q0 Þ and Q3 ¼
½ðQ2  1:0ÞD max 2

It is assumed that the compressive behavior shows a peak (Pmax), followed by a softening trend.
Thus, p(w) is represented by two exponential curves meeting at the peak load, as shown in Figure 4.
K0 is the initial stiffness of the embedment relationship; Q0 and Q1 are the intercept and slope of the
asymptote, respectively, as deformation w tends to infinity. However, w is constrained to not exceed
a maximum (Dmax), at which p(w) reaches Pmax. Q2 gives the fraction of Dmax at which the pressure
drops to 0.8 Pmax during the softening phase.
Li et al. (2012) also modified the algorithm by introducing a reduced stiffness (KRL) during
reloading. It is assumed that reloading from point B follows a straight line and with reduced stiffness
KRL, which is related to the initial K0 and the gap size (D0), as given in Equation (2):

8
< K RL ¼ K 0
 α
if w≤Dy
Dy (2)
: K RL ¼ K0 if w≥Dy
D0

where Dy = Q0/(K0  Q1), corresponding to a yielding deformation given by the intersection of the
original slope and the asymptote in Figure 4.
Equation (2) specifies that the adjustment from K0 to KRL depends on D0, the current gap and a
stiffness degradation exponent (α). In accordance with the modification, the loading from point B will
proceed until point C. Subsequent unloading from point C will follow the original stiffness K0 until
point D is reached, resulting in a new gap of magnitude, D0′.

Figure 4. Loading and unloading of wood medium in modified HYST algorithm.

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DOI: 10.1002/tal
1050 Z. LI ET AL.

Cyclic loading tests were conducted to obtain the load–deformation relationships for panel–frame
nail connections. The test setup is shown in Figure 5. The test results were used to calibrate the HYST
parameters by means of an optimization algorithm, and the calibration results are listed in Table 2.
Because the behavior of a wood shear wall is mostly governed by the behavior of nail connections,
the hysteretic response from a wall and that from a nail connection show great similarities in charac-
teristics as strength/stiffness degradation and pinching effect, except that the loads and deformations
are of different magnitude. Thus, the HYST algorithm can be used as if the wall was modeled by a pair
of diagonal nonlinear springs as shown in Figure 6. To model the shear wall behavior, the required

Figure 5. Nail connection test setup.

Table 2. Calibrated wood embedment parameters for HYST.


Embedment parameters SPF OSB sheathing
Q0 (kN/mm) 0.357 0.236
Q1 (kN/mm2) 0.011 0.014
Q2 (ratio) 2.6 2.6
K0 (kN/mm2) 2.242 0.9
Dmax (mm) 4.393 2.197

Figure 6. Simplified wood shear wall model.

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Struct. Design Tall Spec. Build. 23, 1045–1063 (2014)
DOI: 10.1002/tal
FE MODELING AND PARAMETRIC ANALYSIS OF TIMBER–STEEL HYBRID STRUCTURES 1051

parameters in the HYST algorithm must be calibrated based on the backbone curve of the wall. Once
calibrated for this purpose, the algorithm represents the wall as a ‘pseudo nail’ shear wall model. Using
the pseudo-nail approach, Li and Lam (2009) studied the asymmetric behavior of diagonal-braced
walls, and Li et al. (2009) studied the seismic reliability of diagonal-braced walls and structural-
panel-sheathed walls.
2.3.2. User element for modeling infill wood shear walls
The performance of nailed connections was coupled about two orthogonal directions. An oriented
spring pair model, as shown in Figure 7, was proposed by Judd and Fonseca (2005). In the oriented
spring pair model, each nailed connection is represented using two nonlinear springs. The springs are
oriented using the initial linear deformation trajectory of the connection. Ku is the tangent stiffness of
the nonlinear spring along the initial moving trajectory, and Kv represents the tangent stiffness in the
orthogonal direction, which is perpendicular to the initial trajectory. In this study, the pseudo-nail model,
which was embedded in ABAQUS using UEL, was used for both springs. The user element had two nodes
connected by a nonlinear spring. There were three translational degrees of freedom at each node. The
nonlinear spring was assumed to deform only in the plane of the wood shear wall and along a primary
direction, at an angle (ϕ) to the axis of the connected framing member. This angle was determined by a
pre-run static analysis and remained the same throughout the wall cycling. The out-of-plane deformation
of the wood shear wall was restrained, and the stiffness in the Z-direction of the nonlinear spring element
was assumed to be 1, in order to avoid zero values in the diagonal line of the element stiffness matrix.
Equation (3) gives the user element stiffness matrix under a global coordinate system. For each
incremental step at a specified displacement, the user element stiffness matrix was calculated by the
pseudo-nail model, and these data were transferred to the main ABAQUS program to form the global stiff-
ness matrix. If the iteration converged, the new displacement was transferred back to the pseudo-nail
model to calculate the corresponding element stiffness matrix for the next incremental step.

2 3
K 11 K 12 K 13 K 11 K 12 K 13
6 7
6 K 22 K 23 K 12 K 22 K 23 7
6 7
6 K 13 K 23 K 33 7
6 K 33 7
K¼6 7 (3)
6 K 11 K 12 K 13 7
6 7
6 K 23 7
4 sym K 22 5
K 33

K 11 ¼ K u cos2 ϕ þ K v sin2 ϕ
K 12 ¼ K u cosϕ sinϕ  K v cosϕ sinϕ
where
K 22 ¼ K u sin2 ϕ þ K v cos2 ϕ
K ij ¼ 1 if i ¼ 3 or j ¼ 3

Figure 7. Nonlinear spring user element.

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DOI: 10.1002/tal
1052 Z. LI ET AL.

2.3.3. Feasibility of the simplified model


Figure 8 shows the load–displacement responses obtained from the detailed and simplified FE models.
The wood shear wall in the models was the same as that used in the timber–steel hybrid structure
experimentally tested. The results show good agreements in the load–displacement response and
energy dissipation properties. The simplified model was capable of capturing the lateral load resisting
characteristics of the wood shear walls, and it was further used to model the infill wood shear walls in
the FE model for the timber–steel hybrid structures.

2.4. Modeling of the connections between wood and steel


In timber–steel hybrid structures, the infill wood shear walls and steel moment-resisting frames serve as
two subsystems that work together to resist lateral loads. The connection between wood and steel is a key
issue in ensuring that the shear force can transfer along the interface between the infill wall and the steel
frame. In the test specimen, the top plate and end studs of the infill wood shear wall were connected to
the steel frame by bolts. Monotonic testing was conducted to obtain the load–displacement response of
the bolted connection. Figure 9 presents the test setup, and Figure 10 shows the average load–slip curve
from the tests. The load–displacement data served as input for the multilinear springs that were used to
model the bolted connections in ABAQUS.
There was friction and compression stress along the interface between the infill and the frame due to
their contact. As little relative displacement between wood and steel was observed, the magnitude of
friction was negligible compared with the shear force in the bolt connections. The compression
between the wood and the steel was modeled by linear springs.

2.5. Modeling of diaphragms


It is well recognized that the in-plane stiffness of horizontal diaphragms affects the distribution of
lateral forces among the underlying walls in a building. In this FE model, the in-plane stiffness of
diaphragms was considered by equivalent diagonal braces (truss bar elements) with calibrated cross-
sections, which significantly reduced the number of degrees of freedom.
In this study, specimen A had a light wood-frame diaphragm, whereas a wood-based hybrid
diaphragm was adopted in specimen B. The in-plane stiffness of the light wood-frame diaphragm was
calculated using the FE approach, and the in-plane stiffness of the wood-based hybrid diaphragm was
obtained from monotonic test. The test setup is shown in Figure 11. The diagonal braces were calibrated
to be 50 mm × 50 mm SPF lumber for the light wood-frame diaphragm and 65 mm × 65 mm SPF lumber
for the wood-based hybrid diaphragm. The diagonal braces were pin connected with the steel beam

Figure 8. Load–displacement responses from detailed and simplified FE models.

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DOI: 10.1002/tal
FE MODELING AND PARAMETRIC ANALYSIS OF TIMBER–STEEL HYBRID STRUCTURES 1053

Figure 9. Bolt connection test setup.

Figure 10. Load–slip curve of the bolt connection.

nodes in the FE model. Figure 12 shows the load–deflection curves of the equivalent diagonal braces and
that obtained from test or accurate numerical simulation. The results showed that the behavior of the
diaphragm could be addressed well by the equivalent diagonal braces.

2.6. FE attributes and analysis procedure


The FE model of the entire structure is shown in Figure 13. In order to simulate detailed characteristics
of the steel frame, the four-node bilinear plane stress element with reduced integration (S4R) was
adopted for steel beams and columns. The beam–column connection of the steel frame is shown in

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DOI: 10.1002/tal
1054 Z. LI ET AL.

Figure 11. In-plane stiffness test of wood-based hybrid diaphragm.

Figure 12. Verification of equivalent diagonal braces for diaphragms. (a) Light wood-frame dia-
phragm and (b) wood-based hybrid diaphragm.

Figure 14. The top and bottom flanges of the beam were welded to the column, and the web of the
beam was attached to the column by two M16 bolts. In this way, the beam–column connection was
assumed as fully rigid in the FE model. Each infill wood shear wall was modeled by a pair of

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Struct. Design Tall Spec. Build. 23, 1045–1063 (2014)
DOI: 10.1002/tal
FE MODELING AND PARAMETRIC ANALYSIS OF TIMBER–STEEL HYBRID STRUCTURES 1055

Figure 13. FE model of the timber–steel hybrid structure.

Figure 14. Steel beam–column connection (all dimensions are in mm).

pseudo-nail nonlinear springs. Multilinear spring (SPRING-Nonlinear) and linear spring (SPRING2)
elements, both of which are available in the ABAQUS element library, were used to model the bolt con-
nections and the compression between the wood and the steel. The SPRING2 element is a linear spring
element with a fixed stiffness. For its compression branch, a stiffness of 4.5 kN/mm was assumed
according to the modulus of the elasticity perpendicular to grain of SPF (Kretschmann, 2010 Wood
Handbook). Displacement loading was applied on the FE model, and implicit analysis with a very
small time step of 0.005 was adopted.

3. MODEL VALIDATION

3.1. Hysteresis loops and energy dissipation properties


The test results in He et al. (2013) were used to verify the FE model. The FE model was subjected to
the same loading protocol as that used in the test. The model predictions of load–displacement hyster-
esis and energy dissipation were compared with test results, as shown in Figures 15 and 16. The pre-
dictions agreed reasonably well with the test results for both single-sheathed and double-sheathed
specimens. However, it should be noted that the FE model did not account for the observed strength
degradation in the last three loading cycles. This was because the fracture of the steel beam–column

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DOI: 10.1002/tal
1056 Z. LI ET AL.

Figure 15. Model predictions of hysteresis loops versus test results. (a) Hybrid shear wall with single-
sheathed infill, A-2, and (b) hybrid shear wall with double-sheathed infill, B-2.

weld in these cycles had not been considered in the FE model. As a result, the model overestimated the
peak loads and energy dissipations for these cycles.

3.2. Load sharing effects between timber and steel


The total lateral force applied to the specimen was resisted by three identical timber–steel hybrid shear
wall systems, and the diaphragm effect influenced the distribution of shear force among them. The
shear force resisted by the three timber–steel hybrid shear walls was obtained directly from the test,
and not too much difference among them was found, which indicated that the diaphragm was stiff
enough to transfer lateral load and behaved more like a rigid diaphragm. In the timber–steel hybrid
shear walls, the lateral load was simultaneously resisted by the steel moment-resisting frame and the
infill wood shear wall. The load sharing effect between the two subsystems is important for the eval-
uation of the overall lateral performance of the hybrid structure. The shear force resisted by the steel

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Struct. Design Tall Spec. Build. 23, 1045–1063 (2014)
DOI: 10.1002/tal
FE MODELING AND PARAMETRIC ANALYSIS OF TIMBER–STEEL HYBRID STRUCTURES 1057

Figure 16. Model predictions of energy dissipation versus test results. (a) Hybrid shear wall with
single-sheathed infill, A-2, and (b) hybrid shear wall with double-sheathed infill, B-2.

frame was obtained directly through strain gages on the steel columns in the experiment, and the shear
force resisted by the infill wood wall was obtained by subtracting the shear force in the steel frame
from the total applied force.
The model predictions of the shear forces resisted by the two subsystems versus test results for tim-
ber–steel hybrid shear wall A-2 are shown in Figure 17. Based on the load–displacement loops of the
individual subsystems, the percentage of the shear force in each subsystem was also obtained, as
shown in Figures 18. The infill wood shear walls resisted most of the shear force at the initial loading
cycles. The predictions of the FE model agreed well with the test results.

4. PARAMETRIC ANALYSIS OF TIMBER–STEEL HYBRID SHEAR WALL SYSTEM

4.1. Relative lateral infill-to-frame stiffness


The lateral performance of the timber–steel hybrid shear wall showed an integrated effect of the steel
frame and the infill wood shear wall. Therefore, the load sharing characteristics between them have a

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Struct. Design Tall Spec. Build. 23, 1045–1063 (2014)
DOI: 10.1002/tal
1058 Z. LI ET AL.

Figure 17. Model predictions of the shear forces resisted by the subsystems versus test results. (a)
Shear force in steel moment-resisting frame and (b) shear force in infill wood shear wall.

major impact on the entire wall performance. A parametric study on timber–steel hybrid shear walls
with different relative lateral infill-to-frame stiffness ratios was conducted. The lateral stiffness ratio
(R) is defined as Equation (4):

R ¼ K wood =K steel (4)

where Kwood = 0.4Pwood/Δwood and Ksteel = 0.4Psteel/Δsteel, Pwood is the maximum absolute load resisted
by the wood shear wall in its envelope (kN) and Δwood is the displacement of the top edge of the wood
shear wall at 0.4Pwood (mm); Psteel is the maximum absolute load resisted by the steel frame in its
envelope (kN) and Δsteel is the displacement of the top edge of the steel frame at 0.4Psteel (mm).

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Struct. Design Tall Spec. Build. 23, 1045–1063 (2014)
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FE MODELING AND PARAMETRIC ANALYSIS OF TIMBER–STEEL HYBRID STRUCTURES 1059

Figure 18. Percentage of shear force in each subsystem.

One piece of timber–steel hybrid shear wall (A-2), instead of the entire structure, was modeled. The
cross-sections of the steel frame were the same as those in the experiment, while four different nail/
sheathing patterns were considered. The relative lateral infill-to-frame stiffness ratios with these nail/
sheathing patterns are listed in Table 3. The lateral stiffness curves were utilized to measure the
contribution share of the infill wood shear wall in resisting lateral loads. The stiffness was calculated as
the load resisted by the shear wall divided by its corresponding drift. The stiffness curves of the hybrid
shear wall systems with different values of R are given in Figure 19. The stiffness curves of the bare steel
frame and the bare wood wall, with the same configuration as used in the test, were also given in Figure 19.
In comparison with bare steel frames, infill walls considerably improved the lateral stiffness. In
particular, the initial lateral stiffness of the hybrid shear wall increased when stronger infill walls were
used. However, with the strength/stiffness degradation of the infill walls progressed, the stiffness
curves tended to converge towards each other.
Figure 20 shows the percentages of load-carrying contribution of the infill wood shear walls at
different drift ratios. The results show a very high contribution from the infill walls up to a drift ratio
of around 0.5%. Thereafter, the curves start to flatten until they become horizontal at around the drift
ratio of 1.5%. Stronger infill walls led to higher lateral load capacities of the hybrid system throughout
all the different drift ratios. The infill shear walls were particularly effective during the initial stages of
loading and carried a major part of the lateral load. The magnitude of the shear force carried by the

Table 3. Nail/sheathing patterns for different relative lateral infill-to-frame stiffness ratios.

Nail spacing
R Nail type Sheathing pattern Edge Interior stud
a
0.6 CN50 One side 150 300
2.5 12d common nailb One side 150 300
4.0 12d common nail One side 75 300
7.5 12d common nail Both sides 75 300
Note:
a
CN50 nail conforms to the Japanese Industrial Standards, with 50 mm in length and 2.87 mm in diameter.
b
12d common nail conforms to ASTM F1667-11a (Standard Specification for Driven Fasteners: Nails, Spikes, and
Staples), with 82 mm in length and 3.8 mm in diameter.

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1060 Z. LI ET AL.

Figure 19. Stiffness drift curves of the hybrid shear wall systems with different lateral stiffness ratios (R).

Figure 20. Percentage of shear force in infill walls with different lateral stiffness ratios (R).

infill wall did not experience a sharp loss, due to its high ductility. The magnitude of the shear force
carried by the infill wall beyond the drift ratio of 1.5% did not change much.
From the perspective of seismic design, minor earthquake energy can be easily dissipated by the
infill walls within small drift ratios (<0.5%). In moderate earthquakes, the infill walls will show some
nonlinear characteristics, while the frame members will remain almost elastic. This is ideal, since the
structures will remain in a state of immediate occupancy with limited deformations; and, if necessary,
the infill walls can be easily repairable. In severe earthquakes, the infill walls will carry a certain
part of the shear force and dissipate noticeable energy via nail connections. Plastic hinges may also
form in the steel frame members. The structure may suffer damages but will show a relatively high
ductility, as were observed in the tests and the computer modeling.

4.2. Connection stiffness


The shear force was mainly transferred via bolted connections along the interface between the infill
wall and the steel frame. In the experiment, the connections were stiff enough to ensure the two

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Struct. Design Tall Spec. Build. 23, 1045–1063 (2014)
DOI: 10.1002/tal
FE MODELING AND PARAMETRIC ANALYSIS OF TIMBER–STEEL HYBRID STRUCTURES 1061

Figure 21. Percentage of shear force in infill walls with different connection stiffnesses.

subsystems to resist lateral loads together. However, the load sharing effect may change if weaker bolt
connections were used.
The lateral performance of the timber–steel hybrid shear walls with different connection stiffnesses
was investigated using the developed FE model. Fourteen M14 bolts, with two placed in a row and row
spacing of 360 mm, were used to connect the top plate of the infill wall to the steel frame in the
experiment. This bolt arrangement was set as the benchmark case. The load–slip curve of the bolted
connection was scaled down to 1/2, 1/4 and 1/8 of the benchmark case to consider the influence of
different connection stiffnesses.
The percentages of the shear force carried by the infill walls with lateral stiffness ratio of 4.0 and
various connection stiffnesses are given in Figure 21. The magnitudes of the shear force in the steel
frames were almost the same for the four cases; therefore, changes in the bolt connection stiffnesses
mainly led to different infill wall behavior. Within a drift ratio of 0.5%, the percentage of the shear
force in the infill wall dropped as the connection stiffness decreased. It dropped about 27% when
the connection stiffness was set to 1/8 of its original magnitude. The curves also showed a convergent
tendency after the drift ratio of 1.0%.
It was found that, if the bolt connections were stiff enough to transfer a shear force equal to the
lateral load-carrying capacity of the infill wall, the infill wall could take full effect to resist lateral loads.
However, when weaker bolt connections were used, the shear force was transferred not only by the
bolt connections but also through the compression effect due to the contact between wood and steel.
This reduced the stiffness and lateral load capacity of the hybrid shear wall system.

5. CONCLUSIONS

This paper presents computer modeling on the lateral performance of timber–steel hybrid structures. A
FE model was established in ABAQUS FE software package. A user-defined element was developed to
model the infill wood shear walls based on a simplified shear wall model and implemented as a
subroutine in ABAQUS software. The developed FE model was verified by the test results. The model
predictions agreed reasonably well with the test results for both single-sheathed and double-sheathed
specimens, including the load sharing effect between the infill wall and the steel frame.
The FE model was further used in a parametric analysis. It was found that the initial lateral stiffness
of the hybrid shear wall increased when stronger infill walls were used. However, with the strength/
stiffness degradation of the infill walls, occurring at increased drift ratios, the lateral stiffness of the
hybrid shear walls with different infill walls tended to converge towards each other.

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Struct. Design Tall Spec. Build. 23, 1045–1063 (2014)
DOI: 10.1002/tal
1062 Z. LI ET AL.

In seismic design, minor earthquake loads can be carried by the infill walls within small drift ratios
(<0.5%). In severe earthquakes, the infill walls will carry a certain part of the shear force and dissipate
noticeable energy via nail connections. Plastic hinges may also form in the steel frame members. The
structure may suffer damages, but the hybrid system shows a relatively high ductility, as observed in
the tests and the computer modeling.
The connection between the infill wall and the steel frame is a key issue to ensure the structural
efficiency of such a hybrid system. It is recommended to use relatively strong timber–steel bolted
connections to make sure the shear force can be transferred effectively between the steel frame and
the infill wall.

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Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Struct. Design Tall Spec. Build. 23, 1045–1063 (2014)
DOI: 10.1002/tal
FE MODELING AND PARAMETRIC ANALYSIS OF TIMBER–STEEL HYBRID STRUCTURES 1063

AUTHORS’ BIOGRAPHIES

Zheng Li is a PhD candidate in the Department of Building Engineering in Tongji University. His
research interests focus on the lateral force resisting system in timber–steel hybrid structures.

Minjuan He is a Professor in the Department of Building Engineering in Tongji University. Her


research interests include the performance of timber-based hybrid structures, light wood-frame
constructions, and steel tower and mast structures.

Frank Lam is a Professor in the Department of Wood Science in the University of British Columbia.
His main research interests are in the development of fundamental knowledge on the performance of
solid sawn timber, wood-based composites and engineered wood systems.

Minghao Li is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Wood Science in the University
of British Columbia. His main research interests are in the structural behavior of solid wood, wood
composites and connections, and seismic performance of wood shear walls and buildings.

Renle Ma is a Professor in the Department of Building Engineering in Tongji University. His research
interests include steel tower and mast structures, wind turbine towers and timber-based hybrid
structures.

Zhong Ma is a PhD candidate in the Department of Building Engineering in Tongji University. His
research interests focus on the floor system in timber–steel hybrid structures.

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Struct. Design Tall Spec. Build. 23, 1045–1063 (2014)
DOI: 10.1002/tal