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Determination of displacement distributions in bolted steel tension elements using digital image techniques

Güler, Murat
Digital imaging methods have found a great interest in various engineering fields to study stress-deformation characteristics of materials. Recent enhancements in visual instrumentation with the availability of cost-effective hardware and software products make the digital imaging techniques a viable tool to replace direct strain or displacement measurement methods in engineering applications. In this study, deformation characteristics of bolted steel connections are investigated by calculating in-plane displacement distributions using digital image correlation method (DIC). Validation of the method is presented by comparing the strains measured in standard tension specimens using electrical resistance strain gages and the DIC method. Finite element analysis of the connection specimen is also performed to compare the in-plane displacement distributions calculated from both methods. Results from the validation process indicate that the strains obtained from the DIC method compare well with the results of strain gages. The findings also indicate that the displacement distributions calculated from the finite element method may differ from those of the DIC method in terms of distribution pattern, and the location and magnitude of the extreme values of displacements. It is suggested that the proposed method can be used to determine the in-plane displacement distributions for the bolted connections, hence to evaluate their deformation characteristics under loading.