Bonded sleeve connections for joining tubular GFRP beam to steel member: Numerical investigation with experimental validation

Zhujing Zhang, Chao Wu, Xin Nie, Yu Bai, Lei Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


This paper investigates an innovative bonded sleeve connection for joining tubular GFRP and steel members. Experimental results focused on mechanical responses of beam-to-column specimens using bonded sleeve connections and conventional steel angle connections are used to set the benchmark for detailed
finite element (FE) modelling. In the detailed FE analysis, bolt geometry including head, shank and washer were accurately modelled. Paired contact elements were used for simulating the contact and slip behaviour between bolt shanks and holes, washers and steel or GFRP. The pretension force in the bolts was also taken into account by implementing pretension elements. The FE models developed were first validated against the experimental results in terms of failure mode, moment–rotation curves and strain responses. Parametric studies were then undertaken to investigate the structural behaviour of the bonded sleeve connections considering the effects of major design parameters such as endplate thickness, bonding length, number of bolts, etc. It was found that the endplate thickness dominates the initial stiffness and the elastic moment capacity of the bonded sleeve connection and the presence of central blind bolts improves the elastic moment capacity of the bonded sleeve connection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-61
Number of pages11
JournalComposite Structures
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Beam column connection
  • Bonded sleeve connection
  • Detailed modelling
  • Fibre-reinforced composite
  • Pultrusion

Cite this