Geometric forming and mechanical performance of reciprocal frame structures assembled using fibre reinforced composites

Cheav Por Chea, Yu Bai, Yihai Fang, Yiming Zhang

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Reciprocal frame (RF) structures were developed in this work using pultruded glass fibre reinforced polymer (GFRP) members and the formulation of mathematical model for geometric forming and capacity design of such structures were presented. Firstly, governing geometric relationships are identified for the height, span and slope of the RF structure and its overall geometry can be formed accordingly. Once the geometry is determined, the structure can be analysed to calculate the internal forces of each component and connections under given loads. GFRP pultruded members were used to assemble the RF structure due to their high strength and lightweight. Considering the closed shape of the tubular section and the anisotropy of the materials, an innovative connection configuration was developed to facilitate the assembly and minimise the requirement of tools in the construction. Both the conceptual design and modelling analysis are supported with experimental results at connection and structural levels. The load-drift relationships of the connections were experimentally examined. Subsequently, A GFRP reciprocal frame structure was then assembled with a span of 4.5 m and subjected to multi-point bending to verify the proposed evaluation method and to study its mechanical performance. Verified by experimental results, a two-dimensional numerical model of the RF structure was developed and analysed using the finite element (FE) approach where different structural boundary conditions and connection stiffnesses were discussed. Finally, the geometrical nonlinear analysis was also studied for the structure through FE modelling.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113420
Number of pages12
JournalEngineering Structures
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Assembly
  • Composites
  • Connection
  • Fibre reinforced polymer
  • Pultruded
  • Reciprocal frame

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